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FROM THE 



BATTLE-FIELDS OF PAEAGUAY. 




OSE r ASP AH DEIRAMIl DICTADORDIL EAUACOki 
sa uuifonue imico afta cl dia dc su nmcrtcao i&ia 



LONDON: 
TINSLEY BROTHERS, 18, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 

1870. 



LETTERS 



FROM THE 



BATTLE-FIELDS OF PAEAGUAY. 



BY 

CAPTAIN RICHARD F. BURTON, 

F.R.G.S., ETC. 

AUTHOR OF "explorations OP THE HIGHLANDS OF THE BRAZIL, 
ETC. ETC. 



Mit^ a glap anb lllttstrations. 



" Le vrai est le pere qui engendre le boD, qui est le fils : d'oil precede le 
beau, qui est le Saint-Esprit."— Chateaubriand. 



LONDON : 
TINSLEY BROTHERS, 18, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND. 

1870. 

[_All rights of Travel alion and lieivroduction are reserved.'] 






LONDON : • 

SAVILL, EDWARDS AND CO., PRINTERS, CHANDOS STREET, 

COVENT GARDEN. 



Insnib^i 



TO 

HIS EXCELLENCY DON DOMINGO FAUSTINO SAKMIENTO, 

CITIZEN OF THE UNITED PROVINCES OF THE RIO DE LA PLATA, 

THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC, 
ST 

ONE WHO ADMIRES HIS HONESTY OF PURPOSE 
Asra 

THE HOMAGE WHICH HE PAYS TO PROGRESS. 



PREFACE. 



The principal object of these letters is to tell a new tale of 
modern Paraguay, to place before tbe public simple, un- 
varnished sketches and studies of what presented itself to 
one visiting the seat of a campaign which has, in this our 
day, brought death and desolation into the fair valleys of 
the Paraguay and the Uruguay Rivers. In no case, let me 
say, has distance better displayed its eflFects upon the 
European mind. Returned home, I found blankness of 
face whenever the word Paraguay (which they pronounced 
Paragay) was named, and a general confession of utter 
ignorance and hopeless lack of interest. 

Many in England have never heard of this Five Years' 
"War which now appears to be an institution. Even upon 
the Parana River I met an intelligent skipper who only 
suspected a something bellicose amongst the ^^ nebulous re- 
publics^'' because his charter-party alluded to a blockade. 

It speaks little for popular geography when we read year 
after year such headings as '^ Hostilities on the River Plate,"'"' 
whereas the campaign was never fought within 300 miles of 
the Rio de la Plata. The various conflicting accounts 
scattered abroad, with and without interest or obligation to 
scatter them, make the few home-stayers that care to peruse 
South American intelligence accept as authentic, and possibly 
act upon, such viridical information as that for instance sup- 
plied by the following clipping : — 

b 2 



vm PREFACE. 

Telegram received at the Brazilian Legation in London. 

The war is over. (No !) Lopez has either fled to Bolivia, (No !) or 
is concealed at Corrientes. (Impossible!) The execution of his brothers 
(?) Burgos (?) the bishop (?) and prisoners (?) is confirmed. (No !) 
Tlie Paraguayan population was returning to Assumption (Never !) which 
has been occupied by the Marquis de Caxias. 

And lastly, M. Elisee E,eclus_, in the ^^ Revue des Deux 
Mondes/^ can term Paraguay with the impunity of im- 
pudence,, ^^ etat pacifique par excellence/' when her every 
citizen was a soldier^, and when even during the rule of 
the Jesuit, the tiller of the ground was also a man-at-arms. 

The war still raging upon its small theatre of action 
is a spectacle that should appeal to man's sympathy and 
imagination. Seldom has aught more impressive been 
presented to the gaze of the world than this tragedy ; this 
unflinching struggle maintained for so long a period against 
overwhelming odds, and to the very verge of racial annihila- 
tion j the bulldog tenacity and semi-compulsory heroism 
of a Red-skin Sparta, whose only vulnerable point, the line 
of her river, which flows from north to south, and which 
forms her western frontier, has been defended with a stubborn- 
ness of purpose, a savage valour, and an enduring despera- 
tion rare in the annals of mankind. 

Those who read, dwelling afar, see one of the necessary 
two phases. Some recognise a nation crushed by the mere 
weight of its enemies ; drained of its population to support 
the bloody necessities of a hopeless war ; cut off" from all 
communication with the world outside, yet still as ever 
fired with a firm resolve to do and die before submitting 
to the yoke of the mighty power that is slowly but surely 
crushing it. Others again behold nothing but a barbarous 
race blotted out of the map, an obscure nationality eaten up, 
as the Kafirs say, by its neighbours ; a rampant tyranny 
whose sole object is self-aggrandisement, a conflict of kites 
and crows, the slaves of a despot, of an '^ American Attila,'' 



PREFACE. ^ IX 

figliting at the despot's nod^ for the perpetuation of a policy 
of restraint which a more advanced state of society cannot 
tolerate, and of an obsolete despotism which the world 
w^ould willingly abolish. 

Those who write have in almost all instances allowed 
their imaginations and their prejudices to guide their 
judgment, and mostly they have frankly thrown overboard 
all impartiality. The few '^ Lopezguayos'' or " Para- 
guayan sympathizers/-' the ^^ thick and thin supporters'"' of 
the Marshal President, make him the '' Liberator of South 
America;'' the " Cincinnatus of America;" the " King Leo- 
pold of the Plate ;" they quote the names applied to him by his 
subjects, Great White Man (Carai guazii) and " Big Father." 
Paraguay is to them another Poland in the martyrology of 
peoples, a weak, meek inland Republic to be strangled, 
after an " odious struggle of three to one," in the huge 
coils of the Imperial Anaconda. They accuse the Brazil of 
the most interested views, they charge her with boundless 
profligacy and the " most hideous vices," as if these had aught 
to do with the subject ; they declare that no nation has a 
right to impose upon a neighbouring and independent 
people a government not of its own choice ; they irrelevantly 
predict terrible crises when the Negro question and that of 
the great feudal domains shall demand to be settled, and 
they even abuse '' I'Empire Esclavagiste" because she has 
not madly freed her slaves, or rather because she has freed 
them to enslave her free neighbours.^ Many there are who 
term the Marshal President, alias the '^ Tyrant of Paraguay," 
the " Monster Lopez," a " Vandalic and treacherous ag- 
gressor," a Nero, a Theodore, '' O barbaro do Paraguay :" 



* " Kevue des Deux Mondes," of February 15th, 1865, and August 15tl), 
1868, by M. Elisee Reclus : November 15th, 1865, by M. J. de Cazane, 
and September 15th, 1866, by M. Duchesne de Bellecourt. The ignorance 
of fact paraded in these papers is to be equalled only by the animus 
■which pervades them. 



X PREFACE. 

they hold his military republico- despotism a hornets^ nest, 
a thorn in the side of the progressive Brazil^ and they look 
upon the long campaign as the battle of civilization_, pure 
and simple, against the Japanese isolation and the Darfurian 
monocracy which are erroneously dated from the days of 
Dr. Francia. 

It is hardly necessary for me to declare that 
Tros Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur, 
or to hope for immunity from the pains and penalties which 
attach to the purely neutral. My sympathies are with the 
Brazil, as far at least as her " mission^^ is literally, not libe- 
rally, to unlock the great Southern Mississippi; to "keep open 
and develop the magnificent water system of the Paraguay- 
Parana- Plate,'"' and to sweep away from the shores of its 
main arteries the Guardias and Piquetes, the batteries and 
the ridiculous little stockades which served to keep its waters 
comparatively desert, and to convert a highway belonging 
to the world into a mere monopoly of Paraguay. I have 
spoken somewhat harshly of the Brazilian army : here hablar 
fuertey the sermo brevis et durus is the duty of a writer. Its 
personnel as a rule, admitting many brilliant exceptions, 
imperfectly represents the noble Brazilian people; its suc- 
cesses have been hailed with an enthusiasm run frantic, and 
its spare merits have been commended with an exaggeration 
whose consequences, operating upon public opinion, may do 
the country much real harm. The Brazilian freeman, as his 
history shows, may court comparison with the bravest of 
soldiers. The case is not the same with the freed man and 
the servile fresh from the hoe. 

On the other hand, I cannot but admire the wonderful 
energy and the indomitable will of Marshal President 
Lopez and his small but sinewy power, which will never 
be forgotten nor want admirers as long as history shall 
endure. In many actions one-third of the number engaged 



PREFACE. XI 

was placed hors de combat, and often of a battalion num- 
bering 400 men only 100 returned. 

The Paraguayans have indeed fought for their altars and 
their fires, fought for the green graves of their sires, their God, 
their native land, for the '^ vindication of their outraged 
honour, the guarantee of their threatened existence, and the 
stability of their wounded rights.-'^ 

As regards the '^ atrocities of Lopez '^ — to quote another 
popular heading — his ^^ unheard-of and fiendish cruelties,*' 
his extorting by torture the testimony required from foreign 
employes, his starving to death prisoners of war; flogging 
to death men, women, and children ; his starving and killing 
the wounded, and his repeatedly shooting and bayoneting, 
amongst others, his brothers, his sisters, and the bishop, 
the reader will, I venture to assert, do well to exercise a 
certain reservation of judgment, like myself. Truth seems 
to be absolutely unknown upon the banks of the Plate. 
After the most positive assertions and the most life-like 
details concerning the execution of some malefactor (or 
victim) in high (or low) position have been paraded 
before the world, a few days will prove that the whole 
has been one solid circumstantial lie. The fact is that 
nothing about Paraguay is known outside the country, and 
of its government very little is known even inside its limits. 
The foreign employes themselves must generally speak from 
hearsay, and some of them have not failed to supplement 
their facts by fancies, theories, and fictions. The most 
trustworthy will own that in the case, for instance, of a whole 
corps being decimated, they remained, though almost upon 
the spot, in ignorance of the executions till two years after- 
wards. 

The war in Paraguay, impartially viewed, is no less than 
the doom of a race which is to be relieved from a self- 
chosen tyranny by becoming chair a canon by the 



Xll PREFACE, 

process of annihilation. It is the Nemesis of Faith ; the 
death-throe of a policy bequeathed by Jesuitism to South 
America; it shows the flood of Time surging over a relic 
of old world semi-barbarism, a palseozoic humanity. Nor 
is the semi-barbaric race itself without an especial interest 
of its own. The Guarani family appears to have had its 
especial habitat in Paraguay, and thence to have extended 
its dialects, from the Rio de la Plata to the roots of 
the Andes, and even to the peoples of the Antilles. Th^ 
language is now being killed out at the heart, the limbs 
are being slowly but surely lopped off, and another cen- 
tury will witness its extirpation. 

This Crimean Campaign, 

Si licet in parvis exemplis graudibus uti, 
abounds in instances of splendid futile devotion. It is 
a fatal war waged by hundreds against thousands ; a 
battle of Brown Bess and poor old flint muskets against 
the Spencer and Enfield rifles ; of honeycombed carronades, 
long and short, against "Whitworths and Lahittes ; of 
punts and canoes against ironclads. It brings before 
us an anthropological type which, like the English of a past 
generation, holds every Paraguayan boy-man equal, single- 
handed, to at least any half-dozen of his enemies. It is 
moreover an affair which, whilst testing so severely the 
gigantic powers of the Brazil and threatening momentous 
effects to its good genius — democratic imperialism, has yet 
been prosecuted with so many laches, with an incuriousness, 
an inconsequence, and in many cases with a venality which, 
common as are such malpractices in the non-combattant 
ranks of all semi-disciplined and many disciplined armies, 
here presents an ethnographical study. 

Nor is the subject without its sensational side. These 
pages will offer details concerning places and persons whose 
names are more or less familiar to the public ear : Asuncion, 



PREFACE. Xlll 

the capital of this " inland China -/^ Humaita, the " Se- 
bastopol of the South/^ that gigantic ^*'hum " whose "grim 
ramparts '^ (wretched earthworks) appeared even in the 
London Times as " the Gibraltar, or more properly the 
Mantua, of South America •" the Amazonian corps raised 
by "Mrs. President Lopez/^ the mysterious Madame 
Lynch, en personne ; the Marshal President, who though 
separated by half a world from our world, must ever com- 
mand a sufficiency of interest ; the conspiracy that has been 
so fiercely asserted and denied, the new Reign of Terror, 
called by some the Reign of Rigour, and the executions 
which, if they really took place, can be explained only by the 
dementia preceding destruction, or by the most fatal 
of necessities. In the purely military sketches the most 
interesting details are those concerning the much talked-of 
earthworks, a style of defence becoming in these days of 
breech-loading and couchant drill, more and more neces- 
sary as the means of oflPence shall improve, and calling for as 
much practical information as we can collect. 

The Paraguayan campaign is essentially a war of en- 
trenchments as opposed to the siege and the pitched battle, 
and entrenchments have now taken a high position in 
strategics. 

I made two visits to the seat of war. The first, from August 
15th to September 5th, 1868, led me to the mouth of the 
Tebicuary River, when the Paraguayan batteries of San 
Fernando were being stormed. The second began on April 
4th, lasted till April 18th, 1869, and showed me the curtain 
rising upon the third act of the campaign — the Guerilla 
phase preceding the conclusion. During a residence of 
some three and a half years in the Brazil, the Paraguayan 
question was the theme of daily conversation around me, 
and where my personal experience failed it was not 
difficult to turn to account that of others. 



XIV PREFACE. 

In making up the map, the trustwortliy and satisfactory 
labours of Captain Mouchez of the French Imperial navy, 
which have been adopted by the Allied Armies in the field,* 
have of course been taken as a base. The northern part of 
the republic is borrowed from Colonel du Graty, whose geo- 
graphy, whatever may be his politics, is, in this portion, 
better than that of any other traveller. The whole has 
been corrected by the map illustrating the work on the 
Paraguayan War, by Lieut.-Col. George Thompson, of whom 
more presently. 

I have not yet had leisure to reduce to writing the 
printed documents of the Brazilian War-office, obligingly 
supplied to me by the enlightened Minister H. E. the 
Burao de Muritiba. He, however, who would produce a 
detailed and connected study, a complete and satisfactory 
account of a four years^ campaign, interesting even after 
Custozza, Sadowa, and Lissa, and certainly the most com- 
plicated, topographically and strategically, that has been 
fought since 1850, must have more time and better 
opportunities than I possess. He should have access to the 
private as well as to the published reports of Bio de Janeiro, 
of Buenos Aires, and of Monte Video. Nor will his account 
be aught but incomplete unless he be enabled to collate 
with those of the Allies the official correspondence of the 
Paraguayan commandants, whilst a complete set of the Sema- 
nario, the Moniteur of the republic, is becoming almost un- 
attainable. Whatever victory the Brazil has claimed, 
Paraguay, as may be expected, has revindicated it, and 
vice versa. 

All accounts which have hitherto appeared are neces- 
sarily one-sided : the Allies — Brazilian, Argentine, and 
Oriental — have told and re-told their own tale, whilst the 
Paraguayans have mostly been dumb perforce. 

Since these remarks were penned, I have had an 



PREFACE. XV 

opportunity of reading, and I have read with the utmost 
interest, ^' The War in Paraguay, with an Historical Sketch 
of the Country and its People, by George Thompson, C.E., 
Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers in the Paraguayan Army, 
Aide-de-camp to President Lopez, &c/^ (Longmans, 1869). 
By the kindness of the author and of the publishers the 
proofs were sent to me before they were made public, and I 
delayed for some time my own pages in order that Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Thompson should takethe precedence to which 
his knowledge of the subject, and experience of eleven years 
spent in hard labour and in actual field-service, entitle him. 
The two books, however, are by no means likely to clash. 
The " War in Paraguay^^ is semi-historical, treating of what 
the author witnessed during the hostilities. " Letters from 
the Battle-fields"^ is a traveller's journal of much lighter 
cast, and necessarily more discursive. 

I have attempted also to sketch the campaign, than 
which, rightly explained, nothing can be more easily under- 
stood. It is composed of three great acts, and the follow- 
ing is the skeleton :* — 

Act No. 1. President Lopez raises a force of 80,000 
men and resolves to brook no interference on the part of 
the Brazil in the affairs of the Platine States. He engages 
in hostilities and he determines to be crowned at Buenos 
Aires Emperor of the Argentines. For this purpose he 
marches (April, 1865) two corps d'armee of 25,000 men 
under General Bobles, and 12,000 men under Lt.-Col. 
Estigarribia, down the rivers Parana and Uruguay, intending 
that they should rendezvous at Concordia or some cen- 
tral point and jointly occupy Buenos Aires. He himself 



* The reader will kindly remember, that these pages treat only of the 
Paraguayan war in the south. Nothing is said touching the campaign in 
Matto-Grosso, and on the northern waters of the Paraguay river. 



XVI PREFACE. 

remains witli a third corps d^armee of supports and re- 
serves, behind his proper frontier, the Parana River. Both 
the invading columns are defeated in detail, the survivors 
return by the end of October, 1865, and the central body 
retreats to Paso. Thus ends the offensive portion of the 
campaign, which lasted about five months. 

Act No. 2. President Lopez, commanding his armies in 
person, vainly attempts to defend the frontiers of the Republic, 
and gradually retiring northwards, before vastly superior 
forces and a fleet of ironclads, he fights every inch of ground 
with a prodigious tenacity. This defensive phase concludes, 
after upwards of three years, with the affair of Loma Va- 
lentina, the " Waterloo of the war." This terrible blow was 
struck December 25th-27th, 1868. 

Act No. 3, and as yet not " played out^"* (September, 
1869). The Guerilla phase, when President Lopez, com- 
pelled to abandon his capital, Asuncion, falls back upon 
Cerro Leon, and makes '' Paraguary "^ provisionally his 
chief town. Whilst this state of things endured I left the 
Rio de la Plata. 

Named by her Gracious Majesty, Consul at Damascus, 
I now bid, and not without the sincerest regret, a tem- 
porary adieu to the Brazil, that glorious land, the garden 
of South America, which has so long afforded me a home. 

R. F. B. 

August, 1869. 



* Our periodicals mostly print the word Paraguay, thus confounding 
the little country town with the country. 



CONTENTS. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY pp. 1 79 

LETTER I. 

FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO . . . 80 94 

LETTER II. 

MONTE VIDEO THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES 95 117 

LETTER in. 

MONTEVIDe'aNS NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS . . . 118 134 

LETTER IV. 

TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES .... 135 151 

LETTER V. 

A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES THE OLD ENGAGExMENT 

KEPT 152—171 

LETTER VI. 

A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES 172 188 

LETTER VII. 

UP THE URUGUAY RIVER_, AND VISIT TO GENERAL 

URQUIZA . 189 206 

LETTER VIII. 

