The Project Gutenberg eBook of Brazil, the River Plate, and the Falkland Islands

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Title: Brazil, the River Plate, and the Falkland Islands

Author: William Hadfield

Illustrator: Charles Hotham

Sir William Gore Ouseley

Release date: January 19, 2018 [eBook #56402]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Adrian Mastronardi and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
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Transcriber’s Note: In the original printing, some of the illustrations were not listed in the table of contents. They have been added here.

Steam requirements of Anglo South American commerce anterior to 1850. How supplied then. Inadequacy of means to the general end, and to Lancastrian ends in particular. Subsequent supply. Liverpool still left out. Chartered liberty to help itself, and the consequence thereof. Paddle pioneer of the ocean fleet to the Plate. Dates and distances in a new line. What may be done by putting on the screw for three months. Fifteen thousand miles of steaming, with the Author’s notes thereon, and suggestions for the same being continued by other people. Epilogue apologetic. 1
Cursory retrospect of South American discoveries. Their difficulties then, how to be estimated at present. Their interest to this age as compared with that of ancient conquests. Cruelties of the early invaders. Retributive visitations. Columbus and his cotemporaries. Cortez and the conquest of Mexico. Subsequent position of the country. Santa Anna, his antecedents and prospects. Pizarro in Peru, and his Lieutenant, Almagro, in Chili. Condition of those republics since and now: their past gold and present guano. Modern commanders in those countries. Predominance of the Irish element in the fray. The O’Learys and O’Higginses in the Andes. San Martin and his aid-de-camp, O’Brien, and his auxiliary, M’Cabe. The Portuguese discoverers. Magellan and his Straits, and Peacock’s steaming to the Pacific three hundred years afterwards. Cabral and Brazil. De Gama and the Cape, and Camoens’ celebration of the achievement. Enrichment of the Iberian Peninsula from these causes. Subsequent impoverishment of mother countries and colonies. Exceptional position of Brazil in this respect, and reason thereof. Different results in North America, and why. Imperfect knowledge in Europe of South America. Works thereon. Characteristics of the several authorities: Prescott, Southey, Koster, Gardner, Humboldt, Dr. Dundas, Woodbine Parish, M’Cann, Edwards, Maury, and others. Want of information still on Paraguay and the region of the Amazon. Object of this volume to supply that void. Aim of the Author not political, but commercial. 8
Illustrations—The Argentina on her maiden voyage. Belem Castle, mouth of the Tagus. Praça do Commercio, Lisbon. Cintra, near Lisbon. Palace of Adjuda.
The Argentina on her maiden voyage. Capacity and capability of the river boat at sea. From the Mersey to the Tagus in four days. Lord Carnarvon on Mafra and its marble halls. Aspect and Attributes of the Lusitanian Capital and its Vicinage. Portuguese Millers and the grinding process among the grain growers. Native memorabilia of the earthquake, and Anglo reminiscence thereof. The hic jacet of Tom Jones, and eke of Roderick Random. Portuguese peculiarities. Personal and political economy. Fiscal fatuities. Market-place notabilia. Lisbon society. Clubs and Cookery. Tea and turn-out. Friars, females, and fashions. Lusitanian fidalgos, or Portuguese peers in parliament. Portugal the Paradise of protectionists and poverty. Free Trade the only corrective of such calamities. Court circulars,[ii] Conventions, and Commanders. Few books about Portugal, and necessity for more. Hints from the newest, including the Oliveira prize essay. Diplomatic and consular memoranda. 35
Illustration—The Laurel Tree.
Two more days’ pleasant paddling on the ocean. Approach to Madeira. Charming aspect of the island. Unique boats and benevolent boatmen. Pastoral progression in bucolic barouches extraordinary. Personal appearance of the inhabitants. Atmospheric attractions of Madeira, and absence of all natural annoyances. The vine-blight and its consequences, present and prospective, on the people at home and the consumption of their wine abroad. Funchal, and its urban and suburban et ceteras. Romance and reality of the history of the island. ‘Once Upon a Time.’ Importance of English residents to the place. Cost of living, and what you get for your money. Royal and illustrious visitors. Mercantile matters, and consular cordiality. Grave reflections in the British burial-ground. 65
Illustration—Interior of Hotel, Teneriffe.
Oceanic sailing again. Halcyon weather, and modern steaming to the Fortunatæ Insulæ of the ancients. A stare on the saffron-coloured singing birds. Touching Teneriffe, and Miltonic parallel to the Arch-Enemy. Approach to Porto Grande, and what we found there, especially its extensive accommodation for steamers. Deficiency of water the one drawback. Something concerning Ethiopic Serenaders under the line. Promethean promontory extraordinary. A memento of mortality midway in the world. Portuguese rewards honourably earned by an Englishman. Utility of Consuls in such places. First acquaintance with an earthquake. Verd grapes soured by a paternal government. Interchange of news between the Outward and the Homeward bound. A good propelling turn towards a brother of the screw. 74
Progress from Porto Grande to Pernambuco. Steam triumphs against trade wind. Further superiority of screw over sail. The Argentina in a south-wester. Apropos of malaria, and something sanitary about Brazil. The yellow fever: whence comes it, and what has become of it. Quarrels about quarantine. Brazil in advance of the old country in these matters 82
Illustration—Entrance to Pernambuco Harbour.
Rather prefatory and not very particular, though somewhat personal. Books on Brazil should be in the Mediam Viam for the present route, avoiding the Scylla of extreme succinctness and the Charybdis of needless diffuseness. Object of the author to attain the golden medium. With what success, gentle reader, say? Discovery of the country by the Portuguese. Their subsequent disputes with, and final expulsion of, the Dutch. Extent and population; variety of soil and produce. Difficulty of communication between the provinces and the capital, in consequence of the extreme distance and imperfect means of travelling. Extraordinary instance of the round-about nature of news circulating in Brazil some time ago. Steam corrective of such sluggishness. A glance at the Brazilian littoral, beginning with the Amazon, and ending with Rio Grande do Sul. Pará and its productions. Rio Negro, and its recent political elevation. Maranham and its mercantile importance. Laird’s steam leveller, on the singular stream of the Itapecuru. Justice for England by Maranham magistrates. Piauhy and its products; also Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, and Paraiba. Pernambuco revisited by the writer, and welcomed with a rythmetical sentimental something concerning ‘Long, long ago!’ 88
Illustrations—Pernambuco. Chora Meninas. De Mornay’s Patent Cane Mill.
‘That strain again!’ ‘It hath a dying fall.’ ‘Auld Lang Syne, or ’tis thirty years ago.’ Aspect of Pernambuco from the sea. Tripartite division of the city, Recife, St. Antonio, and Boa Vista. Note on the old town of Olinda and its new namesake, the steamer No. 2 of this A 1 line. March of improvement by land and sea, in respect to ships and city. Such Brazilian progress a lesson for West Indians. Frugality and personal activity on the one hand, prodigality and vicarial mismanagement on the other, being the real difference between the position of the planters in either place. Sugar-manufacturing improvements. De Mornay’s patent cane-crushing mill, and its merits. Exports of Pernambuco to United States. Peculiarities of the soil, population, and produce. Hygienic hints to the consumptive and the yellow-feverish. Initiation of the railway era, by the De Mornays, in Pernambuco, and the immense importance of the proposed line. Mr. Borthwick’s report on the project, and the writer’s anticipation of its success. 100
Area, products, and population of Alagoas. Maceio, the principal seaport. Rivers navigable only by boats, except the San Francisco. Primitive condition of the province of Seregipe, and prospects of rapid improvement through railways. 117
Illustrations—Entrance to the port of Bahia. Chapel of San Gonçalo, Bahia.
Bahia, its old name retained in a new place: the province and the city; present condition and splendid prospects of both. Intra-mural peculiarities and extra-mural properties. Prolific sugar produce. Historic, artistic, and archæological attractions of Bahia. Souvenirs of the Jesuits. Relics of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. A Bahian church built in Europe. British Bahian clergyman and local railways. Health of the city. A Brazilian poet warbling native wood-notes very wild. Necessity for keeping a nautical eye in fine frenzy rolling towards the Abrolhos. Departure from Bahia, and approach to the Brazilian capital. Notes. 120
Illustrations—Entrance to the Harbour. Organ Mountains and Sugar-loaf Rock. Aqueduct and Convent of St. Teresa. Convent of Nossa Senora da Penha. Falls of Itamarity.
Night, upon the waters, and daybreak on the land. Beauty of the approaches. Apprehended retrogression, but real progression, in the city. The stag mania in the tropics, and some of its consequences. Notes on carriages, operas, snuff-taking, polking washerwomen, blacks, whites, odds and ends, and things in general, original and imported. Social, sanitary, and governmental matters of divers kinds. Composition of the Brazilian Chambers, and business therein. State of parties. Abolition of the slave trade. Sittings of the senate. No necessity for Mr. Brotherton in the Brazils. Character of the present Emperor. Wreck of the Pernambucano. Heroism of a black sailor. Rigorous regulations of the Rio custom-house. Suggestions for the extension of Brazilian commerce, and the prevention of smuggling. Revisal of the Brazilian tariff. Educational progress since 1808. French literature and fashion. Provisions in the Rio market. Monkeys and lizards articles of food. Oranges, bananas, chirimoyas, and granadillas. Difficulties of the labour question since the suppression of the slave-trade. Character of the Indians. State of feeling as regards the coloured people. Negro emancipation ‘looming in the future.’ An experimental trip on the Rio and Petropolis railway. 136
Illustration—Portrait of Admiral Grenfell. 185
Sources of the Marañon. Rapids and cataracts. Embouchures of the Amazon. Its volume, compared with the Ganges and the Brahmapootra. Its discovery by Pinzon. Expedition of Orellana. Gold-seeking expedition of Pedro de Orsua. Settlement of Pará, and discovery of the Rio Negro. The missions of the Jesuits, and their expulsion. Discovery of the communication between the Amazon and the Orinoco. Revolution of 1835. Pará: its streets and public buildings. Explorations of M. Castelnau and Lieutenant Herndon. Tributaries and settlements of the Tocantins. Lieutenant Gibbon’s exploration of the Madera. His interview with General Belzu. What is wanted to turn the stream of tropical South American commerce eastward. Herndon’s descent of the Huallaga. Tarapoto, and its future prospects. Chasuta: its trade with Lima and Pará. Yurimaguas, and the Cachiyacu. Steamboat communication between Nauta and Pará. Progress of a piece of cotton from Liverpool to Sarayacu. Estimated cost and profit of steam vessels on the Amazon. Trade of Egas. The new province of Amazonas. Exports of Barra. The Rio Negro and its tributaries. Communication by the Cassiquiari between the Amazon and the Orinoco. Productions of Amazonas. Santarem. The Tapajos, and its tributaries. Rapids of the Parú and the Xingù. Climate and products of Pará. Benefits to be expected from the opening of the Amazon and European immigration. 193
Salubrity of the Climate. Causes of, proofs of, objections to. Northern, southern, and central provinces. Equability of temperature. Heat, humidity, rain, winds, electricity, hail, ice. Tropical heat and light. Influence on Europeans. Acclimatization. Increase of certain diseases. Yellow fever; its probable disappearance. Physical, social, moral, and religious condition of the people. Prophylactic measures. 214
Illustrations—Portrait of Sir W. G. Ouseley, K.C.B. View of Monte Video. The Lasso. The Stray Cow. Milk at a rial a glass.
First impressions of the Uruguayan capital unfavourable. The New Custom House. An instance of enterprise without prudence. Commercial advantages of Monte Video. Prosperity obtained at the expense of Buenos Ayres. Revisal of the Buenos Ayrean tariff. Alluvial deposits of the Rio Plata. Gas from mares’ grease. Traces of a siege. Unprofitable ploughing by Oribe’s projectiles. Condition of the Streets. The horses of La Plata, and the Lasso. Commerce of London with Monte Video and Buenos Ayres. Mules for the Australian gold diggings. Diminution of the Customs. Bitter fruits of British and French intervention. Sir William Gore Ouseley and the British Loan. The market-place. Italian boatmen. Encouragement to foreigners. Aspect of the environs. The latest revolution. Sketch of the history of Monte Video. 229
Illustrations—Going to mass. View from the terrace of the quinta. Quinta, or country house. View of Buenos Ayres. Sweetmeat-seller. Palermo. Negro laundresses at Buenos Ayres. La Plaza Victoria. Apothecary’s shop. View on the river. Going to the ball. May-day in Buenos Ayres.
[v]Departure from Monte Video. Streets and buildings of the Argentine capital. The climate and the people. Prohibition of the slave trade. Characters of the dictator and his successor, Urquiza. Argentine Confederation. Foreign intervention and capture of Rosas’ feet. Capitulation of General Oribe, and fall of Rosas. Fluvial obstructions to trade and navigation. English residents. Railway projects. South American debate. Foreign shopkeepers and Irish servants. General Paz. 260
Illustration—Portraits of Generals Rosas and Urquiza. 290
Illustrations—San Nicolas. Corrientes. Rosario. Travelling Waggons.
Preparations for an experimental trip up the Parana. Captain Sullivan’s descent of the river at a terrific pace. Island of Martin Garcia. Note on the confluents of the Rio Plata. A Scotch experimental philosopher in Corrientes. Alluvial deposits at the delta of the Parana. Signs of progress in the interior. An American pioneer of civilization. The steamer aground, and fired upon. Moonlight on the river and the woods. Geographical note on the Parana and the Plata. Obligado and San Nicolas. Mr. Mackinnon’s description of the scenery. Arrival at Rosario. Multifarious applications of hides and horns. Descent of the river, and arrival at Martin Garcia. Corrientes and the guachos. Difficulties of the navigation, and a word about the Uruguay. 305
Illustrations—Portrait of Sir Charles Hotham, K.C.B. View near Assumption. View of Assumption. Portrait of General Lopez. Church of the Recoleta.
Sources of information. General Pacheco. Inaccuracies of Sir Woodbine Parish. Navigability of the Parana by large vessels. Decrees of the government of Paraguay on the treatment of foreigners. Decrees relative to inventions and improvements. Mr. Drabble’s commercial mission, and its results. Cultivation of cotton. Drawbacks to its extension. Scarcity of labour. Provisions of the treaty between Great Britain and Paraguay. The commercial resources of that country little known in this. Navigability of the Paraguay and the Uruguay. Obligation of the Brazilian and Buenos Ayrean governments to remove impediments. Population of Paraguay. Public works undertaken by the Consular Government. Salubrity of the climate. Fertility of the soil. Pasturage illimitable. Character of the Paraguayans. President Lopez. Diplomatic mission of Sir Charles Hotham. General Lopez. State of the country at the death of Francia. First measures of the Consular Government. Revenue of Paraguay. Administration of justice. Revision of the tariff. Release of political prisoners at the termination of Francia’s Reign of Terror. Anticipations of intercourse with Europe. 328
Illustration—The Brazileira on her homeward voyage.
Departure from Buenos Ayres. Arrival at Monte Video. Guano deposits of Patagonia. Bahia Blanca. Eligibility of the district for an overland route to Chili. Chilian grant for direct steam communication with England. Accessions to steam navigation on the Brazilian coast. Opening of the Amazon. Departure from Monte Video.[vi] Rough wind and heavy sea. Aspect of Raza under various lights and shades. Hotel accommodation of Rio Janeiro. A wet day at Bahia. Consular memoranda on Venezuela, Bolivia, and Equador. Arrival at Pernambuco. Meeting with the Olinda. Arrival at Porto Grande. Seven days’ steaming against the wind. Madeira in the distance. Arrival at Belem. Miseries and absurdities of the quarantine system. Towing the pilot astern. Passage up St. George’s Channel. Arrival in the Mersey. Loss of the Olinda and the Argentina. New ocean and river steamers. 359
Advantages presented as a convict settlement, as place of re-fit for merchantmen, and a naval depôt. The Corporation of the Falkland Islands’ Company. Healthiness of the climate. The abundance of fresh water. Cost of transport less than that to other colonies. Geographical position and extent. Distance from the Main. The small naval force required. Causes of insecurity at other settlements not found here. Their detachment a provision against escape. Guard less required here than elsewhere. The cheapness of provisions: how supplied. Employment. The gradual supply of convicts not requisite. How first comers may be disposed of. Smallness of preliminary outlay, and its speedy return. Opinions of various servants of the Crown. Two propositions. The riddance of convicts. Relief to the mother country. Redemption of the pledge made to convicts. Facilities for reformation. Restoration of the penitent to society without risk to the innocent. Agricultural school for juvenile convicts. Complete depôt for naval re-fit near Cape Horn. Saving of port charges and of freight. Easy performance of ships’ repairs, if patent slip laid down. Secure coaling station for steamers. First-rate naval station: ‘key of the Pacific’ in time of war. Testimony of Governor Rennie and Captain Matthews of the Great Britain. 376



Steam Requirements of Anglo South American commerce anterior to 1850.—How supplied then.—Inadequacy of Means to the General End, and to Lancastrian Ends in particular.—Subsequent Supply.—Liverpool still left out.—Chartered Liberty to help itself, and the consequences thereof.—Paddle Pioneer of the Ocean Fleet to the Plate.—Dates and Distances in a new Line.—What may be done by putting on the Screw for Three Months.—Fifteen Thousand Miles of Steaming, with the Author’s Notes thereon, and Suggestions for the same being continued by other people.—Epilogue apologetic.

Until 1850, the Eastern coast of South America, including the extensive and flourishing empire of Brazil, and the boundless regions watered by the La Plata and its tributaries, were entirely without European steam navigation. The old process of sailing-ships, and a monthly sailing-packet from Falmouth, conveying mails, were the only medium of communication. In that year, the Royal Mail Company entered upon the service they had undertaken with government, to run a monthly steamer from Southampton to Rio Janeiro, and a branch steamer to the River Plate. The vessels placed on the station were drafted from their West India fleet; and, although not possessed of extraordinary steaming or sailing qualities, they performed the voyage with regularity, and in a space of time which reduced to one half that ordinarily occupied by the sailing-craft. The consequence was an augmentation of traffic, both of goods and passengers, such as few persons contemplated, and the line proved speedily unequal to the task of dealing with either to the extent required. Moreover, it was found that one very important feature in the case,[2] a direct traffic with the River Plate, was quite unprovided for, and no provision whatever made by which goods and merchandize could be forwarded thither, the branch steamer from Rio Janeiro only taking passengers. But, even had mercantile necessities in this direction been supplied, there was a strong feeling that Liverpool, as the emporium of British trade with South America, ought to possess a steam-line of its own, and that goods and passengers should not be compelled to find their way to Southampton. The great manufacturing districts which have Liverpool for their seaport supply at least seven-eighths of the entire trade to South America,[1] and it seemed an anomaly that no direct steam communication should exist between them. Accordingly, in 1851, parties connected with the district, having organized a company, went before the Board of Trade for a royal charter, alleging, as a reason for such concession, the importance of our interests in the quarter named, the necessity of more frequent intercourse since steam had been established, and that once a month was not sufficient for wants so extensive and pressing. These arguments,[3] backed, as they were, by memorials from Liverpool, Manchester, and other places, had weight with Her Majesty’s Government, and a charter of incorporation was obtained. The directors immediately proceeded to contract for the building of suitable steamers; but delay, caused by unusual pressure of work, somewhat retarded intended operations.[2]

On the 27th of August, 1853, the company’s first, or pioneer, steamer intended for the River Plate station, sailed from Liverpool, and was followed on the 24th of September by the ocean steamer, Brazileira, Captain Daniel Green, who had long commanded[4] clipper vessels in the Brazil trade. As secretary to the company, and possessing a local knowledge of Brazil, it was thought desirable that the author should proceed in the Argentina, for the purpose of seeing that proper arrangements were made at the ports of call for their vessels, and to obtain from foreign governments the facilities and assistance requisite to carry on a steam company of this magnitude with any success. The voyage was accomplished in a little more than three months, the writer having returned to Liverpool, by the Brazileira, on the 5th of November, during which time he had gone over nearly 15,000 miles of distance (including a trip up the Parana), spent a fortnight at Rio Janeiro, and three weeks in the River Plate, besides calling at all the stations both ways, namely, outwards—Lisbon, Madeira, St. Vincent, Pernambuco, and Bahia; and, homewards—Bahia, Pernambuco, St. Vincent, and Lisbon, which latter is to be the track of the regular ocean line, subject to modifications, &c.

Thus, it will be seen, from this brief recapitulation of dates and distances, that in the space of two months a merchant can visit his Brazil establishment, and another, under three months, can look after his River Plate affairs, often saving himself much anxiety and loss of time. The manufacturer can, without great trouble, make himself practically acquainted with the markets he wishes to trade to; the botanist and naturalist can quickly be transported to the virgin ground of Paraguay, or, now that the Brazilian government have placed contract steamers on the greatest of all great rivers, may ascend the Amazon, with like certainty of reward as novel and varied, and depend on a prompt return of his newly acquired specimens. Whilst, which is equally important,[5] the natives of those countries have an opportunity of visiting Europe, and forming, by personal contact, those relations of amity and good will which tend so much to soften prejudices, and bring about a right understanding on all points mutually advantageous. Hence the ramifications of such enterprises as steam are most interesting in their results to mankind; and, if once the tide of emigration begins to set in fairly towards that immense agricultural field watered by the rivers of South America, there is no foreseeing the extension of wealth and prosperity that must assuredly follow; for population is the sole requirement to fit these limitless and teeming regions to work out the destiny which it is impossible to doubt that Providence, in the fulness of time, has designed for that portion of the earth, where the majesty and the luxuriance of nature invite the presence of man through highways at once the mightiest and most facile in the world.

A desire to place these objects forcibly before the public is the origin of this work. Though conscious of its imperfections and short-comings, the writer would guard against the imputation of impertinence in offering it as the result merely of the experience derived from the rapid run out and home indicated in the remarks just preceding. He is no book-maker; though he ventures to hope that his book will, in some degree, fill a vacuum left by certain recent accomplished professors of that branch of the fine arts in this department of travellers’ information for the untravelled public. The several topics discussed in the ensuing pages have been the subject-matter of his earnest consideration for many years. Long resident in South America, and familiar with its commercial necessities, his attention had naturally been directed to all the mercantile points embraced in the old circle of communication with Europe; while the circumstances of his position, in connection with a new enterprise, enabled him to contemplate matters in a somewhat novel light; and he was peculiarly fortunate in deriving his knowledge of the recent interesting diplomatic and commercial incidents in the Upper Parana and the Paraguay on the spot, and from the most competent sources[6]. Assiduously availing of these and all others of a like kind whenever they presented themselves,—which was not unfrequently—he has, wherever practicable, rendered the expression of his own remarks subordinate to the main design of bringing together whatever data should serve to make his volume useful as an exposition, at one view, of the present condition, primarily, of the East Coast and the Amazon and Platine interior, and, incidentally, of South America generally—an object embraced in no other single publication of this class. He is well aware that a complete embodiment of such a design would tax powers far higher and opportunities more varied than his. But he will be content, if, in succeeding a little, he should be the means of stimulating others to achieve a great deal more in a like direction.

Though necessarily containing little that is new, the resumé of discoveries, prefixed to the opening chapter, is offered as likely to be serviceable in recalling to the elder reader some of the more salient facts he already knows, but which are necessary to be repeated: and in suggesting to the younger student of South American history,—than which it is hardly possible to name any more exciting, delightful, or instructive,—those sources that will render him easily cognizant of what has been written on the several branches of the subject up to the present date. A similar justification, it is hoped, will serve for the seeming surplusage of the remarks under the head of Lisbon, Madeira, and the Verds; though it will be found that the chapters devoted to those well-known places contain a good deal of fresh information calculated to be acceptable too all calling at the several ports.

Often observing the inconvenience experienced by South Americans coming to England, and by Englishmen proceeding to South America, from unacquaintance with the names and residences of the respective diplomatic and consular agents in both countries, the author has been at some pains to collect the necessary information on this head; and, as regards the antecedents of the English officials, has relied upon that very useful manual, the ‘Foreign Office List for 1854,’ by Mr. F. W. H. Cavendish, Précis[7] Writer to the Earl of Clarendon. The large map of South America has been expressly prepared for this volume, chiefly with a view to exhibit the river navigation affected by the late treaties, and will be found, I have every reason to believe, much the most correct that has yet been published of the whole continent; for, generally speaking, maps of South America, or of any portion of it, are ludicrously inaccurate. The map of the growingly important settlement of the Falkland Islands has likewise been adapted from the most recent surveys, and is calculated to prove of benefit to captains making the homeward Australian voyage by Cape Horn.

Claughton, Birkenhead,
March 30, 1854.



Cursory Retrospect of South American Discoveries.—Their difficulties then, how to be estimated at present.—Their interest to this age as compared with ancient conquests.—Cruelties of the early invaders.—Retributive visitations.—Columbus and his cotemporaries.—Cortez and the conquest of Mexico.—Subsequent position of the country.—Santa Anna, his antecedents and prospects.—Pizarro in Peru, and his Lieutenant, Almagro, in Chili.—Condition of those Republics since and now: their past gold and present guano.—Modern commanders in those countries.—Predominance of the Irish element in the fray.—The O’Learys and O’Higginses in the Andes.—San Martin and his aid-de-camp, O’Brien, and his auxiliary, M’Cabe.—The Portuguese discoverers.—Magellan and his Straits, and Peacock’s steaming to the Pacific three hundred years afterwards.—Cabra, and Brazil.—De Gama and the Cape, and Camoens’ celebration of the achievement.—Enrichment of the Iberian Peninsula from these causes—Subsequent impoverishment of mother countries and colonies.—Exceptional position of Brazil in this respect, and reason thereof.—Different results in North America, and why.—Imperfect knowledge in Europe of South America.—Works thereon.—Characteristics of the several authorities: Prescott, Southey, Koster, Gardner, Humboldt, Dr. Dundas, Woodbine Parish, M’Cann, Edwards, Maury, and others.—Want of information still on Paraguay and the region of the Amazon.—Object of this Volume to supply that void.—Aim of the Author not Political, but Commercial.

Nearly four centuries have rolled past since the great discoveries of Columbus and his followers led to the establishment of Spanish and Portuguese dominion over the vast continent of South[9] America, and were succeeded somewhat later by the still more important settlement of the Anglo-Saxon race on the northern portion of the New World.[3] These events, marvellous in themselves and in their accessories, and momentous from the way in which they have affected the destinies of the human race, present a study singularly and enduringly interesting, differing so strongly as they do from the characteristics of ancient history. The latter are necessarily contemplated by the reader as types and symbols of the past, on which he has only the privilege of reflecting; whilst in the former case, in perusing the story of these comparatively modern discoveries of hitherto unknown continents, he feels himself almost a sharer in the adventures of those extraordinary men by whose deeds his own present destiny is so essentially influenced. He cannot desire to be a Lycurgus or a Phocion, a Cæsar or a Cato; but it is no tax on the imagination, no repulse to the feeling, to picture himself a Columbus in embryo, and his soul and being is wrapt up in the narrative of that great voyager. The English are proverbially a nautical people, nursed and cradled in the lap of that ocean with whose element their earliest sympathies are enlisted and identified. In these days it is a light matter indeed, with the facilities of progression abounding on all sides, and the great ministrant of celerity, steam, at our command in every form, to ramble from one extremity of the earth to the other; but the slightest retrospection suffices to[10] demonstrate how very different a state of things prevailed at the close of the fifteenth century. The mere existence of a western continent was a phantasy of dream-land, when the mysteries of that mighty waste of waters which separated the then known world from all beyond, was shrouded in obscurity as unfathomable as its deepest depths; when only frail barks and mariners who dreaded to lose sight of the land could be found to attempt the seemingly-desperate fate of exploring an unknown sea in search of what at best existed but in the imagination of those who were regarded as visionaries, and whose presumptuous rashness the very winds themselves seemed to rebuke by blowing with unprecedented constancy in the one direction, as if to proclaim the impossibility of return.[4] Taking these circumstances into our consideration, a most thrilling interest is attached to this recital that will endure to the latest posterity; and school-boys for generations to come will ponder over the amazing achievements of these wondrous knights-errant of the main with the same eager curiosity as the grown men of to-day.

On the other hand, it must be as readily conceded that there is something painfully oppressive in the records of ancient history, with its never-ending conflict between nations for the aggrandisement of a few ambitious monarchs or republican leaders, in which the destruction of cities, towns, and countries, as well as of the lives of their inhabitants, is the theme perpetually dwelt upon, as if the annihilation of his kind were the only achievement entitling man to the admiration of humanity. War in all its horrors, and the military extirpation of our species, is the delight of the classic chroniclers, whether in poetry or[11] prose; and its accompaniments of battles, sieges, pillage, murder, and atrocities such as nature revolts at, are depicted with a species of barbaric satisfaction, calculated (as it no doubt often did) to evoke the vengeance of the Deity against enormities perpetrated in the mere wantonness of licentious ferocity, and too frequently lacking the miserable palliative of provocation. Infinitely is it to be deplored that this sanguinary animus was carried, in a large degree, by the Spaniards and Portuguese, but probably still more by the Dutch (with whom, however, we are not now concerned), into their conquests in the New World; but it brought with it its own retributive punishment; and finally, under Providence, became the most potent instrument that caused war to be looked upon as an enormous evil, and a curse upon any country unrighteously practising it.

To the discovery of the New World we may fairly trace the benign effects of that wholesome correction of a most pernicious estimate of human merit. This, gradually softening the minds of men, instilled the principle of commercial intercourse amongst nations; demonstrating how much more conducive to true greatness and human happiness is the cultivation of amicable relations than even the most successful aggression and devastation, and the acquisition of wealth by iniquitous appliances.

It was in the year 1492 that Columbus landed on one of the West India islands. (See ante, page 8.) Subsequently, what is now termed the Spanish Main was crossed in rapid succession by various Peninsular adventurers, one and all of whom were distinguished by bravery the most exalted and selfishness the most abased, each attribute being inflamed by a fanaticism that sought to honour God and appease His anger towards their iniquities, by incredible offences in the name of religion against the unoffending aborigines. Preëminent, perhaps, among these bold bad captains, on the score of political prescience, military skill, and administrative civil ability, as well as from the magnitude of his acquisitions, was Hernan Cortez, who, in 1521, conquered the table land of Mexico, its coasts being discovered some three[12] years before.[5] The immensity and enormity of his massacres, and the perfidy that distinguished them—the ingenuity of his multitudinous outrages upon the Emperor Montezuma and scores[13] of thousands of his subjects—have rendered his name indelibly detestable, though there were many traits of true heroism about him, beyond what their biographers have been able to preserve[14] of his invading cotemporary destroyers on the same scene. As was the case, too, with so many of them, his fruit in the end proved but bitterness and ashes; for though the vast enrichment of the revenues of Spain, through his means, extorted from an ungrateful sovereign a marquisate, and the grant of a portion of the territories he had conquered, he died at home, the object[15] of courtly suspicion and distrust; stung to death by mortification, that all his achievements had been productive of coldness and neglect; where he had most expected to meet with eulogium and honour, he found, like Columbus, (says the eloquent historian of his conquests) that it was possible to deserve too greatly.[6]


Passing next to him before whose golden sun the star of Cortez waned, we find that the ruthless valour and iron perseverance of Pizarro subjugated Peru[7] in 1531; while one of his[17] followers, who most resembled him in the cruelty of his life, as he did in the untimeliness of his death (caused by a quarrel with his old master about the spoil), after the seeming consummation[18] of his ambition—Diego Almagro—having committed horrors till then almost unheard of, over-ran Chili[8] in 1535.[19] He exterminated the family of Atahualpa, the last of the Incas, in a mode which only the most hardened familiars of the Inquisition, in the mother country, could read of without emotion; and to this day the records of such revolting transactions constitute probably the foulest blot on the Columbian escutcheon of the country of Du Guesclin and the Cid. But the sins of these men may be said to have been avenged by heaven in the noon of their iniquities. Pizarro, having defeated Almagro at Cuzco,[20] and put many of his officers to death, in cold blood, had his old comrade strangled and then beheaded in Lima, where the despot himself was assassinated by young Almagro, who, in his turn, being defeated in battle, also at Cuzco, by Vaca de Castro, was likewise put to death by decapitation.

Passing next to the Portuguese discoveries, that of Brazil was effected by Alvarez de Cabral, he having landed, by accident, through stress of weather, at Porto Seguro, on the 24th of April, 1500, calling the country Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) in gratitude for his delivery from shipwreck; but the appellation was afterwards altered to that which it at present bears, signifying redwood, the well-known substance familiar to us as Brazil wood; yet it was the subsequent exploration of this coast, some four years afterwards, that enabled Amerigo Vespucci to eternise his own name as the accepted discoverer of the continent itself.


Another instance of the vagaries and mutations of geographical nomenclature, in this region of the world, occurs in connection with the great achievement that next solicits our notice, viz., the doubling of the Cape, and consequent opening-up of an oceanic highway to India. This was second in importance only to the discovery of the New World itself, and, indeed, well nigh placed Portugal on a par with Spain in honorary maritime status. Vasco de Gama, whose exploits inspired the muse of Camoens in the Lusiad,[10] which noble poem is in a great measure only a rythmetical narrative of the perils of the navigator, ‘made the Cape’ November 20th, 1497; and, with the expressiveness of all the earlier mariners, named it the ‘Cape of Tempests,’[11] and it was afterwards known as the ‘Lion of the Sea,’ and the ‘Head of[22] Africa.’ These designations were different indeed to that it has long rejoiced in—the ‘Cape of Good Hope’—so called by John the Second of Portugal, who drew a favourable augury of future discoveries thence, because of his adventurous subject, Diaz, having reached the extremity of Africa, at that point, though in doing so, he perished there in 1500, having divided with Gama the honour of being its original discoverer, and supposed by some to have preceded him by nearly ten years. Previous, however, to this latter occurrence, even if we accept the earliest date claimed for Diaz, mankind was amazed by reports of the circumnavigation of the globe—a feat, which, like those already named, has been a fruitful source of controversy as to the just recipient of the meed of priority. Sebastian de Elcano is, perhaps, the most generally accepted by foreign writers. Goralva and Alvalradi, both Spaniards, performed the task—astounding, indeed, when we think of the fragile craft employed, and the unknown courses ventured upon—in one and the same year, 1537, without concert with each other. Mendana, another Spaniard, repeated it in 1567—preceding our own immortal sovereign of the seas, Drake, by ten years. But long anterior to all these, was the Portuguese Magellan, who, in 1519, being in the service of Spain, determined the sphericity of the earth by keeping a westerly course through the straits bearing his name, across the Pacific, and returning to the spot he set out from, or rather the ship did, for he was killed at the Philippines, on his passage back, the whole voyage occupying three years[23] and twenty-nine days.[12] These, and a series of marvels, only subordinate in wonder because inferior in importance, kept the western world in unflagging excitement for a long succession of[24] years, during which Europe tingled with the tidings of vast countries being discovered, assailed, and captured, by mere handfuls of obscure fortune-hunters, and yielding up such exhaustless[25] treasures as rendered the Spanish and Portuguese peninsula, for a prolonged season, the richest kingdoms in the world—the veritable ‘envy and admiration of surrounding nations.’ To all this we may add that momentum given to commerce and navigation which has gone rolling on, until fleets of all nations cover the seas; and, so far as we are aware at present, not an island now unknown, of any importance, remains to reward the search of him[13] who has been last commissioned to find one if he can, even in the comparatively[26] little frequented Polynesian group, for the penal purposes of England.

I will not dwell on the different results that have attended different courses of action with reference to the conquered territories of North and South America; nor attempt to trace the decline of one power at the expense of another. Spain and Portugal, unfortunately for themselves, dealt with their gifts on purely selfish principles; and the consequence of such a system was, not only the loss of the greater part of their colonies, but an almost total estrangement between the parent and child, never afterwards thoroughly healed. We attempted the same game in North America, and the giant-like progress of the United States has followed; only that, wiser in our generation, more forgiving, and actuated by true commercial principles, we have cultivated, to the utmost extent, relations of amity and good-will with the new power, and both countries are largely gainers thereby, and will continue to be so while the same feelings of mutual concession and respect actuate both.

Whilst, therefore, North America has made such astonishing progress, and completely outstrips the Old World in rapidity of thought and execution, carrying her commerce and people to the limits of the habitable globe, the states to the southward have had many severe ordeals to go through—arising, in the first place, from the cause just mentioned, viz., that the mother countries considered their colonies as mere appanages, and prevented communication, in some cases even intercourse, with other nations. Secondly, from the disseverment of the link which united them to Europe, having an entirely new phase to pass through, new forms of government to establish, and fresh relations to cultivate; whilst another immediate effect of the revolution was to drive away most of the wealthy inhabitants who, being Spanish and Portuguese citizens, were not a little vain of their superiority in that respect to their colonial-born brethren. This fruitful source of dissent and violence in nearly all the disturbances by which the several states were torn is by no means wholly obliterated to[27] this day, any more than in some of the transmarine possessions of Great Britain, in either hemisphere. Then came intestine divisions among the American-born colonists themselves, raging between the upstart leaders of mushroom parties, whose very names it taxed the memory of men at the time to remember; and, as a matter of course, there followed all the thousand drawbacks resulting from a state of anarchic confusion. Hence, as is obvious must have been the case under such circumstances, material progress has been slow, and political progress for a long time almost imperceptible, if not frequently retrogressive, if one may use a phrase so seemingly contradictory. Moreover, until of late years very little was known of the internal resources of South America, with the exception of the Brazils—a country to which a variety of circumstances conspired to impart an impetus along the groove of civilization and consequent advancement. Paramount amongst those aids was undoubtedly the establishment there, in 1806, of the old Portuguese monarchy, consequent upon the European troubles of the house of Braganza. The inappreciable advantage of this regular form of government, arising out of local monarchic institutions, that country has retained, though under a new sovereign and with a liberalized system of administration, ever since, with every guarantee for continuously rapid but enduring improvement. Still, even Brazil was, to Europeans, comparatively speaking, an unknown region, to which, in incongruous confusion, attached associations of the soft and the savage, of barbarism and luxury, of the majestic and the feeble, in the minds of all nearly whose reading about her was not corrected by personal familiarity with the country itself. But ignorance so arising is being happily fast dissipated; and it shall not be the author’s fault if its departure be not further expedited on some points to which it still adheres.

Both the Spaniards and Portuguese possess works of rare merit, far exceeding in magnitude and minuteness any we can boast of, illustrating the achievements of their early navigators, and the rise and progress of their former colonial possessions.[28] But few of these works have been rendered familiar to the British public, and are very imperfectly known, even to those writers who profess to treat of the same or similar subjects. Of course we except Prescott, the appreciation of whose invaluable volumes on the Conquest of Peru, the Conquest of Mexico, and the History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, is testified by the exhaustion of six large and expensive editions, and one cheaper edition, in this country, besides the incorporation of the fruits of his extraordinary research in a thousand publications that have since been issued on either side of the Atlantic. Previously, however, to Prescott, and in nearly as large a degree, in respect to the territory described, were we indebted to Southey, for his History of Brazil;[14] to Koster for valuable details of his travels in the northern provinces of the same empire; and to Gardner, for a most elaborate research into its botanical treasures, as also a graphic description of the interior of the empire, which he traversed from north to south.[15] The hygiene of the same region has been thoroughly investigated, and its rationale expounded with consummate ability and simplicity of style, by my learned and accomplished fellow-townsman, Dr. Dundas, than whom no man was more competent for the task; and I rejoice to see that, though the subject is necessarily of a very circumscribed range, comparatively speaking, and one not very likely to command public[29] attention, its treatment was so masterly, that nearly all the professional journals in the kingdom received it as an important contribution to medical literature.[16] Its perusal, however, may be also recommended to the general reader as containing notices of Brazilian life and manners and scenery nowhere else to be met with, and which the peculiar facilities enjoyed by the author enabled him to describe with a life-like minuteness whose truthfulness at once stamps its accuracy both on the stranger at a distance and on the most experienced Brazilian resident or native. In speaking thus, I am merely echoing well-recognized facts; my opinion, which would of course be utterly valueless in a medical sense, being in no degree warped by the personal obligation Dr. Dundas has placed me under from the circumstance of his having kindly consented to enrich this volume with a special chapter on a theme analogous to that which his ‘Sketches’ are devoted to.

It is, however, the now patriarchal, or, as he calls himself, ‘Antediluvian’ Humboldt, who has showered upon European understanding the light of scientific knowledge concerning the vast South American continent, and his inimitable descriptions of the country and its natural resources have scarcely been appreciated amongst us as they deserve. It is only when confronted with the great fact, so long regarded as the sentimental aspiration of utopiaists, that South America is actually becoming an additional field for our industry and enterprise—when its magnificent fluvial highways are about being traversed by an endless succession of steamers, and its plains by railways—that we really discover how infinitesimal is our knowledge of those resources or capabilities to whose development these means can alone effectually conduce. As a medium of forming an estimate of the material position, as[30] well as of the natural features of the countries described by him, Humboldt cannot be too highly commended, as the author, of all others, whose flowing narrative, profundity of reflection, and copiousness of illustration—commensurate with the greatness of the subject itself—will amply repay all ordinary curiosity; apart from that superabounding erudition and scientific affluence which pervade the whole works of the great living father of historical philosophers, though singularly freed, like the treatises of our own Herschel, from technicalities that repel the uninitiated. As relates to the Rio Plata and its immense tributaries, we have had, in the course of the preceding year, Sir W. Parish’s elaborate and excellent volume,[17] whose only, though it is undoubtedly a great drawback, is, that having been written obviously from inspiration of Rosas, and through the sources that personage opened to him for the purpose at Buenos Ayres, events are recorded in a light entirely in conformity with the views of the Dictator, whose whole past policy is upheld, and his intended plans prospectively eulogised in a manner to which subsequent events, and the judgment pronounced upon them, furnish a significant commentary. In harmony with Rosas’s principle of representing Buenos Ayres as virtually constituting the whole Argentine Confederation, and himself as the exponent of public opinion and the embodiment of actual power therein, Sir Woodbine almost altogether ignores the existence of Monte Video, and scarcely alludes to such a state as the Banda Oriental. Hence, as regards the latter province and its capital, and all pertaining to them, Sir Woodbine’s book is a blank, or something worse—a deficiency which it is one of the objects of the present volume, in some[31] degree, to supply. Of the condition of some of the interior provinces, likewise, Sir Woodbine, being obliged to take his information, not only at second hand, but through a channel in which every thing was conductive to the one end, that of exalting Rosas, or depreciating his opponents, gives us particulars not merely inaccurate, but leading to conclusions the very reverse of what a true state of the case would warrant. On this head, especially as regards by far the most important of all the interior states—Paraguay—it is hoped that the present volume will be found to contain much new and reliable information. For this, the writer is mainly indebted to notes of observations made on the route to, and during a residence in, Assumption, by parties personally cognizant of the late most successful and important mission sent out by Lord Malmesbury, whose prescience, in foreseeing the right moment—and in selecting the right agent, Sir C. Hotham, for urging negociations towards that object—the author had the satisfaction of hearing emphatically panegyrized in all commercial circles—whether native, British, or foreign—in the course of his late visit to South America.

Lastly, Mr. M’Cann,[18] whose previous work on the Plate had evinced great knowledge of the subject, has recorded his later experience of some of the Riverine provinces in a very agreeable and instructive work, partly formed on the model of Sir F. Bond Head’s fascinating Rough Rides on the Pampas, and embracing a review of mercantile matters and prospects in those countries. Written with that knowledge of trade which only a mercantile man can be expected to possess, its spirit is so dispassionate as to be quite unique in a critic, on topics which would seem to impart their partizan atmosphere to all who endeavour to detail their position[32] to those at a distance. Neither must I, by any means, omit to mention the labours of another of my townsmen, Mr. Thomas Baines, who, with that mastery of detail and facility of statistic exposition which seem to be an heir-loom in the family of the late estimable member for Leeds, placed in a very lucid light, some years ago, a subject to which it was difficult at the time to draw general attention, and a popular elucidation of which could only be expected from a pen so qualified.

But of all portions of South America, there is one perhaps concerning which our knowledge is most imperfect, and with which it is most essential that it should be extended, because of the rapid extension of both native and European enterprise in that quarter. We especially allude to that district of the vast region watered by the Amazon of which Pará (city) may be considered the entrepot. Fortunately, two very admirable volumes have recently been directed to supplying our deficiency on this head.[19] The obligations due to these sources will be found amply acknowledged in the chapter devoted to a consideration of the subject. Our own text is enriched with matter drawn from original authorities, long resident on the spot, and in every way calculated to supply trustworthy intelligence. From these the reader will draw his own deductions, as our informants, not[33] encumbering their data with disquisition, have left their facts to speak for themselves.

Notwithstanding the number of publications enumerated as being lately issued upon South America, and not taking into account others published in the United States, still there is a field of immense extent, as yet comparatively unexplored and hidden, which requires to be opened up to view, in order to enable us to form a sufficiently accurate judgment of the character and capabilities of such countries as Brazil and the republics bordering on the river Plate and its affluents. The main design, therefore, towards this end on the part of the writer in revisiting the scenes of his early youth, is to endeavour to present some fresh sources of information; partly derived from his own actual observation, and partly from the experience of others, who, possessing the best opportunities, have converted them to the best use in furtherance of the purpose now sought to be attained—viz., the elimination of what shall serve for a compact but comprehensive precis of the general condition of the countries named in the title page, and particularly their commercial status and prospective indications of a mercantile complexion. To refresh the memory on such analogous subjects as may prove interesting in connection with these matters, there is appended what it is hoped will prove a mass of desirable information, in the shape of a collection of notes, bringing down incidents to the latest practicable[34] period antecedent to publication. In order to interfere as little as possible with the current of the narrative, in which it has been deemed expedient to convey the accompanying observations, the writer intends offering his memoranda in the shape of a record of his voyage, taking in all points touched upon as they naturally arose in connection with it; and incidentally referring to those authors who have exhibited the greatest acquaintance with the topics embraced.



The Argentina on her maiden voyage.—Capacity and capability of the river boat at sea.—From the Mersey to the Tagus in four days.—Lisbon and its Laureats, Vathek and Childe Harold.—Lord Carnarvon on Mafra and its marble halls.—Monasticism and Monarchy.—Aspect and Attributes of the Lusitanian Capital and its Vicinage.—Portuguese Millers and the Grinding process among the Grain Growers.—A ‘bold peasantry, their country’s pride,’ the same everywhere.—Native memorabilia of the earthquake, and Anglo reminiscence thereof.—Anatomical offerings extraordinary.—The hic jacet of Tom Jones, and eke of Roderick Random.—Memento Mori, with admonitions to the Living.—Portuguese peculiarities.—Personal and political economy.—Fiscal fatuities.—Market-place notabilia.—Lisbon society.—Clubs and Cookery.—Tea and Turn-out.—Friars, Females, Fashions, and so forth, Operatic and Terpsichoratic.—Lusitanian fidalgos, or Portuguese Peers in Parliament.—Portugal the Paradise of Protectionists and Poverty.—Free-trade the only corrective of such calamities.—Court Circulars, Conventions, and Commanders.—Few books about Portugal, and necessity for more.—Hints from the newest, including the Oliveira Prize Essay.—A man’s house something like a castle in Lisbon, at the cost of a cottage ornée.—Diplomatic and Consular Memoranda.



On, on the vessel flies, the land is gone,
And winds are rude in Biscay’s sleepless bay.
Three days are sped, but with the fourth, anon,
New shores descried make every bosom gay;
And Cintra’s mountain greets them on their way,
And Tagus, dashing onward to the deep,
His fabled golden tribute bent to pay;
And soon on board the Lusian pilots leap,
And steer ’twixt fertile shores where yet few rustics reap.
Childe Harold.

Innumerable as are the craft of every calibre and formation,—sail, steam, and screw,[20]—by which this favourite and familiar route is traversed, seldom had the voyager seen in its course a vessel of dimensions similar to those of the Argentina, paddle-wheel, in which I had embarked, constructed at Birkenhead by Mr. John Laird, to run between Monte Video and Buenos Ayres. She is, (or rather was, for alack, she is now a thing of the past,) 185 feet long by 21 feet beam, and with very fine, hollow lines; her engines of 120-horse power, by Fawcett, Preston, and Co. Intended for river work, and of a light draught of water, it was hardly to be expected that in ocean steaming, when compelled to carry coals, provisions, and all the bulky and ponderous requirements of a long voyage, the same results could be obtained as in the comparatively tranquil waters of inland navigation; but under all the disadvantages of being so laden, and having to make way against a strong head-wind and heavy sea, our average speed to Cape Finisterre was nearly 12 knots. Subsequently, we had a more favourable wind, and canvas assisted us a little, until we[37] made the Berlings, (bold islets standing out some half-dozen miles from the land, with a light-house upon them,) getting to our moorings in the Tagus, before dark, on the evening of the fourth day after quitting the Mersey.

It is impossible to conceive an easier navigation than that to Lisbon; when once across the Bay of Biscay and round Cape Finisterre, you make direct for the Berlings, and other high rocks more to seaward, called the ‘Estellas’ and ‘Farilhoes de Velha.’ There is plenty of spare room for any vessel to pass inside the Berlings, thus saving some distance; and from Cape Corvoeiro the coast tends inwards to the mouth of the Tagus,[21] presenting a succession of scenery, so novel and attractive, as at once to satisfy the spectator that the poetry of Byron and the poetic prose of Beckford,[22] have failed to exaggerate its beauties. Conspicuous among the latter, though it is the handiwork of man availing himself of nature in her picturesquest mood, stands out[38] the height-crowning, marble-built Mafra, termed the Escurial of Portugal, from its immensity, magnificence, and the diversity of its contents, consisting of a palace, a convent, and most superb church, whose six organs were pronounced by Byron to be the most beautiful he ever beheld in point of decoration, and was told that their tones corresponded to their splendour. The town of Mafra itself is a small place, 18 miles N.W. of Lisbon, containing about 3,000 inhabitants, and owes what importance it possesses to the celebrated regal and ecclesiastical edifice, constructed in its vicinity by John V., in pursuance of a vow that he would select the poorest locality in the kingdom; and, finding twelve Franciscan friars living in one hut here, he gave the preference to Mafra—a partiality which its position, if not its preëminent poverty, abundantly justifies.[23]




A cluster of shoals, called the bar, forms a semicircle at the mouth of the Tagus, but is seldom an obstacle to vessels entering, for there is generally abundance of water on it to float even the largest vessels, the least depth in the north channel, at low water, being 4 fathoms, and in the south, 6. The only time that any difficulty is encountered, is when the freshes, after heavy rains up the country, add their strength to that of the ebbing tide, which then runs out at the rate of seven or eight miles an hour, and encounters a gale from seaward, for this causes the water to break right across, and vessels must await the turn of the tide to get in; but in other respects the approach appears very easy, scarcely any captain who has been there before requiring the services of a pilot. After the intricacies and dangers of our own (the St. George’s) Channel navigation, with the miles of sandbank that have to be threaded in approaching Liverpool, such an entrance as that to Lisbon calls but for small skill indeed in seamanship; and almost the veriest tyro in boxing the compass might enact the part of Palinurus.

Passing up the Tagus there are numerous forts, palaces, and other imposing buildings, or at least what appeared to be such in the dim twilight that prevailed during our advance towards the Lusitanian capital. The most commanding object (whereof presently) among these is Belem Castle, near which we were visited by the health officers, and allowed to proceed to our moorings off Lisbon, or rather to those of the Royal Mail Company, which had[41] been kindly lent until such time as our own are laid down. The rule at the Custom-house, in respect to vessels, is for the masters to enter them and declare whether their cargoes are destined to be landed in Lisbon or not; if this be doubtful, which was not our case, they ask to be put in franquia, that is, for leave to remain eight days in port until the point is decided. On obtaining this they proceed a little way up the river for the appointed period. From Belem to that part of the river which is opposite to the centre of the city, a distance of about four miles, the Tagus is some one and a half wide, and displays on its northern bank, mingled with the dark foliage of the orange and other trees, successive clusters of dwellings and churches, including the palaces of the Ajúda and of Necessidades, in which latter the court is generally held, and from it mostly are dated the royal decrees.

With but few exceptions, these buildings are white, which gives the city, at first sight, a much cleaner appearance than is presented on a nearer view. On the south side, which is hilly, but few buildings, unless we include a small fishing village near the mouth of the river, are visible, until the small town of Almada, opposite to the city, is reached, containing 4,000 inhabitants, and in whose vicinity is the gold mine of Adissa, which has been worked now for some years. A peculiar characteristic of the neighbourhood of Lisbon are the little mills with sails, gyrating away on every eminence, sometimes half a dozen within a few yards of each other, and they whisk round so merrily, as to be quite a pleasant feature in the landscape. It might be the land, par excellence, of Jolly Millers; for the floury sons of the Tagus seem to belong to the same race as their jovial brothers of the Dee, whose philosophic indifference to the opinion of the world has been made alike musical and memorable by Mr. Braham. That the Portuguese should be sprightly, however, is extremely surprising, seeing that they are ground into dust, almost as literally as their own grain, or at least, the growers thereof; for one who knows them well, writing during a visit as late as last year, (1853), says:—


They are a people much resembling in heartiness and good will our own Irish brethren: they are also most apt to learn, and, like the much calumniated sons of Erin, can work, and will work when they are properly encouraged and remunerated. They toil under a burning sun, half-naked and bare-headed, or in the winter under drenching rains and piercing cold, with naught else to protect them from the weather than a straw thatch, or cloak; and without other aliment at times than a lump of Indian-maize bread, and a mess of humble pottage, or, at others, the same bread, and a raw onion, with water from the brook as their only drink. Couve gallego (cow cabbage,) from their own little garden, a spoonful of oil from their own olive-tree, a handful of salt gathered from the rocks on the sea-shore, with crumbled Indian-corn bread, baked in their own oven, (which, as is still the case in Canada, is built outside every tenement,) form a stir-about, on which the labourer contentedly makes his principal or even-tide meal, after the toils of the day are over. Occasionally, he may indulge in a morsel of bacalhao (salt cod-fish), or a rancid sardine: but where the family is numerous, from year’s end to year’s end, they know not the taste of animal food.

There are but few wharves alongside of which vessels can take in and discharge their cargoes, so they lie at anchor in the stream, and those operations are performed by means of lighters. There are, nevertheless, some handsome quays, with convenient landing-places, of which those at the fish-market and the Caes Sodré are the most frequented; at the former, the scene being highly animated, particularly in the season for sardinhas, or sardines, which constitute a considerable proportion of the food of the lower orders. The handsomest quay is that which forms one side of Blackhorse Square (Terreiro do Paço), so called from the statue of Joseph the First on horseback in the centre; the other sides consisting of public buildings, viz.: the Public Library, the Offices of the Ministers of State, the Custom-house, and, at the eastern extremity, the Exchange, being chiefly of marble, as, indeed, nearly all the principal edifices are. It makes a splendid promenade, where crowds of well-dressed persons may be seen, on the sultry summer evenings, walking, or seated on the stone benches, enjoying the cool air from the river, until a late hour. From this square, five parallel and level streets, in which are the best shops, lead to the Roçio—a large, open space surrounded by buildings, and appropriated to reviews, processions, &c., and where, on its northern side, at one time existed the odious Prison of the Inquisition, adjoining the Palace of the same name, now no longer occupied, though sometimes visited on festive occasions by royalty. Just beyond are the public gardens, well laid out, and stocked with flowers and shrubs, that bespeak the luxuriance and brilliancy of the Lusitanian arboretum.




All this portion of the city is more regularly built than the remainder, and is situated just over the very spot that felt the effects of the terrible earthquake, traces of which are now and then met with, in the shape of patches of old pavement, in digging for the foundations of houses, &c.; though there are no traces of the successful storming of the city by the French, under Junot, in 1807, nor of its equally successful resistance of a similar attempt a couple of years afterwards. In the vicinity of the Hospital of St. José are the ruins of a church, in which, embedded in the earth, were to be seen, some years since, if not now, skeletons, in various attitudes, of persons who formed the congregation at the time the catastrophe took place, which was, as the reader will recollect, when the greater number of the citizens were assembled at mass in the churches on All-Saints’ Day, November 1st, in the ever-memorable year 1755—a circumstance that will probably account for the enormous number of 30,000 lives being lost; for, although 6,000 private dwellings were destroyed, the fatality could hardly have been so great but for the multitudes being assembled in the mode mentioned. The celebration of the festival, too, was otherwise the occasion of prodigious mischief; for, owing to the immense number of tapers in the churches, the curtains, drapery, and other combustible materials, caught fire, and a devastating conflagration swept the doomed city from end to end, carrying off what the convulsion had not already prostrated in ruin. Indirectly, however, the commemoration of the festival was productive of some good—at least to our countrymen in Lisbon; for, in order to avoid exciting religious prejudice during a fête so solemn in the Papal calendar, they had nearly all retired to their country houses, and but ten who remained in the city were killed, a fact which renders, if possible, more magnanimous the[45] grant by the British parliament of £100,000 to the relief of the suffering Portuguese, immediately the dismal tidings arrived; news of like events, but not on such a scale, continuing to be received for a long time after, from various portions of the New World. As in the case of our own dear delightful ante-diluvian Chester, the older quarters of Lisbon city generally interest a stranger most, from their very irregularity; the streets being narrow, steep, and destitute of trottoirs, and the houses very lofty, ranging in height from five to as many as eleven stories, in each of which dwells a separate family, all using one staircase in common. Notwithstanding the seeming peril from this cause, in the event of another earthquake, the danger of the walls falling is considerably lessened by their being built with a strong framework of timber, dovetailed together, before the addition of brick or stone.

Some of the churches are very handsome, although the absence of steeples will perhaps cause them to be hardly so regarded by the majority of Englishmen; and, moreover, many are in an unfinished state, for want of funds. The one that probably astonishes unsophisticated Saxons most, is the Patriarchal Church, from the circumstance of the pillars which support the roof being covered with wax models of heads, arms, legs, &c.—the naif native offerings of individuals, desirous of testifying their gratitude to the Virgin, for her cures of complaints affecting those corporeal adjuncts. In the church of St. Roque is a small chapel, containing imitations, in mosaic, of several pictures of the Italian masters. These, with the splendid decorations, consisting of lapis lazuli columns, candelabra in the precious metals, &c., are credibly estimated to have cost upwards of one million sterling. This vast expense, of course, could only have been in Portugal’s most palmy days, when the genius of Albuquerque threw open the portals of the East, and showered ‘barbaric pearl and gold’ upon his noble king, Emanuel, rightly indeed called the ‘Fortunate,’ and deserving so to be, as worthily inheriting the throne of Alphonso the Victorious (son of the heroic Henry of Burgundy)[46] who routed five Saracen monarchs at Ourique, and freed his country from the Moors. The British cemetery[24] (Os aciprestes), surrounding a neat chapel, is well worth a visit, including, in its attractions, a monument to Fielding, who there lies buried. Few of our countrymen, who have the opportunity, ever fail to make a pilgrimage to the spot where rests all that is mortal of him who drew Partridge and Blifil, Squire Western and Sophia,[47] Parson Adams and Tom Jones—his tomb being as eagerly sought as is that of his brother humourist, Smollett, at Leghorn. Strange that two of the most essentially English of all our writers should have died and been entombed so far from their native land, whose literature their genius has so long enriched, and will for ever continue to do so.

Besides the public buildings already mentioned, there are several well-managed hospitals, an arsenal, academies for instruction in the naval, military, and other sciences; the Castle of St. George, used as a prison more than as a place of defence: museums; a noble national library, of 30,000 volumes, formed from those of the convents suppressed in 1835; and, lastly, the aqueduct of Alcantara, with thirty-six arches, a splendid structure, north of the city, supplying the greater part of the inhabitants with water, and so solid, that it withstood the shock of earthquake, which laid nearly all else in ruins. The central arch is of sufficient dimensions to allow of a three-decker, under full sail, passing through, were there water to float her.

The population of Lisbon is between 250,000 and 300,000, having increased rapidly of late years, though sadly thinned during Don Miguel’s usurpation, owing to the wholesale murders which were then committed, the numbers obliged to serve in the army, and killed, and also the emigration so many hundreds, nay thousands, were compelled to have recourse to, in order to escape from his cruelties, and those of his satellites. The remembrance of these atrocities, however, would seem insufficient to deprive him of some partizans in the country yet, if we may judge by the intrigues in his favour that have supervened on the death of the queen.




A first visit to Portugal cannot fail to revive—in the minds of Englishmen—‘memories of the past,’ full of ‘sweet and bitter fancies,’ as being alike the spot where England, by her diplomatic fatuity, earned an immortality of ridicule, and, by her valour, an eternity of praise, thanks to the Great Duke and his troops, so many of whom fell in defence of those liberties, which, if what survives here be a fair specimen, were certainly hardly worth the cost of preservation;[25] for, even at this distance of time, how many families can recal the bereavements they sustained in that glorious struggle. Moreover, Portugal possesses a deep interest from the great deeds of its early navigators, already slightly adverted to. None who sympathize with the noble qualities the mention of these heroic names conjures up can fail to deplore that the spirit of Vasco de Gama, Cabral, Camoens,[26] and many others, has not descended to succeeding generations, rendering the land their genius and patriotism had adorned what it might yet be made under an enlightened government, viz., one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. That it is not so, even after the mismanagement it has endured, and is enduring now, nearly as[50] bad as ever, is a matter of never-ending wonderment to those who know its means and appliances for advancement in the scale of nations. As regards myself, desire for personal authentication on the spot of what I had known from others, imparted an additional zest to my visit, from long acquaintance with the Brazils, even in the time of the grandfather of the late Queen, when the present splendid South American empire was a struggling colony of the now enfeebled and decaying parent kingdom. Hence I was prepared to look with a favourable eye on all that came under my notice in the capital of Portugal—a disposition enhanced by the first glance I had an opportunity of bestowing upon it; for, seen from the river on a bright sunny morning, Lisbon’s strikingly picturesque aspect and position reminded me strongly both of Bahia and Rio Janeiro, a portion of the city being built, like them, on low ground; hills, covered in every direction with handsome structures of variegated colours, chiefly white, rising like an amphitheatre behind; whilst the red-tiled roofs, green verandahs, and other fanciful decorations, lend to the whole a very foreign, almost tropical, but extremely pleasing appearance.

Unfortunately, the parallel between the capital of Portugal and the metropolis of her flourishing transatlantic offspring further holds good, as, on landing, much of the pleasing illusion vanishes:

For whoso entereth within this town,
That, sheening far, celestial seems to be,
Disconsolate will wander up and down,
’Mid many things unsightly to strange ee;
For hut and palace show like filthily;
The dingy denizens are rear’d in dirt;
No personage of high or mean degree
Doth care for cleanness of surtout or shirt,
Though shent with Egypt’s plague, unkempt, unwash’d, unhurt.

Nor are you greatly disposed to make allowances for the cause of your topographical disenchantment, as you find yourself a mere object of fiscal surveillance—obliged to be set ashore at the Custom-house, like a biped bale of merchandise, and have your hat or umbrella scanned as if they ought to be subjected to duty, like everything else, animate and inanimate, that approaches these most absurdly protected waters. Very soon, however,[51] mere chagrin at such petty personal annoyances deepens into gloom, as you observe the mournful absence of that incessant activity you expect to meet with in so large and important a place. The fatal spell of lethargy and exclusiveness seems to be laid upon everything and everybody:—the very carriages and public conveyances (at least a large portion) are redolent of the past century, and all idea of locomotion is put to flight at the sight of them; and just the same is the case with the owners. Torpidity pervades the whole population, from the infant in arms, who is too lazy to laugh, to the cripple on crutches, who is too sluggish to grumble. An exception to this rule, however, is the market-place, where fruit, vegetables, the sardines already spoken of, and other odd articles, are brought for sale. The motley groups, with their baskets or little stalls, sheltered by umbrellas of all sizes and colours, are like so many fancy-fair Chinese, whom Portuguese a good deal resemble in bodily configuration, as well as in other attributes equally little spiritualised, however Celestial. The kaleidoscopic tableau going on here is a relief to the monotony of other places of resort, and so vividly impresses the stranger that he fancies the performers in the scene must be foreigners, and not ‘natives and to the manner born.’ The theatrical air of the whole thing is not a little heightened, in his opinion, on finding that no sooner has the clock told one, than, like one o’clock, they all have to pack up their wares and depart till next day, in preparation for the business whereof the market is thoroughly cleaned and put in order. This regulation might be advantageously adopted in regions where the mention of the word Portuguese, especially in connection with cleanliness, immediately superinduces a spasmodic agitation in the hearer’s nose, if indeed he can keep his countenance at all.

But Portuguese society, as I happen to know very well, from long and varied experience, is extremely agreeable in many places; and certainly the natives of the old country are exceedingly hospitable to strangers. There are several clubs, at the balls of one of which, the Foreign Assembly-rooms, all the rank[52] and fashion of the capital are to be seen, to the number of several hundreds. I had the gratification of being introduced at the Lisbon Club. The house had been formerly, like so many similar institutions in London, a nobleman’s palace. Although not on so grand a scale, it possesses superior accommodation to most places of the kind amongst us; and if the Portuguese keep no Soyer, Francatelli, or Ude, with a batterie de cuisine corresponding in magnitude and diversity to the celebrity of these professors of the finest art—that of giving a good dinner—they have a social party of an evening,[27] when a piquant and substantial tea is provided for those who wish to sacrifice to the ‘Chinese nymph of tears, Bohea.’ The original taste of the Portuguese, who were the first to introduce the beverage to Europe, long before Mr. Pepys drank his ‘cup of China drink,’ [1661,] still survives, as well as the taste for coffee, the berry of Mocha being a favourite among the offspring of the victims of the Arabs. Chocolate, also, is a very popular beverage, and is consumed in considerable quantities at breakfast and supper, the two principal meals among the majority of Portuguese. The upper classes dress like those of other European capitals, but the lower order of females still retain the cloak and hood peculiar to this part of the Peninsula. There is not, however, so much difference now between the costume of the population and that of other cities, as the cowls, sandals, and rope belts of the friars, are no longer to be seen; for, as is well known, all the religious orders (not[53] those of nuns) were suppressed in 1835. There is a strong partiality for gaudy colours and trinkets; but that is passing away.

Though, generally speaking, the female population of Portugal are not of very prepossessing appearance, especially the humbler classes, whose naturally swarthy complexion is embrowned by exposure to the sun, there are few capitals in Europe where more perfect specimens of beauty are to be seen than in Lisbon: and what enhances the effect their somewhat unexpected presence produces is, that they are almost invariably blondes, therein differing from most of their Iberian sisterhood on the other side of the Douro, especially those of Cadiz, of whom the noble lord, already quoted, says that they are the Lancashire Witches of Spain. But the other noble lord, whom we have also quoted—and we certainly can corroborate all he says, from our individual experience in Brazil, of the classes he speaks of—observes: ‘If I could divest myself of every national partiality, and suppose myself an inhabitant of the other hemisphere, and were asked in what country society had attained its most polished form, I should say in Portugal. This perfection of manner is, perhaps, most appreciated by an Englishman: Portuguese politeness is delightful, because it is by no means purely artificial, but flows, in a great measure, from a national kindness of feeling. The restless feeling, so often perceptible in English society, hardly exists in Portugal; there is little prepared wit in Portuguese society, and no one talks for the mere purpose of producing an effect, but simply because his natural taste leads him to take an active part in conversation. Dandyism is unknown among their men, and coquetry, so common among Spanish women, is little in vogue among the fair Portuguese. They do not possess, to the same extent, the hasty passions and romantic feelings of their beautiful neighbours; but they are softer, more tractable, and equally affectionate. Even when they err, the aberrations of a married Portuguese never spring from fashion or caprice, seldom from vanity, and, however culpable, are always the result of real preference. Certainly, with some exceptions, the women are not highly educated; they[54] feel little interest, on general subjects, and, consequently, have little general conversation. A stranger may, at first, draw an unfavourable inference as to their natural powers, because he has few subjects in common with them; but, when once received into their circles, and acquainted with their friends, he becomes delighted with their liveliness, wit, and ready perception of character.’ I quote this passage, believing from all I heard and observed in Lisbon, that it is an accurate summary of the Portuguese character there; that it is nearly equally applicable, in a great degree, to Portuguese society in Madeira; and, knowing that it is so, in respect to Portuguese society in Brazil.

The places of amusement consist of five theatres, including the opera-house, where, as the London and Parisian dilettanti well know, many excellent singers make their début: the getting up the scenery, &c., are inferior to few establishments of the kind anywhere, and the prices are very moderate. It is called San Carlos, and it is scarcely inferior in any respect, either in its architectural extent or the liberality of its appointments, to its more famous Neapolitan namesake. Madame Castellan—herself, I believe, a fellow-countrywoman of Inez de Castro, whose portrait she greatly resembles—has been the principal lyric artiste during the past season. There is also a building for bull-fights, which, though perhaps as much a national sport as in Spain, is not pursued with the same passionate ardour, nor with the same skill, as is displayed by professors of the tauro-machiac art in the sister country.

I also attended a sitting of the two Chambers, which appeared to be conducted with great decorum, but, at the same time, without that listlessness or buzzy-fussiness which pervades our own Senate when a bore or a nobody happens to be on his legs. The accommodation for members is at least as good as ours. To be sure, it could not possibly be much worse, if we may judge from those most qualified to form an opinion—the members themselves; for, what with the perpetual complaints about pestilent smells, hot blasts, freezing draughts, blinding light, and sightless darkness,[55] one would imagine that the British Senate-house was constructed to serve as a ‘frightful example’ of deleterious architecture. The wonder is, that any M.P. has the face to approach a life-insurance office, at the beginning of a session, without being prepared with a ‘doubly hazardous’ premium on his ‘policy,’ knowing that he is going to talk, or listen to the talk, of politics for some six months; and, certainly, the looks of many of our law-makers can be consolatory to none but coffin-makers and residuary legatees. Not so with the Portuguese Conscript Fathers, nearly all of whom seemed as hale as new moidores out of the mint, both as to stamina, complexion, and sensibility. The enormous building where they meet (the old convent of San Bento) contains all the needful official and red-tape-ical departments. In the Upper Chamber, the Patriarch occupied the chair, in habiliments not unlike those of the Bishop of Oxford, when enrobed in his costume of Chancellor of the Order of the Garter; and it was curious to see an epitome of our own admixture of the ecclesiastical with the temporal system of legislation, in the House of Lords, carried out in this Portuguese conjunction of spiritual with lay law-makers.

In vain you look in the Tagus for that forest of shipping which should fringe the watery highway to, and ought to constitute the leading feature in, so fine a port—the capital of a country the once nautical genius of whose people is expressed in the only poem in any language that makes adventures on the deep its theme. A few stray vessels here and there, with river and fishing boats, and those singular latine sails, that so strike the stranger,[28] some steamers and Government vessels, were all that could now be seen on the bosom of the river, so famed amongst the[56] ancients for its golden attributes, not because of its auriferous sands,[29] but because of the affluent tide of its teeming commerce—that port whence, in after ages, though now ages long ago, went forth those expeditions which brought much of Asia into comparative contiguity with Europe, and discovered, and long held so much of, the finest portion of the New World. For a wonder, not a ‘speck of power’ of that nation, whose commerce rose as Lusitania’s fell, not an English man-of-war, ubiquitous in every water, and very often present, and too long at a time, in most unnecessary numbers, in these waters in particular, was to be seen, though Admiral Corry’s squadron, containing many of the finest and latest built men-of-war in our navy, including the ‘Duke of Wellington,’ and now with Napier in the Baltic, has since been there. Their absence, however gratifying to financial economists and advocates of non-intervention in politics, helped to complete the triste and dreary air of the empty mart and shipless bay. The cause of this poverty of trade must be obvious to all, even to enlightened Portuguese. The Government, blind to all experience elsewhere, deaf to the supplications of common sense and even self-interest, draw a kind of cordon round the little trade they still possess, and encumber it with such a net-work of preposterous restrictions, as actually to squeeze the life-blood out of it, or, rather, altogether arrest its circulation, which is the same thing in the end, as regards the vitality of commerce. The evil extends to every ramification of industrial pursuit; and one half of the population live upon a system that seems to have been invented to exclude, instead of encouraging business to come to their shores.[57] Hence, it need hardly be said, that smuggling is the most profitable trade going; and a large and rapidly increasing business in that line is carried on, along the frontier in particular.

If Colonel Sibthorpe, Mr. Newdegate, and the remainder of that Spartan band of fifty-nine, who followed the phantom of Protection into the lobby of the House of Commons a couple of years ago, finding that the sun of England has indeed for ever set, as they so often anticipated, desire to bask in the beams of unmitigated monopoly, by all means let them hie hither forthwith; and they will behold one realm, at least, that carries out their views to the utmost possible extent. By way of apparently bolstering up native industry, Portugal fosters a few stray manufacturing establishments, and farms out monopolies of certain articles (tobacco and soap for instance) to parties who, in the rigorous exercise of their privileges, put another and most effectual drag-chain on the march of commerce. The fruits of such policy are but too apparent; for even the neighbouring state of Spain, so long the synonyme of every fiscal fatuity, but now awaking to a true sense of what it owes to her glorious maritime associations, and to her present and perspective well-being, is taking away a large portion of Portuguese traffic, by judiciously reducing her tariff, promoting railway enterprise, and gradually adopting those liberal views, without whose practical recognition now every country must lapse into almost primeval barbarism. Undoubtedly an extenuation of the imbecility of Portugal is her complete dependence and reliance on her colonies so long, for while she enjoyed a monopoly of them she flourished at their expense. Now things are reversed, and Portugal cannot bring herself to adopt the only remedy, free-trade and unrestricted commerce, in its largest and fullest extent. These would soon fill her ports with shipping, raise rents, augment revenue, and place her in a position worthy of the countrymen of Cabral, and of the prestige which he and so many of his cotemporaries and followers so long secured her. That she has an aptitude for commerce is well known; for, though it was long deemed degrading, and even criminal, in high caste Portuguese, to[58] meddle in commercial matters, or to intermarry or associate with those who did, there is scarcely any ’Change in the world at the present day that does not number a Lisbon or Oporto merchant among its ablest members.

A stay of two days is a short time to enable a stranger to appreciate fully the merits of a large place like Lisbon; but the defects in her national fiscal system as here manifested, at the very fountain head of the intelligence and influence of the empire, and its mischievous tendency in retarding prosperity, are unmistakeable. The handwriting on the wall requires no interpreter; it points out approaching decay, unless Portugal alters her system before it is too late, and determines to go with the stream of events and the destinies of the world. The real hope for the country still points in the direction of Brazil; not only because of the peculiar weight of example in that quarter, where prosperity has progressively and unvaryingly followed every step in the path of commercial and political enlightenment—every assimilation to the existing English system of mercantile polity—but from the circumstance of the affluence of Brazil healthily reacting upon, and wakening up the energies of the old country to join pari passu in the march with her vigorous progeny. In a trading, especially in a passenger-trading sense, the connection between the two is still important, and is every day becoming more so, through Anglo-Brazilian enterprise, (of which the Liverpool Company I have the honour to belong to affords the most prominent instance yet), and is likely to be vastly improved by the establishment of direct steam navigation, chiefly carried on by native and South American capital. The principal promoter of this is Mr. Moser, well known for enterprise of a like kind in the navigation of the Minho, from which river to the Guadiana a screw steamer now plies.

Most of the bourgeoisie of Brazil were either born in Portugal or are descendants of Portuguese. Shop-keeping is a business these Peninsulars fully understand, especially those from Oporto; particularly in everything pertaining to trinkets, articles of jewellery,[59] and goldsmith’s-work, the Portuguese being therein cunning workmen, though for the most part, regarded as indifferent carpenters, shoemakers, and the like, at least by British employers. After realizing money abroad, they naturally find their way to Portugal; where, if even for a season, they enjoy themselves as only children of the South or of the tropics can when they have the means; or spend the remainder of their days where their fathers lived and died before them. They will soon have the invaluable advantage of the steamers of no less than three companies calling at Lisbon, including the ‘Luso-Brazileira,’ which is also composed of Portuguese and Brazilian shareholders. These, let us hope, will prove the immediate harbingers of that good time which can alone be brought about by the multiplication of such instruments of a national good; for it must be obvious to every one who knows Portugal, or the Portuguese abroad, that what is wanted is abundance of communication by steam, both by sea and land, railways, and free-trade, or some approximation to it. With these she may resume her position amongst the nations, and share with her oldest ally, England, the benefits arising from a mutually advantageous intercourse.

Respecting the Royal Family, during my stay at Lisbon, when there was, of course, every apparent prospect of a long, if not a very tranquil and happy reign for the late Queen, I learnt that they kept themselves as retired and quiet as their exalted station would permit, appearing little in public, but understood to be busy in those plots and intrigues, suspicion of which on the part both of the people and the upper classes, deprived her Majesty of much of that popularity which her many excellent qualities were calculated personally to secure her. What may be the course that her husband, the Regent, will pursue, or that may be pursued by her son when he attains his legal majority in 1858, it is of course impossible to foresee. His young Majesty is now in the course of making a tour through Europe, chiefly with a view, it is said, of finding a partner for his throne; and rumour points to one of the house of Coburg to which his father belongs, viz., a daughter[60] of the King of the Belgians. This alliance, though otherwise eligible in itself, is deemed by some politicians likely to aggravate the troubles of the country, by making it a hot-bed of extraneous intrigue, in addition to the domestic Miguelite plottings that appear chronic in Portugal.

There are, as already mentioned, several royal palaces, but few of them completely finished, or ever likely to be so, owing to the limited state of the civil list and the reluctance of the Cortes to grant supplies for such purposes. The Palace of Ajúda is a truly regal building, whose external magnificence at least, fills every one with regret that it should so far resemble so many others, of vast pretensions and undoubted beauty, as to remain incompleted, and in consequence, unoccupied. Visitors to the Court are generally located in a pretty marine palace, with a terrace and garden facing the river, at Belem, the town of which name contains about 5,000 inhabitants. In its vicinage is the burial-place of many of the earlier Portuguese monarchs; it possesses also, in addition to the castle and custom-house already mentioned, and a singular-looking fortress, some other public institutions of note, including a high-school, a convent, and the largest iron-foundry in Portugal, together with a noble church, built to commemorate the memorable departure of Vasco de Gama on his great voyage, as so beautifully alluded to by the national poet.

It may not be superfluous to caution the young or casual reader not to confound this town with one somewhat similarly pronounced, Baylen, in Spain—a spot that sounds in French ears pretty much as Cintra does in ours. And for much the same reason—the blundering incapacity of those charged with the conduct of the transactions that took place, almost simultaneously, in the same year, and within a month of each other; except that the former, having had priority of occurrence, rendered the latter more inexcusable. It was in July, 1808, that 14,000 French, commanded by Dupont and Wedel, being defeated by 25,000 Spaniards under Pena and Compigny, Dupont’s entire division of 8,000 men laid down their arms—the beginning of the French disasters in Spain, as lending[61] courage to the whole native population to pursue that system of resistance which in the end, aided and directed by British valour and science, rendered nugatory all the efforts of the invader permanently to subdue the country. Of Belem, the recent military celebrity is not great, the two chief incidents in its history being its capture by the French, the year before the occurrence just named; and, secondly, its capture under the troops of Don Pedro, in 1833. What lends its real historic, or at least archæologic interest to the place, is its propinquity to the remains of some of the finest Moorish architecture in the world, the Alhambra itself scarcely excepted; and these alone ought to suffice to render a trip fashionable among our ennuyéd tourists, to whom almost all the remainder of Europe is nearly as well known as the beach at Brighton or the Westmoreland lakes. Notwithstanding the charm to British ears of the words Busaco, Vimiera, Badajos, Braga, Torres Vedras, and the Douro, Portugal is a terrâ incognita to the pic-nicish and Pickwickian tribe, and altogether exempt from the remonstrance of the blazé bard—

And is there then no earthly place,
Where we can rest, in dream Elysian,
Without some curst, round English face,
Popping up near, to break the vision?
’Mid northern lakes, ’mid southern vines,
Unholy cits we’re doom’d to meet;
Nor highest Alps nor Apennines
Are sacred from Threadneedle Street!
If up the Simplon’s path we wind,
Fancying we leave this world behind,
Such pleasant sounds salute one’s ear
As—‘Baddish news from ’Change, my dear.’

But how can it be wondered that Portugal should be a yet untrodden Eden to the tourist, seeing that it is the only country, or tract of country, in Europe, or on the confines thereof, from Odessa to Iceland, that Murray hasn’t hand-booked? The ‘Anak of Booksellers,’ who has ‘done’ the Pyramids and the Pyrenees, Styria and Finland, Whitechapel and Wallachia, the Dnieper and the Nile, has left Portugal undone; for it cannot be called doing it, in the Albemarle-street sense of the term, to devote to it a few small pages of large type, and call them ‘Hints.’ Nevertheless,[62] far below the Murrayan standard as that is, still it will be useful, as being likely to incite travellers thitherward;[30] and then the great publisher will, doubtless, provide for their use some Head capable of turning out a sizeable and seasonable octavo of reading as delightful as Borrow and as instructive as Ford has done for the scarcely more romantic region the other side of the Guadiana. Meanwhile, calling attention to that one[31] of the ‘Hints’ which tells how others may be taken, as to the London means of getting there, in addition to those still better Liverpool means furnished by our South American Steam Company, it is well to apprise the reader, desirous of the latest and best information about Portugal, that it will be found in the extremely agreeable and attractive volume[32] which owes its origin to the munificence and patriotism[63] of the accomplished member for Pontefract, Mr. Oliveira, who, sprung of the ancient Lusitanian stock himself, and numbering among his ancestors the Pombals, de Castros, Tojals, and Thomars, has laboured assiduously, and most successfully, in disseminating among the most intelligent and influential minds of either country a correct knowledge of what conduces to the commercial prosperity of both. Towards this end nothing can be more effectual than a careful study of the admirable essay alluded to below, and from which some few of the foregoing facts are taken. Indeed, we would fain hope that, at least some of the excellent arguments it addresses to the Portuguese government have already produced a good effect; for, in the speech to the Cortes by the Regent, in January last, there is great promise not only of railway encouragement, but regulations we have spoken of being relinquished, such as the monopoly on salt, and even that on tobacco is likely soon to be abandoned. Improvements of a similar kind are to be extended to Madeira.


In concluding this brief chapter, which is, unfortunately, necessarily much more brief than the subject warrants, we have only to add, that should its perusal, or that of the several works already enumerated, induce readers to visit Lisbon in search of pleasure, and more especially those in search of health, the important item of house-rent will be found almost fabulously moderate compared with any other capital in Europe, and, I should imagine, in the world. A perfect palace, in the literal meaning of the term, may be had for £100 a year, containing suites of rooms in which a coach and four might be turned. Provisions and all the produce of the country are exceedingly cheap, but all imported articles are equally dear, because of the absurd protective system already spoken of, which permits and encourages native manufacturers to make the worst articles at the highest price, thus of course entailing the most limited consumption, and restricts purchases of all commodities that can possibly be dispensed with. Amongst hotels, the Braganza, built on an eminence overlooking the Tagus, stands preëminent, and is part of the Braganza family estate. The bill of fare is attractive, and charges moderate, regret being felt that travellers by sea cannot go at once to such comfortable quarters, instead of to the vile Lazarette, to which they are now consigned en route from England or Brazil!




Two more days’ pleasant Paddling on the Ocean.—Approach to Madeira.—Charming aspect of the Island.—Unique boats and benevolent boatmen.—Pastoral progression in bucolic barouches extraordinary.—Personal appearance of the inhabitants.—Atmospheric attractions of Madeira, and absence of all natural annoyances.—The Vine-Blight and its consequences, present and prospective, on the people at home and the consumption of their wine abroad.—Funchal, and its urban and suburban et ceteras.—Romance and reality of the History of the Island, ‘Once Upon a Time.’—Importance of English residents to the place.—Cost of living, and what you get for your money.—Royal and illustrious visitors.—Mercantile matters, and consular cordiality.—Grave Reflections in the British Burial Ground.


Note to the Illustration.—Views of Funchal, of the English Burial-place, and other objects in Madeira, are so familiar, that in preference to any of them, there is here given, as being much less hacknied, one representing a small fort or outwork, called Loureiro, or the Laurel Tree, on the coast to the east of Funchal, being the first of the series copied from the portfolio of the gentleman to whom our volume is so much indebted for such privilege.


Oh! had we some bright little isle of our own,
In a blue summer ocean, far off and alone,
Where a leaf never dies in the still blooming bowers,
And the bee banquets on through a whole year of flowers;
Where simply to feel that we breathe, that we live,
Is worth the best joy that life elsewhere can give.
The glow of the sunshine, the balm of the air,
Would steal to our hearts, and make all summer there.
Our life should resemble a long day of light,
And our death come on, holy and calm as the night.—Moore.

Ocean sailing, perhaps, does not present anything more delightful than the trip from Lisbon to this island in fine or moderate weather. We soon bade adieu to the Tagus, with its merry-going windmills, and its palaces and churches, the bold dome of the Coraçao de Jesus being the last visible in the horizon as we steamed away; and, on the second morning at daylight, made the Island of Porto Santo, which looks bleak and dreary enough, but has the repute of having some verdant spots upon it; and a small harbour called by the same name. Madeira, some 35 miles distant, was in sight a-head, its mountains peeping out of the clouds; and a couple of hours brought us up to the south side, along which we steamed. The hills were covered with innumerable cottages, and huts built amongst the vine plantations, which rise in ridges, nearly from the water’s edge to the height of 2,000 feet; the best vine growths, no doubt, being found at about half that elevation. It is needless to say that the coup d’œil so presented is as charming as it is singular. Immediately after passing Brazen Head, the Bay of Funchal opened before us, and a more beautiful sight cannot well be conceived, the hills towering to a considerable altitude, dotted a long way up with pretty-looking villas and well cultivated gardens, until, reaching the town, these become merged in its compact mass. Funchal, which contains a population of some 20,000 inhabitants, bears the usual Portuguese characteristics of white or fancifully-coloured houses, many being lofty, with look-outs to the sea, forts, churches, &c. The Loo Rock, commanding the entrance of the bay, is very remarkable, being quite separated from the main land, which it there protects from the roll of the sea. Here we found lying in the roads, amongst other vessels, two American men-of-war, just come over from the African station to[67] refresh, as well as the Severn steamer, coaling on her way from the Brazils to Lisbon and England. This opportunity enabled us to send home dispatches forthwith. An assemblage of those peculiarly strong-built boats, with double keels to protect them from being stove in by the tremendous swell that sets in-shore so frequently, soon came to us with offers of service, chiefly in the shape of miscellaneous matters for sale; and we found ourselves amongst a pushing, energetic race, anxious to trade and make money, with an earnestness that was quite refreshing. Many spoke tolerably good English, and showed evident signs of being accustomed to deal with our countrymen. Landing on the beach is sometimes a formidable operation here; but the boats, as we have said, are well adapted for all emergencies incident to the operation, whether performed by those in robust health, or, as is too frequently the case, by invalids, in almost the last stage preceding dissolution. The boatmen are very active and obliging on such occasions, and considerate to a degree that would be perfectly incredible to a Thames wherry-man at Gravesend. We were immediately beset by a crowd of applicants for favours in one shape or another, amongst whom were not a few beggars, although I believe they are prohibited from soliciting alms, and a very good institution exists for the helpless and houseless. Some of our passengers, with the precipitancy of English in all such matters the moment a foreign shore is reached, proceeded to test the vehicular conveniences of the island, by a drive in one of those extraordinary bovine sledges drawn by two bullocks, and which travel up the hills at a pace sufficiently surprising, considering the apparently sluggish conformation of the steeds.

I took a ramble over the town, and made sundry diplomatic calls; afterwards proceeding [aloft, as may be literally said,] to enjoy the hospitality of Mr. Blandy, who occupies a charming country seat about a mile up the hill, where there is a splendid view of the town and bay, as well as of the towering mountains above. One of the sleighs or sledges, just mentioned, carried us along a succession of steep hills very quickly, a mode of conveyance[68] which, notwithstanding its primeval fashion, appears to be of recent date here. This char rustique of the mountains resembles, as nearly as possible, one of our turn-abouts at a fair, with two seats opposite to each other; but the most curious uses to which this odd contrivance is put, is in coursing down-hill by express train, as they call it. Two persons seat themselves side-by-side in the sledge, and an equal number of boys, holding a strap attached to it, commence running down the steep declivities at a pace that must be felt to be understood; but an idea of it may be formed by those who remember the Vauxhall illustration of centrifugal force, some years ago, when an unhappy monkey was placed in a carriage and shot down an inclined plain, at the bottom whereof was a huge wheel, over and around which the traveller and his vehicle were propelled, and brought to a stand-still after attaining a level on the other side. The Madeira roads are paved with sharp stones set very close together; so the machine glides downwards without meeting with any resistance, and, in ten minutes, descends a distance that takes half an hour or more to mount on horseback. It was the most curious sensation I ever felt; and, though assured of its safety, one cannot make the experiment for the first time without thoughts of an upset running in one’s head, contact between which and the stones would not have been very agreeable. Mountainous countries are doubtless favourable to the promotion of personal activity; and certainly the way in which the natives go up and down the steep paths here, with burthens on their backs, especially in such a climate, is something remarkable.