UP THE URUGUAY RIVER THE SIEGE OF PAYSANDU, 

SALTOj CONCORDIA^ URUGUAYANA .... 207 222 



XVlll CONTENTS. 

LETTER IX. 

UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO . . .pp. 223 235 

LETTER X. 

ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA Fe') .... 236 248 

LETTER XL 

FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES 249 269 

LETTER XII. 

A WEEK AT CORRIENTES 270 291 

LETTER XIII. 

FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA 292 308 

LETTER XIV. 

TO HUMAITA 309 313 

LETTER XV. 
HUMAITA 314 — 327 

LETTER XVI. 

A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO 328 340 

LETTER XVII. 

VISITS TO TIMBO AND TO ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO 
{alias THE CIERVA REDOUBT.) GENERAL 
ARGOLO 341 350 

LETTER XVIII. 

RIDE ROUND THE HUMAITA " QUADRILATERAL '' . 351 — 362 

LETTER XIX. 

FROM HUMAITa' TO GUARDIA TACUARA . . . 363 371 

LETTER XX. 

TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT 372 390 



CONTENTS. XIX 

LETTER XXI. 

TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER pp. 391 405 

LETTER XXIL 

RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. THE CONSPIRACY. 

THE ^^ ATROCITIES OF LOPEZ '' .... 406 412 

LETTER XXin. 

TRIP TO ASUNCION, THE CIUDAD 413 430 

LETTER XXIV. 

DESCRIBING ASUNCION, EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY 431 444 

LETTER XXV. 

AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION 445 — 458 

LETTER XXVI. 

AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT 459 468 

LETTER XXVIL, 
AND LAST 469 — 481 



THE 



BATTLE-FIELDS OF THE PAEAGIJAY 
AND UEUGUAT RIVERS. 



/^ 



SECTION I. 

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY— PARAGUAY. 

T HAD intended to spare my readers the mortification of 
-■- readings and myself of writiog, this essay. Returning^ 
however^ to England, and once more restored to civilized 
society, my astonishment was great to find the extent of 
ignorance touching what has been called " La Chine Ameri- 
caine'^ — both grow tea, but that is their chief point of resem- 
blance. I was mortified to see the want of interest attached 
to perhaps the most remarkable campaign fought during 
the present century, and I applied myself during my six 
weeks of leave to find out the cause of the phenomenon. 

It proved on inquiry, that after the interest of Dr. Francia 
faded away, Paraguay had dropped clean out of general vision. 
Many, indeed, were uncertain whether it formed part of 
North or of South America; and it is, I need hardly say, 
impossible to take any interest about the fortunes of a race 
whose habitat is unknown. Moreover, the periodicals of 
Europe, wanting, like their public, accurate topographical 
knowledge of the scene of action, managed to invest a cam- 
paign whose grand movements are simple in the extreme 

1 



2 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY, 

however complicated by terrain may be its details, with a 
confusion that lacked even the interest of mystery. Hence 
most readers of journals have, during the last four years, 
studiously avoided leaders, articles, or intelligence headed 
" Hostilities in the River Plate,^"* and in so doing they 
were justified. 

This Essay proposes to itself an abstract of the geography 
and the history of Paraguay, compressed as much as possible 
without being reduced to a mere string of names and dates. 

And first of the word " Paraguay,''^ which must not be 
pronounced ^' Paragay.^^ The Guarani languages, like the 
Turkish and other so-called ^' OrientaP^ tongues, have little 
accent, and that little generally influences the last syllable : 
a native would articulate the name Pa-ra-gua-y.* 

For this term are proposed no less than nine derivations. 

" Paraguay ,''^ says Muratori (p. 92), " means ^ River of 
feathers,^ and was so called from the variety and brilliancy 
of its birds .^^ 

" Paraguay ,''^ says P. Charlevoix, " signifies ^ fleuve 
couronne,^ from Para, river, and gua, circle or crown, in 
the language of the people around the Xarayes lake, which 
forms as it were its crown. ^'' 

"Paraguay,'"* says Mr. Davie (1805), "would signify ^variety 
of colours,' alluding to the flowers and birds. Para, in fact, 
may mean ' spotted,' as in the name Petun Para, the speckled 
tobacco familiar to all Paraguayan travellers."" Mr. Wilcocke 
(1807), who borrows without acknowledgment from Davie 
and other authors, echoes " variety of colours." 



* " Y " is written in the Tupi or Brazilian dialect, " ig," or " yg." 
The sound, somewhat like the French " eu " in " eut," for instance, was 
and is still, a shibboleth for foreigners. We find, by a curious coincidence, 
which of course has no serious etymological significance, the Celtic Gauls 
expressing water by the terminal "y," for instance in vich-y = vich 
(strength or virtue) and " y," water. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 3 

" Paraguay/' says D. Pedro de Angelis (1810)^ " must be 
translated, the River running out of the lake Xarayes, 
celebrated for its wild rice. The derivation would be Para, 
sea, gua, of, and y, water/' 

"Paraguay," which in some old MSS. is written Paraquay, 
says Rengger, " is simply ' sea-water hole,' from Para, the 
sea, and qua-y, water- hole." 

" Paraguay," says popular opinion, " merely expresses 
water of the (celebrated) Payaguaor Canoe tribe of Indians, 
corrupted into Paragua by the first Spanish settlers." * 

" Paraguay," says Lieut. -Col. George Thompson, C.E., "is 
literally, ' the river pertaining to the sea' (Para, the sea, 
gua, pertaining to, and y — pronounced ii — river or water) ." 
Colonel Thompson, I may here remark, is spoken of as an 
excellent Guarani scholar, and he has prepared for publi- 
cation a vocabulary of that interesting moribund tongue. 

An eighth derivation, for which there exists no authority, 
is " Water of the Penelope bird" (the Ortalida Parraqua, still 
common on its banks). 

Without attempting to decide a question so disputed by 
authorities so respectable and so discrepant, I would observe, 
that even as late as 1837, a tribe of Guaranis had for chief 
one Paragua; that such names have been handed down 
amongst them from extreme antiquity; and that, both in 
Portuguese and in Spanish America, the conquerors often 
called geographical features after the caciques whom they 
debelled or slew. Paraguay therefore, may mean the river 
of (the kinglet) " Paragua." 

It is not easy to treat of the topography and geography 
of Paraguay. Some portions, — for instance, the Paraguay 
river and the Parana to the parallel of Villa Rica, and 
even to the rapids of La Guayra — have for three centuries 
been travelled over and surveyed. On the other hand, the 
most tropical division of the Cordillera, which, runniDg north 

1—2 



4 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

from Villa Rica to the Apa River^ traverses the Republic 
like a dorsal spine^ may be pronounced to be in parts com- 
pletely unknown. 

The limits of the Republic are undetermined ; upon this 
subject she has differences with all her neighbours^ — with 
Brazil_, with Bolivia^ and with the Argentine Confederation. 
A detailed history of these disputes would fill many a 
volume. She claims to extend between S. lat. 22° 58' and 
37° 50' j and she traces her frontier up the Parana after its 
confluence with the Paraguay River to the Cordillera of the 
Misionesj thence to the line of the S. Antonio Mini till it 
falls into the River of Curitiba, then again bending west- 
ward up the Parana, and more westward still up the 
Ivenheima affluent (so called by the Brazilians, the Igurey 
or Yaguarey of the Spaniards), and finally over the moun- 
tains to the valley of the Rio Blanco (S. lat. 21°). Westward 
the limitation remains for adjustment with Bolivia, and to 
the southwest the Rio Bermejo separates the Paraguayan 
from the Argentine Republic. This demarcation, including 
the disputed territory between the Rio Blanco and Rio Apa 
(the Crooked Stream alias Corrientes) and others, in- 
volves a trifle of square 860 leagues. 

Under these circumstances, as may be imagined, the area 
of the Republic is a disputed point. I will briefly cite 
the extreme views of other authors. 

Messrs. Rengger and Longchamps (1825) allow to her 
10,000 square leagues. 

Mr. Demersay^s estimate is : 

Square Leagues. 
Lands between the Parana and Paraguay Rivers . . . 10,413 

Ditto ditto in Grand Chain 16,537 

Ditto the Parana and Uruguay Rivers . . . 1,820 



Total square leagues . 28,770* 



* These are square Spanish leagues=26,759 French, or 26,935 of 25 to 
the deyrree. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 5 

Colonel du Graty conjectures the extent of the Republic 
to represent a total of square Spanish leagues 29,470 — viz., 

Land east of the Paraguay River . . 11,123 

Land west ditto . . 16,537 (purely fanciful). 

The Misiones claim 1,820 

Of these vast areas, only 2500 square leagues are supposed 
to be inhabited, cultivated, or used for cattle breeding. 

We may concisely lay down the limits of Paraguay thus : 
the river of that name and the Gran Chaco limit the west, 
the Parana bounds the east and south, separating her from 
the Argentine Confederation; and northwards begins the 
Brazilian Empire. The parallelogram admits of two great 
divisions : the northern is a mountainous mass averaging, as 
far as is known, 1200 metres above sea level ; the 
southern is a delta or doab, in places lower than the two 
rivers which form it. Between the two is a middle part, called 
the " Cordilleritas,-'^ rarely exceeding in height 120 metres ; 
and here, the uplands fall into the lowlands. Such, for in- 
stance, are the '' Campos Quebrados'' (broken prairie), north 
of Asuncion; the '' Altos'^ about Paraguay and Asciirra, one 
of the places where Marshal President Lopez established his 
guerilla head quarters; and the "Lomada"" — a continuity 
of "Lomas,^^ or land-waves, immediately south of Asuncion. 

The northern mountain-masses are conjectured to be of 
trap formation, and to inosculate with the Highlands of the 
Brazil, especially with the Serra do Espinha90, whose out- 
lines extend to the Andine system. The trend is laid down 
as quasi-meridional; the Oriental slopes are the more 
abrupt, and the ridge divides the Republic into two planes. 
Thus there is a double watershed of about equal areas, 
E.S.-eastward to the Parana, W.S.-westward to the Paraguay, 
and the streams are unimportant. The Cordillera is supposed 
to rise in Matto Grosso, about S. lat. 19°, under the names 
of Sierra de Amambay (the Tupi Samambaia, or poly- 



6 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

podium), de S. Jose or de Maracaju (the Jesuits' Mbaracuyu, 
the Passion Flower). Running with southerly rhumb 
it fines off into a dos d^ane, under the names of Nabi- 
leque, Caa-guazu (large Yerba), and Cuchilla Grande, 
the divortium aquarum which throws ofi* the Tebicuary 
River. It then sinks into low hills some six miles north 
of the line of railway ; whilst the main ridge diverging to 
the east, forms, where traversed by the Parana River, the 
Rapids south of La Guayra. Finally, entering the Brazilian 
provinces of Parana and S. Paulo, it inosculates with the 
Eastern ghauts, the Serra do Mar; and in the south-east 
it joins the Cordillera of Misiones. This mountainous sec- 
tion of the Republic, deeply cut by streams and torrents, 
abounds in game, and is rich in primaeval forests of 
valuable timber : the savage Redskins, however, still hold 
possession of the land, and exploration will be costly, if not 
perilous. 

The remainder of the republic is an expanse of drowned 
Savannahs lying between the two mighty rivers, and it is 
believed that the western half, drained by the Paraguay, is 
on a lower plane than that discharging into the Parana. 
The ground much resembles the Gran Chaco, an alluvial 
detritus from the Andes, filling up the great basin of Pampas 
formation. Here is supposed to grow the Abati Guaniba or 
wild maize,* and this is said to be the home of the Ombii 
Fig, as the mountains are of the Araucaria (Braziliensis) 
pine. I need not now describe the features of the land to 
which my diary will lead me. 

As regards her political distribution, Paraguay consisted 



* Old writers give four kinds of maize in these regions: — 1. Abati 
nata, a very hard grain. 2. Abati moroti, in Tupi " Marity" (means shining), 
a soft and white grain. 3. Abati mini, a small grain which ripens after a 
month. 4. Bisingallo, an angular and pointed grain, which gives the 
sweetest flour. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 7 

ill 1857 of twenty-five departments^ including one in the 
Gran Cliaco, and the other on the left bank of the Parana 
River. Each of these divisions had one or more towns, 
villages, or chapels, with a military commandant, a juge de 
paix, and a curate. The capital is Asuncion, numbering 
some 12,000 souls, which anchors raise to 15,000, to 21,000, 
and Colonel du Gratz to 48,000. Other places of name are 
El Pilar, which we shall visit, Villa Rica, a pauper central set- 
tlement in the richest lands, hence generally known as Villa 
Pobre, and differing little from the various Pueblos, Pueblitos, 
and Capillas, south of the Tebicuary. It lies in south latitude 
25° 47' 10'', and west longitude 56° 30' 20", some 323 feet 
above Asuncion, and 580 higher than Buenos Aires. Villa 
Real is built on the river eighty leagues above Asuncion. 
Twenty leagues further is Tevego, now Fort Bourbon or 
Olympo, the " Botany Bay '' of Dr. Francia ; and there are 
sundry minor places, as Encarnacion on the Parana, and La 
Villeta, S. Pedro, and Concepcion on the Paraguay, rivers. 
These are dignified with the pompous titles of cities and 
towns. They are mere villages and hamlets. 

Where the limits of a country are not accurately laid 
down we know what to think of its census. Moreover, 
the case of Paraguay is complicated by the admission or 
non-admission of the so-called " Indian " element. We" 
must therefore not be astonished to find that, about the 
beginning of the war, the extremes of estimate varied be- 
tween 350,000 and 1,500,000. 

In 1795 the accurate Azara gives the official census as 
97,480 souls, including 11,000 ^'^ mission Indians.-*^ In 
1818 Messrs. Rodney and Graham* report 300,000. In 



* Mr. (sometimes called Colonel) Graham, United States' Consul at 
Buenos Aires, was sent to Paraguaj^ by Mr. Brent, American Charge 
d' Affaires to the Argentine Confederation. He was received with great 
suspicion, and he was long delayed at El Pilar. 



8 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

1825 Messrs. Rengger and Longcharaps suggest 200,000, of 
whom 800 only were whites or Spaniards. The Brothers 
Robertson (Jan. 1st, 1838) increase the figure to 300,000 
souls, with a regular force of 3000 but never 4000 men. 
In 1839-40, the census of Paraguay, ordered by Dr. 
Francia before his death, numbers 220,000 souls, and this 
estimate is probably the most reliable. In 1848 General 
Pacheco y Obes* suggests 600,000 to 700,000 souls. In 
1857 Colonel du Graty, probably including the Indians, 
exaggerates it to 1,337,449, whereas the vast Argentine 
Confederation had at that time about one and a-half 
millions. Since 1856 all children of strangers born in 
Paraguay have become by law citizens, but they are too 
few to be of any importance. In 1860 M. Demersay 
allows 625,000 souls, and after the calculations of Azara, 
18,041 female to 16,753 male births. The book officially 
published in the same year, under the direction of the 
Paraguayan Government, increases the sum to 1,337,439, 
which at the beginning of the war, in 1865, would give in 
round numbers, 400,000. The "Almanac de Gotha,^^ in 
1861, suggests 800,000, and this number is repeated by 
Captain Mouchez in 1862. On the other hand, the late 
Dr. Martin de Moussy unduly reduces it under official in- 
spiration to 350,000. Mr. Gould (1868) places the total 
between 700,000 and 800,000, justly remarking that there 
are no reliable data for the computation. He estimates 
the loss during the war at 100,000 men (including 80,000 
by disease), and this would exceed the whole number of 



* "Le Paraguay, son Passe, son Present et son Avenir; par un 
Etranger qui a vecu longtemps dans le pays. Ouvrage public ^ Eio 
Janeiro en 1848, et reproduit en France, par le General Oriental Pacheco 
y Obes. Paris : Lacombe. 1851." The general prefixed a preface to the 
work of a resident of more than six years' standing, probably a medical 
man. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 9 

the army at first levied.* The Times newspaper adopts 
the figure 600,000, with a fighting force of 20,000. And 
it is understood that Dr. Stewart and other officers tho- 
roughly conversant with the country, further diminish it to 
400,000. 

Colonel du Graty would make the population double in 
seventeen years ; but this formula is also officially inspired, 
and is probably greatly exaggerated. The population of 
Buenos Aires has trebled in twenty-five years ; but in her 
case there has been a most important influx of foreigners. 
Moreover, from the days of Azara, it has been believed 
that in Paraguay the births of the sexes are not equal. 
' Un fait assez notable est la proportion plus forte des 
naissances du sexe feminin que celles du sexe masculin.^' 
(Du Graty, 265.) This peculiarity would doubtless be the 
effect of the hot damp climate of the lowlands aff'ecting the 
procreative powers of the male, and combined with the 
debauchery of the people, would, to a certain extent, tend 
to limit multiplication. We may, I believe, safely adopt 
the 220,000 souls of Dr. Francia's census in 1840, and 
double them for 1865, thus obtaining at most 450,000 
inhabitants, of whom 110,000 would be fighters between 
the ages of fifteen and fifty-five, and perhaps 150,000 of 
twelve to sixty years old. It is evident that the male popu- 
lation must now be almost destroyed or deported. Since early 
1865, marriages have been rare, and of late they have ceased 
to be contracted. Paraguay will presently be left with a 
population of some 200,000 women and children— our 
1,500,000 of inutilized women are nothing to such propor- 
tions as these. Unless she establish polygamy her history 
is at an end. 

The Paraguayan race may be divided into four dis- 



* Colonel Thompson, C.E. (Chap. Y.), computes the Paraguayan army 
in April, 1865, at about 80,000 men. 



10 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

tinct types. The few hundred " Whites ^^ forming the 
aristocracy of the land^ are descended from the blue 
blood of Spain and Biscay through Guarani and other red- 
skin women^ and they have kept themselves tolerably pure 
by intermarriage,, or by connexion with Europeans. The 
nobility, therefore, is Spanish ; the mobility is not. The 
mulatto or ^^ small ears " is a mixture of the white with 
the Indian or the Negro, the third and fourth breeds ; as 
usual, he is held to be ignoble : an " Indian^^ might enter 
the priesthood ; not so the mulatto. The same was the case 
in the United States, and in the Brazil — the instinct of 
mankind concerning such matters is everywhere the same. 
It is only the philanthropist who closes his ears to the voice 
of common sense. 

It is a mistake to consider the Paraguayans as a 
homogeneous race. The Whites or Spaniards preponde- 
rated in and about Asuncion ; whereas at Villa Rica the 
" Indian'' element was strong. About 1600-1628, the 
" Mamelukes'' of S. Paulo having seized and plundered the 
nearest Reduction of Jesus and Mary in the province of La 
Guayra, distant only 900 miles from their city, the people fled 
to Central Paraguay, and their descendants, the Villa Ricans, 
are still known as Guayrenos. In the southern and south- 
eastern parts of the country the blood was much mixed with 
Itatins"^ or Itatinguays, a clan which also migrated 
from the banks of the Yi River to the seaboard of 
Brazilian S. Paulo. When independence was declared, the 
negroes who were household servants did not exceed 2000 — 
others reduce them to 1000. The Consular Government 
decreed the womb to be free, and forbad further import. 
Until very lately, however, slaves were sold in Paraguay. 



* Thej may be called so from their original settlements, Ita-tin, mean- 
ing a white stone. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 11 

The Paraguayo — not Paragueno, as some travellers write 
the word — is, then^ a Hispano-Guarani, and he is, as a rule, 
far more " Indian'^ than Spanish. Most of the prisoners 
with whom I conversed were in fact pure redskins. The 
figure is somewhat short and stout, but well put together, 
with neat, shapely, and remarkably small extremities. The 
brachycephalic head is covered with a long straight 
curtain of blue-black hair, whilst the beard and mustachios 
are rare, except in the case of mixed breeds. The 
face is full, flat, a ad circular ; the cheekbones are high, 
and laterally salient; the forehead is low, remarkably 
contrasting with the broad, long, heavy, and highly-de- 
veloped chin ; and the eyes are often oblique, being raised 
at the exterior canthi, with light or dark-brown pupils, well- 
marked eyebrows, and long, full, and curling lashes. The 
look is rather intelligent than otherwise, combined with an 
expression of reserve ; it is soft in the women, but in both 
sexes it readily becomes that of the savage. The nose is 
neither heavy nor prominent, and in many cases besides 
being short and thin it is upturned. The masticatory ap- 
paratus is formidable, the mouth is large and wide, the 
jaws are strong, and the teeth are regular, white, and made 
for hard work. The coloration is a warm yellow lit up 
with red ; the lips are also rosy. In the " Spaniards," the 
complexion, seen near that of the pure European, appears 
of that bleached- white with a soup9on of yellow which may 
be remarked in the highest caste Brahmans of Guzerat and 
Western Hindostan. The only popular deformity is the goitre, 
of which at Asuncion there is one in almost every family ; 
the vulgar opinion is that all who suffer from it come from 
the uplands. Obesity is rare, yet the Paraguayan is ebrius 
as w^ell as ebriosus, and his favourite " chicha" beer of maize 
or other grains, induces pinguefaction. Until the late war, 
he was usually in good health. The only medicines known 



12 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

to the country were contained in various manuscripts of 
simple recipes^ written by Sigismund Asperger, a Hungarian 
priest J who spent (says Azara) forty years amongst the 
missions of La Plata^ and who, after the expulsion of his 
order^ died, aged 112. The Paraguayan is eminently a 
vegetarian, for beef is rare within this oxless land, and the 
Republic is no longer, as described by DobrizhofFer^, the 
" devouring grave as well as the seminary of cattle.^^ He 
sickens under a meat diet; hence^ to some extent, the 
terrible losses of the army in the field. Moreover, he holds 
with the Guacho, that ^' Carnero no es carne''^ — mutton is 
not meat. Living to him is cheap. He delights in 
masamora (maize hominy), in manioc, in the batata, or 
^' Spanish potato/^ grown in Southern Europe ; in various 
preparations of cow^s milk^ and in fruity especially oranges. 
Of course he loves sweetmeats, such as " mel,^^ or boiled- 
down cane-juice, not the common drained treacle. His 
principal carbonaceous food is oil of " mani^^ — the Arachis, 
here the succedaneum for the olive — and the excellent 
fish of the Paraguay river : the latter aliment has of late 
years become an especial favourite, as the ready phosphorus- 
supplier to the brain, and " ohne phosphor keine gedenke.^' 
Concerning the Paraguayan character, authors greatly 
differ, though mostly agreeing that in some points it is 
singular and even unique. ^^ He is brave because he is 
good,''^ said Mr. Mansfield, overjoyed to find a man and yet 
a vegetarian, free, moreover, from the " disgusting vice of 
shopkeeping.'''' " Un peuple vertueux et vaillant,^^ endorses 
General Pacheco. " Paraguayo,^^ is now applied by the 
Brazilian to a stubborn mule, to a kicking horse, or to a 
drunken man : the women give the name to their naughty 
children. On the other hand, the Spanish Paraguayans call 
the Brazilians " Rabilongos," the long-tailed (monkeys) ; 
and the Guarani speakers " Cambahis,^^ or niggers. In 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 13 

Argentine land the Luso- American is always talked of as 
Macaco, the ape. Travellers have noticed the manifold 
contradictions of the national mind — such as its " Indian^' 
reserve mixed with kindness and seeming frankness; its hospi- 
tality to, and dislike of, foreigners ; the safety of the purse, 
not of the throat, throughout the Republic; and its ex- 
cessive distrust, mefiance, and suspicion, concealed by ap- 
parent openness and candour. Some of our countrymen 
employ Paraguayan captives as shepherds and labourers ; 
they are found to work well, but the man will, if possible, 
lie all day in his hammock or about the hut, and send his 
wife afield. Personally, I may state that in every transaction 
with Paraguayans — of course not the upper dozen — they 
invariably cheated or robbed me, and that in truthfulness 
they proved themselves to be about on a par with the 
Hindu. Even the awful Marshal President was not safe 
from their rascality. 

It is pretended by his enemies that Dr. Francia, the 
better to sustain his despotism, brought about amongst a 
semi- Republican, semi-patriarchal race, a state of profound 
immorality, in the confined sense of the word, and that to 
the encouragement of low debauchery he added that of 
gambling. The fact is, he ruled the people by systematising 
the primitive laxity and the malpractices which he found 
amongst them ; and in autocracies generally, the liberty 
conceded to society is in exact inverse ratio to the strictness 
with which political latitudinarianism is curbed. Dr. 
Francia rose to power over a nation of ^vhom each member 
was profoundly satisfied with his family, his native valley, 
his country ; with his government, which he adored, and with 
his religion, to him the only one upon earth. The con- 
tempt of mankind was the beginning of his wisdom. He 
asserted, as do his friends, that Paraguay has no other fault 
but that of being the strongest and the most prudent of 



]4 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

States, and that all who speak against her are actuated by 
mere envy and jealousy. A serf, the descendant of mere 
serfs — Yanaconas and Mitayos* — a fervent patriot more- 
over, the only freedom to which he aspired was that of 
morals. Everywhere the woman of Guacho-land takes a most 
matter-of-fact view of a subject into which most peoples of 
the world attempt to infuse a something of poetry and 
romance. Love is with her as eating and sleeping — a 
purely corporeal necessity. Like Rahel Varnhagen, she is 
constant : she always loves some one, but not the same. 
As everywhere in South America^ marriage is not the rule, 
and under Dr. Francia it was forbidden, or rather it was 
conceded under exceptional circumstances only ; this would 
tend to make of the whole race one great household, and 
to do away with onr modern limited idea of the family. 
Of course the women were faithful to the men as long as 
they loved them, and when that phase passed away they 
chose for themselves anew. Like the Brazilians, both sexes 
are personally clean, and the Paraguayan camps were ex- 
ceptionally so, but the people do not keep their houses in 
Dutch order. 

The Paraguayan soldier has shown in this war qualities 
which were hardly expected of him. He has, in fact, de- 
stroyed himself by his own heroism. Most foreigners are 
of opinion that two Paraguayans are quite a match for 
three Brazilians. The enemies of the Marshal President 
assert that he forces his subjects to fight; that the first 
line has orders to win or fall, the second to shoot or 
bayonet all fugitives, and so forth till finally the threads 
are gathered together in one remorseless hand — this idea of 



* In the Encoraieiidas that belonged to laymen, the Yanacona system 
made the "Indian" de facto a life-long slave. The Mitayo was a 
temporary Redskin serf who owed a " mita" or corvee of two months per 
annum to his feudal lord. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 15 

tlie triple line seems the invention of Ercilla's Lautaro. 
If a point be carried by the enemy, the Paraguayan officers 
are, it is said, " passed under arms,^^ and their wives and 
children flogged, outraged, and put to death ; the men are 
merely decimated. As will presently appear, the dis- 
cipline of Marshal President Lopez allows no mezzo 
termine ; with him it is fight or die, either bravely in the 
field, or if a coward, by the executioners^ shot in the back. 
The Paraguayan soldier has certainly fought, in his hatred 
of the sterile anarchy of the purer race, and in resisting the 
usurpations of his neighbours, with a tenacity of purpose, 
with a fierce intrepidity, and with an impassible contempt 
of death which do him the highest honour. On the other 
hand, he is a savage who willingly mutilates the corpse of 
his enemy, and hangs strings of ears to the shrouds of his 
ship. The secret of his success is, that he holds himself 
single-handed a match for any half-dozen of his enemies. 
The secret of his failm-e is, that his enemies have divined him. 
Thus, when he attacks in bodies of 7000, he is opposed by 
20,000. In one notable point is the Paraguayan soldier de- 
ficient, and that is in intelligence. He wants initiative : his 
arm is better than his head. This is the inevitable result 
of the '^ Indian " being mixed with European blood ; and the 
same may be seen in the Chilian and the Peru^dan — good 
soldiers, but lacking brains. He despises pain, to which he 
is probably little sensitive, and he has not that peculiar ferocity 
which characterizes the people of the Pampas, as it does all 
the shepherd races of mankind. M. Alberdi said well, '^ Le 
desert est le grand ennemi de FAmerique, et dans un 
desert, gouverner c^est peupler.^^ Man who lives with beasts 
rapidly brutalizes himself. A single day in the Guacho^s 
hut suffices to show how his cruelty is born and bred. The 
babies begin to " balF^ and lasso the dogs, cats, and poultry, 
and the little boy saws at the lamVs neck with a blunt 



16 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

knife, little sister the while looking on amused. From 
lambs to sheep, to black cattle, and to man the steps are 
easy. 

Paraguay instances the truism, that you may learn reading, 
writing, and the four first rules of arithmetic, yet you may 
know nothing. The Commonwealth had, according to Colonel 
du Graty, 500 primary schools, and a total of 20,000 pupils. 
The census of 1845 registered 16,750 male pupils, which, ac- 
cording to the proportions calculated in the United States, 
represents ^th of male population — this remark was made by 
M. T. M. Lasturria (Chilian Minister to the Platine Republics 
and the Brazilian Empire) . Assuming Azara^s computation 
regarding the diflPerence of sexes, 16,750 boys would be the 
equivalent of 18,041 girls who are not educated. Since 1861 
the justices of the peace were ordered to send to school 
all children between nine and ten who had no excuse for 
staying away. Each district had its school, but only those of 
the principal places were subsidized by the State. The usual 
pay tcTthe teacher was one riyal (sixty-five cents) per month 
irregularly paid by paterfamilias ; consequently the school- 
master was despised almost as much as amongst the gold 
diggers of Australia. 

Instruction was made, as everywhere it should be, — an- 
other truism — elementary, compulsory, gratuitous, universal. 
Unfortunately, it was not made purely secular. As usual in 
South America, Paraguay indulged herself in the luxmy 
of a State religion — namely, the Catholic, Apostolic, and 
Holy Roman, modified by the presence of a second and a 
stronger Pope, in the shape of a President. The amount 
of religious instruction was, however, confined to the " Chris- 
tian doctrine,^^ an elementary catechism learned by heart ; 
in fact, they acquired theology enough to hate a heretic 
neighbour, without knowing the reason why. No Para- 
guayan was allowed to be analphabetic — a curious contrast 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 17 

with England and her two millions of uneducated children. 
The handwriting became so similar^ that a stranger would 
have thought the Republic confined to a single writing- 
master. But the educational element was completely sterile. 
The only books allowed were silly lives of saints^ a few 
volumes of travels, subsidized and authorized by the State, 
and hideous lithographs probably put on stone at Asuncion ; 
the worst and ignoblest form of literature once popular in 
" Bookseller's Row."*^ There was little secondary instruction, 
and only one institute in which superior teaching was at any 
time allowed. The newspaper, more potent than the steam 
engine, was there, but the organ of publicity was converted 
to Governmental purposes. 

" II n^y a pas de Journaux a TAssomption,^^ says the 
Revue des Deux Mondes, with customary and characteristic 
veracity. As early as April 26, 1845, a weekly paper 
was established to refute the calumnies of the Argentine 
press. El Paraguayo Independiente was issued on Saturdays, 
but irregularly, by the Printing office of the State, and it 
was purely official, no advertisements being admitted, whilst 
the price per number was one riyal (65 cents). Some 
years afterwards it was judged advisable to modify it after 
a civilized fashion, to vary the matter, and to admit feuil- 
letons and announcements. It was still the official sheet, 
the Moniteur of the Republic, and it changed its name to 
El Semanario — the weekly — not as often written '' Seminario" 
— "de Avisos y conocimientos utiles J' It was published at 
the official capital, Asuncion, Luque, Paraguary, or wherever 
head-quarters might be ; forming a single sheet, 2 spans long, 
by 1-30, printed upon Caraguata fibre. This wild Bromelia 
makes a stiff" whitey-brown paper, good for wrapping, 
but poorly fitted to receive type, especially when the ink 
is made from a species of black bean. The first two 
columns are the ^' seccion officiel ''"' and the rest is '^ no 

2 



18 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

officiel j " at times a little Guarani poetry appears at the 
end. The single number costs four riyals, or twelve = three 
dollars. August^ 1868^ saw its sixteenth anniversary. El 
Semanario is published purely under Governmental inspi- 
ration, hence the perpetual victories over the Brazil, and the 
superhuman valour of the Marshal President. It is said 
that the copies forwarded to the out stations are ordered, 
especially since paper became so scarce, to be read, and to 
be returned. A complete set of Semanarios will be 
necessary to the future historian of the war, and they will 
not be easily procured. 

The Cabichui newspaper, translated Mosquito, or Mouche 
k Miel, is a kind of Guarani Punch or Charivari, established 
by Marshal President Lopez, to pay off in kind the satirists 
and caricaturists of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, and 
printed by the Army Press. I saw but one number, bearing 
date year 1 Paso Pucu. The paper was of Caraguata, 
prepared by M. Treuenfeldt of the Telegraph Office, and 
the size 1|- span long by 1 broad. The single sheet begins 
with a vignette of a Sylvan man surrounded by a swarm of 
brobdignag flies, like the Gobemouche sketched by French 
children. It has an almanac for the week, sundry articles, 
all political, and caricatures of the Emperor and Empress 
of the Brazil, the Triple Alliance, Marshal Caxias and his 
army, and Admiral Inhauma with his iron-clads. The 
illustrations, drawn by some amateur military Rapin, and 
cut in wood, are rude in the extreme, but they are not 
more unartistic than was the Anglo-Indian Punch in my 
day. The Lambare is published only in Guarani for the 
benefit of those who cannot enjoy Spanish. The Continela 
was in Spanish, with an occasional Guarani article. Thus 
^^ il n^ a pas de journaux ^^ means that there are four. 

The commerce of Paraguay is nominally free, but the 
Government, that is to say, the President, owns more than 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 19 

oue-half of the surface of the republic, and is, like the old 
Imam of Muskat, the strongest and the most active of 
merchants. The country is, in fact, a great estancia of 
which the chief magistrate acts proprietor. The so-called 
public property supported about 300,000 head of cattle, and 
thus the army was easily rationed ; it also bred poor horses 
for the cavalry, the Paraguayan being an equestrian race, 
but not so notably as the Guacho of the Pampas, the 
Centaur of the south. An absolute Government, a supreme 
authority, buys from its subjects at the price which best 
suits it; sells the produce, and employs means to maintain a 
certain level of fortunes ; thus the Krumen of the West 
African coast temper riches ("too plenty sass"), which 
would give the individual power and influence unpleasant 
or injurious to his brother man. The rudimental agriculture, 
in which a wooden plough is used to turn up the loose soil, 
is limited to procuring subsistence, and even before the war 
began it was considered rather women^s work than men^s. 
The permanent military organization and the excessive 
armaments always carried off hands, whose absence, combined 
with drought and insects, rendered a surplus impossible. 
The following are the exports, and there is always a ready 
market for them down stream :■ — 

In 1846, when the present tariff of import dues was 
settled, Yerba or Paraguay tea was made a monopoly of 
Government, who bought it from individuals for $1 (f.) per 
arroba (251bs.), and sold it to the exporting merchants 
for $6 (f.)* The "herb'' was in fact gold in the presi- 
dential pocket, its superior excellence made it in demand 
throughout South America, and it promised to be an inex- 
haustible mine of wealth. By means of it only, Paraguay, 



* Lieut.- Colonel Thompson says that in his day Government piirchased 
at one shilling per 25 lbs., and sold at 21-32*. 

■ 2—2 



20 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

comparatively rich thougli positively poor^ never had a 
public debt, and was not^ like the adjoining States^ whose 
revenues and expenses were unequal^ dependent upon foreign 
loans. At one time she was rich enough to assist deserv- 
ing citizens with small advances at 6 per cent. — economies 
effected by lessening her number of employes^ quite the 
reverse of her neighbours^ policy. The tobacco (petun)"^ 
has been compared with that of the Havannah^ and the 
similarity of the red ferruginous soils of Paraguay with 
the celebrated Vuelta de Abajo has not escaped observa- 
tion ; about 3,000_,000 pounds in bale and 6^000^000 cigars 
were the annual produce. The forests abound in admirable 
timber for building and bark for tanning — such are the 
Cebil and the Curupay. During the six months ending 
March, 1858, Paraguay planted 4,192_,520 ridges of cotton 
seed, and 195,757 shrubs and fruit trees : and in 1863 some 
16,600,000 Cotton plants were set and the yield was 4000 
bales. The cotton, except only the Samuhu or Nankeen, whose 
fibre wants cohesion, has length, force, and fineness, in fact, 
all the requisite qualities. Rice and sugar, wool and fruits, 
can be supplied in any quantities. Cochineal appears spon- 
taneously upon the Cactus ; the woods abound in honey, 
and the wild indigo has been compared with that of Guate- 
mala. Other rich dyes are the Yriburetima or " vulture^s 
leg^^ which gives a blue metallic tint, and the Acaugay root 
which stains scarlet. Leeches have been found, but they 

* As M. Demersay remarks, it is not a little singular that the Bretons 
have preserved for tobacco the Guarani name " Pe-tun," which expresses 
the sound of the breath escaping from the lips. He quotes the couplet — 

" Quant il en attrape quelqu'un 
De leurs chair il fait du petun." 