It is no wonder that the English are fond of Madeira, but a very great wonder that far larger numbers do not resort thither, to pass the winter months, with the numerous facilities of steam navigation now presented to them. The climate, the total change of people and scenery, the teeming vegetation, yielding the produce both of Europe and the tropics, the picturesque disposal of the houses on the very ridges of the hills, with every regard to comfort and even luxury, all combine to render this a kind of[69] earthly paradise, to which the seeming rhapsody at the head of our chapter is really only literally applicable. Here indeed nature showers down her choicest bounties: no fogs, miasmas, or even hurtful dews; atmosphere almost always translucent and bright; the thermometer in winter scarcely ever falling below 60 degrees; and where, during the hot summer months, a cool and comfortable retreat, of almost any temperature, may be found up the mountains. Lastly, there are no poisonous reptiles, merely a brown lizard, harmless to everything save the vines; frogs are quite a recent importation; and so far as I could learn, there are none of that numerous tribe of annoying insects which infest the tropical regions, only the familiar household flea, that makes himself at home everywhere.

Unfortunately, the dependence of the population and the staple of Madeira has been its vines, whose produce this year, as well as last, has totally failed, from some cause almost as inscrutable, or at least as incurable, and in its consequences nearly as calamitous, on a small scale, as the potato rot in isles nearer home. I could not have believed without seeing it:—in every direction the grapes were withered up like parched peas, and, in many cases, the trees themselves dying. Such an extraordinary visitation has, I believe, never been known here before. It partakes very much of the same virulent character as the diseases that at times affect the cereal world, and something of the kind was experienced with terrible severity in the Canaries in 1704. Two years’ failure of a vintage, in an island like Madeira, would be almost annihilation, if it were not for its other boundless vegetable resources; and, as in the case of the destruction of the Irish root, it is augured that much good may arise to the people from the increased stimulus to industry so occasioned, and their being induced not to place too great a dependence on any one product. Still, it is a melancholy sight to behold the support of a whole people struck down by such an inconceivable blight. Every means have been tried to arrest its progress, but without success; and, should it continue its ravages, Madeira wine bids fare to become greatly[70] increased in value a few years hence, when, as a matter of course, it will be more in vogue and sought after, than has been the case for a long time back.[33]

The streets of Funchal are narrow, but clean, and intersected by streams of water, brought also into nearly every large dwelling. Their silence, owing to the absence of vehicles, strikes the European stranger as extraordinary; especially at night, when he seems to be placed in a city of marionettes, as it were; and, from the presence of the palanquin, bearing fair occupants about, quite an oriental tinge is imparted to the aspect of the whole urban scene. Speaking of that, a note on the physical attributes of the Madeirans; and we cannot do better than quote the authority of a gentleman[33]—perhaps we should say a lady, as it is doubtless her impressions in letter-press that are reflected on this point[34]—who is the latest authority on what may be called the agremens of the island.

There are aqueducts made to bring the water from the mountain side, and several deep gullies or ravines run through the town and empty themselves into the sea. These cavities being crossed by bridges, the sides have been built up at a considerable expense, and are covered with verdure, tropical and European, producing a most picturesque effect. They are also most beneficial in a sanitary sense, being in fact main arteries for circulating pure fresh air, as well as for carrying off the impurities.

Excepting epidemics, Madeira, both town and country, must naturally be the healthiest place in the world, for the reasons[71] already stated. The population of the island is estimated at upwards of 100,000, or, at least was so till lately; but there is a good deal of emigration going on, and owing to the late distress it is likely to increase materially, both to Demerara and the Brazils, where the natives prove to be most valuable labourers.

The history of Madeira, or at least its political history, is of no great importance. Like Brazil, it is named after its wood, and so is its capital, Funchal, from a species of fern abounding in still greater profusion than the magnificent timber. A romantic interest belongs to its early annals, as it was discovered, it is said, by Mr. Macham, an English gentleman, or mariner, who fled from England for an illicit amour. He was driven here by a storm, and his mistress, a French lady, dying, he made a canoe, and carried the news of his discovery to Pedro, King of Arragon, which occasioned the report that the island was discovered by a Portuguese, A.D. 1345. But it is maintained that the Portuguese did not visit the place until 1419, nor did they colonise it until 1431.[35] It was taken possession of by the British in July, 1801; and again, by Admiral Hood and General (afterwards Viscount) Beresford, Dec. 24, 1807, and retained in trust for the royal family of Portugal, which had just then emigrated to the Brazils. It was subsequently restored to the Portuguese crown.

The residence of Englishmen here, is of course highly advantageous to the place, and they are welcomed, as they deserve to be, by a poor but industrious, and by no means abject or cringing, people. On the contrary, the population of all classes are remarkable for their frank and ingenuous bearing. Living[36] is reasonable;[72] and it is to be hoped that thousands, instead of hundreds, of our countrymen, will ere long find their way here. The visits of our late estimable Queen Adelaide, of the Dowager Empress of Brazils, and others of eminent station and corresponding means, are dwelt upon with gratitude, as they not only caused a considerable circulation of money, but did much good personally. In no part of the world can the bounties of nature, or the precious gift of health be so richly enjoyed, or in a manner so agreeable to Europeans, as here. The island has some little commerce with different places, but administered in a manner that renders all we said about Lisbon restrictions, monopolies, and mercantile impediments, applicable in an aggravated degree, if that be possible; and, of course, until things mend there, no improvement can be looked for here. The trading portion of the community seem to be very social and friendly amongst themselves, although not mixing a great deal with the English, or rather, the English maintain their constitutional isolation from the natives, but with a rigidity which time is rapidly mitigating. The character for British hospitality is fittingly maintained by Mr. George Stoddard, our Consul, who occupies the palatial residence of a Portuguese noble, and dispenses the duties of his office in a manner that may well reconcile the strictest economist at home to the most inadequate stipend of[73] £300 a year attached to it; for the obligations are often irksome, if not very onerous; and not a few of them arising out of melancholy occurrences, to whose frequency the tombstones and monuments in the English burial-ground bear such significant testimony. This Anglo Père la Chaise of the Western Atlantic is one of the first objects visited—and, alas! often the last, by the survivors of those whom

The verdant rising and the flowery hill,
The vale enamell’d, and the crystal rill,
The ocean rolling, and the shelly shore,
Beautiful objects, shall delight no more.
Now the lax’d sinews of the weaken’d eye
In watery damp and dim suffusion lie.

Bidding adieu, however, to these melancholy matters, we again resume our course.



Oceanic Sailing again.—Halcyon weather, and modern steaming to the Fortunatæ Insulæ of the Ancients.—A stave on the saffron-coloured singing birds.—Touching Teneriffe, and Miltonic parallel to the Arch-Enemy.—Approach to Porto Grande, and what we found there, especially its extensive accommodation for steamers.—Deficiency of water the one draw-back.—Something concerning Ethiopic Serenaders under the Line.—Promethean Promontary extraordinary.—A memento of mortality midway in the world.—Portuguese rewards honourably earned by an Englishman.—Utility of Consuls in such places.—First acquaintance with an earthquake.—Verd Grapes soured by a paternal government.—Interchange of news between the Outward and the Homeward bound.—A good propelling turn towards a brother of the screw.



Or other worlds they seem’d, or Happy Isles,
Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,
Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales,
Thrice happy isles.—Paradise Lost, Book iii.

This track is, generally speaking, about the most pleasant in the Atlantic Ocean; fine sunny weather and fresh north-east trade winds, which blow with tolerable regularity nearly the whole year round, rendering it very easy sailing indeed, and proportionably agreeable to passengers, who may be supposed by this time to have attained their sea-legs. In our case the wind was, unfortunately too light to be of much use, as a vessel going from ten to eleven knots, under steam, must have a very strong breeze to get a-head of such speed and assist the machinery, as well as obtain another knot or two. We pass the Canaries (or Fortunate Isles, as they were called,) to windward, having in view the far-famed Peak of Teneriffe, upheaving high its giant bulk 12,182 feet, and keeping our course direct for St. Vincent. The Canaries are naturally associated with our earliest school-boy notions, as the original home of the charming little universal household songster,[37] to whom they have given their name, but here called thistle-finch, and having for its companions the blackbird, linnet, and others of the same tuneful and now Saxonized family. The real Canary of these islands, however, the Fringilla Canaria of Linnæus, and which still abounds here, is not of the saffron or yellow colour it attains in Europe; but is, in its wild state, the[76] colour of our common field or grey linnet, the yellow hue being the result of repeated crossings in its artificial state amongst us. The Canaries are amongst several other islands that were known to the ancients, but not discovered by modern Europe until the middle of the fifteenth century, when, after a brave resistance from the natives, the Spaniards conquered and have since retained them.

Though not exactly in the route of the Argentina, nor intended to be touched at by any of the company’s vessels, still being comparatively so near the Canaries, and especially of that particular one whereof mention is made by the great English bard, in verse as majestic as the phenomenon he speaks of:

On the other side, Satan, alarmed,
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved:
His stature reach’d the sky, and on his crest
Sat horror plumed.—Paradise Lost, Book iv.

we must present a souvenir of our proximity to so celebrated a vicinage; and we cannot do so in a more graceful or welcome form than the sketch prefixed to this chapter.

The Cape Verds consist of seven principal islands, and were tolerably populous, but of late years have been subjected to a continuous emigration to South America and the West Indies, where, like the hardy mountaineers from Madeira, they are found most useful in tilling the soil, and in other laborious occupations; thus demonstrating the fallacy of the old notion, that laziness is the predominant element in the Spanish and Portuguese idiosyncrasy. What appears to be a present disadvantage, in regard to this human flight from the Verds, may prove beneficial hereafter, when the Ilheos (as they are called) return to their homes, possessed of a little money wherewith to improve their social and moral condition. The islands produce wine, barilla, large quantities of orchilla weed, and cochineal, the cultivation of which is rapidly forming a more and more considerable item of export. Steam navigation will ere long bring them into much closer commercial contact with the world, and enhance the appreciation of[77] their products and natural advantages. The climate is fine, though subject to occasional high temperature and frequent droughts. Despite the name Verds, suggestive of Arcadian animation, nothing can be more desolate than the appearance of the islands, as approached from the sea; bold, high rocks, against which the surge breaks violently, with mountains towering in the clouds, are general characteristics, to which those of the island of St. Vincent offer no exception. On our arrival the weather was thick, with drizzling rain, as we made Porto Grande; and only cleared up in time to enable us to see Bird Island, a most remarkable sugar-loaf rock, standing right in the entrance of the bay, after passing which we reached the anchorage ground in a few minutes. A more convenient little harbour can hardly be imagined, being nearly surrounded with hills (or mountains as they may be called), which protect it from all winds save the westward, where Bird Island stands as a huge beacon, most admirably adapted for a light-house, and on which it is to be hoped one will soon be placed. There is deep water close to the shore on most sides of the bay, that where the town is built being the shallowest; and here some wooden jetties are run out, having very extensive coal and patent fuel depôts close at hand, where these combustibles are put into iron lighters, and sent off to the vessels. So beautifully clear is the water in the bay that you can see the bottom at a depth of from twenty to thirty feet, literally alive with fish of all kinds, but for which the people seem to care very little, either for home consumption or export, though there is no doubt that, in the latter direction, a large business might be done with profitable results.

Porto Grande must become a most important coaling station, situated as it is midway between Europe and South America, and close to the African coast. Several important steam companies have already adopted it, viz., the Royal Mail (Brazil), the General Screw, the Australian, as also the South American, and General Steam Navigation Company, whilst occasional steamers are, likewise, glad to touch at it. At the period of which I am writing,[78] the Great Britain was the last that coaled here, on her way to Australia. In order to meet this increased demand, a proportionate degree of activity and exertion is observable on shore; and a large number of iron lighters, carrying from 15 to 40 tons each, are now in constant requisition, loaded, and ready to be taken alongside the steamers the instant they cast anchor. Unfortunately, there is a very poor supply of water, the want of it having been the occasion of frequent emigration in the history of the islands; but it is understood to be attainable at a slight expense; and a small outlay conjointly made by the steam companies might not only procure a plentiful provision of this all-necessary element, but also other conveniences, essential to the comfort of passengers. There is no doubt that, as the place progresses, supplies of meat, fruit, and vegetables, will be forwarded thither from the neighbouring islands, which are so productive that there is a considerable export of corn; and the cattle are numerous. Until lately, fowls were only a penny a piece; and turtles abound. Hitherto there has been no regular marketable demand for such things; but one, and a large one too, is henceforth established, from the causes assigned, and will doubtless be regularly and economically supplied. The labourers here are chiefly free blacks and Kroomen, from the coast of Africa, most of whom speak English, and chatter away at a great rate, as they work in gangs, with a kind of boatswain over them, who uses a whistle to direct their toil—the movements of all the race of Ham to the days of Uncle Tom, being seemingly susceptible of regulation to musical noise of some sort or other; whether the ‘concord of sweet sounds,’ or what would appear to be such to more refined ears, does not greatly matter.

But for want of vegetation in its neighbourhood, a more picturesque little bay than Porto Grande can hardly be conceived. Towering a short distance above the town, is a kind of table mountain, some 2,500 feet high; and at the opposite side, forming the south-west entrance, is another very lofty one, remarkable as representing the colossal profile of a man lying on his back, à la Prometheus. He has his visage towards heaven, wherein there are[79] generally soaring vultures enough to devour him up were he a trifle less tender than volcanic granite. The features are perfect, even to the eyebrows; and a very handsome profile it makes, though it does not appear that any tropical Æschylus has yet converted the material to the humblest legendary, much less epic, purpose. On the shore ground, forming the right side of the bay, looking towards the town, there is a neat little monument, erected to the lamented lady of Colonel Cole, who died here on her way home from India. The spot where she lies is, from its quietude and seclusion, most meet for such a resting-place, there being a small, conical hill behind, with a cottage or two near, and a sprinkling of vegetation on the low ground between, serving to ‘keep her memory green’ in the mind of many an ocean voyager in his halt at this half-way house between the younger and the elder world.

This little town was thrown back sadly by the epidemic which afflicted it in 1850 and decimated the population. During its continuance Mr. Miller, one of the few English residents, did so much in assisting the inhabitants, as to elicit from the late Queen of Portugal the honour of a knighthood, in one of the first orders in her dominions. It requires no small degree of patience and philanthropy to aid the development of a place like this, labouring, as it does, under such great natural difficulties, and where everything has to be brought from a distance, there not being a tree or a blade of grass to be seen—nothing but dry, arid sand, or a burnt-up kind of soil. Undoubtedly, the heat is very great at times; and there are about three months of blowing, rainy weather, which is the only period when vessels might be subjected to inconvenience whilst coaling, as the southerly winds drive up a good deal of sea into the bay. There is an English Consul resident here, Mr. Rendall, who has done much to assist in bringing these islands into notice, and into comparative civilization; and, by so doing, has many times over reimbursed this country in the cost of his stipend of £400 a year, saying nothing of the services he has performed to shipping, in the ordinary discharge of his duties.

Cape Verds are a very numerous family of islands, called after[80] a cape on the African coast (originally named Cabo Verde, or Green Cape, by the Portuguese) to which they lie contiguous, though at a considerable distance from each other in some cases. All are of volcanic formation—one, that of Fogo, or Fuego, once very celebrated as being visible, especially in the night time, at an immense distance at sea. The islands generally do not possess any very attractive points, being unlike Madeira and the Canaries in this respect, as well as in extent of population, that of the latter being four or five times more numerous than the others—say about 200,000 in one, 40,000 in the other case, though some statements make the inhabitants of the Verds considerably more. The islands are occasionally subject to shocks of earthquakes; and there was rather a strong one at Porto Grande the night before we left, supposed on board our vessel to be thunder, from the noise it made, though we were not aware until next day that a shock had been felt on shore. The chief product is salt, a valuable article for vessels trading to South America, though it is here manufactured by the somewhat primitive process of letting the sea-water into the lowlands, where the sun evaporates it. Though Porto Grande, in St. Vincent, is the great place for shipping, and as such almost the only place of interest for passengers in transit, Ribeira Grande, in St. Jago, the principal island, and most southerly of the group, is the chief town, though it is at Porto Playa, (often touched at by ships on the Indian voyage), that the Governor General resides, particularly in the dry season. The island second in importance, in point of size, is St. Nicholas, where are some small manufactories, in the shape of cotton-stuffs, leather, stockings, and other matters. The orchilla weed, however, is the great object of governmental interest, and its monopoly is said to yield some £60,000 per annum; the same wise policy that grasps at that interdicting the manufacture of wine, though grapes grow in profusion, and are of excellent quality for the production of a very acceptable beverage.

Before leaving Porto Grande we had the satisfaction of seeing the General Screw Company’s fine vessel, the Lady Jocelyn,[81] arrive on the day she was due from India and the Cape of Good Hope, on her way to Southampton, with mails, and upwards of one hundred passengers. I went on board to give them the latest news from England, which was of course very acceptable, and the columns of the leading journals were eagerly devoured. In exchange I received the ‘Cape News,’ which did not contain anything very particular, all being quiet there, our old perturbed friend, Sandilli, and his ebonized insurrectionists of the hills having apparently subsided into lilies-of-the-valley of peace and philanthropy. The fine steamers belonging to the General Screw line appeared destined to convey a large portion of passengers between England and India, in preference to the overland route; and, certainly, when one could make the passage in about sixty days, direct, without change of conveyance, and with such splendid accommodation and such conveniences as these vessels afford, it was only natural that they should fill well; and a more comfortable, happy-looking group of passengers I never saw in any vessel.

But, alack for the worthlessness of such moralizings and anticipations as these. This enterprising company have been obliged to abandon their Indian contract, owing to their coaling expenses being out of all proportion to the small sum they received for conveying the mails. The Cape of Good Hope contract, too, will most likely be given up, to the great detriment of that important colony, and at the rate we are progressing, steam communication to Australia does not promise to require the coaling facilities of St. Vincent; still we are of opinion that this island must increase in importance, and that whenever coal freights revert to a moderate scale, steamers will gather there to and from the Southern Ocean.



Progress from Porto Grande to Pernambuco.—Steam triumphs against adverse wind.—Further Superiority of Screw over Sail.—The Argentina in a South-Wester.—Apropos of Malaria, and something sanitary about Brazil.—The yellow fever: whence it comes, and what has become of it?—Quarrels about Quarantine.—Brazil in advance of the old country in these matters.

Leaving Porto Grande, we shaped our rapid course southwards, to the Brazils, across the wide expanse of ocean lying between the two continents, and in all which prodigious waste of waters there is no port of call nearer than St. Helena, latitude, 15 deg. 55 min. S., long., 5. 44 E., unless we except the turtle-famed Island of Ascension, 800 miles N.E. of the Bonapartean place of exile, which itself is 1,200 miles from the coast of Lower Guinea. The trade winds vary a good deal in their extension towards the line, and in these latitudes commence the difficulties of a sailing ship, which has to deal with calms and variable winds, blowing from all points of the compass, until such time as it catches the south-east trade, and is carried onwards. Our course lay towards Pernambuco, a place I visited for the first time upwards of thirty years back, and where I have often been since, but never in a steamer; and only those who have experienced the difference between the two modes of propulsion, wind alone and steam, can fairly appreciate the value of the latter power. In former years, 40 to 50 days were considered an average passage to Pernambuco, lately reduced to about 30 to 35 by clipper-vessels, whilst a steamer will traverse the distance easily in 20 days, including stoppages to coal, and for any other requisite purpose. The consequence is, that numbers pass to and fro, who would never do so but for the facilities thus afforded, and which afford at the same time a further evidence of the trite truth, already frequently dwelt upon, and[83] which will have to be still more frequently repeated, before we come to a close, that steam navigation becomes the great civilizer of the world, and brings distant nations so much nearer to our own shores.

Our run from St. Vincent to Brazil was a very hard one. Losing the trade-wind the day after that on which we left the island, it was replaced by an implacable south-wester, against which our little vessel steamed vigorously, and we could barely carry fore and aft canvas. When, after eight days’ tugging we arrived at Pernambuco, there was not an hour’s coal left, a consideration which naturally rendered all on board anxious for some short time before. We shaved close past the Island of Fernando de Noronha, showing a conical hill, very like a ship under canvas at a distance. It is a penal settlement of Brazil, and considered very healthy.

Before describing other ports of call on our way to the River Plate, let us just take a glance at the Empire of Brazil, which, from its geographical position, immense fertility and internal resources, is second only in importance to the great Empire of the West—the United States of North America. And, first, in regard to that primal consideration, health, as affected by the climate—a subject on which many years’ experience in my own person, and an attentive observation of the health of various classes of Europeans in the tropics enable me to speak with as much weight as should probably attach to the opinion of the majority of non-medical men on a medical topic; and some remarks on that head in the chapter on Pernambuco will probably be found not altogether unworthy of the attention even of the faculty.

Notwithstanding its well-known heat, in common with all other countries within the tropics, and especially a country so large a portion of which is directly beneath the equator, until within the last few years Brazil has been proverbially one of the healthiest climates in the world, and European residents could indulge almost with impunity in the pleasures and luxuries of tropical life. Unfortunately yellow fever has changed[84] all this, and rendered the vital statistics of the harbours and cities of the empire mournful catalogues of suffering and disaster, threatening serious injury to its national prosperity, if the scourge does not soon finally depart from its shores. This, it is devoutly hoped may be the case, and fortunately seems to be so at present, as far as can be augured from the reports now continued for a considerable time. During over thirty years’ acquaintance with, and frequent residence in the country, I never experienced or heard of any existing epidemic worthy of the name, or such as could not be readily accounted for; but the aspect of things, at the period of my last arrival, had sadly indeed changed, and the dread pestilence in its ravages seemed to spare neither the hardy European mariner, the native resident, the blacks, nor indeed any class of persons brought within its influence. How or from whence this mysterious visitation had arisen it was impossible to say. Some maintain that it was brought from the coast of Africa, and is a kind of retributive punishment for the iniquitous traffic in human flesh carried on so extensively in the Brazils, until lately, that the government have shown themselves determined to put it down. But those who argue in this fashion forget that the same doctrine would apply in a thousand instances at home and abroad; that the exceptions are unfortunately more numerous than the rule which would be thus set up by human presumption for the admeasurement of the justice of Omniscience; and that it is always imprudent, to say the least of it, to attempt to interpret the causes of such dispensations of Providence by our own notions of human requirement. Others deny the fever to be either epidemic or contagious, affirming that it must be induced by some peculiar atmosphere, generated, no one knows how, on the sea coast; and it certainly is curious enough that vessels have had the sickness on board, whilst coming down the coast, before even touching at a Brazilian port. Whatever be the true cause of this affliction, it ought to teach the Brazilians a lesson not to abuse the bounties of Providence, which they enjoy in almost unexampled profusion, or neglect those means of sanitary protection which are needful[85] even in the healthiest portions of Europe. No doubt much is required to be done in this way, and not in trying to enforce stupid quarantine regulations, which only add to suffering without arresting the arm of the devastator. Indeed, the Brazilian government has shown great good sense in eschewing the absurd formalities in question, therein again exhibiting an immense superiority of intelligence over the mother country; for at Lisbon all the antiquated and superannuated encumbrances and ceremonials are rigorously exacted, though there be not even the shadow of a pretext for enforcing them; for although a ship’s bill of health may be perfectly clean, and although the ports she last sailed from may have been long known to be uninfected, still the circumstance of their having been once tainted is sufficient warrant for the Portuguese procrastinators in exacting any amount of detention that may be agreeable to their caprice, whether the vessel be sail or steamer.




“Stern winter smiles on this auspicious clime;
The fields are florid in eternal prime;
From the bleak pole no winds inclement blow,
Mould the round hail, or flake the fleecy snow;
But from the breezy deep the groves inhale
The fragrant murmurs of the eastern gale!”



Rather prefatory and not very particular, though somewhat personal.—Books on Brazil should be in Mediam Viam for the present route, avoiding the Scylla of extreme succinctness and the Charybdis of needless diffuseness.—Object of the Author to attain the golden medium.—With what success, gentle reader, say?—Discovery of the country by the Portuguese. Their subsequent disputes with, and final expulsion of the Dutch.—Extent and Population; variety of soil and produce.—Difficulty of communication between the provinces and the capital, in consequence of extreme distance and imperfect means of travelling.—Extraordinary instance of the roundabout nature of news circulating in Brazil some time ago.—Steam corrective of such sluggishness.—A glance at the Brazilian littoral, beginning with the Amazon, and ending with Rio Grande do Sul.—Pará and its productions.—Rio Negro, and its recent political elevation.—Maranham and its Mercantile importance.—Laird’s steam leveller, on the singular stream of the Itapecuru.—Justice for England by Maranham Magistrates.—Piauhy and its products; also Ceara, Rio Grande do Norte, and Paraiba.—Pernambuco revisited by the writer, and welcomed with a rhythmetical sentimental something concerning ‘Long, long, ago!’

Let not the reader suppose, from the heading of this chapter, ‘Empire of Brazil,’ that he is going to encounter either a dilution or a condensation of Southey, Kidder, Weech, Mawe, Prince Adalbert, St. Hilaire, and others, who have written at great length and in many languages, on so fertile and so expansive a theme. The object of the author in this portion of the volume is merely, by presenting at a glance the position and condition of Brazil generally, to enable those who accompany him in these pages the more readily to recognize the points he is about to put hereafter as the result of his own experience, more especially with reference to the machinery of commercial matters in Brazil. It is often the fault of men very full of a particular subject themselves to take for granted that the public either know a very great deal, or wish to know everything about it. Brazil has suffered much from both these causes in European, and especially in English estimation. Those familiar with and competent to write about it, have either presumed that the public were nearly as wise as themselves, and have passed over matters of great interest, believing them to[89] be stale and exhausted, and dwelling upon the trivialities of personal travel by way of varying a beaten track:—or, on the other hand, the exhaustive process has been applied, and historic and topographic disquisition have been employed with a minuteness that would be only tolerated in English county gazetteers or family chronicles. The consequence is that all but the student or the virtuoso in such matters have been repelled from their perusal. When the idea of writing this book occurred to the author—an idea suggested by frequent inquiries for works that should, in a brief compass, give a tolerable notion of things to be met with and that ought to be known in a route of yearly increasing importance between two quarters of the globe—it was suggested that he should steer between the two extremes just indicated. He has endeavoured to do so; and without further circumlocution, he places before the reader the means of deciding with what success.

Brazil,[38] as already noticed, was discovered by Cabral on his way to India in 1500 (although it has been asserted that the coast was visited by Martin Belem in 1484) who at first supposed it to be a[90] large island on the coast of Africa.[39] The reports as to her mineral wealth not being at that time encouraging, little progress was made in colonizing Brazil until 1542, when the Portuguese rulers sent out Thomas de Souza as first governor, who built San Salvador, (or Bahia, as it is now called, capital of the province of the same name,) and materially aided the mission of the Jesuits in civilizing the Indian population. This Portuguese possession was afterwards disputed both by the Spaniards and the Dutch, and the latter succeeded in appropriating several of the northern provinces, viz.:—Ceara, Seregipe, Pernambuco, and Bahia, which they held for a considerable time during the 17th century, and did much towards the permanent prosperity of the country, by building forts, enlarging towns, and carrying out a number of useful public works, which remain as monuments of their laboriousness and perseverance to this day, especially in the capitals of the two last-named provinces. Much gallantry and patriotism were shown by the native Brazilian and Portuguese residents in their conflict with the Hollanders, ending in the final expulsion of the latter from the entire coast, although this event may be considered a misfortune to the country itself, in losing so industrious and painstaking a race.

The Brazilian empire extends from about 4 degrees north, to 33 degrees south, latitude; its extreme length is from 2,500 to 2,600 miles, and breadth above 2,000 at the widest part; it contains some 2,500,000 square miles of territory, comprising every variety of soil and culture, and is possessed of considerable variety of climate. Its population has been variously estimated at from six[91] to seven millions; but no data exist from which one can form more than an approximate calculation. Out of this number, one half may be set down as slaves, and the other half mixed races, from the native-born Portuguese downwards to the pure Indian. One of the great draw-backs hitherto experienced in administering the government of the Brazils has been the distance of the towns and provinces from the metropolis, Rio Janeiro; and this has more especially applied to the northern provinces, from Pará to Pernambuco, where, owing to the almost constant prevalence of a northerly current, sailing-vessels took a very long time in getting down the coast; so that, in the absence of communication by land, the intelligence of disturbances or temporary rebellion only reached the seat of government a considerable period after the first outbreak. An extraordinary and almost incredible instance of this occurred on the occasion of the formidable revolt of the province of Pará, the first news of which was received at Rio Janeiro by way of England, sixty days after a British sailing ship had left Pará, and another recrossed the Atlantic, and anchored in the port of the Brazilian capital, no ship, within all that period, having been able to make way from Pará to Rio against the monsoon and current and wind that prevails for a great part of the year, blowing from the antarctic circle towards the equator. Perhaps the astonishment created by this state of things will, however, be triflingly mitigated if the reader will bear in mind that Brazil is as large as nearly a dozen Great Britains; and will also recollect what vagueness, incertitude, and delay characterise the receipt of intelligence in London from Constantinople and St. Petersburgh, notwithstanding special steamers, express trains, electric telegraphs, government couriers, and time-and-space-annihilating editors of innumerable newspapers, at both ends and all along the whole line of operations. Steam navigation has however in a great measure remedied this evil, as it has done so many others; and news is now regularly transmitted between Rio Janeiro and Pará by a steam company, liberally subsidized by the government, the former being bound to dispatch a vessel once a fortnight, calling at all the[92] ports. In the absence of internal roads or communications along the coast, steam must very properly be regarded as the main-stay of the executive, at the same time that it offers the needful facility for provincial deputies attending the sittings of the Rio chambers. Steam, valuable everywhere, is invaluable here, and may, indeed, be looked upon as the great civilizer and regenerator of a country like Brazil, with a sea-coast extending nearly 4,000 miles from north to south; while other tributary lines of steamers are being established in the innumerable bays and rivers. The northernmost point is the mighty Amazon, which is being explored and opened to general traffic by another steam company, established at Rio Janeiro, and likewise aided with an ample subsidy from the government; though from the terms in which certain North American and other writers, to some of whom we shall have to allude hereafter, speak of the Brazilian authorities, it might be inferred that not a particle of enterprise of this kind is tolerated, much less encouraged. Considering that it is only 20 years since the first funnel darkened the Brazilian waters, this wonder-working agent of steam may fairly be said to be only in its infancy, and its progeny will no doubt ere long be greatly multiplied on the coast and up the vast fluvial arteries of the empire. A brief glance along the littoral boundaries of this almost boundless dominion will soon shew the transcendent importance of steam to such a region. The northernmost province of the Brazils is

Pará, with a capital of the same name, otherwise called Belem, situated on the north-eastern bank of the Amazon, 80 miles from its entrance. From the cause already assigned (distance from the seat of government) the progress of this important province, containing upwards of a million square miles, much of which is yet unknown, has been greatly retarded by civil wars and an unruly population. Its chief productions are corn, caoutchouc (or gum elastic), ipecacuanha, nuts, &c.; but there is no doubt that the navigation of the Amazon will lead to great additional sources of export, and soon render this province one of the most flourishing[93] in the empire, as its immense fertility, miscellaneous produce, and the incalculable advantages of having the greatest river in the world traversing its entire length, so well entitle it to be. The population, of whom some ten thousand are probably Indians, amounts to about 350,000. Of their condition, and that of the province and its capital, we shall speak in detail under the head of the Amazon; as also of

Rio Negro, an internal province situated on the Amazon, and communicating with the seaport of Pará. It has only lately been raised to the dignity of a province.

Maranhao, or Maranham, or San Luiz, follows on the line of sea-coast, with a large, well-built capital, similarly named, but is not very densely populated, containing probably not more than a quarter of a million inhabitants to an area of nearly 70,000 square miles, the soil being well watered and fertile, and, like nearly the whole of the Brazilian empire, producing wood of the finest kind for almost every purpose. It has always been looked upon as a steady-going place, although its progress has not kept pace with other more favoured provinces to the southward. Its chief production is cotton, of which the export is considerable, averaging about 30,000 bags per annum, and rice and sarsaparilla also form considerable items. The town is situated on an island, some 30 miles from the coast, with rather a dangerous navigation to it, though of easy access for small vessels, a couple of forts defending the entrance. It is said to contain a population of 30,000, which is probably an exaggeration. Its buildings, however, are on a scale not unworthy of such numbers, and consist of a theatre, hospital, several convents, and schools of a very superior order. About 200 miles up the River Itapicuru is the important town of Caxias, formerly Aldeas Altas, and which, though suffering itself considerably in the civil wars of 1838-40, has nearly double the population of Maranham. Its connection with the latter has been greatly accelerated by means of a small steamer running between the two places, and called the Caxiense, built by the constructor of the Argentina, Mr. John Laird, of Birkenhead, under peculiar[94] reservation as to her draught of water; which was not to be more than three feet, and even this appears too much for the shallow places in the river during the dry season, though she seems to have been eminently successful in other respects, and of great utility, not only in going up and down the river with freight and passengers, but also in towing vessels and small craft. The scenery on the Itapicuru is described as most romantic, the banks being high, and lined with towering trees, in many places almost meeting across. The navigation however is very uncertain and irregular, as will have been inferred from what we have said of the necessity of exceedingly shallow-bottomed steamers, in the dry season, when there is not more than from two to three feet of water in some places, whilst in the rainy season it will rise to 20 or 30 feet, inundating, or rather irrigating, the country round to some extent, and rendering it, like the Delta of the Nile, and for the same reason, uncommonly fertile, so much so, indeed, as to leave little scope for industry; for, by merely striking a few plants in the mud, two or three crops a-year can be obtained, more than sufficient for the wants of the inhabitants. On the banks of the river are many large fazendas, or estates, where cotton only was formerly grown, but they are now trying sugar likewise, and with encouraging assurance of remunerative results.

Ascending the river, the first important place arrived at is the Villa de Rosario, situated in a fertile district, and where many influential planters reside. Next in rotation are Paioul and St. Nicholas; afterwards, there comes Itapicuru-Merim, where vessels, drawing 4 feet of water can go in the driest season; but beyond the latter-named place, not more than two feet and a half. Nearly all the produce shipped at Maranham comes down this river in canoes, of about 40 tons register, carrying 300 bags of cotton; and in the dry season this voyage will take three months to perform what the steamer does now in less than four days! In the rainy season these river craft will come down much more quickly; but the average time then occupied in going up is still greater, owing to the strength of the freshes in the river, the vessel having[95] to be hauled up by bodily force, ropes being taken from tree to tree, and requiring a crew for the purpose. This slight sketch of the difficulties attending the navigation of one of the internal rivers of the Brazils by native craft, will show what may be effected by steam, even under the most unfavourable circumstances of a very shallow stream; and what may we not expect from such a communication being established along the mighty Amazon?

Maranham was a short time back the scene of a most brutal murder of an English resident; and, to the credit of the local government, four of the miscreants concerned in it were hanged, the force of which observation will be understood by those who know the difficulty of administering justice in a country like Brazil, where, owing to the vast distance of one town from another, and the consequent difficulty of sustaining the vigilance of pursuit, and the facilities for baffling it, crimes of this nature may be expected to go long unpunished, if the perpetrators be not caught almost red-handed in the very deed of blood. The acting President of Maranham is represented as most energetic and efficient, having done much to improve the town and maintain civil order in his district. His official residence is a very fine one, and should have been mentioned among the imposing structures of the town, or rather city, for such Maranham is, at least in the English sense of the term, being the residence of a bishop, and containing an episcopal palace of considerable dimensions, and of striking architectural appearance. The place, and some of its people, still retain slight traces of its French origin, having been founded by that nation, as late as the end of the 17th century; and, it is said, that that language is better spoken in Maranham than in any other part of Brazil, the capital itself not excepted.

Piauhy.—Beyond Maranham lies the little province of this name, which has no port or outlet; but in the district of Parahyba, 100 miles to the eastward of Maranham, are extensive plains, extending over 6,000 square miles, watered by numerous rivers and covered with cattle, which can be bought exceedingly cheap. Much carne seca (dried beef) is cured here and sent to[96] Maranham, as well as cattle, in beautiful condition. It is easy to imagine what an important element of supply this will be to other parts of the empire not so well provided, so soon as better means of transit exist. Unlike most other portions of Brazil, Piauhy is deficient in wood; but, in addition to its fine pastures, it produces in great abundance maize, millet, sugar, rice, cotton, jalap, ipecacuanha, and some silver, iron, and lead, but none of these yield anything like what may be expected when there is a population something better proportioned to the area we have named, for at present the inhabitants do not exceed 70,000. Its capital, Oeyras, has but about 3,000 inhabitants, but contains some remarkable ecclesiastical evidences of the former presence of the Jesuits.

Ceara is a very sandy district, but with a good back country where many cattle are bred, but which suffers much from occasional drought. Ceara exports a fair quantity of hides, some cotton, and fustic. The town of Aracati is situated on a picturesque river, but with a very bad bar entrance, on which several vessels have been lost; they, therefore, now generally load outside, some miles higher up the coast, where an indent admits of shelter, and to which the cotton is taken in jangadas (native craft.) Though the heat in this province is excessive in summer, the climate is nevertheless healthy. Its population is somewhat about 200,000; and gold, as well as copper, iron, and salt, is among its yet very imperfectly ascertained mineral resources. The town of Ceara is quite on the coast, and has no harbour, or protection, beyond a reef of rocks that forms a kind of breakwater, within which vessels can ride at anchor. It is a curious thing that the reef, of which this constitutes a part, extends along nearly the whole coast of Brazil, from Cape St. Roque to the Abrolhos, near Rio Janeiro, and is of the same hard coral nature. In many places an entrance through, or a break in the reef, enables vessels to get to small ports inside, and jangadas can sail along the coast, within these reefs for hundreds of miles, entirely protected from the sea, which rolls in and breaks upon them with a deafening noise.


Rio Grande do Norte, a name derived from the river which, after an east course, enters the Atlantic at Natal, its capital, possesses a good harbour, but has little direct trade, procuring its supplies chiefly from Pernambuco. Compared with any of the provinces already spoken of, it is well peopled, there being about 140,000 inhabitants to 32,000 square miles. A few cargoes of Brazil wood were formerly shipped here, being the best quality produced in the whole empire, and prized accordingly, till it fell into disrepute from the causes we have already specified, in speaking of that once-prized ingredient in the art of dyeing. Like Piauhy, Rio Grande do Norte is favourable to cattle-rearing; but exports of that kind, in the shape of hides, tallow, or jerked beef, are scanty, because of the paucity of means of transport.

Paraiba is a very fertile province, bordering on that of Pernambuco, and vastly better peopled than the one last described, as it has a population of 70,000 to an area of 9,000 square miles; and cattle of European breeds are raised in considerable numbers with great facility. There is a fine river, some 20 miles in length, leading up to the town, of the same name as the province, where vessels can load alongside the trapixes. The bar entrance is rather intricate, but there is very good anchorage just inside. Paraiba exports largely of cotton, and also of sugar and hides. The upper city is extensive, with large, well-built houses; while the lower, or commercial part of the town, is also extremely good, possessing a splendid Government warehouse, and the whole indicating quondam prosperity, as well as affording additional proof of the industry and perseverance of the Dutch, who formerly held this province in conjunction with Pernambuco. The treasury, in particular, is considered a very fine building; its educational establishments are also excellent; and in the neighbourhood of the town are some of the best-managed coffee plantations probably in the empire.

Pernambuco.—We now approach the most flourishing and remarkable province in the Brazils, upon which the writer hopes he may be pardoned if he descant at some length, as a place intimately[98] mixed up with all his boyish ideas and first impressions; where he spent many happy days, and always returned with considerable pleasure, although, on this occasion, alas! very few of the old familiar faces he once knew any longer arrested his vision, as he cast his eye along the well-known mart and into the well-remembered homes of other days; for a quarter of a century makes a terrible void indeed in the limited ranks of one’s countrymen who take up their abode in such places.

Musical the rippling
Of the tardy current,
Musical the murmur
Of the wind-swept trees,
Musical the cadence
Of the friendly voices,
Laden with the sweetness
Of the songs of old.



Transcriber’s Note: map can be clicked for a larger version.


PART OF THE EMPIRE OF BRAZIL, Shewing the Line of the Projected Railway & Navigable Upper Level of the RIVER SAN FRANCISCO.

S Straker lith. 80 Bishopsgate St. London.



‘That Strain Again!’—‘It hath a dying fall.’—‘Auld Lang Syne, or ’tis thirty years ago.’—Aspect of Pernambuco from the Sea.—Tripartite division of the City, Recife, St. Antonio, and Boa Vista.—Note on the old town of Olinda and its new namesake, the late steamer No. 2 of this A 1 line.—March of improvement by land and sea, in respect to ships and city.—Such Brazilian progress a lesson for West Indians.—Frugality and personal activity on the one hand, prodigality and vicarial mismanagement on the other, being the real difference between the position of the planters in either place.—Sugar Manufacturing improvements.—De Mornay’s Patent Cane Crushing Mill, and its Merits.—Appreciation of the invention in the West Indies as well as Brazil.—Exports of Pernambuco to United States.—Political and Martial feeling of the Pernambucanos.—Peculiarities of the Population, soil, and produce.—Unique effects of rain and drought in the Matta.—Hygienic hints to the consumptive and the yellow feverish.—Initiation of the Railway Era, by the De Mornays, in Pernambuco.—Immense importance of the proposed line, and certainty of its success, sustained by British Capital, and specially supported by the Emperor personally, and the Brazilian executive.—Mr. Borthwick’s report on the project.—The writer’s anticipation that it will be successful, and expectation that the reader will approve of his suggestion for making it so.—Note on Planters’ life in America.


It is a trite remark, that there is probably no more permanent or abiding impression on the mind than that created by first visiting a country, whose climate, people, habits, and ideas, differ essentially from those we have been brought up with and are accustomed to regard as a part of our nature. After a lapse of more than thirty years, the sensations I experienced on my first arrival here are as fresh in my memory as if occurring only yesterday. The voyage, which occupied no less than fifty-six days; the eager anxiety for a sight of land; the first view of the foreign port and outlandish looking craft; and then the pilot coming on board with a crew of blacks, seen for the first time; the debarkation amongst strange faces of every possible shade of colour; with the curiously formed streets and singular houses, filled with a population of hues so different from that left behind—every one apparently shouting at the top of their voices; whilst hundreds of rainbow-tinted[101] parrots, and harlequin-skinned animals, more numerous than the managerial knowledge of a boy of fifteen believed had ever appeared out of the Ark, all helped to aggravate the preternatural a perpetual din—the whole scene, as may be imagined, being such as to become indelibly engraven on such a spectator for the remainder of his life. It was a season of eager curiosity and enjoyment. ‘Youth at the prow and Pleasure at the helm’ look only to the bright side of life’s river; but neither time nor distance has since dimmed the halo that seemed then to environ the portals of this first launch into active being. Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis; still the characteristic peculiarities of a new country and new scenes remain fixed in our minds, as if no change had ever come over the spirit of our dream; and such is Pernambuco still to me, though in many respects greatly improved, altered, and enlarged, as I shall proceed to show forthwith.

Approaching Pernambuco from the main, it appears, like Venice, to rise gradually out of the waters, though, unlike the ‘Sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,’ we cannot perhaps exactly descry her ‘tiara of proud towers,’ at least in the sense applied to the mistress of the Mediterranean; but still the reality of the resemblance is quite sufficient to justify the comparison. You first discern church-steeples, domes, lofty houses, glittering in the sun; then shipping, and the general features of a commercial town, become visible. The harbour is quite a natural one, formed by a reef of coral rocks, already described as running along nearly the whole extent of the Brazilian coast, and supposed to be continued inland, where the coast projects beyond the line of the reef. At Pernambuco it has positively all the appearance of a wall some yards wide, just as if erected by the industry of man, and extending along the whole sea-front of the town, breaking off the swell of the ocean, and leaving the water in the harbour or creeks perfectly smooth, except sometimes at high water, and at periods of high tide, when the sea, finding its way over the reef, causes a little bubbling inside. The entrance is through a kind of break in the reef,[102] which also forms the mouth of a river, intersecting the town, but not going any great distance inland;—passing through and rounding the reef, in an instant you are in smooth water, and in Pernambuco harbour. The width of the passage is not much above 200 yards, taken from the reef to the shore, and this is lined with quays and wharves, which have been much extended of late years, and a dredging-machine is now constantly at work, deepening the channels, which are influenced by the current and freshes of the river. The bar formerly allowed only of the passage of vessels drawing 14 feet, but, they say, it is now quite safe for those of 15 to 15½ feet; and hopes are entertained that it can be deepened so as to admit the largest class of vessels, which would be a boon of immense importance to the place.

The town, or city, of Pernambuco is divided into three compartments:—the first, called the Recife (literally Reef), being that directly opposite the reef, and where most of the foreign commercial firms are located; crossing a wooden bridge, is St. Antonio, inhabited chiefly by shopkeepers; and a well-built and extensive compartment further on is Boa Vista, to which you cross by another long wooden bridge, but protected with a light iron railing at the sides. The river runs under these bridges very rapidly at times, and with a snake-like course, almost insulating the two first divisions. From Boa Vista good roads branch off to the country, and a new one has latterly been made to Olinda[40] along the margin of the river, lighted with lamps, &c., a very[103] useful and praiseworthy undertaking on the part of the government.

The town is generally well-built; lofty houses whitewashed, with red tiles, and plenty of verandahs, and windows to admit the cool breezes; and for miles in every direction, towards the interior, are comfortable villas, some very large, and constructed with considerable taste. When I first came here in 1821 only two or three carriages existed in the place, old-fashioned ones belonging to equally old-fashioned Portuguese, and I should suppose something like the ‘dormeuse’ of the Grand Prior of Alcobaça, so graphically described by Beckford, when he travelled with that dignitary to the grand abbey of Batalha [vide Lisbon, page 36]; now there are some 200 vehicles, of all sorts and sizes, and many very good ones for hire, besides those belonging to private individuals; and no doubt taste and luxury would be still more extended in this direction if it were not for the narrow archways through which the Recife is traversed.

In all respects, Pernambuco has been not only a thriving but an improving place, so much so that one who would visit it now for the first time could hardly believe it to be the same town of which Koster, a comparatively short time ago, said that the shops were without windows, light being admitted only by the door, and that there were no distinctions of trades, and no municipal regulations worthy of being so called. Extensive waterworks have been constructed, which bring good water some distance to the town; and doubtless, in a few years, it will be lighted with gas. A bank has been established on a safe and respectable footing; and the merchants have their news-room, as a sort of rendezvous for business, instead of an Exchange, whilst extensive quays have been formed on the margin of the rivers that would serve as models for the conservators of ‘Father Thames.’

The increased production of sugar is something marvellous; from 10,000 tons in 1821 to nearly 70,000 during the last year, with the certainty of a still further progressive increase. And this circumstance is adduced as an argument, by the old West[104] Indian interest, to show the great injustice of our present Free-trade system, which, they say, encourages the production of slave to the detriment of free labour. In this instance, however, the assertion is quite fallacious; for the truth is, that whilst this province is the most fertile one in the empire, fewer slaves have been imported into it than into any other. There is, moreover, a large coloured population, a considerable portion of them being analogous to the yeoman class amongst us. The owners of more extensive properties are industrious and enterprising, and not burthened with debts and mortgages, as in the West Indies; they farm their own estates, so to speak, and live amongst their labourers, overcoming local difficulties that would daunt paid agents and attorneys such as swarmed in Jamaica and all the adjacent islands during the period of their prosperity. This is the secret of the well-doing of Brazil, and not the alteration in our fiscal system, although the latter has no doubt acted as a stimulus to the South American planter to increase his productions, by which he is enabled to consume more of our manufactures.

Whether we consider the frugal habits of the planters of Pernambuco, their unremitting attention to their occupation, or their enterprising disposition, we shall arrive at the conclusion that, aided by a soil and climate second to none in their powers of production, they will very soon take the lead among the sugar-producing countries; indeed, the excellent improvements introduced by them within a few years upon the old methods of manufacture will go far to give them that preëminence. Among such recent improvements I may here more particularly mention that of a very practical centrifugal machine, constructed principally of wood, and manufactured in the country. Mr. Eustaquio Vellozo de Silveira has, on his estate, Rainha dos Anjos, one of these centrifugals at work, and with the best results. A most intelligent and much respected member of the General Legislative Assembly, Dr. Domingos de Souza Leao, (to whom I had the pleasure of being introduced at a ball, in Rio Janeiro, and of dancing with his sister-in-law), ordered for his estate, Carauna, in 1851, the first[105] mill of an entirely new patent for crushing the canes, invented by the Messrs. De Mornay. This cane mill is very simple in its construction; and the owner affirms that it gives a much more powerful pressure to the canes than the old mills. Several others on the same patent have since been put up in that province, which have proved quite successful; and it is only this year that others of the same description will be erected in the West Indies, the planters of these islands having been made acquainted with the result of the experiments in Brazil. A very large portion of Brazilian produce, both sugar and coffee, is consumed on the continent of Europe and in the United States, as appears by the returns for 1853, at the end of the chapter on Rio Janeiro.

It will thus be seen that we are not the only customers of Brazil, and that it is a mere fallacy to attribute its prosperity to our legislative measures, although the latter were acts of common justice to our growing trade with the country, as well as to our own over-taxed population. Until the West Indian Islands can exist on principles similar to those established in Brazil, it is idle to suppose that there can be any permanent or rational prosperity in connection with them.

We have said that the province of Pernambuco has long been noted as the most go-a-head and enterprising of the empire; and the same spirit that has led to these results has also been the cause of much political feeling. Several revolutions have occurred here that threatened a dismemberment of the state; the first, during the old regime of the Portuguese in 1817, followed by another very serious affair in 1824, when Manuel Carvalho assumed the dictatorship of the province; and a considerable land and sea force had to be sent there before the revolution could be repressed, the port being blockaded by the Brazilian squadron, under Commodore Taylor, for about six months. Other outbreaks have taken place, attended with much bloodshed, the last in 1848, when the town had a narrow escape from falling into the hands of a set of miscreants, who would first have pillaged and then devastated it with fire and sword; fortunately for the province, their leader, a[106] man of talent and influence, was killed in the outskirts, of the town, and a salutary example set by the punishment of his followers. Since then the province has remained perfectly quiet, and apparently with every prospect of continuing so.

The Pernambucanos, as the inhabitants of this province are termed, have always evinced a martial spirit, commencing with their determined and successful resistance to the Dutch in the 17th century; and it was undoubtedly owing to them that that people were finally expelled. Still, this bellicose feeling is apt to endanger internal tranquillity, when turned in a wrong direction. Happily, the wish to trade and make money seems now to be the predominant sentiment, and we must hope that it will continue to influence the inhabitants.

Like all the other provinces, Pernambuco is governed by a President, selected by the Government at Rio, generally some man of influence residing in the district; and there is a provincial assembly appointed to act under him, as also a municipal and other bodies elected for the local management of the towns.

The coloured and free population of Pernambuco amounts to about 650,000, and the slave races to about 100,000; of the former, 250,000 inhabit towns, and the remainder follow agricultural pursuits. The slaves are about equally divided between town and country. There is a striking difference between the people inhabiting that part of the province nearest to the sea and those living far in the interior; and not only do the people differ in appearance and manners, but the districts differ totally in character and in climate. The sea board, in some parts as far inland as 50 miles, goes under the denomination of the ‘Matta,’ or forest country, and above that it is called Catinga, or Sertao; Catinga, is the name of a peculiar growth of herbage which there abounds, and Sertao means literally desert, applied to this district on account of the peculiar nature of the country, which, being open and unwooded, has an appearance to warrant such a name. The Sertao is, nevertheless, far from being, as the name might lead one to infer, a barren waste, but, on the contrary, the vegetation[107] surprises even those who, born in the ‘Matta,’ have been nurtured among the wonders of the tropical vegetable kingdom. In 1846, two years of drought had driven thousands to seek for food and water in the ‘Matta,’ and had spread desolation and death among thousands of those who remained; and the cotton planters, in the hope of more abundant showers, opened and planted with fresh cotton plants new lands every year, on the first appearance of rain. But they were doomed in each successive season to disappointment, for the little moisture that fell was in each case but sufficient to make the plants germinate, until the return of hot and dry weather parched both ground and foliage. On the third year copious rain fell, and although the young plants of former years had been literally toasted, and the leaves, together with those of all the trees and grass throughout the country, had long fallen to the ground, and might be discerned in heaps where they had been whirled by eddies of wind, looking more like mounds of snuff than foliage of trees, the rain had hardly slaked the thirsty ground, when all the plants, even those longest in the ground, showed signs of vigour in green buds that developed themselves; and pasture land that had been converted into bare earth by the incessant rays of a scorching sun, was, as by magic, from one day to another, converted into fields of the most delicate verdure.

These distressing droughts in the Sertao are now of far more frequent occurrence than formerly, and they are attributable to the fatal practice of clearing and burning large tracts of timber country for the plantation of cotton and maize; for, owing to the peculiar nature of the soil, this land never again becomes wooded; and, being soon unfit for tillage, it is converted into pasture land, and devoted to the grazing of horned cattle and horses. The ‘Matta’ is not subject to a dearth of rain, because, unlike the ‘Sertao,’ it is still covered by the most magnificent forests; and what is worthy of remark is, that here, unlike the former district, the land after clearing becomes again clothed with dense wood, although of an entirely different species to that felled in the first instance. The[108] primitive forest is called ‘Matta Virgem,’ and that of second growth ‘Capoeira.’

There is little difference in the temperature of the two districts of which we have been speaking; perhaps the sun in the ‘Sertao’ is more powerful than in the ‘Matta.’ In the shade in either place it rarely exceeds 85 degrees of Farenheit; but the average heat for the 24 hours in the ‘Sertao’ is considerably below that of the ‘Matta.’ The former, however, has a totally different climate to the latter; while that is dry, and peculiarly healthy, this is humid, and produces in natives and foreigners both remittent and intermittent fever. The ‘Sertanejos’ are a remarkably fine and healthy race; but those of the ‘Matta,’ weak and sickly.

A very singular circumstance attended the visitation of the yellow fever to the seaport towns of this province some years back; viz.:—that it proved as fatal to the ‘Sertanejos,’ who came down to the coast, as to Europeans freshly arrived by sea from cold climates. Another remarkable point about the climate of the ‘Sertao,’ and one that is deserving of the attention of English physicians is, that the most surprising relief is experienced by consumptive patients, who are sent there from the coast by the native doctors, on breathing the exhilarating air of this peculiar climate. I have heard of numerous cases of men going up apparently in the last stage of the complaint, and in a few weeks becoming quite strong, and so stout that they could not get on the clothes they had taken with them.

The most vital question affecting the development of the resources of Brazil just now is the promotion of railway undertakings. The first movement has been made at Rio Janeiro, where a short line of about ten miles opens a communication between the city and Petropolis, a thriving little establishment up the mountains, where the Emperor has a palace. Other extensive lines are projected from Rio; but as regards local advancement, that from Pernambuco, southwards, offers the strongest inducement to individual enterprise, and there is every chance of this one being at once proceeded with; for the design was conceived and[109] the plan matured by accomplished English engineers, long resident in Brazil, though principally occupied in pursuits of the kind mentioned in connection with improvements in sugar plantations. Such plans have been revised and approved of by a distinguished consulting engineer, expressly despatched by British capitalists for that purpose from London; and on the strength of whose report (to be referred to presently) the necessary funds for all preliminaries are being advanced; and, lastly, the Imperial Government of Brazil has made the most liberal concessions on behalf of the project, in which the Emperor has personally most warmly interested himself, having examined the whole of the drawings pertaining to it with that minute, and, it might be almost said, intimate practical or professional knowledge which his Majesty, as is well known, brings to bear on all investigations of the kind, being probably the best informed prince living in the theory of scientific pursuits and in general literature, as we shall have occasion to mention when speaking of the Court of Rio in the next chapter but one.

In order to understand the difficulties of transit here, it must be borne in mind that nearly every article of import and export has to be conveyed on the backs of horses to and from the towns, as mentioned; so that the expense of transport, when the distance to be traversed is considerable, is often equal to the value of the article conveyed.

The proposed Pernambuco Railway is to have three divisions:—1st, from the city to Agua Preta, a distance of 75 miles, and comprising within its range some 300 sugar estates; 2nd, from Agua Preta to Garanhuns, a distance of 85 miles, passing through an extensive cotton district; 3rdly, from Garanhuns to Paulo Affonso, the falls of the great river San Francisco, 100 miles, a fine and extensive cattle district. The total distance would thus be 360 miles; but it is only intended to commence with the first division of the line, which will afford immense convenience to the planters and others brought within its scope, enabling them to send their produce to market at a moderate cost, and to keep the men, at present required to accompany the horses, employed in[110] valuable labour on the spot. Moreover, the planters and their families will then travel backwards and forwards much more frequently between their estates and the city, transact their business, and make their own purchases, whilst the great internal resources of the country will be brought into play, and all will be large gainers by the facilities thus afforded. The ground is in general favourable for the construction of the railway; there are few rivers to cross, none of them deep, whilst there is a population computed at 60,000 free persons (white and coloured) and 15,000 blacks, besides some 50,000 inhabitants of villages, &c., that will be brought within the scope, without taking into consideration the population of Pernambuco itself, which is about 100,000. It is, therefore, clear that few countries possess such strong inducements for the establishment of railway communication as Brazil; for at present she is destitute of internal roads, at the same time that she teems with valuable natural productions, and a healthy vigorous population. It is, in fact, quite a virgin country in many respects, and capable of infinite developement in resources, commerce, and their natural concomitant, wealth.

Mr. Borthwick in his admirable report, in the course of which he pays a high and deserved compliment to the Messrs. De Mornay, who first broached the scheme, and subsequently most carefully surveyed the ground of the section for which they have obtained the concession, viz., from Recife to Agua Preta, says, that a grand internal communication between the capital and the most thriving provinces is of such obvious importance as to be only a question of time, and the way is pointed out by the natural facilities of the San Francisco, extending for so great a distance, and serving so large and rich a territory.

Some idea may be formed of the immense importance of the connection, by means of a railroad, of the River San Francisco, at some point above the falls of Paulo Affonco, with the seaport of the Recife, by referring to the accompanying map, showing the course of that majestic river. From the rapids, in connection with the Falls, this river is navigable to the bar of the Rio[111] das Velhas, in the heart of the province of Minas Geraes, a distance of more than 700 miles; numerous considerable tributary rivers increase the extent of continuous navigation to nearly 2,000 miles. A large portion of the commerce of Minas Geraes, all that of Goiaz, and Matto Grosso, and much of Piauhi, Bahia, and Pernambuco, would be conveyed by this new channel, increasing, in an incredible manner, the present trade, and developing sources of wealth and profit at present totally unknown or unheeded.

The enlightened views of the Brazilian government point to an early consummation of these great arteries of prosperity and riches, so soon as political and monetary affairs in this country become settled. It has wisely undertaken to guarantee a certain per centage on the outlay necessary for making the lines, until such time as they are self-paying, of which no reasonable doubt can exist in the mind of any one who has studied the question fully and fairly. But even supposing this not to be the case, and the government had to incur a permanent guarantee for the construction of the lines, the return in other ways, and the direct and positive benefit conferred by them on the population, are too obvious to require comment. Steam navigation and railways are, as already repeatedly observed, the great desiderata of the empire of Brazil; and, in now taking my leave of Pernambuco, I devoutly hope, if ever I revisit the place, to find these potent civilizers of mankind in active operation. It must not be lost sight of by those who may be dubious as to the success of railway enterprise in such a country, that the inhabitants are a very social, travelling people; that there is a great intermingling of families in the provinces that would be sure to give rise to constant excursions by rail, to and fro, between given points; and, in fact, that all the elements of railway success are at present to be found, only awaiting the appearance of the lines which would successively call them into operation.




Note to the Second Illustration.Domestic Life among the Brazilian Planters.—Chora Meninas, the place represented in the second of the larger sketches in this chapter on Pernambuco, is in the environs of the city of the Recife, situated at an angle formed by two high roads, both leading to localities much liked by the foreign merchants, and consequently selected by them for their country residences. The road shown in the engraving leads to the Magdalena Bridge, over the river Capibaribe, beyond which the Sitios, or country houses, thickly scattered on either side, with their mango, bread-fruits and orange trees, and their fragrant flowery shrubs, convey to the stranger most pleasing sensations as he rides leisurely past them. The other road turn to the right of Chora Meninas, and passing the Manguinho, leads to the Ponte d’Uchoa, the other locality much frequented by foreigners. The two places lie, indeed, in the vicinity of the same river, the Capibaribe, the one on the right bank, and the other on the left. Chora Meninas means, literally, the Place of Wailing Infants, an appellation given to it from the spot having been the scene of much bloodshed in a civil conflict in times gone by, when the children of the slain filled the air with their lamentations over the bodies that strewed the ground. The edifice shown in the sketch was once the dwelling house of the owner of a sugar factory situated on that spot, and the chapel was erected by the planter. The buildings are old, and it is many years since the plantations of canes have been discontinued there, as suburbs of the increasing city of Pernambuco have encroached upon the lands. No vestige even now remains of the out-buildings, once destined for the manufacture of the sugar. The dwelling and chapel are built in the ancient Portuguese style, and exhibit signs of Moorish architecture in various parts. The house is a very good sample of many to be found upon the old sugar estates that are in the hands of rustic proprietors, who are very far behind in all those things that indicate an advanced state of civilization. The low roofs, the small unglazed windows, situated under the very eaves of the building, the lean-to roof over a long veranda, the unceiled rooms, the uninhabited ground-floor, partly used for store rooms, and partly abandoned to toads and serpents, and to the sheep and goats, which, as well as a decrepid ox or two, will, at times, enter by the doorless apertures to procure shelter from the heavy tropical rains,—all are characteristics of many of the residences of the less educated planters, who were born and bred to the occupation of cane-planting, as their fathers and grandfathers were before them. If some old and comfortless brick building does not exist upon the estate, you will find the planter domiciled in an edifice of his own constructing. It will then consist of but few rooms, all on the ground-floor. These will not be ceiled, neither will the partition walls be carried up to the roof, so that in one apartment everything is overheard that passes in the others. Often has the writer of this note had to occupy for the night one of these small partitions, without even a window or aperture to admit the light, and has had to listen to many a curtain lecture, while lying on a camp bedstead or stretcher, rolled up in a piece of printed calico in his uncomfortable dormitory. The following is a specimen of many occurrences of the kind that may be witnessed by a traveller when quartered at such plantations.—Wife. Zuza, have you bolted the strangers in? Planter. No, I forgot[114] it; but never mind. Wife. Never mind, indeed! but I do mind. Gertruda! Black Girl. Nhora! (meaning senhora). Wife. Get up, and bolt the door in the passage leading to the stranger’s room. Black Girl. Nhora, sim, (meaning, sim, senhora.) Pause, during which the stranger hears somebody in his room, and heavy articles being moved across the floor, and he asks who is there? Wife. Gertruda, you baggage! what are you doing? Why don’t you bolt the door? Gertruda. There are some things in the way, and I can’t shut it.—A pack saddle, two panniers full of dried beef, and half a cask of salt cod-fish have been lying near the door, inside the unfortunate stranger’s room, the aroma from the beef and fish being more intolerable than any one not having slept under similar circumstances can possibly conceive. At last the impediments are removed, the door is heard to close, the bolts are drawn, and the stranger would compose himself to sleep, in spite of what has passed, of beef and fish, but he is still irritated by the lady avowing to the unfortunate slave that she is a shameless hussy, and that a dozen blows with the palmatorio in the morning will no doubt improve her morals and her agility.

The meals and other domestic arrangements on these plantations are of a piece with the dwelling. The dinner is served to the stranger and the male members of the family only, and consists of broth and a portion of the contents of the above-mentioned panniers, with perhaps the addition of a little fresh beef; but this, having been several hours on the fire to make the broth, is not easily separated from the other. This dish fills a plate to the very outside, and is well piled up, and another plate equally well filled with pirao, made of manioc flour, mixed with some of the broth, and formed into an unctuous sort of pudding. Besides these two dishes, which constitute the most important part of the meal, there will be a plate containing some of the contents of the cask baked on the embers, and two small plates, one containing bruised chili peppers, lime juice, and broth, as sauce for the beef, and the other some of the peppers, oil, vinegar, raw small onions, and garlic sliced, as sauce for the cod fish. Dessert will consist of bananas, Dutch cheese, and guava, potato, or other sweets. All help themselves with their own knives and forks, when they have such things, sometimes the guest only being supplied with them, because he is a foreigner. In the latter case the rest help themselves with the apparatus nature gave them. It is done thus: each has a plate near him, and the meat, pirao, and sauces remain in the middle of the table. They draw from the dish a portion of the meat which they lay in their respective plates; this is subdivided by hand. With the ends of the fingers each then scoops out a piece of pirao, about as big as a hen’s egg, a shred of the beef is laid into the hot sauce and withdrawn; and the two having been a little worked up together with the ends of the fingers and the palm of the same hand until they are tolerably incorporated, the elongated bolus is conveyed to the mouth and swallowed in a manner that would probably astonish a Neapolitan macaroni eater, and certainly astounds everybody else who witnesses it for the first time.

The class of Brazilians of whose mode of living the foregoing conveys a slight idea is fast disappearing before the rapid strides that civilization is making in the country. The majority of the planters of the present day are[115] intelligent, and free from most of the prejudices inherited from the old Portuguese settlers. Many of the landed proprietors live in large, well-built houses, keep excellent tables, and, indeed, are generally of high acquirements, some having received a university education, and mixed in the first circles in Europe, and at the court of Rio Janeiro, assimilating in a great measure to the squatters in Australia, or the landowners in New Zealand, many of whom, as is well known, consist of cadets and collateral branches of the noblest and most ancient families of the United Kingdom.

The hospitality of the Brazilians to strangers, and their attentions particularly to Englishmen, when travelling in their country, are remarkable. They have got the notion that all Englishmen imbibe wine, brandy, and beer largely; and it is unfortunately but too true that what they have witnessed during their intercourse with our islanders in some measure warrants the conclusion they have come to. They always expressed the greatest astonishment when the writer refused to take wine except at dinner; and when they found that he never took their new harsh rum, or worse liqueurs, they exclaimed ‘Nao hé Inglez!’ When a man is very drunk they say he is Bem Inglez; and a dram they call, huma baieta Ingleza—an English wrapper. Some further particulars relative to domestic life among the planters, and among various grades of the Brazilians, will be found in a note somewhat similar to this appended to the chapter on Bahia; but, as partially helping to complete the foregoing picture of a Brazilian interior and menage, I select the following from a German work published in the course of the present year, entitled ‘Reise nach Brasilien,’ by D. Hermann Burmeister, the original of which I have not seen, and am therefore indebted to a review in the ‘Athenæum,’ of last month, for a translation of the extract:—

At sunrise, the family is awake. The servant, or (where there is none) the housewife lights the fire, and boils the coffee, which, though prepared in a peculiar manner, is always excellent. The raw sugar and the unroasted berries are stirred together and roasted in a covered pan, so that when the sugar melts and cools it forms a tough mass with the berries. A spoonful of this is pounded in a mortar and put into a linen bag. Boiling water is then poured upon it, cups are held underneath, and the beverage is ready. Coffee-pots are not used, but the cups are made separately, and handed about on a salver: they are small, and without handles. Milk is only added in the morning; in the evening the coffee is taken without it. The hour for breakfast is ten o’clock; black beans, porridge (angù), dried meat, meal (farinha), bacon (toucinho), cabbage, rice, and even a fowl, when the entertainment is of a superior kind, are served up. Everyone eats what he pleases, the same plate being used at once for everything. The host and his guests sit at the table to their meal, while the wife remains without, and looks on, eating apart. When these have finished, the slaves and servants take their turn. Now come the occupations of the day. The wife goes to her work, that is to say, she mends her own, her husband’s, and her children’s clothes, while the man goes out to walk, or to game, or to gossip on the highway. At three or four o’clock, there is a fresh repast of the same kind as the other. They eat heartily, drinking water either alone, or mixed with a little brandy, and soon after dinner take a cup of coffee. After this comes the period of repose, during the hottest hours of the day, and then comes another walk, which generally lasts till late at night. Between five and six o’clock, the ladies call upon their friends, accompanied by a black female servant. Some families take a third meal between seven and eight o’clock, but this is an exception.





Area, Products, and Population of Alagoas.—Maceio, the principal Seaport.—Rivers navigable only by boats, except the San Francisco.—Cataract on the same, at the famous Falls of Affonso; a new sight for Used Up travellers in search of the picturesque in the tropics.—Primitive condition of the Province of Seregipe, and prospects of rapid improvement through Railways.

The adjoining province to Pernambuco is that of Alagoas, so called from lakes situated a short distance from the coast, and where the capital of the province was originally placed; but latterly the shipping port of Maceio has been preferred, and it has grown into a flourishing little town, where a good deal of produce is cleared. It is built on the gentle slope of a hill, a short distance from the bay or harbour, formed, like all others in Brazil, by a reef of coral rocks, inside of which a vessel rides in safety with plenty of water. Its exports first in importance are cotton, and sugar, and then hides. With the exception of the Reconvavo of Bahia, there is probably no part of Brazil so populous as the greater part of this province, which, embracing an area of about 150 by 60 miles, has a population of fully a quarter of a million, chiefly addicted to agriculture, here prosecuted with great success, as the soil is most rich, yielding nearly every Brazilian produce in great profusion; but tobacco, once a prime staple, is falling off, owing to the cessation of imported slave labour; cotton is now fast taking its place, and its cultivation is being followed most encouragingly, common cotton cloth being also made in most of the houses, though the manufactured article is imported, with trifling exceptions. There are numerous rivers in the province, but none of them navigable for any distance, except by boats, in the construction of which the inhabitants greatly excel. In this[118] province is the famous cataract of Paulo Affonso, over which the River San Francisco is precipitated a perpendicular height of fifty feet, one of the grandest sights in nature; and we look forward with confidence to the time when it will be a familiar sight also to the western traveller, as the projected railway from Pernambuco, after traversing nearly the whole province, is to terminate almost at the very foot of the Falls. Of all the provinces of the great empire of Brazil there is none probably that may calculate with greater certainty on a more rapid augmentation of its prosperity from railroads than Alagoas, as nearly all the traffic is now conducted on horse-back and in a species of canoe; and as the productiveness and variety of the soil are vast, correspondingly large will be the result of affording the numerous population the means of transport. The town of Alagoas itself contains about 14,000 inhabitants, and possesses some good educational and large religious establishments, being situate in the midst of an agreeable and fertile country, surrounded by some of the finest timber-trees in the empire, the province yielding to none in the quality or quantity of its forest produce, inclusive of Brazil wood.

Seregipe, contiguous to, is also a good deal mixed up with Alagoas. They are both intersected by the great river San Francisco, which, though it might be made navigable for hundreds of miles above the falls of the same name, and be rendered a source of valuable commerce, is navigable only by small smacks for a comparatively very short distance from the sea, all goods destined for the interior farther up having to be carried on the backs of horses to another part of the river, and there put on board jojos, that is, two or more canoes lashed together, and traversed at top by a piece of board. It is worth remarking, that in ascending this river, and indeed most rivers on this coast, the wind blows up for some two hours continuously, which admits of sails being used, and the descent is easily effected by the current without the wind, which blows downwards for nearly the same space of time towards the coast. The area of Seregipe is estimated at 18,000 square miles, the population at about 200,000. This province is[119] likewise very productive, especially in fine timber, though vast tracts are still altogether uncultivated, but very large herds of cattle prosper on the fine pastures which everywhere abound. The principal town is Sao Christovao, but is not of importance, sufficient to require any detailed notice, or to detain us from the large and important town and province we next proceed to, viz., Bahia.



Bahia, its old name retained in a new place: the province and the city; present condition and splendid prospect of both.—Intra-mural peculiarities and Extra-mural properties.—Prolific sugar produce.—Historic, artistic, and archæological attractions of Bahia.—Souvenirs of the Jesuits.—Relics of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier.—A Bahian church built in Europe.—British Bahian clergyman and local railways.—Health of the city.—A Brazilian poet warbling native wood-notes very wild.—Necessity for keeping a nautical eye in fine frenzy rolling towards the Abrolhos.—Departure from Bahia.—Approach to the Brazilian capital, and untoward preliminary to the Argentina’s acquaintance therewith.—Stray notes on Bahia, containing memoranda on Brazilian matters in general.

Note to the Illustrations.—Both the illustrations in this chapter are copied from ‘Sketches in South America,’ by Sir W. Gore Ouseley, who, in a letter-press ‘Key’ to his beautiful portfolio of drawings, affords some interesting particulars, of which the annexed is an abridgment:—The first remarkable object in approaching the harbour of Bahia is the Fort of St. Antonio, situated on the point of a rock, forming the extremity of the Cape called after that saint. It is not large, but it is a fair specimen of the numerous solidly-constructed stone forts that have been scattered by the Portuguese (and Spaniards) throughout their colonial possessions, wherever deemed necessary for purposes of defence or aggression, and which bear witness, in their well-built walls, and often handsome details, to the ample means, military skill, and power, that backed the zeal of the first settlers in South America, and founded the Brazilian empire. Fort St. Antonio has on its highest part a light-house, of great service to mariners in making the port at night, as there are shoals off the point. Opposite to Cape St. Antonio is a long low island, called Itaparicá, between which and the port is the channel for large vessels. The scenery near Bahia does not present the striking features that distinguish Rio de Janeiro; it has neither the well-wooded hills nor the lofty precipitous rocks that environ the capital of Brazil. It is, however, very pretty, varied by small hills and acclivities, and ornamented by the tall, graceful cocoa-nut and the usual luxuriant vegetation of Brazil. The Cape, like the coast generally of the province of Bahia, is surrounded by coral rocks; and a reef of coral extends to a considerable distance from and along the shore. The beach is sandy, with large stones strewed on it by the action of the waves. After passing the Cape and Fort St. Antonio, which are on the right on entering the harbour of Bahia, the next prominent objects are the church and villas on the high land, called Victoria, overlooking the harbour. It is a favourite and picturesque suburb of Bahia, and is the chosen site of several ‘chacras’ or quasi country residences. The elevation is sufficient to avoid the extreme heat of the lower town and to get the benefit of the sea-breeze. It is considered a healthy situation, and a tolerable carriage-road leads to the English cemetery, marked by a cross in the foreground, and to the point of St. Antonio, as well as along the coast. On the beach are several ‘Armaçaos,’ or places where whale-boats are kept, and whales cut up. They are provided with capstans and tackle, for hauling up the carcase and blubber to be reduced to food by the poor, the flesh looking like coarse beef. The whale on this coast is pursued in large sailing-boats, and harpooned while the boat is under sail. In the inner harbour are situated most of the wharves, quays, and warehouses along the beach and projecting into the water; and here numerous vessels lie in perfect safety; the foreign men-of-war generally near a round castellated tower or fort, not far from the entrance. Bahia is divided into two towns, the upper and the lower, the former of which being more modern, is built with greater regularity than the latter; and contains many handsome buildings, including a rich cathedral, the palaces of the archbishop and governor, a court of appeal, theatre, hospitals, a library of from 60,000 to 70,000 volumes, and many other edifices, chiefly of an ecclesiastical character. The lower town, San Salvador, or Bahia, is dirty and badly laid out, but in it are to be found the exchange, arsenal, and imperial dockyard. About three miles north-east are yards for the construction of merchant shipping. The houses are mostly of stone, and often lofty. The Dutch have left traces of former possession in the brick paving of some of the streets. At the foot of the steep height, covered with foliage, and crowned by the ‘Paseo Publico,’ or public promenade, is a small landing-place for boats, conveniently situated for those who prefer a steep but clambering ascent to the upper town, to being first taken round the point into the interior basin and landed in the lower town, to be thence carried up by negroes in a sort of palanquin. Those in use here consist merely of a chair on a platform of boards, suspended from the centre of an arched pole or beam, the projecting swan-necked ends of which are born on the shoulders of two men, who relieve themselves by the occasional use of a stick as a lever applied under the pole as it rests under the opposite shoulder. The motion is neither pleasant nor the position seemingly secure. Yet not only ladies, but men, and of no light calibre, invariably use them for transport to the upper town and in visiting. The chairs are sheltered by curtains from the sun, and the woodwork as well as curtains are often gilt and showily and expensively ornamented. The steepness of the streets prevents the use of wheel-carriages, except in a few directions, and causes the substitution of these palanquins. Bahia, founded in 1549 by Thomas de Souza, first captain-general of Brazil, is one of the most important commercial cities in America; and prior to the transfer of the vice-royalty in 1763 to Rio, was the capital of Brazil. It is defended by several forts, some of great strength. It was stated some years ago to contain above 150,000 inhabitants, among whom are many very wealthy proprietors and merchants. This population is divided pretty equally into whites, mulattoes, and blacks. A few miles from Bahia, on the Atlantic coast near Rio Vermelho, is a small ruined chapel, dedicated to St. Gonçalo, said to be the first building devoted to Christian worship constructed in Brazil, or, as some say, in America.

Bahia, or San Salvador da Bahia, is commonly called by the former name, which is only the abbreviation of the title given by the first settlers to the bay, at the head whereof stands the capital, viz., ‘Bahia de todos os Santos,’ or ‘All Saints’ Bay,’ as already stated; but some geographers of the present day retain the old nomenclature; and in so recent and authoritative a work as the eighth edition of the ‘Encyclopædia Britannica,’ now in course of publication, the reader is referred, for the province and city of Bahia, to the article San Salvador, which may be expected to make its appearance somewhere towards the end of 1856, by which time, it is to be hoped, the subject will have expanded to dimensions corresponding with such procrastination in its treatment by such means.




This province contains within itself the germs of enduring prosperity: a splendid bay many miles in extent, where countless ships can ride close to the shore, with lakes and rivers branching from it, form so many natural harbours, docks, and canals; whilst it abounds with sugar plantations, forests of timber fit for shipbuilding and other purposes, precious stones, and many tropical productions, the latter of which can be all procured in a degree only limited by the amount of labour and the facility of bringing things down to the ports for shipment.


Everything at Bahia bespeaks the former head-quarter of an important government. The removal of the latter to Rio was of course a great disadvantage to this place, which has since had to work its way up as a commercial entrepot, with frequent interruptions from political disturbances, the last in 1837 amounting to a positive civil war, when a most lawless band obtained possession of the city, which they held for several months, and were only driven out, with much slaughter, after having attempted to fire it, in which they partially succeeded. Since that time things have been tolerably quiet, the discovery of large deposits of diamonds in a district called the Chapada having given an impetus to business,[124] and taken away many restless spirits, there being now a population of some 40,000, collected there in pursuit of gems here found in considerable abundance—some of extraordinary value. It is 50 to 60 leagues distant from the town of Cachoeira at the head of a river of that name, which is navigable for steam-boats and a source of considerable traffic, there joining the Paraguassa, into which sundry small tributaries, of more or less importance, flow.

The production of sugar, for the fine quality of which the province is greatly celebrated, as also for that of its tobacco, so highly praised in Portugal and Spain, has latterly revived, amounting for the crop just finished, to 80,000 tons. As already observed in the case of Pernambuco, this increase has not originated from any fiscal changes in England, but simply from the cessation of civil discord, enabling the planters to devote their entire energies to the culture of their estates. It is true that large importations of slaves have aided this movement, and that Bahia has been the great focus of this detestable traffic; but the stimulus cannot be traced in any way to our treatment of the West India Colonies, however disposed interested parties may be to ascribe it to this circumstance. The Brazilians had begun to find out the advantages attendant on peace and tranquillity, and that the greater the quantity of produce they could export the larger would be the means at their disposal for the purchase of the necessaries and luxuries of life, which they now began to look upon as desirable to possess. Improved machinery for the making of sugar was brought into operation, as well as additional capital for the development of that product, and likewise of cotton; in the export of which latter commodity Bahia now nearly equals Pernambuco, exceeding that port and province, and all the rest of Brazil put together, in the quantity of its sugar. The natural consequence of such application of skill and means has been a largely extended production from almost virgin soil.




Whilst the trade of Bahia has thus progressed, signs of local and municipal improvement are also visible. Short as is the time since the accomplished author of the note, page 123, wrote—viz., in 1845—the streets have been generally repaired, and the roads leading to the upper town put in an efficient state, so that carriages can now traverse them safely; new quays, extending along the margin of the bay, are in process of erection; also a new custom-house, together with many other much-needed improvements, chiefly owing to the personal activity of Sen. Gonsalvez Martins, formerly President of Bahia, and late Minister of the Empire, who is a native of the place, to which he has shown himself devotedly attached. Bahia possesses more attractions for the mere traveller, in search of curiosities, than probably any town in Brazil, or even in the whole of South America; formerly the capital of the empire, as we have just said, and still next in extent and importance to the metropolis, and as being also the chief seat of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction, its religious structures are the most numerous, imposing, and unique, of any in all Brazil. The cathedral of San Salvador is a splendid monument of the architectural genius of the Jesuits, and its interior corresponds in magnificence with its external beauty, containing, among other remarkable mementos of those colonizers, a portrait, said to be taken from life, of their famous founder, Ignatius Loyola, and that of St. Francis Xavier. The ancient college of the order, now a military hospital, is also very fine. There are probably not less than 40 churches, one of them being situated in the principal street, the Praya, called the Church of the Conception, chiefly composed of blocks of marble which were forwarded from Europe already numbered, like the plates of an iron house in these days, and on their arrival they had merely to be put together, and the building was constructed at once, according to the precise design of the architect at home. This is the more singular as very excellent stone abounds on the spot, the theatre, for instance, being erected on a rock, and numbers of houses are built therewith from the same material, to the height of five stories, some having balconies and blinds, instead of windows—a most desirable arrangement in such a climate, and one which speaks much for the honesty of the lower classes in a town of great trade like[127] Bahia, the extent of whose business may be surmised when it is stated that upwards of a million pounds’ sterling worth of English goods alone enter it annually. Mr. Borthwick, the engineer, sent from London to determine on the accuracy of Messrs. De Mornay’s survey of the Pernambuco railway, in his report, already referred to in the preceding chapter, speaking of the rival claims of Bahia to a railway of its own, and contrasting the condition of the two extraordinary nourishing provinces, says:—‘In 1851 the imperial revenue, from Bahia was 4,784,600 milreis, and from Pernambuco 4,639,427 milreis, irrespective of movements of funds, &c., which would reverse the comparison in that way.’ I have not the returns for the last two years before me, but believe that the general relative proposition is still about the same.

Here I saw the first practical adoption of the Brazilian railway system, in the working of a tram road, to level a large space of uneven ground called the Campo, on the Victoria Hill, by which means a large amount of work has been done in a very short time. For much of this the natives are considerably indebted to the English clergyman who officiates as chaplain to the British residents, and who, not satisfied with paving the road to heaven leading to the path he points out, and building a handsome new church in this locality, has been public-spirited enough to afford material assistance in the construction of highways, building of bridges, and other engineering works, thus clearly and beneficially proving his aptitude for business of this kind.

Bahia has suffered severely from that dreadful scourge the yellow fever; but we found it had in a great measure passed over; and it is to be hoped that it will gradually die away, though it appears that the chief medical men in the empire have decided that it will remain a permanent, or at least intermittent, visitant, something probably like the cholera amongst us, which has apparently become acclimated in England, continuing a steady course of mortality, without those sudden inroads whose speedy devastation so greatly shocked, because they so much surprised, us.

There is a romantic kind of history attached to the first settlement[128] of this province, embodied in an attempt to copy Camoens in his splendid work, commemorative of the discovery of India by Vasco da Gama. (Vide introductory chapter.) It is called ‘Caramaru,’ and was written by José Basilio da Gama, a Brazilian, born in Minas Geres, about the year 1740, and is descriptive of the adventures of a Portuguese sailor, who was wrecked somewhere near Bahia, and rescued from the fate of his shipmates (who were sacrificed by the cannibals, then in possession of the coast) by an Indian princess, who became enamoured of and married him; he then figured in the wars of the Indians, by whom he was looked upon as a kind of demi-god, and afterwards made a trip to Europe with his wife. Some of the scenes in this poem are well and graphically depicted, giving a good insight into the state of the country at that period, and of the savage life existing; but after reading Camoens, it sinks immeasurably into the shade, and we have difficulty in believing it to be written in the same language.

Our stay at Bahia was limited to the day. We sailed again at night, and were obliged to pass outside the Abrolhos, it being night when we came up with them; otherwise there is a good channel for a steamer between these rocks and the main land, and it is a great saving in distance. The name of these crags is very appropriate (‘Open Your Eyes’) there being much need of it, and no light-house to warn the mariner, should he unfortunately be driven by the current or some other casualty near such perils at night-time. Few accidents, however, happen, because a wide berth is given to the Abrolhos. Off Cape Frio we were met by a stiff south-wester, which came down upon us with a freshness and determination worthy of St. George’s Channel; our little steamer went through it manfully, only sending the spray over us. We did not descry the light on Cape Frio owing to the mist and drizzling showers, but soon came up with that on the Island of Raza, opposite to Rio Harbour, which is a splendid light seen from a long distance, and it renders the entrance to Rio comparatively easy. We steamed on, and passed the fort of Santa Cruz, where vessels[129] are hailed; but in running in to the anchorage ground we unfortunately came in contact with a small vessel, placed in the roads with chains and anchors to afford succour to vessels in distress, odd enough called the ‘Succorro,’ or ‘Succour.’ She had neglected the precaution of having a light up, so stringently enforced by the regulations of the port; and we could not see her till close upon her, doing some damage, but nothing very material, and came to anchor close to her for the night.

The following interesting ‘scraps,’ touching manners, customs, and things at Bahia, have been supplied by my valued relative, Mr. Wetherell, for some time British Vice-Consul there, who employs much of his leisure hours not merely in collecting information of this nature and placing it on record, but also in other useful pursuits connected with botany and natural history, of which he has sent home many interesting results.



One of the most singular appearances the upper city has to a stranger is its apparent desertion. There were, until very lately, only about a dozen wheeled vehicles in the place, but the march of intellect has been here, and now there are omnibuses plying to the Victoria. All burdens are carried on the head, from an orange, a candle, or a bottle, to a barrel of fish. The larger kinds, such as pipes of wine, are slung between poles, whilst logs of wood are carried upon the shoulders of twenty or thirty, looking, for all the world, like an immense centipede. During the time of carrying a wild kind of chorus is kept up; one man makes observations as he goes along, and the rest come in with a chorus, which seldom varies, however much the recitative solo part may. Although large burdens are thus carried, one man will not take nearly so much as a European, and would rather lose his chance of a journey than carry more than he thinks proper.

The cupolas of the church towers are very frequently covered with pieces of earthenware, assorted according to their colour, and laid on stucco in patterns, which gives them a glistening appearance, as if they were enamelled. It appears to withstand the effects of time. Some of them are covered with Dutch tiles, and others are formed of marble. Part of the front of the Italian friars’ church, and the bell tower, are covered with the above curious stucco, but a near approach destroys the effect.

Little naked blacks are constantly seen in the street, with no more clothing than a pair of bracelets or ear-rings, and some are very fine-looking. Their appearance is not improved, however, by the protuberance of the abdomen caused by eating farinha, which swells extremely when any liquid is mixed with it. The shape, nevertheless, is soon regained. One peculiarity is the infrequency of a child crying: their food is simple, so that they do not often suffer from indigestion, and they are less encumbered with clothing than the higher classes, although, in the country, none are very particular in that respect. The manner in which the mother carries the child, slung across the back with her shawl, binds its legs in a curve, but they soon recover their straightness when able to walk. When thus tied, the child presents the very picture of resignation, its little head nodding about, when fast asleep, or when awake crowing, or beating a tattoo on its mother’s back, who frequently holds a conversation with it, its replies being in the only universal language now in use.

The huts of the blacks are very curious; they are built of stakes of bamboo &c., driven into the ground, and these intertwined with others; the whole, being filled up with clay, and thatched with palm-leaves. The interior presents the very acmé of wretchedness on a rainy day, and but little better in fine weather. All kinds of rubbish huddled together, a few daubs of saints hung on the walls, a ricketty table with some carved saint upon it, a coach dog, (a hideous animal, without hair, having only a few bristles on the head, back, and tail, and of a dull leaden colour,) or a long-legged scraggy cat, and a few fowls, quite as great curiosities in their way, are the usual characteristics of these primitive habitations.

The blacks of this place swim almost as if they were amphibious. You see[131] numbers of children constantly dabbling at the water’s edge for hours together, and soon learning to strike out boldly. One mode of swimming is very singular; one arm is always out of the water, advanced in front, alternately with the other, sweeping or drawing the water towards them, and raising the body out of the water at each stroke. This method is considerably quicker than the ordinary style of swimming, but appears to be more difficult of attainment.

It is agreed by phrenologists that the head of the negro, above all others, presents the greatest development of Music, and certainly some of the blacks do play remarkably well. You hear little boys in the street, whom you might fancy could scarcely speak, whistle tunes with great correctness; and the negro dances show how admirably the science of time is appreciated.

O surely melody from heaven was sent
To cheer the soul, when tired of human strife,
To soothe the wayward heart, by sorrow bent,
And soften down the rugged path of life.—Kirke White.

It is to European ears, however, that taught combination music has the charm; the monotony of the negro chanting, and its never-ending repetition, convey no idea of the ‘melody of sweet sounds,’ and the dances that are exhibited to these tunes are anything but edifying.