It is a far better name than " tobacco," which means a pipe, or than the 
selfish " Angoulmoisine," proposed by Thevet of Angouleme, who for 
thirty-six years " navigua et peregrina.'* The modern Bretons, I believe, 
pronounce the word "butun." 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 21 

are still sent from Hamburg to tlie Plate. The principal 
fibres are from tliePiassaba palm now becoming so well known 
in England, the Caraguata and the Ybira, fitted for ropes. 
The Caoutchouc of the Curuguati and the Cuarepoti moun- 
tains is called Atangaisi. The medical flora is rich in 
gums_, resins, and drugs ; for instance, the Oriissi, the Cana- 
fistula, the Copaiba, and the Aguaribay, popularly termed 
" Balm of the Missions. ^^ Some authors mention rhubarb, 
but I do not know to what plant they refer. 

The imports comprised all things wanted by a poor and 
semi-civilized country : arms were in especial demand — 
the Paraguayans occupied Corrientes in 1849 solely in 
order to secure the free importation of warlike stores. 
Even lime was introduced, although there is abundance of 
it in the land. The other articles were mainly wet goods 
(wines and liqueurs) ; dry goods (silks, cottons, and broad 
cloths), and hardware. The Messrs. Ash worth, of Buenos 
Aires, supplied the stout baize for the use of the troops : 
since the beginning of the war that occupation has 
gone. The total value of the books imported in ten years 
Jiardly reached $3299, and of these, few if any treated of 
the arts or sciences, mechanics or industry. 

There were four taxes in Paraguay which, in ordinary 
times, sufficed to support the commonweal. The tithes 
abolished by Dr. Francia were re-established by President 
Lopez I., " rillustre magistrat,'''' who gave impulsion to the 
Code of Commerce, perfected the financial system, and 
established a mint to stamp coin with the arms of the Be- 
public. He raised them in lieu of $1 on head of cattle 
sold ; of the " Alcabala,'' or 4 per cent, on yearly sales, and 
of the vexatious 6 per cent, on purchases from foreigners. 
The custom-house dues, as in the Brazil, w^ere of all the 
most important items of income, and this evil is apparently 
unavoidable in young lands. The demi-annatte or conceded 



22 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 



lands were made to pay 5 per cent, of their proper value^ 
not one-half, as in its unwisdom the old Spanish law di- 
rected. Lastly was stamped paper, which hrought in con- 
siderable sums : the highest class of $7 (f.) was used for 
patents of administration. As a rule taxation was exceed- 
ingly light,, and public works were paid for out of the 
treasury hoards or by the profits derived from Yerba. 

A book published in Paraguay by " supreme" dictation, 
contains the following scale of imports and exports during 
the ten years of 1851-1860 :— 









EXPOETS. 






Impoets. 


Years. Yerba, tobacco, hides, Wet goods, dry goods, 
wool, fruits, &c. iron ware, &c. 


1851 . . . $341,616 . . . $230,907 


1852 






470,010 


. 




715,886 


1853 






690,480 






406,688 


1854 






777,861 


. 


. 


595,823 


1855 






1,005,900 






431,835 


1856 






1,143,131 






. 631,234 


1857* 






1,700,722 






. 1,074,639 


1858 






1,205,819 






. 866,596 


1859t . 






2,199,678 






1,539,648 


1860 






. 1,693,904 






885,841 



10 years. Total $11 ,229,121 



,379,107 



In 1861 the total revenue was estimated at 8 millions of 
francs, about 4j millions resulting from the profits on Yerba, 
and the residue from the sale of stamped paper, public 
lands, and other taxes. 

In 1862 the commerce of Paraguay was represented by 
exports $1,867,000, and imports $1,136,000. 



* Others estimate the revenue of 1857 at $2,441,323. 
f It has even been asserted that in 1859 the export and import dues 
rose to 3,500,000 patacoons. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 23 

In 1863 by exports $1,700,000, and imports $1,148,000. 

Under the senior Lopez the country was well pierced 
with roads, despite the many difficulties of " Cienega '' and 
swamp. Of these one, twelve leagues in length and fifty 
feet broad, was run over Mount Caio, and a second over 
Mount Palmares, thirteen leagues long. A third, numbering 
six leagues, and thirty-six feet broad, traversed the Cora- 
guazu, whilst a cart-road was commenced from Villa Rica 
to the Parana River, about parallel with the mouth of the 
Curitiba or Iguazii^s influent. A single pair of rails with 
sidings was proposed to run from Asuncion to Villa Rica, 
a distance of 108 miles. This line began in 1858, and was 
wholly the work of the Paraguayan Government : it had 
reached Paraguari, only a distance of seventy-two kilometres, 
when the allies captured Asuncion. The chief engineer was 
Mr. Paddison, C.E., now in Chili : that gentleman, fortu- 
nately for himself, left Paraguay before the troubles began, 
and he was succeeded by Messrs. Valpy and Burrell, who 
did not. 



SECTION II. 

HISTORICAL SKETCH. 

The history of Paraguay — she never forgets that she 
is a province senior to her sister, the Argentine Confedera- 
tion — naturally divides itself into four distinct epochs, 
namely, the 

Age of Conquest (1528-1620); the Period of Colonial 
AND Jesuitic Rule (1620-1754) ; the Government of 
THE Viceroys (1754-1810); and the Era of Indepen- 
dence (1811). 

Discovered by Sebastian Cabot, who in 1530, after a 
navigation of three years, returned to Europe, Paraguay 



24 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

was granted by the Spanish monarchs to ^'^ Adelantados''^ or 
private adventurers,, men mostly of patrician blood, " as 
good gentlemen as the king, but not so rich/" This is the 
romantic period, the childhood of her annals, upon which 
the historian, like the autobiographer, loves to dwell : no 
new matter of any interest has, hoAvever, of late years, 
come to light. We still read, in all writers from Robertson 
to the latest pen, of the misfortunes that befel D. Pedro de 
Mendoza ; of the exploits of his lieutenant, D. Juan de 
Ayolas, who on August 15th, 1537, founded Asuncion; of 
the wars, virtues, and fate of Alvar Nunez (Cabeza de Vaca), 
against whom his contador, or second in command, the vio- 
lent and turbulent Felipe Caceres, rebelled ; of the conquest 
of D. Domingo Martinez de Irala, who settled the colony ; 
of the subjugation of the Guaranis by the Captain Francisco 
Ortiz de Vergara, for whom the audience of Lima substi- 
tuted D. Juan Ortiz de Zarate ; of the lieutenant-governor- 
ship of the double-dyed rebel Felipe Caceres, who had again 
revolted against Vergara, and who expiated his offences by 
imprisonment and deportation to Spain ; and lastly, of the 
chivalrous career of the valiant Biscayan, D. Juan de Garay, 
who after conquering and settling an extensive province 
perished miserably (1581) by the hands of the ignoble 
Minuano"^ savages. Thus by conquest and violence arose 
a state which was doomed to fall, in the fulness of time, 
bathed in its own blood. 

As early as 1555 Asuncion became the seat of the first 
diocess : its juniors were Tucuman, originally established 
at Santiago-dcl-Estero, and transported to Cordoba in 1700; 
Buenos Aires, founded in 1620; and lastly Salta, in 1735. 
From the beginning, as in the days of Dr. Francia and 



* The word is generally written " Minuane," but I am assured by 
Mr. R. Huxham, of the Hio Grande do Sul, a competent judge, that Minuano 
is the correct form. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 25 

the two Lopez, tlie spiritual was made subordinate to the 
temporal power. Ferdinand the Catholic obtained from 
Pope Alexander VI. the right of levying chureh tithes, 
upon the express condition of Christianizing his own 
hemisphere. Shortly afterwards (1508) Julius II. made 
over to him the entire patronage of ecclesiastical interests. 
Such concessions created the Spanish kings heads of the 
South American Church, and proprietors of her property ; 
the Chief Pontiff confirmed all their appointments, and Papal 
Bulls had no power in their colonies unless sanctioned by 
the Consejo de Indias. The first oath of the Bishop elect 
was to recognise the spiritual superiority, and to swear 
that he would never oppose the prerogative [patronato real), 
of his sovereign. In other points the ecclesiastical hierarchy 
was placed on the same footing as in Spain : the prelates 
received a portion of the tithes, whilst the rest was devoted 
to propagandism, and to the building of churches. 

The government of the Adelantazgo of private adven- 
turers — the era of conquest and confusion — was succeeded 
by the norm of order, and by the despotism laical and 
clerical of the parent country. A royal decree in 1620 
divided Paraguay into two governments, completely 
independent of each other. The first was Paraguay 
Proper : the other was the Rio de la Plata, which thus ob- 
tained her own capital, Buenos Aires, and the seat of her 
bishopric. To both colonies a king irresponsible by law 
gave laws and functionaries. Both Paraguay and the Argen- 
tine Provinces were governed for more than two centuries 
by the Vice-royalty of Peru, and the '^Audience of Charcas,^' 
whose only peer was then that of Nueva Espaiia. 

It was at this period that the Society of Jesus obtained 
permission to catechize the indolent, passive, receptive 
child-men called Guaranis. They were rather barbarians 
than savages like the nomads of the Pampas j they culti- 



26 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

vated maize and sweet potato^ tobacco and cotton, and 
they had none of the headstrong independence that cha- 
racterizes the Gaucho or mixed breed. Philip III. having, 
by his decree of 1606, approved of the project to propagate 
the faith, allowed two Italians, Simoni Mazeta and Giuseppe 
Cataldino to set out (December 8, 1609) en route for the 
colony of La Guayra, where some Spaniards had settled 
and had laid the foundations of future empire. The Jesuits 
began to form their rival government in the regions to the 
east and south-east of the actual republic, the fertile valleys 
of the Rivers Parana and Uruguay ; and between 1685 and 
1760 they established the Misiones or Reductions of 
Paraguay. The whole Guarani Republic, for it might 
so be called, contained thirty-three Pueblos or towns. 
Of these, seven, now hopelessly ruined, lay on the left 
bank of the Uruguay River ; fifteen, also destroyed, were 
in the modern provinces of Corrientes and Entre Rios ; and 
eleven, of which remnants of church or chapel still exist, 
were in Paraguay Proper, that is to say, north of the Great 
River. These thirty-three Reductions numbered at one time 
100,000 souls and 743,608 head of cattle. 

It is a popular error to suppose that all Paraguay was 
occupied by the Jesuits ; their theocracy extended over but 
a small portion of the modern Republic ; on the other hand 
their influence flew far and wide. In the west and about 
Asuncion was the civil government, one of pure immobility 
as regards progress, and occupied only by contemptible 
wars, civil and foreign. The clergy was in the last stage 
of corruption and ignorance, except when its own interests 
were concerned. New Spain alone numbered 15,000 priests. 
About 1649 South America supported 840 monkeries with 
enormous estates : a will that left nothiog to a religious 
house was held an irreligious act in those days, and even 
now the prejudice is not quite obsolete. Moreover, every 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 27 

landed property was mulcted in impositions known as 
Capellanias. Its nunneries were equally wealthy, and most 
of them admitted only ladies of Spanish origin, thus foster- 
ing the spirit of aristocracy in the very bosom of religion. 

It is interesting to see how, in the organization of those 
early times, we find adumbrated the system of Paraguay in 
the heart of the nineteenth century. Then, and not as 
vulgarly supposed with Dr. Francia, commenced the isola- 
tion which afterwards gave to Paraguay the titles of Japan 
and " Chine Americaine.''^ Then began the sterile, extra- 
vagant theocratic despotism which made the race what it 
still is, an automaton that acts as peasantry and soldiery ; 
not a people but a flock, a servum pecus knowing no rule 
but that of their superiors, and whose history may be 
summed up in absolute submission, fanaticism, blind obe- 
dience, heroic and barbarous devotion to the tyrant that 
rules it, combined with crass ignorance, hatred of, and 
contempt for, the foreigner. Then first arose the oligarchy, 
the slavery of the masses, the incessant corvees which still 
endure, the regimentation of labour, and even the storing of 
arms and ammunition. Bearing this fact in mind, we 
have the key that opens many a fact, so inexplicable to the 
world, in the events of the last five years^ war. 

The Jesuits appeared as Thaumaturgi, missioners and 
martyrs : in those days they headed progress and they strove 
to advance science, until the latter outstripping them, they 
determined to trip her up. Their system justified hunting- 
expeditions to catch souls for the Church ; and Azara 
has well described their ingenuity in peopling the Mission 
of San Joachim. By founding in every city churches and 
religious houses they monopolized education, beginning 
even with the babe, and by immense territorial property 
they rose to influence and power. The Guaranis, taught 
to hold themselves a saintly and chosen^ a privileged and 



28 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

God-elected race, and delighted to be so patriarclially and 
caciqually ruled, prostrated themselves before the Fathers 
in body and mind ; looked up to them as dog does to man, 
and bound up in them their own physical as well as 
spiritual existence. 

The Superior of the Missions being empowered by the 
Pope to confirm, bishops were not wanted. That high 
official usually resided at Candelaria, on the left bank of 
the upper Parana River. In each of the reduced villages 
was a ^' College^^ for two Jesuits — misite illos binos, the 
practice of the earliest Christian Apostles, was with them a 
rule as in Japan and Dahome. One charged with temporals 
was the Rector, Misionero, Cmxta or Curate ; the other, 
called Doctrinero or Companero, the Vice-Curate, managed 
spiritual matters. Each settlement also had its Cabildo 
or municipality, composed of a Corregidor, an Alcalde 
(magistrate) and his assessors; but as in the native corps 
of the Anglo-Indian army, these were native officers 
under command of the white strangers. The Fathers also 
decided, without appeal to the ordinary judges or to the 
Spanish tribunals, all cases civil and criminal; the only 
rule or law was the Jesuit^s will, and the punishments were 
inflicted through the Cabildos over which they presided. 
Presently the royal tithes and taxes were replaced by a 
fixed levy in order to avoid communication with the 
agent at the head-quarters of civil power. 

A system of complete uniformity was extended even to 
the plan of the settlement and of the houses. Travellers 
in the Missions have deemed themselves victims of delusion 
when after riding many leagues from one Reduction they 
found themselves in a facsimile of that which they had 
left. All the settlements had, like the settlers, saints^ names. 
The normal plan was a heap of pauper huts clustering 
about a church of the utmost procurable magnificence, and 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 29 

tlie establishments of the Fathers were in the church, not 
in the hut. The Jesuits were forbidden to converse singly 
with women or to receive them in their home ; but Jose 
Basilio da Gama and their other adversaries declare that 
most of them had concubines and families. 

The community was a mere phalanstery. The Guaranis 
w^ere taught by their Fathers to hear and to obey like 
schoolboys, and their lives were divided between the chapel 
and farm work. Their tasks were changed by Jesuit art 
into a kind of religious rejoicing, a childish opera. They 
marched afield to the sound of fiddles, following a pro- 
cession that bore upon the Anda or platform a figure of 
the O^oTOKog ; this was placed under an arbour, whilst the 
hoe was plied to the voice of psalmody, and the return to 
rest was as solemn and musical as the going forth to toil. 
This system is in fact that of the Central African Negro 
— I have described the merrymakings which accompany 
the tilling of Unyamwezi and the harvest-home of 
Galla-land. The crops of yerba and tobacco, dry pulse 
and cotton, cut with the same ceremony, were stored with 
hides, timber, and coarse hand-woven stuff's, in public 
garners under the direction of the Padres. After feeding 
and clothing his lieges. King Jesuit exported the remains 
of the common stock in his own boats, and exchanged it at 
Buenos Aires for the general wants — hardware, drugs, 
looms, agricultural implements, fine clothes to be given as 
prizes, and splendid stuff's and ornaments for the Chm-ch. 
No Guarani could buy or sell ; he was, however, graciously 
permitted to change one kind of food for another. 
Feminine work was submitted to the same rule as masculine, 
and " Dii laboribus omnia vendunt'^ became strictly true, 
but only of the priestly purchasers. 

In some Missions the toil was constant and severe, 
indeed so much so as to crush out the spirit of the 



30 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

labourers. A curious report^ alluded to at the time by 
most Jesuitical and anti-Jesuit writers^ and ill-temperedly 
noticed by Southey^ spread far and wide — namely, that the 
Fathers were compelled to arouse their flocks somewhat 
before the working hours, and to insist upon their not 
preferring Morpheus to Venus, and thus neglecting the 
duty of begetting souls to be saved. I have found the 
tradition still lingering amongst the modern Paraguayans. 
Everything, pleasures as well as labours, meals and 
prayers, was regulated and organized by the Fathers. The 
saint''s day was duly celebrated with feasting, dancing, 
drinking, tournaments, bull-baiting, and cock-fighting ; in 
the simple, childish Indian brain religion consisted of 
fetes and processions. The ceremonies of worship and even 
the mode of entering church were made matters of etiquette. 
The Fathers wore their golden copes ; the children, robed 
in white, swung their censers, and the faithful paced in 
complacent ranks with measured steps under the perfumed 
shade of their orange groves. The description reads like a 
scene of piping and fiddling in a play. Dress was regulated 
— the women wore petticoats and armless chemises girt at the 
waist, with hair plaited into one or two tails and adorned 
with a crimson flower; the men were clad in ponchos and 
drawers ; both sexes looked like big babies, and they 
went barefoot, still the fashion of middle and lower class 
Paraguay. 

Education in the Missions was, in the seventeenth century, 
what the Republic has preserved in the nineteenth. The 
Jesuits, whose university was at Cordoba in the modern 
province of Santa Fe, had their o\>ti printing-presses in the 
Reductions ; they were diligent students of the barbarous 
native dialects, which they soon advanced by means of 
grammars and vocabularies to the rank of semi-civilized 
tongues; they did the thinking for their converts, but they 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 31 

taught them to read, to recite the Doctrina Christiana in 
Guarani, and to study certain books of piety. The people 
were forbidden to learn Spanish; and when the Inquisition 
put '' a rindex"' poor Robinson Crusoe (1790), doubtless 
because he managed to live so long without the aid of a 
ghostly father, we may imagine what must have been the 
Jesuitical succedaneum for education. To educate is to 
enfranchise, to enfranchise is to disestablish, or rather to 
disendow. We in England at least understand that, other- 
wise we should long ago have made education compulsory _, 
gratuitous, secular, universal. 

The Jesuits established their system by the means most 
efficacious amongst savages, the grasp of the velvet-gloved 
iron hand. Their prime object was complete isolation, to 
draw a cordon between the Missions and the outer world ; 
even communication between the " Indians'*^ of the several 
Reductions was rarely allowed. It succeeded, this deadening, 
brutalizing religious despotism, amongst the humble settled 
Guaranis who were eager to be tyrannized over, and the 
tree planted by the hand of St. Ignatius began to bear its 
legitimate fruit in 1864. I need hardly say that the fruit 
is the utter extinction of the race, which the progress of 
mankind is sweeping from the face of the earth. When 
tried amongst the fiercer and more warlike nomads of the 
Gran Chaco the system was an utter failure. The Guaranis 
themselves made, as might be expected, so little progress in 
civil life that after the expulsion of the Fathers they found 
self-government impossible, and '' Sint ut sunt aut non sint^'' 
seems to have been the clerical axiom. It was deemed 
necessary to organize under the Dominicans an imitative 
Jesuitism. The converts speedily relapsed into their pris- 
tine barbarism, and many of them flying the settlements 
returned to their woods and swamps. 

The Missions of Paraguay have often been described — of 



32 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

course in the two opposite ways. The Jesuit Charlevoix 
and the devout Muratori^ undeterred by qualms of con- 
science touching pious frauds, have given the rosy side of 
the view. And considered from the clerical stand-point, 
these Missions were the true primitive Christian idea of 
communism, the society presided over by Saint Paul, and 
the establishment which Fourier, Robert Owen, Mr. Harris, 
and a host of others have attempted to revive in this our 
day. Severe taskmasters, and carrying out propagandism by 
the sweat of their scholars^ brows, the Fathers made this 
world a preparatory school for a nobler future ; they crushed 
out the man that he might better become an angel, and 
they forced him to be a slave that he might wax fit for the 
kingdom of heaven. The learned and honest D. Felix de 
Azara (Vol. I. Chapter XIII.), who visited the Missions 
shortly after the expulsion of the Jesuits, and a host of less 
trustworthy and more hostile authors, show the reverse of 
the medal. The latest study upon the subject of the Jesuit 
Reductions is that of the late Dr. Martin de Moussy. Its geo- 
graphy must be studied with some reserve, but much of the 
historical matter was, I am assured, contributed by the 
literary ex-President of the Argentine Confederation, D. 
Bartholome Mitre. 

In most writings, especially those inspired by the Jesuits, 
two remarkable features of the Missions-* system have either 
been ignored, or have been slurred over. 

The first is the military organization which the preachers 
of a religion of peace and goodwill to man introduced 
amongst their neo-Christians. All the adult males were 
regimented; the houses were defended by deep fosses and 
stout palisades ; leave was obtained from Spain to manu- 
facture gunpowder and to use fire-arms, and when these 
were wanting the converts were armed with native weapons. 
The ostensible cause was the hostility of the " Mamelucos,'-' 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 33 

the bold Brazilian Paulistas, the " sinful and miserable'' 
Paulitians or Paulopolitans, whom Muratori attacks with 
the extreme of odium theologicum. I may here remark that 
no movement has been more systematically maligned and 
misrepresented^ than the hostilities carried on between 
the years 1620 and 1640 by the people of S. Paulo. They 
had justly expelled from their young city the meddling and 
greedy Jesuits ; and the employes of the society, Charlevoix, 
for instance, happened at this time to have the ear of 
Europe. The quarrel was purely political. The Spanish 
Crown, which had absorbed Portugal in 1580, was en- 
croaching rapidly through its propagandists, as does Russia 
in High Asia, upon the territory claimed by and belonging 
to the Paulistas ; and the latter, who in that matter were 
true patriots, determined to hold their country's own with 
the sword. I do not wonder to see half-read men like 
Wilcocke (p. 286) and Mansfield (p. 441) led wrong by the 
heroic assurance of the Jesuit historians ; but the accurate 
Southey, a helluo librorum, ought certainly to have known 
better.* Working, however, the Mameluco invasion, the 
Company of Jesus managed to form under the sway of its 
General an imperium in imperio, which in ] 750 could resist 
the several campaigns directed against it by the united arms 
of the Brazil, of Buenos Aires, and of Montevideo. We 
may still learn something from their military regulations ; 
for instance, from the order of Father Michoni, " The chil- 
dren ought also to be drilled, and to undergo review." 

It is interesting to see in the present year the same dis- 
position — oflPensive and defensive, the individual superiority 
of the descendants of Sepe and Cacambo, and the leader- 
ship of one more terrible than the terrible Father Balda. 



* I propose to reconsider this interesting subject in a forthcoming 
volume, " The Lowlands of the Brazil." 

8 



34 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

The second is the secret working by the Missioners of 
gold mines — a subject kept in the profoundest obscurity. 
A host of writers^ the latest being M. Demersay^ doubts 
their very existence, and makes the precious metals an 
extract of agriculture. But their opinions are of little 
value in the presence of earlier authors ; for instance, of 
^^ Mr. R. M.^'' ['^ A Relation of a Voyage to Buenos Ayres, 
1716 ■'■'), who declares that the Misiones had gold diggings, 
and of Mr. Davie^ (^' Letters from Paraguay"), who, travelling 
in 1796-1798^ asserts that the Fathers of the Reductions 
had 80,000 to 100,000 disciplined troops to defend their 
mines. The latter author saw pure gold collected from 
the banks of the Uruguay, upon which, we may re- 
member, were seven of the thirty Missions. He imprudently 
travelled through the old Missions in a semi-clerical dis- 
guise, and he suddenly disappeared without leaving a trace. I 
have myself handled a lump of virgin silver from the High- 
lands of Corrientes, known as the Sierra de las Misiones ; 
and a French painter at S. Paulo, who was also aware of 
its existence, proposed to exploit the diggings, setting out 
from Brazilian Rio Grande do Sul with an armed party 
strong enough to beat off hostile '^ Indians."" 

The Jesuits, it may be remembered, were almost all 
foreigners — Italians and French, Germans and Portuguese, 
English and Irish. Their communistic system, their gold, 
and their troops at last seriously alarmed the Spanish 
monarchy. Men had heard of Nicholas Neengiru, " King 
Nicholas of Paraguay ;" f and a proverb-loving race quoted 
the saying, " La mentira es hija de Algo." By his decree 
of April 27, 1767, issued some 220 years after the 
Jesuits had landed upon the shores of South America, 



* I do not know why this traveller has had the honour to be so severely 
abused by M. Alexandre Dumas (pere). 

t Concerning this personage, see Southey, vol. iii. 469. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 35 

Charles III. " estranged them from all his dominions/' 
The peculiar secresy, the sealed orders,, and the other pre- 
cautions with which they were deported show what Iberia 
believed to be their power of resistance. 

The era of progress seemed to have dawned, but it was 
fraught with misery to the Misiones. Deprived of their 
Jesuits, a few lingered on to the present century, and now 
they are virtually extinct. About 1817, General Artigas 
raised the " Indians'' against the Portuguese, who punished 
them by destroying their settlements, whilst their ^^ Protector" 
finished wasting all those between the Rivers Parana and 
Uruguay. In 1838 the cattle, which nearly two centuries 
before had numbered upwards of 700,000, were reduced 
to 8000 ; and in 1848 the 6000 souls of the eleven Para- 
guayan Missions were dispersed by the first President Lopez. 

Whilst ecclesiastical Paraguay was thus rising to decline 
and to fall, laical Paraguay, subject as has been said to the 
Viceroy alty of Peru, was slowly advancing in the colonial 
scale. Her port, Buenos Aires, advantageously situated 
for the carrying trade between Europe and the Andine 
Regions, became the nucleus of important commerce, and 
demanded defence against the Portuguese. By royal 
rescript of August 8, 1776, the King of Spain created the 
Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, independent of Peru, and 
it presently embraced the Intendencies or Provinces of La 
Plata, Paraguay, Tucuman, Potosi, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, 
High Peru now Bolivia, and Cuyo alias Chile East of the 
Andes, now Mendoza, and S. Juan. These Intendencies 
all preserved certain privileges which gave them a manner 
of autonomy. The new division, with Buenos Aires as a 
capital, contained about 3,000,000 souls, and could ex- 
pend upon government $3,000,000, remitting the while 
$1,000,000 per annum to the king. It was separated into 
two Presidencies — Paraguay and Buenos Aires, whose Royal 

3— :2 



36 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

Audience was established in 1783^ and thus it became inde- 
pendent of Ch areas (Chuquivaca) where the high Court 
dated from 1559. 

The first Viceroy of the Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, 
appointed March 21, 1778_, was Lieutenant- General D. Pedro 
de Zeballos. This officer was at once Captain- General 
with command of army, fleet, and church, and with civil 
as well as military powers. His successors kept up con- 
siderable state ; they lived pompously upon gifts, unlawful 
to accept ; and they cared little for the orders which forbad 
them to trade, to borrow, or to lend money ; to marry with- 
out permission, to become sponsors, officially to attend 
marriages or funerals, to have intimate friends, or even to 
possess land. The Viceroys were removable at will; and, 
at the end of their term, each was expected before he 
went home, to justify his acts before a Tribunal de Resi- 
dencia. The latter was held for sixty to ninety days by 
a doctor of laws^ whom the King chose out of three nomi- 
nees^ proposed to him by the Council of the Indies. This 
was some check upon a bad man ; otherwise, as a Viceroy 
himself said, the Viceroy could be " more sovereign than 
the Grand Turk.^^ At first, the locum tenens, during the 
absence of the King^s representative, was the Rejente, or 
senior Oidor, the Auditor-judge of the Supreme Court (Audi- 
encia). In the latter days of colonial rule, the senior military 
authority claimed the place, and thus in the revolutionary 
times and to the present age, Spanish America, it may be 
remarked, has ever preferred the rule of generals. 

Meanwhile, the province of Paraguay, here the cradle of 
Spanish colonization, that Mediterranean state, distant from 
the ocean and from the Platine ports affected by Europeans, 
isolated from the world, and deeply depressed by Jesuitic 
Socialism,, owed all her advantages to the suavity of the 
climate^ the fertility of the soil, and the easy simple life which. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 37 

however relaxed, favoured to some extent, population. The 
early Spaniards had attempted to make it a high road to 
Peru and to the Cobija port on the Pacific, but the inordinate 
difficulties which it presented diverted the current of trade 
to the western lines, via Tucuman and Mendoza. It still 
preserved much of the ecclesiastical system, so adverse to 
moral dignity and mental independence, and so fatal to 
development and progress. In fact, at the date when the 
revolution broke out, the Paraguayans were the people least 
prepared for independence. They cared little whether of 
170 Viceroys of the Rio de la Plata, only four were American 
born, or if the New World had given but fourteen out of 
602 Captains -general ; they had transferred to the Crown 
the allegiance which they once owed to the Church, and in 
their ignorance and apathy, they felt themselves happy. 

We now approach the fourth epoch of Paraguayan history. 
It begins in 1811 with the birth of a Republic, which 
now numbers nearly two generations. The last of 
the sixty-five intendents or provincial governors was Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel D. Bernardo de Velasco, a brave but unin- 
telligent soldier, whose patriarchal kindness pleased his 
subjects. Influenced by this popular ruler, the people heard 
with indiff'erence the glad tidings brought by an emissary 
from the Buenos Airean Junta, who announced the depo- 
sition of the Viceroy and the revolution of May 25, 1810. 
A general assembly of the province, especially convoked, 
hesitated to accept the new regime, and pointedly refused 
to recognise the " hegemony ^^ of Buenos Aires. Thereupon 
the Revolutionary Junta resolved to try the effect of a 
corps of 800 men, headed by one of their best soldiers. General 
D. Manuel Belgrano. He was allowed to advance nearly 
300 miles, till his force was reduced from 800 to 600 men ; 
he was beaten by the half-armed Paraguayans under Colonel 
Cabanas, at the Convent of Paraguary, in the heart of 



38 TNTRODUCTOEY ESSAY. 

ParagTiay^ and di'iven back to the Tacuari River,, in the 
Misiones^ and on March 10^ 1811^ he was disgracefully 
compelled to capitulate. The army was allowed to retire 
without molestation^ and Belgrano^ spending the end of the 
month with the Paraguayan officers^ used his time in show- 
ing the advantages which their country would secure by 
throwing off the yoke of Spain. Shortly afterwards were 
heard in the mouths of the soldiery allusions to liberty, 
liberal ideas, independence and nationality, which a few 
days before would, if they could have understood them, have 
made them tremble. 

After the " conferences of Tacuari '' and a brief occupa- 
tion of Corrientes, the Paraguayan army returned to 
Asuncion, leaving at Ytapua, now Encarnacion, 200 men 
under D. Fulgencio Yegros. This officer, who had been 
second in command to Colonel Cabanas, still kept up com- 
munications with Buenos Aires, and he was ably assisted 
by a native of that city and a relative of General Belgi'ano, 
Dr. D. Pedro Somellera,* in arousing the spirit of the 
Paraguayans to adopt a change of Government. The 
Governor, Velasco, who was fonder of humming-birds than 
of public affairs, had lost his prestige during the campaign. 
Suddenly, on the night of April 3, 1811, a band of soldier 
conspirators, headed by their officers, occupied the barracks, 
and D. Bernardo, unable to resist, accepted a declaration of 
independence, unaccompanied by a single death and animated 
by an usually moderate patriotism. 

The viceregal power thus overthrown. Dr. Somellera 



* The two Swiss naturalists Rengger (known as Juan Rengo) and Long- 
champs lived in Paraguay between July, 1819, and May, 1825. They 
then returned to Europe, and produced in 1827, amongst other works, 
the " Essai Historique sur la Revolution du Paraguay." This naive and 
highly interesting volume was translated into Spanish by D. Florencio 
Varela (Monte Video, 1846) ; and it was enriched with the curious notes 
of this Dr. Somellera, Assessor of the Intendency of Paraguay. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 39 

proposed a Junta, composed of three members — 
namely Generals D. Pedro Juan Caballero, and D. 
Fulgencio Yegros, with Dr. (D.C.L. — others say D.D.) 
Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia. The two former were 
at once accepted, the latter, whose name was fated to sound 
sinister in the ears of men, owed his rise to the peculiar 
persistence of his character. Born about 1757, ten years 
before the expulsion of the Societas Jesu, he was at the 
time when this Revolution broke out, of mature age. He 
began life as a student of theology at the college of Cordoba, 
and for many years he was supposed to be half a Jesuit. 
Of an ascetic tui-n of mind, and fond of study and solitude, 
he acquired also the reputation of a Cabalist. Become by 
profession a lawyer, he secm-ed by his talents, his expe- 
rience, and his unusual integrity, the esteem of his fellow 
countrymen, who selected him for various important offices 
in the Province. For some years during middle age he had 
retired to his house in the suburbs of the capital, and to a 
farm not distant from Asuncion ; there he devoted himself 
to the perusal of the few books on science and politics 
which were then procurable. He read greedily everything 
published about the French Republic, the Consulate, and 
the Empire, and evidently, as says M. Quentin (copying 
Rengger), he had mastered his Rollin, and dreamed in early 
days of becoming Consul, Dictator, and Imperator. 

The portrait of this truly remarkable man has been pre- 
served : I secured a photograph taken, of course, from a 
portrait, which showed him in about his sixtieth year. He 
sits opposite his library, deeply concentrated in the presence 
of his books, with a look of penetration and intelligence, 
and that painful, distrusting, care-worn expression which 
belongs to men whom hope deferred has made sick, and who 
have risen to the height of their ambition only when Siren 
life has lost many of her charms. Of a purely nervous- 



40 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

bilious temperament,, and '^castey^^ aspect^ he is spare 
and delicately made, and his brow is tall and broad^ ending 
in thick eyebrows, which overshadow fine^ black, deep-set 
piercing eyes; his lips are morose, thin and drawn, his 
cheeks are fleshless, his nose is high and aquiline, and his 
chin is powerfully yet symmetrically formed. He wears a 
tall white cravat and waistcoat, a square-cut coat, and 
black knee-breeches and silk stockings ; whilst his hair is 
tied up in the then ceremonious pig-tail — a costume 
which, when out of uniform, he affected on all ceremonious 
occasions to the end of his life. Such physically was the 
man who was about to attract the attention of the civilized 
world. His portrait contrasts favourably with that of the 
" great American,'^ as Dictator Rosas was called by his 
friends : the latter, who never looked straight at a man, had 
only regular beauty of feature, whilst the expression of his 
countenance denoted when at rest nothing but calm and 
stolid cruelty. 

Dr. Somellera strove manfully to send an emissary, an- 
nouncing that Paraguay would adhere to the policy of 
Buenos Aires. But Dr. Francia was like Mirabeau, one of 
the few capable of guiding a revolution to its logical end ; 
he strenuously opposed the project, and with an iron will 
imposed his supremacy upon his colleagues. He simply 
imprisoned all who favoured Buenos Aires, including the 
ex- Governor Velasco and Dr. Somellera. The general idea 
of liberty in the new Republic was a something consisting 
of Faith, Hope, and Charity under a new name. By his 
influence the first Congress or General Assembly, meeting 
between June 17-20, 1811, despatched not an accredited 
agent, but a note dated July 20, 1811, and addressed to the 
Junta of Buenos Aires, defining the action taken by Para- 
guay, and decreeing amongst other points that the infant 
Bepublic — who now for the first time chose for herself a coat 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 41 

of arms — categorically refused, except as a member of tlie 
Confederation, to unite herself with the Commonwealth 
about to be founded upon the ruins of the Spanish vice- 
royalty. He declared in the broadest terms that Paraguay, 
having reconquered her liberty, would not shift allegiance 
from Spain to a colony of Spain ; and, it must be observed, 
that whilst the former had declared herself a free and 
sovereign state in 1811, Buenos Aires acted till 1816 in 
the King^s name. The latter, then at war with the Spaniards 
of the Banda Oriental and High Peru (Bolivia), commis- 
sioned General Belgrano to sign in person a provisional 
treaty of amity. The instrument, dated October 12, 1811, 
was drawn up at Asuncion, upon the conditions imposed by 
Dr. Francia — namely, the independence of Paraguay, who 
was at liberty to become, or to refuse to become, a member 
of the ConfederatioflL whenever the latter might be organized. 
On January 31, 1813, Buenos Aires installed a Constituent 
Assembly, and by the mouth of an Envoy Extraordinary 
invited Paraguay to contribute to it her deputies. But by 
this time Dr. Francia had pitilessly crushed all resistance. 
He feared nothing from the old capital of the vice-royalty, 
he probably foresaw the troubles and the anarchy which 
would spring from that Pandora''s box, " Centralization,^^ and 
he determined upon the foreign policy to which he adhered 
till the end. By his influence, on October 1, 1813, a second 
General Congress of all the representatives of the people, 
about a thousand in number, assembled at Asuncion. The 
deputies, who were the chiefs of the several districts, ap- 
peared more like criminals than legislators, and voted all 
that was required of them in order the sooner to return 
home — hence it was called a mere feint, and was compared 
with a horde of '' Indians '^ choosing their cacique. This 
Congress not only refused point blank to send deputies to 
Buenos Aires, it also, in confirming the independence of the 



42 INTR01>UCT0RY ESSAY. 

Republic^ annulled the treaty of 1811^ alleging that its 
terms had been violated by its neighbours. From that time 
Paraguay remained definitely separated from the provinces 
forming the Argentine Confederation^ and her citizens, in- 
different as usual to politics, which concerned only their 
rulers, persisted in being absolutely quiet and contented. 