The manner of catching fish here is curious. At low water four or five large canoes will start; two of them divide the net, which is of great length, and has the lower edge loaded with lead, and the upper lightened with cork. On arriving at a given spot, they separate, and dropping the net with all speed, form as wide a circle as possible, and thus enclose the fish in a pen. The canoes are then ranged around the outside of the net, at some distance from each other, and a hand-net, the length of the canoe, is held by two blacks. This net is about six feet in height, and supported by two poles. The other men then beat the water and the sides of the canoes with paddles, making as much noise as they can, which frightens the fish, which, trying to escape, and finding themselves effectually prevented by the net, leap out of the water, and are caught by the hand-net, and fall into the boat. In a few minutes a large catch is made, though numbers of course escape. It is a curious sight to see them flying, as it were, in all directions, out of the enclosure.

The roasted grains of milho (Indian corn) form a dish of which the blacks, are very fond; it is called pipokas, and is thus prepared:—an earthen pot is partly filled with white sand, and placed over a small open stove until it becomes thoroughly heated, when the grains of new milho are stripped off the bunch, thrown in, and stirred amongst the sand with a long stick. The grains soon swell, and burst the skin, and the corn becomes white and light. These grains are eaten with pieces of cocoa nut. ‘Vai plantas pipokas,’ (go plant roasted milho,) is a phrase, rather more expressive than polite, used in bidding a person go and mind his own business.

It is a curious circumstance that the minds of the blacks should, for so many ages, have remained in a stationary condition; and although political and local circumstances may have greatly operated to retard their mental development, yet it seems much more probable that this state of darkness proceeds more[132] from physical causes. Their stupidity, or rather want of intellectuality, is a most unaccountable fact, and one of those mysterious dispensations of Providence that man tries in vain to unravel. Individual, but almost solitary, instances occur of a contrary nature; and although cultivation of the intellect may thus have developed the black’s faculties, it only serves to show more clearly the wild and blank from which he has been separated.

A very singular, in fact almost a barbaric, custom exists here on gala days, such as the birth-day of the Emperor or Empress. The President issues invitations to a ‘Cortejo’ at the Palace, a large building in the upper town. The portion occupied by the President is older than the rest, which is new, and contains the Treasury, and other public offices. The attendance on one of these gala days consists of all the authorities, and many of the principal inhabitants of the city. The ceremony usually commences with a ‘Te Deum’ in the cathedral. The foreign consuls appear in their uniforms, a motley habited, but showy, group: the officers of the army and navy, with the President, all in full regimentals; the archbishop in his robes, and the priests in the habits of their respective orders; the judges in their robes of office, the corporation in their quaint dresses, and a crowd of civilians, all habited in black, and many of them decorated with ribbons and stars. The entry is up a dilapidated stair-case, on the top landing of which a military band is stationed playing national airs. Two large and scantily furnished rooms are entered, and a short time is spent in conversation, until the preparations for the Cortejo are complete. Then the President’s aid-de-camp pushes aside the heavy door curtain, and invites the company to enter. The assemblage enters a long room, papered with green and gold, and lighted by a line of windows overlooking the sea, curtained with green and gold damask, looped with bullion. At the further end of the room, under a velvet canopy, with a kind of dais in front, are portraits of the Emperor and the Empress, which constitute the sole furniture of the room. On one side of the portraits stand the President and the Archbishop, and on the other the General-at-arms, Commander of the National Guard, and other principal authorities. The procession advances down the centre of the room, in Indian file, the consuls going first, and according to precedence; and when within a few yards of the dais, each person makes a profound bow to the portraits, and then to the authorities. Foreigners generally omit the first obeisance, as being too savage, but those who come after most ceremoniously perform the rite. After bowing, each person takes his leave by passing out by a side door, and the Cortejo is over. When all have bowed their way out, the President invites the consuls he is friendly with to view the troops defile before him, as he stands at one of the front windows of the Palace. The military march past to martial music, and then we take our leave.

Caugica is a species of food of a peculiarly national character, and is made in various ways. One is simply taking the skin off the Indian corn, and boiling it in milk or water; this is eaten cold. Another method is to grind the corn, mix the meal with sugar and spices, and boil it with milk, when it makes a very agreeable food.


The butterflies of this country are most gorgeous; agile and graceful, they flutter in the sunlight, their magnificent robes glistening like scales of gold. These sylph-like inhabitants of the air, issuing from the dark cradle in which they exist as chrysalises, seem to rejoice in their new life, hovering from flower to flower, sipping the choicest nectar, and revelling in perpetual enjoyment, and the continued pursuit of novelty and pleasure.

The Solidade Convent is the great locale where they make those beautiful feather flowers without dye, which are so much esteemed in Europe. On my first visit to this place, all the romance of nuns and nunneries was revived in my mind. The lady abbess, or superior, or whatever else she may be, was a stately woman: but the nun who acted as saleswoman was most beautiful—a Carlo Dolci countenance, pale, but with glorious eyes; and far more flowers were bought from her than would have been from any other. Visitors are ushered into a small room, whither the flowers are conveyed in large baskets through a double grating, and the attendants of the different nuns are there to look after their own. None of our party were very proficient in Portuguese, and we had great fun in the purchases, though we probably paid double what we ought to have done. On our departure, the lovely nun came to the door, and as we passed out, courteously bade us ‘adios,’ and requested us, if we came again, to ask for Maria.

A beautiful species of duck is found at Maronia, to the north of this place, of the manner of catching which a description has been given me. The lakes which they frequent are very much choked with vegetable matter, and near their haunts a large gourd is floated, having two small holes bored through the side. After a few days, when the ducks have become accustomed to the presence of the gourd, a man wades into the water with it on his head, and catching a duck by its legs, breaks its neck, and fastens it to his girdle. In this manner, several are quietly killed, and the fowler wades ashore with a well-filled pouch.

The Botocudo Indians make an incision in the under lip, which becomes so distended that they insert in the orifice a round piece of wood, as large as the top of a common-sized tumbler-glass; the lobe of the ear is also perforated and elongated, in order to receive a similar ornament. In height they are about 5 feet 6 inches, and have quite an independent bearing and ar de franqueza.

The Indians, like the Greeks of the Homeric age, deem it the greatest of evils to be unburied, and therefore they delight in making flutes and trumpets of their enemies’ bones. I have seen some of these flutes of the present day: they contain about four or five holes; and are sometimes ornamented with tufts of red and yellow feathers attached to the bone by strings.

The market is a most curious place, and I am told by persons who have travelled in Africa, that it has a thoroughly African appearance. Amongst heaps of fruit, vegetables, &c., shaded by mats, some of which are formed into huts, and others merely propped up by sticks, are seated the black women, in dresses of many diversified colours, but all of the same fashion. Some with their infants slung across their backs, and tied by the pano da Costa; others with heavy baskets of fruit or vegetables on their head; little[134] children, whose only articles of clothing are bracelets, ear-rings, and bands of coral beads round the body, squat on a wooden dish, like an Indian god, or sprawl amidst fowls, ducks, &c. Here and there you see a black girl in her holiday attire, her hands covered with rings, and her neck adorned with chains of solid gold, which she is constantly displaying by arranging her shawl. In this part of the market the boxes of papadura, attended by the taberoá, in his leather jacket and hat; the half-naked qaubadomes busy with unloading and loading, and the different and absolutely gorgeous colours of the fruit, vegetables, and dresses, form a most brilliant picture. The constant chatter of talking, the screaming of parrots, the laughter of the women, and sometimes the serious talk, added to which the procession of the Espiritu Santo, accompanied by its band of music, the ringing of the church bells, and the constant firing of rockets, constitute a perfect Babel of sounds. The dark shades are the dusky sons of Ethiop themselves, the dirty buildings, and the still dirtier streets; but a busier, gayer, or more amusing scene will seldom be found.

This is the land of parasite plants; a thousand different kinds of these vagaries of nature are here. Some, attached to the branches of trees, derive sustenance therefrom and from the air; others form a nucleus with their roots for dead leaves, decayed wood, &c., and flourish; others, again, merely rest upon the branches, and live on air alone. Every curiosity of form is to be seen: some of the flowers like flies; others of indescribable shapes; many with their flowers filled with water, which thus becomes scented; a dozen different varieties on one tree; some of most brilliant colours, others shades of green alone; some long and pendant, one variety of which has received the name of the ‘rat’s tail;’ some without leaves, like nothing but a string, wave with every wind until they reach the ground, where they become fixed and rooted.

The bread-fruit tree is very beautiful; but is not very common in this place, its use being superseded by farinha. The leaves are very large, of a bright green colour, and much indented at the edges. The fruit is green, and the surface has the appearance of network. There are two varieties: in one kind the divisions of the fruit’s surface are raised pyramidally, in the other they are smooth. The latter is the sort used for food, it having no seeds. Roasted and eaten with butter and salt it is palatable, but insipid; and here it is usually planted for ornament, as it grows quickly, and makes a pleasing variety among other trees. The coffee is another very beautiful plant; when in blossom, the long, glossy, dark green leaves present a pleasing contrast to the clusters of white flowers round the stem, and it exhales a delicious fragrance. When the berries arrive at maturity, they are of a dusky red colour; each contains two grains of coffee, surrounded by a soft pulp, which soon dries after being plucked, and is then removed. The labour of picking is very slight, and children can with great ease be thus employed. The cultivation of the coffee-plant is much more attended to in this province than formerly, and is gradually taking the place of sugar. Towards the south a good deal is cultivated for exportation.

The mantis is a very curious insect, which Rondelet, the naturalist, says is called indifferently devin and prega diou, or preché dieu, in consequence of[135] having their fore-feet extended as if preaching or praying. The Latin name of mantis signifies ‘diviner,’ and supposed to have been so designated from the motion they make with their fore-feet; and it was imagined that they could divine or indicate events. The fore-feet are used by the insect to carry food to its mouth; it is of a beautiful green colour. In one of the Idylls of Theocritus the term mantis is used to designate a thin young girl with slender and elongated arms.—See Griffith’s Edition of ‘Cuvier’s Animal Kingdom.’

The banana is a plant about twelve feet high, having a stem similar to bulbous plants in general, and the leaves, many of them two feet wide, and from twelve to fourteen feet long, springing from the top. The new leaf rises from the centre, and is rolled up straight; as it increases in length, it gradually unfolds, and gives way for another. The fruit is green, and grows round the stem in regular semi-circular groups. The blossoms are protected by a thick fleshy leaf-like covering, which rises to allow the sun to have its full influence in maturing the fruit. When the blossoms drop off, the half-circles remain, but it is seldom that more than six or eight rows of bananas are produced, and each smaller than the preceding. The juices of the plant gradually lose their nutritious qualities, and there are numerous rows of abortive flowers, which produce nothing; and the stem is terminated by a mass of the fleshy leaves enclosing embryo bananas never to be matured. The plant is generally cut down when the fruit has attained its full size, to make it shoot for the next season, and the fruit is hung up to ripen, which it soon does, when it becomes of a fine yellow colour.

The sunsets here are sometimes very fine, and I have noticed that when the twilight is hastening on, a brighter glow will appear, with very vivid and distinct bands of blue and pink, alternately shaded off into each other, and radiating from the spot when the sun has gone down. The difference in the apparent sunset is about half-an-hour between winter and summer. Bright as the sky is by day, it is brighter far by night, when the spangled heavens are spread out like a curtain. The air is so pure that the stars seem to shine with an increasing brightness. The Southern Cross is a beautiful object, and so different are the heavens from the northern hemisphere, that nothing seems to produce the effect of the long distance from home so much as the difference of the starry constellations. The Milky Way seems to have received fresh refulgence; and all is magnificence.

The small black ants found in gardens, generally in great numbers, are the most annoying of the species; their bite produces a burning pain, which must be partly the effect of poison, and continues for some time. The red ants very soon strip the foliage off trees, which they are constantly ascending and descending, one party empty, the other loaded; a third party remains in the tree, cutting away whole leaves, so that it is no unusual thing to be passing under a tree, and to see the leaves falling as it were miraculously. A fourth party is employed cutting them up into proper sizes for carrying to their nests. Most of these ants, if squeezed between the fingers, emit a strong smell of lemon. Rose-buds seem to be their most favourite food, and gardens here suffer extremely from their ravages.



Night upon the watery, and daybreak on the land.—Beauty of the approaches.—Apprehended retrogression, but real progression, in the City.—The stag mania in the tropics, and some of its consequences.—Notes on carriages, operas, snuff-taking, polking-washerwomen, blacks, whites, odds and ends, and things in general, original and imported.—Social, sanitary, and governmental matters of divers kinds.—Composition of the Brazilian chambers, and business therein.—State of parties.—Abolition of the Slave Trade.—Sittings of the Senate.—No necessity for Mr. Brotherton in the Brazils.—Character of the present Emperor.—Wreck of the Pernambucano.—Heroism of a black sailor.—Rigorous regulations of the Rio custom-house.—Suggestions for the extension of Brazilian commerce, and the prevention of smuggling.—Revisal of the Brazilian tariff.—Educational progress since 1808.—French literature and fashion.—Provisions in the Rio market.—Monkeys and lizards articles of food.—Oranges, bananas, chirimoyas, and granadillas.—Difficulties of the Labour Question since the suppression of the Slave Trade.—Character of the Indians.—State of feeling as regards the coloured people.—Negro emancipation ‘looming in the future.’—An experimental trip on the Rio and Petropolis railway.—Facts and figures on the commercial and monetary connexion between the Empire and Great Britain.—Comparative humanity of the Brazilians and Uruguayans.—The Slave Trade Question, and European intervention in South American politics.—Prospective glance at the advantages of steam communication between Brazil and the United States.—Authorities of all kinds on these heads; also on the territorial pretensions of Brazil, especially in reference to the disputes in the River Plate.—Portrait and Memoir of Admiral Grenfell.

Note to the Illustrations.—As in the case of Bahia, the illustrations in this chapter are from Sir W. Gore Ouseley’s ‘Sketches in South America,’ the original, however, containing no less than thirteen beautiful views of Rio Janeiro and its vicinity. In the ‘Key,’ accompanying the drawings, Sir William has embodied, in a very graphic manner, the result of his experiences in search of the picturesque in the neighbourhood of the capital to which he was accredited for several years as the representative of England. Describing some of the spots he has so faithfully delineated by his pencil, he says:—The Sugar-loaf Hills at the entrance of the magnificent harbour of Rio de Janeiro, (or simply Rio), literally ‘January River,’ are far off discernible, with the lofty Peak of the Corcovado, or ‘Hunchback,’ in the back-ground. On entering, the hill to the left, called par excellence, the Sugar-loaf, is a prominent object; then follows the wooded peninsular hill, on which is the Fort St. Juan, united to the base of the Sugar-loaf by the Isthmus of the Praya Vermelho, or ‘Red Beach;’ opposite this hill lies Fort Santa Cruz, commanding the narrow entrance of the harbour. Its formidable batteries of heavy guns are perhaps nearer the level of the sea than necessary caution, inspired by proximity of the vast Atlantic, would dictate. For, sometimes, even placed as they are, twenty or thirty feet above the water, the heavy gales from the south-west or south have caused the sea to break over these batteries, with sufficient force to dismount the cannon, as if they were reeds.

The harbour is among the finest in the world; no pilots required by night or by day, entering or leaving; no dangers not visible, or avoidable with prudence; of course a sailing vessel, venturing in or out in very light winds, or if it falls suddenly calm, may, by the enormous Atlantic swell, be cast on the rocks, when little or no steerage way is imparted by the wind.

More than one vessel has thus been lost, in the finest weather in mid-day; but from attempting to pass the narrow entrance of the harbour, without a steady breeze. Steam tugs would obviate such danger, and sea and land breezes, excepting at some seasons, afford a regular means of entrance or exit to those who await their commencement. There are boats with cables and anchors in readiness, sometimes inconveniently so, as the Argentina experienced at Fort Santa Cruz and Fort St. Juan, on the opposite shore, to be sent to vessels in danger. The bay is 17 miles in length, and 11 in extreme width, and contains many small islands, the largest, Ilha do Gobernador, or ‘Governor’s Island,’ six miles in length.

The city, whose original name was San Sebastian, now altogether lost, was founded not long after the discovery of Brazil by Cabral in the sixteenth century. It is of oblong shape, situated on an elevated tongue of land, the most easterly point of which is Punta do Calabouço, (‘Dungeon Point’), and the most northerly, opposite to which is the little Ilha das Cobras (‘Snake Island’), that of the Armazem do Sal (‘Salt Store’). The more ancient north-east part is traversed by eight straight, narrow, and parallel, streets, crossed by many others at right angles. In these the houses are high, though not quite so lofty as those in the metropolis of the mother country; but in the new town, built for the most part since the arrival of the royal family from Portugal in 1808, they are handsomer, being generally of granite. The two towns are separated by the Campo de Santa Anna, one of many large squares, agreeable to the eye, in consequence of the somewhat fatiguing regularity of the streets. Rio, the most important commercial city of South America, is naturally, from its position, the great mart of Brazil, and its advantages are such as to fit it for concentrating the commerce of the globe; but, as we have said above, comparatively little has been done to assist nature, so far as regards the convenience of the considerable quantity of shipping which frequents the port. Lighters are employed in loading and discharging all vessels as they lie at anchor in the harbour; but Government is now carrying out a plan, by an English engineer, for a quay or wharf, to extend between the Military and Naval Arsenals, at which sixteen vessels will be enabled to unload at once, as well as lighters. This is a step in the right direction, and, although even such accommodation will not be sufficient to meet the future requirements of Rio, there is no doubt that the enlightened spirit which at present animates the Brazilian government and nation will induce them to execute fresh improvements as their provincial resources increase.




This is the second time I have entered Rio at night and missed the proverbially fine view of the approaches to the bay.[41] Morning broke amidst drizzling showers, everything looking very gloomy. We were visited about breakfast time, and steamed to our regular anchorage, near the island where our coal depôt is. I will not indulge in any lengthened disquisition upon the merits of the city of Rio Janeiro, so often described, but content myself with noticing the changes or improvements that have taken place since I last visited the place four years back; or, on the other hand, allude to what many consider as its want of progress and the local difficulties which impede its onward march of events. As the capital of so large and important an empire, Rio Janeiro is certainly deserving of a closer analysis than has hitherto been attempted in any public work with which I am acquainted.[42] The fatal barrier to improvement, during the last few years, has been the yellow fever, which has carried off large numbers of the population, especially the industrial and foreign portion, on whom so much depended;[139] whilst during the same period the import of slaves from the coast of Africa has been almost entirely suppressed. In this comparatively short space of time the spirit of joint-stock enterprise has made considerable advance here, resulting in the establishment of a bank, a railway over the flat ground going to Petropolis (nearly completed); other extensive railways and public roads to the interior, for which contracts are now about being completed; a gas company, to light the city, very far advanced towards actual completion, pipes being already laid, lamps erected to about one-half of the city, and works building for making the gas, &c.; a company to navigate the River Amazon, which has already commenced operations with a liberal grant from the government; besides a number of minor enterprises, all conducive to the comfort and well-being of the country. The origin of this movement was no doubt owing to the joint-stock mania prevailing at home, aided by a superabundance of capital from cessation of the slave-trade;[140] and the opportunity was seized by some patriotic individuals to give a right direction to the public mind in the undertakings adverted to. But, as might be expected, things got a little wild; shares of every kind were driven up to a very high premium, and a change has followed, detrimental, for the time being, to practical advancement. Money, so very abundant last year at from 4 to 5 per cent., is now difficult to get at 8 or 10. Many people are locked up in share transactions, which must take them some time to realize. It has been, in fact, a repetition, on a comparatively small scale, of those scenes of monetary derangement to which our own country is so often subjected, and by the result of which the Brazilians have not taken warning. No doubt the effect will soon pass over, there having been no real abstraction of capital from the place.

The city of Rio Janeiro extends some three miles along the south-west side of the bay, and being much intersected by hills, it is difficult to get a good view of the whole range, unless from the top of one of the mountains near the city, such as the celebrated ‘Corcovado,’ which stands out like a pulpit on the plain below, and is some 2,500 feet perpendicular. The view from this pulpit on a clear day is superb, and I should say almost unequalled in the world: the city, with its numerous divisions and suburbs below you—the bay, extending as far as the eye can reach until lost in the plain below the Organ Mountain—the sea, studded with numerous picturesque islands, with vessels looking like white specks upon it, and seen to a great distance—all together form a most enchanting picture, and amply repay the toil of an ascent. The mountain is of granite rock, like all others in this country, but thickly wooded almost to the summit, and you come out quite suddenly on the bare point before alluded to, so much resembling a pulpit. In consequence of the tortuous formation of the streets, constructed round the base of the hills, it is difficult to get more than a bird’s-eye view of the city, on ground made by encroachment on the sea; consequently, the streets are low, without drainage, and in several of the back ones the water collects[141] and stagnates, to the great detriment of health and comfort. Rio itself is a bad copy of Lisbon—streets at right angles, a large square facing the sea, and the suburbs extending up the hills, which everywhere meet your eye. In Lisbon the streets are tolerably wide, but here they have built them so miserably narrow, that scarcely even one carriage can pass through, much less pass each other; and it is evident that such vehicles were never contemplated in the original formation of these streets. The only way of getting over the difficulty is for carriages coming into the city to take one line of streets, and those leaving it another, which they do, excluding omnibuses altogether from the principal thoroughfares. Improvements in this way were what I found most backward; indeed there was a marked falling-off in such respect since I was last here, and there seems a great want of municipal government.[43] In many places the pavement is execrable, and generally very bad, the difficulty having probably been increased by laying down mains for water and gas, the latter now in process of execution, and also to heavy rains having washed away many parts of the road, and otherwise caused much damage. Once this troublesome job is got through, it is to be hoped some effective measures will be taken to put the streets and branch-roads in order; otherwise they will soon be rendered impassable. Coach[142] and coach spring making must be thriving trades here, especially with the immense increase that has taken place in the number of carriages and omnibuses; and it is really wonderful how they stand the continual shocks they have to endure.[44] Government seems at last alive to the absolute necessity of doing something to improve the sanitary condition of the city, and also its internal organization, as they have lately got out some good practical English engineers, who I have no doubt will suggest an effective mode of dealing with present difficulties. If they do not adopt decisive measures, the rate of mortality may be expected to augment fearfully in a dense population of 300,000 to 400,000 inhabitants, huddled together in some 15,000 houses, surrounded by impurities of every kind, not the least being the stagnant water in the streets. No exact census has ever been taken of the population of Rio Janeiro, which is generally believed to be between the two figures above given. There is a migratory population, but the accumulation of humanity of every race and colour, contained in some of the large dwelling-houses, is something extraordinary. As before observed, nature has done much for this country, and if the natural facilities of Rio Janeiro were properly availed of, and local improvements carried out with energy and spirit, it might be rendered one of the finest and most luxurious places within the tropics.[45] The opportunity is now open to them; the government possess ample means, and it is just a question whether measures of progress are to be effectively achieved, or the city to be abandoned to its fate. The great evil attending all improvement in Brazil is an undue appreciation of native capability, and a disparagement or distrust of those whose practical experience would enable them to grapple with the difficulties that surround them—a kind of little jealousy and mistrust that prevents their availing themselves of opportunities thrown in their way to carry out undertakings necessary to the well-being of the country; nor can they understand the principle on which such things are regulated in England, still less the magnitude of operations carried on there and in many other parts of Europe. Yet the time seems to be coming when these principles will be better understood here, and when the application of English capital towards the improvement of the country may be safely and legitimately brought to bear.




The political and social position of this great empire, whose influence and example are of such incalculable importance to the present, and still more to the future, of the whole continent of[145] South America, must necessarily be a subject of anxiety to all who wish to see it prosper, and who are at the same time practically acquainted with the difficulties that have to be overcome in the maintenance of its present system of a representative government. Without attempting anything in the shape of a history of that government, or of the circumstances which led to its formation and have ensured its consolidation, a few particulars may not be unacceptable to such readers as have not had their attention directed to the subject. After the expulsion of the Portuguese in 1822, Don Pedro was declared Emperor, and, in 1824, the constitution, which is a very close imitation of our own, was proclaimed. The government is confided to ministers chosen by the Emperor; there is a chamber of deputies, 548 in number, elected by the towns and 18 provinces, and a senate or upper chamber, consisting of 54 members, titled and untitled, the numbers in both being limited, and titles are not hereditary. Hence, though there are, we believe, upwards of 20 marquises, 7 counts, 29 viscounts, and 32 barons, the sons of these do not succeed to the titular distinction of their fathers, notwithstanding the honours emanating from a crown that is hereditary. The business of the country passes under the same sort of discussion, and just with as much freedom of debate, but not more, than with us; and according to the support given or withheld by the chambers is the government strong or weak. The revenue of the empire is accounted for, and finds its way into the national treasury at Rio de Janeiro; and hence the difficulty encountered in dealing with its distribution, as each representative of a province naturally wishes to favour his own constituency, and is opposed to what he may think an undue proportion of expenditure lavished, and of interest taken, in the province already favoured with the establishment of the capital and the residence of the court, and where the largest population centres. This is one of their great legislative difficulties, which gives rise to long and violent discussions. Another is the existence of two factions in the state, the old Portuguese and the purely Brazilian party. Some years back the former held[146] the reins, and were the supposed abettors of the slave-trade; but since 1848 the present ministry, mostly composed of pure Brazilians, have retained office, and been enabled to carry out most stringent measures for putting down that abominable traffic, which is for the present not only suppressed, but its restoration is impossible,[46] owing, first, to the complete revulsion that has taken place in public opinion, and, secondly, to the new direction that has been given to the employment of capital, as explained in our chapters on Pernambuco and Bahia. To such lengths have an honest and energetic administration, supported by a high-minded sovereign, jealous of the honour of his country, and, above all, of its credit for integrity in adhering to its engagements, been able to act upon this truly national sentiment, that many of the influential Portuguese, known to be actively engaged in the traffic, and some of whom had sunk vast sums in its prosecution, have been banished the country. Five years is a long time for a ministry to retain office in any country; for even in our own that period far exceeds the average duration of a British cabinet, at least during the last three reigns; consequently, the greater the wonder at the stability of one in a country such as Brazil, and under many trying circumstances. Not the least embarrassing of these was the perpetual interference of England to put down the external symptoms of the slave-trade, though Brazilian ministers were doing it in a manner so rapid and effectual as to constitute[147] one of the most startling and complete social revolutions ever recorded in the history of any nation in the world as the work of half-a-dozen ages, much less of half-a-dozen years.[47] This speaks well indeed for the personal ability as well as for the representative system under which the existing ministry govern, as without a decided majority in the chambers they could not possibly endure a single session. Brazilian policy and Brazilian views seem to be now much more firmly established in the legislature, and the native party greatly preponderates. Still this clashing of interests tends to impede the regular march of business, by giving rise to endless personal discussion and personal invective. The chamber of deputies and the senate are a long way apart from each other, which must occasion inconvenience, and destroy that prompt action and unity of purpose so necessary in a legislative assembly. The locality ought always to be the same,[148] with the monarch as the head, opening and closing the sessions under the same building. Considering their late elevation to political distinction, some of the deputies and senators of Brazil display no small amount of oratorical, and, what is still more valuable, debating, ability; whilst many of the former must make a great sacrifice of time and personal convenience in spending so many months away from their families and estates, which are difficult to be reached in a country where the means of travelling are comparatively so primitive, and the distance to be traversed generally very great. The hours of discussion in the chambers are as much too brief as ours are too long, being only from 11 a.m. to 2 or 2.30 p.m., during which one orator will often occupy the time for speaking sake only, and the business of the day has to be adjourned; whereas if ministers, with no Mr. Brotherton to be afraid of, could keep them at it occasionally until midnight, or 2 or 3 in the morning, it would tire out declaimers, who seek only to pander to the appetite for fervid or piquant rhetorical popularity, and would insure quicker despatch of the business in hand.




The present Emperor is in every respect admirably fitted for his high station. Born in the country, without the advantage of a knowledge of European life, and that finished tone of education it affords, but possessed of natural endowments of an exalted order, and having turned to the utmost advantage the opportunities of a studious and virtuous youth, he carries with him the full national sympathies of the native Brazilians, the respect of the[151] old Portuguese party, and the esteem of the whole foreign diplomatic body, to whom he dispenses the honours and hospitality of a prudently managed court. As the sovereign of a constitutional country, content to abide within the strict limits imposed by his coronation oath, his reign has been prosperous and happy. In his private capacity he is kind and attentive to all around him, as well as a close observer of passing events. Possessed of a benevolent heart, and actuated by a noble singleness of purpose, he knows how to direct the reins of government, without undue interference or an injudicious exercise of his prerogative. It has often been emphatically said that the Emperor is not only the highest, but the best man in the country, both from his public conduct and his private virtues. The value of such a compliment is not enhanced, or probably we should say is not impaired, by any universal laxity and corruption around him, as in the case of another empire nearer home, wherein it is[152] said that the principal personage is not only the most honest, but the only honest, man in his own dominions. Probity[48] and high-mindedness of every kind in public life are as general in Brazil as in any part of Europe, England itself certainly not excepted; consequently the standard the Emperor is measured by is one by no means conventional or equivocal, but is such as any sovereign in the western world might feel proud of having applied to himself. Certainly, in the matter of truthfulness, the rarest of all monarchic virtues, he has set an example to the royal brotherhood of kings that might be followed with infinite profit to the reputation of the regal race, and with corresponding advantage to their subjects in numerous instances. His Brazilian Majesty is admirably supported by an excellent and high-minded partner, who, like her husband, is beloved by all classes in the empire. The imperial couple frequently[153] attend public balls, and mix in social parties with citizens and foreigners, taking also the warmest interest in all local improvements, or measures calculated to benefit the country, and to raise the character of their subjects. When the kind of life they are compelled to lead is fairly considered, and the extent of court intrigue necessarily prevailing where parties are so much divided and respectively so potent, too much merit cannot be ascribed to the Emperor and Empress for the manner in which they conduct themselves, and the controlling influence they exercise over others. Every one who has been in Rio well knows how exceedingly popular he is, and how strong is the conviction that that popularity is most just and most deserved, though he never goes out of his way to obtain it by any ad captandum arts, or any conduct whatever that is not the result of sound judgment guiding an estimable nature. M. Reybaud, a Frenchman, in a biographical memoir, which appeared also in English in one of our illustrated journals at the close of the year before last, says:

‘But the great work of Don Pedro the 2nd, a work at once of humanity and policy, and which will be his indelible title of glory in the eyes of Europe, is, that of having openly attacked the national prejudice of the necessity of black slaves, and having overcome it. Thanks to him, thanks to his Ministers and the Legislative Chambers of Rio, the traffic is henceforth definitively suppressed in Brazil, for the people have understood and accepted the Imperial policy, which has for its motto, “No more traffic in slaves; European colonization.” Such is at this moment the cry of all Brazil. The agriculturists themselves, until lately insensible to the anathemas of philanthropy, have opened their eyes, and joined the Government and the Chambers in demanding the deliverance of the country from the living leprosy of the slave traffic. It was imperative that it should. It was indispensable that the country should associate itself with the measures of the Government, for up to this time the laws that were made were not carried out, and the people who thought them prejudicial to their interests did not scruple to infringe them. The policy of the Emperor and the Brazilian Chambers was very simple and sensible. It was not sufficient to decree the suppression of the traffic, but it was necessary to open up to the agriculturists new ways and means by which they should, within a longer or shorter delay, dispense with black labourers. The Legislature, to provide for this necessity, took proper means to attract European colonization. Several attempts tried on this new basis have been attended with the happiest results. Little colonies have sprung up, especially in the south of the empire, and are in a flourishing condition. The planters[154] and landed proprietors throughout the empire give a decided preference to free over slave labour, as experience teaches them that it is infinitely to their advantage.’

It is impossible too highly to eulogise the conduct of his Imperial Majesty in reference to the slave trade; but as one evidence, which may be useful by way of example in a certain portion of the world that regards itself as far more advanced than Brazil, I transcribe the following extract from a letter dated Rio, November 14th, 1853, and which appeared in some of the English papers in January last:—

‘The “Pernambucana,” one of the vessels of the Brazilian Steam Packet Company, was wrecked near St. Catherine’s, and upwards of 40 passengers drowned. This disaster afforded an opportunity for a display of heroism and bravery rarely equalled. A black sailor, belonging to the vessel, succeeded with many others in reaching the shore; numbers had perished in the attempt, and but few of the passengers remained upon the wreck. All of these, including a mother and six children, did Simon save. It is pleasing to add that the Brazilians were by no means slow in marking their appreciation of, and rewarding, this heroic action. A subscription was opened in the Praça do Commercio, and the amount subscribed in two days exceeded seven contos of reis, or about £800. The Emperor and Empress, whose hands are always open for the succour of the needy, or the reward of the meritorious, contributed 900 milreis, and the total amount already received approaches to £1,000. In addition to this, a statue of the black is to be placed in the exchange. An unfortunate circumstance, peculiarly annoying to our English community in Rio, may be noticed in connection with this affair. The promoters of the subscription, persons of great influence and respectability, brought the black to the Praça do Commercio, not merely to gratify the curiosity of those who were anxious to see one become so celebrated, but to afford any information which parties connected with the victims or survivors might require. The director of the month, who was unfortunately an Englishman, objected to the presence of a black in the sala, and in spite of the remonstrances of all present, insisted upon his immediate removal. This arbitrary proceeding has called forth some severe articles in the public papers, and it is provoking that one of us who pretend to so much philanthropy for the race should have shown so much prejudice against the colour. This heroic fellow, with whom the Emperor of the Brazils expressed himself proud to shake hands, was driven from the exchange because he was an African! And by an Englishman!’

I cannot learn that this conduct has called for any reprobation in England; that there have been any encomiums passed by our abolitionist press or declaimers on the monarch of that country wherein partiality for the slave trade was declared by the highest[155] authority amongst us to be ineradicable, except by violent measures on the part of England. Nor, indeed, can I find that there has been the least desire to make the amende in any way to Brazil for all the calumnies so long heaped upon her; for even that portion of the Slave Trade Treaties Report quoted, which relates to Brazil (and which has been circulated throughout the Brazilian press), has been passed over with indifference by our purists and censors. Nay, more, within a very short period preceding the date of these remarks, a tale of horrors was tricked out for the regalement of our gobemouche public in this country by a pair of travelling philanthropic malevolents concerning a certain planter in Pernambuco inviting his brother planters of the province to a grand spectacle of boiling a slave alive; and the name of her Britannic Majesty’s consul was actually adduced as that of a witness to the act. The absurdity was, of course, scouted in Brazil as the conjuration of a diseased fancy; but the journals here that gave currency to the figment have evinced small alacrity in recording the contradiction elicited on the spot. So in the case of the imperial conduct towards Simon. Had the President of the United States acted as the Emperor did in this instance, or had a North American Uncle Tom performed any portion of what the Brazilian black achieved, dramas and novels by the score would have appeared, and, in fact, we should never have heard the last of it.[49]


Though she has made wonderful strides in the right direction—advances positively marvellous, considering the locality, and even as contrasted with what would have been the case in England at this present day, had a large section of otherwise enlightened men amongst us had had their way—still, commercially speaking, Brazil has yet much to do in the shape of reform. A great deal of the old leaven of Portuguese exclusiveness and exaction remain to this day, although it is not carried to such an absurd extent as at Lisbon, where is placed in the hands of every shipmaster visiting the port a document,[50] which, considering that its provisions are enforced by a civilised mercantile nation of Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century, and in a great port whence once sailed some of the mightiest maritime enterprises in history[157], deserves to be regarded as a curiosity of commercial literature, and is preserved as such in a note. No wonder the trade of Lisbon should dwindle down to a mere cypher, and the finances of the country be in so deplorable a state. Any nation issuing such a document as this places itself on a par with, if not on a lower footing than, China or Japan. In Brazilian ports you have the same ordeal of health visits, police, and custom-house searchers, before you can even leave the ship; and if a vessel arrives after dusk, no matter where from, coasting or otherwise, she must remain till morning for the visit, after which she is a kind of custom-house prey, watched and pounced upon in every possible manner, if all is not found to be strictly in accordance with the long string of regulations, numbered like a criminal code; and woe betide the unfortunate shipmaster or merchant, importing goods, who innocently falls into the trap laid for him. It is a case of heavy fines, damages, and often confiscation of ship or property; although it can be clearly and satisfactorily proved that no one is to blame in the matter, and that there has been no fraudulent intention whatever. The stipulations of the custom-house code are being continually infringed, and yet, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, it altereth not! All this is very sad, and unworthy of a country that looks to commerce for its intercourse with Europe, and as a main source of revenue and social progress. The only excuse lies in the force of habit, founded on inveterate prejudice, bequeathed by the old superannuated mother country.[51]

It is true that our own fiscal system twenty years ago contained much of the objectionable matter alluded to, although it was never distinguished by those absurd forms and regulations that are not[158] only a check to personal liberty, but involve the loss of much valuable time. If some public-spirited minister, who took a right and far-seeing view of the true interests of Brazil, were to grapple fairly with this subject, and had the moral courage to bring forward liberal measures, I firmly believe that he would carry them. For instance, let him abolish the farce of visiting vessels, both inwards and outwards, for sanitary or other state purposes; and as regards customs’ revenue, once let the duties be reduced to a scale that would render smuggling unprofitable, and there would be no need of a commercial code or of fines and restrictions. All experience proves that where duties have to be levied for the absolute necessities of the state, the more moderate the scale the less chance there is for smuggling, and the greater the increase and encouragement to consumption of the articles imported, which can then be sold at cheaper rates. It is notorious that for many years after the trade with Brazil was opened, not half, probably not a quarter, of the duties entitled to be levied found their way into the public treasury; and although a good deal of this iniquity has been done away with by the firmness of a few public servants,[52] yet the temptation remains, and some parties still profit by illegal importation at the expense of legitimate traders. I repeat my strong conviction that Brazil might derive a much larger revenue under[159] a moderate scale of duties, and she could then afford to wipe away all the existing restrictions on commerce and shipping. It is true that she has done something, both in reduction of her tariff as well as of her anchorage dues, a step in the right direction, which, for her own sake, it is devoutly to be hoped she will soon follow up vigorously.

As regards the social condition of the Brazilian empire, there is doubtless still much room for improvement. Where is there not? But when we recollect that until 1808 there was not a printing-press in the whole country—and now behold no large town without its journal, generally very admirably managed, and when we see educational establishments, many on a very large and highly efficient scale, in nearly every province of the empire—certainly we cannot say her progress has been slow. Previously to that time the only instruction imparted was through the convents, and consequently it was tinctured with all the old monastic and narrow-minded leaven attached to those institutions, whose downfall in Spain and Portugal was soon followed by similar measures in Brazil. Secular education became extended; seminaries and schools were established, both under the patronage of government and by private individuals; newspapers increased, and are now multiplied to the number of upwards of 50, including scientific and literary; and the whole course of things was changed; but without so far resulting in any general plan by which instruction is communicated to the masses of the people. French being the principal medium of intercommunication between the better classes and all foreigners, and being very generally spoken, publications in that language are necessarily most in request; and an assortment of French reading of the latest Parisian stamp may be had in Rio equal to what is procurable in any second-rate town in the country it comes from. It is needless to say that French fashions, in other than strictly intellectual items, prevail among all the educated classes in the Brazilian capital; and by ministering to such tastes a large number of native French derive considerable profit. In addition to the educational advantages already enumerated, and the list[160] might be greatly extended were we to include the libraries, &c., some excellent institutions of a charitable nature abound, as well as hospitals; the one last founded of this class at Rio is on a most magnificent scale, in a small bay near the entrance of the port, where an admirably executed marble statue of the Emperor has also been most fittingly placed.[53] As it is under his auspices it has been commenced, and by his munificence and example, and that of his estimable consort, it has become one of the noblest edifices of the kind in existence on either side of the Atlantic.

Another of the social evils of Brazil is the difficulty of obtaining a labouring population, a necessity consequent on the importation of slaves having ceased. It is one which, unless seriously and[161] promptly dealt with, must entail very momentous consequences: a continuous immigration of free labourers appears to be the only solution of the question. But whence are they to come in anything like the required numbers? It is quite clear that European labourers cannot work with slaves, nor will the hardy islanders of the Atlantic consent to do so; people, moreover, are needed who can bear the climate, and will put up with hardships which only those acclimated can be expected to endure—that is, the climate of the more torrid parts of the Brazils; for there are vast regions, larger than the whole United Kingdom, where out-door labour is perfectly practicable to natives of Great Britain, and where some of such natives have settled and prospered as agriculturists, as we shall have occasion to refer to in speaking of the Banda Oriental, in respect to the adjoining Brazilian province of Rio Grande do Sul. The only alternative seems to be coolies from China; and with the present propensities of that class, no doubt numbers would flock to Brazil, if the needful encouragement and facilities were given. At all events the experiment might easily be tried, and the sooner it is done the better.[54] Some parties are sanguine enough to believe that the aborigines of the country, the remnants of the Indian tribes, might be brought under civilized rule, and[162] instructed so as eventually to be rendered capable of replacing slaves; but this plan seems very problematical, unless in those districts where they have already been accustomed to mingle and work with the other inhabitants, as in the northern provinces of Bahia and Pernambuco. In the latter province especially, there is a very fine race of men called Sertanejos, who make good labourers, and are very useful in bringing produce to market by means of horses. The number of men so employed may be imagined when, by the law of Pernambuco, one man must accompany every horse; and in the busy season 2,000 horses have been known to pass the toll-bar inwards, and the same number outwards, making altogether 4,000, although the edict alluded to is not very strictly enforced, the distance travelled by these horses being from 50 to 300 miles. It is literally impossible to form a proximate conjecture as to the number of Indians in Brazil, the estimates of various authorities ranging from one-fourth of a million to a million and a half, divided into Indios, Mansos, and Tapirios; the former partially civilized and speaking some Portuguese, the latter still savage. Nearly all the tribes are of large stature; and though exceedingly low in the scale of civilization, possess many of the virtues of the barbarian, especially when uncontaminated by the vices of the white man, or proximity to him. For the most part they are warlike, the climate by no means enervating their bodies or subduing their spirit; and though in[163] some respects ferocious when excited, the practice of cannibalism towards prisoners taken in battle is quite extinct, if indeed it ever really existed. Some of the tribes exhibit an extraordinary antipathy to the negroes, which is the more remarkable as the marriages of people of colour with whites are very common, and degrees of black that would throw a citizen of the United States into a fever of indignation are looked upon with philosophic indifference, both by Brazilians and natives of Portugal in Brazil. Probably this is one reason why slaves in Brazil are treated with a kindness and humanity altogether unexampled in any other part of the world, a fact upon which all authorities are agreed, notwithstanding some shocking exceptions that were wont to be practised towards newly-imported unfortunates from the coast of Africa, a custom now fortunately at an end. No doubt a wise and conciliatory policy exercised towards those Indian tribes who still occupy large districts of Brazil would be attended with beneficial results; but this is a work of time. What the country now wants is immediate labour, and for a supply of this, emigration of some kind is the only available source. The towns are already beginning to feel the effects of the diminution, and wages have consequently risen considerably; whilst in the interior the value of slaves has greatly increased, a preliminary perhaps to their future emancipation.

Before quitting the subject of Rio improvements, I may note an interesting excursion made over a short line of railway, and the first ever attempted in this country, which is to connect the city with Petropolis (the mountain and summer residence of the court and upper classes), and which was recorded as below in the ‘Journal do Commercio’ of the 6th September, 1853, the day on which we left Rio for the River Plate.[55]


Respecting the mercantile position of Brazil generally, I turned with some considerable curiosity to the edition published in the course of the present year, 1854, of ‘M’Culloch’s Commercial Dictionary,’ a work of deserved authority and influence, as every[165] business man is aware, though, I regret to be obliged to add, the article on the country I am now treating of does not sustain the character to which the volume is in so many other respects entitled. I had expected, as the result of recent events in Brazil, some marked modification in the writer’s opinions as expressed under this head in former editions, but could find none; and indeed the whole of his remarks, which I annex, would appear, from internal evidence, to be as emphatic as in previous editions, notwithstanding the date on his title-page, and his assertion in the preface that the latest information had been brought to bear on every point. He says:—

‘The imports into Brazil, which are chiefly from Great Britain, consist principally of our cottons, woollens, linen, iron and steel, hardware, butter, and other articles, amounting in all, in ordinary years, to about £2,500,000. It is frequently, no doubt, said that our exports to Brazil amount to double that sum, or to more than £5,000,000. But there is no room or ground for any such statement. The return is not derived from Brazil, but from our own Custom-house; and there is no reason why the merchants should undervalue the exports to Brazil more than to any other country. The commercial policy of Brazil has, on the whole, been characterised by considerable liberality. The duties on imports and exports have been mostly moderate, and have been imposed more for the sake of revenue than of protection. In October, 1847, the legislature of Brazil issued a decree, imposing 33⅓ per cent. higher duties on the ships and produce of those nations which did not admit the ships and produce of Brazil into their ports on a fair footing of reciprocity. This decree was, in part, provoked by our policy in regard to the slave trade, and was in avowed retaliation of the high discriminating duties we had imposed on Brazilian and other slave-grown sugar. But the modified views of the Brazilian government in regard to the slave-trade, and the admission of slave-grown sugars into our markets under reasonable duties, which are to be equalised with those on British colonial sugars in 1854, occasioned, in 1849, the revocation of the discriminating duties referred to. A provincial duty of 15 per cent., imposed in some of the provinces on hides and other articles, has also been repealed. Great Britain enjoys the largest share of the trade of Brazil; and that share will, it is probable, be a good deal increased, when the duties on foreign and colonial sugars are equalised in 1854. The abolition of the discriminating duty on foreign coffee in the course of the year 1851 has occasioned a considerable increase in the imports of Brazilian coffee. The commerce of Brazil has sustained great injury from the wretched state of the currency and of the finances; the value of the former, which consists almost wholly of paper, being excessively depreciated and liable to extreme[166] fluctuations, and the revenue being inadequate to meet the expenditure. Latterly, however, vigorous efforts have been made to increase the revenue; and it is hoped that, in the event of the finances being placed on a better footing, measures may also be taken to improve the currency.’

The concluding passage, as to the inadequacy of the income to the expenditure, is altogether questionable; and the admission of such an assertion into a work of the character just quoted from, betrays a determination altogether inexplicable, for of course it is impossible to put it down to the score of ignorance. The rapid and progressive liquidation of the national debt, and the unfailing punctuality of the dividends, added to the price Brazilian stocks command in the British market, sufficiently bespeak the healthiness of Brazilian finance. I have not been able to discover upon what data it is that Mr. M’Culloch fixes the annual imports of British produce into Brazil at so low a figure as he mentions in the foregoing extract, and which figure has appeared in successive editions of his work for many years back. But it is quite incorrect; and, at least, as much below the actual amount as the one he condemns as too high. A witness before the committee on Slave Trade Treaties last year, a gentleman officially connected with the Brazilian embassy, and having the best means of knowing the accuracy of what he said, declared the amount of trade during the year 1852 between Great Britain and the Brazils to be about three millions and a half sterling per annum of imports, entirely from England. Those imports[56] are sold there on one year’s credit; so that every year there are £7,000,000 of English goods in Brazil. There is always a deposit of British goods equal to one[167] year’s consumption, and one year’s consumption due. Besides that, there is a national debt to England of £6,000,000 sterling; Brazil has to pay interest for that. Then there is the internal debt, where £600,000 of bonds belong to Englishmen; which makes a total of £13,600,000 of British property engaged in Brazil.

Hence, then, the magnitude of the interests in this country as affected by our relations with Brazil. Nor are the interests of humanity at large on a less extensive scale. The witness last adverted to—and I can state of my own knowledge that the authority he adduces is a most competent one—an Englishman long resident in Brazil, in the public service of that country, says:—

‘Allow me to cite from the writings of an Englishman who appears to be very well acquainted with the affairs of the Brazils: it is an article about a book published by Sir Woodbine Parish, from the British Quarterly Review for February, 1853. The book is about the River Plate, but there are in the article of the Review two or three little passages to which I will beg the attention of the Committee; beginning about the attack of Caseros, where Rosas had been put down. He says, “On this occasion, however, the Brazilian alliance introduced a regular, well disciplined, and properly commanded army into the contest, and in the hour of Buenos Ayrean defeat, it was to its humanity, order, discipline, and obedience that the troops of Rosas appealed; Surrender to the blue pants (so the Brazilian infantry was termed), they do not kill! was their cry.” This is to prove that Brazilians are not so blackened in civilization as they generally think in Europe, and not so inhuman; “and thus a body not exceeding 3,000 men had upwards of 5,000 prisoners, not one of whom was injured; on the contrary, a contingent of Rosas’ army refused to surrender to the Oriental forces of Urquiza; but on the appearance of a Brazilian officer (Captain Petra) at once laid down their arms; nor was this example of humanity lost on the Argentines themselves, in the subsequent occurrences at Buenos Ayres.” I have read that to show that the Brazilian people are ill judged of, and that they are more desirous to put an end to slavery than they have had credit for, on account of the point of civilization they have come to, and on account of the circumstance of its being to their interest. The article of the Review contains still the following observations: “Nor ought the events we have narrated to be uninstructive to Europe; for they teach the impolicy of England and France attempting to precipitate, either by diplomatic or military agency, events in distant countries, whose circumstances they are so imperfectly acquainted with; and the shortsightedness of prohibiting the intervention of a nation materially and geographically, as well as politically, concerned. They teach us also the dignity and office of the Empire of Brazil in the political system of the world; and how much more that state may be made to contribute its share to the great mass of human happiness, by promoting its welfare, than, as has been done, by wounding its pride.” Thus by promoting its welfare, and coming to an amicable understanding with it, there would have been a much fairer result, perhaps much quicker, than by wounding its pride, and by much stronger measures.’




This is most just and true; and though the cause of irritation to Brazil, indirectly glanced at in the concluding sentence, has happily passed away, it is no less necessary to remember with what forbearance that country endured the slights and indignities put upon her, and with what magnanimity she forbore from soliciting the aid of a neighbouring nation that might have required small inducement to vindicate the honour and inviolability of the Brazilian flag; for there cannot be a question that the government of Washington would very gladly avail itself of any opportunity that might contribute to strengthen the connection between the States and Brazil, though it is remarkable that some attempt of the kind has not been made, in the mode of which the establishment of such a steam company as the one I represent is an example.[57]




1839 and 1844.—Average annual value of imports and exports, 13 millions sterling.

1845 and 1849.—Average annual value was 16 millions sterling, or an increase of 3 millions.

In this latter period the average yearly number of vessels employed was

10,694; tonnage, 1,937,944;
of which 5,464 953,654 inw.
5,230 914,290 outw.
vessels, 10,694 tons, 1,937,944

showing an average increase over the former period of 1839 to 1844 of

vessels, 34 per cent.
tonnage, 42

Of the above figures, the imports averaged in value,

49 per cent,
exports, 51

During the same period, the proportions of foreign and coasting trade were:

foreign imports and exports, 76 per cent.
coasting 24

Of the aforesaid total imports and exports,

Great Britain figures for 36 per cent.
United States 16
other parts of the world 58

And in the total value of imports,

Great Britain figures for 50 per cent.
France 10
United States 11
other parts 29

Ditto in exports:

Great Britain 24
United States 23
other parts 53

The percentage of this commerce divided amongst the ports of Brazil, is as follows:

Rio Janeiro, 53 per cent.
Bahia, 17
Pernambuco, 13
Other ports, 17

The value of imports and exports bearing about a relative proportion to these figures.

COFFEE, SUGAR, AND HIDES, EXPORTED FROM RIO JANEIRO, IN 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851, 1852, 1853.

The total number of bags and barrels of coffee exported from Rio Janeiro in 1847 was 1,650,300; in 1848, 1,706,544; in 1849, 1,451,715; in 1850, 1,392,361; in 1851, 1,993,255; in 1852, 1,899,861; and in 1853, 1,657,520. The total number of cases of sugar was, in 1847, 3,136; in 1848, 2,371; in 1849, 3,212; in 1850, 6,465; in 1851, 4,752; in 1852, 9,012; in 1853, 2,667. The total number of hides imported in 1847 amounted to 268,492; in 1848 to 348,947; in 1849 to 299,262; in 1850 to 195,706; in 1851 to 173,746; in 1852 to 210,223; and in 1853 to 75,852. In 1853 were also exported 21,808 boxes and barrels of coffee; 17,556 bags of sugar; 5,049 half-tanned hides; 222,577 ox and cow-horns; 1,050 pipes of rum; 25,825 rolls of tobacco; 9,935 bags of rice; 32,610 planks of jacaranda; 7,085 barrels of tapioca; and 71,680 lbs. of ipecacuanha. The shipments of coffee to the United States in 1853 were 853,023 bags against 960,850 in 1852, 996,552 in 1851, 638,801 in 1850, 634,565 in 1849, 806,907 in 1848, 729,742 in 1847, 727,263 in 1846, 551,276 in[171] 1845, 534,689 in 1844, 543,239 in 1843, 357,278 in 1842, 427,096 in 1841, 296,705 in 1840, 344,833 in 1839, 265,656 in 1838, 127,032 in 1837, 313,934 in 1836, 264,721 in 1835, 171,737 in 1834, and 236,708 in 1833. These statements are made up from the vessels’ manifests, excepting coffee, which, from the beginning of 1834, is from the daily shipments at the Consulado. The yearly exportation of coffee was, in 1820, 97,500 bags; in 1821, 105,386; in 1822, 152,048; in 1823, 185,000; in 1824, 224,000; in 1825, 183,136; in 1826, 260,000; in 1827, 350,900; in 1828, 369,117; in 1829, 375,107; in 1830, 391,785; in 1831, 448,249; in 1832, 478,950; in 1833, 561,692; in 1834, 560,759; in 1835, 647,438; in 1836, 715,893; in 1837, 657,005; in 1838, 765,696; in 1839, 889,324; in 1840, 1,068,418; in 1841, 1,028,368; in 1842, 1,174,659; in 1843, 1,183,646; in 1844, 1,269,381; in 1845, 1,187,591; and in 1846, 1,522,434 bags.


Alkali 8,369 10,591 13,213 11,752
Apothecary wares 6,994 8,858 7,272 10,667
Apparel and slops 21,189 28,475 45,891 49,290
Arms and ammunition 27,747 39,707 37,786 23,441
Bacon and hams 950 865 7,756 869
Beef and pork 402 70 353 12
Beer and ale 14,770 17,155 25,407 14,971
Blacking 1,889 1,510 1,532 966
Books 3,625 996 750 538
Brass and copper manufactures 32,596 36,324 45,346 47,212
Butter 82,889 65,279 88,857 96,861
Cabinet and upholstery wares 482 648 799 876
Carriages 821 386 300 388
Coals, cinders, and culm 23,036 20,320 26,118 24,248
Cordage 3,972 1,294 1,428 424
Cotton manufactures 1,516,137 1,546,570 2,016,086 1,891,374
Cotton yarn 2,025 1,041 173 191
Earthenware 35,278 41,268 54,588 90,359
Glass 10,432 11,277 15,320 10,866
Hardware and cutlery 80,389 80,973 108,406 104,129
Hats 463 325 1,326 1,376
Iron and steel 94,792 78,105 84,488 109,876
Lead and shot 11,457 18,967 11,793 11,703
Leather 10,016 11,002 11,716 18,332
Linen manufactures 131,412 157,054 295,925 250,243
Machinery and mill-work 14,817 29,001 23,715 18,816
Musical instruments 6,612 5,776 12,725 11,018
Oil, linseed, rapeseed, and hempseed 10,085 5,906 10,810 12,091
Painters’ colours 13,230 8,249 7,776 9,604
Plate, jewellery, and watches 8,948 7,966 15,115 22,016
Saddlery and harness 2,566 3,133 4,188 7,333
Saltpetre 9,518 5,446 5,860 4,326
Silk manufactures 14,554 14,295 23,624 24,709
Soap and candles 3,429 5,648 2,404 3,115
Stationery 3,532 4,248 7,085 6,293
Tin and pewter 16,049 12,552 21,084 12,310
Umbrellas and parasols 8,507 7,754 5,290 8,184
Woollen manufactures 180,599 223,002 446,062 511,690
Miscellaneous 30,137 33,001 37,323 41,915
Total 2,444,715 2,544,837 3,518,684 3,464,394


Shipping, 1852.— 793 vessels 198,053 tons } Conveying cargo.
1853.— 750 186,984

Besides a large number of vessels calling in, &c.


Shipping, 1852.— 1173 vessels 448,851 tons.
1853.— 1004 387,470

Of which 560 vessels with produce, 68 with foreign merchandise, and 139 with their inward cargoes; 15 in ballast had foreign destinations, 15 with their inward cargoes, 2 in port laden with produce, and 205 in ballast, proceeded to other parts of the empire.

Import (exclusive of 341 steamboats) 2094 vessels 207,872 tons
Export (exclusive of 330 ditto) 2036 202,994

The amount of paid-up capital is £2,300,000 sterling.


12,479,437 reis, or about a million and a half sterling. The revenue in 1852 exceeded that of 1853 by about £250,000, owing to discouragements of trade by disputes amongst sellers and buyers; and the total revenue of 1852 exceeded that of 1847 and 1848 about 50 per cent. The Consulado revenue for 1853 was 2,208,059 reis, or about £250,000 sterling.

Ports. Number of
Pará 11 2,058
Maranham 17 5,260
Pernambuco 40 10,506
Bahia 32 10,320
Rio Janeiro 84 25,502
184 53,646
1849. 1850. 1851. 1852.
Annatto cwts. 462 648 596 1,188
Capivi 363 344 574 955
Cocoa lbs. 1,391,162 1,204,572 1,949,666 2,244,713
Coffee 6,376,651 1,779,799 7,888,638 3,053,202
Hides cwts. 207,199 157,003 150,585 94,733
Horns 8,288 5,247 6,843 2,856
India rubber 4,605 5,967 11,053 12,813
Isinglass 515 610 547 352
Ipecacuanha lbs. 5,126 1,638 13,554 14,703
Rum gallons 1,139 33,952 20,712 1
Sarsaparilla lbs. 6,220 12,247 17,810 16,517
Sugar cwts. 561,660 362,686 720,424 289,999
Tallow 23,925 4,559 5,246 ——
Tapioca 6,960 10,989 11,442 6,288
Wood, Brazil tons 329 12 57 135
—— Fustic 589 669 438 382
—— Rosewood 3,649 3,022 3,200 3,676
—— Zebra 85 60 89 187
Wool, cotton lbs. 30,738,133 30,299,982 19,339,104 26,506,144
New York 225,985
Boston 3,293
Philadelphia 123,007
Baltimore 199,314
New Orleans 311,350
Total 862,949

Each bag consists of 5 arrobas, or 160lbs. English weight each, the gross value being upwards of £2,000,000.


Since the foregoing data were published, they have been summarised and annotated by a very competent authority in London, and the results issued for private circulation among Anglo Brazilians. The document so published presents, in a very succinct and comprehensive form, the financial status of the empire; and a further condensation of it, to suit these pages, cannot but be acceptable to such readers as the previous chevaux de frize of figures may repel from the perusal of what is really most interesting fiscal and instructive political facts.

The National Debt of Brazil dates from 1824, when the imperial government contracted a loan of 1,000,000l., 5 per cents, at the price of 75, in order to defray the expenses of the war of independence. In the following year, the government contracted a second loan of 2,000,000l., also 5 per cents, at the price of 85, with the further advantage of a year’s dividend, to provide for the expenses attendant on the suppression of the revolt in the northern provinces; and in consideration of the recognition of Brazilian independence by Portugal, they undertook the liability of the loan of 1,500,000l. 5 per cents., which the mother country had contracted at 87 in 1823. The expenditure was seriously increased by the subsequent war with Buenos Ayres, and scarcely was this brought to a conclusion when the government was led into fresh liabilities by the assistance which Dom Pedro I. gave the constitutional party in Portugal, on the usurpation of the crown of that country by his brother, Dom Miguel. In 1829, two 5 per cent. loans, 392,584l., were contracted at 54; and the Regency, ten years later, were compelled to contract another 5 per cent. loan of 312,512l. at 78, in order to meet the deficit in the revenue, which then embarrassed the government. During the usurpations of Dom Miguel, the payment of the dividends on the Portuguese loan of 1823 was suspended; but as soon as the authority of Donna Maria was established, her government provided for the arrears, and in 1842 a financial treaty was concluded between Brazil and Portugal, under which the former delivered to the Portuguese agents stock to the amount of 732,600l., which[174] at 85, the price at which it was issued, was equal to 622,702l., the sum agreed to be paid by Brazil, in liquidation of this and all other claims.

The National Debt of Brazil, therefore, amounted in 1853 to 6,999,200l., the interest on which, throughout all the difficulties and embarrassments of the government, has been punctually paid, though, at times, the measures necessary to provide for its payment have been severely felt by the people. The several loans specified were contracted on the terms of a sinking fund, which were fully carried out until 1828, when the increased expenditure compelled the government to put a period to its operations. But as soon as the expiration of the commercial treaty with England in 1844 allowed the government of Dom Pedro II. to revise the tariff of customs duties, and by that means to obviate the pressure of a deficiency in the revenue, the provisions of the sinking fund were revived. The Portuguese loan was thus reduced to 954,250l., and in 1852 it was paid off by a new 4½ per cent. loan of that amount, contracted at 95. Reductions of the other loans have been effected in the same way, and the foreign debt of Brazil now stands at only 5,900,000l. Further reductions are being gradually effected, and if the provisions of the Sinking Fund continue to be carried out, as doubtless they will be, the time cannot be far distant when the foreign debt of the empire will be entirely liquidated.

Between 1836 and 1840 the deficiency in the revenue increased from 476,825,000 reis to 3,639,608,000 reis, and in consequence of the expenditure consequent on the rebellion in the province of Rio Grande do Sul, this deficiency continued to increase until 1844, in which year it amounted to 9,484,520,000. This deficit did not entirely disappear during the next three or four years, but in 1849-50 there was a surplus of 3,035,006,000 reis (341,438l.), in 1850-1 of 3,552,404,000 reis (399,645l.), in 1851-2 of 4,010,220,000 reis (451,149l.), in 1852-3 of 3,970,202,000 reis (446,647l.), and in 1853-4 of 3,528,934,000 reis (397,005l.). Since 1836 the revenue has increased from 13,024,749,000 reis[175] to 35,290,691,000 reis, at which sum it may reasonably be estimated for some years. The expenditure has increased from 13,501,574,000 reis to 30,471,066,000, which increase has not only been at a slower rate than that of the receipts, but exhibits a progression from a deficiency to a surplus, and since 1844 it may be taken as representing an improvement in the administration, the growth of an efficient steam navy, and those numerous public works which have been referred to in preceding pages. The surplus revenue of the last five years has been the natural result of the fiscal reforms of 1844, which have extended commerce and promoted internal prosperity, at the same time that their success has paved the way for further and more extensive reforms in the same direction.

These accounts refer only to the imperial revenue, in addition to which each of the twenty provinces into which the empire is divided has its separate revenue, raised by its Provincial Assembly, and expended on local objects, the aggregate amount of which is about one-third that of the imperial revenue. This system causes the demands on the imperial treasury to be much fewer than in countries where the administration is centralised, and the entire expenditure is defrayed from the general revenue. The entire debt of Brazil does not much exceed three years’ revenue, and while the latter is yearly increasing, the former exhibits an annual diminution. This proportion between income and liabilities is such as few states can exhibit, and considering the almost illimitable resources of the country, and the commercial prosperity that is fast growing out of its adoption of a Free Trade policy, a debt of 12,362,290l. cannot be deemed a serious or burdensome charge. Indeed, when we look at the progress which has been made towards the diminution of the debt, in years when the facilities of the government for meeting its liabilities were much less than at present, there can be no doubt that it will in the course of a few more years be extinguished altogether, and thus enable the government to carry out farther reductions, and promote many schemes of improvement.


In concluding this summary of the commercial and social status of Brazil, I venture, before making any observations on the Plate, to solicit the attention of the reader to some very admirable remarks which appeared in an influential morning journal a few weeks ago, with the signature of ‘Braziliensis,’ explanatory of the precise relationship of the empire to the Oriental del Uruguay and to the Argentine states generally. A knowledge of this relationship is essential to an appreciation of what is called, often erroneously, the ‘River Plate Question;’ and, with the aid of the writer referred to, whose remarks I am about to epitomise, and a few explanatory addenda incorporated with them, the matter may be rendered transparent in a brief compass. First, as to the Uruguay, touching which republic Brazil is assumed by ill-informed politicians in England to have sinister designs. Now, Brazil, of all countries, has most interest in the peace and progress of Uruguay as an independent state. But it must not be overlooked that Brazil is a Platine state, just as much as Uruguay, as the Argentine Confederation, as Bolivia, or Paraguay. It is in Brazilian territories that the River Paraguay has its main source, that the River Uruguay rises, that the Parana begins to flow, and that these (with their tributaries) form the River Plate. All three are navigable in Brazil; each forms the natural access to great and rich provinces of that empire, which has, therefore, a deep interest in the free navigation of the upper waters of the Plate; and that interest is the key to her policy on the southern side of the empire. She has a plethora of land. What she wants is an increase to her free population: to European immigration all parties are directing earnest attention. Civilians, not soldiers of fortune, govern Brazil. The Emperor is a civilian; his ministers are civilians: there is nothing aggressive or ambitious in Brazilian policy. Law, order, commerce, and peace—not the sword—prevail. The army is small, not exceeding 65,000 men, of which the regular troops number 22,540 officers and privates (including 3,127 cavalry, and 3,582 artillery); the remainder are militia, and the whole are strictly obedient to the civil power. Like England, Brazil cultivates a[177] naval force, and that never sways the destinies of the state in any country.

To save itself from the unlicensed soldiery of the Spanish provinces—from the savage Artigas—Monte Video sought and found admission into the Brazilian empire, and became its Cis-Platine province. The jealousies of the Spanish and Portuguese races (and Buenos Ayrean intrigues) produced revolt, and led to war between Brazil and Buenos Ayres for possession of the Banda. But this war was most unpopular in Brazil. Her native population did not regard the territory as worth fighting for, and the obstinacy of Dom Pedro I., in persevering against public opinion, was one cause of his downfall. Hostilities terminated by the creation of the independent Republic of Uruguay. But Lord Ponsonby’s treaty, by which it was accomplished, was one of preliminaries only. So little, however, did Brazil then care to intrigue in Uruguay, that, notwithstanding her material interests suffered from the want of definite arrangements, she was content, so long as Uruguay preserved the shadow of independence, to go on with provisional relations only. But Rosas first attacked and then subdued the independence of Uruguay; and then Uruguay became a source of danger, for it adjoins Rio Grande do Sul, in which serious disturbances had with difficulty been suppressed. These Rosas tried to revive. Its boundaries, too, were unsettled; and Oribe carried his incursions into Brazilian territories, levied enormous contributions on Brazilian subjects, and carried off 800,000 head of cattle. Nor was this all: the navigation of the Uruguay, Parana, and Paraguay was closed to Brazil, and commerce down the Plate, Brazil was allowed to have none. Still, whilst there was a chance that British and French intervention would remedy this state of things, she waited patiently. When those powers not only retired, but wholly failed, Rosas openly assumed the protectorate of Uruguay, and required Brazil to submit to the depredations of Oribe, his lieutenant. Brazil expelled the power of Rosas from Uruguay, then drove him from Buenos Ayres, but at once withdrew within its own frontiers, and,[178] in the succeeding troubles, refused to interfere further than to give good and the same advice to all. Brazil had then the opportunity of annexing the Oriental State, and of again advancing her frontier to the Plate. In fixing the boundary line she has gained no territory; her pecuniary claims she has postponed until those of other countries are discharged; she has insisted on the free navigation of the rivers, not for herself only, but for all the countries they water; and when the government of Monte Video was lately oppressed by poverty, she consented to lend it 60,000 dols. a month, in order that it might preserve its independence. Brazil was no party to the recent change of presidents at Monte Video; and just as Brazil supported Giro himself when in power, as the head of the government de facto, so, in the interests of peace and independence, she now lends moral support to the present government.[58] She takes no part against Urquiza; she is neither his partisan nor that of Buenos Ayres in Argentine disputes; she has, indeed, tried to throw oil on their troubled waters; but, as that was not to be done, like England and France, Brazil now waits for[179] their natural solution. She is the only South American state with a stable government, with a large and increasing commerce, with a growing surplus, with an augmenting population. She has secured the esteem of England by at last abandoning the slave trade, and she will not risk either her prosperity or her reputation by ambitious designs on Uruguay. [See chapter on the River Plate.] We have seen that she is most favourable to the free navigation of those rivers on her southern and eastern frontier, whose opening has so long been the desideratum of European and South American commerce; and we shall see presently that she is most wisely and energetically coöperating with an affluent company, composed of English, Brazilian, and Portuguese capitalists, for bringing the blessings of steam to bear upon the Amazon, the results of which proceeding it is entirely impossible to exaggerate.

Ten years ago the finances of Brazil were in very great embarrassment. Under all circumstances of distress and difficulty, Brazil had, indeed, paid, as she still continues regularly to pay, the interest on her debt, thereby honourably distinguishing herself from other South American, and not a few European states. But, at that time, her expenditure largely exceeded her income. Gradually Brazil has reversed this state of things; instead of a heavy deficit, she now has a steadily increasing surplus, has been able to reduce the rate of interest on part of her foreign debt, is slowly reducing its capital, and is in a position to compete in the money market of London with the most favoured European governments. Ten years ago Brazil was not a little embarrassed by the fiscal restrictions she had imposed on herself by her commercial treaties with other countries. Now she is free from all such embarrassments, has full powers over her own trading and financial system, and has no treaties at all with other states. Intermediately she raised for revenue purposes her tariff of Custom duties; but now that she has a surplus to dispose of, her Government is engaged in reducing those duties, to the enlargement, of course, of her commerce. The total funded domestic debt of the empire on the 31st of Dec. last amounted to 57,704,200,000 reis, and the funded debt of the[180] province of Rio Janeiro to 3,940,000,000 reis. The total revenue for the present year, 1854, is estimated at about 32,353,000 milreis (£3,594,700), and the expenditure at about 29,633,706 milreis (£3,292,630). The income is chiefly derived from the ad valorem duty charged on all articles imported into Brazil, amounting in 1851-2 to £2,814,443; a low duty charged on the articles exported, amounting in the same year to £503,070; and rents, royalties on mines, &c. The estimated expenditure for 1853-4 is thus distributed: Ministry of the Interior, £412,355; Justice, £250,020; Foreign Affairs, £60,000; Marine, £452,138; War, £813,935; Finances, £1,304,162: total, £3,292,630.

Ten years ago the Brazilian navy was small: it is now rising into importance; its courage and capacity were lately seen in the Plate; many of its younger officers have been reared in the British service, and from British yards it is yearly adding to its steam flotilla. It now consists of 1 frigate of 50 guns, 5 corvettes, 5 brigs, and 9 schooners, carrying together 188 guns; and 4 smaller vessels, carrying together 27 guns; 10 steamers, mounting 36 guns; with various unarmed ships and steamers, and several others are building. The Brazilian army has established its reputation at once for success, bravery, and humanity. Ten years ago Brazil had little external influence; now Brazil is obviously at the head of South American states, and has a distinct and separate part assigned to her in the destinies of the human race. Then she had but slow and dilatory intercourse with Europe; now she has two monthly steam services from England—another is being established from Lisbon; and Rio Janeiro is now only a month’s distance from London and Paris.

Whilst London, Liverpool, and Lisbon are thus sweeping its coasts with steam, Manchester is lighting Brazilian cities with gas. Messrs. Peto and Jackson, (the members for Norwich and Newcastle-under-Lyne,) whose capital and connections are interlacing Canada and the British North American provinces with a magnificent net-work of railways, are also with other capitalists about to bring their vast resources and long practised experience to bear in a[181] like manner in several of the Brazilian provinces, and doubtless with a like result within as brief a period as the circumstances of the country and the obstacles to be overcome will possibly permit. The Government is opening up new roads, clearing away impediments in rivers, and is arranging the internal improvement of the empire on a large and comprehensive system. A great and a happier future is opening on Brazil—one calculated to advance and extend moral improvement and political freedom, as well as to promote material comfort.

In thus recording the material prosperity and anticipating the progressive greatness of this magnificent empire, it affords me infinite gratification to be able to attribute to my distinguished fellow-townsman, Admiral Grenfell, the Brazilian consul-general[59] for England, a large and conspicuous share in consolidating the strength, and enhancing the reputation of Brazil, as eminent among the nations alike for the valour of its arms, the clemency[182] of its counsels, and the magnanimity it has evinced in eschewing territorial aggrandisement which its bravery and sagacity might so readily have secured it. A more befitting preliminary to the subsequent chapter on the Amazon there could not be than a memoir of the gallant seaman to whose skill and bravery the retention of the principal Amazonian province is due, and to whose equally admirable conduct on a scarcely less trying occasion is also due an acceleration of the settlement of the affairs of the Plate, to a correct understanding of which, in their latter phases at least, a perusal of the annexed biographical data, gleaned from the most reliable sources, will greatly contribute.





The cataract shown in the foregoing page consists, says Sir W. G. Ouseley, from whose portfolio it is copied, of a succession of three waterfalls, subsiding into rapids, and then continuing its course as a turbulent rocky brook, working its way among the hills of the Serra de Estrella. The falls of Itamarity are not near any high road, and have been seldom visited by Europeans. It is not possible to obtain a general view of all the falls. That in the Plate is taken from an insulated rock, standing opposite the second fall. The first fall has worked a basin in the rock, as in other similar sites, and, as usual, it is asserted by the natives to be of vast or fathomless depth. Below the isolated rock is a third fall of considerable size; but the rich and thick vegetation prevents much of it from being seen. On the morning that this sketch was taken, when a party visited the Falls, some negroes were sent on beforehand to cut away the underwood and parasites, and to fell trees in order to improviser a bridge for the nonce. The ligatures used in fastening the trees, and the sort of parapet railing, were made of the lianes or parasitical plants from the surrounding trees. They hang from the highest branches like ropes of various sizes, some little larger than whipcord, others of the circumference of a large cable; indeed, they are often thicker than a man’s body, and frequently form spiral and intricate knots, like the writhings of gigantic serpents, à la Laocoon. The profuse variety of growth and rapid vegetation in this part of Brazil is scarcely credible to Europeans. A very few weeks, or rather days, after this path had been opened, and the bridge constructed to enable the party to visit these Falls, strangers might have passed close to them, only made aware of their proximity by the loud roar of the falling waters, the hoarse sound of which, deadened and rendered deceptive by the close growth of the forest, would be but an indifferent guide, and hardly enable them to find any approach by which to obtain a view of the Falls. The negroes and country people have alarming stories or traditions respecting vast crocodiles, differing from the common sort in their nature and habits, and unlike the alligators of the rivers emptying themselves directly into the bay of Rio de Janeiro, at the foot of these mountains. They are said to be infinitely larger and more voracious than their relations near the salt water. These monsters, they affirm, inhabit the deep pools formed occasionally in the course of the mountain rivers. Poisonous snakes are asserted to be often found in these waters. The present existence of these crocodiles seems very apocryphal; nor are serpents so often met with, even by naturalists anxious to enrich their collections, as is generally supposed. The name of these Falls, ‘Itamariti,’ or ‘Itamarity,’ signifies in the Indian language (probably that of the Guarani tribe) ‘the shining stones,’ or ‘the rock that shines,’ doubtless so called from the glittering appearance of the large mass of rock, the face of which is worn smooth by the water. ‘Ita’ means stone or rock.

The old road over the Serra de Estrella, constructed when Brazil was a colony of Portugal, was, although much too steep according to modern ideas of engineering, infinitely better than the track dignified with the name of road, formerly leading to the Serra dos Orgaos. Being paved, it was at least safe and practicable. But the road recently opened to these heights is on vastly improved principles, and on a scale thought even unnecessarily large. The foundation and progress, however, of the new city of Petropolis, situated at the height of about 3,000 feet above the level of the sea, on this route, has doubtless called for the construction of a road wider and more convenient than those hitherto made in this part of the country. The Emperor has built a summer residence here, near the highest part of the road, and the court and many of the wealthier citizens of Rio Janeiro have followed the example, encouraged by his Imperial Majesty’s liberal allotment of land for dwelling-houses, hotels, &c. The idea of founding this mountain city as a retreat during the great heats originated with the late Emperor, Don Pedro I., who made grants of land, absolutely or conditionally, to different noblemen of his Court. He was not enabled, however, to carry into effect either his plan for a city, or the construction of a new road to and through the mountains. To the reigning Emperor belongs the credit of practically calling into existence this thriving and healthy settlement, of which the success is now beyond a doubt. Petropolis may now be regarded as like the Royal Sitios in Spain,—Aranjuez, La Granja, &c., to which the Court regularly removes at certain seasons. The temperature and climate are delightful, and the annual removal to this and the other Serras is sufficient to restore to health those who have suffered from the enervating heats of the summer in the low lands around the capital. European invalids especially derive great benefit during convalescence from a few weeks’ stay in these picturesque mountains. Many foreigners, particularly Germans, have settled at or near this city. To the naturalist, and more particularly to the entomologist and botanist, a sojourn in these Serras affords endless interest and employment. A railroad is now opened from Rio Janeiro to the foot of the hills, which promises great advantages to the new settlement.





Vice-Admiral John Pascol Grenfell, of the Imperial Brazilian Navy, is son of the late Mr. J. Granville Grenfell, of the city of London, and was born at Battersea, in 1800. At eleven years of age, he embarked in the maritime service of the Honourable East India Company, and made several voyages to India in the capacity of midshipman and mate in the Company’s ships. In the year 1819, he left the Company’s service, and joined the naval service of the Republic of Chili, with the rank of lieutenant, under the command of the present Admiral Earl of Dundonald, then Lord Cochrane, Admiral of the Chilian Naval Forces, engaged in the contest with Spain for the independence of the Spanish colonies on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. On the night of the 5th of Nov., 1820, Lieutenant Grenfell commanded one of the boats of the Chilian squadron, which, under the personal direction of Lord Cochrane, boarded and cut out from under the Castles of Callao de Lima, and from the midst of a squadron of armed vessels and gunboats, the Spanish Admiral’s ship, the Esmeralda, a frigate of 40 guns, fully manned, and perfectly prepared for the attack. This gallant exploit was performed by 240 volunteers, chiefly Englishmen, embarked in 14 boats, five of which were gigs. About 50 of the assailants fell killed or wounded in the attack, amongst the latter Lieutenant Grenfell; and 200 Spaniards, stretched on the decks of the frigate next morning, showed how sharply the contest had been maintained. The following order, issued by Lord Cochrane previous to the attack, will be interesting to naval men:—

On Board the Chilian States’ Ship O’Higgins, Nov. 1., 1820.—First Division: O’Higgins—1st launch, 2nd launch, barge, cutter, green gig, black gig, small gig. Second Division: Lautaro and Independencia—1st launch, 2nd launch, barge, cutter, cutter, gig, gig. The boats will proceed, towing the launches in two lines, parallel to each other, which lines are to be at the distance of three boats’ lengths asunder. The first line will be under the charge of Capt. Crosbie, the second under the charge of Capt. Guise; each boat will be under the charge of a volunteer commissioned officer, so far as circumstances will permit, and the whole under the command of the Admiral. The officers and men are to be dressed in white jackets, frocks or skirts, and are to be armed with pistols, sabres, knives, tomahawks or pikes. Two boat-keepers are to be appointed to each boat, who, on no pretence, shall quit their respective boats, but are to remain therein, and take care that the boats do not get adrift. Each boat is to be provided with one or more axes, or sharp hatchets, which are to be kept slung to the girdles of the boat keepers. The frigate Esmeralda being the chief object of the expedition, the whole force is first to attack that ship, which, when carried, is not to be cut adrift, but is to remain in possession of the Patriot Seamen to ensure the capture of the rest. On securing the frigate, the Chilian seamen and marines are not to cheer, as if they were Chilians, but in order to deceive the enemy, and give time for completing the work, are to cheer, ‘Viva el Rey.’ The two brigs of war are to be fired on by musketry from the Esmeralda, and are to be taken possession of by Lieutenants Esmond and Morgell,[187] in the boats they command, which being done they are to cut adrift, and run out into the offing as soon as possible. The boats of the Independencia are to busy themselves in turning adrift all the outward Spanish merchantmen; and the boats of the Lautaro, under Lieutenants Bell and Roberton, are to set fire to one or more of the headmost hulks; but these are not to be cut adrift, so as to fall down on the rest. The watchword, (or parole and countersign,) should the white dress not be sufficient distinction in the dark, is, ‘Gloria,’ to be answered by ‘Victoria.’—Signed, Cochrane.

Note.—After the first attempt on the night of the 4th of Nov., it was found inconvenient to tow the launches; and, on the night of the 5th, orders were given by the Admiral, on shoving-off from his flagship, for the boats to pull in two lines, and for all officers to report themselves to him on the quarter-deck of the enemy’s frigate.

Lieutenant Grenfell continued to serve with Lord Cochrane till, by the surrender of the remainder of the Spanish naval forces, the war in the Pacific was concluded; and in the beginning of 1823 he left Chili, and accompanied Lord Cochrane to Brazil, whose newly emancipated government solicited the aid of that distinguished nobleman to expel the Portuguese forces from its territory and shores. This was effected by Lord Cochrane at the head of the Brazilian squadron, by a series of able manœuvres on the coast of Brazil, extending from Bahia to Pará, during the latter part of 1823, when upwards of one hundred of the enemy’s vessels, and three thousand troops, were sent prisoners into the Brazilian ports; and the Portuguese squadron, of superior force to the Brazilian, was driven with loss and in confusion across the Atlantic.

Lieutenant Grenfell, now promoted to the rank of commander, had the good fortune of terminating the naval campaign, by effecting alone, in a captured brig of war, manned from the flagship, the surrender of the Portuguese force in the city of Pará, and the adhesion of that immense and rich province to the cause of the empire, and rejoined his admiral at Rio de Janeiro in 1824, in a new frigate of 50 guns, which he found in the Port of Pará. In the execution of this service, while quelling an insurrection of the newly subjugated Portuguese, Commander Grenfell received a dangerous wound with a poignard in the back. For these services, Commander Grenfell was subsequently made an officer of the Order of the Southern Cross.

The acknowledgment of the independence of Brazil by Portugal the following year terminated the services of Lord Cochrane, who retired to England. At this period the aggressions of the Argentine Confederation on the Southern frontier of Brazil called the naval forces of the empire to the River Plate, where Captain Grenfell, now promoted to the post rank, proceeded in command of a brig of 18 guns, under the Brazilian Admiral, Baron do Rio da Prata.

The naval forces of Buenos Ayres, very inferior to those of Brazil, were commanded by Admiral William Brown, an Irishman,—one of those singular characters whose indomitable bravery, converting weakness into strength, for a long time baffled all the efforts of the Brazilian Admiral. A decisive action at last occurred off Buenos Ayres, in July 1826, in which Admiral Brown’s ship, with two-thirds of her men killed and wounded, was driven ashore a complete wreck, in front of that city. On this occasion Captain Grenfell,[188] whilst in close action with Admiral Brown, and attacked by a fresh ship of the enemy, had his right arm shattered by a grape-shot as he stood on the hammock-nettings of his brig, encouraging his men to do their duty. Captain Grenfell’s wound was very severe, requiring amputation of the right arm, at the shoulder-joint, which was performed three weeks afterwards at Monte Video. On his partial recovery, he came on leave to England, but returned to the River Plate again in 1828, in command of a corvette, just in time to witness the termination of the war. For his services therein, Captain Grenfell was made a Dignitary of the Order of the Southern Cross, received a pension for the loss of his arm, and other marks of friendship and consideration from H.I.M. Don Pedro I. In 1829, Captain Grenfell married Donna Maria Dolores, second daughter of the late Don Antonio Masini, of the city of Monte Video, by whom he has had a family of six sons and four daughters. In the same year, he was appointed one of the escort of H.I.M. the Empress Amelia and H.M. the late Queen of Portugal, Donna Maria II., in their voyage from Europe to Brazil; and afterwards, in the year 1830, he conveyed the Duchess of Goyaz, a natural daughter of Don Pedro I., from Brazil to Europe, in the Isabel, a frigate of 60 guns.

On the occasion of the Revolution of 1831, and the abdication of Don Pedro I., Captain Grenfell was absent from Brazil, but was recalled again to employment by the Regency in 1835. In 1835, he was sent to the province of Rio Grande de Sul, in command of the naval force on the lakes of that province, then in rebellion against the Imperial Government. Success at first attended the Imperial arms; the rebels in various encounters were driven from their positions on the lakes and rivers; their flotilla captured, and their principal chiefs, with all their artillery, a considerable force of infantry and cavalry, reduced to surrender on the River Jacuhy, in a fruitless attempt to force its passage. In all these operations, the naval force under Captain Grenfell had a principal share, for which services, in 1833, he was promoted to the rank of commodore. The scene, however, soon changed: the loyal forces penetrating into the interior were, in 1837, completely routed by the rebels at Rio Pardo, and Casapava, the president of the province, taken prisoner, and the Imperial authority again restricted to the capital, the port, and the lakes; and both the former were closely besieged, and in great danger of falling into the hands of the rebels. At this critical juncture, the Commodore, through his personal influence with the rebels, originating simply from the humanity with which he had treated the prisoners that on various occasions had fallen into his hands, effected at great personal risk a suspension of arms with the rebel chiefs, with reference to the Imperial Government at Rio de Janeiro, which gained important time, checked the rebel career of success, and saved the province to the empire.

The Imperial Government profited by the opportunity afforded for remedying past errors: troops were poured into the province, a new army was organized, the naval forces were augmented with several steamers, and, at length, in 1842, under the able direction of General the Count of Caxias, the army took the field, routed the rebels in various engagements, and finally, in 1844, effected their complete submission to the Imperial Government. In attention[189] (as expressed in his commission) to the distinguished services rendered with so much intelligence, zeal, and activity in the Province of Rio Grande de San Pedro de Sul, towards the pacification of the same province and integrity of the empire, the Commodore was raised to the rank of Rear-Admiral, and made a Grand Dignitary of the Imperial Order of the Rose; and shortly afterwards received the permission of Her Britannic Majesty to hold his rank, and continue in the service of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Brazil.

In the year 1844, Rear-Admiral Grenfell was appointed to command the Imperial squadron in the River Plate, where the contest between Buenos Ayres and Monte Video, affecting the commercial interests of neutral states, called the naval forces of most of the maritime powers to the spot, where he supported with firmness the rights of Brazilian subjects. The following year the Rear Admiral received the most marked proof of the estimation of the Imperial Government, in being appointed to command the squadron that carried their Imperial Majesties to the southern provinces of the empire, and hoisted his flag in the frigate Constitution of 50 guns. With the Imperial squadron, were incorporated Her Britannic Majesty’s ship Grecian, Her Most Faithful Majesty’s ship Don John, and the United States’ ship Raritan. The Rear Admiral had the honour of accompanying their Imperial Majesties during their tour, and in the course thereof received many notable proofs of the estimation and regard of the inhabitants of those provinces, who took this opportunity of shewing their grateful sense of his conduct during the civil war. Shortly after the return of the court to Rio Janeiro the Rear Admiral proceeded in the Constitution to England, with his family, and resigning his naval command at Plymouth, in Sept. 1846, assumed his civil appointment of Consul General of Brazil, in the United Kingdom. In the spring following, he was presented at St. James’s. During the years 1847-48, he built and fitted out at Liverpool, for the Imperial Government, the steam frigate ‘Alfonso.’

In August, 1848, Rear Admiral Grenfell received the thanks of the town of Liverpool, and the gold medal of the Liverpool Seamens Shipwreck Society, for his exertions in saving the lives of the passengers and crew of the emigrant ship Ocean Monarch,[60] burnt off that port, and which was promptly succoured[190] by the Alfonso under Captain Marques Lisboa, then on her trial trip. The following letter from H.R. Highness the Prince de Joinville, who was present, shews the sense H.R. Highness entertained of the Rear-Admiral’s behaviour on that trying occasion.

Claremont, 28 Aôut, 1848.—Monsieur,—J’ai reçu la lettre que vous m’avez fait l’honneur de m’écrire au sujet du sauvetage des passagers de l’Ocean Monarch. Je ne mérite point les éloges que vous voulez bien m’addresser. Passager seulement abord de l’Alfonzo je n’ai été malheureusement que le témoin impuissant de la plus douloureuse des catastrophes, mais j’ai vu tenter les plus noble efforts d’arracher à une mort horrible des femmes et des enfans. Qu’il me soit permis de signaler à la reconnaissance publique les Officiers et l’equipage de l’Alfonzo, le matelot Jerome, et surtout Monsieur l’Admiral Grenfell, dont le noble devouement m’a pénétré d’admiration. Ma femme me charge de vous exprimer toute sa reconnaissance pour les sentimens que vous avez bien voulu lui exprimer. Recevez, Monsieur, l’assurance de ma haute considération.—(Signé) F. d’Orleans.—His Worship the Mayor of Liverpool.

The serious misunderstanding which occurred in 1850 between the governments of Brazil and Buenos Ayres, on the subject of the occupation of the territory of Monte Video by the latter power, induced the Imperial Government to augment its forces by sea and by land; and Rear-Admiral Grenfell was selected to command the squadron in the River Plate; and, leaving England in the beginning of 1851, he hoisted his flag at Rio Janeiro again on board the frigate Constitution, and proceeded with several corvettes and steamers to his destination. The Buenos Ayrean army, under General Oribe, was found cantonned round the city of Monte Video: the Buenos Ayrean flotilla, under Commodore Coe, lay in the inner roads of Buenos Ayres.

The Rear-Admiral, after concerting measures with the Governor of Entre Rios, General Don Justo Urquiza and the Count of Caxias, who again was at the head of the Brazilian army on the frontier of Monte Video, proceeded to occupy the rivers Uruguay and Parana, so as to impede the communication of General Oribe with Buenos Ayres. This measure entirely disconcerted the plans of the Governor of Buenos Ayres, Don Juan Manuel Rosas, who, not confiding in his own resources, counted on the assistance of Great Britain and France. These powers, however, preserved their neutrality, and in November the simultaneous advance of the forces of Entre Rios and Brazil, together with the position maintained by the Brazilian squadron, compelled General Oribe to surrender himself and his army to terms dictated by General Urquiza. Monte Video, thus freed from its enemies, the Argentine troops lost to General Rosas, and incorporated with the allies, nothing remained but to cross the river, and march on Buenos Ayres, where General Rosas was doing his utmost to levy and organize a new army. The vanguard of this army, under General Mansilla, occupied a position on the River Parana, at the Pass of Tonelero, which was fortified and armed with 16 pieces of cannon, provided with furnaces for hot shot. This passage was forced on the 17th Dec, by the Rear-Admiral, at the head of a division of steamers and corvettes, with trifling loss; and on the following days the allied army, 24,000 strong, under General Urquiza, crossed the Parana, and marched on Buenos Ayres. The battle of Monte Caseros, on the 3rd of February, 1852, the flight of General Rosas, and the conclusion of a treaty between Brazil, Buenos Ayres, Monte Video, and Paraguay,[191] guaranteeing their respective rights, and opening the navigation of the Rivers Parana, Uruguay, and Paraguay, put an end to this short and glorious campaign. Rewards and promotion were liberally bestowed by the Brazilian Government on the victors. The Count of Caxias was made a Marquis; the Imperial Plenipotentiary Honorio Carnero Leon was created Viscount Parana, and Rear-Admiral Grenfell was made a Grand Cross of the Imperial Order of the Rose, and promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral. In August, 1852, he resigned his command of the imperial squadron, and returned to his civil appointment in England.



Westward the course of empire takes its way,
The four first acts already past;
A fifth shall close the drama with the day:
Time’s noblest offspring is the last.

Each year we open upon new prospects in an increasing ratio, and among those which now present themselves as calculated to develope fresh fields for adventure and for an extension of traffic, are the navigation, just consummated, of 1,200 miles of the River Murray, and the expedition that is commencing to explore the Amazon.—Times’ Commercial Retrospect of 1853.

Wide o’er his isles the branching Orinoque
Rolls a brown deluge; and the native drives
To dwell aloft on life-sufficing trees;
At once his dome, his robe, his food, and arms.
Swell’d by a thousand streams, impetuous hurl’d
From all the roaring Andes, huge descends
The mighty Orellana.—Thomson.



Sources of the Marañon.—Rapids and cataracts.—Embouchures of the Amazon.—Its volume, compared with the Ganges and the Brahmapootra.—Its discovery by Pinzon.—Expedition of Orellana.—Gold-seeking expedition of Pedro de Orsua.—Settlement of Pará, and discovery of the Rio Negro.—The Missions of the Jesuits, and their expulsion.—Discovery of the communication between the Amazon and the Orinoco.—Revolution of 1835.—Pará: its streets and public buildings.—Explorations of M. Castelnau and Lieutenant Herndon.—Tributaries and settlements of the Tocantins.—Lieutenant Gibbon’s exploration of the Madera.—His interview with General Belzu.—What is wanted to turn the stream of tropical South American commerce eastward.—Herndon’s descent of the Huallaga.—Tarapoto, and its future prospects.—Chasuta; its trade with Lima and Pará.—Yurimaguas, and the Cachiyacu.—Steam-boat communication between Nauta and Pará.—Progress of a piece of cotton from Liverpool to Sarayacu.—Estimated cost and profit of steam vessels on the Amazon.—Trade of Egas.—The new province of Amazonas.—Exports of Barra.—The Rio Negro, and its tributaries.—Communication by the Cassiquiari between the Amazon and the Orinoco.—Productions of Amazonas.—Santarem.—The Tapajos, and its tributaries.—Rapids of the Parú, and the Xingù.—Climate and products of Pará.—Benefits to be expected from the opening of the Amazon and European immigration.

Though the Brazilian mission of the writer in connection with the original object of this volume virtually terminates at the close of the preceding chapter, his desire to communicate, however cursorily, an adequate idea of the immensity of extent and natural resources of the Brazilian empire would be altogether unfulfilled if some additional data were not offered respecting the illimitable and inexhaustible region of the Amazon. In conversing with enlightened inhabitants of Brazil, natives of the capital or elsewhere, on the vastness and fertility of their country, and on the magnificent destiny it is certain to attain, they concur with you, as a matter of course, but conclude with an intimation that you estimate but half of the reality, and a fourth of the probability of what is in store; for you leave out of your calculation the wondrous but almost unknown[194] district of the Amazon. There, indeed, they imply, are the germs of marvellous and unmatched natural greatness to be sought; for, prodigal as nature has everywhere been to the country in every possible respect, it is there that she has been most profuse; and there are her bounties most accessible to man, if he would only make the slightest exertion to secure them. These views are entertained in a like degree by many of the most intelligent citizens of the United States, the attention of which country is being drawn in an increasingly marked degree to the commercial capabilities of the Amazon; and the frequency of the publications respecting it, and the wide and general circulation they obtain throughout the Union, attest the interest wherewith North America regards the locale of what one of their writers describes as the future inevitably greatest mercantile entrepot (Pará) in the world. With what justice this anticipation is formed it is the design of the annexed few pages to exhibit, consisting, as they do, in a great degree, of a digest of the more influential of the publications alluded to. Considering the magnitude of the existing relations between England and Brazil, and how large a share Great Britain will derive from the enterprises that are now being directed to the opening up of the Amazon, it is conceived that a summary of the most recent circumstances connected with the countries and peoples bordering on that mighty stream will not fail to be acceptable, the more so as, with the exception of Mr. Wallace’s volume already alluded to, and which is not a commercial, nor yet geographical, nor descriptive work, there has been in this country no recent publication of an analogous nature to those of the United States’ writers we shall presently enumerate.

The Amazon, the largest river in the world, traverses the tropical regions of South America from west to east, discharging its immense volume of water into the Atlantic, nearly under the equator. The Tanguragua, or Upper Marañon, is regarded as its principal head-stream, and rises in the Lake of Llanricocha, 14,000 feet above the level of the sea, in the region of nearly perpetual snow. For about 120 miles from its source it flows through a ravine, and[195] is full of rapids and cataracts, having a fall in that distance of more than 11,000 feet. Near Huary the ravine opens into a wide valley, through which the river flows gently for about 380 miles, and is navigable for canoes. Its course is then interrupted by the rapids of the Pongo Rentema, and turns eastward, in which direction it runs nearly 180 miles, leaving the mountain region by the Pongo de Manseriche, a rapid seven miles long. In this part of its course the current is so strong that it can be descended only by floats; but from the rapids of Manseriche the river passes through an extensive plain, its entire length exceeding 3,000 miles.

A great number of tributaries pour their waters into the Amazon in the lower part of its course. On the north side the first from the west, below the rapids of Manseriche, is the Morona, and then come in succession the Pastaça, Tigre, Napo, Iça, Yapurà, Rio Negro, and Oximina. From the south it receives, proceeding from west to east, the Huallaga, Ucayali, Yavari, Jutai, Jurua, Teffé, Coavy, Purus, Madera, Tapajos, Xingù, and Tocantins. Most of these affluents discharge their waters into the Amazon by more than one mouth, which frequently are widely apart. Thus the two most distant of the four mouths of the Yapurà are more than 200 miles asunder, and the outer embouchures of the Purus are about 100 miles from each other. In the upper portion of its course the Amazon divides Equador from Peru, between which its width varies from half a mile to a mile; beyond the limits of Equador it increases to two miles, and below the Madera (its most considerable tributary, having a course little less than 2,000 miles in length) it is nearly three miles. Between Faro and Obydos, to which place the tide reaches, it decreases to less than a mile; but below Obydos it widens again, and after the junction of the Tapajos it is nearly seven miles across. The width of the channel of Braganza do Norte, the northern mouth of this vast river, is 30 miles opposite the island Marajó, and 50 at its embouchure; that of the Tangipurà channel is 18 miles at the junction of the Tocantins, and 30 at its mouth. One of the most remarkable characteristics of the Amazon is the immense volume of water which it discharges into[196] the ocean, which is ascribable to the forests which cover so large an extent of the immense region which it flows through, and attract a much greater quantity of rain than the scorched Llanos of the Orinoco, and the treeless pampas of the Rio Plata. While the principal branch of the Ganges discharges 80,000 cubic feet of water per second, and the Brahmapootra pours forth 176,188 cubic feet per second, the volume of water which flows through the Narrow of Obydos per second is calculated at 550,000 cubic feet.

Next in importance to the Madera among the tributaries of the Amazon, is the Rio Negro, which, after a course of 1400 miles, falls into the Father of Waters twelve miles below the town of Barra, where it is a mile and a half wide. The Xingù has a course of 1000 miles, the Tapajos and the Yapurà each 900 miles, and the Napo and Iça each of 700.[61]

According to the best writers, the first expedition up the Amazon occurred in 1500, when a Portuguese named Pinzon discovered the mouth of the river, and took possession of its left bank. In 1540, Francisco Orellana descended the Napo and the Amazon to its mouth, and finding the native women in arms to oppose him, gave the name of Amazonia to the country, and conferred his own upon the river, by which it is still called by some geographers. In 1560, Pedro de Orsua, commissioned to explore the country in search of gold, descended the Jutai and Jurua, but was prevented by a mutiny from proceeding farther. In 1615 the governor of Maranham, Alexandro de Moura, in order to establish the sovereignty of Portugal, sent an expedition to the Amazon under Francisco Caldeira, who sailed up the Tocantins, and formed a settlement where Pará now stands. In 1648 a[197] party of Portuguese discovered the Rio Negro, and reached Quito overland, which was regarded as a remarkable feat. Shortly afterwards, the Jesuits commenced their settlements on the banks of the Marañon; and during the reign of Philip III., when Portugal was united to Spain, it was seriously contemplated to make the Amazon the means of transit for the treasures of Peru and Chili, by which the sea-voyage would be much shortened, and the dangers from English and French cruisers more than proportionately lessened.

The Jesuits warmly espoused the cause of the cruelly treated Indians, but, unfortunately, their zeal outran their discretion, and, in 1604, they were expelled. Several settlements were made about this time on the Marañon and the Rio Negro, among others that of San José, now the town of Barra; and in the expeditions which took place between 1726 and 1730, the communication between the Rio Negro and the Orinoco was discovered. During the next twenty or thirty years, colonization appears to have made rapid strides, so much so that, in 1784, a commission was despatched from Portugal to explore the country for botanical and other scientific objects. Settlements continued to be formed, but no event worthy of record occurred until the change of dynasty in 1823. Since then the only occurrence of consequence has been the revolution of 1835, when the president of the province was assassinated, the citizens of Pará fled, and the whole of the province, with the exception of the town of Cametá, on the Tocantins, fell under the power of the insurgents, who sacked the towns, and carried off the slaves and the cattle. Quarrels between the insurgent leaders increased the miseries of the country, and several presidents succeeded each other. At length, (see memoir of Admiral Grenfell), President Andrea arrived from Rio Janeiro with a sufficient force, and succeeded in recovering possession of Pará. The inland places gradually returned to their allegiance, and though the effects of these disturbances are still felt in some districts, Pará has fully recovered its former prosperity.

The province of Pará, though naturally the richest portion of[198] the immense empire of Brazil, of which it is the most northern part, is little known, and at present of but little commercial importance.[62] Pará, the capital, contains about 15,000 inhabitants, and has a pretty appearance from the river. Most of the houses are white, which, against the dark green of the forest that surrounds it on the land side, and with the clear blue sky above, give it a pleasing aspect. The small islands in the river are wooded to the water’s edge, and canoes are constantly passing, paddled by negroes or Indians. The custom-house, formerly a convent, is a large and handsome building, and there are several churches that will bear comparison with those of Europe. The[199] squares are more like village greens, being covered with a rank growth of weeds, but the graceful-looking palms which are planted in their midst impart a picturesque appearance in the eyes of a stranger. The principal street is the Rua dos Mercadores (street of merchants), which contains the only good shops in the town, and this, or rather a part of it, is the only portion that is paved. The other streets are very narrow, and some not free from holes.

What most strikes the observer is the number and size of the public buildings of Pará, which are far beyond the present wants of the place, but form a good foundation for its future requirements as the great depôt of the Amazon. The palace is large and massive, but has no pretensions to architectural beauty. In its rear is the theatre, unfinished, and overgrown with vines and climbing shrubs. Near these buildings is the cathedral, the largest in Brazil, the bells of whose two steeples, with those of the numerous churches, seem to be continually ringing. Near the arsenal, and sufficiently removed from the city to be no nuisance to the inhabitants, is the public slaughter-house, in the neighbourhood of which many vultures are always to be seen.

Most of the towns and villages of the extensive country watered by the Amazon, are situated on that river and its tributaries; and the rest is an impenetrable forest, trodden only by the Indian and the jaguar. Very little is known of the greater portion of the interior, but M. Castlenau, who explored the valley of the Amazon in 1843, and Lieutenant Herndon, of the United States Navy, who descended the ‘King of Rivers’ in 1852, have supplied considerable information respecting the Tocantins, the Madera, and Huallaga. The first-named flows through a fertile and healthy country, and has many flourishing settlements on its banks. Among them is Salinas, famous for its salt works, near which is the Lake of Pearls, surrounded by beautiful scenery, and inhabited by numbers of aquatic birds. The town of Goyaz, with a population of about 7,500, is situated on the Vermelho, a branch of the Tocantins, and can be reached by vessels from Pará. The voyage occupies five months, the up freight being about 20s., and the[200] down one fourth, per 100 lbs. Large canoes are paddled up the river as far as Porto Imperial, and take down hides, which at Goyaz are worth fifty cents, and at Pará are sold for a dollar and a half. Pará also trades with the inland town of Diamantino, by means of the Tapajos, the voyage up and down occupying eight months. The foreign merchandise that reaches Diamantino by this route is sold at an advance, on the average, of 850 per cent. on its price at Pará, which is from 50 to 100 per cent. on New York prices. When steam-boats are introduced on these waters trade will be largely increased, and prices reduced by competition and the facility of transit, so that both producer and consumer will be greatly benefitted.

It is a matter which gives a promising aspect to the question of future commercial intercourse with the interior that the elements of a large and profitable trade already exist in abundance. Cinchona to the value of two millions of dollars is annually exported from the eastern slopes of Bolivia, but, at present, for the want of steam-boats on the Amazon and its tributaries, it is carried over the Andes on the backs of llamas and mules to the ports of Peru. Large quantities of wool, clipped on the banks of the Bolivian tributaries of the Amazon, instead of going down the river to Pará, for shipment to England or the United States, are carried over the Andes in the same manner, and have then to make the voyage round Cape Horn.

The Madera runs through a beautiful valley, clothed with verdure, and abounding in scenery the most striking and picturesque. It is among the upper tributaries of this river that the traditions of the country place the lost mines of Urucumaguam, the riches of which equalled those of Potosi. When Lieutenant Gibbon, who was sent by the United States government to explore the valley of the Madera, was at Cochabamba, the attention of the Bolivian government was called to the establishment, on the navigable waters of that river, of ports of entry to foreign commerce, and of steam communication with the Amazon. Belzu, the President of Bolivia, received him in the most gracious manner, and is[201] said to have promised to grant privileges to a company for that purpose, if application were made to him in due form. The course of the Madera is interrupted by cataracts and rapids, but the former only commence 450 miles from its mouth, and the latter may be passed by canoes. The cataracts passed, the river is navigable into the heart of Bolivia by its tributaries, the Beni and the Mamoré, and quite through the Brazilian province of Matto Grosso by the Guaporé. Mr. Clay, the United States chargé d’affaires at Lima, was told that a Brazilian war-schooner had ascended the Madera above the rapids as far as Exaltacion, which is in Bolivia, above the junction of the Beni.

About one-half of Bolivia, two-thirds of Peru, three-fourths of Equador, and one-half of New Grenada are drained by the Amazon and its tributaries. For the want of steam communication, the trade of all these parts of those countries goes west over the Andes to Callao. There it is shipped, and after doubling Cape Horn, and sailing eight or ten thousand miles, it is then only off the mouth of the Amazon, on its way to Europe or the United States; whereas, if the navigation of the Amazon were free, and steam-vessels placed on its waters, the produce of the interior could be landed at Pará for what it costs to convey it across the Andes to the ports of the Pacific.

Lieutenant Herndon embarked on the Huallaga at Tinga-Maria, the head of canoe navigation, and 335 miles from the city of Lima, and descended to its junction with the Amazon, and thence to the mouth of the latter, a distance of not less than 3,500 miles. The first place he came to was Tarapoto, situated in a beautiful plain, watered by many rivulets, and producing cotton, coffee, sugar, cocoa, and drugs in great abundance. The district is very healthy, and free from annoying insects. Indigo grows wild, and storax, cinnamon, and gums may be procured of the Indians in any quantity, and at prices merely nominal. A great deal of good cotton cloth is made here by the women, and exchanged at Egas for straw hats and English prints brought from Pará. There is very little money in circulation, cotton cloth, wax, and balls of sewing[202] cotton being used instead. English goods brought over the Andes sell in Tarapoto for four times their value in Lima. All the land carriage is performed by Indians, for want of roads: an Indian will carry 75 lbs. of goods on his shoulders from Tarapoto to Juan Guerra, whence he paddles in a canoe to Tinga-Maria, and there shoulders his burthen again, and carries it to Huanaco, the distance of which town from Tarapoto is 390 miles. The population of the place in 1848 was 3,500. Concerning its natural advantages and future prospects, Lieutenant Herndon thus speaks:—

‘I spoke with an active and intelligent young Spanish trader, named Morey, about the feasibility of a steamboat enterprise upon these rivers, bringing American goods and taking return-cargoes of coffee, tobacco, straw-hats, hammocks, and sarsaparilla to the ports of Brazil on the river. He thought that it could not fail to enrich any one who would attempt it; but that the difficulty lay in the fact that my proposed steamer would never get as far as this, for that my goods would be bought up and paid for in return-cargoes long before she reached Peru. He thought, too, that the Brazilians along the river had money which they would be glad to exchange for comforts and luxuries. Were I to engage in any scheme of colonization for the purpose of evolving the resources of the Valley of the Amazon, I think I should direct the attention of settlers to this district of Tarapoto. It combines more advantages than any other I know; it is healthy, fertile, and free from the torment of musquitoes and sand-flies. Wheat may be had from the high lands above it; cattle thrive well; and its coffee, tobacco, sugar-cane, rice, and maize are of fine quality. It is true that vessels cannot come up to Shapaja, the port of the town of Tarapoto; but a good road may be made from this town eighteen miles to Chasuta, to which vessels of five feet draught may come at the lowest stage of the river, and any draught at high water. Tarapoto is situated on an elevated plain twenty miles in diameter; is seventy miles from Moyobamba, the capital of the province, a city of seven thousand inhabitants; and has close around it the villages of Lamas, Tabalosas, Juan Guerra, and Shapaja. The Ucayali is navigable higher up than this point, and the quality of cotton and coffee seems better, within certain limits further from the equator. But the settler at the head-waters of the Ucayali has to place himself in a profound wilderness, with the forest and the savage to subdue, and entirely dependent upon his own resources. I think he would be better placed near where he can get provisions and assistance whilst he is clearing the forest and planting his fields. I am told that the governors of the districts in all the province of Mainas have authority to give titles to land to any one who desires to cultivate it.’

Six leagues below Tarapoto is Chasuta, with a population of 1,200. The annual value of the trade between this place and the ports below is 1,500 dollars; but all articles which can be carried[203] on the backs of Indians or mules come from Lima. Implements of iron, copper kettles, guns, earthenware, and glass, come from Pará, and obtain prices which afford very large profits. Though the distance from this place to the mouth of the Amazon is above 3,000 miles, a 74-gun ship would find water enough, during the greater part of the year, to reach it from the sea. The villages of Yurimaguas, Santa Cruz, and Chamizuras, respectively 24, 35, and 89 leagues below Chasuta, have each a population of about 320, and in the woods around the last, valuable resins and gums abound. Half a mile below Yurimaguas is the mouth of the Cachiyacu, which is navigable for large canoes, from January to June, as far as Balza Puerto, a considerable village, five days’ journey from Moyobamba, between which and the ports of the Amazon this river is the general route. It also serves as a means of communication with the many villages which dot the fine country between the Marañon and the Huallaga, so that Yurimaguas is probably destined to become an important place in the future. Laguna, 44 leagues below Chasuta, and four above the mouth of the Huallaga, has a population of 1,044. Urarinas, a village on the Amazon, five leagues from the mouth of the Huallaga, contains only 80 inhabitants, but the immense number in the vicinity of the trees which produce gum copal mark it as an important place in the future. Nauta, on the right bank of the Amazon, 46 leagues below the junction of the Huallaga, has a population of 1,000. It is to this place that Brazil, by treaty with Peru, has engaged to run steamers, under the Brazilian flag, from Pará, the contractors to have the monopoly of steam-boat navigation on the Amazon for thirty years, with an annual bonus of 100,000 dollars for the first fifteen. The voyage is to be performed by two steamers, one ascending the Amazon from Pará, the other descending it from Nauta, and meeting the up boat at Barra. Passing Omaguas, with its 240 inhabitants, Iquitos with its 227, and Arau with its 80, the mouth of the Napo is reached; and thirteen leagues lower down is Pebas, with a population of 387. This place is embosomed in the immense forest, producing in abundance sarsaparilla, vanilla, storax,[204] copal, caoutchouc, and wax, which may be obtained from the Indians in exchange for cotton goods, needles, beads, &c. Thirty-four pounds of sarsaparilla may be bought for 24 yards of common cotton, and other articles at a like proportionate price; but the great sarsaparilla country is along the banks of the Ucayali and the Ahuaytia, where 100 lbs. of the drug, which are worth fully £5 at Pará, and twice as much in Europe, may be bought for eight yards of cotton.

As an illustration of the circumambulatory manner in which the commerce of this extensive region is carried on, let us trace the progress of the cotton goods from the warehouse in Liverpool to the banks of the Ucayali. The goods have to be carried round Cape Horn to Callao, where duty is charged upon them, and whence it is conveyed to Lima, and across the Andes, on the backs of mules. Freight, land carriage, and commission cost more than the goods, and in about twelve months from the time of their leaving Liverpool they reach the mouth of the Ucayali, whence they are sent up by boat to Sarayacu, the centre of the sarsaparilla country, a distance of 300 miles. It is now exchanged for 100 lbs. of sarsaparilla, the value of which is 9 dollars at Nauta, 10½ at Tabatinga, 25 at Pará, and from 40 to 60, according to the markets, in Liverpool. The voyage is long, tedious, and circumgyratory, but the profits are enormous. Now, if the navigation of the Amazon were free, and ports of entry, open to all nations, were established at such places as Chasuta and Nauta, not only would the trade be considerably increased, to the benefit of both parties, but the people of Peru and Brazil instead of eight yards of cotton for 100 lbs. of sarsaparilla, would get three or four hundred yards. Such will soon be the case.

Concerning the cost and profit of steam vessels on the Amazon, and the arrangements that would have to be made, Lieut. Herndon says:—

‘I have estimated the annual cost of running a small steamer between Loreto, the frontier port of Peru and Chasuta, a distance of eight hundred miles, entirely within the Peruvian territory, at twenty thousand dollars, including the establishment of blacksmiths’ and carpenters’ shops at Nauta for her repairs. According to the estimate of Arebalo, (and I judge that he is[205] very nearly correct,) the value of the imports and exports to and from Brazil is twenty thousand dollars annually. I have no doubt that the appearance of a steamer in these waters would at once double the value; for it would, in the first place, convert the thousand men who are now employed in the fetching and carrying of the articles of trade into producers, and would give a great impulse to trade by facilitating it. A loaded canoe takes eighty days to ascend these eight hundred miles. A steamer will do it in twelve, giving ample time to take in wood, to land and receive cargo at the various villages on the river, and to lay by at night.’

Nearly midway between Loreto and Barra, and near the mouths of the Jurua, the Yapurá, and the Teffé, is Egas, with a population of about 800, which is the most thriving place above Barra. It has eight or ten commercial houses that carry on a brisk trade between Peru and Pará, besides employing agents to ascend the neighbouring rivers, and collect from the Indians the produce of the country. Schooners of between 30 and 40 tons average five months in the round trip between Egas and Pará, a distance of 1250 miles, the expenses being 150 dollars, including wages and rations of crew, and a tax of 13 per cent. Sarsaparilla and salt-fish are the principal exports, which are sold at Pará for double what they cost at Egas, to which the vessels return with cotton goods, earthenware, and hardware, all of the commonest description, to be sold at an advance of 20 per cent. on Pará prices. There are five vessels engaged in this trade, making two trips a year, so that the annual value of the trade between Egas and Pará may be estimated at 38,000 dollars. Between Egas and Peru it is about 20,000 dollars. The vessels engaged in this trade are not well adapted to it; they are too broad in the beam, and their sails are two small, so that the voyage occupies a great deal more time than it might be performed in by clipper-built and properly rigged vessels.

The Comarca of the Rio Negro, one of the territorial divisions of the immense province of Pará, has, within the last year, been erected into a province, with the title of Amazonas. A custom-house will probably soon be established at Barra, at the mouth of the Rio Negro, for the collection of the duties now paid at Pará, and there can be no doubt that commercial enterprise will, in a[206] few years, bring the manufactures of Europe from Demerara by the Essequibo and the Rio Branco. The president of the new province, Senhor Joâo B. de F. T. Aranha, is labouring for the good of the district, and has had many conferences with the chiefs of the Indian tribes with the view of inducing them to settle and engage in systematic agricultural labour. Lieutenant Herndon was told that Brazil would give titles to vacant lands to any foreigners who would settle there, and the President expressed a wish that he would bring out a thousand Americans to set an example of energy and industry to the natives.[63] The value in dollars of the exports of the entire Comarca in 1840 was as follows:—Sarsaparilla, 12,000; oil of turtle-eggs, 6,000; salt fish, 4,250; coffee, 1,000; copaiba, 1,000; tobacco, 720; cocoa, 600; heavy boards, 600; hammocks, 500; Brazil nuts, 350; pitch, tow, hides, tapioca, &c., 1,203; total, 28,323. That the trade is increasing will be seen by the exports of the town of Barra alone for the year 1850, the value of which in dollars was as follows: Salt-fish, 7,001; Brazil nuts, 5,203; sarsaparilla, 3,144; oil of turtle-eggs, 1,818; piasaba, 1,802[64]; ropes, 896; cocoa, 631; hammocks, 785; coffee, 474; tobacco, 616; planks, 250; Brazilian nutmegs, 100[65]; copaiba, hides, tow, &c., 304; total, 22,975. It will be seen that the exports of Barra alone in 1850 were not in value far below those of the whole province in 1840. It is probable[207] that the value of the imports is nearly double that of the exports, so that the trade of Barra with Pará may fairly be estimated at £15,000 per annum.

The population of Barra in 1848 was 3,848 persons; the marriages in the year had been 115, the births 250, and the deaths 25. The number of inhabited houses was 470, so that upon an average of five persons to each family, there must be nearly two families to every house; but 234 of the population were slaves, and probably the children exceed the adults in a greater proportion than the usual ratio of three to two. The Rio Negro, opposite the town, is a mile and a half wide, and very beautiful. It is navigable for almost any draught as far as Rio Maraya, a distance of about 400 miles; there the rapids commence, and the further ascent must be made in canoes. A few miles above Barcellos is the mouth of the river Quiuni, which is known to run nearly up to the Yapurá; and nearly opposite to San Isabel, two days journey from Barcellos, is the mouth of the Jurubashea, which also runs up to within a very short distance of the same river. Between these rivers the country is very low, and is often inundated; it is from this place that the Brazilian nutmegs are brought. Just above San Isabel great quantities of Brazil nuts are grown, and a little further up is the mouth of the Cababuri, where the finest sarsaparilla is produced. Cocoa of very superior quality is produced in abundance about San Carlos, at the mouth of the Cassiquiari, which is the frontier port of Venezuela. Most of the vessels which ply both on the Rio Negro and the Orinoco are built at this place, the Cassiquiari forming a natural canal connecting those two rivers. Lieutenant Herndon calculates that a flat-bottomed iron-steamer, constructed to pass the rapids, would make seventy-five miles a day against the current on the Rio Negro, and 125 miles a day with the current on the Orinoco. The distance from Barra to San Carlos is about 660 miles, from thence to the Orinoco 180 miles, from the junction of the Cassiquiari and the Orinoco to Angostura 780 miles, and from Angostura to the mouth of the Orinoco 250 miles. The voyage between[208] Barra and the mouth of the last-named river might thus be made by such a vessel in 19½ days, allowing time to take in wood and receive and discharge cargo; and a canal cut through the isthmus of Tuamini would shorten the voyage by five days.[66]

The Rio Branco, the principal tributary of the Negro, is navigable for large craft for about 300 miles from its mouth, but from thence it is interrupted by rapids, only passable by flat-bottomed boats. Its banks are very thickly wooded below the rapids, but above them the country is a wide plain, which affords pasturage to immense herds of cattle. The downward passage from San Joachim, near the sources of the river, to Barra, a distance of 500 miles, may be made in twelve days; but the ascent is very tedious, owing to the rapids and the strong north-easterly winds.

Scarcely any attempt at regular cultivation has yet been made in any part of Amazonas; but the natural productions of its teeming soil are numerous as they are varied and valuable. The forests contain many trees which afford solid and durable timber, and others that furnish excellent cabinet woods, among which may be mentioned the beautiful muirapinima, or tortoise-shell wood. There are numerous plants, unknown in Europe, famous for their medicinal uses; and others which produce valuable resins and oils. Wild cotton, with a fine glossy fibre, like silk, grows abundantly, and is used at Guayaquil to stuff mattresses. Some silk manufacturers in France, to whom specimens of this cotton were sent by Mr. Clay, the United States chargé d’affaires[209] at Lima, thought that, mixed with silk, a cheap and pretty fabric might be wove from it.

Santarem, a mile above the mouth of the Tapajos, which is there a mile and a half wide, is the largest town in the province after Pará. In 1849 the population was 6,768, the number of marriages 32, of births 289, of deaths 42; but in this return is included the inhabitants of a large surrounding district. Lieut. Herndon estimated the population of the town alone at about 2,000. There is a church, and two or three primary schools. The situation is picturesque, and there are many agreeable rides in the environs. It is a thriving town, as is shown by the increase in the exports between 1843 and 1846. For three months of the former year the quantity of cocoa exported was 12,808 arrobas, and in the same period of 1846 it was 19,940 arrobas. Sarsaparilla increased from 665 to 4,836 arrobas, pitch from 64 to 933, tobacco from 499 to 3,352, cloves from 226 to 998, cotton from 24 to 226, oil of copaiba from 427 pots to 3,056 pots, and oil of turtle-eggs from 420 to 1,628 pots. Hides and piasaba rope appear in the list for the first time in 1846, the number of the former exported being 664. The trade in farina had considerably decreased, probably owing to the increased importation of flour from the United States. The trade between Santarem and Pará is carried on in schooners of about a hundred tons, of which there were five or six lying off the town when Mr. Herndon was there. The average passage downward is thirteen, and upward twenty-five days.

From Santarem to Itaituba, a distance of about 200 miles, the Tapajos is navigable for large vessels, though the current is very strong; but above the latter place the ascent can be made only by boats, as there are fifteen or twenty rapids to pass, where the boats have to be unloaded, and the cargoes carried round on the backs of the crew. At one or two of the rapids the boat itself has to be hauled over the land. The voyage to the head of navigation on the Rio Preto occupies about two months. From this point the cargoes are carried on the backs of mules to Diamantino,[210] a distance of fifteen miles, and from thence to Cuiaba, the capital of the rich province of Matto Grosso, a further distance of ninety miles. In 1850 a nearer route was discovered, by ascending the Arinos, below the mouth of the Preto, and employing oxen to drag the boat eighteen miles to the river Cuiaba, which is navigable thence to the town of that name; but, for some reason or other, the trade is still carried on by the old route. Cuiaba receives from Santarem salt, iron, wines, arms, and earthenware, which it pays for with diamonds, gold-dust, and hides. M. Alphonse M. de Lincourt, who ascended the Tapajos a few years since, says that the forests, which extend from its banks far away on both sides, are inhabited by hostile Indians, who paint and tattoo themselves, and wear caps of feathers, and collars and bracelets of beads, shells, and jaguars’ teeth. The Mundrucus, the most warlike tribe of the Amazon, number from fifteen to twenty thousand warriors, and are the terror of all the other tribes.

Ninety miles below Santarem is the village of Prainha, situate on a green eminence on the left bank of the Amazon, with a population of about 500. Fifty-five miles below this place is the mouth of the little river Parú, our only knowledge of which is derived from the Indians, who report that the country through which it flows produces sarsaparilla and cloves, but that its current is very strong, its course broken by rapids, and the Indians who live on its banks are hostile. Seventy miles below the mouth of the river, and on the right bank, is the village of Gurupá, with a population of 300, and a small trade in caoutchouc. Near this place is the mouth of the Xingù, of which very little is known; but the municipal judge of Porto de Moz, near its mouth, who met Mr. Herndon at the house of the military commandant of Gurupá, informed that gentleman that it was obstructed by rapids within four days’ journey from its mouth, and that boats could not ascend far up on account of the hostility of the Indian tribes on its banks.

Thirty-five miles below Gurupá the Amazon spreads out to a width of nearly 150 miles, but it is divided into numerous channels by a multitude of islands, the principal of which is Marajó, which[211] contains about 10,000 square miles, and occupies about the middle of the river. The village of Breves, on this island, exports annually to Pará about 3,000 arrobas of caoutchouc: it has a church and several shops, and has a thriving appearance. Three days’ sailing lower down is the mouth of the Tocantins, which falls into the Bay of Limoeiro, a deep and wide indentation of the right bank of the Amazon. The Tocantins, according to M. Castelnau, who descended it in 1846, is an almost continuous succession of cataracts and rapids; but by unloading the boats at three places, and dragging them with ropes, it can be ascended as high as Porto Imperial, the voyage to which place from Pará occupies from four to five months, but, owing to the fall in the river, the downward voyage may be performed in from twenty-five to thirty days.

The opening of new markets to commercial enterprise must always tend to increase the prosperity of the countries concerned, and the free navigation of the Amazon has become a question of the greatest importance. According to General Villamil, the Secretary of State of the republic of Equador, the Pastaça is navigable nearly up to Quito, and nothing is wanting but the removal of the restrictions which have unwisely been placed upon the navigation of the Amazon to enable the merchants of Europe and the United States to send the manufactured goods of their respective countries to the very foot of the Andes, and take back in exchange the raw produce with which the Atlantic slopes of those mountains so largely abound. But because the mouth of the river is within Brazil, she once persisted in shutting out New Grenada, Equador, Bolivia,[67] and Peru from the advantages which the Creator, in rolling its broad stream through their fertile plains and teeming valleys, intended they should enjoy. The reciprocal interests of all nations now imperatively demand that the barrier which these restrictions[212] present to the progress of civilization in the interior of South America should be removed. One of the first results of the opening up of the vast regions watered by the Amazon and its tributaries to Anglo-Saxon enterprise would be a large influx of immigrants, and this is precisely what is wanted to develope the boundless natural resources of those countries.[68] Brazil is alive to the necessity. Persons unacquainted with the country, forming their opinion from other tropical regions, are apt to conclude that the climate is unhealthy, but this is very far from being the case. Similarity of latitude by no means produces similarity of climate; for England and Labrador are under the same parallel, but how different the climates of the two countries. The elevation of a country is a better means of estimating its climate than its latitude, and the extent of wood and water have also to be taken into account. The province of Caxamarca which is watered by the Peruvian tributaries of the Amazon, is one of the most healthy portions of the globe. Mr. Edwards, who, as already observed, ascended the Amazon in 1846, and resided some time at Pará, says:—

‘It seems singular that, directly under the equator, where, through a clear atmosphere, the sun strikes vertically upon the earth, the heat should be less oppressive than in the latitude of New York; this is owing to several causes. The days are but twelve hours long, and the earth does not become so intensely heated as where they are sixteen. The vast surface of water constantly cools the air by its evaporation, and removes the irksome dryness that, in temperate regions, renders a less degree of heat insupportable. And, finally, the constant winds blowing from the sea refresh and invigorate the system.’


He adds that the temperature is so equable, that the climate is peculiarly favourable to health, that no form of epidemic disease is known, and that the average duration of life is probably as high as in New York. The salubrity of the climate,[69] therefore, the fertility of the soil, its mineral riches, and the number and length of its navigable rivers, combine to render the region watered by the Amazon and its tributaries a most eligible field for the emigrant.[70] All that the country wants is increased facilities for commerce and for developing its immense natural resources, and these would be given to it by the opening of the Amazon and immigration.[71]





Climate of Brazil.—Its salubrity.—Proofs of, causes of, objections to.—Northern, southern, and central provinces.—Equability of temperature.—Heat.—Humidity.—Rain.—Winds.—Electricity.—Hail.—Ice.—Tropical heat and light.—Influence on Europeans.—In health and in disease.—Acclimatization.—Increase of certain diseases.—Others modified.—Insanity.—Yellow fever.—Its probable disappearance.—Ancient writers on the epidemics of Brazil: Rocha Pita, Père Labat, Fereira da Rosa.—Physical, social, and moral condition of the Brazilians.—Habits and religion of the people.—Prophylactic measures.

In a publication like the present, any elaborate disquisition on the climate and people of Brazil would be obviously misplaced, at the same time that a brief notice of these important subjects should not be altogether omitted. The Brazilian empire placed chiefly in the southern hemisphere, extending from 4° 20″ N. lat. to 33° 55″ S., is widely intersected by lakes rivers and mountains, and bounded by the South Atlantic, by the highest mountains, and by the two most magnificent rivers in the world: it enjoys, beyond dispute, one of the finest climates of the globe, and may be fairly designated as ‘the Italy’ of the New World. The heat, intense at Pará on the equator, moderates as we approach the central provinces of the empire, and becomes altogether European on reaching the southern regions of Rio Grande and the Uruguay; whilst the climate of the entire line of coast is tempered by a cool and never-failing breeze. It should however be borne in mind that climate cannot be justly measured by latitude, and that we must, in all instances, take into consideration the position and the elevation of the district, the nature and surface of the soil, and its consequent capacity for the absorption and the radiation of heat. First, then, as regards heat, which may be termed the distinctive element of the climate of Brazil.

The mean heat of Brazil ranges from 88° to 81° F., according to the different seasons of the year.

Rio Grande do Sul.—The summer temperature is 87° to 88°; the winter, 40° to 44°.

Saint Catherine.—The summer heat never passes 90° in the sun; and descends to 54° in winter—June and July.

Saint Paul.—Mean temperature, 72°.

Minas Geraes.—Max., 84° summer; min., 54° winter.

Rio Janeiro.—The mean temperature of 30 years was 73°: in December, the max., 89½°; min., 70°; mean, 79°; in July (coldest month), max., 79°; min., 66°; mean, 73½°.

Bahia.—Summer: 74° morning; noon, 80°; evening, 75½°.


Pernambuco.—Summer: Varies from 77° to 86°, with a slight decline in the rainy season.

Ceara.—95° in the hottest months; 83° in the coldest.

Maranham.—St. Louis reaches 93°; and Pará, on the line, maintains about the same temperature.

The hottest period of the day, on the sea coast, is about 11 a.m., when the sea-breeze commonly sets in and moderates the temperature. The thermometer ranges in the northern provinces on the coast, at midday, 75° to 77° from March to September, and 77° to 85° from September to March; whilst at forty to fifty miles inland a high range of temperature almost invariably prevails. The barometrical variations are less extensive than those of the thermometer; but the range of the hygrometer is considerable in the southern provinces. The object, however, of the present work prohibits our entering minutely on these questions, or on the geology of Brazil; and we must therefore refer our readers to the scientific labours of M.M. Eschwège, Sellow, Spix and Martius, and Saint Hilaire, and especially to the valuable and more recent investigations of M. Pissis, who has explored the country from 13° to 26° south latitude, and 40° to 52° west longitude, including in this vast polygon the provinces of Minas Geraes, St. Paul, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, and Bahia.[72] The observations of Herschel, Humboldt and others, prove that both heat and cold, up to 34th degree of latitude, are much more moderate in the southern than in the northern hemisphere; in addition to which, Brazil, covered by extensive forests and consequent moisture, the surface clothed with perpetual verdure, from which the solar heat is but feebly reflected, its skies ever bright and a never-failing breeze, constitute a climate of unequalled mildness in any other region of the tropical world.

Humidity: This grand and universal source of vegetable life in high latitudes is infinitely more detrimental to man than even the highest solar heat. Humidity, indeed, is the great modifier of all climates, and constitutes the chief element of their insalubrity. The hygrometrical variations of Brazil have been studied by numerous observers, amongst whom the most accurate as well as the most recent is M. Pissis, and to his conclusions we shall briefly allude, confining ourselves to the climate of the capital, Rio de Janeiro, which, notwithstanding its clear atmosphere, holds in solution just double the quantity of aqueous vapour sustained by the sombre, foggy air of Paris! a fact explained however by the high temperature of the one, as compared with the low temperature of the other, the capacity of air for retaining moisture being in nearly exact proportion to its temperature. M. Pissis arrives at the following results:—

1. From May to October, when the air is serene, the quantity of vapour varies little throughout the day. During the other months, the minimum corresponds with sunrise, and attains its maximum about 4 p.m.; but the variations are trifling.

2. That on rainy days the air is always near its point of saturation, though[216] the amount of vapour dissolved little exceeds that of the preceding clear weather: this is due to the lower temperature of the rainy days.

3. That humidity increases from the month of June to February, when it attains its maximum, which is about double that of June; from this maximum it declines until it reaches its former amount in June and July.

4. That the absorbing power of the air is lowest at sunrise, and attains its maximum about 2 p.m., the hottest period of the day. In like manner as regards the year, it augments in proportion as the sun advances to the southern tropic, and attains its maximum in December and January, and then declines until the cloudy months of June and July.

Rain: The wet season sets in at different epochs along the coast of Brazil, and is subject to great variation. At Rio the rains commonly commence in March, and last till September; at St. Paul, in October and November, and continue till April; whilst at St. Catherine the four seasons are, as in Europe, pretty distinctly defined—July and the following three months wet, cloudy, and boisterous. These latter provinces, placed just beyond the Tropic of Capricorn, enjoy the advantages of a tropical climate without its inconveniences. Rio Grande do Sul is wet and stormy in the winter months, but otherwise healthy. In the provinces north of Rio, including Bahia and Pernambuco, the rains set in commonly about the end of March, and continue until August; and as we follow the coast to the equator, including the provinces of Ceara, Maranham, and Pará, storms are frequent, and the rains commence in December or January; August, September, October, and November being the dryest or summer months. The foregoing may be taken as the rule, but the exceptions are numerous; and the winter of the coast does not extend beyond 100 miles into the interior, which is watered, chiefly, by frequent storms.

Winds: The general winds of tropical regions are eastern; and in Brazil the prevailing currents along the coast, from St. Catherine to Maranham, are E.S.E., and S.S.E., during the southern, and E.N.E. and N.N.E. during the northern monsoon; subject however to much irregularity. The land breeze sets in from 9 to 11 p.m., and lasts till morning, increasing in force and regularity as we approach the equator; and its strength is generally in proportion to that of the sea breeze which precedes it. As in other tropical countries, the sea breeze prevails more in the hot, and the land breeze in the cold season of the year; they favour the appearance of certain maladies and check others, and constitute, after heat and moisture the chief element in the determination of disease—the salubrity of any country depending more, perhaps, on its winds than on its latitude.

Electricity: All tropical regions are distinguished by intensity of electrical phenomena, and Brazil forms no exception to the law. Réaumur maintains, and we believe justly, that a difference of 5° in the thermometer decidedly affects the nervous system; and that all living organisms are powerfully influenced by electrical changes no close observer in equatorial regions can for an instant question. In Brazil, the most intense variations are noticed about the change of the monsoons, and the storms of lightning and thunder originating in the great chain of the Organ Mountains, which burst over Rio, are grand and[217] awful beyond the possibility of description; whilst the profound influence of these changes on individuals is strongly pourtrayed in the moral and physical prostration of some, and the high nervous excitement of others. Saussure has shown that an excess of watery saturation diminishes atmospheric pressure; and the effect of certain conditions of the atmosphere on the human economy in tropical climates cannot for a moment be denied: for example, when the weather is wet and cloudy, the sun obscured, and the air calm; all animal life languishes. The Brazilians distinguish this state of atmosphere by a particular term, ‘mormaço,’ and during its continuance, especially in summer, the mental and bodily powers of man seem alike paralysed, and are only restored to activity when the rain has descended and the breeze resumed its power over the close and stagnant atmosphere. Here electricity plays an important part. In connection with this subject, it is remarkable that Brazil should have hitherto escaped those formidable earthquakes which have so often desolated the fairest regions of South America. Fogs are rare in Brazil, and seen only in the morning, on low and marshy grounds, and in the neighbourhood of rivers and lakes. Hail often falls in Minas, St. Paul, and the south, and even occasionally at Rio. Ice is sometimes met with at Rio Grande in the winter, and even on the Organ Mountains, close to Rio, but never snow. Waterspouts have been, at long intervals, observed on the coast and in the interior; the last of any importance was observed at San Marcos in 1823.

Based on the foregoing and other data, we shall now submit certain general conclusions on the climate of Brazil, and its influence on the human constitution in health and disease; these conclusions must be taken as more especially referring to the seaboard and the large cities on the coast; and the reader should bear in mind that some allowance must also be made for the difference in position and latitude of the northern, the southern, and the central provinces. We would further premise, that these observations are founded on our own personal experience of nearly a quarter of a century, and prior to the advent of the yellow fever which, for the last four or five years, has infested the maritime cities of the empire, and on which we shall presently offer some remarks.

The great characteristic of Brazil, as compared with other countries, is the general equability of its climate, and which constitutes, in fact, the chief element of its salubrity. This unparalleled uniformity of temperature must be chiefly ascribed to the absence of high and mountainous regions, and of all arid and sandy deserts, aided by the genial influence of refreshing showers at all seasons of the year; it is further maintained by the perpetual verdure of the country, and by a cool, powerful, and never-failing monsoon, laden with moisture, and sweeping along the entire line of coast direct from the Southern Atlantic. Thus, even in the height of summer, the diurnal heat is rarely found oppressive to the European, and the nights are almost invariably serene and beautiful, and unattended with much deposition of dew, especially in the northern and central provinces; so that the delightful coolness of tropical moonlight may be enjoyed undisturbed by those visions of fever and malaria which float before the imagination in less favoured lands. If precautions be observed to avoid exposure to direct currents of air, the windows of the[218] sleeping chamber may also be left open with impunity at all seasons of the year; an advantage that can scarcely be over estimated in high latitudes, as disposing to sound and refreshing sleep; which, more perhaps than any other influence enables the European constitution to resist the deleterious effects of climate, just as a succession of hot and sleepless nights invariably predisposes the human system to be impressed by every tropical malady.

In proof of the singular salubrity of Brazil, we need only state that, until within the last four years, although its provinces have been at intervals visited by revolutions, wars, and famine, the country has hitherto escaped from all those epidemic and endemic scourges—yellow fever, cholera, influenza, typhus, and dysentery—which have so frequently desolated other, and the fairest regions of the globe. In this favoured land the solar heat proves scarcely less influential and salutary to animal than to vegetable life; and years of subsequent exhaustion can never entirely efface from the recollection of the European sojourner the buoyancy of spirit, unclouded mind, and exquisite appreciation of mere animal existence which marked the first years of his residence in Brazil. These vivid sensations may be in part determined by the novelty and splendour of a New World, its brilliant skies, perpetual verdure, and the variety, luxuriance, and beauty of its vegetable life; but they are chiefly due to the direct influence of the heat and light of a tropical sun, supplying a new and powerful stimulus to the performance of all the functions of animal and organic life. The medal, unfortunately, has its reverse: this favourable condition of the animal economy proves, as in vegetable life under similar circumstances, but of limited duration; and from five to seven years may be set down as the average period at which a tropical residence begins to affect the European constitution to such an extent as to influence longevity or injure health; the precise epoch being determined by the constitution, occupation, predisposition, and habits of the individual. It should be here stated that the month of April is that best suited to the stranger’s arrival in Brazil, as affording time for his gradual acclimatisation to the summer heat of December, January, and February; though we may observe, and the fact is singular, that the European suffers but little inconvenience from the highest temperature during the first years of his residence, just as the Brazilian seldom complains of the winter cold on his first arrival in Europe. The chief objection to the climate is, in addition to high temperature, its great humidity; shown in the rapid decomposition of all organized, and certain inorganic matter, the quick oxidation of metals, deliquescence of salts, destruction of wood, &c. &c.; and after a certain interval, the depression of moral and physical energy in man. The deleterious effects of this condition of atmosphere on the animal economy is happily tempered, if not entirely corrected in Brazil, by the general equability of its climate, and the influence of a cool and never-failing breeze, so that a stagnant, or even calm, state of the atmosphere is almost entirely unknown. Were this otherwise, the chief cities of Brazil inundated by the most offensive animal and vegetable exhalations,[73] and with an almost total neglect of those policial and sanatory regulations so essential to the public[219] health in other countries, would, we are satisfied, prove no less fatal to man than the charnel houses of Africa and the West Indies.

In estimating, however, the influence of climate on the public health, the moral and physical condition of the people demands especial consideration. The Brazilian is in general well-formed, compact, and of healthy organization, but not of athletic frame. His intellectual faculties are acute, though little developed by cultivation. Descended from European ancestors, he has still a considerable admixture of African, and some native American blood. He is indolent by nature, and indisposed for active exertion or industry; but he is protected against the evil influence of the former on his health by a simple and abstemious diet, and the injurious consequences of the latter to his social position are obviated by the fact that the four great wants of the humbler classes in Europe press but lightly on the Brazilian. Fuel he scarcely requires, clothing but little; his primitive habitation is simply constructed, and one day’s labour will amply provide for the moderate demands of the whole week. With passions naturally quick, he is nevertheless placable; his disposition is kindly; the future rarely disturbs him with its doubts, or the past with its regrets: the struggles and vicissitudes of European life are unknown. The contentions of party, the yearnings of ambition, the bitterness of fanaticism, never disturb his repose; and after gliding down the stream of time, unscathed by the tumultuous passions and harassing cares which so frequently embitter the existence and undermine the constitution of man in other countries, he meets at length the inevitable doom, if not with philosophy, at least with resignation, satisfied of his claims to eternal felicity in the confident assurance of an infallible church.

From the preceding account of Brazil and its inhabitants, we would be led to conclude, à priori, that disease would there assume a mild and tractable character; and this inference we find fully borne out, until within the last twenty years, by the medical and general history of the country. Within the last thirty years, however, vast changes—moral, social, and political—have been developed in Brazil, and it interests alike the philosopher and the physician to mark how profoundly these changes have already impressed and modified the manners, habits, and diseases—nay, even the physiognomy of its people. After a brief struggle, the establishment of Brazil as an independent empire was effected in 1823; and since that epoch the country and its population have undergone a series of remarkable and comprehensive political and social changes. From the strict and simple forms of despotic government they have passed, at a bound, to one almost of license; including household suffrage, popular legislative assemblies (imperial and provincial), open courts of law, trial by jury, local justices, and a national guard elected on popular principles. This sudden and premature concession of political privileges to a people yet in the infancy of civilization has been naturally attended by great and numerous evils, mingled, it must be admitted, with many and great advantages. In the intoxication of a new-born freedom, the empire has committed numerous excesses; province has been arrayed against province, in a succession of intestine broils; the laws have been inefficiently or corruptly administered; and a lax morality has but too generally pervaded the whole community. On the other hand, an extensive and well-organized system of national[220] education has been established throughout the empire; the slumbering intellectual powers of the nation have been aroused; wealth and intelligence developed; political and military ambition awakened; commercial enterprise created; agriculture revived; and of all those mighty powers which move and mould societies, the controlling influence of religion has alone remained stationary. The priesthood, deprived of wealth, power, and influence, has utterly-lost its prestige, unless, perhaps, with the very lowest classes of the community—a question of curious speculation as regards the cause, and of vast importance as regards its future results on the character and institutions of the Brazilian people. In addition to the foregoing rapid transition of society into new forms and combinations of social existence, we find the face of the country changed by the march of civilization and agricultural improvement,—woods cleared, roads opened, internal and external navigation developed, population largely increased, and the great maritime cities of the empire assuming an importance second to none, and superior to most, of the cities of the new world.

Coeval with these great and rapidly advancing changes, we can already discern some of those evils too commonly attendant on increased wealth, luxury, and intelligence: anxieties, excesses, passions are largely multiplied, and the medical observer cannot fail to distinguish, amongst certain ranks of the hitherto contented and indolent Brazilians, unequivocal traces of that premature ‘wear and tear,’ so strongly and painfully characteristic of high civilization. It now only remains that we should briefly notice the extent to which certain great classes of disease have been influenced and modified by the preceding moral and physical agencies. This is chiefly manifested in the increasing number of cerebral and pulmonary maladies, and diseases of the heart and great vessels. Insanity has also become much more frequent than formerly, though still rare as compared with other nations; which, indeed, might be inferred from the fact that the ‘Mad Doctor’ is a species of the profession as yet unknown to Brazil. Suppurative inflammation of the liver has increased, but of all the acute diseases, fevers have been the most profoundly modified; they partake much more generally of the low, or asthenic character, and assume the remittent and continued type, and are greatly more fatal in their results than formerly. This naturally brings us to the important question of the ‘yellow fever,’ which for the last four or five years has ravaged the great maritime cities of the empire. Its origin has given rise to the most conflicting views, amongst the best observers;—for example, Dr. Pennell of Rio, and Dr. Paterson of Bahia, both men of undoubted talent and great professional experience, entertain precisely opposite opinions; the former contending for the indigenous, the latter for the foreign origin of the disease; and both offer cogent arguments and striking facts in support of these opposite conclusions. The scope of this work does not admit of medical discussion, yet as the facts observed by Dr. Pennell are highly important, and as his conclusions entirely coincide with our own experience, we will condense them here. Dr. Pennell states that for some years the fevers of the country had been clearly changing their character, that the genuine remittent had been little seen for three years; that it was replaced in 1847, ’48, and ’49, by a fever of its own class, popularly known as the ‘polka fever,’[221] but in reality a remittent; and that this fever was, in its turn, superseded by the ‘yellow fever,’ a disease with similar features: he adds the following words, ‘coincident with these and other changes in the diseases of Brazil, the climate, in its broad features, has altered strangely: thunder-storms, formerly of daily occurrence, at a certain hour, during the summer, are now but seldom heard, &c.,’ and concludes, ‘that bilious remittent and yellow fever are essentially the same disease,’—a proposition entirely in accordance with my own experience in Brazil and other countries. The abettors of the foreign origin of yellow fever insist that it was imported by a certain ship from New Orleans into Bahia, and thence diffused throughout the empire; whilst the facts adduced by Dr. Pennell go far to establish, as already stated, its indigenous parentage. In support of this opinion we have the strong additional fact that, for the last forty years, there has existed uncontrolled by any efficient quarantine laws, an extensive intercourse with the United States, Africa, and the West Indies, the very hot-beds of yellow fever; and yet, up to 1849, Brazil remained perfectly healthy. Can we then in reason believe, if the disease be deemed really importable, that the maritime cities of Brazil could, under such circumstances, have escaped infection for a period of forty years? It is moreover important to know that several of the older writers, as Rocha Pita in 1666, Père Labat in 1686, Fereira da Rosa in 1694, have recorded the appearance of epidemics closely resembling the yellow fever, and which, after persisting for some years and desolating several of the large cities on the coast, finally passed away. Some seventy years ago, the capital itself was visited by an epidemic fever no less fatal to the population than that from which it now suffers.

From the above and other facts, we are firmly convinced that the yellow fever which now afflicts Brazil is not an imported disease, but owes its origin to certain obscure atmospheric disturbances, embracing variations of temperature, hygrometric influence, electrical tension, atmospheric pressure, &c.; and judging from the previous history of Brazil, we believe that these unfavourable conditions are but temporary and will pass away, and that the country will again resume its former character of unparalleled salubrity amongst the tropical regions of the globe.[74]

Prophylactic Measures.—A few words on the precautions to be adopted by temporary as well as permanent residents in Brazil may perhaps prove useful. In the first place, all the ordinary hygienic laws should be attended to; the habitation selected should be in a dry locality, on a moderate elevation, and well ventilated, but at the same time protected against strong currents of wind; lengthened or direct exposure to the sun’s rays should be avoided, and all sudden vicissitudes of temperature guarded against. Loose waistcoats without sleeves, of fine flannel, should be worn next the skin, during the day, but never slept in; sleeping in the open air or unprotected, should be avoided. After exposure to rain, the clothes should be immediately changed; after exhaustion[222] by exercise, or from any other cause, collapse or chill must be carefully guarded against, by avoiding for a time exposure to the cool breeze or by taking some slight stimulant, as coffee, wine, or a little spirits. Spirits, otherwise, should be altogether avoided, and wine resorted to only at dinner, in great moderation, and by those accustomed to its use. Generally, animal food should be used only at dinner; no supper; and no stimulating drinks, however diluted, should be taken between meals. Ripe fruit may be used before breakfast, and after the middle of the day, but never after the principal meal. Moderation IN EVERY SENSE must be observed. When compelled to go out early in the morning, the individual should take some support. In warm and swampy districts, over fatigue, or prolonged exposure to the sun, cannot be too carefully avoided, and the use of quinine, in moderate doses, should never be neglected; the cold bath, or cold sponging, every morning on getting out of bed, should be constantly resorted to. The sleeping apartments should be cool and well ventilated, but not exposed to strong currents of air.

Of all the above principles, refreshing sleep is the most efficient preservative to the European constitution against the inroads of tropical disease; but unless the above rules are pretty closely observed, sound and refreshing sleep in equatorial latitudes is unattainable. The morale must never be lost sight of, and a calm and cheerful disposition of mind should be especially encouraged. The above prophylactic measures apply with equal or greater force to the European seaman on arrival in Brazil. In addition, awnings by day and by night are absolutely indispensable to health. Fatigue and dockyard duties, and watering expeditions, should never be permitted during the mid-day heat, nor should the seaman ever be permitted to sleep out of his vessel. The high importance of this latter injunction will be obvious from the fact that a difference of fifty degrees will be found often to obtain between the heat of a mid-day tropical sun and the air near the earth’s surface at sun-rise. Surely, then, we need not evoke the phantom Malaria to account for the sudden supervention of malignant or fatal disease in seamen, or others, exposed during sleep to such great and sudden transitions of temperature, especially when their animal and organic powers have been depressed by previous exertion and profuse perspiration under a tropical sun, aided, too often, by intemperance and other excesses.

Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus.

Finally, we are profoundly convinced, by long and large observation, that if the foregoing principles are attended to, the most formidable localities of southern climates may be encountered with impunity, and especially as regards that dreaded, but visionary enemy, Malaria or marsh poison.[75]




The sea-like Plata, to whose dread expanse,
Continuous depth, and wondrous length of course,
Our floods are rills. With unabated force,
In silent dignity they sweep along;
And traverse realms unknown, and blooming wilds,
And fruitful deserts, worlds of solitude!
Where the sun smiles and seasons teem in vain,
Unseen, and unenjoyed. Forsaking these,
O’er peopled plains they fair-diffusive flow;
And many a nation feed; and circle safe,
In their soft bosom, many a happy isle;
The seat of blameless Pan, yet undisturbed
By Christian crimes and Europe’s cruel sons.
Thus pouring on they proudly seek the deep,
Whose vanquished tide, recoiling from the shock,
Yields to this liquid weight of half the globe;
And Ocean trembles for his green domain.
But what avails this wondrous waste of wealth,
This gay profusion of luxurious bliss?
This pomp of Nature? what their balmy meads,
Their powerful herbs, and Ceres void of pain,
By vagrant birds dispersed, and wafting winds?
What their unplanted fruits? What the cool draughts,
The ambrosial food, rich gums, and spicy health,
Their forests yield? Their toiling insects what?
Their silky pride, and vegetable robes?
Whate’er the humanizing Muses teach;
The god-like wisdom of the tempered breast;
Progressive truth; the patient force of thought;
Investigation calm, whose silent powers
Command the world; the Light that leads to Heaven;
Kind equal rule; the government of laws,
And all-protecting Freedom, which alone
Sustains the name and dignity of Man;
These are not theirs.—Thomson.




Note to the Portrait.—The sketch in the preceding page is copied from an early likeness, but can hardly be considered an accurate one now. In a book of this nature, which owes much of whatever attractiveness it may possess to his permission to avail of the pictorial and literary memoranda of his prolonged sojourn in South America, and especially in a chapter on the River Plate, in whose affairs he played so important a part in the chief crisis of its history, full biographical details of Sir W. Gore Ouseley’s career may reasonably be anticipated. For such purpose, however, the writer has access only to the ordinary data to be found in works of public reference; nor, if others of a private nature were open, would it, perhaps, be in the best taste to insert them here, as they would necessarily be supposed to be used with an unduly partial bias. Without entering at length into details more fitted for a genealogical work than for our pages, it will suffice to say that, previous to the sixteenth century, the Ouseley family was allied to several of the most ancient and honourable patrician names of this country, and thus their ancestry can be traced to a remote period. The Irving family, into which the late Sir W. Ouseley (father of Sir W. Gore Ouseley) married, is allied to the Douglases, the Rollos, and many other noble Scotch families. Referring to ‘Burke’s Baronetage,’ and ‘Landed Gentry,’ ‘Dod’s Knightage’ for 1854, and other cognate authorities, we find that Sir W. G. Ouseley is descended from an ancient Shropshire family who settled in Northamptonshire in 1571, the then head of the family, Richard Ouseley Ouseley, having received from Queen Elizabeth, under whom he was a judge, a grant of the estate of Courteen Hall, in that county, with many of the most eminent families in which the Ouseleys were connected, such as the Actons of Alderham, as also the Barons Giffard of Brinsfield, and Barons Lestrange of Blackmere.[76] Nicholas Ouseley, a relative of Richard Ouseley Ouseley, was envoy to the courts of Spain and Portugal, and some of his correspondence with Sir Francis Walsingham is preserved among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum. John, son of Richard Ouseley, was knighted by James I. in 1603, for his gallant conduct during the war in Ireland with the turbulent Earl of Tyrone. The diplomatic services of Sir John are mentioned in a subsequent note, and by Purchas in his ‘Pilgrims.’ Sir Richard Ouseley, his son, held the commission of major in the royalist army during the civil war between Charles I. and the Parliament, and in consequence of debts incurred in support of the royal cause he was obliged to sell Courteen Hall in 1650. The family then settled in Ireland, where they held Ballinasloe Castle, and afterwards Dunmore Castle, in the county of Galway, which latter remained in the family until the death of Major Ralph Ouseley, grandfather of Sir William Gore Ouseley. The major was a great antiquarian, and had a very fine collection of Irish antiquities, MSS., &c. His eldest son,[227] Sir William Ouseley, served in the 8th Dragoons during the unfortunate campaign in Holland, where the British forces were commanded by the Duke of York; but after attaining the rank of major, he abandoned war for the more congenial pursuit of literature, and became a member of most of the learned and scientific societies of Europe. He published ‘Travels in Persia,’ (to which country he accompanied his brother, Sir Gore Ouseley, in 1810,) and many other works on Eastern antiquities and literature, in which he has left a mine of Oriental and classical learning that will always remain a monument of his great industry and talent. Sir G. Ouseley was the first ambassador accredited from the court of St. James’s to that of Persia, though Sir Harford Jones, Sir John Malcolm, and others, had previously been sent by the East India Company to that country. He was chairman of the Oriental Translation Society, to whose papers, and those of the Asiatic Society, he was a contributor. Sir William, who married the daughter of the late Lieutenant-Colonel Irving, (son of General Sir Paulus E. Irving, governor-general of Canada,) left a numerous family, the eldest of whom, Sir William Gore Ouseley, entered the diplomatic service at a very early age. He was attached to the mission at Stockholm in 1817, and in 1825 was appointed paid attaché at Washington. While in that capital, he married the daughter of Mr. Van Ness, formerly governor of the state of Vermont, and subsequently the United States envoy at Madrid. He was next appointed acting secretary of legation at Brussels during Sir R. Adair’s special embassy, and subsequently at Rio Janeiro, at which court he represented our government for several years as chargé d’affaires. In 1844 Sir William was named minister plenipotentiary at Buenos Ayres, and in 1845 special minister to the states of La Plata. In tardy acknowledgment of his important diplomatic services in South America, he received the Order of the Bath in 1852. He is the author of ‘Remarks on the Slave Trade,’ ‘South American Sketches,’ and several political pamphlets. We cannot forbear quoting a few lines from a critique on his ‘Remarks on the Statistics and Political Institutions of the United States,’ in the ‘Quarterly Review’ for December, 1832, which, although opposed to the views taken in that periodical of the United States and their institutions, had the fairness to say,—‘We have no desire to be severely critical on the coup d’essai of a young author—one, we believe, of a family in which diplomatic ability may be called an hereditary possession.’ Some facts in connection with Sir William’s memorable mission to the River Plate will be found a few pages further on, as also in the notice of Rosas, whose enmity our minister had the honour of provoking in an eminent degree, by firmly protecting the persons and interests of his countrymen, and acting up to the spirit of his instructions. How deservedly he did so will be seen when we come to speak of one, at least, of those transactions of which the guilt has been incontestibly fixed upon the ex-Dictator within the last few months, but for accusing him of which at the time, our unsuspecting innocents at home deemed the British representative very culpable indeed, or, at least, very troublesome. Doubtless, so he was, as compared with certain of his predecessors and successors in the same post, who quietly winked at the atrocities of the despot without appealing to England against their continuance.


Biographical memoranda on the late British minister to the Plate.—First impressions of the Uruguayan capital unfavourable.—The New Custom House.—An instance of enterprise without prudence.—Commercial advantages of Monte Video.—Prosperity obtained at the expense of Buenos Ayres.—Revisal of the Buenos Ayrean tariff.—Alluvial deposits of the Rio Plata.—Gas from mares’ grease.—Traces of a siege.—Unprofitable ploughing by Oribe’s projectiles.—Condition of the streets.—The Horses of La Plata, and the Lasso.—Commerce of London with Monte Video and Buenos Ayres.—Mules for the Australian Gold Diggings.—Diminution of the Customs.—Bitter fruits of British and French intervention.—Sir William Gore Ouseley and the British Loan.—The Market-place.—Italian boatmen.—Encouragement given to foreigners.—Aspect of the environs.—The English burial ground.—The latest revolution.—Sketch of the History of Monte Video.—Senhor Castellanos.—Immigration from Europe.—Abolition of slavery in Uruguay.—Formation of agricultural colonies.—Diplomatic and consular memoranda.




Note to the Illustration.—Pursuing the plan adopted in several of the preceding chapters, we here follow, in great part, from the source drawn upon in the former instances, the description given of Monte Video, by the same hand to which we are indebted for the illustration. Monte Video, situate in latitude 35 degrees S., longitude 56 degrees W., is the capital of the ‘Banda Oriental’ (eastern shore or banks), or, as it is more formally designated, the ‘Republic of the Uruguay;’ it is on the left bank of the River Plate, but, in part, is a seaport, the river being here above 120 miles across, although this capital is about 100 miles from the ocean. Yet even near Monte Video, after the prevalence of certain winds, the water is not too salt for drinking, in case of necessity; indeed, when off the port, were it not for this freshness, the stranger could hardly credit he is not still at sea, instead of in a river, so immense is it. Monte Video is most advantageously placed for commercial purposes. It is not enough to say that Buenos Ayres is the capital of the Argentine Provinces, and Monte Video that of the Banda Oriental—the extent of territory of which latter is small in comparison with the former—for these two places are not only the chief ports of entry through which, says Parish, the trade of these countries is carried on with foreign nations, but it will be found that at whichever of them the largest amount of foreign goods is landed, they are for the most part destined for the consumption of the people of the countries watered by the Rio de la Plata and its tributaries. The amount of foreign goods—so greatly out of proportion to its population—which, a few years back, was landed at Monte Video, is chiefly to be ascribed to the blockade of Buenos Ayres, which temporarily diverted the trade from its ordinary course. Whenever Buenos Ayres has the misfortune to be so attacked, the advantageous situation of Monte Video, as a central port, will always give it importance as an entrepot for goods destined for the provinces in the interior. This was the case in a remarkable degree during the late beleaguerment of Buenos Ayres, by Urquiza, until the admiral of his fleet, the North American adventurer Coe, went over to the authorities of the City. During the whole of this time, Monte Video, being the only open port, prospered immensely in the amount of shipping entering it. There is no doubt, also, that its situation offers facilities for the supply at all times by indirect means of the adjoining provinces of Brazil and of the Argentine Confederation, of which the Monte Videans will probably avail themselves, to the detriment of their neighbours’ interests, unless, in self-defence, the latter so regulate their customs duties as to countervail all temptations to avoid them. Now this the Buenos Ayreans are wisely doing; for before the close of the past year (1853) they effected an important modification in their tariff, which, coupled with the opening of the great internal streams, is sure to be productive of infinite advantage.[77] The harbour at Monte Video, except during certain winds and violent gales, is good, and the river basin well sheltered. But the vast body of fresh water of the River Plate brings with it, especially after floods, immense quantities of earth, sand, &c., forming continual deposits, gradually filling up this and other harbours in La Plata, and diminishing the depth of water in many places. For instance, in the harbour of Monte Video—the best in the river—formerly large vessels of war, then called frigates (during the Spanish colonial government), used to lie quite close to the wharves in the inner part of the harbour, where none but merchant vessels, and those not of the largest size, now find sufficient depth. This gradual accumulation of alluvial deposit might easily be prevented in the harbour by the use of excavating and dredging machines. They were, in fact, successfully tried some years ago, but the invasion of the country and the late siege of its capital, which lasted above nine years, forced the government to employ all its resources in self-defence, and this, like many other useful measures, was suspended, but will be again resumed speedily, as also many other essential improvements prosecuted with vigour, now that the prospects of peace are assured, from the determination of the whole bulk of the population to abstain from siding with any of the disturbers of tranquillity. Lighthouses have been erected at the entrance of the river; its most dangerous parts are buoyed, and licensed pilots ply off its mouth to take vessels either into the harbour of Monte Video, or up to Buenos Ayres. With their help, and the excellent charts and sailing directions that have been published, the navigation, which would otherwise be difficult, on account of sand-banks, is made tolerably safe for the vast number of merchant vessels which are continually on their passage up and down the river.

The impression on landing here is unfavourable, or at least, was so when I visited it, though such is the rapidity of change in South American regions, that, I believe, matters have put on a very much improved aspect within the short period that has since elapsed. At that time, at all events, the place was very dirty, from rainy weather; ill-paved streets; great confusion with carts and horses; all kinds of queer-looking beings about; and a medley of nations, remarkable even in this focus of motley emigration. Things looked in a rough, unfinished state, such as you would hardly expect to find in the second important city of the La Plata; and the reality contrasted sadly with the gay houses, their fantastic turrets and look-outs, which present such a picturesque appearance from the sea. The poverty the place displays is too fully accounted for by the many years of siege, blockade, civil war, and disaster it has gone through, rendering it almost miraculous that so much should still exist in the shape of a city. You land at the ponte, or custom-house wharf, built out a short distance into the bay,[230] whilst the custom-house itself is in a street some little distance off. On the right, near the entrance of the harbour, is the new custom-house, an immense pile, which, when finished, must prove a great convenience to commerce, so long as the latter is made to go through the ordeal of fiscal duties, which here comprise nearly the entire revenue of the state. Close to the new custom-house is a light-looking jetty, made chiefly of iron, with a good landing-place, and rails running along the wharf to bonded warehouses on shore. This wharf or pier was the work of an enterprising Englishman, who had more public spirit than prudence, and was unsuccessful in his views, owing partly to there not being sufficient water to enable vessels to come alongside the structure.[231] The city of Monte Video is erected on a kind of promontory, running out into the sea, which washes one side, and the bay the other. Like most Spanish towns in South America, it is built in[232] squares, with parallel streets, the houses all shapes and sizes, with square courts, from which you enter the different suites of rooms, many very handsomely arranged and furnished, the area of the court being adorned with plants and flowers. Since the siege was raised, parts of the old fortifications have been pulled down, and new streets are in process of building, as also a new theatre; so that with a continuance of peace, Monte Video would soon assume more importance, and many of its civic defects be remedied. Some spirited individuals have got up a gas company, and the town is now excellently lighted from a local commodity called mares’ grease, and certainly a clearer or better light I never saw anywhere. Country houses are also springing up since the desolation in which the outskirts were left by the nine years’ siege at the hands of Rosas and his creatures, of which it still bears the traces in all directions, particularly at that memorable point between the city and General Oribe’s camp at Cerrito, where every house was riddled or destroyed with cannon-shot, and the very ground ploughed up by the same unproductive metal. In a large square, at the extremity of the town, stands the cathedral, a huge unfinished building, which towers above everything else, and is emblematic of the old Spanish taste in churches. This square will be an acquisition when finished and put in order, planted with trees, &c., towards which there is already some movement; but the majority of the streets are scarcely passable in a conveyance, many being without any pavement at all, a few rough stones being here and there visible; the rest is a compound of mud and filth, and with holes that would astonish any well-educated European animal, however profound his gravity or elongated his ears, but apparently quite natural to the horses and[233] mules of this country, and regarded by them with an exemplary equanimity which bipeds of philosophic pretensions in vain endeavour to emulate.

The difference of race between the inhabitants of Brazil and the River Plate is very remarkable, indicating at once the great change in climate, and those other physiological influences that contribute to determine variety of character among people. At the same time it must be observed that South America furnishes many almost irreconcilable anomalies of this kind; for instance, a feeble and peaceful people dwelt on the cold mountains of Peru; a hardy and warlike race wandered under the burning sun of Brazil. The Uruguayans partake largely of the attributes of the latter. The natives are generally athletic-looking men, mounted on horses that appear part and parcel of themselves; seemingly centaur-like, ‘demi-encorpsed with the brave beast;’ and dressed in a fashion savouring strongly of the Turk—minus the turban.

And tall, and strong, and swift of foot are they,
Beyond the dwarfing city’s pale abortions.



The Plata is indeed the land of the horse, par excellence, as will be inferred from the fact of this, the first town of importance on its banks, being lighted with mares’-grease gas. The animals are, generally speaking, described by connoisseurs as not exactly equalling the splendid Spanish parent stock they are descended from, and the first appearance of which in the country where[234] they are now counted by millions, and are part almost of the very being of the natives, was regarded with an awe and astonishment that well nigh paralysed resistance to the invader. Those that swarm along the plains are rather more useful than handsome; heads not clumsy, though not elegantly shaped; body tolerably round, though croup often low; legs, though light, firm and well placed. They are caught with the lasso, in the use of which, as likewise of course in the bolas, the Uruguayan Guacho is fully equal, and is deemed by many even superior, if possible, to his brother of the Buenos Ayrean pampas, with which the European idea of the exercise of these captivating implements is chiefly associated; for the Banda Oriental being much intersected with streams, and trees, and hills, a greater degree of address is perhaps required in managing a herd of wild horses or oxen than in the vast table-land stretching, for hundreds upon hundreds of miles, in an almost unvaried flat, on the opposite bank of the river. But if the Plate be the land of horses, doubly is it the land of cows: the whole region may be said to be one vast horn-and-hoof fair; and the predominant bovine element in the air, the street, the field, proclaims itself overpoweringly to every sense. This, of course, strikes one more forcibly, because of its novelty, on landing at Monte Video, than subsequently at Buenos Ayres, and in the interior; for it is extraordinary how quickly one loses his fastidiousness, and looks with indifference upon sights, and inhales odours, that appear insufferably revolting at the outset of[235] one’s noviciate. The trade carried on by the Uruguayans in the flesh, and hides, and tallow, of cattle, and the skins of horses, is very great,[78] considering the extent of territory and population, and bearing in mind the many impediments of which we have already spoken, and to which we shall have further to advert presently. Latterly, a profitable trade is springing up in the article of mules for Australia; those animals being reared in great perfection in the fine pastures of the Banda Oriental, and being of infinite use in the gold fields, owing to their hardy constitution, strength, and docility. Passengers from Australia, calling at Monte Video, declare the neighbourhood greatly to resemble the vicinage of Melbourne; and there is little doubt that judicious explorations would reveal the presence of large quantities of gold, some having already been found. That the whole state abounds in metalliferous riches is the conviction of many competent judges; and, probably, in no part of the civilised world might small mining capitals be invested with greater certainty of success, or small ‘captains’ commence operations on their own account with stronger assurance of reward, especially as the climate, a most important consideration, admits of Englishmen pursuing their labours without the enervation experienced from the greater heat and drying winds that prevail on the opposite side of the river.




To judge from the number of vessels and small craft laying in the harbour, you would conclude a large trade was carried on; but such is not exactly the case, although matters are fast improving; the custom-house revenue, from being down to 700,000 dollars, is now doubled, or 1,400,000 dollars, against 3½ millions of dollars which it returned in 1842, previous to the siege. The work of destruction was industriously pursued during that disastrous period, and for hundreds of miles the Banda Oriental was not only shorn of its cattle but of its population. The land, in fact, was rendered a desert waste, and made only subservient to the wants of Oribe’s army. Future annalists will hardly believe it possible that the history of a second Troy could be illustrated in the duration of the aggression it was subjected to, under the protective cannon of the two most powerful nations of Europe, France and England; but such, alas! was the fact; and the recent melancholy position of Monte Video is the fruit of an intervention that was not rendered effective, as it might have been, if vigorously followed up in conformity[238] with the judicious advice of the resident English minister during a great part of the troubles, and whose wise suggestions are now reverted to with regretful but admiring respect, by all dispassionate men in Europe or America who have read the then requirements of the Plate by the light of subsequent experience.[79] Indeed, that this feeling has at length prevailed is shown by acts, more of[239] justice than of favour, on the part of succeeding governments that, though tardy, are not the less honourable to those concerned. It will require many years of peaceful industry to restore this district to what it was in 1842, rich as the soil undoubtedly is, and reproductive as its affluence in cattle may be. In the meantime, a good[240] deal of produce is brought hither from the neighbouring ports and down the rivers, in small craft, which occupy a long time on[241] the voyage; and some idea may be formed of the number of these conveyances, when I mention having seen one as high as No. 1,200 at Buenos Ayres, where they are all numbered, and, it is to be[242] presumed, at Monte Video likewise. It is hardly necessary to say that there is a strong rivalry between the two ports for this kind of trade, and also in numerous other respects; but Monte Video[243] has immeasurably the advantage as a harbour, and it might be rendered as commodious as any in the world by a little energy and judicious outlay. It is much to be regretted that this peaceful rivalry should not be the predominant incentive to mercantile action, instead of each country wasting its strength and energies in interminable political squabbles. But both have paid so bitterly for the indulgence of these internecine animosities, that they are at length beginning to learn charity and reciprocal indulgence of each other’s foibles; and there is a reasonable probability that this mutual comparative toleration is the precursor of joint stability of institutions, and of that solid and progressive prosperity of which each is so eminently capable. A most remarkable evidence of the growth of this better spirit was afforded on the occasion of some disturbances in the Banda Oriental, at the close of last year, when the authorities at Buenos Ayres actually offered to place their vessels of war at the disposal of the Uruguayan authorities, for the maintenance of peace and order. This the latter were fortunately able to preserve without extraneous aid; the proffer of which, from such a quarter, augurs the advent of an era when peace as well as plenty shall take up its abiding place in these luxuriant regions, from which it seems to have fled from the hour the white man set foot upon the soil. But the good time, so ardently desiderated, is not yet exactly arrived; for such is the fluctuating condition of things in these countries, that almost every alternate mail brings accounts that upset all one’s previous calculations, and hardly is the ink dry with which we record our felicitations on the seeming solidity of peace, when tidings of civil broils once more open the door of incertitude as to the present, and the worst apprehensions as to the future. But Brazil is now the great peace-maker, and, as long as she is so, outrage at least is impossible.

One of the old defences of Monte Video is a Spanish wall, of[244] which only a portion remains, with a Moorish-looking gateway, which has a very picturesque air about it, contrasting with the modern appearance of the houses near it. Through the gateway is visible a large quadrangular building, apparently used as a barrack in former times, but now appropriated to a much more useful purpose, that of a public market; and early in the morning may be seen dozens of people going to and fro with their purchases for the day—meat, fish, and fine vegetables. The latter appear to be in profusion; and some cauliflowers were far the largest I ever saw. Things of this sort are dear, owing to the limited cultivation, which is carried on chiefly by the Basque population, whilst the boatmen who ply for hire about the port are Italians to a man.[80] Some idea[245] may be formed of the scarcity of labourers, when the commonest cannot be got on board ship for less than 2 dollars each (eight shillings) per day, and this must be a great drawback to the progress of the place; otherwise, what may be seen of the soil, even close to the walls of Monte Video, proves that anything could be grown there under proper cultivation. Hedges of immense aloes, cactus, clover, and other spontaneous vegetation, are everywhere visible; whilst near the edge of the bay there is splendid granite rock, in any quantity, for building purposes and paving the streets. True, you see no trees about, as they were all levelled for firewood, &c.; but that the soil close to the town can grow thousands of them, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt, and the territory of the Uruguay itself, in many parts, is famous for its timbered affluence. The citizens are now planting some trees, and with peace for a few years, the outskirts of Monte Video would present a very different appearance indeed to what they do at present. The walls of the English burial-ground were also levelled during the siege; and there is now only a hedge of aloes, which does not hide even the tombstones. Owing to that and other circumstances, there is some talk of the site being removed. Before our arrival, a revolution, attended with some bloodshed, had again broken out, and things appeared in a very unsettled state, finally coming to a head by a total upset of the then existing president, Giro, and his foreign minister, Berro, who took refuge in a French vessel of war.[81] A provisional government was soon formed, which[246] certainly seemed to carry with it the sympathies of the people, who, it is to be hoped, will settle down again quietly—a consummation to which everything that has happened, as far as is known in Europe, since our departure, would seem to be steadily tending. Hitherto, as is notorious to every one, the great curse of these countries is personal ambition; for no man considers it necessary to consult the interests of his fellow-citizens beyond what will serve his own purpose. Such a principle as that of true patriotism, or dispensing legislation for the good of the many, was a mere chimera, and no wonder the masses should at length kick against a system by which they are always sufferers.

Fortunately, however, a most marked change in this respect[247] has recently occurred. The love of anarchic excitement has well nigh subsided, even amongst the most volatile and hitherto inflammable portion of the population; while the sentiment conveyed in the Shakspearean malison, ‘A plague on both your houses,’ is that uppermost in the mouths of the really intelligent and respectable classes of every way of thinking, when appealed to by contending chiefs, panting for public embroilment for the sake of personal aggrandisement. A most striking, and, it is to be hoped, conclusive, evidence of this was furnished in the case of the recent ejection of the President Giro, or, rather, his own renunciation of office and attempted exercise of its functions afterwards; for, rather than join any standard, at least any that involved the disruption of the public peace, certain classes, who had hitherto been at the beck of every incendiary in turn, actually fled into the country and hid themselves, for fear of being compelled to participate in scenes they had previously so often rejoiced to riot in. The adherents of the Giro government have since made an attempt to seize upon the power they have so capriciously abandoned, and succeeded in producing some confusion for a while, especially at Colonia, whence the authorities had to fly in a whale-boat to Buenos Ayres; but the provisional executive, strong in the pacific disposition of the whole people, as already adverted[248] to, quickly succeeded in restoring order, and maintained it with firmness and temper, till Brazil has insured enduring peace.

In speaking of the overthrow or dissolution of the recent government of President Giro, it may be necessary to state, in justice to a deserving and distinguished public servant, Sen. Don F. Castellanos, that he had no hand whatever in the circumstances which led to that occurrence, having many months before resigned the office of Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the duties of which he discharged with exemplary assiduity, ability, and success, under the exceedingly difficult obligations imposed upon the State of the Uruguay, subsequent to the siege being suddenly raised by the defeat and flight of Rosas. M. Castellanos, whose personal acquaintance I had the honour of making, is a gentleman of European as well as American repute, being well versed in the constitutional laws of the New World, and familiar with the institutions and literature of the old, speaking French and English with facility and correctness. During his administration everything possible was done to supply that great desideratum of the Uruguay and of all the South American states—immigration from Europe. To this end Senr. Castellanos, shortly after he accepted office, addressed a despatch to the Consul-General for the Republic of the Uruguay in London, commanding him to make known to all whom it might concern, that the whole of the fertile territory of the Banda Oriental was in a condition of perfect tranquillity, in which it has virtually since remained, notwithstanding the sudden cessation since of the government of which he was at the time the Foreign Minister. He stated that the authorities were anxious to receive any number of peaceable, well-disposed European emigrants, to whose industry they were prepared to guarantee all the protection extended to native citizens, together with peculiar exemptions because of their introduction of skill and capital. Complete toleration in all matters of religious observance was insured; and, in a word, every inducement held out to the redundant population of the Old World to avail itself of the fruitful soil and genial climate of a constitutionally governed country, admirably adapted[249] in every respect to Europeans of the Saxon and German stock, the climate being temperate and healthy in an eminent degree, and its numerous rivers, extensive sea-coast, and noble harbours, affording every facility for commerce. In the present condition of our Russian trade in tallow, for whose production this region has unlimited capabilities, as it has for another staple—cotton—whose supply is by no means encouragingly ‘looming in the future,’ the announcement here made is likely to have the effect of directing towards the La Plata a considerable stream of emigration, which circumstances of various kinds—moral, sanative, and social—may repel from quarters more alluring to the inconsiderate millions. Indeed, we understand that a formidable ‘exodus,’ as the phrase is, may be looked for shortly from the Rhenish provinces on the Swiss border, to the Banda Oriental; and that an organization on a very large scale is being matured for colonizing with Germans several hundred thousand acres of the beautiful undulating tract on the borders of the Rivers Arapey Grande, Arapey Chico, and the Curaeim. There is no doubt that the causes which attract the industry and energy of the prudent Germans in this marked manner will also draw a great number of English agricultural settlers to the neighbourhood of a city in which so much English capital and enterprise are being commercially employed as in Monte Video; and a very potent stimulus to the wishes of the Uruguayan government in this respect must be afforded by the new Liverpool line of steamers, running monthly to Brazil and the Plata, under circumstances very different from those that formerly characterised the Anglo steam communication with that part of South America.

Some twelve years since, slavery was abolished in the territory of the Republic. Many hands, then obliged to devote themselves to tillage, abandoned it in order to occupy themselves in some other branches of industry which appeared to them more lucrative. Agriculture, which even then was not engaged in to any great extent, felt the blow; but what appeared fatal to it was converted into a benefit. For slaves was substituted free labour, because[250] the government at once comprehended the necessity of favouring, by all possible means, the principal branch of industry which supports states; and agriculture, instead of dwindling away, comparatively flourished. The abandonment of the most fertile plains, and the prices of their produce, encouraged strangers to come to cultivate them; and not only did agriculture gain in extent, but the soil likewise in production, which was doubled by industry. Attracted by the certainty of profit, and encouraged by the government, the emigration to the Uruguay was daily increased, and vessels, loaded with 200 to 300 emigrants, continually arrived at Monte Video. More than one company has been formed, in order, in conjunction with the government, to promote emigration to the interior of the country and its colonization. One, under the name of ‘Pastoral and Agricultural Company of Merinos,’ (Sociedade Agricola Pastoral de Merinos) is establishing a colony near the village of Carmelo, to which it destines a large tract of land. In its centre will be formed a city, under the name of Pueblo de la Estrella; and the same colony will have a normal school of agriculture, and a garden of acclimatization and practical essays of this science. On the banks of the Uruguay, an agricultural colony of European families of the same class is also being established. In the same manner a town will be constructed there, the plan of which is being formed. Another agricultural society of the colony has promoted an association among the inhabitants of the city of Colonia, for the colonization of the country. Some time ago it issued the greater portion of its shares, and, as I learned, intended to import from the Canary Islands 50 agricultural families, of four persons each, to whom to distribute lands, seeds, instruments, &c. In the department of Soriano, other societies intend to introduce 800 to 1,000 European families, who are to devote themselves to agriculture; lastly, the necessity for the encouragement of colonization is everywhere recognized, and its promotion is sought in every possible way.