The same Congress changed the Governmental Junta for 
a duumvirate. Two Curule chairs, one inscribed " Cesar^^ 
and the other " Pompey,^^ were placed in the Assembly; Dr. 
Francia took Cesar, and Pompey was left to the Gaucho 
General, the Commandante Fulgencio Yegros. Here again 
it is easy to see the effects of Dr. Francia^s studies under the 
Franciscans of Cordoba; in Classicism he imitated Robes- 
pierre, and in the fulness of time he copied Napoleon I. In 
fact he became a mixture of both, or rather of what his 
ideas concerning them were. 

This ephemeral Consulate definitively broke off" relations 
with Buenos Aires, and despatched an envoy, D. Nicholas 
Herrera, to declare that Paraguay would not take part in 
the proposed Assembly of the Platine provinces. A third 
Congress met at Asuncion, October 3, 1814, to nomi- 
nate new magistrates, and these legislative bodies began 
to assume the type which they have ever since borne. 
The chief authority. Consul, Dictator, or President, 
chooses the members by his right to appoint the President 
of Congress, the latter chooses the commandants of dis- 
tricts, and these again choose their delegates for each 
*' partido '^ or arrondissement : thus all the citizens vote, 
and Congress chooses the Consul, Dictator, or President, who 
virtually chooses himself. It is said that the third de- 
liberative body at first preferred Yegros, but that Dr. 
Francia delayed the members at the capital till, fearing to 
offend him, and sorely wishing to return home, they voted 
for him on the third day with a large majority. In pre- 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 43 

sence of the crisis produced by the internal disorders of the 
Hispano- American States^ he persuaded them to choose after 
the fasliion of the Roman Republic^ a Dictator for three 
years, and to make him their Dictator. The troops under 
Yegros refused to acknowledge the civilian, but the storm 
was averted by the neglected triumvir Caballero, who went 
to the barracks and succeeded in appeasing the mutineers. 
Caballero, it is said, strangled himself in prison about 1821, 
and Yegros, according to the Robertsons, was afterwards 
shot or bayonetted by his successful rival. 

Dictator Francia at once established himself in the palace 
of the ancient Spanish Governors, and began to govern in 
real earnest. The dark and mysterious figure, morally as 
well as physically, has excited abundant interest. Pen-and- 
ink portraits of him have been left by Rengger and Long- 
champs, by the Robertsons, and by D. Santiago Arcos (La 
Plata, Etude Historique, p. 295; Paris, 1865). He is alluded 
to by Sir Woodbine Parish, with whom he had an official 
correspondence touching some eighteen or nineteen British 
subjects; but he did not release them until 1826. The 
Pharoahnic practice of not letting the people go was found 
therefore, ready made in Paraguay by Marshal President 
Lopez, and in these days '^ circumstances ^^ do not much 
encourage the type of British naval officer represented in 
1815 by the very gaUant Captain the Honourable Percy 
Jocelyn of H.M.''s ship Hotspur, commanding H.B.M.^s 
ships in the river Plate. 

England unfortunately derived her knowledge of Dr. 
Francia from the works supplied to the book-trade in an 
age when Negro Emancipation, Constitutional Government, 
the rule of the '^ Anglo-Saxon ^^ race, and the mercantile 
" Civis sum Romanus "'■' were rampant. " Dr. Francia^'s 
Reign of Terror"-' and '' Letters from Paraguay,'''' by the 
brothers Robertson are still our staple. The brothers were well 



44 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

treated at first, but they imprudently, and perhaps purposely 
disappointed the Dictator, who, in exchange for his produce, 
wanted arms and arms only. They fell into disfavour, they 
prudently left the country, and, arrived in England, they 
wrote popular books about Paraguay. Hatred made them 
photograph their foe and produce a manner of biography 
amusing as that of Boswell. The latter was a fautor of the 
great master of the English language, the " Majestic 
Teacher of Moral and Religious Wisdom ; '' whereas the 
brothers, while holding up Dr. Francia as a vulgar tyrant 
to the execration of a civilized and commercial world, invested 
him with more than usual nobility and grandeur, with the 
faults of his age and race, and with virtues and merits all his 
own. Mr. Carlyle {Foreign Quarterly, No. 62, July, 1843), 
guided only by the light of intelligent despotism, easily under- 
stood through the running shrieks of constitutionalisms and 
other humbugs, that Francia was a " true man in a bewildered 
Guacho (Gaucho) world.""' 

Yet we must be grateful for the popular and respectable 
volumes of the unsage brothers. We see the Dictator 
pacing about his ground-floor verandah in a dressing-gown 
of flowered cotton, deeply pondering, whilst he daintily takes 
his pinch of " Princeza,"" or smokes his cigarette-like cigar, 
made for him by the sister who acts as his Ama de Haves 
(housekeeper) . We hear him thunder forth the bruto, the 
barbaro, and the favourite " bribonazo " (blundering 
rascal). We behold him leading his cavalry charges 
with boyish glee, and we catch him handing out the three 
economical ball cartridges, with which, more Austriaco, crimi- 
nals were shot. His outburst against the English importer 
— so naively quoted, and so telling against the quoter — and 
his proverb " pan pan y vino vino,"'' light up many a dark 
page of hysterical Anglomania. He appears as a lawyer 
strictly honest, as a statesman single-minded, as a patriot 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 45 

unde filed by lucre ; as a judge he spends the day over the 
smallest details of justice; as a student he reads through 
the night. Convinced that his Dictatorship is a protest of 
the Spirit of Order against the Spirit of Anarchy^ and believ- 
ing that the independence of his beloved country and perhaps 
his own existence depend upon an imposing military force, 
he organizes the imitation of a regular army, and after pe- 
rusing books he drills it liimself. The unwise brothers find 
in this measure only a pretext to deride his uniform and his 
word of command. Wishing to improve his capital, he 
applies vigorously to his self-imposed task of town architect. 
The Robertsons caricature him using a level. Like Ma- 
horamed Ali Pasha of Egypt, he is assiduous in his 
endeavours to establish a system of industry, to add agricul- 
ture and cattle breeding to the miserable trade in yerba and 
tobacco that characterized the still and silent shores of 
the mighty Paraguay. He accepts only a third of the 
$9000 voted to him by Congress, observing that the State 
wants more than he does — would the Messrs. Philistine 
Bull have done likewise? 

Dr. Francia had one pet, the army, and one pet aversion, 
the Church. He severely disciplined his troops, but only 
when they were under arms : at other times they were 
free. Foreseeing probably what wild work Generals and 
Colonels would do for the Argentine Republic, he raised no 
officer above the rank of Captain. This precaution has 
been one of the fatalities of the present war, where the 
Paraguayan private, essentially unintelligent, looked to his 
commander and found none. He established in fact a 
stratocracy which placed the military element above the civil ; 
every citizen was compelled to doflf his hat to a sentinel. 
This was anciently the case in the Brazil, and perhaps in all the 
lands of the neo-Latin races, the soldier on guard being the 
symbol of his government. Duly weighing the unsatisfactory 



46 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

state of his relations with the Conterminal States^ especially 
with Buenos Aires, which could at any time have closed 
his only line of importation, he was eager to lay in that 
formidable store of arms and ammunition and military appa- 
ratus, which still accumulated by a second generation, have 
lasted through a five years^ war. Finally he was steel- 
cased at all points, and ever ready to fight ; hence, I 
presume, we even now read of the ^^ peaceful little Republic, 
Paraguay.^"* 

With regard to the Church he evidently thought with 
the great Mii'abeau, " Yous ne ferez jamais rien de la Revo- 
lution si vous ne la dechristianisez pas.^^* He abolished the 
Inquisition ; he did away with the onerous diezmo or 
tithes ; he converted the idle monasteries into barracks, 
and he secularized the valuable gold and silver plate, the 
doubloons and the other property which lay useless in and 
around the religious houses and the Misiones. He shaved 
the heads of oflPending monks " in order to take the glory 
from their crowns."'^ He wished to be a Catholic, not a 
Roman Catholic. One of his favourite sayings was — ^' You 
see what priests are good for ; they make us believe more 
in the devil than in God." Again he would remark, pro- 
bably imitating the greatest Corsican, " Be Christians, Jews, 
or Mussulmans, anything but Atheists."^ The saying was 
latitudinarian in his day, before Anti-Theism had taken 
the place of Atheism. Finding that the Bishop of Asun- 
cion had fallen into a manner of aberration, the result of 
age and mental sufi'ering. Dictator Francia, determined to 
be governor spiritual as well as temporal, made him depute 
his powers to Pai Montiel, " Provisor'^ or Yicar- General. 
Through the latter he ruled the diocese, and made the Church 
the handmaid, as she should be, not the mistress of the State ; 
the moral Police, not the Sovereign. He suppressed night 
worship and processions, because they certainly led to dis- 



INTllODUCTOllY ESSAY. 47 

orders^ and they might lead to conspiracy. Finally, at the 
time of his death only fifty priests, all aged and mostly 
decrepit, survived in the land that had once been overrun 
by them. 

" Por suas ideas religiosas/' says my learned friend Dr. 
D. Barros Arana, of Santiago de Chile, whose excellent school 
history of the New World deserves to be naturalized amongst 
us, " aquel mandatario no parecia nascide i educado en 
una Colonia espanola.'^ It is not generally known that the 
Francia family is of Paulista origin, and that the Fran9a e 
Horta house still exists at S. Paulo. The Dictator's 
father, Garcia Rodriguez rran9a, was established by the 
Governor of Paraguay, D. Jaime Sanjust, as Majordomo in 
the Yaguaron plantation of black tobacco, with which the 
Spaniards attempted to rival the Brazilians. Bengger 
declares that his father was born a Frenchman, yet owns 
that Paraguay believed him to be Portuguese. G. B. 
Fran9a Castilianized his name, and married in his adopted 
home. His son, however, never belied his Portuguese 
origin, or his descent from that noble city which has three 
times expelled the Jesuits — she will yet do it a fourth 
time — and which pushed her arms far as the Gaarani 
language spread, from the Plate river to the Amazons, from 
the Atlantic to the foot of the Andes. Viewed by this light, 
the high-minded and self-reliant, the disinterested and far- 
seeing, the sombre, austere, and ascetic character of Dic- 
tator Francia, becomes at once intelligible. 

On May 1, 1816, the fourth Congress met at Asuncion 
and elected Dr. Francia perpetual Dictator of the Republic : 
he was no longer " Usia''-' or " Vuestra Senoria /'' he became 
" Excelentisimo'-' and ^' El Supremo''' — in those times a 
recognised title. It is now quoted as if a little blas- 
phemous. The Dictator had attained the ripe age of sixty, 
when the fixed habits of a life show only a tendency to 



48 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

exaggerate themselves. The national mind had become 
torpid and paralysed under his reign of rigour,, and thence- 
forward he became a kind of modern Dionysius. He 
established a " Chamber of Truth" in which men were 
questioned. He supported every Creole against any *' old 
Spaniard/^ and he permitted the latter to marry only 
Negresses, China girls^ or " Indians." His administration 
was remarkable for its eternal suspicion^ even after he had 
slowly but relentlessly degraded all not sufficiently docile 
functionaries. Arrogating the right to nominate Cabildos, 
he had raised to power the blind instruments of his will. 
All his orders passed through an ^^ Actuario/^ or Prepose 
aux actes. This subaltern, who alone had access to the 
Dictator, became a " tyran fantastique/^ who refused to 
receive a petition, even if the ink did not please him, and 
who kept the petitioners awaiting an answer for months. The 
bruit of a conspiracy at times enabled him to order a cer- 
tain number of executions, and to fill with terror a people who, 
like the Egyptians, apparently love to be tyrannized over. 
He witnessed his own flogging-tortures and execu- 
tions, and he became intolerably fierce when the east wind 
blew. He never left his palace save on horseback, followed 
by a guard that made the citizens range themselves in re- 
spectful files, and the boys were forced to wear pour toute 
toilette straw-hats, with which he was to be complimented. 
And at last his orders drove all from the streets whilst his 
cortege was passing ; doors and windows were shut, and the 
Dictator traversed thoroughfares dreary and desert as those 
of Valparaiso on a dusty Sunday. 

Yet he was wonderful in matters of detail : he knew 
exactly the cost of hoe or axe, and he used to count and 
measure the needles and thread necessary for a uniform. 
In 1829 he compelled, under heavy penalties, every 
householder to sow a certain quantity of maize, which con- 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 49 

tributed 4 per cent, to the revenue of the Republic ; and 
at all times, through the commandants of Partidos, he gave 
orders what to plant. His success bred a host of irrecon- 
cileable enemies, who could not forgive one that was 
more prosperous than themselves. In 1836 appeared 
myriads of Garrapatas, the Carrapato or Ixiodes of the 
Brazil, whence it probably came to Paraguay, and 
the bovine race suffered severely from the Epizootic 
complaint. The Dictator ordered all the infected to be 
shot by platoons, and was soundly abused for teaching the 
world our modern equivalent, the ^' Cattle Disease Preven- 
tion Act." With a similar rough vigour the King of Yemen 
resolved to extirpate the dreadful Helcoma by putting to 
death on a certain day all the sufferers ; and even now the 
Gallas spear the first cases of small-pox, and burn the huts 
over the bodies. In 1843 he suppressed the College of 
Theology with the dictum, '^ Minerva duerme cuando vela 
Marte," for he was nothing, if not classical. The very fair 
and impartial book by Messrs. Kengger and Longchamps, 
" Reign of Dr. Joseph Gaspard Roderick de Rodriguez de 
Francia in Paraguay" (London, 1827), tells us how the 
Dictator would not allow an English ship to break bulk 
until he had mastered sufficient of the language to under- 
stand her charter. To ridicule such a man is evidently 
absurd ; the attempt can only recoil upon those who make it. 
Dictator Francia^s system demanded complete isolation, 
and thus Paraguay, which had been temporarily thrown 
open by the Revolution of 1810, became a Darfur, a 
Waday. Commerce was prohibited, or rather was mono- 
polized, and sequestration soon annihilated a trade which, 
during the thirty years ending the last century and ten 
years of the present, had risen to upwards of $1,500,000 
per annum, and employed several thousand hands in 750 
ships of sizes, thirty of them exceeding 200 tons. 

4 



50 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

The Dictator,, apparently impassive and phlegmatic^ was 
most sensitive to anything like a claim of predominance, 
superiority, or influence of strangers ; he poignantly felt 
every insult of the foreign press, and he was ever ready to 
attribute to contempt the most indifferent actions of the 
" tagues" — that is to say, all who are not Paraguayans. He 
therefore encouraged the prejudices of the people, who 
soon learnt to look upon itself as the first in the world, to 
whom all others would, if permitted, do homage. 

Diplomatic relations with foreign powers were mercilessly 
cut off. In 1840 the Argentine Government again de- 
spatched to Paraguay an envoy directed to apply for 
deputies to attend the coming sessions of the General Con- 
gress. This agent wisely remained at Corrientes, and for- 
warded his credentials by an emissary, who was at once 
thrown into prison. The diplomatic representative of the 
Brazil also received his passports. 

In order to complete the blockade it was necessary to 
prevent the ingress of traders and travellers who might 
bring with them pestilent books and doctrines. The town of 
El Pilar or Nembucu, 154 miles from Asuncion, was made 
the terminus of ship navigation and the 7ie plus ultra of the 
foreign voyager. As late as 1845, Colonel Graham, the 
United States^ Consul, Buenos Aires, when on a special 
mission to Paraguay, was here delayed by Dr. Francia some 
twenty days. The strip of country between S. Borja and 
Ytapua, now Encarnacion, was constituted the sole place ac- 
cessible to land import, especially to Brazilian commerce, 
and no Paraguayan could repair thither without leave ; thus 
the post became the " mutual factory of a second China." 

All who entered the Republic without permission were 
straightway imprisoned. The explorers of the Rio Bermijo 
were not only placed in durance vile, they were also 
plundered of their journals. When M. Aime Bonpland 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 51 

(whose real name by-the-bye was the not euphonious Gou- 
jand)^ settling on land claimed by Paraguay, began impru- 
dently to cultivate the monopolized yerba, he was seized by 
order of the Dictator, and was carried prisoner across the 
frontier. This act has been held to be a violation of territory 
— has been called gross as the capture and execution of the 
Due d'Enghien. Francia, however, justified it, and detained 
the botanist ten years (1821-1831). For somewhat the 
same reason the Doctors Rengger and Longchamps enjoyed 
an obligatory residence of six years. 

Yet the Dictator could at times do a generous deed. 
When (1820) his old and tried enemy, General Artigas, once 
Captain of Blandengues or horse-militia, and afterwards 
" Protector and Most Excellent Lord" of the Banda 
Oriental, was compelled by Ramirez to fly his country, 
he had recourse to Paraguay, where, by " supreme order,^' 
a small pension and a safe asylum at Caraguate were 
assigned to him. The Uruguayan Robin Hood was allowed 
to end his days in peace (1850) — other petty despots would 
have sent him at once to the banquillo, the shooting-bench. 

At last Paraguay became to the political, travelling, and 
commercial world a terra incognita^ a place existing only in 
books and maps; it had been caused to disappear, as it 
were by a cataclysm, from the surface of the globe. 

Dictator Francia excused himself by declaring that he 
had carefully proportioned liberty to civilization, and he 
defended his incommunicability by pointing in triumph 
to the disastrous revolutions and to the fratricidal wars 
with which federalism and a licence called liberty had 
dowered the conterminal republics. He could show to the 
world in the recluse kingdom of the Jesuits, the sole 
exception to republican anarchy, a tranquil and powerful, 
a contented if not a happy people j and he could 
declare bond fide this state of things to be the result of his 

4-^ 



52 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

non-intercourse policy. Hostile writers aver that the un- 
happy land lived embruted under a death-like peace imposed 
by ignorance and terror,, enduring a despotism of isolation 
and desolation more lethal and funest than all the civil 
wars and anarchy. But there are few men who have not 
political creeds prejudged and formulated in advance^ with 
models, prototypes, and ideal predilections which falsify 
their judgment. Evidently the Republic of the Dictator was 
a reproduction, in somewhat a sterner mould, of the Jesuit 
Reduction system, and it throve because the popular mind was 
prepared for it. Others, I have said, accuse Francia of having 
governed by encouraging a profound corruption of morals ; 
but probably the ecclesiastical system of rule, which allows 
everything to those who believe, tremble, and confess, left 
very little of virtue for him to trample upon. And still he 
could say with Solon, " I have not given you the best 
possible laws, but those laws that suit you best/'' As has been 
proved by the logic of facts, the people were enthusiastic, 
both for the system and for its administration. They may 
be pitiable, but, like the needy knife-grinder, they will not 
be pitied. They were, doubtless, and they still are, in a 
state of semi-barbarism, but they have given their lives 
rather than abandon the customs of their ancestors and 
betray what must be called their political creed. 