These and many other schemes of a somewhat similar kind are yet a very long way indeed from fruition; and some considerable[251] time must elapse before they can be anything but dreams. Doubtless the disturbed state of Europe will lend a great impetus to the immigration we have spoken of, and the mere talk of the improvements we adverted to bespeaks a yearning after social good that must ultimately realize its own object. For one who knows the people well, says:—

Of natural or unschooled talent there is a great deal there. A vivacious imagination is almost universal in the inhabitants; and in the fine language which they possess, they express themselves with a fluency, if not an eloquence, at which we seldom aim, and to which we much seldomer attain. This facility has grown out of their tertulia, or conversazione habits. Among the lawyers, the constant practice of dictating to an amanuensis, the definitions, reasonings, and refutations in the various cases in which they are retained, enable them often to write, and to write with fluency and elegance, upon subjects, the theory and bearing of which they study for the occasion. Of course all such writings are more plausible than profound, more replete with declamation than sound reasoning. The imagination of the South American is constantly at work; and unconsciously, perhaps, he is ever showing forth, among his countrymen, things as they ought to be, not as they are. When we hear him descant, in glowing and eloquent terms on civil liberty, freedom of the press, liberal education, privileges of the constitution, we fancy there must be a tolerably good foundation laid of all these blessings before so much could be said about them.

This naturally leads me to speak of social life in Monte Video, which, as far as I had an opportunity of judging, is frank, cordial, and agreeable, there being a much greater admixture of the citizens with foreigners, and especially with English, than I observed at Lisbon, and than I know exists in Brazil. English society in itself is also much more extensive than I could have well believed, and is of a very superior order—refined, intelligent, and hospitable. There is full freedom for religious worship of every kind; and Mr. Samuel Lafone, of the firm of Lafone Brothers, of Monte Video and Liverpool—a name preëminent in British trade with the Plate—having, at the expense of several thousand pounds, constructed a handsome and commodious church for the use of his Protestant fellow-countrymen, presented it, and the ground on which it stands (convenient to the anchorage for men-of-war), to them in perpetuity, without the slightest reserve or expectancy of remuneration, save the reward conveyed by the consciousness[252] of having done a noble act, for the best of purposes, and with the purest motives. There are also considerable numbers of British mechanics in Monte Video, and agriculturists and shepherds in the Republic, the climate being humid, temperate, and bracing, like our own. The Uruguay adjoins that fine healthy province of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, to which some hundreds of Irish emigrants, more especially from the Barony Forth, in the county of Wexford—admirable specimens indeed of ‘the finest peasantry in the world’—have proceeded, within the last few years, from Liverpool, under the auspices of Admiral Grenfell, the Brazilian Consul-General at that port; and all the accounts they have hitherto sent home, whether by themselves, or the pastor who accompanied them, the Rev. R. Walsh, represent their circumstances and situation as prosperous and happy, an admirable loamy land being obtainable, in an unlimited quantity, at a dollar an acre. Some Anglo-South American houses also have a good many Welch on their properties in the same province, and their reports are all to the like effect. At still cheaper rates may yet finer land, and in a still better climate, be obtained in the Uruguay; and from all I have been able to see, hear, or read, I am inclined to believe that there is no more eligible spot in the world for an intending emigrant than the Banda Oriental, whether capitalist or labourer, whether an agriculturist, a grazier, a wool grower, or even a cotton grower, a horse or cattle breeder, or one skilled in the preparation of hides, horns, or tallow for the home market; or whether he be a rural mechanic or farm servant, or small yeoman desirous of bringing up a family in any or every branch of husbandry. On all subjects connected with agricultural pursuits in this region of the world, but more especially as regards the breeding of horses, cattle, and sheep, and their preparation for the several markets they are suited to, the excellent work of Mr. M’Cann (‘Two Thousand Miles’ Ride through the Argentine Provinces’), may with great confidence be recommended, as furnishing on these points a mass of information nowhere else to be found, and valuable especially as being the result of the author’s[253] actual experience. My own observations were naturally confined to the capital and its immediate vicinity; and my opinion, therefore, on such extensive matters as those embraced by Mr M’Cann would be of about the same value as those of a Cockney who should pronounce on the territorial condition of England from a Sunday afternoon’s contemplation of a suburban tea-garden. And, speaking somewhat in the latter sense, I should say that the neighbourhood of Monte Video would be pronounced by the sentimental gentleman in Pickwick to be the very paradise of market gardeners, with or without gazelles, as the case might be.

The mention of gazelles is naturally suggestive of some remarks about certain other and biped proprietors of beaux yeux; but we must reserve such matters for the next chapter, merely premising that the observations therein offered are in every respect perfectly applicable to the fair Monte-Videans, who are, indeed, even fairer, or at least less embrowned, than the Buenos Ayrean belles, being, if possible, more distinctive types of Spanish beauty, or what used to be such; for according to the recent[82] pronunciamento[254] of a most competent and accomplished critic, the syrens of Southern Europe are no such great charmers after all—an assurance that must be consolatory to the British mammas of young Hopefuls quartered at Gibraltar. But, be that as it may, few of the worser half of humanity will question the right of the Transatlantic descendants of Castillian dames to the suzerainty of all beholders, especially when to the Moresque complexion is added that distinctive optic attribute of the Goth which the Celts so much admire, as shown in the familiar Portuguese ditty:—

Olhos pardos e negros
Sao os commues;
Mais os do minha amante
Deos fez azues.
Black eyes and brown
You may every day see;
But blue like my lover’s
The gods made for me.

I am happy to be able to fortify my own opinion of the attractions and conveniences of Monte Video by the very competent authority of Mr. L. Hugh de Bonelli, secretary to Her Britannic Majesty’s legation in Bolivia, who, in a very interesting couple of volumes, published by Messrs. Hurst and Blackett, in the course of last month, (February, 1854,) entitled ‘Travels in Bolivia, with a Tour across the Pampas to Buenos Ayres, &c.,’ expresses himself infinitely pleased with the place; and his description is so felicitous that I venture to append it in a note.[83]



Since these remarks were written, the news from the Uruguay continues to be of so conclusive a character as to give every assurance that this fine country has really at last entered upon the prosperous destiny its great natural advantages so clearly point to, provided only peace were ensured. That peace will henceforth be preserved is now certain, and consequently we may calculate on ordinary events following ordinary causes, as in all other parts of the world. By the common consent of the moderate and intelligent of all classes in the Banda Oriental, Brazil has been solicited to assume the protectorate of the Republic. This high and responsible trust she has undertaken in the spirit of magnanimity and disinterestedness that will be inferred from the perusal of our observations towards the close of the chapter on Rio Janeiro. As there stated, Brazil has no acquisitive designs on Uruguayan territory; but she has a design and determination to keep peace in that state for the sake of having a quiet neighbour on her own important southern frontier,[256] irrespective of her natural anxiety for the advancement of so important a portion of the South American east coast as has Monte Video for its capital. She has not interfered, nor does she intend to interfere, with the internal or domestic affairs of the Republic in any way, further than securing the inhabitants the exercise of the right to elect their own rulers, and securing to those so elected the right of peaceably discharging their functions without the perpetual molestations which the armed violence of military adventurers have for so many years entailed upon all administrations in succession. As the most essential preliminary to quietude, Brazil has undertaken to remove one source of ever-irritating provocation and confusion from the Uruguay, by subsidizing the government to pay what is necessary to carry on its affairs properly and efficiently, without those pecuniary impediments that have so frequently paralysed every administration in turn; but Brazil has insisted that the fiscal resources of the Republic shall not be squandered in the mere process of collection, as has been the case hitherto. Brazil, in fact, occupies the position of a police, who has only the one object to prevent outrage, compel the observance of honesty, and ensure obedience not to her arbitrary edicts or capricious ordinances, but to the recognized laws of the country itself. It is needless to say that if the native Orientals are delighted at this stable state of things following on the anarchy that had become almost chronic, still more so are the foreigners, who constitute so large a portion of the wealthy and influential trading inhabitants of the capital, and of the landed proprietary. Some suspicions have been expressed that Brazil would convert her present position to the frustration of the liberal commercial policy lately established between some of the adjoining South American states and Europe, and that Paraguay may be relegated to her former isolation once more in consequence. But nothing can be more unfounded than such apprehension; for, apart from its being the obvious interest of Brazil to bring all portions of the continent of which she forms so important a section into commercial contiguity with the old world,[257] the former treaties between the Banda Oriental and England and France and Sardinia, and the new ones between those latter countries and Paraguay would necessarily demand an intervention from which Brazil would intuitively shrink; and, moreover, the United States of North America would immediately resent any obstructions that should impede the course of events which she evidently contemplates by despatching a diplomatic and consular representative to Paraguay. Altogether, then, there is every reason to believe that the good offices of Brazil will prove of inestimable benefit to the Uruguay, and that that Republic and England will alike find in such offices the best auxiliary to the mutually beneficial interests between the two countries.[84]

In Monte Video, accommodation for travellers is naturally very limited, principally owing to the disorganized state of the city for so many years. Still, there are some tolerably good hotels, and a fair number of cafés and restaurants. At Buenos Ayres hotels are numerous, and so far as my experience extended, the[258] charges are by no means extravagant, as will be sufficiently proved by a perusal of my bill of costs presented to me on leaving the Hotel de Paris, where I remained some ten days, retaining my apartments, though absent up the river nearly half the time:—

Bedroom and sitting-room 210
Breakfasts 20
Dinners and wine 130
Lights 11
Waiters and chambermaid 50
Or about 5 guineas.

There are also plenty of good lodging and boarding-houses, several of them kept by English and other foreign residents; and the increase to this kind of accommodation appears to be only limited by the demand.


Departure from Monte Video.—Moonlight on the La Plata.—Deficiency of landing accommodation at Buenos Ayres.—Streets and buildings of the Argentine capital.—The climate and the people.—Prohibition of the slave trade.—General Whitelock, the Calle de Defensa, and Colonel Thompson.—Expedition against Monte Video.—Palermo, the country residence of General Rosas.—Characters of the dictator and his successor, Urquiza.—Donna Manueleta.—Argentine confederation.—Government of General Rosas.—War on the Plata and the Parana.—Foreign intervention and capture of Rosas’ fleet.—Blockade of Buenos Ayres and ascent of the Parana.—The pass of Obligado.—Intervention of Brazil, and passage of the Uruguay by Urquiza.—Capitulation of General Oribe.—Battle of Moron, and fall of Rosas.—Fluvial obstructions to trade and navigation.—Buenos Ayrean washerwomen.—English residents, their churches and newspaper, hotels and boarding-houses.—Anglo intermarriages.—Railway projects.—A word on the Buenos Ayrean constitution.—A South American debate.—Society in Buenos Ayres.—The Opera-house, and its galaxy of beauty.—Foreign shopkeepers and Irish servants.—General Paz.




Note to the Illustrations.—The view preceding this chapter is a reduced fac simile of the drawing of the city, taken by Sir W. G. Ouseley, from the house, or quinta, occupied by him during the period he was Minister here, it having formerly been the residence of the two diplomatists who preceded him, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Mandeville. Sir William says the dwelling is situated in the suburb of the city, and stands in a pretty garden and pleasure grounds, occupying above nine acres. The sketch was taken while a squall was coming on, the precursor of one of the hurricanes called Pamperos, but which are not quite peculiar to the Pampas, inasmuch as something of the same kind will be found to be of occasional occurrence in Brazil, as specified in the note to the illustration of Rio Janeiro, at page 150. Vessels in the Plate, and along the coast, often suffer severely from the Pamperos, or gales blowing over plains that stretch out to the foot of the Andes. These storms come on very suddenly, so that not unfrequently, while one part of the landscape is still basking in calm sunshine, the rest is shrouded in a dark veil, almost intercepting the light of day, while black clouds are impetuously swept onwards by the advancing gale, discharging in their course torrents of rain, until in a short time the whole of the horizon is alike inducted by the Pamperos, generally lasting for three days. Even experienced pilots and mariners have but short warning of their approach; and at certain seasons of the year particularly great vigilance is highly necessary to guard against their sudden violence. Buenos Ayres, like Monte Video and nearly all the towns in these provinces, is built on the rectangular system prescribed by the laws of the Indies, the streets intersecting each other at right angles every 150 yards, forming what the Americans call regular squares or blocks. It does not follow, however, that this regularity contributes in reality either to the beauty or convenience of a town. It is monotonous, and the uniformity is certainly far less picturesque than the sort of irregularity that gives so pleasing an effect to the Boulevards of Paris, and to many parts of the older capitals of Europe. Here the more handsome buildings, as usual in Spanish and Portuguese America, are mostly of an ecclesiastical character—churches, convents, &c. At a distance, or softened by the shades of evening, they have an imposing appearance; but a nearer approach and bright daylight show, as in Eastern towns, that the ravages of time have never been checked by proper care; that few have ever been completely finished or repaired; and many bear marks of utter neglect and decay. This is especially the case with edifices constructed for charitable purposes and public buildings. Hospitals, schools, lunatic asylums, &c., were until lately going to ruin, and whatever funds or estates may have originally been granted by private or public benefactors for the support of these institutions, they had not been employed by recent governments, more especially that of Rosas, for their maintenance, as intended by the donors. Several of the streets are paved with granite, brought from the islands above Buenos Ayres—chiefly from Martin Garcia; but being on a bad principle, as the stones are neither of equal size, nor properly cut, they, therefore, soon become uneven and very trying for carriages. The unpaved ones are actually dangerous or impassable for vehicles with springs and horses, especially after heavy rains; for, there being no stones, while the soil is fine and of great depth, deep holes, quagmires, and pools of water, form in parts of them.

Leaving Monte Video for a time, let us now ascend the La Plata, and take a peep at this far-famed Lion’s Den, where for so many years the despotic Rosas pursued his iniquitous course with impunity. We got up steam, and left just before dark, with a fair number of passengers for a first trip, and any quantity of luggage belonging to them. It was a magnificent moonlight as we glided over the great waters, for such they may truly be called; scarcely a breath of wind, but a cold, rarified air, that made many resort to their coats, cloaks, and any other available covering. Our only difficulty was in making the vessel go slow enough, and even so we arrived off the outer roads long before daylight, after which we made our way through a fleet of shipping, and the city of Buenos Ayres was spread before us, rising, as it were, out of the water, tall churches and domes standing forth in strong relief[261] against a glittering sun; but in other respects, appearances were not very inviting. After two hours consumed in waiting for the officer to board us, we were enabled to land—and such landing! worse even than what met the Spaniards on their first visit; for since that time heaps of petrified mud have accumulated on the shore, which thus looks like rock, and boats are obliged literally to grope their way through it, going as near as they can to the land; but the usual process is for visitors to be bundled out of the boat into an open cart, drawn by two horses, like so many pigs or sheep, often at the risk of being drenched. Indeed, nothing can be more wretched than this landing at one of the finest cities of South America, which does not possess a single jetty, wharf, pier, or accommodation of any kind in this way, although there is a fine walk built along the margin of the river, serving as a public promenade, but yet very little frequented. The only redeeming point in this landing is the singularity of the turn out, the picturesque dress and character of the drivers being again much of the Turk, only a finer and more athletic race, with any degree of personal activity, and no touch of pity in them towards the unfortunate animals they ride; for there is no driving here, all done en postilion, and I believe they even fish on horseback, to say nothing of begging. The position of the roadstead is bad enough, the outer roads being five to six miles from shore, and the inner roads from one to two miles, (according to the position taken up,) without being subjected to such inconvenience when you do reach the land; but on this point we shall have some further remarks to make when reviewing the commercial character of the place.




The unfavourable sensation produced by the vile landing and unfinished look of the churches and buildings from the river vanishes when fairly in the heart of the city. You are struck with astonishment at its vast size, many well-paved streets, public buildings, and houses redolent of luxurious comfort. Nor does a[264] closer inspection quite remove this impression; on the contrary, the more you examine and penetrate, the greater the surprise that after so long a period of civil and foreign warfare, there should still exist so much vitality. The conviction at once forces itself upon you that there must be wealth, and no small amount of it, somewhere.

Any lengthened description of Buenos Ayres, beyond what is supplied in the note below,[85] and that on the illustration, would be superfluous, so many thousand English having visited and recorded their experiences of it; but it is very questionable whether the public generally have any adequate idea of the magnitude of the city, the extent of its inland territory, or the leading characteristics of both. At all events, very few works have been published from[265] which accurate information of this kind can be derived; the recent and most valuable one of Sir Woodbine Parish being as yet only partially known, in consequence of its being but a second edition of one published several years ago; and even since the second edition appeared, scarcely two years back, there is necessity for further information, so unstable is the condition of things, and so rapid the mutation of momentous events in these regions. Certainly there is ample scope for dissertation in all that comes under one’s notice here, look with what indifference or contempt we may upon the individuals and parties by whom political occurrences are influenced. First, as regards the climate and people: the difference in temperature between Buenos Ayres and Rio Janeiro at this season of the year is from 20 to 30 deg., and after four or five days’ sailing, you find yourself obliged to change the lightest possible clothing for English tweeds and stout broad-cloth, which, mindful of such vicissitude, and therein being much more provident than some of my fellow voyagers, I had fortunately with me. It is a precaution I would recommend all voyagers in the Plate to adopt, as it is one that will not only save them much inconvenience at the outset, but probably obviate a material cause of subsequent illness, consequent upon exposure to such rapid transitions as are here experienced, especially until the traveller becomes somewhat acclimated.

The mornings and evenings are positively cold, even according to our English acceptation of the word; and most houses had fires in their sitting rooms. In the day time the sun is warm and pleasant; the air of that bracing kind which is calculated to raise the animal spirits, and give a tone and energy to the mind. The difference, too, in the people between this place and Brazil is remarkable:—strong, healthy-looking men, clear complexioned, bright-eyed women, many of whom have as much bloom on their cheeks as would become an English dairy-maid. Of course, there is a considerable mixture of races; but the true native Buenos Ayreans can be easily distinguished by their rather dark but clear complexion, dark eyes, and dark hair, strongly-marked sharp features,[266] and somewhat aquiline nose; whilst the Guachos, or horsemen of the Pampas, the South American Bedouins, combining the attributes of their Hispaniolan forefathers with the later ‘blood of the desert,’ are the most picturesque-looking objects in the world, being dressed in fancy-coloured ponchos, with much ornamental work about them, and long, embroidered white trousers, galloping about on equally grotesque-looking steeds. They remind one immediately of Arab sketches, or, still more vividly, of real Arabs, if you have been fortunate enough to have made the overland trip, and beheld the followers of the Prophet in the land of dates, palm-trees, and dromedaries; many of these Guachos being, also, immensely muscular, fine-looking men. Numerous black faces are also to be seen here, the owners thereof being all free, and mostly occupied as regular soldiers, as likewise at Monte Video.


Buenos Ayres literally forms a regular chess-board, as the plans of the city show. It is about four miles square, and supposed to contain nearly 100,000 inhabitants; but as no census has ever been taken, this is only conjecture: some asserting that there are 120,000, others, not 80,000; and others again, as low as 50,000.[86] At all events, the mass of the houses being well occupied,[267] rents are very high, paying the owners from 12 to 20 per cent. per annum; so there would appear to be plenty of occupants, and great encouragement to go on building. The same remark as to the description, extent, and elegance, of private houses, applies here precisely as in the capital of the Uruguay, only that they are ten to one in number, more costly and elegant; indeed, the city itself, compared with Monte Video, is as London to Liverpool, the great maritime and commercial advantages and facilities of the one being regarded as an equivalent, and perhaps more than an equivalent, to the architectural and general urban superiority of the other. The size of the (fifteen) Buenos Ayrean churches is something marvellous; and it is impossible to enter them without admiring these monuments of the power and wealth exercised by the Jesuits, as well as of that undaunted tenacity of Spanish character which could erect such huge piles in a country where there are neither bricks, mortar, nor stones on the spot, all having to come from a distance. But, as we have said, the[268] brick-work in many of them has never been completed; and they look very bad when contrasted with the glaring white of other parts of the building, covered with large patches of grass and rubbish. The cathedral is the crowning point of Buenos Ayrean attractions, only more modern, and the exterior is in the same unfinished state as much older edifices; the interior being gorgeously ‘fitted up’ with numerous side altars and oratories, well cleaned, lighted, and ventilated, with numerous glass chandeliers down the nave. There is less tinsel and glare than in many Roman Catholic churches in Europe, but more solidity and pleasing effect; nor can a stranger help expressing surprise on entering so fine a building, whose architectural merit is enhanced by its situation in so handsome a square, the other sides being occupied by the Cabilda, or police-office, and good shops and dwelling-houses, with striking piazzas. There is also an ornamental archway on the side facing the sea, looking towards the old fort and government house, together with a pillar in the centre of the square, to commemorate the independence of the country. This square has been the scene of many important political changes: it was here that our brave soldiers under General Whitelock forced their way, and from the Square Manzo, what is now styled Calle de Defensa (Defence-street), by which the troops entered the town, and were shot down from the flat tops of the houses,[87] without the power or means of[269] defending themselves. It does not require a military eye to see the error and folly of the tactics pursued in this melancholy business, nor to be satisfied with how little trouble and loss of life such an army as the British, so circumstanced, could have reduced a city like Buenos Ayres, even supposing they had preferred a more summary process to that of starving out the enemy. There was an infatuation about the whole affair for which it is difficult to account, especially when coupled with the gratuitous surrender of Monte Video, under the same terms as those which ensured the capitulation of Whitelock, a clause inserted by the Spanish general, Liniers, without the least idea that it would be acceded to. But, at that period, imbecility and absurdity the most incredible seemed to preside at our military councils, leading to the same futile and[270] mortifying results as had characterized our operations in Walcheren and elsewhere in Europe, some few years before. With Monte Video and Buenos Ayres under our flag, it is difficult to conjecture what might not have been the fate of a country traversed by boundless rivers, and in every way so admirably adapted to the agricultural pursuits of Englishmen. The tide of emigration from our own shores would then, in all probability, have flowed freely towards this part of the world, and the United States of North America have taken considerably more time to develope themselves, and to have attained their present position, which, of course, has been reached mainly in consequence of the enormous influx of the redundant bone, sinew, and brain of Europe. On such slight threads and events does the destiny of nations often hang. But it is time that we leave speculation for fact.

The name of Rosas has been so long identified with Buenos Ayres, that you no sooner find yourself within the recent sphere of his undisputed and unquestioned domination than you naturally ask, where exist the monuments of his activity, and the proofs of his successful promotion of the interests of this his dependent capital? Beyond a large town residence, which he built for government purposes, a country residence, called Palermo, and a mole constructed in front of the sea, there is nothing to mark the reign of a man desirous of elevating the character of his countrymen in the scale of civilized nations, or of contributing to their commercial prosperity. In spite of civil wars and bad government, the[271] city of Buenos Ayres has contrived to extend itself, although the country round it is, more or less, in a state of desolation; but he has failed to leave any enduring personal impress, either outside or inside, of those walls where for many years he ruled lord of life and means, and almost of thought, so comprehensive and exhaustive was his despotism. The town residence alluded to is now occupied by the executive for public purposes, and the private one at Palermo will soon go to ruin and decay. This latter characteristic evidence of selfish gratification, without either taste, utility, or architectural design, has cost endless sums of money; but the approximate extent of the outlay will never be known. Palermo is built on a swampy bank of the river, with only a ground floor, at times several feet under water, which must be a prolific source of fever and ague. It is reported of Rosas, that on one occasion the water was so high, that the cook sent him word he could not dress his dinner; but on ascertaining that the kitchen-fires were not out, the command was to prepare the meal forthwith. The unfortunate subterranean ruler of the roast did so at once, congratulating himself that he only suffered the penalty of a severe attack of rheumatism, instead of the more summary visitation wherewith the dictator generally followed up the slightest implied opposition to his wishes, even in so trumpery a matter as the one we speak of.


A good level road has been carried from the city to Palermo,[272] at considerable expense, the approach being ‘through an avenue of willows,’ made to look as park-like as possible. About the house, or palace, as it might have been called in the days of its glory, are numerous out-buildings and barracks for cavalry, of which Rosas always kept a strong body-guard, as might naturally have been expected from his antecedents, he having principally risen to power in the first instance among his fellow guachos by the superior daring and dexterity of his horsemanship; added, of course, to his extreme adroitness in turning to his own account the dissentions of his rivals in the race for power. Passing the house, down another long avenue towards the river, you are surprised at seeing a large vessel, evidently fitted up for some special purpose. It appears she was driven ashore there in some heavy gale; and Rosas had her converted into a pleasure house, where balls and parties were held—another toy or plaything suited to the character of the man. Nature being found rather stubborn in yielding to the wishes of the owner of Palermo, immense sums were expended in planting orange trees, ever-greens, and exotics, of one kind or another, which were brushed and combed daily, and coaxed into a sickly existence; but it would not do. Nothing but willows flourish, or will continue to flourish, over the dilapidated abode from which issued many a bloody decree of this Borgia of the Pampas.

I have no wish to say anything unnecessarily harsh of Rosas: on the contrary, knowing, as I do, what was the state of parties in this portion of South America, I am quite willing to admit the extreme exigency of his position in the first instance, as one who must put down, with an iron, and even a remorseless, hand, that universal anarchy and violence in the midst of which he attained the eminence of being the most daring and sanguinary member of a community of semi-civilized brigands. But what should silence, or rather should have silenced, for they are all mute enough now, his well-paid eulogists and defenders, is the continuance of mean and miserable cruelties, long after the faintest pretext for their perpetration on political grounds had passed away.[273] I will not shock the reader by a revival of stories at which one’s blood runs cold. He is gone; fled as ignominiously as he had lived detestably; and, notwithstanding his gangs of gorged assassin friends, who would profit by his return, he has left none behind who bless his memory. If any proof were wanted, this would be conclusive, as to the purely selfish career of the man; for even a comity of crime evokes no benison on the head of the expelled despot, who never thought of anything but the aggrandisement of himself and family, at the expense of the national treasury. The revulsion of popular feeling towards him is only what might have been anticipated, though hardly, perhaps, to the extent that has actually taken place, considering the length of time he ruled, and the immense number of personal retainers one would have thought he might have contrived to attach to him. Some of these remained faithful after his fall, to the length of employing a portion of the ample funds left behind him to endeavour to promote his recall.

There has been an end of this for some time, and, consequently, a cessation of the intrigues arising from it. Urquiza, his sometime successor in the dictatorship, and the present President of the Argentine Confederation, (though long since repudiated by the principal state of the confederacy, Buenos Ayres, itself), extended to Rosas the almost unheard-of generosity of sparing his so-called private property—property which he wrung from the state, and which, on his departure, was employed by his myrmidons to effect the expulsion of Urquiza, and bring about the restoration of the elder tyrant. The former object it undoubtedly greatly helped to accomplish; in the latter it entirely failed; for, though Urquiza certainly entered upon unwise courses, was too precipitate and sweeping in his changes, and mistook violence for vigour, in many instances, as was not unnatural in a soldier fresh from another country, for the province of which he was president, Entre Rios, may be called so, still, from all I could learn among dispassionate critics, it would seem that he and the citizens, friends of order, would soon have become reconciled to each other, and there would have been a mutual softening of acerbities, were it not for[274] the emissaries of Rosas being enabled, by the means just mentioned, to foment those antagonist feelings which eventually led to the siege and blockade, by Urquiza, of the very place he had so lately freed from the presence of the despot. Whatever may have been the faults of Urquiza, and they certainly find no apologist in me, his brief tenure of supreme power was sufficiently long to prove that he was altogether a man of superior stamp to Rosas, whose selfishness lacked even the ambition to make his tyranny respectable, in the sense that the most narrow-minded of oppressors have endeavoured to do elsewhere. Francia, whilst isolating Paraguay from all the world, contrived to make the Paraguayans proud of their country, and to cause others to believe that that pride was not altogether unfounded. Not so with Rosas: short-sighted as Francia, he had not a particle of the lofty feeling which influenced that gloomy bigot; for, while endeavouring to render Buenos Ayres powerful, it was all for himself individually; and he cared not to give the Buenos Ayreans an interest in saying that the tyrant who ground them was otherwise than simply hateful, and that what he achieved for them in the eyes of foreigners was purely contemptible. Saying nothing of the total absence, under his regime, of any commercial convenience, as already pointed out, not a single thing was done during his sway that had for its object real internal improvement. No newspapers were allowed to appear, except those under his sanction, in the same way as the one St. Petersburgh journal under the Czar’s surveillance. Not a single literary, historical, descriptive, or local work was allowed to be published or sold in Buenos Ayres, and barely a common-place almanack could be procured; so that to the present day you cannot find such a thing in the city as the slightest evidence that the mind of the whole population was otherwise than embruted to the level of helots, which indeed was virtually the case all the time his blighting influence was in the ascendant. The answer to any inquiry at the shops for works of information about either the city or provinces, during that period, is invariably the same, ‘Rosas did not[275] permit their publication!’ The consequence is, you are obliged to grope your way along, and glean what you can from those you meet.

The rationale of this argument is altogether incomprehensible; for how are we to understand what could be his motive for such conduct at home, when we know that he was particularly assiduous, by means of the French, English, and even German press, and through every instrument of publicity he could influence, whether on stock exchanges, in diplomatic circles, or in fashionable coteries, to disseminate through Europe the belief that his capital was the abode of luxurious and intellectual enjoyment of every kind, its inhabitants delighted with his paternal sway, and that any interference on behalf of the unfortunate Uruguayans or others of his victims, external or domestic, was to be deprecated as the most irremediable of calamities, not merely to Buenos Ayres itself, but the whole of South America? That he succeeded in propagating this belief in some of the best informed quarters of Europe, particularly in England, is but too well known; and it is not a little curious that almost simultaneously with his arrival here, there appeared in certain organs, influenced by him, loud praises of a Hamburgh publication devoted to the exposition of the wisdom of his commercial policy, and ridiculing the notion of the affluents of the Plata ever being opened to European trade. But he and his system have passed away, and the memory of them is fast departing too in the coming of that better time which is believed to be at hand. His brother arrived in Europe in January last, despairing of any restoration of the family fortunes whatever; so I take leave of a topic that has become as obsolete as it would have been disagreeable to pursue it; and shall make no apology for the omission in these pages of anecdotic scandals,[88] for which[276] readers at one time looked, as a matter of course, in every book professing to treat of the terrible Dictator, and eke of his famous daughter, the Donna Manueleta, who has been married (to a South American) since her father’s arrival in England, and now lives, I believe, in the neighbourhood of Southampton. Unwilling to dwell on the political complications in the Plate, and, at the same time, fearing it would be a contradiction of the desire expressed in the preface, to render this volume as informing as possible, especially to readers who may draw from it for the first time their knowledge of South American matters, I append, in a note, from the excellent geographical work of Mr. Charles Knight, now (1854) in course of publication[89] by Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, a brief, but comprehensive and dispassionate statement of recent incidents in the Argentine Confederation, and have added a few particulars, which, together, will, it is hoped, bring the narrative of occurrences necessary to be known down to the period of going to press, without the occupation of much space, or tediously encumbering the text with minutiæ of proper names, dates, and places, for these are really of little value to the general reader save for purposes of reference.


The view of the port of Buenos Ayres (if it can be called a port) from the flats of the houses is picturesque, vessels lying at anchor as far as the eye can reach. On the left, towards Palermo, is some high ground, with numerous pretty-looking villa residences; on the right, is the old fort, afterwards the custom-house, warehouses, and depôts of various kinds; further on, what is called the Boca, or Mouth, a small river, where large numbers of minor craft discharge and load in safety; but, at times, it is[278] difficult even for them to get out, owing to an accumulation of sand at the river’s mouth which Rosas might have kept open, but made a really effectual effort to close it. Looking seaward, swarms of carts are visible going to and from lighters or small vessels at anchor in the inner road, the only means by which shipping can be discharged or loaded, the merchandise exposed of course to damage from being wet, as the horses are often up to their chests, and the cart itself even higher, in the water, through which it has to be dragged for a mile and upwards. The wonder is how any trade whatever can be carried on under such disadvantages. Another singular feature in the vicinage of the landing place is to see the shore covered with garments of cotton and linen undergoing every stage of the ablutionary process, the Buenos Ayrean naiads of the oceanic wash-tub converting the Atlantic to a purpose undreamed of by the Mesdames Partington of the elder world. As far as the eye can reach the detergent sisterhood may be seen of an afternoon, like the laundry-maid in the fable, ‘spreading out their clothes;’ and their gesticulations, and the chattering they keep up, especially if there is a squall blowing, and one can hear their shrill treble piping fitfully above the blast at intervals, recalls a recollection of the Witches’ Dance as played by Paganini, if you ever happen to have heard that weird fantasia on one string; or, if not, perhaps you will be inclined to account for what must have been the sensation of Columbus and his companions, on nearing the shores of the new world, when, according to Rogers,

The sound of harpy wings they heard
And shrieks, not of men, were mingling in the blast.






We have said there is a large foreign population, some say 50,000; but though that must be a great exaggeration, there are at all events some 5000 English of all denominations, many being small tradesmen, and not a few owners of cattle and cultivators of the soil in the province; the Anglo Buenos Ayrean community mustering altogether in sufficient strength to support liberally a well-conducted though not always impartial local organ of their own, in their own language, called the British Packet, which holds somewhat the same rank among the family of John Bull on the East coast of South America that Galignani does in Paris—saving the political neutrality of the latter. There is a tolerably handsome well-frequented English, and several other protestant churches, nearly all of which have good schools in connection with them; as have also the places of worship belonging to the Germans, who muster to the number of about 900, or nearly equal to the Scotch; but the governmental influence exercised over these schools renders them less satisfactory to the parents of the children than could be desired. It is to be hoped[281] that now there is a stable form of administration established, there will be a reformation in this respect; for, from the circumstance of Buenos Ayres possessing many institutions for the promotion of science, for painting and drawing, and some excellent libraries, not saying anything of several good newspapers, which, though in Spanish, are very useful to the foreign inhabitants, the city is perhaps one of the best for educational purposes in South America. Indeed, there is a very English aspect in many features of Buenos Ayres, not the least prominent of which are perhaps the hotels and boarding-houses, several of these establishments being conducted by English people, and by natives of the United States. Anglo intermarriages with the natives are frequent, and a few years of peace and tranquillity here, as at Monte Video, would give a wonderful impetus to population, and to the trade of the place. Some railway projects were being talked of when I was there, and still more sanguinely since I left. These, if undertaken by joint stock companies on the spot, may be carried out with remunerative success; but the government are totally helpless in the present state of their finances. One railway scheme, from the mole round to the custom-house along the margin of the river, would be a great public convenience, and easily made. Railways and steam navigation must be established, to drive these countries a-head, or they will recede into a state of semi-barbarism. They cannot stand still, or remain in their present normal condition; and it is to be hoped they will take heart of grace from the[282] position and example of Brazil, which shows that it is not climate, race, geographical position, nor fertility of soil, that gives prosperity to a country; but 1st, peace, and, above all, internal peace; and, 2ndly, a determination to avail of the advantages which peace alone permits of, when it is a peace secured, not by the leaden despotism of a Paraguayan Francia or a Muscovite Nicholas, but by a constitutional government, rendering every man equal in the eye of the law, and rendering the law equally applicable to every man’s case, from the President or Emperor, to the humblest citizen, whatever his creed, colour, or profession. In reference to the system of government prevailing in Buenos Ayres, it is only necessary to say that, like all the South American republics, nominal freedom is maintained on the widest basis. Forty-four deputies, one-half of whom are elected every year by the people, compose the junta, or legislative assembly, by whom the governor,[90] or captain-general, is chosen for three years, he being altogether unfettered in his choice of ministry, but their policy must of course be acceptable to the junta to be rendered effective, as in the case of the British Cabinet and House of Commons. The provisional governor now in office is Don Manuel Pinto; and from all I could hear, his conduct, and that of his ministers, is regarded with as much general favour as could be reasonably expected, considering his and their exceedingly anomalous position. For it is to be remembered that Buenos Ayres is, de jure, a province of the Argentine Confederation, and yet de facto, separated from it, the difficulty being to determine how far either condition is acceptable, or the contrary, whether to the Buenos Ayreans themselves, or to any, and how many, of the other provinces, whose constancy to any one view, whether as affecting their individual or federative status, cannot be counted upon for a month together. I had not an opportunity of attending the Buenos Ayrean Assembly, but believe that the description given of that at Rio is tolerably applicable to it, and that both, and indeed those of all the states of the continent, were very accurately pourtrayed by Mr. Robinson several years ago, nothing whatever having occurred since to qualify his sketch, viz.,—




The form of South American debates is this: members take their seats, having previously assembled in an ante-room, till a sufficient number is collected to constitute what is called a ‘sala,’ and by us, ‘a house.’ The government secretaries or ministers have their respective places, but no vote in the house. The president (or speaker) sits at a table on a platform raised above the level of the room. There is a bell at his right-hand, with which he tinkles to order. He has a secretary on either side of him; and one or two reporters are seated immediately under him. In some places, the members speak in a sitting position, which, to an Englishman, has an awkward effect. In other places they mount up into a ‘tribuno,’ or rostrum. By the former position the graces and vehemence of action are precluded; and by the latter, not only does action become a mere studied display, but the notion of business is superseded by the expectancy of a formal oration. We cannot reconcile it to ourselves in the one case, to see a man sitting and taking his snuff-box out, during the heat of debate (himself being at once the snuffer and the speaker), any more than in the other we can feel ourselves warmed by the over-wrought rapidity of action of a mercurial spirit, or the measured solemnity of a grave one, putting forth its ebullitions from a box, of which the sides are too high for elbow-room. South American members of parliament, in the exercise of a politeness not in use with ours, do not at once rise to speak, but preface all they have to say with a ‘pido la palabra,’ that is, ‘I desire leave to speak.’ The president nods assent. His eye has been caught; and the honourable member proceeds in a strain, that, in accordance, at first, with the modesty of his appeal, rises by degrees, into such rude charges, and round assertions against his opponents, as to draw from them, long before he has finished, loud and frequent interruptions, much denial of premises, and motioning of the hand and head, as if to say, ‘You shall have an answer.’ This impatience often proceeds so far, not on the part of the immediate opponent alone, of the speaking member, but of all who take a different view of the case, that[285] the president is obliged to tinkle many times the bell by which he calls the members to order before he can procure it; and no sooner is it procured, than it is again interrupted. There are frequent calls, during the heat of debate, for the ‘quarto intermedio,’ or quarter of an hour’s rest; and few subjects, indeed, are ever deemed of interest enough to warrant a prolongation of the morning sitting, which ends at two o’clock P.M., or of the evening one, which closes at nine. In an early congress of Buenos Ayres, some point was discussed of such unusual importance, that at five o’clock in the afternoon the sitting had not come to a close. At this hour, a worthy but rather gastronomic member rose and said: ‘Gentlemen, I beg you to observe, that if we thus prolong our debates beyond our regular dinner-hour, these political discussions will at last land us in our graves.’ He was cheered by all the old doctors present; and more regular hours were thenceforth observed. Mr. Brotherton would be a well-supported member in the Buenos Ayres House of Commons.


The agremens of social life for natives, and, what is still more rare in South American cities, for foreigners, are numerous. Not only are there comfortable Club-Houses, to which they resort in considerable numbers, but there is the opera for lovers of music—an art, or rather a passion pursued here with even greater devotion than in the rival sister city of the Plate, of which we have spoken in the previous chapter; but here of course this passion is far more effectually administered to than at Monte Video, because of the presence of a well-supported and very effective lyric corps. As with ourselves at home, to be sure, the opera-house is resorted to not exclusively because of its chromatic or choreographic allurements, but for the fashion of the thing, and, on the part of the male sex, for the sake of the opportunity of witnessing the Buenos Ayrean belles, who, on such occasion, are seen to infinite advantage, probably even more so than on the Prado, in all the magic of mantilla, and that peculiarly bewitching gait they derive from their Andalusian mammas. Much as I had heard before-hand of what Lord Palmerston, in describing aldermen’s wives at Lord Mayors’ dinners, calls the ‘galaxy of beauty’ which assembles in the Buenos Ayrean Opera-House, I was altogether unprepared for the reality; and certainly I never saw so many charming looking women collected together, especially in a part of the theatre corresponding to our upper boxes, but here nicknamed the Hen-Coop, into which sanctum none of the worser half of[286] humanity is admitted any more than is the better half in the Omnibus Box in Covent Garden, or what used to be such when there was a place once known as Her Majesty’s Theatre. Unlike our Omnibus Box, however, the Hen-Coop admits of its occupants being seen by the whole house, and the privilege is apparently no less gratifying to those who dispense than those who participate in it. In the regular dress boxes, ladies and gentlemen mingle as with us; and whether in mien, physiognomy, or manners, may challenge comparison with any audience I have ever seen anywhere. The Buenos Ayrean ladies are social and unreserved, without the least degree of boldness or effrontery; they mix freely with foreigners, and go about out of doors without either duenna or cavalier servente. The peculiar custom of seeming exclusiveness at the theatre just alluded to, arises from a wish to go unattended whenever they feel disposed, in their regular sitting or house dresses, which evince great natural taste and simplicity, and not from any wish to avoid the company of the other sex. Coming out of the theatre, they are met by their brothers, parents, or husbands, and walk home as unceremoniously as they go. Among their other accomplishments should be included a peculiarly graceful equestrianism, which invariably excites the admiration of all Europeans in a marked degree, and not the least so of the English, who pursue the sports of the turf with the ardour which our countrymen carry with them for that pastime wherever[287] they go. The Buenos Ayrean races are very popular with the inhabitants; and in return their fetes and festivals find considerable favour in British eyes.[91]


Since the restoration of peace, consequent upon the raising of the blockade by Urquiza, the trade of Buenos Ayres has wonderfully improved, and not only as regards the exports of the staples of the Plate of which we have already spoken, but in the imports[288] of all manner of European luxuries;[92] and the letters that continue to be received here by every mail represent the animation in commercial circles as most buoyant.[93] There is now the greatest reason to believe that this state of things will long continue, or at least not be terminated by civil war, notwithstanding the fact of Urquiza having been re-appointed President of all the provinces of the Confederation, with the exception of that of Buenos Ayres. Brazil, having effected the tranquillization of the Banda Oriental,[289] must of course be equally solicitous for the peace of the whole region on either side of the Plate; and now that the Uruguay is thus effectually closed against the machinations of any of the agitators of the Confederation, it is to be presumed that the object for which this country[94] made such costly but abortive efforts will at length be accomplished, and in a great degree by the instrumentality that would have been employed there had judicious advice been followed, viz. by the firm mediation of Brazil.

While these pages were going through the press, there have occurred, or rather the recollection has been revived, of some circumstances that induce me to supply a few details I did not originally contemplate.



Though on a small scale, the preceding sketches of these remarkable men are excellent likenesses, in either of which the physiognomist and phrenologist may find it difficult to decipher attributes that should reconcile the requirements of science with the characteristics of the individual. First, as regards the elder of the two. Not only did Rosas incur unexampled odium by his cruelties in a sphere where what would be regarded as barbarity elsewhere is looked upon as laudable firmness of disposition, but he enjoyed a reputation for a caustic pleasantry and wit, such indeed as pertained to many of the most remarkable tyrants of all ages, in all parts of the world; though, perhaps, less so to those of Spanish idiosyncrasy than any others. As he has now been expelled, beyond the possibility of restoration, from the scene of his prolonged enormities, I should not seek to revive the recollection of them, or to disturb the quietude of his declining years in his retreat in this country by now adverting to them, were it not that some of the most singular, and, as it was alleged by many of his salaried partizans in Europe at the time, some of the most apocryphal, have suddenly been rehabilitated with indisputable truth, and surrounded with a degree of interest not unworthy of one of M. Dumas’ romances, under the circumstances named in the annexed paragraph, which appeared in the leading English journal while these pages were being prepared for the press, viz.:—

Two more of the ‘mashorqueros’ have been condemned and shot—a fate they so richly merited. One of them, it is said, confessed to having assassinated no less than 21 persons[291] by the orders of Rosas, and 19 on his own account. It is said the Government is in possession of undoubted proof of the murder of the English family (Kidd), when Mr. Ouseley was in Buenos Ayres in 1845, by the orders of Rosas; and that it is their intention to place these proofs before the British Government. This, however, may be a work of supererogation, as it is believed here that Mr. Ouseley sent home ample proofs of the facts many years ago, as well as proofs of the deliberate murder of the midshipman Ross some time after.

In order to understand the meaning of the strange term used in the first line of the preceding quotation, it may be necessary for the information of the younger reader,—for during Rosas’ sway the phrase occurred too frequently to need explanation to any one who perused the revolting reports from the Plate—to supply an elucidation. This cannot be better done than in the words addressed by the Uruguayan Agent in this country, General O’Brien, to the then Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and present Prime Minister of England, in 1844, when seeking British assistance against the Buenos Ayrean oppressor of the Banda Oriental. The General said:—

The Masorcas, or secret affiliation, in support of Rosas’s government, derives its name from the inward stalk of the maize, when deprived of its grain, and has been used by the members of the clubs as an instrument of torture, of which your Lordship may form some idea when calling to mind the agonizing death inflicted upon Edward II. By the members of this club, assassination of those indisposed to the rule of Rosas was, audaciously in some instances, covertly in more, constantly exercised. Amongst the victims was Maya, the first benefactor of Rosas. The estates of all who fell by the hands of the band of Rosas, as well as of those who fled from his vengeance, were seized by him. His absolute command of Buenos Ayres, and his possession of the bank, enabled him to manage the finances of the country, and in 1842 gave to him an army of 10,000 men. Many were collected by fear, from the positive knowledge that, if they did not obey his summons, their fate would be similar to that of men who, having refused to join his troops, were dragged out of their beds at night by members of the Masorca Club, and in the very presence of their wives and children brutally put to death! Like as it happened with the early revolutionary armies of France, which had commissioners from the Convention, the soldiers of Rosas were accompanied by individuals of the Masorca Club, and they but too faithfully executed the commission confided to them, depriving the victims of Rosas’s vengeance or suspicion of life, amid tortures and cruelties that shock humanity but to hear of them. My Lord, I know of these tortures being inflicted. At the time that Oribe invaded the Banda Oriental, with the army and the Masorca commissioners of Rosas, I was residing on my estate in the country. I am aware of wretches being staked into the ground forty-eight hours before their heads were sawed, not cut, off;—of the lasso being flung over persons’ necks, and then drawn by a horse at full speed until life became extinct;—of spikes being driven into the mouths of human beings, and they, whilst living, thus nailed to trees.

Of the way in which such machinery was capable of being used by such a man as Rosas, we may form an idea from General O’Brien’s description of his antecedents:—

Rosas is known to me for five-and-twenty years. For his early education he was indebted to Maza, afterwards president of the Buenos Ayres congress. His calling in life was that of a ‘Capataz,’—or care-taker of the property of his relatives, the Anchorenas, and this brought him into constant intercourse with the wild Indian tribes of the Pampas. He ingratiated himself greatly with these tribes, for he not only conformed himself to their habits, but he also won the favour of their Caciques by presents, judiciously distributed amongst them. This was his state of life until 1820, when the influence of his kinsmen, the Anchorenas, obtained for him the lieutenant-colonelcy of the militia of the frontiers[292] of the Indian territory. It was then, and not till then, that he appeared as a soldier. It was to aid Martin Rodriguez in a successful revolution; but once the victory of his friend had been secured, he again retired to the Pampas, put himself in contact with the Patagonian and Pampa Indians, and thus added to his popularity and his influence amongst that savage race of men. Rosas maintained his friendly relations with the Indians until the civil war, in 1829, in Buenos Ayres. In that war the President Dorrego was shot by Lavalle, and Rosas at once became the head of the party of Dorrego. With the death of Dorrego commence the calamities of that part of the world. The conduct, the bearing, and the demeanour of Rosas, were such as to obtain for him universal approbation. He gained in his favour the opinions of the good, whilst he was concocting schemes for winning the bad. He left the society of civilized men, and again repaired to the Indians. It was under his auspices, it has since been discovered, that the Indians were incited to attack the property of those who were civilized; and their hostility was especially directed by Rosas against all whom he believed would be capable or disposed to resist his attempts at possessing himself of despotic power. He established a camp, which had all the privileges of a sanctuary for every malefactor of every district, from Buenos Ayres to Upper Peru and the Cordilleras of the Andes. His protectorate of crime was not avowed, but it was actively exercised. It shielded the criminal from the punishment of man, and it won impunity by the perpetration of new atrocities upon all who were suspected by Rosas. Between 1829 and 1833, Rosas laid the foundation for that despotism which he has since exercised. The means he employed were worse even than the object itself, for they consisted in ‘the organization of a band of assassins.’ I assure your lordship there is not the slightest exaggeration in the phrase.

A French writer whom we shall again have occasion to quote at the conclusion of this chapter, in explanation of the causes which lead to that indifference to the lives of others which distinguishes the guachos, describes a characteristic trait of Rosas, which it is necessary to understand, viz.—

Every one who has visited the provinces of La Plata, and has written about General Rosas, has spoken of his energy, his patience, his cleverness, and his cruelty; but there is that in him which is paramount to all his other qualities, and which may be said to be the most prominent trait of his character, and that is his science in mendacity, his skill in working out, even to a most perfect system—a gigantic scheme of lying. It is an accomplishment in which he never has been equalled, and never can be surpassed. It would be difficult to convey an idea of the degree to which this faculty has been developed in the dictator of Buenos Ayres. The only explanation of his being permitted to exercise power for such a length of time, is to be found in this instrument of action, and which he has employed at all times and in all places with a perseverance that cannot but excite our wonder. Are the acts of his government denounced to the indignation of Europe, he audaciously denies them even to the very face of those who have been eye-witnesses to them. Is an accusation preferred against himself, he instantly turns it against his adversaries, and unceasingly pursues them with it before the entire world; and this he does by means of his journal printed in three languages, with which he inundates the American continent, and which his agents sedulously circulate in every part of Europe. Sustained by a dogged obstinacy which defies all obstacles, nothing can make him deviate from the course he has marked out for himself, and unscrupulous as to the means, he knows that time and patience will effect for him all that he desires. In this respect Rosas has been perfectly consistent. At the moment in which he consecrated in his own person a government essentially Unitarian, by effacing even the last traces of a federation, he compelled the population, upon pain of death, to cry out, ‘Long live the Federation!’ The same day, on which he substituted his own will for all the codes of the republic, he caused himself to be saluted with the title of ‘restorer of the laws!’ Whilst his portrait was publicly incensed in the churches, and received, by his order, divine honours, he invoked the vengeance of heaven upon the impious Unitarians who daily offend the Almighty. When, in fine, he let loose, in the broad day, into the streets[293] of Buenos Ayres, bands of assassins, who massacred the population, he could not find tears enough to deplore ‘this unhappy popular ebullition, which made his paternal heart bleed!’ We do not believe that hypocrisy and audacity ever reached to such an extreme degree of shameless impudence. It was thus that Europe was misled as to the real character of the events that occurred, and that it accustomed itself to consider as the representative of peace, and as the protector of order, commerce, and civilization, the man who has never ceased for eighteen years to be on the banks of La Plata, the element of sanguinary wars, of crimes, and of violence of every kind.

Reverting to the case of the Kidd Family, their murder was one of the most atrocious on record in any age or any country, considering, first, the number, ages, and utter inoffensiveness of the victims; secondly, the rank, motive, and perfidiousness of the assassin; and, thirdly, the want of public virtue or spirit to resent it among the community in the midst of whom it was perpetrated, but who had been so subdued by such deeds amongst themselves as actually to affect indignation that strangers should name the culprit. The object of Rosas was, under the pretext of popular hatred of foreigners, on account of the policy that was being pursued by the British Government, to strike terror into the English residents in the province and city of Buenos Ayres; so that this terror, reacting on the diplomatist, or at least upon the English cabinet, which it is now notorious that it unfortunately did, might lead to a change in the course so obnoxious to the Dictator, because so fatal to his power of desolating the Uruguay. The Kidds were a highly respectable English, or rather Scotch, family who resided on an estancia a short distance from the city of Buenos Ayres, engaged, as they had been for several years, in the rearing of cattle, and neither interfering, nor being accused of interfering, in the political disputes of the country in the smallest possible degree. They were nine in number—from the aged grandfather, to the infant in arms. These were found one morning with their throats cut in the most barbarous and revolting, yet deliberate, manner; their bodies ranged along the floor; and, in the case of two young girls about fifteen or sixteen, and remarkable for the luxuriance of their hair, their tresses were brought round the head, and tied in fantastic knots in the gashes in their throats. That the object of this bloody business was not plunder was obvious from the circumstance of there not being a particle of property removed, or the least disturbance of the furniture, and also from the ferocious mockery of decency exhibited in the orderly adjustment of the bodies. Of course it made a vast sensation, and it was intended that it should do so.

But Rosas little calculated how completely the tables were about to be turned upon him, and how the engineer would be hoisted with his own petard. Every man, woman, and child in Buenos Ayres knew that the deed had been done by Rosas’ directions, and his ‘Mashorqueros’ brigands boasted of it as the crowning audacity of their master, and one that would soon bring the English minister to his senses. The blow, however, had hardly been struck when it recoiled upon the author. Sir W. G. Ouseley immediately offered the sum of ten thousand dollars for the detection of the murderers; and, inviting the coöperation of all who abhorred the crime to aid in augmenting the reward for the discovery of its perpetrators, carried the list to Rosas himself, and demanded that he and his daughter, Donna Manueleta,[294] should head it! Of course refusal was impossible, without an open avowal of his guilt, about which no one entertained, or could entertain, a doubt. Accordingly, forth there came, the following morning, and daily for a long time afterwards, the names of Rosas and the British minister, and of many British inhabitants, stigmatising the outrage, and invoking vengeance on the monsters who had effected it. But mark the result. Not only was there no detection, but not a single Buenos Ayrean citizen, or a single person in any way amenable to the power of Rosas, put down his name for a solitary rial, or was heard to whisper a syllable of desire that the assassins should be brought to justice. But there was no hope of anything of the kind, nor would there ever have been as long as Rosas remained in the position he was at the time of that villany, as well as the subsequent one alluded to in the extract, and which was more the prompting of baffled spite against the British minister, than with the least idea it could have had any effect of the kind intended in the direction where the Kidd massacre had so signally failed. But ‘murder, though it hath no tongue, will speak with most miraculous organs;’ and certainly a more strange one could hardly be than that of a ‘mashorquero’ implicating Rosas in one of the greatest enormities of this age, and while yet there is proof sufficient to make its truth apparent even to those whom the Dictator had persuaded he was the victim of foreign calumny. He tried this sanguinary strategy with considerable success, on the occasion of the French intervention in Buenos Ayrean affairs, in 1842, and likewise practised it against some British subjects, as in the case of the midshipman alluded to in the extract from the Times, and also in the still more ferocious one of the murder of Lieut. Wardlaw, the depositions of the boat’s crew, who saw him foully butchered, when landing on the Rosista territory under a flag of truce, having been published in full detail in the English papers soon afterwards.

But enough, and more than enough, of Rosas. Turning now to his former friend and sometime successor, General Urquiza. Although he has been expelled from Buenos Ayres, yet, in consequence of his having been again rechosen as President of the Confederation by all the other provinces, as well also as continuing in the position he had filled for many years as President of his native province of Entre Rios, there is little doubt that he is destined to play again a conspicuous part on the stage of South American politics, especially should there be a separation of the states into distinct and independent governments, or minor confederacies, as has frequently been proposed, and to which the position and vast extent of these regions point as a prudent course, particularly now that Buenos Ayres may be regarded as having virtually and practically ceased to be a component part of the Argentine republic. I have thought it may not be uninteresting to the English reader to furnish some particulars of this remarkable man, and for that purpose have subjoined a condensed translation of a little work that has attained a great circulation in South America. It is entitled ‘Seis Dias con el General Urquiza, que comprenden Muchas Noticias Sobre su Persona. El esclarcie miento de hechos importantes. Y Algunos Datos Sobre la Situacion Actual de la Provincia de Entre-Rios.’ It will be seen that it is the production of a great admirer of Urquiza, and on that score will be received with due qualification, which must[295] be further extended to the style of the writer, whose grandiloquent idiom has been preserved with some closeness in the translation. The principal reason, however, for giving the annexed data is because of the picture afforded of the private life of a South American chief, and, incidentally, of society in portions of that country hitherto undescribed by English travellers. I will only preface these memoranda by saying that Urquiza is now about 54 years of age, abstains from wine and tobacco, and though a great admirer of beauty is still a bachelor. Since 1840 he has been president of Entre Rios, and sided with Rosas during the civil war of Lavellé and Rivera, the latter of whom he routed at the battle of Inda Muerta, in 1846. At last perceiving that the interest of his own state was highly prejudiced by the conduct of Rosas in excluding it from all access to the ocean, he seized the opportunity when Rosas annually resigned the presidency of the Confederation to accept such resignation, thereby depriving the dictator of the legal authority longer to represent and conduct the foreign relations of the Confederation. He then joined Brazil in driving Rosas and Oribe out of the Uruguay, and subsequently out of Buenos Ayres, of which he became president, and was himself in turn ejected from that city and state, under the circumstances already detailed. In the translation the use of the first personal pronoun has been retained:



I arrived at the General’s residence, which is eighteen leagues from the village of Gualeguachú, on the left bank of the river of that name; and, to my surprise, about that magnificent country house, where I expected to find a military encampment, full of officers, soldiers, and men in the service of the renowned champion of Entre-Rios, a profound silence reigned, interrupted only by the blows of the axe of a rustic, who was working upon some trees. I alighted, and entered the house. At the door of one of the apartments stood a man whom I at once recognized as the General, having seen him in the Oriental Republic twenty years before. I knew him because his visage was not changed, and not because his dress manifested anything by which I might recognise him as the supreme chief of the province of Entre-Rios. I took off my hat, but he immediately bade me follow him, and put his hand on the neck of a mastiff, which was lying at his feet. This animal is the famous Purvis,[95] the only sentinel and companion General Urquiza has in a spacious edifice in which five hundred persons can accommodate themselves. His only attendants are an old man who serves him, and a coloured woman who attends to the apartments, where they receive the persons who daily arrive to see the General, some in the public service, but the greater part with private objects. Some other men have occupations in the house, in the labours of his beautiful garden, and in the indispensable services of a country mansion, where there reign order and the most admirable economy. The General made me sit down, and asked me some questions, which inspired me with confidence, at the same that his presence imposed respect. He was dressed rather negligently, covered with a light poncho of the finest vicuna, and wearing a hat of white cloth, with a coloured ribbon, which is distinctive of the Entre-Riano army. I saw him in the same dress all the time that I was with him. He has very little beard, nor does he wear the moustache, so general among the military, and still worn by the peasants; but he does not lose thereby the aspect of a warrior. He is of a very robust constitution, has a broad and extremely prominent chest, and is altogether a remarkably well-formed man. His face preserves all the freshness of youth, although, in my judgment, he must have been born at the commencement of the century. He is of moderate stature, and slightly inclined to corpulence. His complexion is fair, but its bloom has been somewhat darkened by the sun during his military career. All his features are full of expression. His mouth is small, his teeth good, his eyes of a clear grey colour, and full of fire and vivacity. They are unsteady when he speaks, fixing themselves on every object around him, especially when he refers to any act of extreme severity. His hair is black, and begins to fall off his clear unwrinkled forehead. His manners are frank, jovial, and cheerful, so that he predisposes in his favour all who approach him.

‘Why,’ he inquired, after a brief pause, ‘have you come to this country, after having been associated with the foreigners, who have deceived you all, and prolonged a war which ought to have been by this time concluded?’ ‘It is true, sir,’ I replied, ‘but past events linked themselves by degrees, and the torrent of successes has led us’—‘Stop! you must not say that the torrent[297] of successes has precipitated it; you must say that it deceived you, for men of ideas and education do not permit themselves to be led with the multitude, who observe nothing. The Monte Videans have not comprehended their own interests; they ought long since to have settled that unfortunate question, in which so much blood has been shed, and I am persuaded, if such were the case, things would go on well, and the Orientals would not see their country destroyed.’

With these words, he rose, and went out, leaving me quite alone; so I began my toilette, and had the comb in my hand when he returned. ‘You do well to adorn yourself, because you are so ugly,’ said he, in so affable and familiar a tone that it inspired me with complete confidence, for I was already aware that such is his manner when he receives a person with pleasure and good-will. I replied that, at least, I had not a crooked nose, a phrase which General Urquiza often uses, and applies to military cowards and men of small mental capacity. It is the familiar expression which he employs to manifest the contempt which a person deserves from him. Dinner was now announced, and he invited those who were present to dine with him. His table is plain, but abundant; he eats very little meat, and does not drink wine or any kind of liquors; neither does he smoke or take snuff. His principal food, during the six days that I was with him, was roast chicken; at supper he eats very little, and chiefly pastry, with the object, as he says, of taking a little water. After dinner, he remains long at the table, and talks of the events of his youth, particularly of the period when, as representative of the people, he manifested his firmness in opposing anarchy, and had to endure a thousand vicissitudes, by which his life was often in danger, having once been ordered to be shot, and owed his escape to providential causes. He speaks very often of recent events, which he details with so much exactitude that he does not forget the most trifling incident. He never forgets the name or the features of any person he has once seen. He relates the events of the war with an impartiality which does him honour, since he has been so conspicuous an actor in many of them. ‘Do not believe,’ he said to me one day, ‘that I fail to recognise the tendencies of the political parties who have fought for so long a time. On both sides there have been errors, but the Monte Videans have lost by committing themselves to the drowsiness brought on by foreign intervention, and those foreigners have not comprehended what would be beneficial to their interests; in my judgment, they have done the contrary of what they ought to have done. There was that unfortunate General Lavalle, whom I have liked, notwithstanding that he sullied the lustre of his services by serving under the Governor Dorrego; he ruined himself by wishing to combat me without understanding the revolution. I wished to draw him from the way of his destruction, and to bring him to Entre-Rios, for he was a virtuous man; but he refused my offers, because his political friends at that moment surrounded him. I did all I could for him, but my duty was to conquer him. I detested the disloyalty of some of his officers, who treacherously abandoned him, dividing one part of his army from the other, after the battle of Tucuman, and who came to Corrientes, passing through the Great Chaco. There is in Entre-Rios an officer who was faithful, who did not abandon him after the defeat of Famalla, and[298] who accompanied him until his death. This individual is commendable for his loyalty, and I assure you that I esteem him. The Monte Videans have much reproached me for the death of Carlos Paz, whom, after the battle of Vences, I made a prisoner, and sent to be shot; but he deserved death, for he was a traitor, who was betraying the Madariagas, and afterwards betrayed me. He placed himself in communication with me, supplying me with important information as to the state of the Corrientine army, and certainly he was not deceiving me. He did more still; he assured me that he would not make use of the artillery that he was commanding, if it arrived at the commencement of a battle. But he probably repented his perfidy, for he ceased all correspondence with me, and on the day of the battle, confiding in the superiority of the forces of Madariaga, and in the elements of defence which they had concentrated in the formidable position of the potrero of Vences, the artillery which he was commanding opened a deadly fire upon my infantry. Colonel Saavedra also perished after the victory: the unhappy man, when he already had in his hands the guarantees which I had sent him, was surprised by a force of Corrientines, whose officer beheaded him. I regret his death, but his imprudence deserved it. Thus it is that my enemies, without investigating the circumstances of the deeds, represent me as a terrible man, and write a thousand injurious censures against me.’

On another occasion, the General, speaking of the press of Monte Video, referred to the time when Rivera Indarte used to conduct the ‘National,’ and reproved the mean publications and immoral doctrines of that epoch. ‘In the battle of Pago Largo,’ said he, ‘Baron Astrada met with his death, and, according to my enemies, I was the cause of it, and likewise of that which was done to his corpse—stripping off part of the skin of the body; and it was also published in Monte Video that I made a horsecloth of it, and presented it to General Rosas. Abominable lie! Of that skin nothing has been made, for it is not long since that it was preserved in Gualeguachú, in the house of D. N., in the wardrobe. Baron Astrada died in Pago Largo, as many others died, in the retreat, and the skin was drawn off from the neck to the shoulders, the first notice of which was given to me by M. Asumbrulla, a Brazilian, who was commissioned by General Bentos Gonzalez, a relative of General Echague, who was with me on the second or third day of the battle. There was a young soldier passing near us, at the sight of whom the Brazilian exclaimed, “See that; see that.” I fixed my eyes on the soldier, but could not recognize in him anything that should call forth the exclamation, until the Brazilian said to me, “The thing which that soldier carries hanging from the neck of his horse is the skin of the Governor of Corrientes.” I called the soldier immediately, to inform myself of the deed.’ The General was going to continue this narration, when a peasant entered. ‘What a strange coincidence,’ said the General; ‘here you see him who drew off the skin of Baron Astrada. Who drew off the skin of the Governor of Corrientes?’ he enquired. ‘I, sir,’ replied the peasant. ‘And who commanded you to do it?’ ‘I say no more, sir.’ ‘And what did I tell you when I called you to ask what it was you carried on the neck of your horse?’ ‘That I could not deny that I was an assassin, and that I would have been rewarded by being shot, but[299] that I was very young.’ ‘And why did you declare in the Banda Oriental that I had commanded the act?’ ‘Because General Nunez, who then served with Rivera, told me that unless I declared that it was your Excellency who had stripped the skin off the Governor of Corrientes, I should be shot; and because I did not wish to die, I told an untruth, and said that your Excellency had commanded me.’ ‘And why did you declare the same afterwards in Monte Video?’ ‘Because I apprehended that something would happen to me.’ ‘Well,’ said the General, addressing himself to me, ‘you may now perceive that this boy is a knave, who has been amongst the uncultivated Unionites until he implored my pardon, and I granted it. You now know the history of a deed which has been attributed to me, when I have not had the slightest part in it. It has also been written that I commanded all the boys who were made prisoners at Pago Largo to be destroyed. This is false: the prisoners whom we made in that victory were not sacrificed, although it is true that some were executed by the order which I gave, for which I had just and powerful reasons. After the defeat, the infantry of the Corrientines retired, but I followed them with the cavalry that I was commanding, for Don Pascual Echague was then general-in-chief. I was commencing active hostilities in the retreat, when, seeing themselves lost, they wished to surrender, but asked for guarantees before they laid down their arms. I immediately sent them to them, but the officer who carried them was killed by the very men who wished to capitulate. The second time the same thing was done, and I then gave more rigorous orders. They began to separate, and to seek the mountains near hand, but all were made prisoners, and consequently I had to chastise the perfidy. The investigation made resulted in the discovery of those who were the authors of the murders, and those only I commanded to be shot. This is the truth; and if my enemies and the Monte Videans have said to the contrary, and have written slanders against me, I look upon them with scorn. There has been here one of those who in Monte Video was a fabricator of impostures, who used to say that I was a Gaucho, and my mother a Chinese woman. I have had him in my presence, and I have asked him if I really was a Gaucho, and why he was guilty of such falsehoods; and, as is natural, he found himself confounded, without knowing what to say in reply. This individual is now in Entre-Rios, and has no reason to repent having come, for I have done something for him, as I do for all who come to this country.’

After this conversation, the General retired, and I remained alone, meditating upon what I had heard. The account which he had given me of the unfortunate Baron Astrada was to me interesting, for it removed from my mind the error under which I was labouring until that moment, and I saw with satisfaction General Urquiza exonerated from an atrocious act.

When General Urquiza speaks of deeds such as those which I have here detailed, he gives to his voice an accent, and to his action an expression, so vivid, that it impresses on his words the seal of truth, and manifests, to whoever observes him, that he is not one of those men who, because they have power, hold in contempt the judgment of their cotemporaries. General Urquiza likes to preserve a good reputation, and has respect for public opinion.[300] He prefers to govern from retirement to being surrounded by the trophies of his victories and the insignia of his power. Morality and education are his special care, and a magnificent edifice is being erected under his directions, to be called the Entre-Riano College. Nothing proves more completely that the tendencies of General Urquiza are towards progress than the interest which he takes in the education of the people.

Education is completely disseminated, and the most convenient system for accelerating the progress of early instruction has been adopted. There is no country district which has not a school sustained by the treasury of the province, to which fathers are under the obligation of sending their sons. These establishments are independent of those that are in all the towns, and are under the immediate supervision of the local magistrates. Their purpose is the instruction of those children whose parents live in the scattered villages, far away from the towns. With this system there will, in a short time, be few persons destitute of the rudiments of education.

‘Entre-Rios,’ said General Urquiza one day, ‘receives all men, whatever may be their origin, their opinions, and their political antecedents; they will be respected, and even favoured, if their tendencies are towards goodness, and they do not interfere in our affairs. I wish from those who come to this land only respect for the established authorities, and the observance of the laws. The Unionites, French, English, all may come to Entre-Rios, to pass through our villages, to cross over our country in all directions, and to establish themselves where they wish, in the assurance that they will not hear a single voice raised against them which might cause the slightest offence. I wish to be at peace with all, and will provoke no one; but he that incites me will find me disposed to fight in defence of my country. The Entre-Riano army is valiant, and has proved itself capable of great things, and I have great confidence in its valour and its enthusiasm.’

The army of Entre-Rios embraces from nine to ten thousand men of the three arms, but its principal force consists in the cavalry. This is composed of eleven divisions, corresponding to the departments into which the province is divided, which, although I have no data upon the extent of the territory of Entre-Rios, ought, I think, to comprise a little more or less than 5,000 square leagues. The cavalry, in times of peace, is completely liberated, and a portion is employed in the police of the departments. When the army returns from any campaign, it lays down its arms and disbands, with the understanding that, at the slightest rumour of a military summons, they are to present themselves with their uniforms, and the cavalry with their horses. It is an undoubted fact that, in six or seven days after the issue of the first order from the General’s quarters, for the reunion of the army, it can be completely reunited, armed, clothed, perfectly equipped, and in readiness to march, so that General Urquiza, with the Entre-Riano army, can be in front of the city of Monte Video in twenty or twenty-two days after issuing the first orders for its reunion, notwithstanding the difficulties presented by the majestic river Uruguay. With such troops it is not strange that General Urquiza should have obtained such signal victories.

‘The battle of Vences,’ said the General, ‘is an affair which does great[301] honour to the Entre-Riano army, which had to combat powerful enemies, and yet penetrated to where the Corrientines were not expecting it. They were astonished and terrified at the courage of my soldiers, who penetrated through immense morasses and difficulties which the enemies placed in their way; and I can assure you that I myself was astonished by the magnitude of the dangers which we encountered, and the obstacles which we overcame. This daring gave us the victory, as the army of Madariaga was superior to mine in its number, and particularly in infantry and artillery.’ On another occasion, the General entertained me with interesting details of the campaign in the Oriental Republic, in which he manifested a degree of activity and skill which has done him great credit, for, though he had to combat in a land unknown to him, the victory was his, and was a work exclusively of his own inspiration. These details convince me that the General is a man of great penetration, and of elevated capacity, so that he has been known to foresee many events which have prolonged the war, and upon which he looks as the origin of many evils.

‘I have the satisfaction of knowing,’ he observed, ‘that the army of Entre-Rios has been a model of morality and subordination, and that there have been few complaints of it. I have acted throughout from conviction, and the public accounts will show that I have not taken a single dollar for my own use, not even the pay to which my rank of general entitled me. On the contrary, the treasury of the province is indebted to me in the sum of 30,000 dollars, the amount of debts contracted in the public service, and which I have yet to pay. From the Oriental country I have brought nothing but compromises and this dog,’ pointing to the mastiff, Purvis, which was lying at his feet. ‘It is true he is a wicked animal, for he respects no one but me, and even those who feed him are not certain that he will not leave his food to bite them; but in me he seems to recognize a certain superiority. He has his history and his instincts which I cannot comprehend, and which no one will ever be able to explain. He belonged to Colonel Galazza, but suddenly attached himself to me, and would not be driven away. Seeing the pertinacity with which he persisted in following me, I allowed him to remain, and he has never left me since, running by the side of my horse throughout the campaigns of the Banda Oriental and Corrientes. He manifests no terror under fire, and when struck by a spent cannon-ball at India Muerto, and hurled several yards from me, he quickly recovered his legs, and resumed his post by my side!’

The superficial character of Entre Rios being that of an extensive plain, watered by numerous rivers, and affording excellent and abundant pasture for cattle, not equal to that of the beautiful territory of the Oriental republic, but superior to that of the province of Buenos Ayres, General Urquiza is so sensible of the advantage of promoting the breeding of cattle that he will not permit the killing of cows; but this prohibition is not absolute, depending on the number belonging to each individual; and while far from being a real grievance to the land-owners, it will tend to greatly increase the wealth and importance of the country. This is the general’s great aim, his whole policy being directed to the development of the natural resources of the country.


The frequent allusions in the foregoing to the sanguinary practices pursued by rival chiefs against each other suggests the desirability of endeavouring to account for the creation and growth of the disposition to which such ferocity is attributable. We cannot do better than quote the words of M. Chevalier de St. Robert, a Frenchman, officially engaged in the affairs of the Plate, who, in his pamphlet, entitled Le General Rosas et la Question de la Plata, and translated by M’Cabe, the late Acting Consul-General for the Uruguay in London, gives probably the best account anywhere to be met with of life in the wilds, in this region of the world, and of the mode in which such life affects humanity in the cities afterwards. He says:—

The population of the Pampas have a peculiar physiognomy, such as is to be found in no other part of the world. They exhibit the instincts and the faculties which the desert every where developes, but still they have not those traits which elsewhere particularise a pastoral or a warlike tribe. The Arab, who dwells or wanders in the deserts of Asia, is but a fraction of that great Mahommedan society that dwells in cities. The tribe coincides with society in many things, it has the same creed, the same obedience to religious dogmas, and preserves every where the same traditional organization. There is nothing like this to be found in the Pampas. In the bosom of those immense plains, which extend from Salta to the Cordilleras, that is, over a space of more than seven hundred leagues, there are to be found neither distinct castes, nor tribes, nor creeds, nor even that which may be properly called a nation. There is nothing to be found but estançias (farms) scattered here and there, which form so many petty republics, isolated from the rest of the world, living by themselves, and separated from each other by the desert. Alone in the midst of those over whom he is a complete master, the estanciero is out of every kind of society whatsoever, with no other law than that of force, with no other rules to guide him but those that are self-imposed, and with no other motive to influence him than his own caprice. There is nothing to disturb his repose, to dispute his power, or interfere with his tranquillity except the tiger that may lurk about his grounds, or the wild Indians that may occasionally make a hostile incursion on his domains. His children and his domestics, gauchos like himself, pass the same sort of life, that is to say, without ambition, without desires, and without any species of agricultural labour. All they have to do is to mark and to kill, at certain periods, the herds of oxen and flocks of sheep which constitute the fortune of the estanciero, and that satisfy the wants of all. Purely carnivorous, the gaucho’s only food consists of flesh and water—bread and spirituous liquors are as much unknown to him as the simplest elements of social life. In a country in which the only wealth of the inhabitants arises from the incessant destruction of innumerable flocks, it can be easily understood how their sanguinary occupation must tend to obliterate every sentiment of pity, and induce an indifference to the perpetration of acts of cruelty. The readiness to shed blood—a ferocity which is at the same time obdurate and brutal—constitutes the prominent feature in the character of the pure gaucho. The first instrument that the infantile hand of the gaucho grasps is the knife—the first things that attract his attention as a child, are the pouring out of blood, and the palpitating flesh of expiring animals. From his earliest years, as soon as he is able to walk, he is taught how he may with the greatest skill approach the living beast, hough it, and if he has the strength, kill it. Such are the sports of his childhood—he pursues them ardently, and amid the approving smiles of his family. As soon as he acquires sufficient strength, he takes part in the labours of the estancia; they are the sole arts he has to study, and he concentrates all his intellectual powers in mastering them. From that time forth he arms himself with a large knife, and for a single moment of his life he never parts with it. It is to his hand an additional limb—he makes use of it always, in all cases, in every circumstance, and constantly with wonderful skill and address. The same knife that in the morning had been used to[303] slaughter a bullock, or to kill a tiger, aids him in the day time to cut his dinner, and at night to carve out a skin tent, or else to repair his saddle, or to mend his mandoline. With the gaucho the knife is often used as an argument in support of his opinions. In the midst of a conversation apparently carried on in amity, the formidable knife glitters on a sudden in the hands of one of the speakers, the ponchos are rolled around the left arm, and a conflict commences. Soon deep gashes are seen on the face, the blood gushes forth, and not unfrequently one of the combatants falls lifeless to the earth; but no one thinks of interfering with the combat, and when it is over the conversation is resumed as if nothing extraordinary had occurred. No person is disturbed by it—not even the women, who remain as cold unmoved spectators of the affray! It may easily be surmised what sort of persons they must be, of which such a scene is but a specimen of their domestic manners. Thus the savage education of the estancia produces in the gaucho a complete indifference as to human life, by familiarizing him from his most tender years to the contemplation of a violent death, whether it is that he inflicts it on another or receives it himself. He lifts his knife against a man with the same indifference that he strikes down a bullock: the idea which everywhere else attaches to the crime of homicide does not exist in his mind; for in slaying another he yields not less to habit than to the impulse of his wild and barbarous nature. If, perchance, a murder of this kind is committed so close to a town that there is reason to apprehend the pursuit of justice, every one is eager to favour the flight of the guilty person. The fleetest horse is at his service, and he departs certain to find wherever he goes the favour and sympathy of all. Then, with that marvellous instinct which is common to all the savage races, he feels no hesitation in venturing into the numerous plains of the pampas. Alone, in the midst of a boundless desert, and in which the eye strains itself in vain to discover a boundary, he advances without the slightest feeling of uneasiness—he does so watching the course of the stars, listening to the winds, watching, interrogating, discovering the cause of the slightest noise that reaches his ears, and he at length arrives at the place he sought, without ever straying for it, even for a moment. The lasso which is rolled around his horse’s neck: the bolas suspended to his saddle, and the inseparable knife suffice to assure him food, and to secure him against every danger—even against the tiger. When he is hungry, he selects one out of the herd of beeves that cover the plain, pursues it, lassos it, kills it, cuts out of it a piece of flesh, which he eats raw, or cooks, and thus refreshes himself for the journey of the following day. If murder be a common incident in the life of a gaucho, it often also becomes the means to him of emerging from obscurity, and of obtaining renown amongst his associates. When a gaucho has rendered himself remarkable by his audacity and address in single combats, companions gather around him, and he soon finds himself at the head of a considerable party. He ‘commences a campaign,’ sets himself in open defiance to the laws, and in a short time acquires a celebrity which rallies a crowd about him.





Preparations for an experimental trip up the Parana.—Captain Sullivan’s descent of the river at a terrific pace.—Island of Martin Garcia.—Note on the confluents of the Rio Plata.—A Scotch experimental philosopher in Corrientes.—Alluvial deposits at the delta of the Parana.—Signs of progress in the interior.—An American pioneer of civilization.—The steamer aground, and fired upon.—Moonlight on the river and the woods.—Geographical note on the Parana and the Rio Plata.—Obligado and San Nicolas.—Mr. Mackinnon’s description of the scenery.—Arrival at Rosario.—Multifarious applications of hides and horns.—Descent of the river, and arrival at Martin Garcia.—Corrientes and the guachos.—Military system of the country.—Its evil effects on the morals and industry of the people.—Grazing capabilities of Corrientes.—Facilities and prospects for commerce.—Interest of the Platine provinces in the opening of the river to foreign trade.—Difficulties of the navigation, and a word about the Uruguay.

The important light in which England, and, yet more especially, those portions of England to whose mercantile wants the company I represented administer, regarded the opening of the great confluents of the Plate, particularly those leading to the famed fairyland of Paraguay, so long guarded by the wondrous Ogre, Francia, naturally rendered me anxious to follow, for however trifling a distance, in the wake the French and British ministers had so lately pursued towards the capital of that mystic country which, after almost half a century’s total isolation from the rest of the world, they have brought into commercial relationship with Europe. Accordingly, though not contemplating anything of the kind on leaving Liverpool, I gladly availed myself[306] of certain favourable circumstances that turned up somewhat unexpectedly, to make a short experimental trip up the Parana, as far as the towns of San Nicolas and Rosario, although for so doing time was very short, as the Argentina had to be back at Monte Video to meet the Brazileira, expected out from Liverpool, viâ Rio Janeiro, on the 28th or 29th of September. The commanders of H.M. ships Vixen and Locust gave us valuable information, and kindly recommended an experienced pilot, whom I engaged. The British Vice-consul at Buenos Ayres, Mr. Parish—a name of long-recognized Anglo influence in those regions, as the mention of his relative, the veteran Sir Woodbine, and of his relatives, Messrs. Parish Robinson, the authors of the delightful ‘Letters from Paraguay,’ will sufficiently vouch—also obliged us with the loan of some admirable charts published under sanction of the Admiralty, from surveys made by Captain Sullivan of H.M. ship Philomel, and these, so far as our observation extended, proved to be wonderfully correct.[96] Of course, in an extensive navigation of this kind, with shifting sands, there will be occasionally variations of depth of water, but nothing to alter the general character of the survey, or the correctness of the gallant officer’s explorations and soundings. We left Buenos Ayres at 1 p.m. on the 21st, with a pleasant party on board, and steamed across to Martin Garcia, where the navigation becomes difficult, and the channel very narrow. This rather large island, composed of granite rocks with a good elevation, and entirely commanding the[307] channel of the great rivers, has long been a disputed point among the belligerents in the Plate, and among the diplomatists on paper, for only lately has the free navigation of the rivers been recognized; but a good deal of ill-feeling still exists with reference to its possession, belonging, as it does, ostensibly to Buenos Ayres, though it is stated that, if everyone had their own, it is really the property of an individual from whom it was forcibly taken, on the principle so very extensively practised in this quarter of the globe, that might gives right, and that there is nothing wrong but the want of means to defend it. One thing is certain, that whoever holds Martin Garcia will control the entrance to and exit from the whole stream above it;[97] for, as the only navigable channel runs close past it, there is no possible means of escaping the guns of its batteries. Thus, it is obvious, that the future progress of commerce up these immense rivers, as also, in a very great degree, the well-being of the countries watered by them, is really dependent on the way in which this important point is disposed of.


And here it is impossible to look back on the policy pursued by former rulers of Buenos Ayres without the deepest regret that the navigation of such noble rivers, and the development of so fine a country, should have been subjected to such miserable trammels, or their destinies been placed in hands so unworthy of the bounties that Providence had showered upon them. There cannot be a doubt, that if a liberal-minded, common-sense view of things had been taken by the rulers of the city and province, after their emancipation from Spain, at this moment fleets of steamers would be navigating the rivers, and a countless population be settled in the upper countries watered by them. It would be, in fact, the valley of a southern Mississippi, vying with its northern counterpart in everything that could contribute to the prosperity and grandeur of an immense continent. Even comparatively short as the time has been since the destinies of this part of South America were under native control, it is sufficient to have turned a barren waste into a land teeming with riches and abundance—a fact indisputable, and which must be evident to the most cursory observer. But, alas! the gifts of[309] Providence have been bestowed in vain: the ‘dog in the manger’ principle has been beautifully illustrated; and, unless a stronger power and a stronger arm than that which exists in the country be brought to bear, the long night of Egyptian darkness may otherwise even still prevail. Amongst the numerous conflicting statements and opinions, as to what policy shall be carried out, it is difficult to ascertain who are really the stop-gaps in a work of this kind. There can be no question that the barbarous policy of Rosas was virtually to close the rivers; and the wonder is, that he did not effectually destroy the entrances, which he might easily have done by sinking vessels laden with stone in the channel off Martin Garcia. His object, as everyone knows, was to reduce the upper provinces to a state of complete dependence on the[310] city, towards which end the equally barbarous but much more romantic, and, perhaps, more justifiable, despotism of Dr. Francia materially aided. Latterly, a feeling seems to be gaining ground in the provinces, that the navigation of their rivers and the promotion of immigration, are objects of importance; and, once this is backed by free and uncontrolled navigation, things will advance rapidly. The late mission of Sir Charles Hotham and the Chevalier St. George is one of the means to such end; and their treaty with Paraguay must, sooner or later, bring forth its fruits, especially if a real cession of Martin Garcia forms part of the arrangements stipulated. Considerable jealousy still exists on this point; but there are the interests of a mighty continent and of civilized Europe against the petty pride of a people who have not yet learned even to govern or take care of themselves; and desperate diseases require strong remedies. In the hands of nautical parties, with the guarantee of the most powerful nations of Europe and America, Martin Garcia would soon be rendered the nucleus of commerce extending from thence to the shores of the Pacific; the channels and entrances would be properly buoyed and lighted under some equitable tax on shipping, and countless fleets would soon be passing backwards and forwards. Unless something of this kind is done, local dissensions between provinces will always mar the general good. Moreover, a considerable outlay of money is absolutely required to render the navigation safe and practical; and where is that to come from, except through the now almost sole machinery of all revenue in these regions—the customs, which foreign shipping, and abundance of it, can alone furnish to the smallest respectable amount?

One of the most remarkable pioneers of the present day, in connection with the development of the river navigation and of the upper provinces, is an American citizen, Mr. Hopkins, who, with all the characteristic ardour and discerning forethought of his country, in seizing upon ‘fresh fields and pastures new,’ wherever the spirit of commerce is likely to find the smallest resting-place for the sole of its foot, had just left Buenos Ayres[311] for Assumption, in a steamer, with various kinds of machinery on board for establishing manufactories in the Paraguayan metropolis. One of these is for the preparation of cigars for the European and North American markets, on the plan pursued at the Havannah. There are not less than fourteen or fifteen different descriptions of tobacco grown in Paraguay, each of its kind pronounced by connoisseurs, to whom samples have been submitted in England, to be superior to corresponding qualities produced elsewhere, whether for the purposes of snuff or smoking. On the score of its tobacco alone, therefore, the opening of intercourse with Paraguay is calculated to prove a boon to many a used-up Sybarite, pining dyspeptically for a new pleasure. Mr. Hopkins also, I understand, contemplates improvements in the preparation of the famous Paraguay tea, maté, that will, if possible, enhance its popularity throughout South America, where there is scarcely a meal in a house with the least pretentions to respectability or refinement in which the beverage is not introduced; and elegance and adroitness in sipping it, through a tube or reed, something after the fashion adopted in the Yankee beverage, known as sherry-cobbler, affords scarcely less opportunity at a tertullia, or evening party, for the display of breeding than does the use of the fan in Spain. The taste of maté is not at all dissimilar to that of green tea, but without the acrid flavour of the Chinese infusion; and it is not improbable that Mr. Hopkins may render it a very acceptable addition to our drinks in this country; for it would, at least, form an agreeable variety to the somewhat limited range of compounds now in vogue among our temperance preachers and practitioners. Mr. Hopkins is the head of an enterprising and affluent joint-stock company, formed some few years ago in the States, who have already expended considerable funds in the prosecution of South American enterprise of this nature, undeterred by the wreck of a fine vessel they were bringing out, called ‘El Paraguay,’ which was condemned and sold at Maranham. He is one of those rare, indomitable spirits who often revolutionize countries without benefiting themselves; and[312] this I should much fear, and deeply deplore, would be his case now, unless, indeed, after having been so long buffeted by the billows of mishap, he now at length ride on the tide of regenerate Paraguay, and ‘share the triumph and partake the gale’ of its prosperity, which is seemingly soon to come. He has spent many years in that extraordinary country;[98] been four times backwards and forwards; travelled on horseback some 36,000 miles! and his whole life, in short, has been a romance, as wonderful in reality among real inhabitants of an almost unknown planet, as was the apocryphal existence of the imaginative Mr. Herman Melville among his ideal Omoos and phantasmagoric Typees of the Marquesas and the South Sea Islands. He is a great favourite of the present Governor of Paraguay, M. Lopez; and he will confer immense benefit on mankind if he succeeds in still further developing those commercial and philanthropic ideas of which the mind of the governor has shown itself so creditably susceptible, by despatching to Europe his two sons, and a large suite, to reciprocate the overtures towards mercantile cordiality proffered by Lord Malmesbury and the imperial government of France [see chapter on Paraguay]. If any person can carry such highly desirable points as we have adverted to, Mr. Hopkins appears the man to complete, by personal interposition, and personal explanation of the workings of the commercial system in commercial countries, those purposes that were intended by the framers of the Malmesbury treaty, and in the carrying out of which North America has nearly as great an interest as France, or England itself. At all events, we must hope for the best. But, meanwhile, it is time that we proceed with our trip to Rosario.


As we approached Martin Garcia, we saw near it two or three small vessels at anchor, and there appeared to be a roughly-built fort on shore, where the Argentine flag was flying, in salutation of which we hoisted our colours. We thought we heard the report of a musket or two on land, but supposed it was the mere shooting of some idlers for amusement, and so steamed quickly past; when, to our great astonishment, a ball came whistling over us from a small schooner at anchor under the island, followed by a second, that fell short. We were in the narrowest part of the channel, impossible to bring to, or even stop with safety; and, owing to the confusion caused by this unexpected salute, the steamer grounded on a spit, from which we soon backed her off, and continued our route, being anxious to get into the mouth of the river before sunset, now fast approaching. When the second shot was fired we immediately hoisted the Argentine flag, and these punctilious representatives of ‘confederated dignity’ did not fire again, and we were soon out of their reach if they were disposed for the exaction of any further deference beyond what we had already paid. An hour brought us to what is called the Boca de Guasa, one of the chief entrances to the great river, up which we were soon steaming, guided by the banks, wooded nearly the whole distance. Before midnight a thick fog came on, which compelled us to drop anchor until about 2 P.M., when we resumed our silent course, aided by a late moon, the effect of which, as seen on this waste of waters, surpassed anything I remember to have experienced elsewhere; for the solitude of river navigation differs from the loneliness of ocean sailing, inasmuch as in the former case you feel there is land-life around you, and where you feel that it is not, as in this instance, the depression is correspondingly great. In traversing the ocean, however still, there is always a sense of animation and vivacity, and the consciousness that you are in the pathway of intercommunication with your kind. But in pursuing a vast river of this sort, through a country superabounding in every element calculated to sustain the densest population on the face of the globe, and knowing all the while that population there[314] is almost none, you are bowed down by a conviction of the insignificance of man’s efforts to effect any radical change in nature; for the European voyager here is deprived of the buoyant pride and hopeful expectancy that sustain the explorer of hitherto undiscovered seas or countries; and, gloomily, but naturally, his mind reverts to the early navigators of these rivers—their mighty achievements, and the little results that had followed them—a lapse of four centuries leaving things here pretty much as they were when the first European flag floated upon this now placid and majestic stream.[99]

These are sentiments, however, which the reader may naturally think are not very pertinent to a purpose like the present, and not exactly in keeping with an occasion expressly connected with the commercial opening-up of those streams by the instrumentality of English enterprise, in a form so indicative of progress as steam. So, too, thought the writer, after a moment’s rumination of the ‘cud of sweet and bitter fancy;’ for he reflected that these magnificent regions, first discovered by Cabot—English, born and bred, though of Venetian parentage—had stagnated, not under the rule of the countrymen of that ‘good olde and famuse man,’ but under the rule of those in whose service he had found out a river which might, indeed, have proved worthy of the name the avaricious Spaniards had bestowed upon it—La Plata, the River[315] of Silver—had they been imbued with a particle of the spirit which has converted ‘icy Labrador,’ the first territory discovered by the same glorious adventurer, into a comparatively industrial paradise. I augured, I hope with no unjustifiable audacity, that now the descendants of Cabot and of his companions had been brought into direct relationship with the people of the Parana, something would be done to render that ‘Mississippi of the South’ not altogether unworthy of some slight social and political comparison with the Northern ‘Father of Waters’ before many more generations should roll by; and I deemed it a not altogether impossible contingency that the younger members of our crew[316] might live to cast anchor in certain riverine ports hereabouts, amid a forest of masts and funnels belonging to all the maritime states in the world, not one of which countries but may find produce of some kind or other profitably suitable to its markets on these fertile shores.


The turns and windings of the Parana, all along the portion now being passed over, and indeed nearly throughout its entire length, are numerous, without at all impeding the navigation, being, in many parts, sufficiently wide and imposing to justify its native appellation of Parana Guazú, or Sea River. After daylight, fog and mist again enveloped us, but we were enabled to continue our course, guided by trees, profusely growing, and which, on the low grounds, are chiefly of the willow species. We passed Obligado, on whose high bank Rosas erected those batteries to dispute the passage of the convoy under protection of the French and English vessels of war, which were, as we have seen, of so very little avail. The scenery around Obligado is pretty, and was more so as we proceeded—occasional lofty banks covered with verdure—estançias, and cattle grazing about. This interest was heightened as we approached San Nicolas,[100] which is one of the first towns of consequence, situate on a shelving bank, where a troop of Argentine cavalry were bivouacked; and as they came galloping down to the water’s edge, their gay-coloured dresses, scarlet[317] ponchos, and glittering equipments reflected against the bright green grass, the effect was highly picturesque and animated. Here we landed, took in a small quantity of fire-wood on trial, and went to call on the Juiz da Paz, and other authorities. I had a ramble over the town, which is intended to be large: streets laid out in the usual Spanish right-angled triangle mode, but the sites of future mansions, castles in the air, veritable casas en Espagna, dotted with only unfinished straggling houses here and there, with dozens of what looked like Irish cabins stretching around, the Hibernian and Hispaniolan identity being here developed as strongly as any member of the Celtic Antiquarian Society can desire. The solitary church of this city, as the local hidalgos insist on designating the place, has been almost destroyed by an explosion of gunpowder, which did great mischief to every building but the house itself where the catastrophe originated. A Buenos Ayrean brig and steamer of war were at anchor here, from the commanders of whom we received a degree of attention and civility that altogether obliterated any resentful reminiscence which our preceding rough reception might have awakened. The commander of the steamer, Muratore, spoke English well, and expressed himself very indignant at the treatment we had experienced at Martin Garcia, which, he said, they were wholly unwarranted in practising; adding, that he would report such conduct to the chief of the naval forces at head quarters. There is very deep water here, from ten to twelve fathoms, with muddy bottom, and it took us half an hour to get up our anchor, after which we steamed on towards Rosario, through a country increasing in cultivation and teeming in verdure every mile we advanced; and it was not difficult to realize the accuracy of Mr. Mackinnon’s description of the topography hereabouts, in the annexed passage, which appears to me to be fully deserving of the prominence of conspicuous type:




‘Our progress this day was remarkable for the beautiful scenery on the side of the Banda Oriental. The view was similar to that which is seen when sailing from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, to Cowes, (without the high land,) and about the same width of water. In the afternoon, we entered a labyrinth of islands, which contracted the channel considerably. As we advanced, the scenery was very much varied; sometimes between islands so close together, that we shot birds and animals on each shore. These islands are plentifully interspersed with the date palm, which had a most beautiful appearance; and, when we drew out near the main land, the stream widened considerably. We passed either bold, bluff barrancas, over which nothing was visible, and whence we might easily have been picked off by musketry; or a gently sloping green pasture down to the river’s margin, dotted with horned cattle, horses, and sometimes ostriches and deer. Clumps of trees were interspersed, and beautifully grouped by the hand of Nature. Sometimes, for a short distance, a dense forest of large timber-trees impeded the view. A high sand-bank then intervened, with a belt (about fifty yards broad) of trees and shrubs, where I often stopped to rest the men, and then surveyed the country, which was mainly characterized by undulating pasture land, interspersed with coppices and clumps of trees, stretching inland as far as the eye could reach, and completely covered by animal life in great variety, like a very extensive and well-kept park in England. The only thing wanting to make this the most enchanting scene in the world, was the presence of civilized man; but, alas! the brute creation alone enjoyed the terrestrial paradise. As we advanced, we every now and then perceived deer come down fearlessly to drink. Pheasants walked quietly along the banks, or sat in the trees in fancied security, five and six, and even more together. The partridges, both large and small, constantly rose close to the boat; whilst numerous carpinchas sat quietly on their haunches, like Brobdignag brown guinea-pigs, staring at us with the most perfect unconcern. Here was a situation for a sportsman!’



Extensive farms and cattle-grazing districts were seen along the heights, and we were told that a large number of wealthy landowners resided between San Nicolas and Rosario. The opposite bank of the river (Entre Rios) is low and swampy, but well lined[320] with trees. As the sun was setting in splendid tranquillity, we came to anchor off Rosario de Santa Fé, and found it a large, well constructed town, with a good cathedral, whose unique-looking towers were visible many miles distant, in an atmosphere that is singularly translucent beyond the immediate vicinage of the river, which is sometimes obscured by fogs and haze, though we could not learn that any ill effects to human health were experienced in consequence; and certainly the vegetation and herbage appear at once luxuriant and delicate. The cathedral is in a large square, entirely built up, and streets branch from it at right angles, many extensive, substantial looking houses being now in course of erection, and, altogether, an appearance of prosperous activity, as refreshing as unanticipated, pervades the whole place. The town contains about 7,000 inhabitants, and is the great rendezvous for the upper provinces, numerous huge, unwieldy but most[321] capacious waggons being collected about, ready for their laborious service, which they perform chiefly by means of leather. However pertinent the phrase ‘nothing like leather’ may be elsewhere, here it is of universal and unerring applicability. Streets and roads are repaired with heads and horns of cows and horses. A horse’s or cow’s head serves for a stool, or a chair, or a pillow, just as the case may be;[101] but a horse or cow-hide serves for purposes innumerable out of doors, and in all matters of vehicular concernment are inestimable; for where ropes or harness would be but as pack-thread, a slip of raw hide, drying after it has been attached, binds like links of adamant, if any such linking there be. The supply, of course, is inexhaustible; and the dexterity with which a strip of skin, of any dimensions, is fastened to a waggon, or to luggage upon a waggon, and thence coupled, when needful, to the horses, is extraordinary. The only thing that occurred to awaken unpleasant feelings during our stay at Rosario, was the general presence of that ill-omened symbol of sanguinary anarchy and benumbing oppression, the red badge, which unaccountably continues to be exhibited long after the downfall of him whose supremacy it but too significantly testified, though now used by the partizans of Urquiza. Until such emblems be finally discarded, it is in vain to look for any real amalgamation of the provinces, let parchment treaties and ratifications be multiplied as numerously as they may. San Nicolas is the last Buenos Ayrean frontier town, Rosario being in the possession of Urquiza, who was residing not far from it, but living, at that time, very[322] quietly. Advancing upwards between these two places against the stream, we had a fine view of the extensive plains branching from Rosario eastward; there seemed to be abundance of sheep and cattle grazing, and plenty of grass and clover, together with a crop of barley that might have been dressed with guano, and nurtured under the special supervision of Mr. Mechi himself, with all the patent contrivances of Tiptree Farm tripled three times over. Would that there were a myriad of Mechis settled down here! What a glorious country would it be under a better state of even political organization, with a soil prolific, yet not rank, and a climate the most delicious that could be imagined at this season of the year; a positive tonic for the languid in every breath of it, and yet not enfeebling to the robust. From Rosario can be seen the convent of San Lourenço, one of the gigantic establishments of the Jesuits; and at this point occurred the famous encounter with the convoy, under care of Captains Hotham and Thrèhouart, on their return from Paraguay, after forcing the passage of the river, when Rosas erected batteries, and had a huge chain placed across the river, that was soon destroyed by our gallant tars, as we shall see in some detail when we speak of Sir C. Hotham in the chapter on Paraguay.[102]

After spending the night at Rosario, and collecting as much wood together as could be cut by 1 P.M. next day, we got under weigh on our return, with the cordial good wishes of the inhabitants, who had shown us every possible attention, and taking several passengers, who availed themselves of the opportunity to make an easy visit to Buenos Ayres. As a proof of the utility of steam navigation in bringing people together, softening prejudices, and creating a more kindly feeling, I may mention that our passengers were of all shades of party, some ready, under other circumstance, to draw a sword or a trigger on each other; but here they were hale fellows well met, and played together at cards, or[323] conversed, with not the slightest appearance of ill feeling. A steamer is a great leveller of prejudices and party distinctions.

We soon reached San Nicolas, and brought up for some hours, augmenting our number of passengers and supply of wood, as we found our coals getting short; got under weigh again at 3 A.M., steaming fast down with the current, which runs two and three knots at this season of the year. Saw the convent of San Pedro, another remarkable establishment of the Jesuits, situated on rising ground, and where a branch of the main river runs; towards afternoon approached the Boca, or entrance of the river, and brought up to get more wood, which we fortunately did from a vessel at anchor there, every gentleman on board taking off his coat, and working like a common peon. Again we got under weigh and approached our over-officious official friends at Martin Garcia, where we determined to bring up for the night, and ask for an explanation of what had occurred at that most disputatious and pugnacious point before. On rowing towards the schooner, those on board hailed us to go on shore to the commandant, an injunction which we managed, after some difficulty in groping our way through the rocky beach, to fulfil. The commandant said he had no wish to obstruct our passage, nor had he given orders to fire at us; so we returned on board, satisfied that the salute would not be repeated. So splendid a night I have rarely seen; not a breath of air, and yet cool and pleasant; the stars reflected in the waters like a double firmament, the slight motion causing one portion to oscillate a little, the other firmament remaining motionless. Morning broke equally glorious, though a heavy dew had fallen, and the air was positively cold. Finally, steamed across to the bank, and disembarked passengers at 9:30 A.M., under five days; had we not been detained by want of fuel it would have occupied only four days; 21½ hours time up steaming, and 20 hours down.

To show the comparative ignorance as to this boundless country, it may be mentioned that several of our passengers, who had resided 20 and 30 years at Buenos Ayres, had never before been[324] up the rivers: others, compelled to do so, had occupied weeks in doing what we did in a few days; and, altogether, great satisfaction was felt at this practical result of steaming, the Argentina, it is true, being the fastest steamer that had ever appeared on the waters of La Plata; and hence one reason why her loss has since been mourned over as a national bereavement, which it undoubtedly was, though perhaps the temporary presence in these waters of the Menai paddle-wheel will prove some compensation till a more imposing craft shall permanently take the place of that very excellent vessel.

My practical acquaintance with this river navigation being thus only limited in extent, I was unable to gratify my curiosity by exploring it further up, where the scenery, according to all testimony, is singularly fine; and, approaching Paraguay, the country becomes rich and fertile, and picturesque in a high degree. Beyond Rosario, the distance to the city of Assumption is about 700 miles, 1,000 miles being the entire reported distance from Buenos Ayres, and the navigation becomes more difficult. Still, the fact of the ‘Alecto’ steamer having reached Corrientes,[103] and the ‘Locust’ Assumption, proves that it is practicable enough for vessels of small draught of water. H.M.S. ‘Vixen’ has also been[325] much up this river, and the ‘Fanny’ steamer, taking up the American expedition already alluded to, would not draw less than from nine to ten feet, whilst our little steamer did not draw seven feet, with her coals on board, nor was her great length any difficulty[326] in turning angles of the river. There is no doubt that a class of steamers could be built that would make the passage to Assumption in a few days; and it is said that General Lopez, the Paraguayan Plenipotentiary to England and France, has already ordered two for the service, which augurs well for his desire to cultivate external relations.

Of the ‘Uruguay’ I know nothing but from hearsay and information: that it is a noble stream, much wider and more easily navigated than the Parana, with the same boundless extent of uncultivated country. We saw the entrance to it on the right from the Boca of the Parana, which makes a sharp angle. The main difficulty in connection with this river navigation are the channels about Martin Garcia, which are tortuous and very narrow in some places. It appears, indeed, to be a deep gulley, formed by the mass of waters pressing their way through the miles of sand and mud lying across the main entrance, much of it almost dry at the surface; and until these channels are properly buoyed and lighted, even steamers will be subject to delay and damage, as the most experienced pilot can scarcely rely on his eye or bearing in such an expanse of water.





Sources of information.—General Pacheco.—Inaccuracies of Sir Woodbine Parish.—Navigability of the Parana by large vessels.—Decrees of the government of Paraguay on the treatment of foreigners.—Decrees relative to inventions and improvements.—Mr. Drabble’s commercial mission, and its results.—Cultivation of cotton.—Drawbacks to its extension.—Scarcity of labour.—Provisions of the treaty between Great Britain and Paraguay.—The commercial resources of the country little known in this.—Navigability of the Paraguay and the Uruguay.—Obligation of the Brazilian and Buenos Ayrean governments to remove impediments.—Population of Paraguay.—Public works undertaken by the Consular Government.—Salubrity of the climate.—Fertility of the soil.—Pasturage illimitable.—Character of the Paraguayans.—President Lopez.—Diplomatic mission of Sir Charles Hotham.—General Lopez.—State of the country at the death of Francia.—First measures of the Consular Government.—Revenue of Paraguay.—Administration of justice.—Revision of the tariff.—Release of political prisoners at the termination of Francia’s Reign of Terror.



As indicated at the conclusion of the last chapter, my ascent of the Parana ceased at Rosario, whence I descended to the mouth of the Plate, on the return voyage to Europe; consequently, what I am about to say of Paraguay is not the result of actual personal experience in that strange land. Nevertheless, I offer the annexed observations with considerable confidence, as the fruits of diligent inquiry among several who had been there, some for many years, some very recently; and as the fruits also of the perusal of nearly all accredited works on the subject, of one of which in particular,[104] whose merits and reliability are vouched for by the distinguished Uruguayan soldier and administrator who has edited it—General Pacheco—I have availed myself to some extent, having been also assured by other competent critics that it is most trustworthy in its data and most dispassionate in its views. The paucity of works on this country is not surprising, but the inaccuracy of that which, being the most recent, is naturally accepted as the most authoritative in England, is indeed marvellous. The obligations of all interested in Platine affairs are so great to Sir Woodbine Parish, and as regards Paraguay in particular, members of his family long ago afforded so much invaluable information then derivable from no other source, that it is with the utmost reluctance I say a word calculated to diminish the deference due to the veteran diplomatist and author; nor should I attempt to impugn his statements if he spoke from his own individual knowledge. Still, his predilection in favour of Rosas, to which I have adverted in the introductory chapter (page 30), and his antipathy to everybody and everything inimical to the regime and the system of the Buenos Ayrean Dictator, are, or at least in 1852 were, so potent as completely to run away with his otherwise excellent judgment. On what other grounds can we account for his lending all the emphasis of italics to such passages as these, for which he quotes Colonel Graham, the United States Consul, who proceeded on an official mission to[330] Paraguay, in 1845, and who is apparently regarded by Sir Woodbine as an indisputable authority, viz.:—

Were its resources developed, and encouragement given to the industry of its inhabitants, it might become a comparatively wealthy part of South America, but it could never support an active trade excepting with the adjoining States. Yerba, the tea of Paraguay, its chief product, is only consumed in South America; its fine woods would not bear the expense of transport to Europe; its sugar, tobacco, cotton, and rice, on account of the distance which they would have to be conveyed from the interior, even were the Parana open, could never enter into competition with those of Brazil and the United States. If the Parana were declared open to all nations, the United States could not carry on any direct intercourse with Paraguay under its own flag. The vessels adapted for crossing the ocean would not go up the Parana, and merchandise would have to be re-embarked at the mouth of the river in craft suitable to its navigation, and owned by parties resident in the country. Mr. Graham’s observations are equally applicable to the shipping of European nations, and they cannot too often be repeated for the information of parties embarking in trade with those remote countries.

The best answer to all this is what I have already said in the preceding chapter respecting Colonel Graham’s fellow-countryman, Mr. Hopkins; and as to ‘vessels adapted for crossing the ocean not going up the Parana,’ Sir Woodbine must surely have been well aware, even at the time Graham wrote, saying nothing of subsequent experience, of the facts borrowed from Sir W. Gore Ouseley, in the note to the illustration of Corrientes (see p. 324), respecting the ascent, not merely of the Parana, by British vessels of war, but of the Paraguay, as far as Assumption, by the French war steamer Fulton, commanded by Captain Mazeres; also that for upwards of 300 miles beyond Assumption the navigation of the Paraguay is even better than it is below the capital, as was lately exemplified, since my return to England, by the voyage of the American steamer Waterwitch, far beyond the limits previously understood to be navigable, except to the small river craft of the country.

It may be said that Colonel Graham could not have known these latter facts when he wrote what Sir Woodbine has quoted. But Sir Woodbine himself must have known them, and should not, therefore, have quoted the Colonel; and he must have known[331] also that public notification had been given, in the following document, which I also take the liberty of printing in italics, that there had been an end put to the isolation in which Paraguay had so long been kept by Francia; and that ‘one Lopez,’ as Sir Woodbine calls the present enlightened President, had made every advance to the external world years before the world became persuaded that the system of Francia had been buried with him.

Decrees as to the Treatment of Foreigners in Paraguay, and the Privileges and Recompenses to be Awarded to Those who shall Contribute to Develope and Encourage Industry and the Material Improvement of the Country.

The Supreme Government of the Republic: Considering that it behoves us to extend and cultivate relations of amity, good understanding, and harmony with foreign nations, and consequently to acquaint the national authorities with the system which the Government follows and seeks to enforce for this purpose with reference to foreign subjects, decrees, in virtue of and in conformity with the fundamental laws of the State and its political and commercial principles, that the said authorities shall punctually observe the following rules:—Art. 1. The Supreme Government of the Republic will maintain, as a general and unalterable privilege in its relations with foreign powers, a perfect and absolute equality; so that wheresoever there may be any identity of cases or circumstances, no privileges, immunities, or favours whatsoever shall be granted to any nation which shall not in like manner be conceded to all others. Art. 2. Consequently, every foreigner, whosoever he may be, can betake himself to such ports of the Republic as are open to foreign commerce, and there carry on his mercantile operations in perfect freedom. Art. 3. Now, and for the whole time that the Government shall consider those circumstances to exist which have induced it to appoint certain ports for the admission of foreigners, the latter will not be allowed to proceed (s’interner) to other ports without a special permission from the Government. Art. 4. Every foreigner, during his stay in the territory of the Republic, shall have full liberty to commence and to exercise his trade or profession: he shall obtain for his person all protection and security, provided that on his side he respects the authorities and the laws of the State. Art. 5. All foreigners are exempt from forced service by sea or land, from all military exactions or requisitions, and from extraordinary contributions, and shall only pay those levied on natives, with the slight difference consecrated by law between citizens and foreigners. Art. 6. No foreigner shall be persecuted on account of his religion, on condition that he does not exercise his worship publicly, and that he respects the religion of the State, its ministers, and its public ceremonies. Art. 7. Foreigners are in no case obliged to trust their business to agents or brokers; they have in this respect the same immunities as natives. Art. 8. Money, goods, or property of any nature whatsoever belonging to foreigners residing within the territory[332] of the Republic, and confided either to the State or to private individuals, shall be respected and kept inviolate, both in time of war and in time of peace. Art. 9. In virtue of the principle recognised in the preceding article, should a rupture occur between the Republic and a foreign country, the subjects and citizens of that country residing within the territory of the Republic shall be allowed to remain there and continue their trade or profession without hindrance, provided that they conduct themselves with suitable fidelity, and in nowise violate the laws and regulations in force. Art. 10. The exportation of the produce of the country by foreigners shall be subjected to no other duty than that paid by natives. Art. 11. The Supreme Government of the Republic can eject from its territories, either in time of peace or of war, any foreigner whose bad conduct gives rise to the adoption of this measure, but he shall be allowed a reasonable time for the settlement of his affairs. Art. 12. All foreigners residing within the territory of the Republic have a right to dispose of their property, either by will or in whatever form they may consider advisable. Art. 13. In case of the decease of a foreigner without a will, his property shall be preserved in the form prescribed in the following article, for his heirs ab intestato, or for his creditors. Art. 14. In the case stated in the preceding article, that is to say, the decease of a foreigner ab intestato, the judge of the district where the decease takes place, assisted by two honourable fellow-countrymen of the deceased, and in default of these by two inhabitants of the locality, shall proceed, with the least possible delay, to make out a minute inventory of all the property of the defunct, shall keep them in a place of safety, and shall render an account of the whole, accompanied by the inventory, to the Government, so that the property may be deposited in a proper place, according to its nature. Art. 15. The said decease, ab intestato shall then be announced in the Gazette, in order that all those concerned may be made acquainted with it. If any heir or creditor appears he shall produce legal proof of his claim. Art. 16. If no party concerned appears, or delays in the proceedings threaten to occasion a deterioration of the property, the latter shall be converted into the currency of the country, and which shall be deposited in the chest of the Treasurer or Receiver-General, and under their responsibility. Art. 17. In case the parties concerned cannot legally prove their claims, or shall not appear after the lapse of two years dated from the commencement prescribed in art. 15, the property so deposited shall be adjudged to the national treasury. Art. 18. Property delivered to foreigners who are the legitimate progenitors or descendants of foreigners who have died testate or ab intestato, shall pay at the time they receive it a duty of five per cent. When it is delivered to any other foreign heir, who is neither a progenitor nor a descendant in virtue of a will or succession ab intestato, the duty shall be ten per cent.

In order that all may be made acquainted with the present decree, it shall be promulgated in the legal form and deposited in the public archives.

AUDRES GIL, Sec. to the Supreme Govt.

Assumption, 20th May, 1845.


At the same time, publicity had been given to another document, which showed that not only were the persons and property of strangers perfectly safe in Paraguay, but that protection was afforded to the fruits of their invention and ingenuity, in a manner that other nations, pretending to a much higher degree of civilization, would do well to imitate, viz.:—

The Supreme Government of the Republic, desirous of encouraging industry and developing the elements of improvement possessed by the State, and considering that one of the most efficient means consists in properly defining and guaranteeing the position and rights of those who conduce to so useful an end, decrees:—

Art. 1. Every discovery or new invention in whatever branch of industry it may be, is the property of the inventor, and its enjoyment is guaranteed to him in the form and for the time specified in the following articles. Art. 2. Every means of giving to a production already in existence a greater degree of perfection shall be considered as a new discovery. Art. 3. Whosoever shall introduce into the Republic a discovery of foreign origin shall enjoy the same advantages which he would have derived from it had he been the inventor. Art. 4. Whosoever is desirous of obtaining and insuring to himself the enjoyment of an industrial property of the description above-mentioned, shall—first, address to the Secretary of the Supreme Government a declaration in writing specifying the nature of his claim, whether it is for a discovery, the perfecting, or the introduction of one; secondly, forward under seal an exact description of the principles, means, and procedure which constitute the discovery, as well as the plans, designs, models, and other documents which relate to it, and which sealed paper or volume shall be opened at the moment when the inventor shall receive a title to his property. Art. 5. The inventor shall be granted a patent which shall guarantee him the discovery as his property for the space of five or ten years, reckoned from the date of the patent. This period, however, may be extended, and other advantages conceded if the importance of the invention is so great as to call for extraordinary protection. Art. 6. The period during which a patent granted for an invention introduced from a foreign country remains in force cannot exceed by more than six months that stated in the patent taken out for the invention in that country. Art. 7. The possessor of a patent shall be exclusively entitled to the use and proceeds of the discovery, or the perfecting or introduction of one, for which it shall have been granted; consequently he can bring an action against infractors of his patent, and on conviction they shall be condemned, besides confiscation, to pay to the patentee all costs and damages; and, moreover, a fine of twenty per cent. on the total amount of the preceding condemnation, which shall be applied to public expenses. Art. 8. Should the denunciation of fraud, followed by the sequestration of the defendant’s[334] property, be found devoid of proofs, the patentee shall be condemned to pay to the defendant all losses and damages which he may have sustained, besides a fine of twenty per cent. on the total amount of the said losses and damages, to be applied in like manner to public expenses. Art. 9. Every patentee shall have the right of forming establishments in different parts of the Republic, excepting only such reserved places as have been declared to him beforehand, as well as of authorising other individuals to use and put his procedure, his discovery, and his secret in practice—in fine, to dispose of his patent as if it were personal property. Art. 10. Before the expiration of the period for which the patent is granted, the descriptions of the invention can only be communicated to some citizen who may wish to consult them, unless political or commercial reasons should require the whole to be kept secret, or the inventor has solicited and obtained at the time he took out the patent an assurance that complete reserve shall be maintained with regard to his invention. Art. 11. At the expiration of the patent the invention or discovery shall become the property of the Republic; and the Supreme Government shall cause a description of it to be published, and shall allow it to be generally used and engaged, save and except when it shall be necessary to place some restrictions on it. Art. 12. This publication shall also take place, and the use of the operations which constitute the invention declared free, if the possessor of a patent loses his right to it, which can only happen in the following cases: First, when the inventor shall be convicted of having omitted in his description any of the procedure essential to the preparation of the article invented, or of not having set it forth with sufficient fidelity or details; secondly, when he has not communicated the new modifications or improvements of his discovery known to him at the time when he takes out his patent or even discovered by him after having obtained it, and the enjoyment of which is as safely guaranteed to him as that of the first invention; thirdly, when it shall be demonstrated that he has obtained his patent by an invention already to be found and described in works printed and published, so that in reality it is no new invention; fourthly, when, during the lapse of two years from the date of the patent, he has not begun to make use of his discovery, excepting when he can give good reasons for the delay; fifthly, when, after he has obtained a patent from the republic, he is convicted for having obtained another for the same invention in a foreign country without preliminary authority; sixthly, the patent shall in like manner be revoked, the invention published, and its use made free, if the purchaser of the right to use an invention specified in a patent violates the conditions imposed on the inventor, conditions which are not the less binding on the purchaser. Art. 13. If a discovery which is useful to the public is found to be eminently simple in its execution and susceptible of being too easily imitated, the inventor, instead of a patent, may demand an equivalent remuneration. Art. 14. This may likewise take place[335] when the inventor prefers the honour of causing the nation to enjoy the advantages of his discovery at once. This remuneration shall be proportionate to the respective utility of the inventions, well and duly certified and appreciated. Art. 15. If any one discovers a fresh improvement for an invention already guaranteed by a patent, he shall obtain, at his request, another patent for the separate use of this new improvement, nevertheless he shall never be permitted, under any pretext whatsoever, to use or cause to be used the principal invention, and reciprocally the inventor cannot use or cause to be used the new improvement, without prejudice to such arrangements as may be made between themselves. Art. 16. The priority of invention, in cases of dispute between two patentees relative to the same article, shall be awarded to him who has first made the declaration and deposited the documents, as required in Art. 4.

In order that every one may be made acquainted with the present decree, it shall be published in the legal form and deposited in the public archives.

AUDRES GIL, Sec. to the Supreme Government.

Assumption, 20th May, 1845.

In respect to what Sir Woodbine says in reference to the products of Paraguay not bearing the expense of transport, it will perhaps be sufficient to cite in a note[105] the opinions of practical men upon the exceeding desirability and the feasibility of Europeans availing themselves of one of its staples most essential to English manufactures, as set forth in the leading journal a few months back.


There was always a strong presentiment among commercial men in this country that a treaty with Paraguay would be productive of great advantages; and there is an equally strong conviction still, despite the apprehended obstacles raised by the Buenos Ayrean Government in respect to the enforced protectorate of the island of Martin Garcia, that the treaty ratified on November 2nd, by Lord Clarendon and his Excellency Don F. Lopez, the accomplished son and representative of the President of Paraguay at the British Court, and a copy of which was presented to parliament the opening day of the present Session, by Lord John[337] Russell,[106] will, in due time, effect most of the benefits anticipated. But so complete is the ignorance in England of the real mercantile resources of Paraguay, that even public writers most disposed to augur well of the treaty in question propagated notions concerning that territory so far short of the actual fact, that, if they were true, certain politicians might be almost justified in now pooh-poohing what has been accomplished, just as they did when it was attempted some years ago. For instance, one journal, long celebrated for its supposed peculiarly accurate information on foreign topics, mercantile as well as political, stated, immediately after the ratification of the treaty, as a piece of intelligence of great significance, that Paraguay was the most populous of all the La Plata provinces, ‘except Buenos Ayres’—the truth being that the Paraguayan population exceeds the Buenos Ayrean upwards of[338] threefold—exceeds that of all the Argentine States and the Banda Oriental put together! while, contrary to the general belief even in South America, its power of consumption is greater than the rest of the interior provinces of the Confederation.[107] Considering[339] its extreme isolation hitherto, and that modern writers professing to treat of it have almost invariably drawn their information from second-hand or apocryphal sources, it is perhaps but natural that there should be extant but little reliable knowledge respecting Paraguay. In proceeding to supply much of the void complained of, the first fact to which we would draw the attention of mercantile men is, not so much its varied products, many of them most suitable to British purposes, nor its advantages, peculiarly fitting it to nourish an important commerce, considering its fine climate,[108] fruitful[340] soil, and numerous[109] population, but to the stable and enduring nature of its governmental status.


Unlike all the Platine provinces, Paraguay is blest with a government which, though Republican in name and in the forms of its administration, guarantees the preservation of public order; and is not exposed to those constant revolutionary vicissitudes that have come to be regarded as the normal condition of the neighbouring[341] powers of Spanish origin. Hence, to our thinking, the great value of this treaty with a government not only willing but able to realize its intended share in the arrangement. We have not only fully entered into relations with a country new, rich in natural treasures, peopled with a docile race well disposed towards us,[110] and situate at the head of a vast internal navigation, but we may rely upon the utmost effect being given by the executive to the stipulations it has undertaken to observe, and that the open navigation of the Paraguay and Upper Parana shall be secured to the British flag, free from all alteration or sudden closing of these rivers;—thus completing that security so essential to successful enterprise and speculation.

Surely we are not too sanguine in believing that a noble territory geographically so situate, politically so secure under the firm and sagacious guidance of President Lopez,[111] whose capacity promises[342] to be hereditary, and affluent in so many of the raw materials of European manufacture and necessity, will speedily develope itself among nations in a manner worthy of its natural endowments. The prospective mutual benefits that are likely to be derived from this treaty are of far greater magnitude than appear[343] to be generally understood in England, or perhaps even in Paraguay itself, although they must, in a great measure, depend on the spirit in which the new reciprocal relations may be cultivated and extended; but, be the result what it may hereafter, we have abundant reason to be grateful for the exertions of Sir Charles Hotham in having done so much to lay the foundation of future commercial prosperity. Probably opposition will continue to be made by Buenos Ayres to the execution of the other treaty with Urquiza, although the active energies of Sir Charles were, in both cases, exerted only for the obvious mutual advantage of all parties concerned; but as regards the Paraguay treaty, at all events, no such obstacles are to be apprehended. The government of Paraguay have constantly shown a laudable desire to establish European intimacy, which circumstances not depending upon itself have too long delayed. Had the project so wisely entertained, and so vigorously promoted, as far as his power extended, by our able Minister at Monte Video in 1845-6, been prosecuted to the end, and the independence of Paraguay recognized by the British Government in conformity with the wishes of Sir W. Gore Ouseley, when, in conjunction with Baron Defaudis, the French Minister, Captain (now Sir C.) Hotham was sent to[344] Assumption, to treat with President Lopez, there can be no question that many of the subsequent troubles and difficulties of the La Plata question would have been altogether obviated; Rosas would long ago have been expelled; his vast property (the non-sequestration of which was the grand error of Urquiza) would not have been employed to promote the revolutionary intrigues it has since done, but which it will do no longer, as it is now confiscated; and Paraguay, instead of merely being about entering on its noviciate, would have had seven years’ experience of reciprocity with the old world by this time.


By selecting Sir C. Hotham for the mission to Paraguay, Lord Malmesbury virtually continued, in the person of the very officer chosen for that purpose, the commercial policy initiated in ’45-6 by Sir W. G. Ouseley. On that occasion, as more recently, the English were received by the Paraguayans with the greatest cordiality, though at the same time with a reserve not unbecoming a people whose amour propre was wounded by their independence not being recognized in the first instance. Once that all-essential formality was complied with, negotiations proceeded as satisfactorily as could be desired. It is understood that when the Paraguayan Envoys were sent to Monte Video in ’46 to treat with our then Minister there, Sir William suggested that a number of distinguished young natives should be sent to England, that they might judge of our institutions and commercial spirit for themselves, and report to him that this country had, and could have, no sinister motive to serve by a treaty with Paraguay. Concurring in that opinion, President Lopez wisely caused his son, the minister plenipotentiary to this court, General Lopez, to be accompanied by a numerous suite of military officers and civilians, together with a younger brother of the General’s, as secretary, full of intelligence, and by M. Gelli, a veteran diplomatist. The General, though a young man, has for some years been commander-in-chief of the Paraguayan forces, and is said to manifest great ability and a large faculty of observation, evincing a keen desire to obtain information on all subjects likely to be of benefit to his country. He made a very favourable impression in England, and still more so in France, where he was received with the greatest distinction, the Emperor, Napoleon the Third, according him public and private audiences amidst the most imposing ceremonial of state. He is now (April, 1854,) engaged in making a tour in Italy, and through the continent; and in the course of the present summer will return to Paraguay, his naturally fine mind stored with the fruits of an observant and diversified experience, and his excellent disposition in no way deteriorated, it is to be hoped, by his acquaintance with the peoples of the old world.




Whoever has any knowledge of the history of the American republics, and of the Spanish language, will not fail to remark in Paraguay a rare and singular circumstance, which does great honour to its men of the sword,[112] and must inspire confidence in the future stability of authority in the country. The military in all the new American states have always shown, without any exception,[347] a propensity most fatal to order, that of making and unmaking governments without consulting the opinions and wishes of their fellow-citizens, only those of the chiefs of certain factions with whom they may concert their plans. Here, on the contrary, so soon as the first case, and the most extraordinary one which it is possible to imagine, occurred, the men of the sword did not usurp the right of creating and establishing the supreme authority. They set the example of calling together an assembly of their fellow-countrymen to take the opinion and votes of the country, and submit themselves to the authorities which the general wishes might elect. The new administration had all to create, because everything had been destroyed. The dictator left neither individuals or materials of any description, of which the government that succeeded him could avail themselves.[113] Everything was in disorder as an effect of the monstrous centralization in his person alone of all the branches of the administration. High and low, policy, justice, finances, war, ecclesiastical matters, in fine all was absorbed; nothing was done by any one but him. There was not a single individual who had been enabled to acquire any practice, any routine for the dispatch of business, as there were no fixed and general principles to serve as guides for particular cases which[348] presented themselves, everything depending on the caprice or will of the dictator, who only employed people as scribes, little else[349] than the merest copying clerks. No person had obtained the least instruction, or the least experience, to enable him to prepare, and facilitate the labour of the government departments, and the dispatch of business.


With these difficulties to encounter, the new government set to work with energy, but without noise or ostentation. It did not announce itself by the proclamation of pompous promises. It would have been imprudent to arouse hopes which might only be realized in time, and in spite of many obstacles. It did not set up theories and doctrines of an exaggerated liberalism, which subsequently, besides their being at first ill understood, it might have itself been obliged to abandon in practice. It did not allow the smallest sign of blame or disapprobation of the conduct of the dictator to transpire. It would have been useless, and even setting a bad example, to abuse his memory, and awaken the remembrance of irreparable evils. We may believe that the Consular Government wished to be judged according to its acts, and not by its proclamations and dissertations.

Some small capital of which no one had suspected the existence was soon seen to appear and circulate, and this gave much impulse[350] to industry and occupation to labourers, who, until then, had been unable to find any. The apparition of these little capitals, and the activity which ensued, were sure signs of confidence in public order, and in the government. Instead of the inaction and apathy which previously reigned, a spirit of enterprise and animation was every where seen. Assumption was cleared of the ruins and rubbish which rendered its aspect disgusting. The spaces left by buildings half demolished were masked by walls, and new habitations were raised, modest in truth, but which gave an air of life to the city.

Although there is no saying much with accuracy of the present revenue of Paraguay,[114] it is certain that it suffices to meet its public ordinary expenses, which cannot be more moderate. Paraguay has not that numerous body of employés which has been, and is still, a cancer gnawing into the heart of the new states which so proudly clothe themselves with the title of republics. Her functionaries are not numerous. They mostly receive but very slender emoluments, either because living is very cheap in Paraguay, or[351] because offices are there considered rather as public duties to fulfil, than places which, to be well filled, should be well remunerated. The judges are annually selected amongst the inhabitants of the different districts, of divers professions, without any necessity for their engaging in preliminary studies, or for their being previously destined for the magistracy, and the government allows them only what is indispensable for their office expenses and the dispatch of business, without any fees being paid by the parties concerned. When the service requires more functionaries, and those of special capacity, who will have to devote themselves exclusively to the duties of their employments, the public treasury will be better provided, and in a better position to remunerate those whom the government will have to employ.[115]

Whatever may be the sum, however, at present produced by each branch of the revenue, it cannot but increase, and rapidly, not only in consequence of the development of those things on which duties are chargeable, but also because, with time and experience, the distribution of the taxes, &c., will be improved.[116] They will be convinced of a truth long accepted in political economy,[352] but which does not the less pass for paradoxical, elsewhere than in Paraguay, viz.: that duties, when moderate and properly collected, are much more productive than high ones.

It was perhaps this principle which gave rise to the reform introduced by the President’s Government in the Tariff. That of 1841, which was imprinted with the doctrines of the protectionist school, was reformed and reduced by M. Lopez in 1846. That of 1841, not content with establishing very heavy duties on the generality of articles imported, and on all those exported, was intended to favour, at the expense of all, some hatters and vine-dressers who made bad hats and still worse wine, and levied a duty of 40 per cent. on wines and hats imported. The Tariff of 1846 has remedied these evils, and diminished the duties in general, but they are still too heavy, especially those on exports, which ought to be reduced almost to nothing.[117]


Respecting the trade that may be expected to ensue between this country and Paraguay, I am not fanatical enough to suppose that it will be either very rapid or very extensive at first. But, at the same time, as little can I share the apprehensions of a Buenos Ayrean writer quoted in the leading English journal on the arrival of the mail of the 16th of this month, (April, 1854,) that because certain mercantile ventures to the Parana had not proved lucrative, therefore the means of the inhabitants, and, by inference, of Paraguay also, were at a very low ebb, and that there was an indisposition to commerce. The same consequences, and from the same causes, were observable in China on the first partial opening of intercourse with that empire. The markets were not suited with proper goods and were glutted with superfluities. As to Paraguay, at all events, we know that both the taste and the means exist in the indulgence of what among so comparatively simple a people may be considered great luxuries.[118] Opportunity alone was wanted; and now that that opportunity is afforded, and that European wealth will be forthcoming for the numerous indigenous commodities so much required in this quarter of the world, there can be no doubt that all reasonable expectations formed by the parties to the Malmesbury treaty, and by those who long ago laboured to bring such treaties about, will soon begin to be realized.



This distinguished officer, now Governor of the Australian Colony of Victoria, comes of an ancient ancestry, many members of whom attained eminence in that special branch of the public service in which he himself has acquired such deserved repute. Indeed, there are few families that have for so long a time, and for such a continuance, given so many servants to the state. As early as the reign of Edward II., we find that John de Hotham, great grandson of the first of the name, who settled at the family seat of Hotham, Yorkshire, was Bishop of Ely, Treasurer of the Exchequer, and subsequently Lord Chancellor to Edward III. Sir John Hotham, the first baronet, Governor of Hull, who had five wives, was beheaded on Tower-hill, together with his son, Sir John Hotham, Knt., by the Parliamentarians, for corresponding with the Royalists, in 1643. His grandson and successor married into the noble family of Beaumont, in Ireland, and hence the Irish peerage, which the present Lord Hotham, member for the East-Riding of Yorkshire, and uncle of Sir Charles, retains, his lordship being a major-general in the army, and having served at Waterloo. Of the many naval officers in the family, both in direct descent and collaterally, the most celebrated was the Rt. Hon. William, Baron Hotham, of South Dalton, in the peerage of Ireland, so created 7th March, 1797, with remainder, in default of direct descendants, to the heirs male of his deceased father, in consideration of his gallant achievements, as a naval commander, at the commencement of hostilities with republican France. Having previously attained the rank of rear-admiral, he was advanced to that of admiral of the white, appointed second in command of the fleet ordered to the Mediterranean, under Lord Hood, of which he obtained the chief command a few months afterwards, upon Lord Hood’s return to England; and but a short time subsequently elapsed until Admiral Hotham had the good fortune to bring the French squadron to action (14th March, 1795), and to obtain a decisive victory over it, for which he received the thanks of both houses of parliament, and was made admiral of the blue. He died, unmarried, in 1813, and was succeeded by his brother Beaumont, Lord Hotham, father of the present Lord Hotham, M.P., and of the late Vice-Admiral Hotham, who was, consequently, uncle of the subject of the present sketch, of whom the annexed particulars are taken from the great nautical professional authority, ‘O’Byrne’s Naval Biography’:—

‘Sir Charles Hotham, born in 1806, is eldest son of the Rev. Fras. Hotham, Prebendary of Rochester (second son of the second Lord Hotham, one of the Barons of the Court of Exchequer), by Anne Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Thos. Hallett Hodges, Esq., of Hemsted Place, Kent; and first cousin of[355] Capt. Hon. Geo. Fred. Hotham, R.N. Sir Charles, who is brother-in-law of Lieut.-Col. Grieve, of the 75th Regt., has also a brother, Augustus Thomas Hotham, in the army. This officer entered the navy 6 Nov., 1818; and on the night of the 23 May, 1824, when midshipman of the Naiad, 46, Captain Robert Cavendish Spencer, served in the boats under Lieut. Michael Quin at the gallant destruction of a 16-gun brig, moored in a position of extraordinary strength alongside the walls of the fortress of Bona, in which was a garrison of about 400 soldiers, who, from cannon and musket, kept up a tremendous fire, almost perpendicularly, on the deck. He was made lieutenant, 17 Sept., 1825, into the Revenge, 76, flag-ship of Sir Harry Burrard Neale in the Mediterranean; and next appointed—15 May, 1826, to the Medina, 20, Capts. Timothy Curtis and William Burnaby Greene, on the same station—and, 8 Dec. 1827, and 26 July, 1828, as first, to the Terror and Meteor bombs, Capts. Wm. Fletcher and David Hope. As a reward for his distinguished exertions on the occasion of the wreck of the Terror, Mr. Hotham was promoted by the Lord High Admiral to the rank of commander on the 13th of August, 1828. After an interval of half-pay he obtained an appointment on the 17th of March, 1830, to the Cordelia, 10, and returned to the Mediterranean, whence he ultimately came home and was paid off in October, 1833—having been raised to post-rank on 28 of the preceding June, in compliment to the memory of his uncle, the late Vice-Admiral Hon. Sir Henry Hotham, G.C.B., G.C.M.G. His next appointment was, 25 Nov., 1842, to the Gorgon steam-sloop, stationed on the S.E. coast of America. In Nov., 1845, having assumed command of a small squadron, he ascended the river Parana, in conjunction with a French naval force under Capt. Trèhouart, and on 20 of that month, after a hard day’s fighting, succeeded in effecting the destruction of four heavy batteries belonging to General Rosas at Punta Obligado, also of a schooner-of-war carrying 6 guns, and of 24 vessels chained across the river. Towards the close of the action he landed with 180 seamen and 145 marines, and accomplished the defeat of the enemy, whose numbers had originally consisted of at least 3,500 men, in cavalry, infantry, and artillery, and whose batteries had mounted 22 pieces of ordnance, including 10 brass guns, which latter were taken off to the ships, the remainder being all destroyed. The loss of the British in this very brilliant affair amounted to 9 men killed and 24 wounded. In acknowledgment of the gallantry, zeal, and ability displayed throughout its various details by Capt. Hotham, he was recommended in the most fervent terms of admiration by his Commander-in-Chief, Rear-Admiral S. Hood Inglefield, in his despatches to the Admiralty, and he was in consequence nominated a K.C.B. 9 March, 1846. Since 13 May in that year he has been employed as commodore on the coast of Africa, with his broad pennant successively flying in the Devastation and Penelope steamers. While Sir Chas. Hotham was in the Gorgon, that vessel was blown far on shore in a hurricane at Colonia, and it was only by the most indomitable and procrastinated exertion on the part of himself and his crew that she was saved.’

The glorious and almost unequalled, and certainly unique, exploits in the Parana, here alluded to, are far too important to be passed over so summarily as in the preceding paragraph, especially as, in a work of this nature, the[356] history of these transactions, however brief, serves to furnish some interesting information respecting one of the most celebrated and remarkable sites in the entire of that navigation which the diplomatic skill of the same commander has since opened to the commerce of the world no less effectually than did his gallantry to the combined fleets of England and France seven years previously. Full professional details of the operations will be found in Mackinnon’s ‘Steam Warfare in the Parana,’ published in 1848, in which the writer says:—‘The great secret of the success which crowned almost every effort, with one miserable exception, was due, firstly, to the excellent arrangements which, by the powers of steam, were so perfectly and expeditiously carried out; and, secondly, to the admirable nature of the ordnance, and the skilful application of its different branches. Where the leader is of great ability, and possesses the confidence of those under his command, coupled with such materiel and personnel as Sir Charles Hotham had in his control, it is not by any means astonishing that everything succeeded admirably. It is rare, too, for a British officer to combine the talent for languages which Sir Charles Hotham possesses in such an eminent degree, with the perseverance and skill recently evinced in the extraordinary recovery of H. M. ship Gorgon, and in the after operations in the Parana.’

A still more emphatic and authoritative tribute to the genius of Sir Charles is supplied by the diplomatist under whose instruction he acted at the time, and who, as we have already seen [see ante], had previously availed himself of his services in the then attempted initiation of that European intercourse whose subsequent consummation has indissolubly associated the name of Hotham with the peaceful as well as the warlike annals of South America. Appended is Sir W. G. Ouseley’s graphic account of the passage of the Parana at Obligado, the writer being lavish of praise on everybody, but silent as regards himself, who was really responsible in every respect for the conception and organization, if not for the execution, of the whole design.

The pass of Obligado, on the River Parana, was the position selected for obstructing the passage of the English and French vessels employed in completing the blockade of the province of Buenos Ayres, by cutting off its communication with the provinces on the opposite bank. A blockade of the capital only of Buenos Ayres, and of its River Plate shores would, of course, be nugatory unless enforced along the course of the Parana as far as the limits of that province extend. Reinforcements of troops, horses, artillery, and warlike stores of all sorts, would continue to be sent across the Parana into the province of Entre Rios, from whence continually to renew and supply the Buenos Ayrean army invading the Banda Oriental and besieging Monte Video. To prevent this and ultimately cause a cessation of these disastrous hostilities it was necessary to blockade the whole fluvial coast of the province of Buenos Ayres. In order, therefore, to effect this blockade a small combined squadron of French and English vessels was detached from the force in the River Plate to occupy the Parana, as far as the effectual enforcement of the blockade of the province of Buenos Ayres might require. The boundary between the province of Buenos Ayres and that of Santa Fé strikes the Parana at the ‘Arroyo del Medio.’ This division, marked by a brook running into the river, is about thirty or forty miles above the turn in the Parana, called the ‘Vuelta de Obligado,’ which it was of course necessary to pass in order to reach the limits of the province. It was determined by the Government of Buenos Ayres to prevent the combined squadron from proceeding beyond the pass of Obligado if possible. But although the preparations for defence could not but have been known to hundreds, long previous to the declaration of the blockade, as well as the fact of works being in progress for barring the passage, the construction of batteries, and placing the chain cables, vessels, &c., all of which must have occupied much time, it is remarkable that no information whatever as to the plan or real nature of the intended obstruction could be obtained either at Buenos Ayres or Monte[357] Video. Vague rumours did reach the admirals commanding in chief, and other officers, of preparations in progress, but some reported that vessels were sunk in the channel, others said that forts or batteries were in course of construction at every commanding point on the river; in fact, the true nature of the intended resistance was entirely unknown, until some boats which preceded the squadron when proceeding up the river were fired upon a few miles below Obligado, at a place called San Pedro. And even then it was not believed that any serious opposition would be attempted to the advance of the blockading flotilla. However, when once the fire had been opened by the Buenos Ayreans at Obligado it became of course necessary to return it, and the result was the general engagement that ensued. When it is recollected that the scale on which the defences had been prepared was quite unexpected, and that the Buenos Ayrean force employed was much greater than was anticipated (amounting to about 4,000 men), while the nature of the other obstacles to be encountered was previously unknown, it will be evident that the skill and experience of the able officer who commanded the squadron were put to a severe test, and that it required his well concerted arrangements in the plan of attack and the gallantry displayed in carrying them into effect, to obtain the successful result that added to the high professional reputation of Sir Charles Hotham, already too well known to need any tribute here. It must also be borne in mind, in order to form a just estimate of this successful engagement, that with the exception of the steamers and a corvette, the major part of the force consisted of a mere flotilla of small vessels, armed for the purpose of ascending the river, and that they were for several hours exposed at no great distance to a heavy and well-directed fire from formidable and skilfully planned batteries. It is, however, needless here to give any detailed description of the action that resulted in the destruction of the batteries and other defences at this place. The despatches of the commanders of the English and French squadrons, Sir Charles Hotham and Admiral Tréhouart, were published at the time, and give a clear account of the manner in which the affair was conducted, showing the skill and great gallantry manifested generally throughout this affair. Across the pass from the Buenos Ayrean shore and batteries to the wooded island in the plan and sketch, a number of coasting vessels and river craft, chiefly Sardinian, as are most of that class of vessels in those rivers, were moored, supporting four large chain cables, solidly fastened to the shore on either side, thus presenting no trifling barrier to the passage up the river. On the right bank (i. e. on the Buenos Ayrean side) were constructed four batteries, of which two were close to the level of the water, and all well placed for defending the approach to the barrier of chains and boats. On the opposite, or Entre Rios bank, above the chains were anchored a brig of war and some gun boats, with heavy guns, out of the line of fire from the opposite batteries, but well placed for the annoyance of any attacking force. The brig was anchored off the Entre Rios shore, near an island, between which and the main land the water was too shallow to admit of the brig and gun-boats being attacked from that side. The batteries, four in number, mounted, according to the despatch of Gen. Mancilla, the Buenos Ayrean Commander-in-Chief, twenty-nine guns; the vessel had six mounted on one broadside, which, with field-pieces posted in the woods, made forty-two guns. The guns were well manned and served, chiefly by Europeans and North Americans, and troops to the number of about 3 or 4,000 lined the Buenos Ayrean shore. Some of the smaller vessels were fired upon as they approached the batteries: this was of course returned, and then commenced the action, which lasted for several hours, and was kept up with much spirit by the Buenos Ayrean batteries, until the fire of some of their guns was silenced, when boats were sent to break the chains, which service was gallantly effected under a heavy fire, and ultimately parties of English marines and seamen, (and subsequently French,) were landed, and, led by Sir Charles Hotham, succeeded in completely driving the Buenos Ayreans from their guns and obliging their forces to retire, and the flotilla passed up the river. This very arduous service was performed in the coolest and most effectual manner by Capt. J. Hope, of the ‘Firebrand,’ Mr. Nicholson, with two engineers of the ‘Gorgon,’ and a few men, who proceeded in small boats, under a most galling fire, deliberately to break the chains with cold chisels and sledge-hammers, after an attempt to saw them had failed. The depth of water at Obligado is about twenty-five fathoms, in some places (and at certain seasons) much more. The stream runs at about four knots, which was of course an additional source of difficulty, especially to the sailing vessels and boats.

Continuing the biographical notice of Sir C. Hotham from the point at which Lieut. O’Byrne leaves off, it is only necessary to add, that in April, 1852, he was appointed plenipotentiary in that mission with the record and anticipation of whose results so large a portion of the present volume is occupied. The mode in which he discharged that delicate and important[358] trust recommended him to Her Majesty’s present advisers as the most fit and proper person for probably as difficult and onerous a duty as it is possible for the crown to expect at the hands of a public servant at the present moment, viz., the Governorship of Victoria, a colony that presents innumerable phases of social and political transmutation and anomaly, of which history affords not only no parallel, but nothing in the least degree approximating to its similitude. If Sir Charles had been at liberty to follow the bent of his own inclination, if he did not feel that to decline such a service would in some measure embarrass the executive, it is considered that he would have preferred, in these stirring times, seeking the probable repetition of such incidents as the Pass of Obligado, and with foes more worthy of his hereditary fame than he then encountered. The crest of the house of Hotham is, according to the heralds, a demi-seaman issuing out of the water, holding in his dexter-hand a flaming sword:—supporters, two seamen, habited, and each holding a sword, the point resting on the ground, the motto being the significant shibboleth, ‘Lead on.’ Sir Charles married, in 1853, the Hon. Jane Sarah, (born 1817) relict of Hugh Holbech, Esq., and daughter of Lord Bridport, a name illustrious in nautical annals, and allied by marriage to one still more famous, that of Nelson; the mother of the present Lady Charles Hotham being niece of the victor of Trafalgar, and now Duchess of Bronté.



Departure from Buenos Ayres.—Arrival at Monte Video.—Guano deposits of Patagonia.—Bahia Blanca.—Eligibility of the district for an overland route to Chili.—Chilian grant for direct steam communication with England.—Accessions to steam navigation on the Brazilian coast.—Opening of the Amazon.—Departure from Monte Video.—Rough wind and heavy sea.—Aspect of Raza under various lights and shades.—Hotel accommodation of Rio Janeiro.—A wet day at Bahia.—Consular memoranda on Venezuela, Bolivia, and Equador.—Arrival at Pernambuco, and meeting with the Olinda.—Arrival at Porto Grande.—Seven days’ steaming against the wind.—Madeira in the distance.—Arrival at Belem.—Miseries and absurdities of the quarantine system.—Towing the Pilot astern.—Passage up St. George’s Channel.—Arrival in the Mersey.—Loss of the Olinda and the Argentina.—New ocean and river steamers.



Buenos Ayres being the extent of my mission, and expecting the Brazileira so soon at Monte Video, I hastened my departure for Monday, the 27th September, when we embarked early, with a very heavy surf, caused by the northerly wind blowing right on shore. Few passengers would venture off, and it took me nearly an hour to reach the Argentina, in a good boat, pulled by stalwart rowers, than whom there are few better than the Buenos Ayreans, thanks to the perpetual practice required in their perilous roadstead of a harbour. For a place with shallow water, I never saw so heavy a surf, which renders it most uncomfortable to those who may be compelled to embark under such circumstances. We had a fresh breeze the greater part of the way, increasing to a strong one as we approached the mount of Monte Video, reaching it at dark, so as to get into that excellent haven. This, however, we did quite safely, and landed our passengers in buoyant spirits, and full of admiration of our craft’s performance, in the face of such difficulties. Next morning was wet and hazy, but on its clearing off at about eleven o’clock we were agreeably surprised to see our ocean steamer, Brazileira, close to the harbour. She soon came to an anchor, two days before her time, to the inexpressible confusion of many unbelieving individuals, who had been very prolific in their forebodings that she would be considerably in arrear of her promised undertaking. She was the first steamer that ever came direct to the River Plate with cargo and passengers, both which were landed, at Monte Video in thirty-five days, and Buenos Ayres in thirty-six days, thus completely establishing the practicability of such a communication, and adding another triumph to the wonders of steam. In such a country it is a boon that can only be understood and appreciated by degrees, but every practical writer on the affairs of the River Plate has pointed to steam as the alpha and omega—the one thing needful towards a successful development of its resources, and the only element by which these vast countries can be rendered available to mankind, or perform their part in the great work of their Creator. With steam and railways would come hands and emigration,[361] so much required, and where there is a vast and lucrative field, perhaps the most lucrative in the world, for its operation.

Before quitting the La Plata, and its future destinies, I would say a few words on subjects connected therewith, although they may have no immediate bearing on the present narrative. I have before remarked how comparatively little is known in Europe of the past history of this part of South America, and of its internal resources. South of Buenos Ayres the curtain has been somewhat raised by guano researches on the coast of Patagonia, which have not resulted in any great gain to the adventurers. The climate is too humid, and the expense of drying the guano too great, to admit of much extension in that trade, which would scarcely have been opened but for the enterprize arising out of Ichaboe. Buenos Ayres has, therefore, lost nothing by this supposed encroachment on her territory, if it be rightfully hers—a point not altogether undisputed—which is, in other respects, wide enough, in all conscience, to admit of any multitude of industrious settlers, if they were disposed to come. Had similar deposits of guano to those on the coasts of Chili and Peru existed at Patagonia, then, indeed, there might have been a reasonable chance for the interest on Buenos Ayres Bonds being paid, considerably sooner than now seems likely. There is a spot to the southward, called Bahia Blanca, with a good bay, and a river running from a long distance westward, that promises well to become of much future importance. Parish makes allusion to military operations in that locality, and I found that at Buenos Ayres several parties had their attention directed there, as a place offering considerable advantages, in the centre of large cattle districts, and through which the shortest cut could be made to the south-west coast of this continent. There is little doubt that if a safe and easy route could be established across the country, it would be much frequented, and by many be preferred to Panama, with its sickly tendencies; a voyage of thirty or thirty-five days from England, and then a journey of ten or twelve days’ might enable the traveller to reach the territory of Chili through a fine country and healthy climate.


And speaking of Chili and Peru, the present may not be an inopportune place—at least I can now avail of no other—to state that a further link in the steam chain, wherein Brazil may be expected to play a prominent part, is that to the west coast of South America, through the Straits of Magellan, as already indicated in the introductory chapter in reference to Chili, whose government have granted a subsidy of £12,000 a year for a direct steam communication with England; and it is believed this can be best effected by having branch steamers from Rio to Valparaiso, making Rio, what it really ought to be, the port of transit for the southern ocean.[119] The mineral wealth of Chili and Peru is still, as all know, something almost fabulous, and the consumption of British manufactures in those countries very considerable; so that steamers would be sure of a paying freight both ways, with abundance of passengers, who would prefer such a route to the inconvenience and expense of crossing the isthmus. All that is required to secure to Brazil these important advantages, is a relaxation in its fiscal system, by which steamers can discharge and load in transit, without being subjected to local dues and restrictions, which are an extinguisher to progress in any country. If they decline to give these facilities, Monte Video and the Falkland Islands[120] will be only too glad of the opportunity,[363] and wherever it takes root there it will remain. The question is important for Brazil, as a large number of vessels now put into Rio in transitu that would follow in the wake of steamers. Unfortunately, the facilities for dealing with cases of distressed vessels are no further advanced than they were fifty years back: not a graving dock, patent slip, or other convenient apparatus yet existing in the otherwise noble harbour of Rio Janeiro, although a floating sectional dock was in course of construction at Ponta d’Area.

It would appear that the formidable difficulties in navigating the Straits of Magellan exist only in name. Winter and summer the passage is quite easy and practicable, and settlements are taking place by which both sailing ships and steamers can be furnished with stores and provisions, whilst there is coal of the country ready to assist the movements of steam. But in reality, the dreaded peril of Cape Horn itself will soon be quite a matter[364] of history,[121] if a halfway house hereabouts be established, as the proofs already adduced, and now quoted in a note, render a certainty. The coal is said to be a kind of bituminous anthracite, which gets up steam very well when mixed with English coal. Coal has been found on the coast of Chili of this description, and in places readily accessible for steam purposes. With the present[365] high freights for coal shipped hence, the certainty of a supply of even inferior fuel of the kind is most important.

Other lines of steam communication are in process of formation along the South American, especially the Brazilian, coast, to connect the bye ports and rivers with the principal cities and towns; and two steamers, called the ‘Santa Cruz’ and ‘Continguiba,’ are shortly to leave for Bahia on this most useful errand; so that, in a few years, we may expect to find coasting steamers in Brazil as numerous almost as on our own coast, conveying to and fro passengers and produce, to the great advantage of the country and of our mercantile relations with it.

The Rio Company which has undertaken the contract with the Brazilian government for opening up the navigation of the Amazon has hardly yet been long enough in operation to show what can be accomplished. There are immense difficulties to overcome in pioneering a navigation of this kind through such wild, uncultivated, and almost unknown districts; and without a considerable subsidy, no association would undertake the task. Great credit is due to the Brazilian government for making a heavy sacrifice in order to insure so desirable an object. They are moreover negotiating with the Company with the view of correcting the clause of the contract which insures to the Company the exclusive privilege of navigating the river with steamers. These arrangements will doubtless be brought to a successful issue, for a more enlightened and patriotic citizen than Senhor Irenêo Evangelista de Souza, with whom the government contract was made, does not exist in any country.[366] He has done more for the internal advancement of Brazil than any other man; witness the splendid establishment at Ponta d’Area, for foundry work, engineering, and ship building; the short railway to the foot of the Organ Mountains; lighting the city of Rio with gas, the establishment of a new bank which has lately merged into a national one; and, latterly, opening up the navigation of the Amazon; besides many other improvements that little is heard of. Only those personally acquainted with the indefatigable labours of Senhor Irenêo in such a country can judge of their real beneficial tendency, or of the gigantic mind required to cope with the difficulties entailed. Great stir is making by our Yankee friends in this part of the world; they have contracted with the Peruvian government for two small wooden steamers, which were sent out piecemeal, and put together at Pará. Report says very little in favour of the strength or speed of these steamers, qualities very essential to such a navigation, exposed to strong currents, and impediments from want of a proper knowledge of the channel of the river. I believe the Rio Company are building some fine powerful boats in this country, that will shortly be brought to bear on this increasing and, I venture to predict, wonderful traffic.

My mission being for the promotion of steam in South America, and the main aim and object of this volume being to make known here the desirability of, and the field for, such enterprise in that country, I trust the foregoing apparent digression in the midst of the return voyage will not appear irrelevant.

Leaving Monte Video on the morning of the 1st October, we steamed down the river, with a light breeze and sunny weather; soon passed Flores, which very much resembles some of our channel lighthouses, on a low island, a short distance from the land. Before sunset we had left the island of Lobos behind, and soon came into a nasty head wind and sea, which lasted for two or three days, causing the vessel to pitch a good deal, and making every one uncomfortable. At daylight on the fifth morning the mountains of Rio were in sight, the Corcovado towering over them. Passing Raza, the scenery is very fine, and will bear oft-repeated[367] inspection with largely increased advantage, as it varies much with the particular period of the day when seen, the lights and shadows being so different, and changing with each succeeding hour. Early morning throws its sharp silvery touch over everything, tinting the sides and peaks of the mountains, which seem floating in mist, whilst the forts and buildings of the city have a sombre hue. At mid-day all this effect has cleared away; the hills stand out in bold relief—bright green is the distinguishing character of the landscape—and the glare of white houses and red tiles meets your eye in every direction. Towards evening the aspect again changes to a deep brown or purple, steeping all things in more glowing richness; and presently there is thrown over the whole that peculiar olive which is quite a reality in the tropics, but the painting of which looks more or less ideal to the vision accustomed only to the comparatively frigid atmosphere of our temperate zone. I merely allude to the general character of the scenery, which, of course, varies materially with the changes of weather, and needless is it to add that there are occasional sunsets which no description of language could adequately pourtray.

We regret to say that the hotel accommodation of Rio Janeiro is very deficient for the size of the place and the extent of traffic passing through it. The best hotels are those of Pharoux and De l’Europe, in the city, and the Hotel des Etrangers and Johnson’s Hotel, on the road to Botafogo, the latter being peculiarly adapted for English ideas of comfort, and also long known to English travellers passing through, as well as a comfortable home to many residents there. The Hotel des Etrangers is a large, spacious building, now kept by a Frenchman, and is quite a fashionable resort for deputies visiting Rio for the session, as also for foreign diplomatists. The accommodation at Johnson’s Hotel is limited, and quite of a select nature. Comfortable boarding-houses, in our meaning of the term, are very few and far between. The majority of new-comers to, or passers-through, Rio, have private friends, to whose houses they resort during their brief sojourn; but,[368] undoubtedly, there is ample scope for much greater accommodation being afforded to ‘man and beast’ in this large city. The Emperor of Brazil is said to be coming to Europe on a tour of some duration. It is to be hoped that not only will he be accompanied by a large retinue, but that numbers of the affluent inhabitants of this capital will also visit the old world at the same time; for if so, they can carry back with them no experience that may be turned to more desirable account in Rio than that which they will derive from an acquaintance with first class British, French, or German hotels.

After four days’ detention at Rio, coaling, taking in cargo, &c., we left, on the morning of the 20th October, with some eighty passengers on board, for the northern ports of Brazil, Lisbon, and England. Again we encountered the head wind and sea which had so perplexed us previously, between Monte Video and Rio; but arriving, nevertheless, in three and a half days at Bahia, where we spent a miserably wet day coaling. In spite of the weather we got away in the afternoon, under a salute from the forts in honour of the President[122] of Pará, who was a passenger on board. Forty hours took us to Pernambuco Roads, which we left again on Sunday afternoon, the 16th, once more in direct route for home. The Olinda was due at Pernambuco, and strange enough, the[369] next morning we met her as if a line had been drawn for us to do so. Saluting each other with two guns, and a reciprocal round of three hearty cheers, time being too valuable for either to stop to satisfy curiosity, we pursued our respective routes, not a little elated by reciprocal punctuality and success thus far in our mutual maiden voyage. She looked remarkably well, appeared to be steaming fast, and would be in Pernambuco early next day. Our passenger list comprised fifty, of all denominations, English, French, Brazilians, Portuguese, Argentine, &c.; but it is surprising how everything gets into shape and order under such circumstances. We sighted the Island of St. Paul’s, looking like the white sails of a vessel, and on Sunday afternoon, the 22nd of October, came to anchor in Porto Grande, St. Vincent, under seven days from Pernambuco, a distance of 2,000 miles, very good work it must be confessed, though, perhaps, nothing to boast of, considering what we had already achieved. Leaving St. Vincent the same night, we had to steam against the north-east wind and waves for seven consecutive days, with no aid from our canvass. Then we passed Porto Santo, and saw both the Desertas and Madeira at a good distance, basking in fine clear weather. The morning of the 3rd October broke splendidly on the coast of Portugal, Cape Espectrial and the distant hills in sight, the lower land being shrouded in[370] mist; we stood towards Cascaes Bay, got a pilot on board, and once more entered the Tagus, in the short space of fifteen days from Pernambuco, and twenty-one from Rio. We were obliged to bring up at Belem, and undergo quarantine, although we brought clean bills of health, there being no cases of fever reported at any of the Brazilian ports. A certificate from four medical men on board attested this fact; as well as our having no invalids on board of any kind. Between twenty and thirty of our passengers left us here, having to endure the misery of eight days in the Lazaretto—a castellated looking building, situated on the south side of the Tagus—they were all transferred, with their luggage, to a large lighter. A more lovely day could scarcely be conceived than the one when we were at anchor at the quarantine station, coaling; most tantalising to be debarred from availing ourselves of the opportunity to land and have a run over the city, which many of our passengers had seen for the first time. As to preventing an importation of yellow fever by their quarantine regulations, it is a complete farce, as all kind of communication are kept up with the shore; the officers of the ship are allowed to go on shore to the health office, which is right on the main road passing Belem, and the shore is a common thoroughfare; caravans and people bathing where the boats land. It is difficult to conceive on what grounds these absurd regulations are introduced, unless it be to annoy and drive away people wishing to visit the place, and as part and parcel of a system of intolerant restrictions that are enough to paralyse the energies of any country. The inconvenience which such restrictions cause is indescribable, nor can anything justify the infliction in such cases as ours. If at any time there is really sufficient grounds for adopting quarantine regulations, they ought to be delighted to remove them so soon as the grounds were removed. In the present advanced state of civilization, and with the rapid intercourse between nations, quarantine is almost a barbarity, calculated to shut out the country that exercises it from the rest of the world, whilst it is impossible it can be efficacious in the manner it is carried[371] on at Lisbon; besides, the yellow fever has never been known to travel out of the tropics, and surely a voyage of twenty or thirty days across the ocean, without a case on board, is sufficient security, even supposing the fever to exist in the country the vessel comes from. On the other hand, reports of cholera in England cause an enforcement of quarantine outwards, thus putting the crowning piece to this mass of absurdity and annoyance. The subject cannot be alluded to with common patience, especially when it is publicly stated that the medical men who have to determine these sanitary points have a strong pecuniary interest in the lazarettos, and numbers of people prey upon the unfortunate vessel and passengers subjected to these terrible inflictions. Since my return, however, the Lisbon officials seem to have become a little amenable to reason and decency, and their preposterous regulations are in a trifling degree relaxed.

At 10 A.M. on the morning of the 1st November we weighed anchor, and steamed past Belem, towing a pilot in his boat astern. Our late fellow passengers in the Lazaretto were assembled at the top of the building, waving flags and handkerchiefs, to bid us farewell, and one could scarcely help feeling melancholy to see so many worthy people stuck up in a kind of cage, for no earthly object but to gratify a morbid sensibility on points sanitary. The pilot would not come on board, as it would subject him to perform a given number of days’ quarantine afterwards. There was a fresh breeze from the southward, and the rope soon broke, leaving Mr. Pilot to find his way back to Lisbon, and the steamer to find her own way out as best she could. A heavy sea was breaking on the bar, in which the pilot could not possibly have been towed, so we were well rid of him; but it only shows the operation of things under such an iniquitous system, where a man is well paid for doing absolutely worse than nothing—being in the way; for how is it possible for a pilot to direct a vessel when he is towed astern of her, and any directions he might give are impossible to be heard? However, we crossed the bar safely, and soon passed the Rock of Lisbon, after which our fair wind vanished; came strong ahead, with a good deal of sea, against which we steamed until next day[372] 2nd Nov., when it became calm, and the wind gradually veered to south-east. Saw Cape Finisterre, and from thence to St. Agnes Light (Scilly Islands); we were only thirty-five hours in doing 450 miles of distance. From Scilly we posted our way up Channel; went inside the Smalls; passed close to the Island of Grasholm, a very wild spot; missed Bardsey, but saw Holyhead Light; had a tug round the Skerries, blowing hard; at daylight got a pilot on board, and at 11 A.M. entered the Mersey, exactly twenty-six days from Rio Janeiro, including stoppages. My trip of 15,000 miles (including the run up the Parana) occupied me very little over three months, during which time I visited all the important sea ports of Brazil, Monte Video, Buenos Ayres, &c., spending a fortnight in Rio, and about the same time in the La Plata. The ‘Brazileira’s’ entire voyage occupied seventy-three days, including eighteen days’ stoppages, clearly proving that it is only a question of time for these valuable countries to be brought within the scope of a pleasure trip.

The performances of the Brazileira and of her sister ships of our fleet had, on the whole, been highly satisfactory, and promised to realize to the utmost every anticipation that had been entertained at the period of the formation of the company. But, alas, for bright visions! two of the flotilla unexpectedly, I may say unaccountably, are numbered with the departed, and under pretty nearly identical circumstances—both from shaving too close. The Olinda, wrecked hard by Holyhead, but fortunately without sacrifice of life, in one of those terrible storms that swept the British coast the beginning of this year, is a loss to the company as regards her keeping up the main ocean line. The Argentina had, for a time, been a shining light to the numerous passengers between the two great cities on the La Plata, and she is, emphatically, a national loss to them, as well as to the surrounding district, retarding, in fact, the work of civilization and improvement. On a fine, clear, and almost breathless evening, still daylight, she carried her temerity so far as to approach too closely some sunken rocks near the entrance to Monte Video harbour, going twelve miles an hour at the time, and[373] in a moment her career of usefulness was ended! There was almost a general mourning over her, so great a favourite had she become, by the rapid and satisfactory manner in which she illustrated the blessings of steam navigation in a region where, of all others, such agency is most to be desired.[123]

In order to repair as speedily as possible the damages caused by the loss of the Olinda and Argentina, the company have purchased the paddle-wheel steamer Menai, well known for her quick passages between Liverpool, Beaumaris, and Bangor, to replace the Argentina on the station between Monte Video and Buenos Ayres, until such time as a larger and more efficient vessel, now in course of construction, and that will be in every way worthy of the passenger traffic between those two great cities, can be built. They have also sent out the La Plata, a fine new screw, built by Mr. John Laird, originally intended for the London and Oporto trade, and to be called the Bacchante; but now destined to run between Rio Janeiro, Monte Video, and Buenos Ayres, in connection with the ocean steamers, which will not proceed beyond Rio Janeiro. In conjunction with the above-mentioned vessels, the company intend placing on the line the Imperador and Imperatrice, two steamers also in process of construction, same size and power as the Bahiana. Our fleet will thus consist of the Imperador, Imperatrice, and Bahiana, all new ships; the Brazileira and Lusitania, now running; the La Plata, a branch boat; and the two River Plate passenger-boats. I doubt not the public, as well as the respective governments embraced in this line of steam communication, will consider the enterprise as deserving of their especial support.


A page of my allotted space remains to be filled, and I cannot better occupy it than with a brief summary of the news brought to the latest moment before going to press, viz., that by the Mail, which arrived on the 16th of April, with dates from Buenos Ayres, March 4; Monte Video, 6; Rio Janeiro, 17; Bahia, 22; Pernambuco, 25; St. Vincent’s, Cape Verde, April 4; Teneriffe, 8; Madeira, 9; and Lisbon, 12, as quoted in the leading journal of the 17th.

Tranquillity continued undisturbed on the Plate. Business in imported goods and manufactures was dull, owing to the total absence of dealers from the interior. Since the blockade of July last upwards of 2,000 houses had been erected in the city of Buenos Ayres, and buildings were still being raised with the greatest rapidity. Trade was expected to improve. Articles of consumption were very dear. The supplies of produce were very stinted, and at advancing prices. A large portion of the last clip of wool remained on hand. The following extracts from a letter, dated Buenos Ayres, March 4, give the latest particulars of political events:—

‘Here everything goes on quite smoothly: at least, there is nothing within the province to cause any uneasiness. Our attention at present is wholly directed to Monte Video, where the Brazilian policy is being carried out with rapid strides. The only important question for us is how their proceedings may be viewed by General Urquiza, as President of the Confederation, whether he may make friends with us to resist the Imperialists, or join with the Imperialists that he may attack this province? Mr Buchental, a wealthy Brazilian capitalist and speculator, has crossed over to Chili to consult as to the means of forming a railroad from Valparaiso to the Rosario. The latest news from the west coast represents nearly all the Republics to the north in a state of excitement, but we suspect there is a great deal of exaggeration. Mr. Gore, British Minister at Buenos Ayres, has gone up the Parana for the purpose, it is supposed, of exchanging the ratifications of the treaty, and, perhaps, to grace the installation of the Constitutional Presidency, which is to take place about this time, some say on this very day. If Urquiza is wise, he will do the best he can with his own domains, and leave us alone.’

From Rio there is nothing worth noticing, as regards political affairs. A considerable reaction had taken place in the coffee-market, and prices were lower. Supplies regular. From Pernambuco we learn that the South American and General Steam[375] Navigation Company’s steamer Lusitania reached Pernambuco on the 18th ult. Great tightness exists in the money-market—more so than had been experienced for a long period.

On the 13th, the South American and General Steam Navigation Company’s steam vessel for the Plate, Menai, was off Cape Finisterre. Our Lisbon accounts are to the 12th instant. The passengers by the Mail had been placed in quarantine for eight days, in consequence of the reported appearance of yellow fever at Pernambuco. The little rain which had fallen in Portugal was not sufficient materially to improve the prospects of the grain harvest, while the cattle in some parts were suffering much from want of food.

Erratum.—In the hurry of passing the foregoing pages through the press, many errors have occurred, which unavoidable absence from London, and the nature of my duties in Liverpool, did not permit of being corrected in time. For these I must crave the reader’s indulgence, promising that they shall not be repeated, and that many short comings shall be supplied, in the event of another edition being called for, which I am in hopes, from the nature of the subject itself, though not from its present treatment, will soon be the case. One oversight, however, is of too conspicuous a nature not to require notice, namely, that in which the printers have confounded the sugar and cotton growing province of Paraiba do Norte with the coffee plantations on the River Parayba, in the province of Rio Janeiro, there being no coffee grown in the former province, and consequently it is to the latter the remarks in the text are intended to apply.



The Falklands recommended by the Colonial Land Emigration Commissioners, as a place of Re-fit, Naval Station, and Convict Settlement.—The Corporation of the Falkland Islands Company.—How it could assist Her Majesty’s Government in forming a Convict Settlement.—Proposal to demonstrate the superior eligibility of this Colony for a Convict Settlement.—Climate healthy.—Fresh Water abundant.—Cost of Transport less than that to other Colonies.—Safe Custody and Classification.—Geographical position and extent.—Distance from the Main.—Little Naval Force required.—Causes of insecurity at other Settlements not found at the Falklands.—Detached Islands provide against escape.—Guard required less than elsewhere.—Provisions cheap.—How supplied.—Cereals may be raised.—Employment.—Supply of Convicts need not be gradual.—How first comers are to be disposed of.—Preliminary outlay very small, and may be recovered.—Opinions of various Servants of the Crown.—Two Propositions.—1. What the Falkland Islands Corporation should undertake.—2. What national advantages would result from a Convict Settlement at this Colony.—Get rid of Convicts.—Relieve the Mother Country.—Redeem the pledge made to all Convicts.—Facilities for reformation.—Restoration of the penitent to society, without injury to the innocent.—Agricultural School for Juvenile Convicts.—Complete Depot for Naval Re-fit near Cape Horn.—Saving of Port Charges and of Freight.—All Ship’s Repairs could be done if Patent Slip laid down.—Secure Coaling Station for Steamers.—First-rate Naval Station.—In time of War ‘Key of the Pacific.’—Testimony of Governor Rennie, and of Capt. Matthews, Commander of the Great Britain Steamer.

Transcriber’s Note: map can be clicked for a larger version.



Engraved by George Philip & Son

Some years ago, the British Government was disposed to entertain the idea of placing a Convict Establishment on the Falkland Islands (a purpose to which they had been applied by their former occupants), and it appears that this idea was suggested by the representations of various persons employed in the service of the Crown, in and about the islands, and on the neighbouring continent, to the effect that the locality was highly eligible for the purpose; in fact, the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners have strongly recommended these islands as a place of re-fit for merchantmen, as a naval station, and as a convict settlement—and advised that the first operations to promote the settlement should be undertaken by a public company. It is because the[377] attention of Government has been thus directed to the eligibility of these islands, that it is thought well to present, in this brief form, a statement of the advantages they naturally present, as well as of those that may be secured, should Her Majesty’s Government be disposed to resume the consideration of forming a convict settlement there, which was probably postponed at the date referred to because convenient means of carrying the project into execution did not then present themselves. There is no reason to suppose that any objection was raised to the locality itself, nor does it appear that any objection does actually exist; on the contrary, it may be satisfactorily demonstrated that no spot in Her Majesty’s dominions is better suited for a convict station.

A public company now exists, under the style of the ‘Falkland Islands Company,’ the primary object of which is to trade in the produce of the colony, and which has obtained from the Crown a royal charter, incorporating it for that purpose. This fact is premised, to render it apparent that, if her Majesty’s Government thinks well to avail itself of the company’s services in making arrangements for a convict settlement at the Falklands, the means needful to carry out the project are not wanting. The existing establishments in the colony, recently assigned to the corporation, are already in that state of forwardness, and the capital they have at call in this country is sufficient to enable them to assure Her Majesty’s Government of their capability to undertake the immediate supply of all necessaries for a large number of convicts as soon as they can arrive in the colony; moreover, they are prepared to provide every description of stores on terms as reasonable as those paid in any other colony, and in respect to the important items of beef, mutton, and fuel, at a cheaper rate than they can be supplied elsewhere. If, therefore, it be considered desirable to find a new locality for convicts (which it appears from public report Her Majesty’s Government have it in contemplation to select), this company can assist in carrying out the object, and it only remains to point out why the Falklands should be deemed most eligible in every point of view for the purpose in question. The proposition would seem to be sustained by the following facts:—

1. The climate is remarkably healthy. In proof of this assertion may be adduced the concurrent testimony of numerous respectable and honourable men:—amongst others, Captains Fitzroy, Sulivan, and Robertson, who conducted the nautical survey—of Dr. Darwin, who accompanied Captain Fitzroy’s expedition—of Weddell, and Captain Sir James C. Ross—of Captain Mackinnon, and Captain Eden, who, together with the late Governor, Captain Moody, and Mr. Hamblin, the colonial surgeon (now in England), all unite in attributing extraordinary salubrity to the climate of these islands. That it is considered agreeable may be inferred from the existence of the present settlers, some of them men of capital and station, who have formed establishments, and resided there for many years. The temperature is declared to be remarkably equable, the extremes of heat and cold, usual in England, being unknown there; then there is a prevalence of south-westerly gales, which render the air of a peculiarly bracing character, whilst it is considered[378] far more enjoyable than that of European countries situate north of the 52nd or 53rd degree of latitude. Fresh water is everywhere found of excellent quality. From these authorized statements, it may be taken for granted, that such a temperature for active and healthy labour is far better suited to the constitutions of men born in the climate of Great Britain, than the hot and relaxing atmosphere of the equatorial latitudes, whereby the power and inclination to labour is diminished, whilst residence in such climates has the effect of fomenting the evil passions of men under little or no moral or religious constraint.

2. The cost of transport would be one half of that to any of the existing penal settlements. This fact being self-evident, requires no testimony for its support. The islands lie less than half way between Great Britain and Australia, California, and China, on the direct route to the Pacific.

3. This colony is peculiarly well adapted for the safe custody and classification of convicts. The Falkland group, situated in the same latitude, south, as the English midland counties are, north, consists of two large islands, comprising an area of 6,400 square miles, and several hundred smaller islands, from 20,000 acres each to islets of one acre, and the total extent of territory is equal to rather more than half that of the kingdom of Belgium. The numerous detached islands offer remarkably well-adapted positions for permanent stations, say for a penal settlement, whilst the western island combines those advantages that are requisite to insure the practical working of the forced labour, and subsequent reformed settlement, system, which might eventually render the East Falkland a flourishing free colony, entirely unconnected with the convict establishment. The situation of the islands is wholly isolated; the nearest land is Staten Island, distant 250 miles by chart—they are 350 miles from Terra del Fuego, and 400 from the coast of Patagonia in direct lines, countries either uninhabited, or peopled by savages, without port or shipping—and there is no small shipping trade in or about the Falklands. By means of the semaphore, a communication can be kept up every ten minutes between the extreme western point of the West Island and Port Stanley on the extreme east of the group—consequently the naval force stationed there need be very trifling. Then the vessels calling are all bound round the Horn, or returning from the Pacific, or whalers—none of these, wanting men, would take convicts, and there is none of that class of shipping on this track that are likely to take them off. There are no woods to conceal fugitives, and no means of constructing boats or rafts, should any contemplate so wild an adventure as to try to gain the main, where certain death by starvation, or at the hands of ruthless savages, would await them. These advantages cannot fail to be appreciated when the position of this settlement is compared with that of Van Dieman’s Land, Norfolk Island, or any of the islands of the northern groups in that hemisphere. Here are no native population or settlers to be corrupted by contact with convicts—no coasting traffic, affording constant opportunity for escape, and both of which render safe custody costly in other colonies. Norfolk Island, and more particularly New Caledonia and the Fidgee[379] group, lie in the track of a host of independent traders, men who own and command their ships, and whose occupation is trading between these islands, Sydney, the Society Islands, the Marquesas and the Paumotu Islands, as well as with Valparaiso—whose expeditions frequently last two or three years, and who notoriously take part in the quarrels between the various petty Polynesian kingdoms; in which cases they not unfrequently undertake to provide the party, who is able to pay them for the service, with English soldiers, and in performance of such engagements, kidnap convicts as a matter of traffic. The existence of this trade, carried on to a considerable extent by men who have some of them been convicts themselves, must always render the custody of criminals at the islands named both hazardous and expensive. The numerous detached islands which form the Falkland group afford every facility for classification, and are most of them only approachable on the north-eastern side, the rest of the coast being fringed with sunken rocks, naturally buoyed by kelp, which render landing or getting off impossible. The peculiarities of form and position herein noticed would render the presence of a large military or civil guard quite unnecessary—and it will probably appear, that such part of the duty of an establishment there as appertains to their safe custody and to the maintenance of proper order amongst the prisoners, could be carried out more economically than at any other station.

4. Provisions of all kinds would be plentiful at cheaper rates than in any other colony. Beef, mutton, and pork are in abundance, and could be supplied of the best quality at 2d. to 3d. per lb. Flour, biscuit, and clothing would have to be imported, probably from England and the Canadas (until they could be raised in sufficient quantity on the islands), and as vessels bound round the Horn can obtain fresh supplies of provisions and water at Stanley, these articles could be landed in the Falklands at a cheaper rate than elsewhere. Vegetables may be raised in any quantity required, and white celery and other antiscorbutic plants are indigenous. Labour is only needed to insure the raising of cereal crops, and therefore the supply of such produce would follow the location of convicts.

5. Employment would not be wanting. Good building stone and slate exists. Coal and limestone are reported to have been discovered, but this requires confirmation. Timber would have to be imported from our North American colonies for some purposes, though the quantity of drift from Staten Island and the neighbouring coasts is very great; and some of it large enough for ship’s repairs. Roads, buildings, public works, the collection and preparation of fuel, preparation of stores, &c., would afford ample occupation for a large number of unskilled labourers, whilst tradesmen and artizans could be occupied in providing for the other wants of the community. Convicts of the lowest class could be advantageously employed in the construction of slips, quays, a careening dock, barracks, enclosures for cattle, dwellings for government officers, stone portage, military works, levelling town allotments, road-laying, brick-making, drainage, well sinking, and cutting channels for the supply of water to the town and shipping. Whilst those of a superior[380] class might have ample occupation found for them in the construction of dwellings for themselves, churches, working of salt-works, raising embankments and planting, horse-breaking and keeping, tending flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, curing beef and fish, opening streams for drainage, baking, butchering, cutting, washing, and consolidating turf, collecting guano, growing vegetable supplies, making shoes, clothing, cheese, butter, &c., for the consumption of the establishment and exportation; and procuring fodder for the Government troop of horses; with many other occupations which experience would suggest.

6. It is less necessary that the supply of convicts should be gradual in these islands than in any other of our colonies. The labour of the first comers would be mainly directed to providing for their own immediate wants. These, in the first instance, might be lodged on board of hulks, the same that conveyed them out, and their employment would be in the erection of a large stone barrack, church, gaol, and storehouses, with suitable dwellings for the overseers; all as regards the external walls sound and strong, and on a scale to receive at least double their number, with the needful attendants on the establishment. An old line-of-battle ship, jury rigged, could be prepared to receive on board 1,500 to 2,000 convicts; and such a vessel, after her arrival, would not be required for more than a year or two, but would last four or five years without needing repairs as a convict hulk. They might afterwards be broken up, and used as stores in finishing some of the buildings, and for other suitable purposes. Wooden barracks constructed in this country might of course be taken out with the convicts; but a hulk is suggested as a temporary dwelling that could more probably be readily found, and would not swell the preliminary estimate which it appears always desirable to avoid in the formation of a new establishment. It should not be lost sight of, that the stiff clay of the islands works up with the stone of the ‘streams’ into very sound and durable walls, as witness those of the old Spanish fort at Port Louis, built, it is said, in 1771, and now in a good state of preservation.

It results, then, that a convict establishment may be planted at the Falklands with a very small amount of preliminary outlay on the part of the Home Government, and that such outlay may speedily be returned. Such has been the expressed opinion of nearly all the men, who, being qualified to form an opinion on such a subject, have had an opportunity of examining the locality. Amongst these gentlemen, there appear the names of Captains Fitzroy, Ross, Mackinnon, and Sulivan, as well as of Mr., now Sir, Wm. Gore Ouseley, who, in his official correspondence some years ago, expressed a very decided opinion on this subject. In fine, these islands have been recommended by the Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners, ‘as a place of transportation, perhaps more eligible than any other British possession,’ and these gentlemen have already forcibly suggested a notice to Parliament on the subject.