On Sept. 20, 1840, Dr. Francia, rushing to sabre his " cu- 
randero^'' or doctor, fell into a fit. The man of blood called in 
the sergeant of the guard, who refused to enter without orders. 

" But he can^t speak.-*^ 

" No matter V replied pipe-clay ; '' if he comes to, he 
will punish me for disobedience.^^ 

El Supremo died at 9 a.m., aged eighty-three years y^ 

* The date of his birth was uncertain ; hence some make his age eighty, 
others eighty-four, and others eighty-five years. Dr. Martin de Moussy 
dates his death December 25. 



IXTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 53 

and after a virtual reign of nearly thirty. He had ap- 
pointed no successor, shrewdly remarking that he was 
not likely to want heirs. His last order was to direct the 
death of an enemy ; he made no will, he kept no records, 
and he left about one million of dollars in the national 
treasury. Early he had adopted the excellent plan, for a 
tyrant, of destroying all his '^'^bandos^' or decrees returned 
to him with ^' executed^^ upon the margin. He was very 
much addicted to women — the greater the man, the warmer 
are his passions, doubtless the instinct which would multiply 
him. He left sundry illegitimate children whom he never 
adopted, and he prematurely carried out the saying ^' Neque 
nubent, neque nubentur.^^ Many couples who had families 
took the advantage of his death and caused themselves to 
be married. He was buried in the Cathedral of Asuncion, 
but the exact spot is now forgotten. According to Mr. 
Mansfield and Lieut. -Colonel Thompson, the rem.ains of 
" El Defiinto^^ — his new title — were cast out by private 
enmity from a violated grave. This is hardly probable in 
a country where for years after his death men uncovered at 
the mention of his name. 

Europeans often wonder how, after such a career. Dic- 
tator Francia was allow^ed to die in his bed. '^ Spain,''^ said 
Gibbon, " was great as a province, but small as a kingdom -/' 
and the same may be asserted of all the Spanish provinces 
and colonies in our time. The peculiar characteristic of 
the Spaniard — as the lengthened reign of D. Isabel II. 
proves — and of the Hispano-American, as opposed to 
the Luso-American, is a marvellous, Oriental, fatalistic 
patience under despotisms the least endurable. For years 
Rosas freely tyrannized over Buenos Aires, and he owed 
his overthrow only to the foreign idea, even as Marshal 
President Lopez is succumbing to the stranger bayonet. 
At the present day, D. Justo XJrquiza, the Taboada family. 



54 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

and Dr. Garcia Moreno rule with a sceptre which takes the 
form of sword and dagger^ the Provinces of Entre Rios and 
Santiago del Estero and the Republic of Ecuador. To 
recover liberty is every man^s business^ and consequently, 
as the saying is, no man^s business ; it is therefore left to 
recover itself: a concentrated individuality takes the place 
of the noble and generous sentiment of nationality and of 
patriotism, the unselfish egotism of peoples. 

Yet it is evident that Francia was not one of the herd of 
tyrants upon whom the world looks with a transient interest. 
He left his mark in history : he created a school ; his ideas 
of ^' Americanismo^^ long antedate the '^ Know-nothings ■'"' 
and the " Spread-Eagleism '''' of the United States, and they 
are becoming predominant throughout Southern America. 

In Paraguay the system of government depends rather 
upon persons than upon institutions. Strangers, therefore, 
generally believe that the repressive measures imposed 
upon society by the energetic will of " the Supreme,''^ and 
kept up for a whole generation, would, after his death, 
bring on a reaction more or less violent. The contrary was 
the case, and with his decease commenced the ordering and 
organization of the Republic. The country was expected, 
said Erancia^s enemies, to ^^rise like Lazarus at the voice 
of the Redeemer.^^ It remained docile as before. 

A very brief acephalous interim followed the death of the 
dark Dictator. His " actuario^-* or secretary, who presently 
hanged himself in prison, persuaded the commandants of 
the four corps occupying the capital^ to form a Junta 
Gubernativa. This ruling body was presided over by the 
Alcalde, Dr. C. L. Ortiz, and was soon driven from power 
by a military revolution. The Commandant General-at- 
Arms, D. Juan Jose Medina, placed himself at the head of 
affairs, but he was called a usurper because he had no 
administrative authority. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 55 

After about six months the people of the capital " pro- 
nounced/^ and consequently, on March 12, 1841, an Extraor- 
dinary Congress of 500 members, elected by the usual farce of 
general suffrage,metat Asuncion. This body, which is described 
as being more than usually ridiculous, restored the consular 
government, or rather a duumvirate, consisting of D. An- 
tonio Carlos Lopez, and an old soldier. Colonel D. Mariano 
Roque Alonzo. It opened, also, Paraguayan ports to general 
commerce; it concluded a treaty of friendship and trade 
with the Province of Corrientes, then at war with Buenos 
Aires ; and it convened an extraordinary session of itself — 
the deliberative body usually met for five days every five 
years — in order to consider the desideratum of re-establishing 
foreign connexions. At the same time most of the 600 
political prisoners left in the dungeons of Dr. Francia were 
amnestied. 

In November, 1842, the Complimentary Congress held 
its session. It ratified Paraguayan independence, deter- 
mined the flag, and chose blue as the '^ color de la Patria.^-* 
Approving of all the consular acts and plans, it offered 
commercial relations to Buenos Aires, but Dictator Kosas, 
insultingly refusing to acknowledge the Republic, closed to 
her the Rio de la Plata till such time as the Province of 
Corrientes should desist from its " rebellion.''^ At this time 
an ecclesiastic long persecuted by Dr. Francia, Padre Marcos 
Antonio Maiz, the " terrible father " as he was called by the 
English, the " pretre estimable k tons egards,"" according to 
M. Demersay, was made Professor of Latin and Philosophy at 
Asuncion, and took the first step towards becoming Coadju- 
tor Bishop in part, infid. 

A third National Congress, meeting on March 16, 1845, 
put an end to the consular government, and sanctioned by a 
Constitution the fundamental law of the Republic which en- 
trusted executive powers to aPresident. The only obligation of 



56 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

this magistrate is to preserve and defend tlie independence 
and integrity of the State. He cumulates a variety of impor- 
tant offices^ he is at once Supreme Judge and Manager of Fi- 
nances_, he is Commander-in-Chief of the army^ and Admiral 
of the fleets and he appoints the President of Congress ; 
while the Vice-President of the Republic being named by 
him, and serving only to convoke the electoral meetings, 
is a mere tool that cannot even act for him when he is ab- 
sent. Thus the President is an autocrat at once legislative, 
judicial, and executive. Paraguay was ever a repertory of 
old world ideas, cut off from civilization since the days of 
the Grand Monarque. But the year 1845 worked in 
her a true revolution — social^ political, and commercial ; 
at this time arose the " law establishing the political 
administration of the Republic of Paraguay.^'' It gave ex- 
traordinary attributes to the President; it reduced the 
ministers of state to simple heads of bureaus, and it was 
shortly followed by an edict which placed the Church in com- 
plete subjection to the Supreme National Government — 
forbidding the Bishop to use even a robe or a throne. Of 
this new Constitution pure and simple despotism was the 
essence, whereas before it had been only a republican 
accident. 

Thus D. Antonio Carlos Lopez became President of 
Paraguay for ten years. '^ El Ciudadano,^^ as he loved to 
call himself, was then about forty-four years old. Educated 
at the College of Asuncion, he had lectured in theology and 
philosophy ; he had studied jurisprudence, and after making 
a few dollars by the law^, he had retired to a country place 
some forty leagues from the capital. He rarely visited 
town, and spent most of his time in reading books and 
mastering agriculture. Although he had never left his 
native land, he was looked upon as an enlightened man, and 
he had acquired, in comparatively early life, a general 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 57 

reputation for patriotism,, special knowledge^ and adminis- 
trative aptitude. 

The elder Lopez has been carefully portrayed by Dr. L. 
Alfred Demersay C^^Histoire physique, economique, et poli- 
tique du Paraguay.''^ Paris, 1864. Vol. ii.) He is also known 
by the work of Colonel du Graty. English readers and 
writers mostly take their opinions from Captain J. Page, 
late United States Navy (" La Plata, the Argentine Con- 
federation, and Paraguay ") : upon the spot it is considered 
the best authority. Mr. Charles B. Mansfield, whose gene- 
ral crotchettiness merged into an absolute enthusiasm for 
Paraguay, has left sketches and descriptions of the Guardia, 
of the hide-hammock, and of the first of the Presidents. 
The woodcuts of Messrs. Page and Mansfield make him 
hideous, burly and, thick-set, as Dictator Francia was thin 
and lean. With chops flapping over his cravat, his face 
wears, like the later George IV., a porcine appearance, 
which, however, as in the case of Gibbon, is not incompatible 
with high intellect. On the other hand. Colonel du Graty 
presents a stout but respectable looking citizen. He 
generally received strangers sitting in an arm-chair, pro- 
bably to conceal the fact that one leg was shorter than the 
other, and he wore, honoris causa, his hat, which was a little 
cocked on one side. At times he would astonish visitors 
by his courtesy in asking them to sit down in the presence. 

President Lopez I. married in early life D. Juana Paula 
Carrillo, who was almost as fat as himself. The issue con- 
sisted of five children. Francisco Solano, the actual President, 
said to have been born at Asuncion in 1827,* was the eldest. 

* In 1852, Mr. Mansfield calls him a "young lad of twenty or so, the 
General of the Army." This would make the date of his birth 1832, and 
his present age thirty-seven. But if born in 1832, he could hardly have 
commanded a corps d'armee in 1845. It is well known that his birthday 
was July 24th, and Augustus-like, he caused July to be styled "the 
month of Christian Lopez." 



58 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 



The second, Venanncio,, was made a colonel in the army, and 
commanded the garrison of Asuncion. The youngest, 
Benigno, who was ever the father's favourite, became a 
major in the army, and admiral of the fleet ; but he pre- 
ferred idling and " woman -hunting " at home. The elder 
daughter, D. Ynocencia, was married to General Barrios, 
afterwards Minister of War, and the younger, D. Rafaela, 
became the wife of the treasurer, D. Saturnino Bedoya. 
The Presidentess and her daughters dressed in the usual 
imitation Parisian; they were fond of society, and they 
never neglected to make a little money. The Presidential 
salary was only $4000 per annum. 

President Lopez had no light task before him. The 
Dictatorship had left only ruins : he had to create ; he was 
to be the organizer as Francia had been the founder of 
Paraguay; he was to assume the relation of Brigham Young 
to Joseph Smith. He wished to break the chains which 
his predecessor had forged, to draw Paraguay from her shell. 
Yet freedom was, he knew, dangerous after the slavery of 
ages, and an exaggerated liberalism might, it was feared, 
in due course of reaction take the place of conservative 
terrorism. He required to steer between the Scylla of iso- 
lation and popular lethargy, and the Charybdis of neology 
in religion and politics. And if he governed somewhat 
too much, assumed " Asiatic airs,'' and neglected the pre- 
cepts " laissez faire" and '' laissez passer," still his intentions 
were apparently good, and his success was as great as 
could be expected. 

The difficulties of the new ruler were increased by the 
hostility of Buenos Aires, which required him to create and 
to provide for the maintenance of an army. He began 
with 3000 soldiers, enlisted for only three years, and pre- 
sently he could muster a force of 8000 regulars, an effective 
militia of 30,000 men, and a levee en masse in their rear. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 50 

Again, early in 18i5, wlien President Lopez had de- 
clared the country open to foreigners both for commerce 
and residence, Dictator Rosas refused transit to Paraguay, 
as long as the latter should keep aloof from the Argentine 
Provinces ; and he presently decreed the prohibition of all 
her exports, even in neutral bottoms, thus hoping to cut 
her off from her principal customer, the Brazil. The 
stout-hearted President feeling insulted by this proceeding 
replied on December 4, with a formal declaration of war 
beginning, 

^^ Long live the Republic of Paraguay ! Independence or 
death,^^* and threatened an invasion. He reinforced his 
vanguard, the Province of Corrientes, which had lately 
captured Argentine shipping, and at once sent against 
Oribe, the lieutenant of Rosas, his first corps d^armee 
under his eldest son Brigadier Francisco Solano Lopez, 
then a youth of eighteen. This force was attacked by the 
Buenos Airean army of operations in January, 1846, and 
was compelled to retreat "^ re infecta,^'' behind the Parana 
River, chiefly, it is said, by the treachery of the Correntino 
Governor, Madariaga. In September, 1846, President 
Lopez ended the affair with a declaration that Paraguay 
would definitively remain neutral, leaving the Argentine 
Republic to settle its own disputes. 

Presently the mediation of the LTnited States caused 
transit and commerce to be re-established between Para- 
guay and Buenos Aires. The arrangement, however, had 
no positive guarantee. At the battle ofVences, in 1847, 
General Urquiza conquered Corrientes, and new troubles 
arose about Border questions. Thereupon President Lopez 



* This is part of the old Paraguayan motto, and very possibly Dom 
Pedro I. of Brazil, who was well versed in South American history, had 
heard of it before he raised the " grito de Yporanga." 



60 INTRODTJCTORY ESSAY. 

again looked to liis army^ and created there camps of in- 
struction. The Juiz de Paz was ordered to register all the 
males between 18 and 30^ and to forward to head-quar- 
ters so many per district. Within three months were thus 
collected twelve infantry battalions of 700 rank and file^ six 
corps of cavalry^ each 100 sabres, and one corps of artiUery. 
The elder Lopez^ though charged with being an unscru- 
pulous diplomatist, was an active organizer, and though 
his temper was hot, he was not wanting in cool vigour. 
One of his first acts was to propose as Bishop of Asuncion 
his brother, D. Basilio Lopez, a Franciscan Monk, not well 
spoken of, and the nomination was accepted by Pope Gregory 
XVI. He deported in 1846 the two Jesuits who had taken 
charge of the Chairs of Latinity and Philosophy in the so- 
called Literary Academy, or new College. He shot the 
sergeant Espaiiola for the crime of tearing up stamped paper, 
and he deported a Frenchman who had practised mesmerism 
without his permission. To the National Congress which 
met in 1849 he could announce the creation of an army 
and a naval force, the establishment of Guardias and forts 
against the Indians of the Gran Chaco ; the foundation of 
an arsenal, of a manufactory of arms and gunpowder, and 
of the Ibicuy foundry (definitively worked in 1853) ; the 
organization of the clergy ; the construction throughout 
the country of churches, cemeteries, and schools for primary 
instruction ; the issue of an official newspaper ; the building 
of quays and other public works ; the opening of roads and 
canalizing of rivers ; the encouragement of agricultm'e and 
exportable industry, especially of Yerba and Tobacco, and 
finally, the guarantee of patents, the protection, the free 
admission, and the favourable nationalization of strangers. 
The latter, however, were not allowed to travel, to enjoy 
any international rights, to hold real property in the Re- 
public, or to marry Paraguayans without especial license ; 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 61 

moreover,, no Paraguayan woman could leave ^^ La Rcpub- 
lica/^ except by express order — again China. The 
naturalized foreigner of course having no protection from 
his consid, and being sworn like one of the natives to the 
Constitution and to the Government, was not permitted to 
quit Paraguay except by particular order. Under these 
circumstances. President Lopez, who might truly have 
said, " auribus lupum teneo,^^ was formally re-elected for 
a term of five years. 

Presently, General Urquiza, Governor of Entre Rios, 
attacking Dictator Rosas with the view of restoring their 
rights to the Provinces and of re-organizing the Argentine 
Republic, crushed him at the battle of Monte Caseros on 
February 2, 1852. The fall of the " wretch Rosas,'^ who had 
even forbidden the navigation of the Parana, opened the 
rivers and ports, and brought about the recognition of 
Paraguayan independence by General Urquiza, who became 
the President Director of the Argentine Confederation; 
hence resulted the treaties of 1851 and 1852, which, however, 
were not ratified by the Federal Congress tiU 1856. The 
latter instrument attempted to determine the long debated 
question of limits, and to regulate the relations of commerce 
and navigation. But the Argentine Confederation sus- 
pended the Border convention, and in 1856 the frontier 
survey was adjourned sine die. The first British Envoy, 
Sir Charles Hotham, charged with a special mission, accom- 
panied by Mr. Secretary Thornton, reached Asuncion in 
H.M.^s ship Locust at the end of 1852, and the late M. de 
Saint-Georges presently appeared in the Flambard, which had 
run aground. In March, 1853, when General Urquiza had 
formally recognised the independence of the Republic, the 
Plenipotentiaries of England and the United States, France 
and Sardinia, meeting at the capital, signed with 
Paraguay treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation. 



62 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

opening up the river to tte flags of all nations. Thus, 
diplomatic relations with the European powers formally 
began, and Ministers and Consuls appeared on the field. 

The internal administration of the Republic was distri- 
buted into four councils of government, each with its own 
bureau. These were the Secretariat of State for Foreign 
Aff'airs, and the Ministries of the Interior, of Finance, and 
of War and Marine, which also included the Commandership- 
in-Chief The holders of these pompous titles were mere 
clerks, salaried by the President, and having no other style 
but " you.'^ In criminal trials the judges were ordered to 
associate with themselves two adjuncts, drawn by lot from 
a prepared list. The President made himself "private 
judge of the causes reserved in the statute of the adminis- 
tration of justice — that is to say, all appeal lay to him 
only." A bi-weekly line of steamers to Buenos Aires was 
also established. 

President Lopez then turned his attention to protecting 
his northern frontier. On the left or southern bank of 
the Rio Apa, he found only the fortlet of San Carlos, 
built in 1806 to control the fierce Mbaya Indians. These 
savages having depopulated the department and town of 
Divino Salvador, ravaged the river-sides as far south as 
Concepcion, almost on the tropic of Capricorn. He at once 
established a protective line of posts which began westward 
upon the left bank of the river Paraguay, and which, fol- 
lowing the course of the Apa, extended sixty leagues over 
the mountain- chain to the east. 

Mr. Charles A. Henderson, appointed British Consul to 
Asuncion, there drew up (March 4, 1853) a treaty of com- 
merce. Similar instruments were also ratified with the 
Governments of France and Sardinia, but the modifica- 
tions proposed by the United States were not accepted. lu 
early 1854, the National Cougress again meeting, re-elected 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 63 

President Lopez for a term of ten years ; to this the nominee 
objected, refusing to rule or serve for more than three ; he 
consented, however, to the whole term in 1857. Ensued 
some trouble with Mr. E. Hopkins, United States Consul, 
and representative of an Industrial Company of Navigation. 
This officer was supposed to be hostile to Paraguay ; his 
exequatur was withdrawn, and the claims for compensation 
which he forwarded were ignored. Six months after this 
event (February 1, 1855), Captain Page, commanding 
U.S.S.S. Waterwitch, ignoring the fact that in October, 
1854, foreign ships of war had been forbidden to navigate 
the inner rivers of the Republic, .insisted upon quitting the 
main channel of the Parana, and upon surveying the by- 
waters of the " Fuerte Itapiru.''^ The cruiser was fired 
into by the Guardia Carracha battery, and the man at the 
helm was killed. No reprisals were found possible by 
Commodore W. D. Salter, and ensued a coolness between 
the great and the little Republic. 