Having thus demonstrated that no more eligible spot could be found for convicts, it only remains to point out specifically what the Falkland[381] Islands Company should undertake, provided Her Majesty’s Government decide to send such persons to the Falklands, and to avail themselves of the company’s services in so doing:—and then to set forth the highly important results in a national point of view that would follow the adoption of this measure.

The company should contract to furnish all such supplies as the Government might require of them. They should also undertake to employ convict labour in the drainage and general improvement of their own territory, paying to government a fair rate of wages for such labour; and this would provide a considerable source of revenue, as doubtless the company would be only too glad to avail themselves of such a means of rendering their very extensive possessions really productive, in a far greater space of time than they could hope to accomplish it by importing free labour, and probably even at less cost.

Thus this colony, hitherto almost overlooked, notwithstanding its very remarkable geographical position, may become one of the most valuable possessions of the Crown: and, in times to come, or rather in the time that has come, rank in importance not second to Gibraltar, Malta, Aden, Hong Kong, and such other places as are valuable in proportion to the power they confer on their possessors of maintaining friendly relations with the other nations of the earth, or protecting their own interests in the present rupture with Russia. The following national advantages would thus be secured.

First:—We should get rid of the vexed question of ‘What are we to do with our convicts?’ and that in a manner not obnoxious to any one of the objections raised against other localities.

Secondly:—Her Majesty’s Government would be relieved from the embarrassment that must always attend the attempt to retain convicts in this country. For the time must come when their terms expire, and then the real difficulty of disposing of them must be grappled with. It can hardly be supposed that the mother country will consent to receive among her highly moral people those whom the colonies have una voce agreed to reject. And it would be an injustice and impolicy, that could not be contemplated, to condemn such men to constant isolation. In the East Falkland they may settle, and thence they may insensibly migrate whither they list, without the blazonry of their former guilt preceding them, and thus have really a fair chance of resuming an honest and respectable position; which it is, to say the least, extremely difficult for men to accomplish at the spot whereon they have undergone their punishment, and consequently amongst a people where they are branded with disgrace.

Thirdly:—The philanthropist will hail with infinite satisfaction the establishment of a settlement which, whilst it provides for the proper punishment of offenders against the laws, affords the best possible opportunity of promoting and encouraging genuine reform—a reform that would eventually restore the penitent to society, and moreover without the outward symbol of past crime that would cause it, by rejecting him, to drive him back on his evil habits. The process would be accomplished without the risk of any moral stain upon the innocent, and the[382] locality proposed is physically adapted, by a very remarkable combination of circumstances, to the promotion of morality. A juvenile Convict Agricultural School, on principles already tried elsewhere, might advantageously form part of the general system adopted in the Falklands; and, being entirely separate from the adult establishment, would prove a valuable aid in the progress of reformation.

Fourthly:—The most convenient place for re-fit for our merchantmen and foreigners, as well as for steamers, trading between Europe and the Pacific, would speedily be rendered perfectly available. The enormous port charges of the east and west coast ports of South America would be avoided. Freight would be saved to shipowners, and the comforts of passing emigrants promoted, by the facility of re-provisioning and watering half way. And all this at a port wholly unconnected with the convict settlement, where a small dockyard could be economically constructed, and would amply and speedily repay the expense incurred.

Fifthly:—Her Majesty’s ships, and those of the merchant navy also, could undergo repair here cheaper than at any port in those seas—and, if a patent slip were laid down, more speedily; for at present there is not, strange to say, one patent slip south of the line, on all the coast round to Callao. This important advantage would effect an immense saving in the cost of Her Majesty’s squadron constantly kept afloat on the east coast, and that also on the west coast of South America, one item of which would be a fortnight to three weeks’ saving of wear and tear on every voyage home from the Pacific. This consideration becomes of double importance now that Russian men-of-war are known to be in the Pacific on the look-out for our merchantmen.

Sixthly:—As lines of steamers are established round the Horn, the Falklands are the point of all others most suitable for a coaling station, (as the documents in this work from the most competent authorities have abundantly proved,) and one that in time of war could be easily rendered impregnable.

And, lastly, now that war is in reality upon us, with the certainty of being a tolerably long one, it is difficult to exaggerate the advantage which the possession of these islands would afford to Great Britain in respect to their position, provided proper works were constructed, for which there are great local advantages. In this point of view, any protracted delay in rendering the Falklands thoroughly available as a first-rate naval station, on the footing of Gibraltar and other places, would appear to be an oversight.

The whole of the above objects may be speedily accomplished with the accession of convict labour; without it, the prospect of these advantages is very remote, and their realization might, at any moment, be frustrated by the colony passing (as heretofore) into the hands of some more enterprising nation, whose rulers may entertain a shrewd notion of the vast importance attaching to a naval station that may truly be called ‘the key to the Pacific.’ One position may be advanced as indisputable; namely, that now war has involved us with at least one of the great maritime powers, the entire Pacific fishery, and the[383] whole trade on and about the Western Coasts of America, may come under the absolute control of the possessors of the Falkland Islands, should a coup de main of our unscrupulous foe bring about the temporary transfer of the station to him.

P.S. Since the above was in type, Mr. Bentley has published a work from the pen of Earl Grey, entitled ‘The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell’s Administration,’ containing much valuable matter relative to the system of transportation, and a brief notice of the Falkland Islands. Respecting the Falklands, the noble Earl observes, that the object of the Government was—

‘To create a small settlement, where passing ships might re-fit and obtain supplies for which these islands, notwithstanding the inclemency of their climate, were considered to be peculiarly well adapted, from their possessing admirable harbours, and lying directly in the track of vessels returning to this country from Australia, or the Pacific, by Cape Horn. They also afforded considerable resources in the herds of wild cattle which are to be found upon them.’ His lordship goes on to remark, that ‘An arrangement was concluded by which a regular communication will be established between this country and the Falkland Islands, by means of a small vessel plying between these islands and Monte Video, where it will meet the mail steamer from England every alternate month.’ And that, ‘Hitherto this settlement has not advanced rapidly; probably it would hardly have been expected to do so, unless a larger expenditure had been incurred than was considered advisable in carrying out and establishing emigrants there; but it seems now to have taken root, and will, I trust, do well hereafter. Already, from the growing up of some little trade, and from land having been brought into cultivation, it has been found possible, in the last four years, to discontinue the issue of rations from the Government stores to the inhabitants, who can now purchase for themselves what they require. Those of the working-class can find ample employment at good wages, and ships which call there can depend upon obtaining the most necessary supplies. The advantages offered by this place of call on the long voyage home are beginning to be known, so that each year more vessels are stopping there on their way; and, from the great increase of the trade with Australia and California, it is probable that the port of Stanley (the name of the settlement) will be more and more resorted to. I am informed that a ship wanting, water or provisions, in the run home from Cape Horn, may save not less than from ten days to a fortnight by calling at Stanley, instead of Buenos Ayres, or Rio de Janeiro besides having no port charges to pay. In proportion as more vessels call for supplies, these will be furnished more abundantly and better, since private enterprise will be sure to meet the demand which the greater resort of shipping to the port will create. It is to be hoped, also, that the means of re-fitting ships that have suffered in the stormy passage round Cape Horn, which already exist to some extent, will be increased there in the same manner, and that the plan of establishing there a patent slip, which was at one time under consideration with a view of its being undertaken by the Government, will be taken up as a private speculation.’

The annexed official document has been presented to Parliament during the present session; and although its date is anterior to that of the valuable communication from Capt. Matthews, of the Great Britain, as already quoted, it so materially confirms the value of the settlement as to suggest that Government should lose no time in increasing the two-monthly mail service now existing between the islands and Monte Video, and in erecting a patent slip, as they have lately done a lighthouse; for it is obvious that the Falklands must now assume, in the consideration of England, the status to which their political, as well as their geographical, position entitles them:


Copy of a despatch from Governor Bennie to the Right Honourable Sir John S. Pakington, Bart.—Government House, Stanley, Falkland Islands, January 8, 1853.—(Received March 17, 1853.)—Sir,—In transmitting the Blue Book of this colony for the year ending 31st December 1852, I have the honour to report a continuance of the same steady, though not very rapid progress, which has prevailed in this small community during the last four years. The resort of shipping to these islands for supplies and repairs, forming one of the chief sources of prosperity, it is gratifying for me to observe the progressive increase shown by the returns of the year just ended over that of the previous year. In the year ending December 1851, 17,538 tons of shipping from England and foreign parts entered this harbour; in the year ending December 1852, there were 22,024 tons, being an increase of 4,486 tons. This augmentation necessarily produces a demand for produce, labour, and stores of every description, affording remunerative profits to the storekeepers, and employment at good wages to the labouring classes, unskilled 3s. to 5s. per diem, and skilled 6s. to 10s. Provisions are abundant, and at reasonable prices. The transference to the Falkland Islands Company of the large interests held by Mr. Lafone, and the commencement by that corporation of a more comprehensive system of operation, supported by a large capital, gives me very favourable hopes of benefit to the colony, and I trust to the shareholders. It is, however, worthy of remark, that whilst a powerful company, invested with great privileges by Her Majesty’s Government (as regards its property in land and cattle) has likewise established a considerable mercantile warehouse in the town of Stanley, the general business is going on so satisfactorily that all the original storekeepers are now adding to their premises and extending their dealings. The master of a barque, the Record, lately in the harbour, publicly notified that he would take passengers to the gold diggings in Australia at 10l. per head, and it gives me much pleasure to add, that not a person could be found in the colony to accept his proposition. In the year 1849, I put up for sale 12 allotments of one acre each, of suburban land near the town, suitable for the working classes to build on or to cultivate as gardens, and the amount idealized averaged 6l. per acre, being three times the usual government price. A few weeks since, having been given to understand that other parties wished to have an opportunity of purchasing similar allotments, I selected 11 of the same extent, but not quite equal to the former in situation. The prices on this occasion reached 12l. per acre on the average, or six times the usual fixed sum, and twice that of 1849. The grumbling and discontent manifested by a portion of the enrolled pensioners settled here has subsided since the notification to them by the Secretary-at-War that they were at liberty to return to England if they preferred to do so, nor has even one of them up to the present time availed himself of the permission. Small, comparatively, as the instances are which I have the honour to communicate, I trust they may lead to a more just appreciation of the capabilities and utility of this colony, and of the favourable prospects which it affords to steady and industrious emigrants.—I have, &c. (Signed) George Rennie.—The Right Hon. Sir John S. Pakington, Bart. &c., &c.



[1] In reference to the preponderating interest of Liverpool in this trade, an influential metropolitan journalist, commenting on the treaty with Paraguay soon after its ratification in London, observes:—

Liverpool is the very centre and focus of our foreign trade. There almost every man you meet is either engaged in commerce, or is in the service of those so engaged. Liverpool, like the seat of the Pope of Rome—but in a widely different sense—has its agents and its commercial missionaries in every climate and in every latitude, and there is not one among them who is not as intent and energetic in his work as those ‘soldiers of the faith,’ whom Rome sent out on the South American missions in the two centuries from 1535 to 1735. The fiery enthusiasm of Don Pedro de Mendoza himself, who offered Charles V. to complete the conquest of Paraguay and the Rio de la Plata at his own expense, is equalled by some of those indomitable agents of the counting-house, who are as zealous for commercial conquests as the Andalusian Hidalgo was for the aggrandisement of his Sovereign and master. We doubt that even Father Charlevoix himself, so often cited and praised by his brother Breton, Chateaubriand, and who has given us six volumes of a charming history of Paraguay—which he explored in person—exhibited more zeal for the interests of his order in the countries watered by the Rio de la Plata, the Rio Salado, the Rio Negro, the Catapuliche, and the Rio de la Encarnacion, than do those Liverpool junior partners, clerks, and supercargoes, who are charged with the interests of considerable commercial houses in such distant latitudes.… Through the rivers opened to us by the efforts of Lord Malmesbury, one-fourth, at least, of the produce of South America, must be brought to the market of the world, and of this commerce Liverpool will certainly have the largest, and Bristol, Glasgow, and London, a considerable share.

[2] In the original prospectus of the company, whose calculations, apart from two wrecks, as to the performances of their vessels have since been so well verified by experience, it was stated that, ‘The importance and extent of our trade with Brazil and the River Plate, and the necessity which exists for a more perfect postal communication with these countries, mainly suggested this enterprise; and, accordingly, the first efforts of this company will be devoted, not only to supply the desideratum of a bi-monthly mail, but to afford to shippers of goods a cheap and speedy conveyance, which the acceleration of the mails over the old system of sailing packets renders most desirable; the tonnage at present employed in the Rio and River Plate trades, from the Port of Liverpool alone amounts to 30,000 tons annually, while the value of exports, principally consisting of Manchester and other similar fabrics, is upwards of three millions sterling per annum. The number of first class passengers was, until the establishment of the mail steamers, very circumscribed; but since that period it has materially increased, not less than one hundred per month, each way, being now the average. Of the second class of passengers and the lower description of emigrants the numbers who have gone from Great Britain and the continent, by sailing vessels, has been very great, more than is generally supposed, not fewer than 4,000 persons having emigrated to Rio Grande and the southern ports of Brazil during the last year, while to the River Plate the numbers for years past has been still more considerable; and the inducements held out to emigrants in both countries are so great, that, with the additional facilities afforded by a regular steam communication, a largely progressive increase may be fairly calculated on. Thus it will be seen that a large field is open for this company’s operations, and, as the rates of passage proposed to be charged are extremely moderate, being within what has hitherto been obtained by sailing ships, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the estimate of the number of passengers, upon which the requisite calculations are based, is under what may fairly be expected from this country, the continent, and Portugal. Three steam-ships, of from 1,500 to 1,700 tons, and about 300 horse-power, will, in the first instance, be built for the Rio line. The vessels will be modelled after the most approved principles, and, with the ample power proposed, it is confidently anticipated that an average speed of at least 10 knots per hour will be attained. The branch boat will be of smaller dimensions, suitable for the navigation of the River Plate. It is calculated that the passage to Rio will not exceed twenty-five days, and that the whole distance to the River Plate will be accomplished in thirty-five days, including the needful detention in Rio to transfer the cargo and passengers to the branch boat. The average passages of the best ships at present employed is not less than fifty days to Rio, and sixty to the River Plate.’ The branch boat, it will be seen hereafter, was lost, as likewise the Olinda, the second ship of the Ocean line, both, however, having been replaced.

[3] Though the great Genoese came in sight of St. Salvador, Bahama Islands, on the 11th of October, 1492, it was not until 1497 that he found the continent, the same year that Cabot, the son of a Venetian pilot residing at Bristol, discovered Newfoundland, and named it Prima Vista; the year also (or, as some say, the year before), that Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine in the service of Spain, and subsequently of Portugal, and again of Spain, reached the east coast, and was fortunate in giving his name to the entire of the continent, north and south. The Bahamas were not known to the English for nearly 200 years (1667) after the discovery by Columbus, when Captain Seyle was nearly wrecked there while proceeding to Carolina, also discovered by Cabot in 1500. The Bahamas were long infested by pirates; but in 1718 Captain Rogers expelled them, and the islands became and have since remained the property of the Crown of England, with the consent of Spain, though the British had had a settlement there long previously.


He turned; but what strange thoughts perplexed his soul,
When, lo! no more attracted to the Pole,
The Compass, faithless to the circling Vane,
Fluttered and fixed, fluttered and fixed again!
At length, as by some unseen Hand imprest,
It sought, with trembling energy, the West!
‘Ah, no!’ he cried, and calmed his anxious brow;
‘Ill, nor the signs of ill, ’tis Thine to show;
Thine but to lead me where I wished to go!’
Rogers’ Columbus.

[5] Though his scope embraces no part of the West Coast, nor any portion of the East Coast beyond the line, the author hopes, by the introduction of a few of the more prominent facts connected with each republic, to render this volume somewhat useful to those of his readers who may be desirous of a slight precis of the history and position of the various states of South America, but who would, nevertheless, be deterred from entering upon details of feuds and complications more unintelligibly perplexing than the records of the dynastic chaos of the Saxon heptarchy, or the septic entanglements of the earliest Celtic kings. To this end, therefore, there will be appended a note on each of the outlying districts, if we may so call them, as they occur in the text; and first in the foregoing order comes

MEXICO.—After the usual experience of viceregal misrule, common to all the Spanish transmarine dependencies, this noble province threw off the yoke and asserted its independence in 1820, and virtually achieved it about a year afterwards, principally through Iturbide, a Spanish soldier of great valour and military skill, and who might probably have done for the land of his adoption what Washington had effected for the United States. Unlike that great character, however, he abused for his own selfishness the power he acquired; and, not content with being head of the state as regent on behalf of the people, he perfidiously caused himself to be proclaimed emperor, in 1822, and imperial revenues and honours to be decreed to himself and to his family. These measures, with many others of a like kind, produced such general defection, that he assembled the dispersed members of Congress in the capital, in 1823, and abdicated, agreeing to reside for the remainder of his life in Italy, on which condition a large allowance was made him. But, faithless to his word in this instance, as before, he returned from Leghorn, through England, attempted a revolution, miserably failed in raising any followers, and was ignominiously shot, at Padilla, in Santander, by La Garza, commander of that province, pursuant to instructions from the provincial legislature, in 1824. Vittoria, one of the ablest lieutenants of Iturbide in the war of independence, had been proclaimed president the year before; and the year after (’25) a treaty of commerce was ratified with Great Britain. Such proceedings, with the recognition that was soon to follow of the independence of the revolted country, had formed a topic of urgent interest at the Congress of Verona, in 1822, when, seeing what was looming in the future of South America, the Duke of Wellington, plenipotentiary from England, instructed by Mr. Canning, in continuation of the policy of Lord Castlereagh, to whom the Duke had just succeeded, presented a note, stating, that ‘The connection subsisting between the subjects of his Britannic Majesty and the other parts of the globe has for long rendered it necessary for him to recognise the existence, de facto, of governments formed in different places, so far as was necessary to conclude treaties with them. The relaxation of the authority of Spain in her colonies of South America has given rise to a host of pirates and adventurers,—an insupportable evil, which it is impossible for England to extirpate without the aid of the local authorities occupying the adjacent coasts and harbours; and the necessity of this coöperation cannot but lead to the recognition, de facto, of a number of governments of their own creation.’

Austria, Russia, Prussia, and France (represented by M. de Chateaubriand), diplomatically ignored this overture to humiliate their royal brother of Spain by admitting that which they were soon afterwards compelled, for their own sakes, to acquiesce in. All the efforts of the successor of Ferdinand and Isabella ignominiously failed to win back or retain any portion of the glorious inheritance of the throne of the Indies. A vast expedition, sent against Mexico, surrendered to the now successful revolutionists in 1829, a few months after the expulsion of the Spaniards had been decreed. Unfortunately, however, democratic anarchy soon supervened upon monarchic despotism; for hardly was the old tyranny got rid of, than Guerrero, the president, was deposed; and Mexico has since been but another word for whatever is most unwise in foreign policy or most pernicious in domestic administration. In 1838 war was declared against France, and of course, ended in disaster to Mexico, after five months’ duration, the most memorable incidents being the capture of the strong fortress of St. Jean d’Ulloa, by Prince Joinville, who greatly distinguished himself; and the brave defence of Vera Cruz, by Santa Anna, who there lost a leg. This soldier of fortune, something of the stamp of Rosas, having been repeatedly elected to supreme power, deposed, exiled, imprisoned, and restored, is once more president, with what prospect of continuance it is impossible to tell. Neither misfortune, nor experience of the impolicy of excessive severity, seems to have mitigated the innate ferocity of the man’s character. With a defiance of opinion more in consonance with the era of the Borgias than of constitutional government, or even of a civilized government in the middle of the 19th century, only as late as November last the Dictator caused death to be inflicted, by shooting, without the pretext of a trial, and as though they were the veriest wild beasts, on Senhor Tornel, formerly President Arista’s Minister of War, and Senhor de la Rosa, who was minister for foreign affairs immediately after the capitulation of the city of Mexico, and was the immediate instigator of Santa Anna’s expulsion from the country on that occasion, being also the writer of the letter officially informing him of his disgrace. Their offence was, simply, being obnoxious to the dictator—nothing more. Like Rosas, however, he has evinced more consideration for the foreign creditor than might have been expected; and about the period of the barbarity just named, devoted a considerable sum in liquidation of the more pressing of these demands, his ability to do so arising, it was said, (though the authority is as apocryphal as the circumstance itself) from a donation by the pope, as an equivalent for the restoration of the order of the Jesuits in Mexico. Others say that his funds have accrued from a sale to the United States of territory adjoining the present Californian possessions of the Union; and that, with the proceeds, he means to repeat Iturbide’s experiment in imperial power and title. Be this as it may, the area of Santa Anna’s sway, is much less now than it was formerly; for, owing to a succession of decisive repulses sustained from the United States, with which war was declared in 1846, and carried on till the beginning of 1848, Mexico has lost California; Texas having been annexed to the States in 1846; Yucatan, &c., having also seceded; and now, of the once prodigious territory of the Montezumas, and known in Spanish colonial history as the vice-royalty of Mexico, there remains, according to the treaty of 1848, but the comparatively narrow strip of land between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.

This, though only a fragment of what it once belonged to, is still most rich in minerals, and most fruitful in valuable products, and highly important from its position; but nearly all its natural advantages are destroyed by the insecurity and deficiencies of its political institutions, and the incapacity and selfishness of those administering them among a very numerous population, equal, at least, to that of Scotland, after all the curtailments we have spoken of. It is needless to acquaint any reader of the public journals, to whom the words ‘Mexican Bondholders’ must be a ‘horrid, hideous sound of woe, sadder than owl-songs on the midnight blast,’ that the finances of the state are in a condition the reverse of consolatory to creditors. For the precise nature of those obligations, in whose fulfilment England is so much interested, we must refer to the very numerous pamphlets published by the various committees appointed in London to advise upon this intricate and unsatisfactory subject. That there is every desire on Santa Anna’s part to meet English liabilities, there can be no doubt; one motive for his anxiety being, it is said, the achievement of a stock-jobbing coup on his own account, or, rather, on account of the adventurers he is surrounded by. If internal peace could only be secured, the vast resources of the country, and its unparagoned geographical position, midway, as it were, in the very path of the commerce of both hemispheres, would soon permit of its financial difficulties being adjusted. The question is, whether Santa Anna, in putting down anarchy—if he can keep it down—will not commit excesses as bad as the revolutionists in an opposite direction? The latter is the tendency of his acts at the present; but it is impossible to predicate of such a country what may or may not turn up from one hour to another. The representative of Mexico, hitherto charged, until lately, with the difficult task of negociating in this country with the English creditors, has been Colonel Facio. The Mexican diplomatic staff in London consists of Senhor de Castillo y Lanzas, 10, Park-place, Regent’s-park, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary; Don Augustin A. Franco, first secretary; Don José Hidalgo, 2nd secretary; Don Ignacio Luijano, attaché; Don B. G. Farias, 32, Great Winchester-street, vice-consul.

Though Consuls were sent, for commercial purposes, to nearly all the important ports of the new South American states, as early as October, 1823, it was not for several years afterwards that political or diplomatic representatives were despatched. The first was Mr. Alexander Cockburn, as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Columbia, February, 1820; second, Sir R. Ker Porter, chargé d’affaires to Venezuela, July, 1835; third, Mr. Turner, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to New Granada, June, 1837; and fourth, Mr. W. Wilson, chargé d’affaires to Bolivia, 1837. These states will be severally noticed as they occur in the text. It was in March, 1835, that Sir Richard Pakenham, now British Minister in Portugal [see Lisbon] was accredited as plenipotentiary to Mexico. At present the same post is filled by Mr. Percy William Doyle (many years chargé d’affaires there) whose salary is £3,600, with £400 a-year house rent; secretary of legation, William Edward Thornton, salary, £600; paid attaché, Mr. A. H. Hastings Berkeley, salary, £200; and an unpaid attaché. The annexed list exhibits the names and salaries of the British consular corps in Mexico:—Mexico, F. Glennie, consul, £400; Vera Cruz, F. Giffard, consul, £500; Tampico, consul, Cleland Cumberlege, £500; San Bias, Eustace W. Barron, consul, £300; Mazatlan, S. Thomson, vice-consul, £150; Acapulco, Charles Wilthew, consul, £400.

[6] In the month of February, 1554, he addressed a long letter to the emperor,—it was the last he ever wrote him,—soliciting his attention to his suit. He begins, by proudly alluding to his past services to the Crown: ‘He had hoped, that the toils of youth would have secured him repose in his old age. For forty years he had passed his life with little sleep, bad food, and with his arms constantly by his side. He had freely exposed his person to peril, and spent his substance in exploring distant and unknown regions, that he might spread abroad the name of his sovereign, and bring under his sceptre many great and powerful nations. All this he had done, not only without assistance from home, but in the face of obstacles thrown in his way by rivals and by enemies, who thirsted like leeches for his blood. He was now old, infirm, and embarrassed with debt. Better had it been for him not to have known the liberal intentions of the emperor, as intimated by his grants; since he should then have devoted himself to the care of his estates, and not have been compelled, as he now was, to contend with the officers of the Crown, against whom it was more difficult to defend himself than to win the land from the enemy.’ He concludes with beseeching his sovereign to ‘order the Council of the Indies, with the other tribunals which had cognisance of his suits, to come to a decision; since he was too old to wander about like a vagrant, but ought, rather, during the brief remainder of his life, to stay at home and settle his account with Heaven, occupied with the concerns of his soul, rather than with his substance.’ This appeal to his sovereign, which has something in it touching from a man of the haughty spirit of Cortez, had not the effect to quicken the determination of his suit. He still lingered at the court, from week to week, and from month to month, beguiled by the deceitful hopes of the litigant, tasting all that bitterness of the soul which arises from hope deferred. After three years more, passed in this unprofitable and humiliating occupation, he resolved to leave his ungrateful country and return to Mexico. He had proceeded as far as Seville, accompanied by his son, when he fell ill of an indigestion, caused, probably, by irritation and trouble of mind. This terminated in dysentery, and his strength sank so rapidly under the disease, that it was apparent his mortal career was drawing towards its close.—Prescott.

[7] PERU.—Referring to what has been already said as regards Mexico for a general notion of the relationship between Spain and her colonies, when the spirit of revolt began to develope itself in the latter, it is only necessary to add here that, since its emancipation, Peru has, like all the congeries of republics of which it forms one, been a prey to civil dissension and military turmoil. Of late years its increasing commerce, the vast pecuniary means it has discovered, in its guano islands, of meeting its engagements with the European creditor, and the comparatively pacific spirit that prevails in its councils and in those of the neighbouring states, are producing their natural results; and, despite occasional exceptions, there is every reason to look for a prosperous future. The conquest of Peru having been effected with infinitely more ease than that of Mexico, as far as the mere military resistance of the natives was concerned, it continued for nearly 300 years subject to Spain, and formed its last stronghold in that quarter of the world. The history of the struggles for independence, from the time that the first Protector, San Martin, [see Chili, page 18] entered the country with the combined Chilian and Buenos Ayrean army, and proclaimed its freedom at Lima, the capital, in 1821, till the Spaniards were finally expelled, would embrace the biography of the commander just named, and the still more celebrated one, Bolivar, who, with his victorious troops from Columbia, to which he had given liberty in 1821, mainly contributed to the liberation of Peru, whereof he became President in 1825, San Martin retiring in 1822, with these memorable words:—‘I have proclaimed the independence of Chili and Peru; I have taken the standard with which Pizarro came to enslave the empire of the Incas; and I have ceased to be a public man.’ Bolivar ran through pretty much the same vicissitudes of popular caprice as we have recounted in the case of Santa Anna, though an incomparably superior character in every respect; and, after numberless feuds, and escaping plots against his life by those he had raised to power, was on the point of returning from voluntary seclusion, on his patrimonial estate, to assume once more the direction of affairs, in obedience to the voice of the public, who, too late, found out that he was the only man for the occasion, when he died in 1830, in his 47th year, leaving behind the highest reputation which South American history has afforded, not only as a commander and an administrator, but as a constitutional legislator. Repeated revolutions have since ensued, partly caused by rivalries of internal factions, and partly by the hostilities of neighbouring states, which, being themselves torn with dissension, and constantly changing their territorial status, have rendered war upon Peru, or on the part of Peru, almost unavoidable. This is the case at present; Bolivia, under its President, Belzu, having invaded Peru, and protracted hostilities being certain. Under such circumstances it is hardly necessary to add, that the finances of the country have been inadequate to its expenditure, and that, consequently, the foreign creditors have fared exceedingly ill. Of late, however, the prospects have greatly improved, owing to the immense demand for that peculiar manure which is found in the condition most approved by agriculturists on the Peruvian coast, and in the next greatest perfection on the neighbouring coast of Chili, whence, indeed, the first cargo, which created so much interest, was brought a few years back into Liverpool, causing small observation, however, for a long time. But, unluckily for the foreign creditor and the true interests of the Peruvian government, the latter fixed so high a price on the commodity, as to create a complete monopoly, attended with most of the mischiefs of which all monopolies are the parents. Until the close of the last year, it was imagined that the supply of this most essential ingredient in farming economy was literally inexhaustible, and that the cost to the consumer might be kept up at the original excessive rate. About that period, however, it was ascertained, through a survey instituted by Admiral Moresby, commanding the British squadron on the West Coast, that at the then rate of demand (and it has gone on increasing since) the whole stock (many millions of tons though it was) would be exhausted in the course of about twenty years. Moreover, as the discovery, first, of the unique virtues of guano, and, secondly, of its deposit in the finest known quality and greatest quantity here, were purely accidental, it is not improbable, indeed is regarded as certain, that there will also be discoveries of other excellent fertilizers of a like kind, and of other vast deposits of guano, if not quite so excellent, yet sufficiently so to deprive Peru of its principal customers at existing rates. Should either of these occurrences take place—should it be found, as Lord Clarendon anticipated, in answer to a deputation on the subject, that nitrate of soda is extractable from the immense heaps of fish refuse on the Newfoundland coast, and will supply, as chemists believe, the fructifying element of guano; or should it be found that those deposits of guano in more damp latitudes,—the Falklands, for instance—will admit of being profitably freed from the effects of moisture, of course the value of the Peruvian commodity will decline accordingly, and so will the prospects of the bondholders, who have probably been amongst the greatest of all the sufferers from the mala fides and impoverishment of South American debtors. A species of new bonds have recently been created, to the great detriment of the interest of the holders of the old ones, and the dissatisfaction is extreme, especially as the government, instead of being warned by the facts we have recounted in respect to guano, and by the discovery of valuable guano islands by North American citizens in the Caribbean Sea, have actually advanced the price of the commodity to the extent of the recently enhanced freights, as compared with the usual rates of shipping charges.

Apart from the monetary, the diplomatic credit of Peru has always been respectably sustained at the Court of St. James’s. The corps at present consists of Don Manuel de Mendiburu, minister plenipotentiary; Don Francisco de Rivero, consul-general, 78, Grosvenor-street, Grosvenor-square; Don Emilio Altheus, D. M. Espantosa, and Major D. S. Osma, attachés. Consul’s-office, 6, Copthall-court. Consuls—J. E. Naylor, Liverpool; R. J. Todd, Cardiff; John G. Dodd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; Edward Wright, Dublin.

England is represented in Peru by Mr. S. H. Sullivan, chargé d’affaires at Lima; salary as such £1,700 a-year, besides the usual £1 per diem allowed to all functionaries of that class discharging consular duties. Until last year (1853) the diplomatic salary was £2,000. At Callao, the port of Lima, the salary of the consul (Mr. J. Barton) has also been reduced from £500 to £200, but the fees of office still make the post very lucrative. At Islay, the vice-consul, Mr. T. Crompton, receives £500; and at Arica and Payta, Mr. G. H. Nugent and Mr. Alexander Blacker, vice-consuls, £300 and £100 respectively.

[8] CHILI.—Though probably none of the Spanish conquests in South America were effected with greater ease than that of Chili—a sort of dependency on the Incas of Peru, and faithful to their cause long after it was lost at head-quarters—nowhere were the natives impressed so much at first with the superiority of the invincible stranger, a sum equivalent to half a million of ducats being presented to Almagro, in recognition of his ‘divinity’ when he crossed the Cordilleras; yet none of their acquisitions, subsequently, cost the conquerors more trouble. Notwithstanding the scandalous cruelties of the invaders, it was not till 1546, ten years after Valdivia (a second lieutenant of Pizarro’s) had entered their country, that resistance was wholly put down. The Chilians, the last in being subdued, were also among the first to take advantage of the troubles of the mother country in her decrepitude and decline. On the invasion of Spain by the French, and the rout of the Spanish Bourbons in 1809, Chili, affecting to be solicitous for the sovereignty of Ferdinand VII., and to be desirous of administering the government of itself in his name, established a junta in the capital, St. Jago, in 1810, and ultimately avowed itself a decided separatist. Spain, however, was still able to make head against the revolutionists; and after a series of encounters, in which fortune alternated rapidly, she vindicated her authority by a very decisive victory at Rancagua, in 1817. This, however, did not prevent the popular party triumphing at Chacabuco, in the same year, and seizing on the capital. Again the king’s troops succeeded at Chancarayada; but, once more, and conclusively, the republicans carried all before them in the eventful battle of Maypu, in 1818, though it was not till the beginning of 1826 that the province was finally freed from the presence of the peninsular cohorts, and declared independent, the old country itself, however, refusing any such recognition till 1842, when a treaty of peace and friendship was signed at Madrid, and ratifications exchanged in 1845. Throughout these wars the most conspicuous revolutionary leader was General San Martin, a soldier of Irish origin, as his name imports,[9] being one of the many of his countrymen whom the struggles for independence brought forward in the Spanish colonies, in none more so than in Chili, the first Supreme Director, as the officer elected by the juntas was originally called, being Barnardo O’Higgins, with whom were associated Col. O’Leary, General Miller, and numerous others ‘racy of the soil’ of saints and shillelaghs. Of all the European celebrities, however, who figured on the stage of South American strife, none are to be compared to the heroic Lord Cochrane, now the venerable Admiral Earl Dundonald, who, having fitted out a ship of his own in England in the cause of the patriots, and being appointed to the command of the Chilian fleet, coöperating with the land forces of Bolivar, displayed that characteristic skill and enterprise which have so preëminently distinguished him throughout his chivalrous and romantic career, some few incidents of which will be found mentioned in our notice of a congenial and no less heroic spirit, Admiral Grenfell, of the Brazilian service, in which Dundonald played a conspicuous part.

From what we have said already, both of Mexico and also of Peru, it will naturally be inferred that Chili has suffered greatly from internal disorders; but, unlike those countries, she has contrived to avoid a very onerous national debt; and consequently her credit abroad is comparatively very good; indeed, better probably than that of any South American state, save Brazil, whose securities rank next to those of Great Britain itself. The recent gold discoveries in California and Australia have immensely increased her export trade, and will continue to do so for an indefinite period; while a large source of domestic revenue has been opened up by the possession of guano islands (of which more hereafter), second only in extent, and scarcely second in richness, to those treasures of a like kind whereof we have spoken under the head of Peru, the example of which country is followed as to the maintenance of the price of the article at an exorbitant rate.

The Chilian diplomatic and consular corps in England consists of Spencer N. Dickson, consul, 8, Great Winchester-street, London; W. W. Alexander, consul, Bristol, Cardiff, and Newport; William Jackson, consul, Liverpool; Thomas W. Fox, jun., consul, Plymouth; James H. Wolff, consul, Southampton; John W. Leach, consul, Swansea. The British diplomatic and consular corps in Chili consists of the Hon. E. J. Harris, chargé d’affaires at the capital, St. Jago, salary £1,600, and the usual consular allowance of £1 per diem; consul at Valparaiso, Mr. Henry Rouse, salary £300, reduced from £700; consul at Coquimbo, Mr. David Ross, salary £300; and vice-consul at Conception, Mr. Robert Cunningham, salary £250—all exclusive of fees.

[9] His aid-de-camp was General John O’Brien, afterwards accredited by the Banda Oriental, or State of the Uruguay, as diplomatic representative to England, where he contributed greatly to familiarise the British public with the bearings of the Plate Question, and to popularise the cause of Monte Videan resistance to the aggression of Rosas. In this object he was essentially assisted by his learned and accomplished countryman, Mr. W. Bernard Macabe, a distinguished London journalist, and well-known author in historical and miscellaneous literature, who discharged the duties of acting consul-general for the Uruguay in London for some years, till the end of 1852, when he proceeded to Dublin, where he has since prosecuted his intellectual avocations with his customary assiduity and success. The General, we believe, is now residing in honoured retirement, in his old age, in the neighbourhood of Valparaiso, on a property allowed him by the Government of Chili, to whose original independence his exertions materially contributed.

[10] The subject of this poem is the establishment of the Portuguese empire in India; but whatever of chivalrous, great, beautiful, or noble, could be gathered from the traditions of his country, has been interwoven into the story. Among all the heroic poets, says Schlegel, either of ancient or modern times, there has never, since Homer, been any one so intensely national, or so loved or honoured by his countrymen, as Camoens. It seems as if the national feelings of the Portuguese had centred and reposed themselves in the person of this poet, whom they consider as worthy to supply the place of a whole host of poets, and as being in himself a complete literature to his country. Of Camoens they say,

Vertere fas; æquare nefas; æquabilis uni
Est sibi; par nemo; nemo secundus erit.

Few modern poems in any language, have been so frequently translated as the ‘Lusiad.’ Mr. Adamson, whose ‘Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Camoens’ must be familiar to the reader, notices one Hebrew translation of it, five Latin, six Spanish, four Italian, three French, four German, and two English. Of the two English versions one is that of Sir R. Fanshawe, written during Cromwell’s usurpation, and distinguished for its fidelity to the original; the other is that of Mickle, who, unlike the former, took great liberties with the original, but whose additions and alterations have met with great approbation from all critics—except, as indeed was to be expected, from the Portuguese themselves.—Dr. Cauvin.—In the course of the present year (1854) another English version, from the pen of Sir Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South Wales, and formerly on the staff in the Peninsula, has been issued by Messrs. Boone, of Bond-street, in one volume, with an engraving, said to be an excellent likeness, of the poet.


‘Eu sou aquelle occulto, e grande Cabo,
A quem chamais vos outros Tormentario;
Que nunca a Ptolemeo, Pomponio, Estrabo,
Plinio, e quantos passaram, foi notorio:
Aqui toda a Africana Costa acabo
Neste meu nunca visto promentorio,
Que para o polo Antartico se estende,
A quem vossa ousadia tanto offende.’
Camoens, canto 5, verse 50.
‘In me the spirit of the Cape behold,
That Rock by you the Cape of Torments named,
By Neptune’s rage in horrid Earthquake framed,
Where Jove’s red bolts o’er Titan’s offspring flamed.
With wide-stretch’d piles I guard the pathless strand,
And Afric’s southern mound unmoved I stand;
Nor Roman prow, nor daring Tyrian oar,
Ere dashed the white wave foaming to my shore;
Nor Greece, nor Carthage, ever spread the sail
On these my seas to catch the trading gale.
You, you alone, have dared to plough my main,
And with the human voice disturb my lonesome reign.’
Mickle’s Translation of this verse, the ‘Lusiad,’ p. 205.

[12] STEAM THROUGH THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN TO THE PACIFIC.—In a work like this, almost specially devoted to an exemplification of the achievements and the prospects of steam enterprise in South America, we take the earliest opportunity of placing on record the efforts of a gentleman, who, in those distant waters first explored by Magellan, and through the very straits named after that daring navigator, conducted a steamer to the West Coast long before the Royal Mail Company, as mentioned in our prefatory remarks, sent any of their paddle-wheels to the East Coast. The first steamers that ever navigated these straits were the Peru and Chili, belonging to the Pacific Steam Navigation Company, under the orders of Captain George Peacock, a gentleman well known in connection with naval steam tactics, now superintendent of the Southampton docks, and vice-consul for the Uruguay at that port. Leaving England in command of the Peru, in July, 1840, and touching only at Rio de Janeiro for a supply of fuel, he anchored in Port Famine, Patagonia, on the 13th of September, after a passage at sea of only 43 days. These vessels, built by Messrs. Curling and Young, of Limehouse, were contracted and fitted out with great care, under the superintendence of Captain Peacock, being also rigged on a new plan proposed by him, whereby they were enabled to proceed under sail alone during a great part of the voyage, the steam only having been used for 21 out of the 43 days occupied between Plymouth and Port Famine. This was an unprecedented feat in the annals of steam navigation up to that period, and has scarcely been surpassed since, as these vessels carried out a large amount of general cargo to Valparaiso, besides their spare machinery, and a great quantity of stores, proving the importance of all steamships for long voyages, whether screw or paddle-wheel, being fully and properly rigged. The Pacific Steam Navigation Company was projected in 1833 by William Wheelwright, Esq., an enterprising American gentleman, who had passed many years on the West Coast of South America, and who obtained exclusive privileges, from the Chilian and Peruvian governments, for establishing steam in the Pacific, provided steamers were placed on the coast within a given period. On Mr. Wheelwright’s arrival in England he found great difficulty in forming a company, although no one doubted but that the navigation and requirements of the West Coast were, perhaps, better adapted for steam navigation than any other spot on the face of the globe. Unfortunately for the projector, the extreme pressure of the money-market at that time, coupled with the distance of the intended scene of operations, the want of confidence in the grants of South American states, and the political changes to which they were exposed, all conduced to impede the enterprise; and, after passing upwards of three years of untiring patience and suffering, numberless anxieties, heart-sickening vexations, and even personal privations (the fate of too many enterprising men in the prosecution of new and useful projects), and when his capital was nigh wrecked, and his favourite scheme about to be abandoned as hopeless, he had the good fortune to meet with the late Lord Abinger, who, together with the noble members of the Scarlett family, warmly espoused the undertaking, and with the aid of other kind friends, the company was at length formed, and, towards the close of the year 1839, two vessels, of 750 tons and 180 horse power each, were contracted for. The keels were laid Jan., 1840, and the ships built, launched, fitted out, and sent to sea in July, within a period of seven months, no expense being spared to effect this object, with a view of saving the privileges to be conceded by the Chilian government.

This proved to be impracticable, notwithstanding the extraordinary exertions that had been made, owing to the vexatious annoyances of the port authorities at Rio de Janeiro, who exacted such stringent regulations and created such difficulties, that the steamers were delayed fourteen days, where 48 hours would have sufficed. The fine harbour of Port Stanley, at the Falkland Islands, was not then known to possess the facilities it now does for such repairs, nor were there at the time the necessary means of effecting them; otherwise Captain Peacock, who has the highest opinion of that harbour, and has urged it as a port of call and for coaling on the captains of all sailing or steam-vessels coming home from Australia by Cape Horn, would have at once resorted to it, and so saved the almost ruinous delay and vast expense occasioned him at Rio. The consequence of this detention was, that the vessels did not arrive at Port Famine, the southern-most harbour claimed by the republic of Chili, until the 13th of September, whilst the privileges, already alluded to, expired on the first of that month.

By the 18th of September both ships were completed with wood and water, every man, from the captain downwards, assisting in sawing and splitting up drift-wood, found in abundance along the shores of the harbour, an American axe having been provided for each person on board, together with cross-cut saws and iron wedges, for such object, before leaving England. This day, being the ‘diesiocho,’ or great anniversary of the Chilian Independence, Captain Peacock caused a beacon, 30 feet high, with a large diamond-shaped head, to be erected on the heights of Santa Anna, the western point of the entrance; and, hoisting the Chilian flag upon it at noon, saluted the same from the guns of both ships, accompanied by three hearty British cheers; and having buried a parchment manuscript at the foot of the beacon, in a sealed jar, descriptive of this event and the particulars of the voyage, &c., together with a few new coins of the year 1840, the steamers proceeded into the Pacific, accomplishing the passage from ocean to ocean, a distance of 300 miles, in 30 hours’ steaming. Four years subsequently, the Chilian government sent a vessel of war, and took formal possession of this harbour, for a convict establishment, naming it Port Bulnes, after the President at that time in power, when a fort was built round the before mentioned beacon, the jar was dug up, and the manuscript, &c., taken to St. Jago, the capital, and there lodged in the government archives. Upon the arrival of the steamers at Valparaiso, by a representation to the government, the privileges of the company were immediately renewed for a period of ten years; and probably nothing has contributed so much to the advancement, welfare, and prosperity of the Chilian and Peruvian republics, as the successful establishment of steam navigation upon this coast, where the names of Don Guilliermo Wheelwright and Don Jorje Peacock, will perhaps never be forgotten, as they certainly ought not to be. The Chilian government, in the course of last year, (1853) renewed its relations with the Pacific Company for continuing steam communication with England, through the Straits, and also for extending steam intercourse to other parts of Europe, in connection with the vessels now rounding the Horn, granting liberal subsidies for that purpose. See end of chapter on Amazon.

[13] Captain Denham, R.N., who has been sent on an exploratory cruise in the various Archipelagoes of the Southern Pacific, in hope of meeting with an eligible depôt for convicts, whom the cessation of transportation to Australia (or at least to all except the Western portion) has thrown on the hands of the home government, very much to the embarrassment of the executive, and to the consternation of the community; for, as was foreseen when the project was first mooted, not only do the British public dread the introduction among them of the class known in France as libres forçats, but the former honest associates of these domesticated ‘emancipatists,’ to use an antipodean phrase, will not consort with them; hasten to denounce them to their employers as ‘black sheep;’ forcibly drive them from amongst them; and, in fact, surround them with such annoyances that their existence becomes intolerable in the society of any but those who are qualifying for, or have already graduated at, the hulks. The consideration of this subject will be found pursued at some length in treating of the Falklands. These islands are in every way admirably adapted, both to meet the difficulties just mooted, as to the disposal of our felonrie, and to supersede the labour of Capt. Denham, should he even be successful in discovering a spot in the southern hemisphere that is not open to innumerable objections on the score—1st, of propinquity to other islands; 2nd, being at double the distance of the Falklands from the mother country; and 3rd, the cost of conveyance being proportionably great; saying nothing of the expensiveness of founding a new settlement in a place that is already deserted, or from which the aborigines, if any, must be removed.

[14] The History of Brazil—his opus majus, a work on which he hoped to base the remembrance of his name—now appeared, the most conspicuous and elaborate of his works, and written con amore. It forms a branch of the more extensive History of Portugal, which he had no leisure to complete. The materials from which this work was constructed had been collected by his uncle, the Rev. Herbert Hill, were unrivalled in value, and accessible to him alone. No political bias interrupted the straightforwardness and breadth of his judgment; and his poetic fervour found scope in the character of the clime, the productions of the soil, and the features of savage life, which he describes in the most glowing colours.—Life of Southey, by Charles T. Brown.—London: Chapman and Hall. 1854.

[15] Travels in the Interior of Brazil; principally through the Northern Provinces and the Gold and Diamond Districts, during the years 1836-41. By the late George Gardner, M.D., F.L.S., Superintendent of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Ceylon.—London: Reeve and Co. 1853.

[16] Sketches of Brazil; including New Views on Tropical and European Fever. With Remarks on a Premature Decay of the System, incident to Europeans, on their return from Hot Climates. By Robert Dundas, M.D., Physician to the Northern Hospital, Liverpool; formerly Acting Surgeon to H.M. 60th Regiment; and for twenty-three years Medical Superintendent of the British Hospital, Bahia. 8vo., price 9s.—London: John Churchill, Prince’s-street, Soho. Liverpool: Deighton and Laughton, and Rockliff and Sons.

[17] Buenos Ayres and the Provinces of the Rio de la Plata: from their Discovery and Conquest by the Spaniards to the Establishment of their Political Independence. With some Account of their Present State, Trade, Debt, etc.; an Appendix of Historical and Statistical Documents; and a Description of the Geology and Fossil Monsters of the Pampas. By Sir Woodbine Parish, K.C.H., F.R.S., G.S., Vice-President of the Royal Geographical Society of London, and many years Chargé-d’affaires of H.B.M. at Buenos Ayres. Second Edition, enlarged, with a New Map and Illustrations.—London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1852.

[18] Two Thousand Miles’ Ride through the Argentine Provinces: being an Account of the Natural Products of the Country, and Habits of the People; with a Historical Retrospect of the Rio de la Plata, Monte Video, and Corrientes. By William Mac Cann, Author of the Present Position of Affairs on the River Plate. With Illustrations. In Two Volumes.—London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 65, Cornhill. Smith, Taylor, and Co., Bombay. 1853.

[19] 1. A Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, with an Account of the Native Tribes, and Observations on the Climate, Geology, and Natural History of the Amazon Valley. By Alfred R. Wallace. With a Map and Illustrations.—London: Reeve and Co., Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. 1853. 2. The Amazon, and the Atlantic Slopes of South America. A Series of Letters under the Signature of ‘Inca.’ By M. F. Maury, LL.D., Lieut. U. S. Navy; who, under date, Washington City, January, 1853, says: ‘These Letters were originally published by the National Intelligencer and the Union, of this City. They treat of one of the most important commercial questions of the age: they are eagerly sought after in all parts of the country; and though they have been extensively read, the demand for them in a more permanent shape than that of a newspaper is such that the Publisher has obtained leave of their Author to re-issue them in their present form.’ On the recent visit of Professor Silliman to Humboldt, at Berlin, the veteran explorer expressed his great gratification at the progress which enterprise was making throughout South America, especially in the region of the Amazon; and made particular mention of the Professor’s countryman, Lieutenant Maury, of whose work we are now speaking, and from which we shall draw copiously hereafter. In giving the gallant Lieutenant all praise, however, we should not omit to acknowledge how much the reading public of this quarter of the globe are indebted for their previous knowledge of the same region to another countryman of his, whose excellent little volume has lately been re-issued in England in a cheap form, by Murray, viz., A Voyage up the River Amazon, including a Residence at Pará, by W. H. Edwards; of which it was justly said that it was a work valuable for the information it gave on this very little known part of the world, and likely to excite many adventurous young men to explore the Amazon, so that going back on the traces of Orellana, and crossing to the Pacific, may probably become, ere long, as familiar to our countrymen as a voyage up the Rhine or the Nile. Mr. Edwards’ charming little volume has led to such exploration; and the interesting results will be found in our chapter upon the Amazon, which we are particularly desirous of drawing attention to.

[20] According to the official returns for the twelvemonth ending March last, the amount of British tonnage entered inwards from Portugal consisted of 7 steam and 735 sailing-vessels; the total amount of both class of vessels being 71,536 tons. The amount of British tonnage cleared outwards for Portugal consisted of 7 steam and 716 sailing-vessels; the total amount of tonnage being 76,662. Great Britain receives nearly a half of all the exports of Portugal, and Portugal only receives one-fiftieth of all the exports of Great Britain.—It appears from M’Gregor’s ‘Synthetical View of Legislation,’ that in 1851, the total amount of the exportations of Great Britain and Ireland was about £75,000,000, of which only £1,048,356 was to Portugal! being less than the amount sent by Great Britain and Ireland to Chili and Peru! Whereas, in the United States the consumption of British goods has doubled since 1841, and now amounts to nearly one-fifth of all the British manufactures exported.

[21] It is so needless to tell any one entering the Tagus, much less any one who has entered, how topographically accurate is the description in ‘Childe Harold,’ that the stanzas are quoted merely to save the reader the trouble of referring to the volume itself, in case he do not quite remember the lines:—

The horrid crags, by toppling convent crown’d,
The cork-trees hoar that clothe the shaggy steep,
The mountain-moss by scorching skies embrown’d,
The sunken glen, whose sunless shrubs must weep,
The tender azure of the unruffled deep,
The orange tints that gild the greenest bough,
The torrents that from cliff to valley leap,
The vine on high, the willow branch below,
Mix’d in one mighty scene, with varied beauty glow.
Then slowly climb the many-winding way,
And frequent turn to linger as you go,
From loftier rocks new loveliness survey,
And rest ye at ‘Our Lady’s house of woe;’
Where frugal monks their little relics show,
And sundry legends to the stranger tell:
Here impious men have punish’d been, and lo!
Deep in yon cave Honorius long did dwell,
In hope to merit Heaven by making earth a hell.

[22] Next to Byron, the great modern English literary name associated with this part of Portugal, and not merely from his residence here, but from his delightful and extraordinary pourtrayal of the conventual life of the neighbourhood, in his almost posthumous work, the ‘Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha,’ is he whom the noble bard alludes to in the well-known lines:—

On sloping mounds, or in the vale beneath,
Are domes where whilome kings did make repair;
But now the wild flowers round them only breathe;
Yet ruin’d splendour still is lingering there,
And yonder towers the Prince’s palace fair:
There thou, too, Vathek! England’s wealthiest son,
Once form’d thy Paradise, as not aware
When wanton Wealth her mightiest deeds hath done,
Meek Peace voluptuous lures was ever wont to shun.

Beckford, as is well known, soon after his return to England, built the fairy-like structure of Fonthill Abbey, gorgeous as his own Caliph Vathek, and, like it, as unsubstantial; for, on its being sold to Mr. Farquharson for some £40,000, about one-seventh of what it cost, [the catalogues describing its contents were in prodigious demand at a guinea a piece] it fell to the ground. He died in 1844, aged 84; and was father to the late Duchess of Hamilton, and father-in-law to the present Duke of Hamilton and Duchess of Newcastle.

[23] At this convent was educated Don John VI., grandfather to the late ‘Lusian’s luckless Queen,’ who died in 1816 in Brazil, from the melancholy derangement from which Dr. Willis, who had attended George III. for a similar malady, was unable to recover her. The young prince was placed here with the idea of his wearing the cowl as abbot, prior to attaining the highest ecclesiastical honours; but the unexpected death of his elder brother made him heir to the throne, which he afterwards filled. Of the suitability of the structure for so august an inmate, the late Lord Carnarvon, who visited it in 1827, says:—I rode through a bleak but not unpleasant country to Mafra. The convent and palace united constitute an immense pile of building, which excites admiration rather from its vast extent than from any architectural merits, and forms a quadrangle, measuring 760 feet from east to west, and 670 feet from north to south. The church is situate in the centre, and three hundred cells are placed behind the choir; the palace might perhaps contain without inconvenience all the courts of Europe. The thermometer had risen to more than 90°, and it was indeed no common luxury to exchange such intolerable heat for the refreshing temperature of the convent galleries, which are built of stone, and are high, wide, dark, and apparently interminable. Within those massive walls the fluctuations of the external atmosphere are never felt; and rarely indeed do any external sounds pierce through those mighty barriers. The monks showed us the refectory, a spacious apartment, and the library, well stored with books.—Portugal and Galicia, with a Review of the Social and Political State of the Basque Provinces. By the Earl of Carnarvon. Third Edition.—London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1848.

[24] The mention of the English burial-ground, in Lisbon, induces us to correct an error into which the recent religious persecutions in Italy have betrayed some of our countrymen at home, as to the supposed existence of such practices in Portugal. Such a mistake is perfectly natural, but it is wholly unfounded; for, though the religion of the state is strictly Roman Catholic, of the most unmitigated character, still, like Brazil, though unlike Spain, there is toleration for all religions, and no impediment thrown in the way of their being observed. A Portuguese resident in London, writing to a leading journal on the point raised in consequence of the iniquitous treatment of the Madiai and others by the Duke of Tuscany, says:—‘The liberality and toleration of the Portuguese government towards Protestants, either resident or travelling, in Portugal, has existed for ages past. That line of conduct has never been altered, and for the truth of this assertion I appeal to the British Legation at Lisbon, and to the very numerous and respectable British commercial body connected with that country. A British subject has as much civil and religious liberty in Portugal as he can possibly enjoy in his own country. Christianity and civilization were first carried to Asia, Africa, and America, by that nation which his Lordship so much depreciates, and the door of that vast empire which Great Britain possesses in India was opened by the inhabitants of that soil.’ The imputation on the religious liberality of Portugal excites some indignation in that country, and a letter from Lisbon, in one of the papers, at the beginning of the year, says:—Not only since the establishment of the constitution, but even during the absolute regime, a large measure of toleration was always allowed to all other religions. The English and German Protestants have long had churches and cemeteries of their own, and, unlike their brethren in Spain, are allowed to bury their dead with as much ‘pomp and publicity’ as they please. The only restriction imposed upon people of other persuasions is, that they shall not, by word of mouth, or in writing, revile and insult the established religion of the country. This restriction, which was formerly operative, has now, however, become a dead letter, the real religion of the liberal party generally being materialism, against which nobody here seems disposed to declaim. At the beginning of the present year, (1854), a statement, signed by many of the principal British residents in Oporto, appeared in the London journals, setting forth that the most unreserved liberty for the performance of Protestant Service, with any degree of publicity, was allowed in that city, and had been for a great number of years.


Lo! Cintra’s glorious Eden intervenes
In variegated maze of mount and glen.
Ah, me! what hand can pencil guide, or pen,
To follow half on which the eye dilates,
Though views more dazzling unto mortal ken
Than those whereof such things the bard relates,
Who to the awe-struck world unlock’d Elysium’s gates?

Sir Wm. Napier’s correction, in his History of the Peninsular War, of the blunder about the supposed site of the convention, is well known, but deserves to be repeated:—

“The armistice, the negotiations, the convention itself, and the execution of its provisions, were all commenced, conducted, and concluded, at the distance of thirty miles from Cintra, with which place they had not the slightest connection, political, military, or local; yet Lord Byron has gravely asserted, in prose and verse, that the convention was signed at the Marquis of Marialva’s house at Cintra; and the author of ‘The Diary of an Invalid,’ improving from a poet’s discovery, detected the stains of the ink spilt by Junot upon the occasion.”


As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambic, off at sea, north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest.—Paradise Lost, Book iv.

The voyage from Portugal to India was, in those days, more perilous than will easily be believed in these. The seas swarmed with pirates, shipwrecks were dreadfully frequent, and even when these dangers were escaped, the common mortality was so great, that Vieyra says—‘If the dead, who had been thrown overboard between the coast of Guinea and the Cape of Good Hope, and between that cape and Mozambique, could have monuments placed for them each on the spot where he sunk, the whole way would appear like one continued cemetery.’ Hyperbolical as this is, it shows how enormous the expenditure of life must have been, which could thus be spoken of in the pulpit! The ship in which Camoens sailed was the only one of the fleet which reached its destination.

[27] The middle classes promenade with their families until the sun begins to have effect, when they return to breakfast and to business. Dinner is usually served from noon till 2 p.m., and consists of sopa, vaca cozida, e arroz, (soup, boiled beef, and rice,) with occasionally hum prato do meio (a dish of roast for the centre). Potatoes are seldom or never used, excepting in the kitchen. Fish is only eaten on fast-days, and the delicious sardine (because common and plentiful) shares the fate of the potatoes. The common vin ordinaire of the country is drunk at table out of small tumblers, being supplied from a neighbouring tenda (wine-store) daily or hourly, as it may be required, at a price never exceeding 2d. per pint. Fine old bottled wine (such as we are acquainted with) is altogether unknown in Portugal, and it would be almost as rare to find in any house a couple of dozen bottles of wine, as it would be to discover as many books. Fire-places have not yet become general in dwelling-houses. In cold weather, gentlemen in society wear capotes (large cloth cloaks), and ladies wrap up in thick shawls. Dinner-parties are quite uncommon; but social evening meetings, where tea and simple biscuits are the only refreshments, are of constant occurrence.—Forrester’s Essay.

[28] These peculiar latine sails are exquisitely beautiful when seen in profile and, when beheld in front, resemble a butterfly perched on a dark ground with expanded wings.—Carnarvon. British naval architects will probably be surprised to hear that the Portuguese craft of every kind are all prime built and beautiful models, the elegance of their lines being a source of admiration to every critic. The Oporto fishing-boats, in particular, are fine specimens of the country’s capacity for this sort of excellence, and, when under sail, fly through the water at the rate of 12 to 14 knots an hour.

[29] In the days of Pliny, we are told, the provinces of Minho, Galicia, and Asturias paid not less than a million and a half octaves of gold to the Roman Empire, as a tribute on the ore extracted from various mines then in active operation, and yet, in the present day, the revenues derived by the Portuguese Government from all their mines does not amount to more than £72 17s. The Romans worked mines of gold, silver, iron, lead, coal, antimony, copper, quicksilver, bismuth, arsenic, and tin, in Portugal: and Faria e Souza graphically remarks, ‘Hardly is there a river, or mountain-base that it laves, which does not cover precious stones and grains of gold.’ This language may be considered poetic, but there is no doubt that ‘le sol de Portugal est essentiellement metalifere,’—that metals abound throughout the whole country; but the mines are not worked; neither can their value be correctly ascertained, in the absence of every means of transport, and internal communication.—Forrester.

[30] Hints to Travellers in Portugal, in Search of the Beautiful and the Grand. With an Itinerary of some of the most Interesting Parts of that Remarkable Country.—London: John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1852.

[31] The Oliveira Prize-Essay on Portugal: with the Evidence Regarding that Country taken before a Committee of the House of Commons in May, 1852; and the Author’s Surveys of the Wine-Districts of the Alto-Douro, as Adopted and Published by order of the House of Commons. Together with a Statistical Comparison of the Resources and Commerce of Great-Britain and Portugal. By Josh. James Forrester, Wine-Grower in the Alto-Douro.—London: John Weale, 59, High Holborn. John Menzies, Edinburgh. Coutinho, Oporto. 1852.

[32] There is scarcely any difficulty now in going to Portugal, for a steamer sails from Southampton for Lisbon on the 7th, 17th, and 27th of every month, or on the following day, when any of those days should fall on a Sunday, and generally enters Vigo Bay in three days; and, weather permitting, calls off Oporto, and arrives in five or six days at Lisbon, from which city a steamer occasionally sails for Oporto, at which place the traveller is recommended to commence his excursions, the province of Minho excelling all others in Portugal in whatever is fertile and picturesque, and being equal, if not superior, in grandeur to the district of the Estrella Mountains. The ordinary mode of travelling is on horses or mules, which can be hired for about 5s. 6d. per day, including their food; but the arrieros who accompany them must be maintained at the cost of him who hires them, and he likewise expects to receive a gratuity. The money of the country is calculated in reis, and taking the mil rei, or 1,000 reis, to be equal to 4s. 6d., the value of the current coin will be nearly as follows:—In Silver: The Cruzado novo, or 480 reis = 2s. 2d.; the 12 Vintem piece, or 240 reis = 1s. 1d.; the 6 Vintem piece, or 120 reis= 6½; the 3 Vintem piece, or 60 reis = 3¼d.; the testoon, or 100 reis = 5½d.; the Half Testoon, or 50 reis = 2⅓d.In Gold: Moidore, or 4,800 reis = £1 1s. 8d.; the small gold piece, or 5000 reis = £1 2s. 6d.; the gold piece, or 8000 reis = £1 16s. The English sovereign circulates in Portugal for 4500 reis. The copper coins in general circulation are the following:—The 5 reis, equal to little more than 0¼d.; the 10 reis, equal to little more than 0½d.; the 20 reis, or Vintem, equal to little more than 1d.; the 40 reis, or Pataca, equal to little more than 2d.

Our political relationship with Portugal, from the personal family alliances between the two countries, and from other causes, has of late years been kept up at great expense; and, according to some critics, with very little good to any but the individuals at whose instance and on whose behalf British interference has taken place, the Portuguese population being understood to be as little pleased with its effects as English taxpayers are enamoured of its expense. Ostensibly our diplomatic and consular corps now in Portugal consists of the following members, and at the salaries annexed to their names:—Envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Pakenham, K.C.B., salary £4000 per ann.; and house-rent £500; secretary of legation, W. R. Ward, salary £500; paid attaché, Jos. Hume Burnley, £250; unpaid attachés, Hon. W. G. Cornwallis Elliot, and Hon. Francis Pakenham. Consuls:—Lisbon, William Smith, £600; vice-consul, Jeremiah Meagher, £300; Oporto, Edwin Johnston, £500; Loanda, Geo. Brand, vice-consul, £50; St. Michael (Azores) T. C. Hunt, consul, £400; Fayal, J. Minchin, vice-consul, £100; Terciera, J. Read, vice-consul, £100. Of the officers at Madeira and Cape Verds, (Portuguese possessions) due mention will be made under those heads. The Portuguese diplomatic and consular staff in England consists of:—Envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, Count de Lavradrio, 12, Gloucester Place, Portman Square; secretary of legation, Chevalier Pinto de Soveral; attachés, E. F. de la Figaniere, J. C. Stone, and Geo. Manders; consul-general, F. J. Vanzeller, 5, Jeffrey Square, St. Mary Axe; consuls: Liverpool, Almeida Campos; Bristol, Ant. B. de Mascarenhas; Cork, Geo. Manders.

[33] A Sketch of Madeira; containing Information for the Traveller, or Invalid Visitor. By Edward Vernon Harcourt, Esq. With Sketches by Lady Susan Vernon Harcourt.—London; John Murray, Albemarle Street. 1851.

[34] You must not look for many pretty faces in Madeira after the age of thirteen: amongst the upper classes inertness, and amongst the lower, hard work, reduce the standard of beauty. The upper class of women are hardly ever seen in the streets, save on their road to mass, or when going to pay a visit; on these occasions all the jewels, plate, and ribbons, of apparently very ancient families, are to be seen in full display. The ladies generally live on their balconies, watching passers-by. The English ladies, going to church draw forth many fair beholders and critics, and on Sundays the balconies are lined with native fashion. The glory of the Madeira women is their hair, which is of the richest growth and blackest hue, and their eyes, which are dark and bright.—Harcourt.

[35] One of these traditions is very gracefully and attractively told by Mr. Charles Knight, in his agreeable volumes, published by Murray, a couple of months back, and entitled ‘Once upon a Time.’

[36] Lodgings in Madeira are plentiful and good. For a family, the most comfortable plan is to take a Quinta, that is to say, a house with a garden, standing in the suburbs of the town. The price asked for the season of six months varies according to their size, from £50 to £200. In such cases the tenant is supplied with everything but plate and house linen. For single persons the boarding-houses are least troublesome, as well as most economical: a bed-room, sitting-room, attendance, and board are obtained there for fifty dollars, or £10 8s. 4d. a month. These houses are conducted on a liberal scale, and every English comfort is provided. If a Quinta is taken, a supply of servants, board, plate and linen, may be procured at a given rate. It is inconceivable what annoyances you are saved by such an arrangement; besides the endless impositions practised upon the ignorance of foreigners by servants and tradesmen, it is no small luxury to be able to pay a given sum down monthly, instead of the interminable daily payments which the ready money system of Madeira requires. Plate, furniture, pianofortes, saddles, guns, and, in fact, any things that are brought out as luggage, are allowed to pass through the Custom House free of charge, on the bond of some resident householder being given that the owner of the property will export it in eighteen months. Portuguese servants may be hired for house and kitchen work at the rate of about from four to six dollars per month for the former, and from six to eight dollars for the latter, service. Those who are content with a plain table, average honesty, and moderate attention, have no reason to be dissatisfied. Provisions of all sorts are cheap. English bread, which is sold at 2½d. the pound, is the dearest article of food; the quality of it, however, is excellent. Mutton, which is an indifferent meat, fetches from 3½d. to 4d. a pound; beef, which is good, from 3½d. to 4d.; and veal, from 4d. to 5d. Fowls may be purchased at from 10d. to 1s. 3d. a couple. The markets are held at daybreak, and all the meat, the best fish, and best fruits are brought at that time. Tea, soap, and tobacco are contraband, but the Custom House is not inexorable. A common English wardrobe, with the addition of a few lighter articles, and a waterproof covering for the mountains, suffice for clothing.—Harcourt.

[37] Two distinct species of finch (Carduelis) appear to have afforded the different varieties of singing bird, familiarly known by this name. The one which is best known in its wild state is the Carduelis canaria of Cuvier, and is very abundant in Madeira, where its characters and habits have been observed with much attention by Dr. Heineken. ‘It builds,’ says this naturalist, ‘in thick, bushy, high shrubs and trees, with roots, moss, feathers, hair, &c.; pairs in February; lays from four to six pale blue eggs; and hatches five, and often six times in the season. It is a delightful songster, with, beyond doubt, much of the nightingale’s and sky-lark’s, but none of the wood-lark’s, song.’—‘A pure wild song from an island canary, at liberty, in full throat, in a part of the country so distant from the haunts of men that it is quite unsophisticated, is unequalled, in its kind, by any thing I have ever heard in the way of bird-music’ The canary-bird was brought into Europe as early as the 16th century, and is supposed to have spread from the coast of Italy, where a vessel, which was bringing to Leghorn a number of these birds, besides its merchandise, was wrecked. As, however, they were males chiefly which were thus introduced, they were for some time scarce; and it is only of late years that their education and the proper mode of treating them have been known.—Brande, 1853.

[38] Brazil, as before stated, was originally so named from its valuable dye-wood, called Braziletto or ‘Cisaljuna Braziletto,’ or Pernambuco, Wood of Saint Martha, or Sipan, according to the place which produces it, and by Linnæus, Cæsalpinia custa, which was for many years the richest dye in Europe, and from which the famous Turkey red colours were produced, rivalling the ancient Tyrian purple, and, like it, passing into oblivion, after vast popularity; for other drugs having been substituted, Brazil wood became comparatively little used. It was a close monopoly of the government, who derived a large revenue from its sale, from £100 a ton upwards being the current price in London, and only 8 years ago 4,500 tons were imported into Great Britain. Brazil timber also possesses qualities not generally known, one of which is mentioned by Sir W. G. Ouseley, and accounts for the infrequency of conflagrations in some of the cities of South America, as compared with what happens in the northern portion of the continent, where fire brigades are among the most prominent institutions of the country, and yet do not by any means prevent the mischief they are meant to guard against. He says:—‘A proof of the incombustible nature of Brazil wood was afforded at this house (the Mangueiras) previous to my arrival at Rio de Janeiro, when it was occupied by Baron Palencia, at that time Russian Minister to the Imperial Court. One night an attempt was made to set fire to the outside door-like shutters of one of the windows, with a view, doubtless, to getting into and robbing the apartments. In the morning was discovered a heap of still smoking, combustible materials, partially consumed, applied to the outside of the shutter, the planks of which were little injured, although their surface was charred, as the fire had been in actual contact with the wood probably for some hours.’ Brazil wood (the dye now so called) is very small sized—sticks, comparatively speaking,—and is not used at all for building purposes, being much too valuable. The ordinary timber of the country is of quite another description.

[39] Of the simultaneousness of these discoveries, Humboldt says:—‘The course of great events, like the results of natural phenomena, is ruled by eternal laws, with few of which we have any perfect knowledge. The fleet which Emanuel, King of Portugal, sent to India, under the command of Pedro Alvarez Cabral, on the course discovered by Gama, was unexpectedly driven on the coast of Brazil on the 22nd April, 1500. From the zeal which the Portuguese had manifested since the expedition of Diaz in 1487, to circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope, a recurrence of fortuitous circumstances, similar to those exercised by oceanic currents on Cabral’s ships, could hardly fail to manifest itself. The African discoveries would thus probably have brought about that of America south of the Equator; and thus Robertson was justified in saying that it was decreed in the destinies of mankind that the new continents should be made known to European navigators before the close of the fifteenth century.’

[40] It is after this beautiful quarter of the city of Pernambuco that the second vessel of the ocean line of the South American and General Steam Navigation Company was called. Olinda is situated on several hills, clothed with the most luxuriant tropical vegetation, from the midst of which the convents, churches, snow-white cathedral, and numerous private residences, mostly of the same colour, are seen to great effect, though, on a near approach, in a sadly decayed state. Olinda, however, may be regarded in something of the light of an East End to St. Antonio, the West End, or official quarter, where are situate the principal governmental departments and offices; while Recife is the actual place of business, and where all the foreign merchants are located. The value of the exports from Pernambuco annually exceeds a million and a half sterling; and that of the imports from England is about £800,000.

[41] Few spots in the New World are more indebted to nature than the environs, all possible combinations of scenery being included in one magnificent perspective. One of the best views is from the Corcovado Mountain, which although upwards of 3,000 feet in height, can be ascended on horseback. Like most mountains around, it is rather a rock, or titanic monolith, than a mountain, and it may be compared with the gnomon of a gigantic sun-dial; and, in fact, its shadow in particular localities supplies the place of a parish clock. Its sides are still in great part covered with forest and ‘matta,’ or jungle, notwithstanding numerous fires by which it has been devastated, the immediate result of the last being a deficiency in the supply of water to parts of the capital, for the destruction of trees here, as elsewhere, causes a scarcity of the aqueous element, and the springs which rise on and around this mountain feed the conduits and aqueducts that convey that fluid into Rio. From the summit may be seen the whole extent of the harbour and city; the Organ Mountains in the distance, several lakes along the coast, a wide expanse of ocean, and innumerable ravines and spurs of the mountain clothed with richest foliage. The most remarkable, however, of all the mountains near the capital, is the Gavia, with a flattened summit, sometimes called by the English the Table Mountain, in Portuguese, the ‘square topsail,’ to which it bears a resemblance. It is reputed to be inaccessible, at least it has not yet, as far as can be ascertained, been ascended. Opening into the outer harbour is Botafogo Bay, a short distance from the capital, where many foreign merchants reside to enjoy the cool sea breezes, and where the buildings are of a superior description, with beautiful gardens attached, many being luxuriantly planted with oranges and lemons, bananas, pomegranates, palm trees, and a vast variety of shrubs and vegetables peculiar to Brazil, including the universal cabbage plant in great profusion. The aqueduct, which is passed in several places in the ascent of the Corcovado, is a well-built and striking object, crossing several streets of Rio, and conveying excellent water from the heights of that mountain to the different fountains in the town.

[42] The only publication relative to Brazil that has appeared since I left England, or at least that I have seen since my return, is one which, though it touches but lightly on the country, as might be expected in ‘A Sketcher’s Tour Round the World,’ [by Mr. Robert Elwes], contains some of the best word-painting of Brazilian city life anywhere to be met with. The following description, for instance, will be readily recognized as most just by all who have been long in the capital; and the concluding passage in particular, I fear, is but too applicable:—

‘The town of Rio Janeiro (its proper name is St. Sebastiano) is the largest and best in South America, and the population about equals that of Liverpool. It is laid out in regular squares: the streets are narrow, which, at first sight, seems objectionable to an Englishman, but he soon finds that it affords protection from the scorching sun; and the thoroughfares are tolerably well-paved and lighted, and have trottoirs at the sides. To obviate the inconvenience arising from the narrowness of the streets, carriages are only allowed to go one way, up one street and down the next, and a hand is painted up on the corners to show which way the traffic is to flow. The best street, Rua d’Ouvidor, is nearly all French, so that one can almost fancy oneself in the Palais Royal; and nearly everything that is to be found in London or Paris may be bought in Rio. Many English merchants have houses in the city, but most of the shopkeepers are French; and this proves a perfect blessing to visitors, for a Brazilian shopman is so careless and indolent, that he will hardly look for anything in his stores, and will often say he has not got the article asked for, to save himself the trouble of looking for it. The best native shops are those of the silversmiths, who work pretty well, and get a good deal of custom, for Brazilians and blacks revel in ornament, often wearing silver spurs and a silver-hafted knife though perhaps they may not have any shoes to their feet. The Brazilians are very fond of dress; and though it seems so unsuitable for the climate, wear black trowsers and an evening suit to walk about the streets in. Strangers will find no curiosities in Rio Janeiro except the feather flowers, which are better here than in Madeira, and fetch a higher price. A Frenchwoman, who employs a number of girls of all complexions in her business, is the principal manufacturer. They are made (or ought to be) entirely of undyed feathers, the best being those of a purple, copper, or crimson colour, from the breasts and heads of humming-birds. One of these wreaths has a beautiful effect, and reflects different-coloured light. The wing cases of beetles are also used, and glitter like precious stones. Madame has her patterns from Paris, so the wreaths are generally in good style and newest fashion. The worst shops are kept by English, and this will be found a general rule in these foreign towns. The merchants are good and honest; but if one wishes to be well taken in, go to a shop kept by an Englishman.’

[43] The Bank, Exchange, Custom House, and Arsenal, (of late years greatly extended,) are in the Rua Direita. Besides these, the chief public edifices are, the Imperial Palace, a plain brick building; the Old Palace, on the shore, used for public offices; a Public Hospital, alluded to elsewhere, erected in 1841; a National Library, with 800,000 printed volumes, and many valuable MSS.; and a well supported Opera House, which has supplied Europe with some very popular performers, especially in the ballet line, as witness that general favourite, Madame Celeste, who came from Rio, in 1830, with her sister Constance, another danseuse, and appeared for the first time in England at Liverpool, in the divertissement in Masaniello, Sinclair being Auber’s hero. The educational establishments are, the Imperial College of Don Pedro II.; the College of St. José; Schools of Medicine and Surgery; Military and Naval Academy; and many Public Schools. It has also many Scientific Institutions; a Museum rich in Ornithology, Entomology, and Mineralogy; and a fine Botanic Garden. Of Churches there are upwards of fifty, not of much external elegance, but mostly sumptuously decorated in the interior.

[44] The inhabitants of Rio Janeiro are fond of carriages, but the specimens generally seen would hardly do for Hyde Park, being chiefly old-fashioned coaches, drawn by four scraggy mules, with a black coachman on the box, and a postillion in jack-boots on the leaders, sitting well back, and with his feet stuck out beyond the mule’s shoulders. The liveries are generally gorgeous enough, and there is no lack of gold lace on the cocked hats and coats; but a black slave does not enter into the spirit of the thing, and one footman will have his hat cocked athwartships, the other fore and aft; one will have shoes and stockings, with his toes peeping through, the other will dispense with them altogether. But the old peer rolls on unconscious, and I dare say the whole thing is pronounced a neat turn-out. The Brazilians are great snuff-takers, and always offer their box, if the visitor is a welcome guest. It is etiquette to take the offered pinch with the left hand. Rapé is the Portuguese for snuff, hence our word rappee. They do not smoke much. The opera was good, the house very large, tolerably lighted, but not so thickly attended as it might be. The ladies look better by candle-light, their great failing being in their complexions, the tint of which may be exactly described by the midshipman’s simile of snuff and butter. The orchestra was good, many of the performers being blacks or mulattos, who are excellent musicians. The African race seem to like music, and generally have a pretty good ear. Both men and women often whistle well, and I have heard the washerwomen at their work whistling polkas with great correctness. I was amused one evening on going out of the opera when it was half over: offering my ticket to a decent-looking man standing near the door, he bowed, but refused it, saying that men with jackets were not allowed in the house.—Elwes.

[45] The population of Rio, on the arrival of the royal family, did not amount to 50,000, but afterwards rapidly augmented; so that in 1815, when declared independent, the number had nearly doubled, and now is estimated at about 400,000, with the suburbs and the provincial capital of Nitherohy, on the opposite shore of the Bay. This increase is partly to be ascribed to the afflux of Portuguese, who have at different times left their country in consequence of the civil commotions which have disturbed its peace, as well as of English, French, Dutch, Germans, and Italians, who, after the opening of the port, settled here, some as merchants, others as mechanics, and have contributed largely to its wealth and importance. These accessions of Europeans have effected a great change in the character of the population, for at the commencement of the century, and for many years afterwards, the blacks and coloured persons far exceeded the whites, whereas now they are reduced to less than half the number of inhabitants. In the aggregate population of the empire, however, the coloured portion is still supposed to be treble the white.

[46] Senhor Pereira de Andrade, the Brazilian gentleman referred to in the next note, in the course of his examination before the committee on the 19th of July, 1853, is asked by Sir George Pechell:—‘You stated what must have given very great pleasure to this committee, that you considered Brazil had done its duty with regard to the fulfilment of its treaties, and also that the feeling of the country was generally in favour of employing free labour?’—Andrade answered, there can be no doubt of it. Question.—Do you think that a candidate for election to the Parliament of Brazil would have any chance of being elected if he were in favour of the importation of slaves? Answer.—Certainly not; not a man in Brazil now would dare utter a single word in Parliament in favour of the slave trade. Question.—In short the popular cry would be all against it? Answer.—Yes. All his answers are to the same effect; and upon these answers, as well as those of the other witnesses, the committee made the report adverted to in the adjoining page.

[47] Those who would fully understand the bearings of this most interesting subject, concerning which an infinite deal of misunderstanding was, I may almost say designedly, propagated in England, so perverse was the determination, in certain quarters, to disbelieve everything that redounded to the credit, and to swallow implicitly all that was supposed to tell to the discredit, of Brazil, will find it fully set forth in the evidence given before the committee on Slave Trade Treaties, which sat in the course of last session, under the chairmanship of Mr. Hume. On that committee were several gentlemen who had been most strenuous in their resistance to all remonstrance on the part of Brazil, against the too often wanton, and almost always violent and irritating, conduct of our cruisers; gentlemen who were incessant in their appeals for vigorous measures on the part of our squadron on the coast, and of our ambassadors at the court, of Brazil; yet the committee so composed reported as follows:—The importation of slaves into Brazil, in ’47, was 56,172: in ’48, 60,000; in ’49, 54,000; but in ’51, it had diminished to 3,287, and in ’52, to 700, of which last importation a considerable portion had been seized by the Brazilian Government. Mr. Consul Porter reported to Viscount Palmerston in ’48, that 74 slave-trade vessels had sailed from Bahia in the year ’47, and 93 in ’48;—that the slave traffic was carried on with great activity; and, as an example, he stated that one vessel, the ‘Andorinha,’ of 80 tons burden, which cost £2,000 sterling, had made eight successful voyages with slaves from the West Coast of Africa, having actually landed at Bahia 3,392 slaves, and received for freight 120 milreis per head, or £40,704 sterling, giving a profit of 800 per cent.; also that towards the end of ’50, and in ’51, stringent orders had arrived at Bahia for the suppression of the trade, and that when he left Bahia in the end of ’51, ‘the slave trade was perfectly suspended.’ He thinks that the British ships alone cannot stop the trade, but that if the Brazilian Government be sincere, it will certainly be put down. Your committee invite the attention of the House to the evidence of Senhor D’Andrade and others, and to the reports of the Brazilian Ministers, for an explanation of the manner in which so great a change has been effected in the Brazils. The speech of the Emperor to the assembly of this year, on the subject of the slave trade; the stringent laws that have been passed, and others that are in progress, by the Brazilian Government against the slave trade; and, above all, the seizure and banishment of some Portuguese merchants, who, were suspected of an intention to renew the trade, convince your committee that the Brazilian Government is sincere, and that the slave trade is actually abolished in the Brazils. Your committee refer to the correspondence of the Earl of Aberdeen with the Brazilian Government, in 1845, to explain the state of the slave question at that time, and the reasons that induced Parliament to pass the 8 and 9 Vict. c. 122. The favourable change which has taken place in the councils and conduct of the Brazilian Government respecting slavery, whether accelerated by the active services of Captain Schomberg or not, may induce Parliament to repeal that Act, as intimated in his Lordship’s letter of the 2d July 1845.—It is to be hoped that this recommendation of the committee will be carried out in the course of the present session.

[48] We have said that of all public securities those of Brazil rank the highest, next to those of Great Britain itself. It may not be amiss to give the following ‘monetary’ evidence of the same fact from a well-known dispassionate Stock Exchange authority, the last edition of Fortune’s Epitome of the Funds, under the head of Brazilian Five per Cents, 1843. Capital £732,000. This was a transference of a portion of the claim of Portugal to Brazil, ‘that land of wonders, whose rivers roll over beds of gold, where the rocks glow with topazes, and the sands sparkle with diamonds, where nature assumes her richest dress beneath the blaze of tropical suns, and birds of the gaudiest plumage vie with the splendid efflorescence of the forests they inhabit; this gorgeous picture, drawn in dazzling, but not false colours, leaves unnoticed the greatest riches of Brazil, which consist in her almost unlimited power of producing the staple commodities of life and commerce. Possessed of the finest climate, and of a virgin soil of the richest fertility, cotton, coffee, sugar, in fact every production of the tropics, as well as of the temperate zone, may be cultivated to any extent, and at small expense. Numerous sea ports, with safe harbours, and noble rivers, which, at a comparatively small cost, might be rendered navigable, afford the means of turning these natural facilities to the best advantage; and, judging from the rapid increase of the commerce of late years, the Brazilians are not altogether negligent in availing themselves of these sources of boundless and lasting wealth. The progress of Brazil has been remarkable during the last ten years, the revenue having been nearly doubled. The punctuality of the payment of the dividends, the disposition evinced to preserve the credit of the country, and the presumption that it will be well maintained, gives Brazilian stock a good position in the market, as an investment; and prices have not latterly experienced much fluctuation.

[49] The following letter, illustrative of some of the scenes on that occasion, appeared in the ‘Journal do Commercio’:—‘I was expecting my family in this capital, from Rio Grande do Sul, by the steamer Pernambucana, when the melancholy and lamentable shipwreck of this vessel took place; and I must confess my eternal obligation and sincere gratitude for the heroic and brilliant action performed by the very distinguished, valiant, and intrepid mariner, Simon, belonging to the crew of the steamer, who was the only one of them that came forward and contributed, in a manner without example, to the salvation, besides many unhappy individuals who were looking on death as certain, of persons so dear to me as my wife, eight children, and three slaves, who were more than 24 hours on board the steamer after she had struck, without any other resource than Divine Providence, who sent them a protector, the black Simon; so that my loss consisted only of a little daughter, a female slave, and all the baggage.—Rio de Janeiro, 5th Nov., 1853.—Louis Vieira da Costa.

As a frightful contrast to the conduct of the brave Simon, it appears that even on board the steamer the other sailors broke open the trunks of the passengers, with knife in hand, to get possession of the money they contained; and afterwards committed the most shocking atrocities on shore, such as cutting the fingers off the bodies that had been washed on land for the sake of the rings.

[50] Resume of The Port Regulations Issued by the British Vice-Consul at Belem Castle, Lisbon.—‘[If not asked for, retain these papers until the consignee is on board.] Deliver to the Custom-house Officer who conducts your vessel to the anchorage ground, off the Lisbon Custom house (quadrangle), your manifest list of stores and every single article on board; whatever you omit to declare will be seized, and liable you to imprisonment, and seizure of the vessel. You must declare in writing: if your cargo, or any part is destined to any other Port. The cause you put in for, orders, wind bound, or from other casualties. If any part of cargo has been thrown overboard; or picked up any articles at sea. If fish laden, or cargo on speculation, or even in ballast, by declaring you ask franquia for cargo, or vessel, you will avoid part of port charges, on proceeding to sea. Be particular to give correct account of all packages, parcels, and other articles not manifested; list of passengers, with correct note of luggage; list of crew, with a note of their tobacco, soap, and slops; list of provisions, stores, live stock, slops, nautical instruments, new clothes, &c.; separate list of all tobacco, segars, and soap, every particular, with crew and passengers to produce all they have; if any is found concealed, you are liable to transportation and seizure of vessel. Deliver up all letters, except letter for the consignee of vessel; if any are found on board you will pay nine times the amount of postage; deliver up all your gunpowder. Allow no ballast, dunnage, sweepings, or any kind of rubbish to be thrown overboard, as you will pay a penalty of 5 shillings for every ton register. To have buoys, and buoy ropes on anchors. To house jibboom, and flying jibboom. Only to have long boat astern, and the painters not to have more scope than six fathoms. To have spare bower anchor at bows, always ready to let go in case of necessity. Not to have top-gallant-masts an end during bad weather. Take care the vessel is never slack moored. Always to keep watch, and assist other vessels in best way possible, in order to avoid damage. As soon as you anchor in anchorage ground (quadrangle), land at the custom house quay; be sure on sending your boat off, or on leaving the vessel, that you give orders to your boat to go alongside of the nearest gun boat; if you omit, the boat will be seized. You cannot go on board of any vessel at anchor in the quadrangle, nor can you leave your vessel, or return on board after sunset without an order, as your boat will be seized. On leaving your vessel you are liable to be searched. I draw your particular attention to these regulations of the port, as the authorities are very severe, allow nothing to pass, and take advantage of the least omission; a strict search is made over the vessel’s rigging and sails.—Belem. J. Philipps.’

[51] Whilst making this general observation, only in a spirit and with a desire that the Brazilians may see their true interests, in applying a remedy to these absurdities, and follow out the principles of free-trade in their regulation of commercial matters, I must not omit to acknowledge the exemptions made in favour of the steam company which I represented. In all the ports of the empire we were not only freed from ordinary restrictions and delays that could possibly be dispensed with, but everywhere met with the most kind and cordial reception; indeed, I may say, we were welcomed with open arms.

[52] Since my return these anticipations have been to a considerable extent realized; for previous to the close of the last session the chambers passed a law, conferring power on the imperial government to alter a great variety of duties in the Brazilian tariff, effecting a reduction on the principal articles of import from England of from 25 to 30 per cent. Though the extremely flourishing state of the imperial revenue has admitted of this improvement without any serious sacrifice, even for the moment, it must also be attributed in a great degree to the progress of a knowledge of sound commercial policy, not only among the discerning men to whom the administration is committed, but among the representatives by whose support alone they are able to carry out such judicious views. It will be seen, also, that other portions of the South American continent, both on the West and the East coast, have acted in a like spirit; and now that the vast internal streams are opening to the tide of European commerce and civilization, there begins to loom in the not distant future the certainty of those magnificent conceptions of Mr. Canning being realized, when he spoke of calling into political being these states of the new world to redress the balance of the old.

[53] That the Brazilian capital should be deemed a pleasant place for the residence of many Europeans will be inferred from what Mr. Elwes says of the profusion find varieties of its supplies of food:—

The market of Rio is a fine large building, to the north of the principal square. It is well supplied with fish; but the price is always very high, as the fishermen have a sort of monopoly, and will only bring a certain quantity to market, in order to keep it up. The best fish is the garoupa; immense prawns (camaroes) are very plentiful. Strangers are often told, as a joke, that these are kept in pits, and fed with the dead bodies of slaves thrown in from time to time; and I have known people who would never touch them on that account. Parrots, monkeys, &c., are very common, and a few game birds. Occasionally, large lizards of two or three feet in length are brought to market, and they are said to be excellent eating. Deer are sometimes killed in the woods; but I have never seen them in the market, though there is a small animal, called the paca, to be had, the flesh of which is very good. Fruit is supplied in great abundance. Oranges and bananas are to be had all the year. The oranges were superior to anything I had before tasted, and excel the Maltese. They are said to be better in Bahia, and better still in Pernambuco; so it appears that the hotter the climate, the more suitable it is to this fruit, as the Maltese and the Egyptian are certainly far superior to those of Portugal and Sicily. The banana (Musa paradisaica, called ‘plantano’ by the Spaniards, and ‘plantain’ in the West Indies,) is a most nutritious fruit; but few people like it at first, as the taste is rather sickly and insipid. There are a variety of sorts, which bear fruit of different sizes, but the short thick one is the best. It is very nutritious and productive; and it is said that forty square feet, planted with bananas, will support a man for a year. The plant itself is very handsome, and the great leaves, ten or twelve feet in length, and two in breadth, make a splendid feature in the landscape of the tropics. Each plant bears one bunch of fruit, after which it should be cut down, when suckers spring up in all directions from the root, so that it is a vegetable more suited for idle people than even the potato, as it does not require planting, and the fruit can be eaten without the trouble of cooking it. The fruta do Conde, or chirimoya of the Spaniard, and custard-apple of the West Indies, is delicious, but varies a good deal in quality. The maricuja, Spanish granadilla, the fruit of the passion-flower, is very good. It is about as large as a swan’s egg, with a pulp and seeds like a gooseberry. The alligator or avocada pear, the mammon, papaw, or mammy apple, are common fruits, not so good as those before-named. Pine-apples are common enough, but not very good.

[54] The Brazil government have adopted measures to introduce immigrants to supply the place of slaves, they have established some large colonies from Germany, France, and Portugal, principally by private speculation and by the government; and those colonies of private individuals are the surest guarantee for the abolition of the slave trade, because those parties are now interested by the larger profit they derive from free labour, in keeping this system instead of the other, especially in coffee. They are greatly prized for their steady industry, peaceable disposition, and easy adaptation of themselves to the manners and usages of the people among whom they come to reside. As is the case in Australia, and in most parts of North America, they are very general favourites with the inhabitants of all classes, and, on the whole, are preferred probably to any other Europeans. The number of German immigrants now in Brazil may be considered as amounting to somewhere about 15,000; and to these considerable additions are still being made from the large importations which are now daily taking place from the Old World. They bear coffee labour pretty well, but most of them are employed in the province of Rio Janeiro and Rio Grande; the government is very solicitous to treat them as well as possible, and it has established those colonies in the provinces which are best for it, more like the climate of Europe; the provinces of Rio Grande and St. Catherine are the coldest provinces in the country. They imported, besides those Germans, a great many Portuguese, a different set of people altogether. They are from Madeira, and from all parts of Portugal, and from their islands; they generally arrive in greater numbers than the Germans. Very few Chinese have been tried. The white natives of Brazil do not work much upon the sugar and coffee plantations; they only serve like what we call headmen, superintendents; not in any other way. The Germans are contracted with and brought to Brazil; the Portuguese come on their own account; they do not contract them in Portugal; they come of themselves by hundreds; they generally get employment about the towns, about the gin shops, and gin taverns, and small businesses. For particulars of this kind, see the Report on Slave Trade Treaties. It is calculated that the sugar crop this year, 1854, will be about 30,000 tons less than the last.

[55] Yesterday an experiment was tried with a locomotive steam-engine on the rails of a finished portion of the road from Mauá to the Estrella mountain. Our ‘Weekly Correspondent’ sent us last night the following communication respecting this trip:—Whilst the political world was agitated this morning, and the sword of Damocles, ceasing its oscillations for a moment, fell on the ministry, myself, and some other curiosity seekers, amongst whom were noticed the ministers of England and of Austria, risked ourselves in a trial of the first steam-carriage that travelled over the first railway in Brazil. We crossed the bay in a vessel, also moved by Fulton’s agency, and in two hours (the steamer was of small power) we arrived at Mauá. The first part only of the pier for disembarking being laid, we climbed up by the aid of ropes, and threaded our way amongst a succession of loose and insecure planks to the shore, at the risk of taking a mud-bath. A few paces distant we saw a single, graceful-looking locomotive, with the certificate of the year of its birth and the name of its worthy papa engraved on the central wheels. The letters, in yellow metal, were as follows: ‘Wm. Fairbairn & Son, 1853. Manchester.’ The proper carriage was not yet attached; they substituted for it a rough waggon, used for the conveyance of materials, and without further delay we squatted ourselves at the bottom of this impromptu vehicle. Suddenly a prolonged and roaring shriek, a whistle with the force of 50 sopranos, screamed through the air, deafening the hearers, and causing us to raise our hands to our ears. It was the signal for departure; the warning to those who might be on the line to guard against a mortal blow; an announcement made by a tube attached to the locomotive itself. Swifter than an arrow, than the flight of a swallow, the locomotive threaded the rails, swung about, ran, flew, devoured space, and, passing through fields, barren wastes, and affrighted animals, it stopped at last breathless, at the point where the road does not yet afford a safe passage. The space traversed was a mile and three quarters, and the time occupied in the transit four minutes. It is just that we should here record the names of Messrs. Trever and Bragg; the first, for having had the boldness to undertake the enterprise, the other, for executing, with zeal and skill, the respective works. Mr. Hadfield, who also went on this excursion, appeared greatly delighted. One of his dreams for many years past has been the application of railroads and steam in this empire. Being amongst us as the representative of a company which undertook the line of steamers from Liverpool, towards the establishment of which he greatly contributed, he could see his dreams realized, as our Latin masters would say, terrâ marique. Whether it was George Stephenson or Trevithick, as the English assert, the Brothers Sequin, according to the French, or Oliver Evans, as the Americans pretend,—whoever was the inventor of locomotives, what is certain is, that humanity has taken a gigantic stride since that acquisition. The Peace Congress ought to commemorate in annual session so prodigious an invention, which can, more than half-a-dozen pompous discourses, cement the bonds of union of nations, bring nations together into one family, and develop commerce, that most powerful element of peace and greatness. What a brilliant future for Brazil do we see in the wheels of that locomotive! Happy those amongst us who may have long lives—they will pass by great cities, by great rural establishments, recollecting that on their sites were swamps and forests. Oh! if the existence of man was not so short; if, at least, we could return to this world invisible shadows, wandering in our native country, how small we should find ourselves, comparing our past, that is, our present of to-day, with the progress made by the generation then before us. But human beings are like the workmen who assist each other in raising an edifice: each age deposits its stone towards the completion of the great work. Our first stone has been laid on the plain of Mauá. The edifice is already commenced; let us not be discouraged; and if death should overtake us in the midst of the work, here are our generations to continue it. Peace, in the meantime, and eternal rest to the poor Mauar race. The invisible power has come to replace their services, with the first-fruits and benefits of which a bright morning succeeds to a dark and ugly night. May the material improvements of the country come, and with them peace and industry; and, to commence the sooner the better, let us have the roads of Minas and San Paulo.

[56] Exports of staple productions of Rio Janeiro, the result of slave labour, during 1851: coffee, 2,037,305 bags, value, 4,756,794l.; sugar, 12,832 cases, value, 234,980l.; rosewood, 36,813 planks, value, 82,000l. In addition to these, other articles of produce, such as hides, horns, rice, tobacco, tapioca, rum, &c., were exported, the value of which may be estimated at 264,000l., making the total value of produce shipped in that year 5,337,074l. Exports of the staple productions of Rio Janeiro, the result of slave labour, during 1852: coffee, 1,906,336 bags, value, 4,265,800l.; sugar, 13,960 cases, value, 160,000l.; rosewood, 25,500 planks, value, 55,000l. The value of the other articles cannot be correctly ascertained, but may be estimated at about 290,000l., making the total value of produce exported in that year 4,770,800l. Rio Janeiro, February 24th, 1853. J. J. C. Westwood, Acting Consul.

[57] Steamers running from Brazil to the United States, starting, say, from Rio, touching at Bahia, Pernambuco, Maranham, Pará, and one or more of the most important of the West India Islands, would prove a lucrative undertaking. The importance of this line of steamers to those interested in the trade between the two countries must impress itself upon all who are conversant with the trade carried on; but although a considerable amount of freight may be relied on, the passenger traffic will probably be far more important. Besides the Americans and others interested in this trade, many English and Brazilians intending to travel from South America to Europe, and vice versa, would go viâ the United States, some for business purposes, and many to visit that country. Another very important object would also be attained, viz. the completion of the communication between all the large maritime towns of Brazil and the capital of the Empire, by efficient steam-ships. At present the communication, from Pernambuco to Pará, is carried on by small steamers belonging to a native company, which is subsidised by the government, and the reason given for the continuation of the subsidy was, that, although English steam companies now put some of the northern ports in rapid communication with the capital, those beyond Pernambuco still relied solely on these small steamers. Although the trade between the West Indies and Brazil is unimportant, these countries are at present so thoroughly devoid of means of intercommunication that advantages could not fail to be derived by the establishment of this line. At present, a person wishing to leave a Brazilian port for the West Indies will generally find that he must go viâ England or the United States, and this even from the most northern ports. The importance of such an undertaking to Brazil would be immense, and I have no doubt that the Brazilian government would be fully alive to the advantages they would derive from it, and that they would be ready to grant a liberal amount for mails, &c.—Contributed.

[58] A Monte Videan writer in the City article of the Times on the 17th of last month, has the following remarks, at once explanatory of the condition of the government of the Banda Oriental, and of Brazilian relations to it, and of the feelings prevailing in the Uruguay as to the tendency it is desired that such relationship should assume:—

By a decree of the Provisional Government, Berro, the ex-Minister of Giro, having been detected in fomenting the civil war, has been outlawed. Any person is authorized to kill him. This decree does not meet with the approbation of the people, but in these countries public opinion has little influence with governments. Brazil, it is said, has been offered the protectorate of this republic, and refused it; but she will use force, if necessary, to exact the fulfilment of treaties; and it is generally believed here that the Banda Oriental will soon be occupied by troops from the empire, to restore and maintain order and support any constitutionally established government. This news is as generally agreeable as it is credited. The respectable portion of the Orientals are convinced the country cannot be governed without foreign aid, and the numerous foreigners residing here, of course, rejoice in the prospect of peace and order. The Government has authorized its agent in Paris to contract a loan of 12,000,000 duros, at 70 per cent., interest payable half-yearly at the rate of 6 per cent. on the nominal capital; also to grant a privilege for ten years to a company (with a capital of 3,000,000 duros) of a bank of issue and discount on the principles of the Bank of France; and, lastly, to concede lands to an association which undertakes to despatch several thousands of emigrant agricultural families to this republic. These three projects are connected with each other. If Brazil maintains order in the country for a few years, no doubt the immigration scheme would be as beneficial to the immigrants as to the republic.

[59] Brazil has long been diplomatically represented in this country by M. Sergio Teixeira de Macedo, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, 5, Mansfield-street, Portland-place, a gentleman whose high breeding, varied intelligence, and conciliatory manner towards all who have business at the Legation have rendered him deservedly popular, both with the corps diplomatique and the public. He writes and speaks English with ease and accuracy, and having married an English lady (lately deceased) of rare accomplishments, by whom he has had a numerous family, he is necessarily almost as familiar with the manners and usages of society amongst us as a native. His staff consists of J. T. do Amaral, Esq., secretary of legation, and Chevaliers H. C. d’Albuquerque, J. A. da Silva Maya, A. de P. Lopes Gama, H. de T. M. de Montezuma, and J. P. d’Andrada, attachés. The Brazilian consul-general is Admiral Grenfell, Liverpool, who has distinguished himself in the Brazilian service, and whose biography will be found in a subsequent page; vice-consul, L. A. da Costa, Esq., 14, Cooper’s-row, Tower-hill, London. A Brazilian vice-consul has lately been appointed at the Bahama Islands, in the person of Mr. George W. G. Robins, of Nassau, a gentleman who has already filled many honorary posts there with much distinction, and is qualified in every way to secure to the imperial flag the same respect that attaches to those of France, Spain, the United States, &c., in that thriving British dependency. England is represented in Brazil by Mr. H. F. Howard, who was attached to the mission at Munich in 1828, appointed paid attaché at Berlin in 1832, secretary of legation at the Hague in 1845, and in 1846 at Berlin, where he was several times chargé d’affaires. He was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Rio Janeiro in 1853, with a salary of 4000l., and 500l. per annum for house-rent. His secretary of legation is the Hon. W. G. Jerningham, who was attached to the missions at Munich and Berlin in 1834, to the embassy at Vienna in 1836, appointed paid attaché at the Hague in 1839, and to his present post, with a salary of 550l. per year, in 1850. The British consuls are—at Rio Janeiro, where he had previously been vice-consul, Mr. J. J. C. Westwood, 800l.; at Bahia, Mr. J. Morgan, who was attached to the legation at Rio Janeiro as translator in 1845, appointed consul at Rio Grande in 1847, and transferred to Bahia, where his salary is 800l. per annum, in 1852; vice-consul at Bahia, Mr. J. Wetherell; at Pernambuco, Mr. H. A. Cowper, formerly consul at Pará, 500l.; at Maranham, Mr. H. W. Ovenden, 300l.; at Pará, Mr. S. Vines, 450l.; at Paraiba, Mr. B. M. Power, 400l.; at Rio Grande do Sul, the Hon. H. P. Vereker, who was appointed to a clerkship under the Commissioners of Railways in 1848, a clerkship in the Board of Trade in 1851, and to his present post, with 800l. per annum, in 1852; and at St. Catherine’s, Mr. R. Callander, 500l. These salaries are all exclusive of fees, which, in many instances, are very considerable, emoluments frequently arising from commissions on Australian gold dust left at Brazilian ports for shipment to Europe; but that source of gain is far more lucrative on the west than on the east coast of South America, and hence the increasing pecuniary importance of consular appointments in the Chilian and Peruvian ports.

[60] This was one of the most appalling disasters ever known at sea, and the sensation it produced exceeded, perhaps, that occasioned by any similar incident since the memorable destruction of the Kent East Indiaman. The Ocean Monarch American emigrant ship left Liverpool, bound for Boston, August 24th, 1848, having 396 passengers on board. She had not advanced far into the Irish Channel, being within six miles of Great Ormshead, Lancashire, when she took fire, and in a few hours was burnt to the water’s edge. The Brazilian steam-frigate Alfonso happened to be out on a trial trip at the time, with the Prince and Princess de Joinville and the Duke and Duchess de Aumale on board, who witnessed the catastrophe, and aided in rescuing and comforting the sufferers with exceeding humanity. They, with the crews and passengers of the Alfonso and the yacht Queen of the Ocean, so effectually rendered their heroic and unwearied services as to save 156 persons from their dreadful situation, and 62 others escaped by various means. But the rest, 178 in number, perished in the flames or the sea. The conduct of the New York sailor, Jerom, on this occasion, was scarcely less distinguished for bravery and self-sacrifice than that of the black sailor, Simon, at the wreck of the Pernambucana, as described at page 132.

[61] A writer in the 8th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, now publishing, says, ‘Nearly all the branches of this noble stream are navigable to a great distance from their junction with the main trunk; and, collectively, the whole affords an extent of water communication unparalleled in any other part of the globe. What adds to this advantage is, that as the wind and the current are always opposed to each other, a vessel can make her way either up or down with great facility, by availing herself of her sails in the one case, and committing herself to the force of the current in the other.’

[62] Mr. Edwards, in his ‘Voyage up the Amazon,’ before alluded to, says, that Pará contains an area of 950,000 square miles, nearly half the area of the United States, and all its territories. Its soil is everywhere of exhaustless fertility, and but an exceedingly small portion of it is unfitted for cultivation. The noblest rivers of the world open communication with its remotest parts, and lie spread like a net-work over its surface.… There is scarcely a product raised in the two countries in which Brazil could not undersell the United States in every market of the world were it not for the export-tax. Its cotton and rice, even during the past year, have been shipped from Pará to New York; its tobacco is preferable to the best Virginian, and can be raised in inexhaustible quantities.… Sooner or later, the Amazon must be the channel of a vast commerce, and Pará must be, from the advantages of its situation, one of the largest cities in the world.—Edwards’s Voyage up the Amazon.

The value of the exports from Pará in 1848 was about £148,720, of which one-fourth was taken by the United States, a like quantity by Portugal, one-fifth by France, one-sixth by Great Britain, and the remainder by the Hanseatic towns, Belgium, Genoa, and Denmark. The value of foreign goods imported in the same year was about £147,322, principally from the United States, Great Britain, Portugal, and France. The increase in the trade of this port will be seen by comparing the preceding statement with the exports and imports of 1851. In that year the value of the former was about £356,200, and that of the latter about £273,067. Proportionately with the aggregate increase, the American and British shares of the trade had slightly advanced; while the French share had declined to one-eighth, and the Portuguese had diminished more than one-half. The trade with Genoa had ceased; but that with Sweden, which had declined since 1846, showed very promising signs of a revival. The principal articles of export from Pará are caoutchouc and cocoa, the mean yearly value of the trade in the former being about £138,000, and of the latter, £67,725. Among the articles of export in which a lesser trade is carried on may be enumerated rice, piasaba rope, annatto, sarsaparilla, hides, nuts, sugar, isinglass, and cotton.

[63] Every one whom I conversed with on the subject of the Amazon advocates with earnestness the free navigation of the river, and says that they will never thrive until the river is thrown open to all, and foreigners are invited to settle on its banks. I think that they are sincere, for they have quite intelligence enough to see that they will be benefited by calling out the resources of the country.—Herndon.

[64] Piasaba is a species of palm from the bark of which is made nearly all the rope used upon the Amazon. The appearance of the rope made from it is similar to that of the East India coir. The fibres of the bark are brought down the rivers Negro and Branco, and made into ropes at Barra.

[65] The Brazilian nutmeg is the fruit of a large tree that grows abundantly in the low moist lands between the rivers Negro and Yapurá, above Barcellos, a village on the first named river. The fruit is round, and has a hard shell, containing two seeds, which are ligneous and aromatic, but not equal in flavour to the Ceylon nutmeg; though this may be owing to the want of cultivation.

[66] Since my departure from the banks of the Orinoco and the Amazon, a new era unfolds itself in the social state of the nations of the West. The fury of civil discussions will be succeeded by the blessings of peace and a freer development of the arts of industry. The bifurcation of the Orinoco, the isthmus of Tuamini, so easy to pass over by an artificial canal, will fix the attention of commercial Europe. The Cassiquiari—as broad as the Rhine, and the course of which is one hundred and eighty miles in length—will no longer form in vain a navigable canal between two basins of rivers, which have a surface of 190,000 square leagues. The grain of New Grenada will be carried to the banks of the Rio Negro; boats will descend from the sources of the Napo and the Ucayali, from the Andes of Quito and upper Peru, to the mouths of the Orinoco—a distance which equals that from Timbuctoo to Marseilles. A country nine or ten times larger than Spain, and enriched with the most varied productions, is navigable in every direction by the medium of the natural canal of the Cassiquiari and the bifurcation of the rivers. This phenomenon, which one day will be so important for the political connexions of nations, unquestionably deserves to be carefully examined.—Humboldt.

[67] Bolivia has but one sea-port on the Pacific, that is Cobija, an open roadstead and a miserable village, at the head of the great desert of Atacama. The land transportation between this port and the agricultural districts of the republic is too rough, too tedious, and too expensive ever to admit of its becoming a commercial emporium. The direction in which Bolivia looks for an outlet to a market for her produce, is along her navigable water-courses that empty into the Amazon, and then down that stream to the sea.—Maury’s Valley of the Amazon.

[68] Vast, many, and great, doubtless, are the varieties of climates, soils, and productions within such a range. The importance to the world of settlement, cultivation, and commerce in the Valley of the Amazon cannot be over-estimated. With the climates of India, and of all the habitable portions of the earth, piled one above the other in quick succession, tillage and good husbandry here would transfer the productions of the East to this magnificent river-basin, and place them within a few days’ easy sail of Europe and the United States. Only a few miles back we had first entered the famous mining districts of Peru. A large portion of the silver which constitutes the circulation of the world was dug from the range of mountains upon which we were standing, and most of it came from that slope of them which is drained off into the Amazon. Is it possible for commerce and navigation up and down this majestic water-course and its beautiful tributaries to turn back this stream of silver from its western course to the Pacific, and conduct it, with steamers, down the Amazon to the United States, there to balance the stream of gold with which we are likely to be flooded from California and Australia?—Herndon’s Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon.

[69] On the subject of climate, I refer to the annexed chapter by my valued friend, Dr. Dundas, who has kindly complied with my solicitation to enrich this volume with a contribution in which he has epitomised, for popular use, and in a most simple form, some of the results of his great professional experience and scientific research; and I am sure I only anticipate the verdict of the reader, whether medical or otherwise, in declaring the annexed pages to be as completely exhaustive of the subject treated of as any reasonable limits of a work of this nature would possibly admit.

[70] Mr. Wallace, in his ‘Travels on the Amazon and the Rio Negro,’ observes—‘In the districts we passed through, sugar, cotton, coffee, and rice might be grown in any quantity, and of the finest quality. The navigation is always safe and uninterrupted, and the whole country is so intersected by igaripès and rivers that every estate has water carriage for its productions. But the indolent disposition of the people, and the scarcity of labour, will prevent the capabilities of this fine country from being developed till European or North American colonies are formed. There is no country where people can produce for themselves so many of the necessaries and luxuries of life.… And then what advantages there are in a country where there is no stoppage of agricultural operations during winter, but where crops may be had, and poultry be reared, all the year round; where the least possible amount of clothing is the most comfortable, and where a hundred little necessaries of a cold region are altogether superfluous.

[71] Its capacities for trade and commerce are inconceivably great. Its industrial future is the most dazzling; and to the touch of steam, settlement, and cultivation, this rolling stream and its magnificent water-shed would start up into a display of industrial results that would make the Valley of the Amazon one of the most enchanting regions on the face of the earth. From its mountains you may dig silver, iron, coal, copper, quicksilver, zinc, and tin; from the sands of its tributaries you may wash gold, diamonds, and precious stones; from its forests you may gather drugs of virtues the most rare, spices of aroma the most exquisite, gums and resins of the most useful properties, dyes of hues the most brilliant, with cabinet and building woods of the finest polish and most enduring texture. Its climate is an everlasting summer, and its harvest perennial.—Herndon.

[72] Comte-rendu de l’Académie des Sciences de Juillet, 1843, and Les Mémoires des Savants étrangers de 1843.

[73] Within the last few years this censure does not so strongly apply.

[74] Since the above lines were written, we have had later intelligence (14th January, 1854,) from Brazil, stating the important fact that the disease had totally disappeared from all the seaports of the empire.

[75] By late accounts from Pernambuco we notice the death of Anna Vieira, aged 150.

[76] Since the above was written, we have learned incidentally that a letter exists from a near relative of the late Sir William Ouseley, who took a great interest in genealogical studies, and had traced the Ouseley family to a high antiquity, in which the writer, after relating how he had been foiled in endeavouring to trace a particular ancestor, adds, ‘I have proved our descent lineally from the Carlovingian, Merovingian, and Capetian monarchs of France, the Saxon and Norman kings of England, and the ancient kings of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. I think that is enough in all conscience, in addition to nineteen of King John’s twenty-five barons.’

[77] Gold (coined or in bullion,) is admitted duty free; wrought gold and silver at an ad valorem duty of 5 per cent.; wools and furs, 10 per cent.; raw and sewing silk, 12 per cent.; woollen, flax, cotton, hardware, and paper manufactures, 15 per cent.; clothes, boots and shoes, saddlery, sugar, coffee, tobacco, tea, olive oil, and generally all edibles, 20 per cent.; spirituous liquors, 25 per cent.; wheat and Indian corn, small fixed duties. By chapter 2nd, relating to maritime exports, horse skins are charged with a duty of one dollar each; sheep skins, three dollars a dozen; other skins 4 per cent. on their marketable value; salt tongues four reals a dozen; tallow 12 reals an arroba; hair and wool, two dollars an arroba; horns, 4 per cent. on their value. All other products of the province of Buenos Ayres, and in general all the fruits and production of the Argentine provinces, duty free. The introduction landwards of foreign merchandise is prohibited. The tariff is subject to annual revision.

[78] The Trade of London with the River Plate has materially increased during the last few years, and is very different now from what it was twenty years ago. Then vessels used to be a long time on the berth, or were partly loaded with manufactured goods, and afterwards filled up with coals, or called at the Cape de Verds to load salt, as the remainder of their cargo; whereas, now they are despatched with full cargoes of manufactured goods every two or three weeks. This marked improvement arises partly from the comparative tranquillity of the River Plate provinces, and the greater wants of the people, and partly from the more expeditious and commercial mode of carriage in this country, by means of which considerable parcels of goods from the manufacturing districts are now forwarded to London for shipment by the vessels regularly despatched by Messrs. Martin and Scott, the London and River Plate ship-brokers, who afford merchants every facility in shipping by their vessels, the expenses of goods thus forwarded never exceeding and, in many cases, being very considerably less, by this than by any other route whatever. The number of vessels despatched from London within the last four years has been about 60, averaging 15 ships, aggregating 2,745 tons’ register, or 4,423 tons of actual storeage, shipped annually. Of this number, 37 were British and 23 foreign, chiefly of the Danish flag; 25 of these vessels were sent to Buenos Ayres direct, 12 to Monte Video direct, and 23 to Monte Video and Buenos Ayres, the restrictions formerly existing between Monte Video and Buenos Ayres, so that no vessel touching at the one port could discharge at the other, having been abolished since the deposition of Rosas. The goods shipped from London are coals, when required for ballast, iron, zinc, and other metals, paint, oil, anchors and chains, hardware, hollow ware, tools and agricultural implements, earthenware, rope, beer, &c. There are also considerable shipments of linen, cotton, and woollen goods, hosiery, haberdashery, together with a considerable quantity of millinery, silks, and fancy goods, wines, spirits, furniture, toys, and pianos. Of these goods, anchors and chains, tools and agricultural implements, earthenware, and cotton goods are, for the most part, sent up specially from the inland manufacturing districts for shipment. The produce of the River Plate arriving in London is very considerable, and consists of salted and dry ox and cow-hides, horse-hides, tallow, mares’ grease, bone-ash, animal manure, wool, hair, horns, and bones. There is also, occasionally, a small quantity of Paraguay tobacco, ostrich and vulture feathers, nutria, chinchilla, and other skins. These remarks apply in an increased degree to Liverpool, between which port and the Plate the commercial intercourse is infinitely greater than between London and the Plate, the imports and exports being necessarily much the same as to quality. The trade between Liverpool and the ports of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video for 1853 collectively amounted to 64 vessels, consisting of 11,850 tons.

[79] Sir William Gore Ouseley was the British Minister here referred to. It is alike foreign to the purposes of this volume, and to the wishes of the writer, to express any opinion on the policy pursued by England, in the affairs of the Plate, at the period mentioned; but he deems it the merest justice to the reputation of the diplomatist just named for sagaciously judging of ‘coming events’ by the ‘shadows cast before,’ to record a fact familiar to every one who has sojourned, for ever so brief a period, in the River Plate, viz., that the inhabitants of all classes, without exception, native or foreign, are as unanimous now in their approving remembrance of his conduct, as they were at the time it elicited their spontaneous applause in an enduring and complimentary form. Not less than 800 native Monte Videans, embracing the elite of the whole community[A] not actually in the interest of the enemy, tendered their grateful thanks for his efforts to preserve the national independence—efforts which, had they not been thwarted in quarters where the utmost assistance should have been accorded, would have secured that object, while avoiding years of war and bloodshed, and saving some millions of property lost to the commerce of the world by a continuance of the disturbances by Rosas. His exertions for the promotion of commerce formed the most marked item of eulogium in the address from the French[B] inhabitants, and is particularly deserving of being dwelt upon, now that the mercantile course of action he recommended so strenuously, as to the opening of the rivers, has been ratified in respect to Paraguay, whither he sent our recent Plenipotentiary there no less than eight years ago, as we shall see when we come to speak of that country. Of the sense entertained of his merits by the English at Monte Video, their address,[C] subjoined below, is sufficiently explanatory; but something still more significant is the circumstance that, though Sir William was a party to the unfortunate loan by British capitalists, and though it has been hitherto found impossible to obtain payment thereof, principal or interest, in any form, no word of censure is vented against him; for it is felt that the loan was a wise and prudent measure at the time, and that had the spirit in which it was entered into on both sides been carried out in the sense then understood, as it readily might have been, but for shortsightedness at home, the lenders would have been paid with at least as much regularity as the French government, who continued their assistance long after England had backed out of the engagement, to the same effect. And, undoubtedly, the French government have every right to be paid; for, without their continuous aid Monte Video must have fallen, and Rosas would at this moment have been Dictator of the whole Argentine Confederation, of which the Uruguay, and probably Paraguay also, would have been component parts. It is further felt that even after the untoward turn affairs have taken, as regards the original engagement about the loan, the interest might readily be continued to be paid, were the customs’ receipts administered in the judicious mode initiated when Sir William obtained the money for the government, viz., by a committee, composed chiefly of foreign merchants, who collected the dues with so small an expense that there was always a considerable surplus; whereas in native hands the aggregate received barely paid the cost of collection. It is gratifying to find, even at the twelfth hour, years after misrepresentations to the contrary had effected their momentary object in causing the recall of Sir William from an arena where the cajolery and the bullying of Rosas were rendered alike abortive by the tact and vigour of the British Minister, that these truths are now recognized, not merely by the Anglo South American public, but by the English authorities at home, whose esprit de corps renders them ever reluctant to admit that an injustice can be committed against a servant of the Crown, and still more reluctant to make any reparation for it.[D] On the accession of the Derby administration, one of the first acts of the Foreign Minister, Lord Malmesbury, who, in common with the Imperial ruler of France, had devoted a great deal of consideration to questions of South American commercial policy, was to despatch Sir C. Hotham on a mission for the completion of the work in which that gallant officer had been previously engaged at the instance of Sir William; and the noble lord, rightly feeling how much was due to the originator of the same design, obtained the Order of the Bath for the late minister to the Plate, expressly on the ground of the services he had rendered to his country and to humanity during his mission there, and which are specially alluded to in the addresses presented to him, as quoted in the foregoing page. Though the present administration do not, or at least did not, appear to attach the same importance as their predecessors to the recent South American commercial treaties, it is understood that they have not failed to express their appreciation of the pioneer in the path of progress in that direction; and that they have admitted that a very hasty, and consequently very erroneous, judgment had been passed on his political conduct in the Plate. Why that judgment should have been hasty, why it should have been formed on the representations of those whose policy and whose patron, (the Dictator,) have since been swept away, and are now only mentioned to be derided, is a secret which it would require the penetrative perseverance of Mr. Urquhart himself to detect. But it is, at least, satisfactory to know that the amende has been made as liberally as it is in the nature of the official genus to do these things; and that a gentleman in whose family the diplomatic faculty may be said to be hereditary,[E] and with whom we have reason to hope it will not terminate,[F] has been authoritatively pronounced to have proved himself worthy of his antecedents. It is, however, more immediately in reference to his services to commerce that his name is introduced here; for it is impossible to allude to the late South American treaties of ’53 without feeling that Sir W. Gore Ouseley’s labours of ’46 in that cause place him in the same relation to what has been accomplished by Lord Malmesbury and Sir C. Hotham as the inquiries of the Import Duties’ Committee placed Mr. Hume in respect to the Free-trade achievements of Messrs. Cobden and Bright.

[A] Senor. Los infrascriptos Ciudadanos naturales de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay sienten la necesidad de manifestar a V. E. el altisimo aprecio en que tienen la lealtad de su caracter, y los muchos y relevantes servicios que V. E. en el desempeno de las funciones que le habia confiado el Gobierno de S. M. su Augusta Soberana, ha prestado a la causa de la Independencia de nuestra Patria. La guerra que devasta el suelo en que hemos nacido es, en todo rigor, de parte de los Orientales, una lucha de defensa legitima y de Independencia—lucha que no hemos provocado, y en cuyo termino no buscamos ni apetecemos mas que la conservacion de la situacion en que nos coloco el pacto celebrado en 1828 entre el Imperio del Brazil y la Republica Argentina—que nos esta reconocida por todas las Naciones, y virtual, pero solemnemente garantida por la Inglaterra y la Francia. Ciertos de la eficacia de esta garantia y del interes politico y comercial que tienen esas dos grandes potencias en el mantenimiento de la Nacionalidad Oriental,—con todas sus consecuencias, y en que no que—de absorvida por un Poder anti-social y repulsivo de toda idea civilizadora, los Orientales procuraron su apoyo y una alianza justa y decorosa. El principio en que esta alianza se basaba era honroso, y los fines, a mas de honrosos civilizadores y fecundos en resultados beneficos, para la paz externa de estas regiones, y para la paz interior de nuestro pais que deseamos, con toda la fuerza de que somos capaces, teniendo por mira unica, que reconciliada la familia Oriental a que pertenecemos, fuera de toda coaccion e influencia estrana, pueda elegir en libertad, y en la forma consagrada en sus leyes, un Gobierno suyo, que la rija con suecion a la Constitucion y a los intereses Orientales. Los dos Agentes encargados en 1845 por la Inglaterra y la Francia de dar apoyo a la nacionalidad Oriental volviendo la paz a nuestros hogares, y los Senores Almirantes Inglefield y Lainé, que han tenido el mando de las fuerzas interventoras, han desempenado mision tan noble del modo mas cordial, mas conforme al pensamiento esplicitamente declarado por sus Gobiernos al pensamiento y al deseo del nuestro, y de todos los buenos Orientales; por lo que reconocemos deberles sincera y profunda gratitud. Permitanos V.E. consagrar en esta carta, respecto de su persona, la espresion de ese sentimiento; que agreguemos a ella la de los votos que hacemos por sus prosperidades—y le pidamos conserve siempre la memoria de nuestra Patria y la de los Ciudadanos que interpretes, sin dudaen, este acto, de la sociedad en que viven—tenemos el honor de ofrecer a V.E. el homenage del respeto, de la adhesion y de la amistad que le profesamos y con que somos. De V.E. affmos Servidores.


Sir,—The undersigned native citizens of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay feel the necessity of manifesting to your Excellency the very great esteem in which they hold the loyalty of your character, and the many high services that your Excellency, in the discharge of the functions confided to you by the Government of Her Majesty, your august Sovereign, has lent to the cause of the independence of our country. The war which desolates our native soil is strictly, on the part of the Orientals, a struggle of legitimate defence and of independence—a struggle which we have not provoked, and in the result of which we neither seek nor desire more than the preservation of the position in which we were placed by the compact celebrated in 1828, between the Empire of Brazil and the Argentine Republic—a position recognized by all nations, and virtually, but solemnly, guaranteed by England and France. Certain of the efficacy of this guarantee, and of the political and commercial interest of these two great Powers in the maintenance of the Oriented Nationality, with all its consequences, and in its not being crushed by an anti-social power, repelling every idea of civilization, the Orientals sought their aid, and a just and proper alliance. The principle on which this alliance was based was honourable, and its objects, besides being honourable, were civilizing and fertile in beneficial results for the external peace of these regions, and for the internal peace of our country, which we desire with all the strength we possess, having for sole object, that the Oriental family to which we belong being reconciled, it may, without foreign coercion or influence, elect, freely, and in the mode consecrated by its laws, its own government, which shall rule it in conformity with the constitution and the Oriental interests. The two agents charged in 1845, by England and France, to give aid to the Oriental nationality and restore peace to our hearths, and the Admirals Englefield and Lainé, who had command of the intervening forces, have discharged so noble a mission in the manner most cordial, most in conformity with the intentions explicitly declared by their governments, and with the thoughts and desire of ours, and of all good Orientals; for which we acknowledge that we owe them sincere and profound gratitude. We beg your Excellency will permit us to record in this letter, as regards yourself personally, the expression of this sentiment; let us add that of the wishes we entertain for your prosperity, and we beg you always to preserve a recollection of our country and that of those citizens, who, faithful interpreters of the feelings of the country in which they live, have the honour of offering to your Excellency the homage of the respect, adhesion and friendship which we possess, and with which we are,—your Excellency’s most faithful servants, &c., &c.

[B] Monsieur le Ministre Plénipotentiaire. Les soussignés, residants Français à Montevideo, ont appris avec une sincere affliction votre prochain départ pour l’Angleterre. Les preuves réitérées de votre bienveillance pour nous, le parfait accord qui a tonjours régné entre vous et Monsieur le Baron Deffaudis, votre générosité envers nos com patriotes malheureux, la noblesse de votre caractère, votre constante sollicitude à défendre les intérèts généraux du commerce, peuvent vous avoir attiré l’animosité des ennemis de l’intervention et de l’humanite; mais ils vous ont acquis la reconnaissance des populations civilisées des deux rives de la Plate. Daignez done, Monsieur le Ministre Plénipotentiaire, accepter le tribut de nos regrets les plus sinceres; croire que votre souvenir nous sera toujours cher, et agréer l’hommage des sentiments respectueux avec lesquels nous avons l’honneur d’être, Monsieur le Ministre Plénipotentiaire, vos très-obeissants serviteurs.

[C] Address of the British residents and merchants to the British minister to the states of La Plata.—We, the undersigned, British merchants and residents of Monte Video, having learned with sorrow, that your Excellency is on the eve of retiring from the position you have held amongst us, with so much credit to yourself and benefit to our country, beg leave to express our sense of admiration at the enlightened and impartial conduct, just views, and penetrating judgment which have distinguished you throughout your arduous career, during the intervention of the British and French governments in the River Plate. We gladly bear witness to the firmness, justice, and humanity, which characterized your proceedings, amidst the numerous difficulties and afflicting scenes which have often surrounded you; and we have beheld with unmixed satisfaction the constant harmony that has prevailed between your Excellency and your respected colleague, Baron Deffaudis, which as well as your individual efforts, has so greatly promoted concord and unanimity among all classes of both nations, and foreigners, in Monte Video. Impressed with a deep sense of obligation for your invariable attention to the interests of British subjects, and for your watchful care over their persons and property, whenever endangered, and also for the kindness and urbanity which have marked your personal intercourse with us, we cannot permit your Excellency to leave these shores without receiving our heartfelt thanks and grateful acknowledgments. With a just appreciation of the merits of your Excellency in your official capacity, and an affectionate regard for your private character, we beg you will accept our sincere wishes for the future health and happiness of yourself and family. We have the honour to be, &c. (Signed by 85 British residents.)

[D] This, however, is more apparent than real. Though the Earl of Derby, speaking on the Address to the Throne, the opening night of the present session, pleasantly twitted Ministers with their omission in the Royal Speech of all allusion to Sir C. Hotham’s Paraguayan mission, and with consequent indifference to its objects, it must not be inferred that the Aberdeen Cabinet is in the least degree insensible to the importance of securing such benefits to our commerce as the Malmesbury Treaty seeks to accomplish, though there may be some discrepancy of opinion as to the extent that treaty succeeded in such direction. Seven years ago, Lord Aberdeen, then foreign secretary in the Peel Administration, in his instructions to Sir William G. Ouseley, then minister at Buenos Ayres, for his guidance in the joint intervention by England and France between Buenos Ayres and Monte Video, said:—‘The war in which the Argentine arms are at present engaged, is waged against a state, the independence of which England is virtually bound to uphold.’ Lord Aberdeen instructed his minister, ‘to open up the great arteries of the South-American continent to the free circulation of commerce, would be not only a vast benefit to the trade of Europe, but a practical, and perhaps the best, security for the preservation of peace in South America.’

[E] So long ago as the reign of Elizabeth, Sir John Ouseley, of Courteen-hall, Northamptonshire, a distinguished military officer, in obedience to the orders of the Earl of Essex, then commanding in Portugal, went ambassador to the Emperor of Morocco, and subsequently fell at the siege of Breda, in 1624. The uncle of Sir William and father of the present baronet (Rev. Sir F. Arthur Gore Ouseley, to whom the Duke of Wellington, the Duke of York, and Marchioness of Salisbury, stood sponsors), was the celebrated ambassador to Persia, of which country he obtained the Order of the Lion and the Sun, and subsequently the Grand Cross of the Imperial Russian Order of St. Alexander Newski, when he was appointed plenipotentiary to St. Petersburgh. His brother, Sir William, (father of the late minister to the Plate), accompanied him to Persia, was the well-known historian of that mission, as already stated, and author of many learned Oriental works, in recognition of whose merits he received the Order of Knighthood.

[F] The eldest son of Sir William, Mr. W. Charles Ouseley, accompanied the expedition of the blockading squadron up the Parana river; and, inheriting his father’s faculty of pictorial delineation, as evinced in the ‘South American Sketches,’ contributed to that magnificent volume two subjects, taken at Corrientes, which will be found copied in the chapter devoted to that country; but, owing to haste on the part of our artist, the copy affords an imperfect idea of the original. Mr. W. C. Ouseley likewise accompanied Sir C. Hotham, as attaché, during the recent mission to Paraguay, and returned with his Excellency in the autumn of 1853.

[80] The liberal spirit of this State encourages foreigners. Imitating the United States, it facilitates the acquirements of the privileges of native citizens by emigrants from foreign countries, and even surpasses, in this respect, the wise provisions of that system, so advantageous for a new and thinly-peopled country, and so successfully adopted by North America. Foreign merchants have brought their business and capital to Monte Video, while hard-working Basques, Germans, Irish, French, and Italians, (chiefly Genoese) have flocked to this city, and, in most instances, obtained the rights of denizens or citizens. Residence, marriage with a native, the acquisition of a certain amount of property, real or personal, are among the conditions conferring citizenship. This privilege may appear to be somewhat easily granted; but it must be recollected that no ‘Oriental’ citizen existed previous to 1828; consequently there has not been time for the development of any very jealous feeling of exclusive national rights, as possessed by one race only in the republic of the Uruguay. It is for these reasons that so many foreigners have flocked to the Banda Oriental, and settled in the interior as well as in the towns; and hence the rapid increase of Monte Video in trade and population, which even the invasion and siege of its capital, so lately at an end, have not sufficed to reduce to the level of their former comparative insignificance. The whole of the Banda Oriental being freed from the invaders, and the independence of the republic being guaranteed by Brazil, commerce and agriculture are therefore now reviving; and it is to be hoped that the numerous resources of the country will be peaceably and usefully developed; while the free navigation of the tributaries of the River Plate, now ensured, will be of the greatest importance to the trade of all nations, and produce incalculable benefits to the States through which those noble rivers flow. The exports, as before stated, comprise all of the staple commodities produced by the Argentine provinces, viz: hides, tallow, horns, horse-hair, jerked beef, wool, &c., to which, in all probability, corn will be added in a few years, the soil of this State being for the most part admirably adapted to agricultural purposes.

[81] It is not within the scope of this publication to give anything like a history of the several places touched at, still less of a place whose late history, in particular, has been so unprecedentedly troublous, even in these regions of disorder, as has that of the capital of the Uruguay. Still a few particulars are essential, and in matters of this sort no authority is preferable to that of Sir W. Parish. Monte Video was commenced in 1726, under the name of San Felipe, Puerto de Monte Video, by Zavala, governor of Buenos Ayres, who had been ordered by the government to make permanent settlements there and at Maldonado, for the more effectual maintenance of the rights of the Spanish crown, after dislodging the Portuguese from the vicinity of the former place, where they had established themselves. Some families were transported thither from the Canaries, and others removed there from Buenos Ayres, in order to secure the privileges offered to the new settlers. The viceroy sent large sums of money from Potosi to carry on the works; and the walls in due time assumed, with the labour of the Guavian Indians, the appearance of an important fortification. In 1808, when the intelligence of the abdication of the king, and the declaration of war against France, was received at Buenos Ayres, Elio, the Governor of Monte Video, was the first to disobey the orders of Don Santiago Liniers, the viceroy at the time; and convoking the inhabitants, established an independent junta of the Monte Videans, after the example of those set up in the Peninsula. They subsequently took their share in the war of independence; and their deputies, with those of all the other provinces of the Rio de la Plata, assembled in congress at Tucuman, solemnly declared their separation from Spain, and their determination to constitute a free and independent State, on the 19th of July, 1816. During the struggle with the mother country, one common object, paramount to all other considerations, the complete establishment of their political independence, bound together the widely spread provinces of the old viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres; but the very circumstances of that struggle, and the vicissitudes of the war, which often for long periods cut off their communications with their old metropolis and with each other, obliging them to provide separately for their new temporary government and security, gave rise, especially in those at a distance, to habits of independence, which, as they acquired strength, loosened, more or less, the ties which bound them to Buenos Ayres, and in some cases produced an entire separation. Amongst others, the Banda Oriental was withdrawn from the authority of the capital by the notorious Artigas, whose anarchical proceedings, fraught with the most fatal consequences to the peace of the republic, afforded a plausible pretext for the occupation of Monte Video by their Portuguese neighbours—the cause, eventually, of a long and ruinous war between the republic and Brazil, which was only terminated by British mediation, and by the territory in question being erected into a new and independent State, in 1828. Some further particulars, respecting both its previous and subsequent history, will be found under the head of Buenos Ayres. Besides Monte Video, the chief towns are Colonia (nearly opposite Buenos Ayres) and Maldonado; together with sixteen smaller towns, several hamlets, and numerous estançias or farms, and ranchos or cottages; but the whole population of the republic, which is divided into nine departments, and covers a fertile area of about 200,000 square miles suited for almost every purpose required by man, does not exceed probably one half the population of Liverpool. Still it is growing, and will continue to grow, for, during the few years of peace, since its independence, the population has increased, that of the capital from about 12,000 to nearly 50,000. The city proper, formerly not extending beyond the citadel (now converted into a marketplace), rapidly spread, and handsome buildings and streets were constructed, extending as far as the recent inner (formerly the outer) lines of the fortification, enlarging the area to several times its previous size. Beyond are villas and ‘saladeros’ (establishments for slaughtering cattle and preparing hides and tallow), while pretty and sometimes spacious suburban dwellings surrounded by well-cultivated gardens, extend to a considerable distance beyond the outer walls.

[82] Lady Louisa Tennison, who, in her beautiful work Andalusia, &c., published by Bentley at the close of last year [1853], says:—

I know that I shall be accused of insensibility and want of taste, when I confess that my first disappointment on landing in Spain was the almost total absence of beauty amongst the Spanish women. Poets have sung of Spain’s ‘dark-glancing daughters,’ and travellers have wandered through the country, with minds so deeply impressed with the preconceived idea of the beauty of the women, that they have found them all their imaginations so fondly pictured, and their works have fostered, what I cannot help maintaining, is a mere delusion; one of the many in which people still indulge when they think and dream of Spain. The women of Spain have magnificent eyes, beautiful hair, and generally fine teeth; but more than that cannot be said by those who are content to give an honest opinion. I have rarely seen one whose features could be called strictly beautiful, and that bewitching grace and fascination about their figures and their walk which they formerly possessed, have disappeared with the high comb which supported the mantilla, and the narrow basquina, which gave a peculiar character to their walk. With the change in their costume, those distinctive charms have vanished. The gaudy colours which now prevail have destroyed the elegance that always accompanies black, in which alone, some years since, a lady could appear in public. No further proof of this is required than to see the same people at church, where black is still considered indispensable, and on the Alameda with red dresses and yellow shawls, or some colours equally gaudy, and combined with as little regard to taste. The men have likewise abandoned the cloak, and now appear in paletots and every variety of foreign invention: nor have they either gained by their sacrifices at the altar of French fashion. By no means distinguished in figure, none needed more the rich folds of the capa to lend them that air of grace and dignity which it peculiarly possesses.

[83] The appearance of the city of Monte Video is most prepossessing. It is built on an eminence which forms a small peninsula, being washed on three sides by the sea, and from the various sea-breezes to which the situation exposes it, must be a very healthy spot. It is calculated to maintain a very extensive commerce, and would, doubtless, long have enjoyed it, had not the vitality of the little Republic sunk under the obstinate persecution to which it was subjected by Rosas, in the person of the savage and overbearing Lieutenant Orebbe. At the time of my visit the Brazilian fleet, under the command of Admiral Wingfield, was in the offing. Notwithstanding the devastating effects of war, this city, Phœnix-like, is again rising from her ashes. Lines of bastions and batteries are daily giving place to scenes of commercial enterprise and agricultural activity. The husbandman labours with his ploughshare and the sickle, where deadly engines of war once vented forth their flames. Streets lined with new and extensive buildings are met with at every turn. Elegant French shops attract the eye, as their well-stored windows exhibit the beautiful fabrics of European manufacture. So great is the number of foreigners who are domiciled in the city, that it has quite the appearance of a colony of strangers, the natives of the country forming but a small proportion of the entire population. The Basques predominate. After that the Italians take the lead. Little good has been effected by the maintenance of a foreign legion for so long a time, under the auspices of the celebrated Italian leader, Garibaldi. The present troops of the Republic are the emancipated negroes, officered by native whites. The Hotel de Paris is kept by a French cook, who at one time belonged to a French vessel of war. For the accommodation of a few rooms and board for three persons, I was charged here at the rate of a doubloon a day. There are several other hotels in the city. That of Il Comercio bears a good repute. The whole place, including the suburbs, literally swarms with cafés and estaminets. That of the Bal d’Oro, which is a large establishment near the quay, carries off the palm, and is much frequented by officers of the French navy. The various dwelling-houses are provided with flat roofs, and these, combined with a number of observatories, which are the constant resort of the inmates, gave the city a lively and agreeable aspect. The market-place, which formerly formed a part of the old fort or citadel in the time of the Spaniards, is well supplied with every species of provisions. Its display of fish far surpasses that of Buenos Ayres, both as regards variety and quality.

As a maritime and commercial port, Monte Video holds a very desirable position, and will doubtless before long supersede Buenos Ayres, as the first port on the coast for the disembarkation of goods for the internal consumption of the country. The effects of the cessation of hostilities begin already to be seen in a great outlay of capital; and in the course of a few years, when commercial relations are on a better basis, and security to life and property is better insured, this city will rise into greater mercantile importance than any other in this part of the New World.

[84] Owing to the disturbed condition in which the Banda Oriental had been for so many years, during the aggression of Rosas, and the absorbing anxiety that has since prevailed to repair some of the disasters so occasioned, added to the domestic dissentions that have too often supervened, the authorities in the Uruguay have not been able to devote much attention to the cultivation of European diplomatic relations. Any affairs of that nature in England pertaining to the republic are transacted at the Consulate Office, New Palace Yard, Westminster; and commercial consular matters in Liverpool by Mr. Hall, Dale-street, who is himself a citizen, and the son of a citizen, of the Uruguay, having succeeded his father in his present office. The British diplomatic and consular staff in the Uruguay consists of Mr. G. J. R. Gordon, who was private secretary to the late Sir Edward Disbrowe, at Stuttgard, in 1832, was appointed unpaid attaché at Frankfort in 1833, at Stockholm in 1834, paid attaché at Rio Janeiro in 1836, chargé d’affaires there in 1837, to a special mission in Paraguay in 1842, secretary of legation at Stockholm in 1843, and chargé d’affaires and consul-general in the Uruguay in 1853. His salary in the latter capacity is 1400l. per annum, exclusive of 1l. per day for diplomatic services as chargé d’affaires. The vice-consul at Monte Video, who receives 500l. per annum, or 100l. more than the same officer at Buenos Ayres, is Mr. G. S. L. Hunt, who served some time in the army, was a supernumerary clerk in the Librarian’s Department of the Foreign Office in 1846, and in 1847 was appointed to his present post at Monte Video, where he for some time acted as consul-general.

[85] Many of the Buenos Ayrean houses, especially in the suburbs, consist of a square of building surrounding a Patio, or quadrangular court, paved with marble, and having either a fountain, or, more frequently, a draw-well, in the centre, and often pleasingly ornamented with flowers, shrubs and fruit. The mode and materials of building here, as in other parts of South America, are such as to obviate, in a great degree, the danger of fire. Stone or brick, iron, stucco, and tiles are the chief component parts of a house; little wood is employed, except for beams, and this is generally hard and heavy, especially in Brazil, and not readily combustible, as explained in a previous chapter. The floors, except in some houses built by foreigners, are not constructed of wood, but of glazed tiles, as in the South of Europe; the staircases being also of solid masonry. The population of Buenos Ayres had been constantly decreasing since the time Rosas introduced his reign of terror; but there is now a decided turn in the state of things in that respect. It may be simply classified into the white and coloured races; the latter constituting nearly a fourth of the whole, which is a smaller proportion than in any other town on the east side of South America. The slave-trade was prohibited in 1813, by a decree of the first constituent assembly, consequently any further supply of the negro-stock has ceased; and since then slavery has gradually become extinguished, not only in Buenos Ayres, but in all the provinces of La Plata, either by the slaves enrolling themselves as soldiers, or by their purchasing their freedom. The negroes now constitute, perhaps, the most useful and industrious class of the lower orders of the community.

[86] A large proportion of the population of Buenos Ayres, as is stated in the text, consists of foreigners, many of whom have formed matrimonial alliances with the native ladies. The latter are reputed the handsomest women in South America; though the palm is disputed by their fair sisters of Monte Video, on the grounds set forth in the chapter on that head; and, in the unsophisticated state of society in which they move, their frank and obliging manners render them doubly attractive to strangers. They are passionately fond of dancing; and in their love of, if not proficiency in, music will vie with the young ladies of any country in the world. Amongst the men the same taste, in a higher degree, appears to be developed in a talent for poetry; and they are generally well-grounded in most of the leading branches of general, and especially of commercial, knowledge. Living is very moderate here: the river abounds in excellent fish; and fresh meat may be purchased at an exceedingly low rate. Water is comparatively the most expensive article, for the lower orders are obliged to depend for a supply upon the itinerant water-carriers, who hawk it about the streets in ox-carts. But the higher classes generally have large tanks or reservoirs under the pavement of their courtyards, into which the rain-water, collected from the flat-terraced roofs of their houses, is conducted by pipes, and, in general, a sufficiency may thus be secured for the ordinary purposes of the family. In addition to what has been said of the climate of Buenos Ayres, it may be remarked that at times it is insufferably hot; the prevailing character of the atmosphere, however, being dampness, which produces many bronchial affections. But although the whole country appears low and marshy, cases of intermittent fever are hardly known there; and it may therefore be considered generally healthy, but certainly not to the extent to justify the appellation of Buenos Ayres—Good Airs—bestowed upon it by Menoza, its original founder, in special allusion to its supposed salubrity.

[87] The buildings are generally not more than two stories high, i.e., a ground floor, and one over it, unless the ‘açoteas,’ or terraces, are to be considered as a third, along which, the whole range of a ‘block’ of houses may, by climbing over the partitions or parapets, be traversed without descending into the streets. In times of siege, attacks by foreign enemies, or during internal struggles, these houses form temporary fortresses, admitting of formidable defence; and being solidly built and furnished with strong gates and doors, while the windows of the lower and ground-floors are protected by strong iron bars, it is no easy matter to take a town, or even a house, built in this way, as has been sufficiently proved on the occasion in question. Whitelock was a vain, foolish, insensible man, though not a coward, as was generally believed, and the prevalence of which belief partly led to his being disgraced on his return home. The fact is, he seems to have had a most contemptuous opinion of the Spaniards, from the circumstance of the place having been taken a short time previously, almost without resistance, by Admiral Sir Home Popham and Viscount Beresford, the armament having been fitted out, without any authority from England, at the Cape of Good Hope; and so elated was its commander by his unexpected success that he wrote home declaring all South America to be ready to receive us with open arms. So indeed, it proved in one sense, as Whitelock subsequently found to his cost on attempting to recover the city after the British garrison had been expelled; for his men were mown down with musketry and grape in scores, without being able to return the fire with any effect. It was on this occasion that the gallant Colonel Thompson, late M.P. for Bradford, was taken prisoner by General Liniers, who was shot as a rebel three years afterwards himself. The excesses Thompson saw committed under Whitelock impelled him to that denunciation of flogging, and other military abuses, which had so offended the authorities at home that he has never had his proper promotion by seniority, and is now (March, 1854) an unredressed complainant against the injustice of having been passed over in the last brevet, and told that his name shall never appear in another. As the news of the extraordinary success of Popham and Beresford at Buenos Ayres stimulated the despatch of an expedition the following year, under Sir Samuel Auchmuchty, against Monte Video, where, however the British suffered most severely, one third of the whole army being killed, though finally effecting the capture of the place, so was its evacuation caused some six months subsequently by the intelligence of the defeat of Whitelock—the withdrawal of the whole of the English force from the Plate being, indeed, the condition on which the Spaniards gave up their prisoners, and permitted the survivors of these ill-starred expeditions to withdraw in peace. The commander of the land forces of the first expedition against Buenos Ayres, Viscount Beresford, who was then taken prisoner, but escaped, and afterwards captured Madeira, which he held for some years on behalf of the crown of Portugal, in the wars of which country, especially at Albuera, he so eminently distinguished himself, died only in the course of the present year. The late Lord Holland, in his posthumous ‘Memoirs of the Whig Party during My Time,’ published a few weeks back, has a very singular chapter on the secret history of these expeditions. His lordship, who was a member of the cabinet at the time, says that Whitelock’s was but one of a series of South American expeditions, and that it was originally destined for Valparaiso. It was fortunately ‘detained by subsequent events at Buenos Ayres, and the worst part of our plan was thus concealed from the knowledge, and escaped the censure, of the public.’ Had the then minister, Lord Grenville, remained in office, he would have sent against Mexico Sir Arthur Wellesley, who, in that case, might probably never have become Duke of Wellington. Sir Arthur, however, was sent to Portugal, where the Convention of Cintra seemed to offer an augury of evil to the croakers, which his genius subsequently so gloriously falsified.

[88] I shall not only not repeat none of the Cenci-like stories told of this lady and her father, and current in every mouth on the Plata, but tell something of a very different kind from Mr. Bonelli, adding, however, that it is the first of the sort I ever heard, and I am quite sure it will be looked upon as rare news in Buenos Ayres, though Mr. M’Cann also says something similar, viz.—

This severe and bloodthirsty man had a daughter, and it is pleasing to turn away from the contemplation of the many vices which disfigure his character to those beautiful traits of humanity and tenderness which distinguished hers. Manisiletta was loved and honoured by all; pity lurked within her soul, and every attribute of womanly feeling was there. This good creature, with tears and supplication, often prevailed with the harsh tyrant when other means were useless. At her entreaties, many a life was spared, and many a prayer of gratitude has ascended to heaven for the rescue of a father or a brother from his impending fate, at her kind interference.

[89] In January 1831, the provinces of Buenos Ayres, Entre Rios, Corrientes, and Santa Fé, entered into a federal compact, to which all the other provinces at subsequent periods became parties. The union was a voluntary alliance. No general constitution was promulgated, and the adhesion of the several members was left to be secured by the resources of the person who might obtain the direction of affairs. This Argentine Confederation, like the republic which it had succeeded, soon fell into a state of anarchy, and it was not till the election of General Rosas as governor or captain-general, with almost absolute power, in 1836, that even temporary quiet was secured. By this arrangement the provincial government of Buenos Ayres was invested with extraordinary powers, and temporarily charged with the transaction of all matters appertaining to the common interests of the confederation, and the carrying out of its business with foreign nations. Rosas had previously served as governor and captain-general of Buenos Ayres for the usual term of three years, and had obtained unrivalled influence in that province, chiefly through his military powers, as displayed against the Indians. His decision and energy secured for awhile internal peace, and the provinces began to recover from the effects of the long prevalent anarchy. But cruelty and despotism marked his sway at home, and his ambition, which continually prompted him to endeavours to extend his power over the whole country watered by the Plata and the Parana, led him into disputes with foreign powers: and these ultimately brought about his downfall. His commercial policy had for its object to secure for Buenos Ayres the monopoly of the trade of the Plata, his political policy to obtain a like territorial superiority.

On the death of Francia, dictator of Paraguay, he refused to acknowledge the independence of that power, insisting that it should join the Argentine Confederation, at the same time he refused to allow the navigation of the Parana by vessels bound to Paraguay. Lopez, the new dictator of Paraguay, therefore entered into alliance with the Banda Oriental, now called Uruguay, with which Rosas was at war. These powers applied for assistance to Brazil. The war was prolonged until the whole country on both sides of the Plata and the Parana was in a state of confusion. On the earnest appeal of the merchants and others interested, Great Britain volunteered her mediation, but it was rejected by Rosas, who marched his troops within a few miles of Monte Video, which his fleet at the same time blockaded. The emperor of Brazil now interfered, and sent a special mission to request the interposition of the courts of London and Paris. The British and French governments in February 1845, decided on sending plenipotentiaries to the Plata to offer their mediation, and to announce their intention to enforce a cessation of hostilities if needful, by an armed intervention. The offer was rejected by Rosas, but readily accepted by his opponents. The united fleet of England and France at once commenced operations by seizing the fleet of Rosas which was blockading Monte Video, and the island of Martin Garcia which commands the entrances of the Parana and the Uruguay. The harbour of Buenos Ayres was at the same time declared under blockade, and the combined fleet prepared to open the Parana, and to convoy as far as Corrientes any merchant vessels that might desire to ascend that river. Rosas on his part made hasty preparations to intercept the fleet by planting batteries with parks of heavy artillery at Point Obligado; and placing three strong chains across the river, supported by 24 vessels and 10 fire-ships. On the 19th of November 1845, the combined fleet, consisting of eight sailing and three steam vessels, forced the passage with trifling loss to itself, but entirely destroying the batteries, and considerably injuring the army of Rosas. On the return of the fleet, with a convoy of 110 vessels, it was encountered at San Lorenzo by a very powerful battery which Rosas had erected in an admirable position, in the full expectation of destroying a large number of the merchant vessels, and of crippling the naval force. The battery commanded the river, and was difficult of attack by the steamers, but it was speedily silenced by a rocket-brigade, which had been the previous night secretly landed on a small island in the river. The combined fleet escaped with trifling loss, the rocket-brigade lost not a man; but four of the merchant vessels which, through unskilful pilotage, ran ashore, were burnt to prevent them falling into the hands of Rosas. The loss to the Argentine army was very great. Again plenipotentiaries were sent out by the combined powers, but Rosas refused to yield; and England withdrew from the blockade in July, 1848. It was however continued by France until January, 1849. On the final withdrawal of the two great powers in 1850, Brazil determined on active interference. The power of the Dictator, General Rosas, essentially despotic, and devoted to the maintenance of the supremacy of Buenos Ayres, had moreover become intolerable to the provinces which desired a federal and equal union. Accordingly, towards the close of 1850, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay entered into a treaty, to which Corrientes and Entre Rios, as represented by General Urquiza, became parties, by which they bound themselves to continue hostilities until they had effected the deposition of Rosas, ‘whose power and tyranny’ they declared to be ‘incompatible with the peace and happiness of this part of the world.’ Early in the spring of 1851 a Brazilian fleet blockaded Buenos Ayres, and soon after an Argentine force commanded by Urquiza crossed the Uruguay. The struggle was now virtually terminated. General Oribe, who commanded the army of Rosas at Monte Video, made a show of resistance, but it was merely to gain time in order to complete his arrangements with Urquiza, and he soon after capitulated. His soldiers for the most part joined the army of Urquiza, who, at the head of a force amounting it is said to 70,000 men, crossed into Buenos Ayres. A general engagement was fought on the plains of Moron, February 2, 1851, when the army of Rosas was entirely defeated. Rosas, who had commanded in person, succeeded in escaping from the field; and, in the dress of a peasant, he reached in safety the house of the British minister at Buenos Ayres. From thence, with his daughter, he proceeded on board H.M.’s steamer Locust, and on the 10th of February sailed in the Conflict steamer for England.

But the fall of the tyrant did not bring peace to the unhappy country. Urquiza, by the governors of the provinces assembled at San Nicolas, was invested with the chief power, and appointed Provisional Director of the Argentine Confederation. The Chamber of Representatives of Buenos Ayres, however, declared against him, and protested against the proceedings of the convention on the ground of the superior privileges of Buenos Ayres being menaced. Urquiza dissolved the Chamber, and insurrection broke out. Civil war, with all its aggravated evils, thereupon ensued. [See memoir of Urquiza.]

[90] General José Maria Paz, minister of war, to whom I had the pleasure of a personal introduction, is a man of benevolent aspect and quick address. He is a native of Buenos Ayres, and commenced his military career during the war of independence against Spain, in which he greatly distinguished himself. In the campaign against Brazil, in 1825, he commanded a brigade in the army of General Alviar, and added to the laurels he had already won. When General Rosas seized upon the supreme government of Buenos Ayres, General Paz was among those who opposed his usurpations; but in one of the engagements which followed he was taken prisoner, and kept a long time in confinement. Having at length obtained his liberation, he commanded in the province of Corrientes, and defeated General Echague at the battle of Cargaassu, in which he displayed the greatest tact and ability. He commanded the garrison of Monte Video during the memorable siege that city sustained from the forces of Rosas and Oribe, and is generally esteemed one of the ablest, and the most honourable, truthful, and humane of the South American chiefs.

[91] The English and foreign merchants residing in this city have established an English club-house, where a limited number of beds is provided for bachelor members. This fine establishment is conducted by a committee of gentlemen, and contains every possible convenience, including a reading and news-room, as well as one for billiards; and, in fact, economy, comfort, and every facility of commercial intercourse, have been consulted in all its arrangements. The foreign population of this city includes a great number of shopkeepers, who form quite a little Paris of elegant shops. Hatmakers, tailors, coiffeurs, modistes, and bootmakers predominate amongst the French; merchants, storekeepers, publicans, and boarding-house keepers amongst the English; and amongst the Italians, warehousemen and captains of small craft trading to the inland ports on the mighty Plata. The immigration of Irish to this place must have been on a very extensive scale, since all the hotel and boarding-houses, which are invariably European, have them in their employ. They are also to be found in great numbers on the farms in the neighbourhood of the capital, which are held by Englishmen, and which supply the city regularly with butter, eggs, and milk. The difficulty in finding a washerwoman is indescribable, and would scarcely be credited. I had to send my servant in all directions before he could find one, and then I discovered that I could enlist her in my service only on these conditions—first, that I should await her leisure, and next that I should pay at the rate of three or four royals for each article!—Bonelli.

[92] The remarks made in reference to the description of trade carried on with Monte Video may be considered as applicable in a great degree to Buenos Ayres. The following is the latest published official statement of the imports into the United Kingdom from the Oriental Republic in 1851:—untanned hides, 10,247 cwts.; seal-skins, 12,008; tallow, 8,664 cwts. In the same year the imports from the Argentine Republic were as follows:—untanned hides, 261,653; lamb skins, 55,744; nutria skins, 7,417; tallow, 135,856 cwts.; wool, 853,194 lbs.; unwrought copper, 127 cwts.; cotton goods, 90l. value; India silk handkerchiefs, 432 pieces; brandy, 18 galls.; Spanish wines, 56 galls.; French ditto, 19 galls.; tobacco, 18 lbs. Buenos Ayres is the great source of our supply of hides, and the quantity of tallow imported thence is only exceeded by the supplies we obtain from Russia and our Australian colonies. The latter source being now closed by war, and likely to be so as long as the Eastern difficulty continues, our trade with the Plate in that respect becomes of course proportionably important.

[93] In reference to the correspondence between England and the River Plate, Buenos Ayres had long enjoyed considerable advantage over the Uruguay; but both are now on the same footing in this respect. One great reason of the little interchange of correspondence between Great Britain and Monte Video has been the high rate of postage; but such cause is now removed by a Treasury warrant, (dated February 24th, 1854,) directing that on every letter not exceeding half an ounce in weight, posted in or addressed to any part of the republic of Uruguay, to or from the British islands and colonies, or transmitted from Uruguay to any foreign country, through England, there shall be charged 1s. If the letter exceeds half an ounce in weight, the postage is 2s.; exceeding one ounce, 4s.; exceeding two ounces, 6s.; exceeding three ounces, 8s.; and for every ounce above four ounces, two additional rates of postage. Fractions above four ounces to be charged as an additional ounce. Books and magazines to pay the following rates:—not exceeding half a pound in weight, 6d.; above that weight, 1s. per pound, and all fractions charged as an additional pound. The postage must be prepaid in stamps, and the packets must be open at the ends or sides, contain printed matter only, and not exceed twenty-four inches in length, breadth, or depth. British and Uruguayan newspapers may be sent direct to and from the United Kingdom and the Uruguay at the rate of 1d. each.

[94] Our present diplomatic relations with the Disunited Provinces of the Plata are of a peculiarly embarrassing and uncertain kind, owing to Urquiza being the ostensible head of the Confederation, though not of its most important province, Buenos Ayres. This anomalous state of things long occasioned proceedings on the part of our representative there, Captain R. Gore, R.N., that have naturally and almost unavoidably produced some strong opposition and animadversion. Into the justness of these strictures it is not the business of the author to inquire; and, accordingly, he contents himself with supplying some few data of the antecedents of the functionaries about to be enumerated. First, the gallant gentleman just named, whose salary as consul-general is 1600l., with the usual 1l. per day as chargé d’affaires. He is fourth brother of the Earl of Arran, and sat for the borough of New Ross in 1841 and 1847, when he declared himself ‘a cordial supporter of the Melbourne ministry,’ and an ‘advocate for free trade and the abolition of monopolies.’ He was appointed chargé d’affaires and consul-general in the Uruguay in 1846, and transferred to Buenos Ayres in 1851. Our Buenos Ayrean consul, whose salary, I believe, is 600l., is Mr. M. T. Hood, who was employed for some years in the consulate-general at Monte Video, appointed vice-consul there in 1841, acting consul-general there in 1846, and consul-general at Buenos Ayres in 1847. Our Buenos Ayrean vice-consul is Mr. T. Parish, to whom I shall have to express a sense of my obligations in a subsequent chapter. As regards the diplomatic representation in this country of the Argentine Confederation, like the Uruguay, and for much the same reason, it is confined merely to the consul-general in London, Mr. George F. Dixon, Great Winchester-street, City, the minister, Don Manuel Moreno, having for some considerable time left England, where he had resided for many years during the supremacy of Rosas. The consuls and vice-consuls for the Argentine Confederation are Liverpool, Mr. Hugh C. Smith; Dover, Mr. S. M. Latham; Falmouth, Mr. Alfred Fox; Plymouth, Mr. J. Luscombe; and Glasgow, Mr. George Young.

[95] A present probably from the English admiral of that name.

[96] Speaking of the descent of the river, at a terrific pace, by the Alecto, Commander M’Kinnon, in his work ‘Steam Warfare on the Parana,’ to which reference has already been made, says:—There was only one person in South America who had either the nerve, knowledge, or ability to do it. It is natural to suppose that this person must have been a native of the country, brought up on the river, and who had spent a long and active life in getting such a thorough and precise knowledge. With pride do I say it, this was not the case. The pilot was a brother officer, Captain B. J. Sullivan, who coolly stood on the paddle-box, and conned the vessel by a motion of his hand to the quarter-master. The whole of the river, up to Corrientes, is now surveyed by the above-mentioned officer, and better known, by his means, in London, than at Rosas’ capital, Buenos Ayres.

[97] The author on whom we have so frequently drawn for facts and illustrations, seems to attach greater moment to Corrientes, speaking of which he says, ‘There is more of a military authority combined with usual duties of a Captain of the Port in South America than is exercised by our Harbour Master, giving him some of the powers of a commandant. The existence of regularly organized ports of entry for foreign vessels so far up the river (and there are others much higher up the Parana and Paraguay) is not generally known. It has been the not unnatural, but injurious, policy of the government of Buenos Ayres (Rosas) to seek to monopolise the trade of the states of La Plata, and to prevent direct intercourse between the other maritime, or rather fluvial, provinces and foreign countries. Europeans have been in the habit of looking on Buenos Ayres and Monte Video as the sole ports fitted for foreign commerce in the states of La Plata, whereas there is no doubt that the best ports are in the river Parana itself, which affords excellent positions for depôts of produce, and for loading or discharging vessels. Many such ports exist on the banks, not only of the Parana, but of the rivers Uruguay and Paraguay. In the Parana there is deep water, generally from five to twenty, and sometimes forty, fathoms, with good anchorage. The current runs three or four knots, often more, when floods increase the large body of water coming down from the river Paraguay and the numerous smaller rivers which empty themselves into the Parana from various quarters, and are swollen by the melting snow of the Andes. The soil about Corrientes is sandy: trees thrive, but there is more brushwood than timber. The inhabitants, having hitherto had but little intercourse with the rest of the world, are naturally ignorant respecting Europe and its usages. Many of them know but little Spanish, using the Indian dialect, the ‘Guarani,’ which prevails more or less throughout all this part of the interior of South America, including Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. Of their little knowledge of things considered as the everyday comforts or necessaries of life in other countries, an eye-witness related a somewhat amusing proof. ‘An old Scotchman, who had been settled at Corrientes for the greater part of his life, begged some coal from a British war-steamer on her way up. His sole object in making the request was to be enabled to vindicate his reputation for veracity. It seems that he had often told them that in England they had a kind of black stone that could be used as fuel, an assertion which was scouted as absurd and incredible, and he was considered as a Scotch Munchausen. He obtained the coal, however, and on the day fixed for the experiment half the town assembled, and, seated in a large circle, with their cigarritos in their mouths, watched the smoke arising from the coal with silent incredulity. It did not readily ignite, so the Dons began to shrug their shoulders and intimate their contempt for the whole affair; but when the fire blazed up, a total change came over them, and it was highly amusing to witness the enthusiastic delight they evinced, shouting energetically, vivaing, &c.’ He adds, speaking of the Corrientines, ‘As a race, the men of this country seem much finer in stature and appearance than the women, who are generally small, fair, and delicate, and it is said that further in the interior and in Paraguay they are still more fair and northern looking.’ Some travellers assert that what they call their religion is often little else than superstition, and that their morality is far from strict, but this may be a false impression, adopted on slight grounds. In dress they are perfectly innocent of any superfluity, for which the great heat is a valid reason. But whatever are their shortcomings resulting from their isolated position, they are most hospitable and kind towards strangers. ‘Travelling through the country one is well received at every house one rides up to; refreshment is always promptly offered, especially water melons, which are particularly grateful in these climates. Payment when offered is almost invariably declined, and never demanded.’ In consequence of the gradual filling up of the Parana by alluvial deposits towards the Delta at its mouth, the navigation is much better higher up in the river than where it spreads into many small channels, emptying themselves into the upper part of the River Plate; still a vessel drawing sixteen or seventeen feet of water can go over all the passes when the river is moderately high; although during the prevalence of certain winds from the north and west there is less water, and near the island of Martin Garcia generally not more on the banks than fourteen feet. Thus from Colonia to the Bajada, and further up to the pass of San Juan, without any extraordinary rise in the water, a large vessel can ascend. From San Juan to Corrientes there is only a depth of thirteen feet on the worst passes, and about the same depth may be had all the way to Assumption, watching opportunity. There are neither ‘snags’ nor ‘sawyers’ [trunks of trees carried down by the current and fixed in the bottom, very dangerous in the Mississippi and other great rivers of North America, where they are known by these names], rocks, nor other obstructions, but steamers may go at full speed up or down by keeping the right channel. In the broad parts the stream runs at the rate of about three, and in the narrow channels, four knots, or even more.’

[98] I have since ascertained that not only did Mr. Hopkins and his party arrive safely at Assumption, but that the vessel had returned to Buenos Ayres, and was going up again—a proof how easily the river can be navigated. Mr. Hopkins was received with great cordiality by General Lopez, and in return for the present of an American carriage, had given to him a large quantity of maté, with a grant of valuable land on the banks of the river, near Assumption. He has been appointed, I hear, United States consul to Paraguay, and thus infinitely increased his means of effecting the results I confidently venture to anticipate at his hands.

[99] The description of this magnificent and important river, by the authors of ‘Letters from Paraguay,’ is too accurate and graphic to be omitted here, viz.:—The Paraná, having its source in the southern part of the Brazilian province of Goyaz, flows down from latitude 81 degrees south, still increased, as it runs, by numerous tributary springs. It is uninterrupted in its course by any obstacle to navigation, except by that formidable one, called the Salto Grande, (the Great Waterfall, literally, the Great Leap,) which in latitude 24 degrees, with a noise and tumult, heard many miles off, dashes its foaming mass of water over rocks, precipices, and chasms, of the most stupendous character. Resuming after this its placid course, the wide and glassy Paraná, richly wooded on both sides, and navigable by small vessels, pours down its salubrious waters impregnated with sarsaparilla, till, at Corrientes, it forms its junction with the River Paraguay. From that point the two rivers joined, go under the name of the one river, Paraná, the latter being, sometimes, though erroneously, below this, considered the parent stream. The Paraná discharges itself into the River Plate, by several mouths; by that of the Paraná Guazú, at which point the waters of the Uruguay also fall in: of the Paraná Miní, lower down; and of the Paraná de las Palmas, still near to Buenos Ayres. Thus formed, the Rio de la Plata pours its accumulated waters into the Atlantic; and although its mouth at the two opposite capes of Santa Maria and San Antonio is one hundred and fifty miles wide, it does no more than correspond to the grandeur of the inland navigation. From its source, in Matto Grosso, latitude 14 degrees south, till its confluence with the Paraná at Corrientes, the River Paraguay has already run a course of 1,200 miles; from Corrientes to Buenos Ayres, the distance measured by both these streams under the one name of the Paraná is 740; while from Buenos Ayres to Cape St. Antonio and Maria, the combined waters of the Paraguay, Paraná, and Uruguay, united under the one name of River Plate, run a farther distance of 200; making a total course of 2,150 miles, including the windings, which are often of a very sweeping kind. Of this immense tract of water, fifteen hundred miles are navigable by vessels drawing ten feet. The river abounds with fish from its mouth to its source. The pexerey (king’s fish), the dorado, mullet, pacū (a sort of turbot), and many others, are found in it; its banks are for the most part richly studded with wood; its various islands are adorned with beautiful shrubs, evergreens, creepers, &c.; the woods abound with game, and the adjacent country teems with cattle. The waters are highly salubrious; the soil all along the banks of the river, with the exception of the Great Chaco, is rich and fertile in the highest degree. But notwithstanding all these advantages—notwithstanding that the country has been for three hundred years in the possession of a civilized European nation—after I had galloped two hundred and eighty leagues, I did not see above four or five small towns. Not more than a like number of vessels were to be descried on my route, while at every fifteen miles distance a miserable hut, with its half-dozen inhabitants, was alone interposed to relieve the monotony of the scene. The secret of all the silence, solitude, and abandonment of Nature to herself, which I saw and lamented, is of course to be traced to the inadequate means which have hitherto been used to provide even a semblance of the population necessary to cover a country of such vast fertility and extent.

[100] Mr. McCann is in error in stating the population of this town at 8,000; and his general description of it would apply more to Rosario, probably owing to some error in his notes afterwards, when describing the two towns.

[101] ‘I will mention a few of the uses to which I have seen hides applied. The hammocks in which the people sleep were hides cut, like a puzzle, to spread out as so much net-work, neat, cool, and pleasant. The milk from cows was collected and emptied into a hide spread out on sticks in the shape of a large bucket or tub, capable of holding from sixteen to twenty gallons. The houses and carts were covered with hides; a hide-spout conveyed water off roofs. The tanpits were hides spread out like the milk tub before mentioned, containing other hides under tanning process. Everything connected with horse furniture was supplied by hides. The beams and supports of houses were lashed by hide thongs. The doors and windows, and, frequently, the very walls, were hides laced together; in short, everything almost was hides.’—Mackinnon.

[102] Rosario is most favourably situated for carrying on a large trade, which promises soon to locate itself here. Already there is an English branch establishment here, and a resident English consul has been appointed.

[103] The capital of the province of Corrientes, of which our sketch is taken from the deck of a man-of-war, is not a large place. Its population has been variously estimated at 3,000, 6,000, and 8,000 inhabitants. This difference is partly accounted for by the fluctuations incident to the military system by which they have too long been oppressed. In fact, subjection to martial law has hitherto been, not the exceptional, but the normal state of these countries. A traveller visiting one of these towns while the greater part of its male inhabitants are absent on military service as volunteers, would have a very different impression as to the number of its population from that which he would receive during a time of peace, and in the commercial and busy season. Moreover, a great many of the wives and children of these men follow, as best they may, the march of the troops, so that whole districts are thus nearly depopulated by these frequent drains of their inhabitants. The ‘Gauchos,’ as the country people are called, are naturally a good-natured, hardy, and courageous race. The demoralization and recklessness consequent on their being forcibly taken from useful and peaceful occupations to swell the ranks of some ambitious ‘caudillo’ or chieftain, have of course produced much evil, inuring them to scenes of violence, bloodshed, and injustice. It is true that they are called out and armed for the loudly-proclaimed purpose of defending ‘la libertad, la patria,’ &c., and appeals to the feelings of independence, honour, virtue, and all the high-sounding words of the sonorous language of Spain are employed by those who want their services. Here, as too generally in Spanish America, their feelings of patriotism have been so frequently invoked either to defend or attack some individual or party, that it is only surprising their characters are not more perverted, and that the moral devastation should not keep pace with that which has so long physically blighted these naturally fine provinces. The resources of these states have been wasted in order to maintain a military force much too large in proportion to their population, and it has been employed either in aggression on neighbouring countries, or for the intimidation or coercion of the provinces themselves, to support the personal policy of the executive. Thus their great capabilities of production have not been developed, and industrial improvement has been completely checked. The evils of such a system are even more injuriously felt in these vast and thinly inhabited regions than they might be in countries differently circumstanced.

The wealth of Corrientes consists chiefly in vast herds of cattle, sheep, and horses. The pasturage of the province is remarkably fine: its exports are hides, tallow, wool, hair, and some agricultural produce. The trade which might arise with the countries in the interior, through which these mighty rivers flow, were the navigation open, is beyond calculation, and its profits would soon enable the States of La Plata to pay with ease their foreign and domestic creditors, and to raise funds for internal improvements. During the few months that the navigation of the Parana was kept open in 1845-6, two convoys, (under the admirable arrangements adopted by the distinguished officer who commanded H.M. squadron in the Parana, Commodore Sir Charles Hotham), one consisting of upwards of one hundred vessels, laden with produce, the other of more than seventy, came down that river and the Paraguay with very little loss or damage, after having exchanged the cargoes of European or North American merchandise that they brought up for the goods with which the different depôts at Corrientes and other places were overflowing, to the value of some millions of hard dollars. It is true that an accumulation of produce at the ports of the river then existed, caused by the interdiction of the navigation by the governing power of one of the banks of the river. But as it is the manifest interest of the different states whose natural outlet is by the River Plate and its confluents,—the Parana and Uruguay,—that internal navigation should be free, or placed, for instance, on a similar footing to that of the Rhine, it is to be hoped that before very long the governments most interested in this question, those of La Plata especially, will awaken to a sense of the vast interest they have in opening these great channels of inter-communication to the commerce of the world.

[104] Le Paraguay; son passe, son present, et son avenir; par un Etranger, qui a vecu longtemps dans ce pays, ouvrage publie a Rio-Janeiro, et reproduit en France; par General Oriental Pacheco-y-Obes.

[105] Mr. G. W. Drabble, a gentleman who proceeded some time ago from Manchester on a visit to the River Plate, determined to devote some of his time and attention to ascertaining the capability of the Argentine territory and the Banda Oriental for growing cotton. Lord Clarendon having been written to by the Manchester Commercial Association to ask his assistance for Mr. Drabble in carrying out this intention, replied, in a letter, dated the 1st of March, that he would have particular pleasure in complying with the request, and that his Lordship ‘had recommended Mr. Drabble to the kind offices of Captain Gore (Her Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires at Buenos Ayres) and Mr. Hunt (the British Acting Consul-General), and had instructed them to afford to Mr. Drabble every facility and assistance in their power in furtherance of his object, which was one in which Her Majesty’s Government take great interest.’ A letter was afterwards received from the Consul-General at Monte Video, 4th of June, stating that he would be very glad indeed to give Mr. Drabble every assistance in his power. The following letter to Mr. J. A. Turner, president of the Manchester Commercial Association, details the result of Mr. Drabble’s investigations:—‘Buenos Ayres, Oct. 1. The unsettled state of politics that prevailed on my arrival here prevented my being able to avail myself of the offers of assistance by Mr. Gore and Mr. Hunt, nor was a journey to the interior provinces then practicable. From Paraguay, fortunately, General Lopez, son of the President of that country, was passing through this city, on a visit to Europe; which enabled me to be presented to him by Sir Charles Hotham, who has rendered me every assistance, and given me most valuable information as to that country. That territory appearing to hold forth more prospect of success in the cultivation of cotton, I have sent up a gentleman possessing the requisite talent, so that he may be enabled to furnish an accurate report as to the facilities that may be there found. Even here, however, I would observe that much more attention is being attached to the country of Paraguay, as a rich field of enterprise; and, as a pioneer to what we hope may be continued efforts, a steamer started from this port yesterday to that destination, conveying a company recently arrived from the United States’ said to be well supported, consisting of several directors, and conveying with them machines for the cultivation and cleaning of cotton, tobacco, sugar, and rice; sawmills, for making available for export the valuable wood that there so abounds, and other machines suitable for the development of its resources. If they are once enabled to establish a footing there, and, especially, if the project of steam navigation up our interior rivers is accomplished, great results may attend these primary efforts. Some of the interior provinces of this confederation have been long said to be most suitable for the cultivation of cotton, and a sample, pronounced to be of very fine quality, from one of them (Tucuman), was last year exhibited in Manchester. I have forwarded, per steamer, another example from the neighbouring province of Catamarca, the lands of which are reported as being capable of producing a much superior article to any other of these States. I consider, however, that a great difficulty will exist in the development of this cultivation, in any of these interior provinces, from the long land carriage required to bring it to an exterior market. The cost of the best qualities there, as plucked, say with seed, is 7rs. to 8rs. per arroba; if cleaned up there, as it must be to give the least hope of successful competition, it is calculated that the yield would give about 25 per cent. of gross, thus placing the cost of an arroba, or 25 lbs., at an average of 30rs.; expenses of cleaning would be 2rs.; carriage to Buenos Ayres, per arroba, 6rs.; total, 38rs.; which, taken at to-day’s rate of exchange, would net per lb. 8⅕d. In Catamarca the cotton tree has been cultivated regularly, but, attention never having been paid to it as an article of export, the production has never increased. It is a perennial plant, sown in spring, and yielding the same year. It grows about four feet to five feet high. In the winter it is cut down, but the following spring it shoots up for another year’s yield. No great care is paid to it till the time of gathering the pod, when it is regularly plucked. The Paraguay and Corrientes plants are of the same class. The quality of the Corrientes cotton has so far been much inferior. It is, however, in the same latitude, and the soil is represented as being equally fertile, and from its geological position, that province would seem to be the most preferable. The great drawback to the extension of this cultivation will be the want of labour. The population of Catamarca is not more than 40,000; that of Tucuman may be estimated at 50,000. But even so, there are so many other articles of production of great value, and requiring little labour, as tobacco, sugar, &c., that it will be difficult to obtain sufficient hands for the plucking and cleaning, unless expressly imported. The requirements of the native population are few, and their ambition soon satisfied. It is, therefore, almost impossible to get them to labour for more than their actual wants. That these countries, however, present many facilities and advantages for the extension of this cultivation cannot be doubted; nor that capital, properly laid out, would, with care and energy, give every prospect of ample profit. But the commencement of this, as of all other undertakings, requires to be followed up with the greatest energy, and under the personal superintendence of a practical and interested party. Although Mr. Drabble estimates that only 25 per cent. of clean cotton would be obtained from the seed, some gentlemen in Manchester, who have had much acquaintance with the subject, are of opinion that, with such fine growths as the samples already sent home from the district, the net produce of clean cotton would be much more likely to be one-third of the gross weight than one-fourth, and, consequently, the cost at which cotton could be supplied would be proportionately reduced.

[106] The chief provisions are the following:—British subjects are free to navigate the banks of the rivers of Paraguay. British traders may settle and carry on commerce in any of their towns, instead of being restricted to Assumption, as hitherto. Finally, they may marry the daughters of the country—a privilege from which they have until now been debarred. Similar treaties have been made with France, the United States, and Sardinia. This treaty (said an eminent ‘Economical’ authority at the time it was made known in England,) will help to forward the designs of Bolivia to promote the free navigation of the rivers that run from her territory into the Plate. Could that navigation be opened, it would be something like spreading the advantages conferred by the Mississippi on North America over South America. The Plate is formed by the junction of the Parana and the Uruguay. From the Plate to Assumption, the Parana, with its branch the Paraguay, is navigable for 800 miles in the dry season by vessels drawing six feet of water, and in the rainy season by vessels drawing twice as much. Beyond that 800 miles, it is navigable as a canal for 600 miles, almost to its sources in the mountains of Brazil, not far from one of the streams navigable into the heart of Bolivia upwards of 1,000 miles from the Atlantic. The Uruguay