Relations with Brazil also became unsatisfactory, and 
the Empire sent as Envoy Plenipotentiary, charged to settle 
the right of way and territorial limits, Admiral Pedro 
Ferreira de Oliveira, with ten men of war and transports. 
President Lopez hastily threw up batteries at the old 
Guardia Humaita, on the site of a Penitentiary founded 
1777, against the Indians of the Gran Chaco by D. Pedro 
de Zeballos, and destined to be talked about throughout 
the world in 1867. He could now dictate his own con- 
ditions to the intrusive power ; in February, 1855, he halted 
all the squadron at "Tres Bocas,^'' and the Envoy, after 
professing peaceful intentions, was, only when completely 
outgeneralled by Lopez, permitted with his staflP to visit 
Asuncion in a single steamer. Salvos were duly exchanged, 
and on August 27 was ratified a treaty of commerce and 
navigation, together with a convention stipulating that the 



C4 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

delimitation question should be settled within the precise 
period of one year. When the Brazil rejected the latter, 
Paraguay sent to Eio de Janeiro a plenipotentiary, who 
concluded (April 6, 1856) the treaty of commerce and 
navigation, fixing the period of determining the boundaries 
at six years, during which neither people might occupy the 
disputed lands."^ During January, 1858, took place the 
Convention of Asuncion between Paraguay and the Brazil, 
when the river was opened to the merchant shipping of all 
friendly peoples. Meanwhile, the Boundary question was 
complicated by the presence of the new batteries, whose 
strength was grossly exaggerated ; the Brazil began to 
collect military stores in Matto-Grosso, and a war was evi- 
dently brewing. 

About the middle of 1858, Asuncion was visited by Mr. 
Christie; he came as Plenipotentiary to renew the com- 
mercial treaty whose limits were 1853-1860. At first all 
ran smoothly, and the Minister, when presenting his 
credentials, addressed President Lopez in flattering terms. 
Presently difficulties arose; Mr. Christie insisted upon ter- 
minating the business in twenty days, and wished to 
transact personally with the President the negotiation 
business opened with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The 
testy Lopez then showed his temper, and the Plenipo- 
tentiary having failed in his mission returned, no friend to 
the Government of Paraguay. 

This regrettable incident was followed in 1859 by the 
" Canstatt aff'air.'^ The President had thrown into prison 
some twelve, others say twenty, persons accused of having 
conspired to shoot him in the theatre. Amongst these was 
a certain Santiago Canstatt, who still lives, but without the 



* To sum up the question of limits iu the north, the Brazil claimed the 
Rio A pa as her boundary, Paraguay the Rio Blanco. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 65 

respect of his fellow- men. He was the son of a Belgian 
army surgeon long domiciliated in the Banda Oriental ; he 
had established himself since 1852 as " subditus tempo- 
raneus^^ in Paraguay ; he is described by his enemies as an 
" Uruguayan, son of a stranger of dubious English origin/' 
and he was charged with being an active member of a 
revolutionary committee established at Buenos Aires. Mr. 
Henderson claimed the power of protecting this " British 
subject/' and in return received his passports ; the French 
Consul, M. Izarie — subsequently transferred to Bahia — 
being admitted to act in his stead. By way of reprisal, the 
British Admiral in the Plate ordered H.M. ships Buzzard 
and Grappler to detain the Paraguayan war-steamer Tacuari 
— a strong measure in a neutral port. On board the ship 
was Brigadier-General Lopez, who, as Envoy Extraordinary 
and Minister Plenipotentiary, had been acting mediator 
between the contending parties of the Argentine confede- 
ration, and who had been presented with hundredweights 
of sweetmeats by the Bonaerensan ladies. The Brigadier 
left the Tacuari, and travelling overland to Santa Fe, there 
found a ship for Asuncion. President Lopez, once more 
outraged by this proceeding, released M. Canstatt, shot the 
two brothers Decoud (Teodoro and Gregorio), and sent a 
diplomatic agent to London for explanations. The opinions 
of the most eminent lawyers were taken in the disputed 
matters of consular jurisdiction and the protective pre- 
rogative of neutral waters : the general voice was in favour 
of Paraguay, but it was long before redress came. The 
difficulty was finally settled by General William Doria in 
January, 1863, and a Paraguayan Legation was proposed to 
England. 

In early 1859 the United States sent Mr. C. Johnson as 
Especial Envoy to Paraguay, with the view of arranging the 
Hopkins and Waterwitch afi*airs. That officer left at Buenos 

5 



66 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

Aires the squadron which had conveyed him : its presence in 
the port caused no little alarm till General Urquiza, then 
Provisional Director of the Republic, repaired to Asuncion 
and lent his influence in satisfactorily disposing of all dif- 
ferences. On February 4, 1.859, another treaty, superseding 
that of 1853, was concluded between the United States and 
Paraguay, and soon afterwards it was decided that the 
claims of Mr. Hopkins were null and void. 

Some annoyance was also caused in France by the treat- 
ment of her subjects settled in Paraguay. A contract, 
signed at Bordeaux, created a colony, hence called Nueva 
Burdeos, and the emigrants were located at '^ Gran Potrero 
del Cerro."'^ This ill-selected ground is on the right bank 
of the Paraguay, exposed to malarious influences, to the 
attacks of the Gran Chaco " Indians,''^ and, worse still, to 
the hostility of the Paraguayan people and authorities. The 
attempt proved an utter failure : some of the unfortunate 
Frenchmen fled, others were imprisoned, and others lost 
their lives. Those who have received inducements to pane- 
gyrize the policy of President Lopez I. throw the blame 
upon the '' Armateurs,^^ who sent out unfit emigrants. The 
impartial will remember that the " fournisseur" and Juge 
de paix appointed to Nueva Burdeos, was the opponent of 
Mr. Gould, the accuser of Mr. Washburn, and the Grouchy 
of the Paraguayan Waterloo, M. Luiz Caminos, a name 
carrying with it no pleasant associations. 

Paraguay had now taken her place amongst civilized 
peoples. In 1859, she ofi'ered her mediation between the 
Argentine Confederation and the Province of Buenos Aires, 
a mother and daughter that had been separated seven years. 
The reunion was compassed by the Convention of S. Jose 
de Flores. In 1860, President Lopez undertook negotiations 
with the Holy See, presenting two priests for episcopal 
ordination, one as titular of the diocese, the other as 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 67 

coadjutor. The consequence was the election of an old 
man, Mgr. J. Urbieta, Bishop of Corycium, in partibus. 

On August 15, 1862, President Lopez I. named by a 
secret act (pliego de reserva) his eldest son Vice-President. 
He died aged sixty-nine, after a painful illness, on September 
10, (Dr. Martin de Moussy says 7,) 1862 ; the body was 
embalmed ; a splendid service was performed over it in the 
cathedral of Asuncion, and in the church of La Trinidad, 
built by himself ; the first Paraguayan President was buried 
without monument. 

Immediately after the death of the second '^ Supremo,^"* 
who had virtually ruled seventeen years, D. Francisco 
Solano Lopez took the usual precautions. He possessed 
himself of all his father^s papers, doubled the sentinels, 
supplied the streets with extra patrols, summoned the 
Ministry or Council of State, to whom he read the will 
appointing him Vice-President, and therefore acting Chief 
Magistrate, and ordered a national and electoral Congress 
to meet. His measures were so prudently laid that he was 
named, on October 16, 1862, without difficulty. President for 
ten years ; and he could boast that he was the chosen of 
the people, not an inheritor, nor one appointed by will. 
In 1863 the new ruler was congratulated by eleven Euro- 
pean Powers, and all, abroad and at home, believed that the 
enlightened General who had travelled in England and 
France would indulge Paraguay with a free Government. 

There are idle tales that the elder Lopez preferred his 
Benjamin, Benigno, as less violent and ambitious than his 
eldest son : he is also reported to have predicted that if 
Francisco Solano ever became her ruler, Paraguay would rue 
the day. It is said that the preference of the old man for 
Benigno, whom he would gladly have seen, if he could, his 
successor to the Presidential chair, and heir to the bulk of 
his property, bred a fatal jealousy between the two brothers. 

5—2 



68 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

Their aversion,, however, probably began as the result of 
mere incompatibility of character, and ended in absolute 
hatred. At the General Congress which elected his brother 
President, D. Benigno Lopez, it is said, openly joined those 
members who were opposed to the military government of 
the family becoming hereditary. It has also been asserted, 
and even official documents have been cited in proof, that 
the elder Lopez appointed a Triumvirate to direct the 
affairs of the nation, and that his first-born, aided by Padre 
Maiz, poisoned one of the three, and terrified the Congress 
into electing him their President. These are mere '' bolas,^^ 
and of a similar nature are reports that he was in 1853 an 
eleve exterieur of the Ecole Toly technique, that he was a 
fellow pupil of the Emperor of the Brazil, and that he 
served on the French staff before Sebastopol. He did, 
however, attend the naval school at Bio de Janeiro, and 
there are some doubts whether he did or did not aspire to 
the hand of the Princess Leopoldina of the Brazil. 

From a very early age the actual President Lopez was 
entrusted by his father with high offices. As has been 
said, he was made General-in-Chief of the Army and 
Minister of War when quite a lad. In 1845"^ he began 
his career by commanding the Paraguayan Expeditionary 
Army that had been marched upon Corrientes, and in 1849 he 
pacified the lands between the Bivers Parana and Uruguay 
as far as Cuais. In 1854 he was sent to Europe in order 
to make personal acquaintance and treaty of amity with the 
several Courts. Some say that he acted like a Peter the Great, 
who studied all things, and who made the best use of his 
time, whilst others make him live the life of a man of 
pleasure. He came away with a feeling of aversion towards 



* Lieut.-Colonel Thompson says, in 1849 (" The War in Paraguay,' 
Chap. I.). 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 09 

" La boutiquiere/^ whose language he understands, but can 
speak little, and who treated him as it did Mr. Secretary 
Seward, with her usual trick of neglect. On the other 
hand, he was delighted with France, and he learned French 
well. He keeps up his practice at home. 

President Lopez II. rose to power a young man. 
His appearance is not unfavourable, though of late 
he has become very corpulent, after having been a 
slim and active youth. He is about 5 feet 7 inches 
in height, of bilious-nervous temperament, and darker 
than Spaniards, or even than the generality of his sallow- 
faced subjects, a brunet, without however any admixture 
of inferior blood. His hands and feet are small, and his 
legs are bandy with early riding. His features are some- 
what Indian, his hair is thick, and his beard, worn in the 
form which we once called " Newgate frilV^ is by no 
means so full and thick as his portraits show. These are 
taken, in fact, from the equestrian picture for which he sat 
in Paris, and which does not err by under-flattering. He 
still affects the white charger, and the Napoleonic grenadier 
boots and spurs, the rest of the toilette being a kepi, a 
frock coat, and a scarlet poncho with gold fringe and 
collar ; in fact, he has a passion for finery. Dignified in 
manner, he has a penetrating, impressive look, which shows 
the overweening pride and self-confidence that form the 
peculiar features of his character. He delights in curious 
intrigues, which may be called '^ dodges,^^ and which have 
been qualified by one of his employes as ^' inexplicable tan- 
trums.^^ This is doubtless a result of " Indian^' blood. 
The Marshal-President has not left pleasant reminiscences 
with diplomatists generally. On the other hand, English, 
French, and American naval officers agree in speaking 
highly of him. They repeatedly assert that he never asked 
them a question to which, as men of honour, they could 



70 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

not reply^ but that the same was not the case with all his 
entourage. He is a hon vivant, a gourmand, and a gourmet — 
fond of a song after dinner ; he rides well^ and there is no 
reason why he should not conduct a guerilla war. Mr.Wash- 
burn made him drink^ and supplied him with a diarrhoea — 
all fancy. He is fond of " chaflBng.''^ An English second 
engineer sent him an impudent answer to a message^ and 
when summoned to his presence pointed at some object 
with his forefinger. The hand was at once struck down 
by the President^ with the remark^ ^' In England it is not 
manners to point V He addresses, a la Napoleon, jocular 
remarks in the Guarani tongue to his troops,, who receive 
them with the greatest delight and enthusiasm ; and, like the 
King of Dahome, he scolds his officers. 

The courage of the '' unconquered Marshal/^ as he styles 
himself, is at best questionable. His panegyrists, like M. 
Felix Aucaigne,"^ call him the " Premier soldat du Para- 
guay .^^ His official organ terms him the " Vencidor 
(Conqueror) of Coimbra, Albuquerque, and Corumba.^' On 
March 5^ J 865, the National Congress created exclusively 
for him the rank of Field-Marshal ; the only General of 
Division being his brother-in-law Barrios, who succeeded 
him as Minister of War, whilst many of the third rank or 
brigadiers were appointed. He is said to have commanded 
in person at the great actions of May 2 and May 24, 1866. 
It is stated that during the seven days^ fighting in December, 
1868, at Loma Valentina, he had two horses killed under 
him ; and that his son, Panchito (Frank), a youth about 



* « 



'' Les Contemporains Celebres " (by various authors. 1st series. 
Paris Librairie Internationale. 1867-9). The article in question gives 
Paraguay 1,500,000 of inhabitants ; compares it with a Poland struggling 
in the arms of the Eussian colossus, Brazil ; makes the poor earth- 
works of the Tebicuary river a "second Humaita;" and affectingly 
reminds us of the little Helvetia versus Austria, on the field of Mor- 
garten. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 71 

fourteen, had four, whilst Madame Lynch received three 
wounds. Of this, I believe, not a word is true. 

On the other hand, foreigners in his service are almost if 
not quite unanimous in declaring him to be a gallince filius 
alba ; they say that he never once exposed himself in battle ; 
that he is a craint-plomb that shudders at the whistle of a 
ball, and that he has repeatedly run away, deserting even his 
family in the hour of danger. Some of those who escaped 
are so furious that they threaten him with personal violence 
should they happen to meet him in a propitious place. He 
has certainly never headed a charge, and he has rarely been 
reported to have fallen a captive. But there is no need for 
the President to act soldier ; Uetat &est lui. If he falls the 
cause of Paraguay — and she has a cause — is sheer lost; 
whilst he lives she has hope. He has always been able to 
escape ; his enemies are ever ready to build for him a bridge 
of gold, and the best conditions are at his service ; he has 
manfully rejected them all. He is charged with having 
plundered his country, and yet he is known not to have 
money; he is blamed for his want of patriotism, and for 
not ending the war by self-exile, yet it is not proved that 
his country will gain by his loss, and his countrymen fight 
for him like fiends — a sign that they still adhere to his 
cause. He is said to rule them by fear. On the other 
hand, the Paraguayan prisoners are rarely if ever known to 
utter a word against him. 

And there is no doubt of the Marshal-President's ability. 
He is a remarkably good speaker. His letters,' his decrees, 
and his State papers answer for themselves. Without being 
a practical soldier he is an excellent topographer, and he 
has fought the defensive part of the campaign, if not with 
ability, at any rate with fewer blunders than his assailants. 
Driven backwards by the combination of army and iron- 
clads, he shifted his base line to the north till he found 
some readily defensible position. He thus compelled the 



72 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

invaders to cross over to the Gran Chaco, to drive a highway 
over swampSj to bridge sluggish streams^ and to "undergo all 
the hardships of a malarious land abounding in mos- 
quitos and other pests. With an audacious tenacity of 
purpose, and a vast moral courage peculiarly his own, he 
will probably fight his last man in the hope that the Triple 
Alliance may collapse, or that the Brazil may become weary 
of her tremendous burden. His enemies declare him to be 
mad with obstinacy, and predict that he will end by shooting 
himself. 

The reader will readily remember that there are races of 
men, the Hindu (Brahman) for instance, who fear to fight 
though they do not dread to die, and that history quotes many 
an instance of the most cruel of torturers, and the most 
audacious conspirators, who were unnerved and unmanned by 
the least physical danger. Robespierre and Brigham Young 
have both been described as men of this stamp — a stamp 
be it said hardly comprehensible to the strong-nerved 
Briton. Moreover, the tongue of slander has applied the 
word of disgrace to Wellington, to San Martin, and even to 
the hero of Lodi, the namesake of a certain Corsican Saint 
who suffered under Diocletian. 

In Paris the young General Lopez met his destiny in 
the shape of a woman. I have no hesitation in alluding 
to Madame Lynch, who has fought through the present 
campaign by the side of the Marshal-President, and whose 
name is now public property. For motives easily appreciated, 
Lieut.-Col. Thompson merely remarks, (Chap. III.,) '^ This 
was an Irish lady, educated in France, who had followed 
Lopez from Europe to Paraguay.^'' She prints herself Eliza 
A. (Alicia) Lynch — her brother, Mr. Lynch, is still with her 
in Paraguay — and in early life she married M. de Quatre- 
fages, a surgeon in, or Surgeon-General of, the Algerian army, 
and nephew of the distinguished litterateur who advocated 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAV. 73 

I'umte de Tespece humaine. Having been left by her 
husband in the Rue Richer she accidentally met General 
Lopez, who then lodged hard by in the Maison Meublee 
Americaine, and was persuaded to follow him to South 
America. After eighteen months of European travel, he 
returned to his native continent in December, 1855, and his 
fellow passengers still speak of him as a somewhat reserved 
and silent man. The lady arrived by the next mail, and 
remained at Buenos Aires until the humour of Lopez Pere 
should become known. Here " Panchito,^'' the first child 
of her five or six, was born : one of the sponsors was M. 
Labastie, of the Hotel de Paz at Rozario, and he is sup- 
posed to have preserved some curious letters, which many 
however have failed to see. The widely-spread report that 
she lived for two years with M. Pujol, Governor of Cor- 
rientes, is a mere calumny. Presently she was allowed to 
reside at Asuncion, and was called upon by the old Presi- 
dent and his family : she never, however, occupied the same 
house as the General. The reader can now appreciate the 
value of Mr. Hinchliff's information — " The honours of the 
Presidential throne are shared by an amiably disposed 
Englishwoman .'' 

I failed to procure a photograph of Madame Lynch, al- 
though one was often promised to me. An English officer 
whom she had impressed most favourably described her as 
somewhat resembhng Her Imperial Majesty of Fi-ance, tall, 
'^ belle femme,^^ handsome, with grey-blue eyes — once blue, 
and hair chatain-clair somewhat sprinkled with grey. These 
signs of age are easily to be accounted for ; her nerve must 
have been terribly tried since the campaign began, by tele- 
grams which were delivered even at dinner time, while 
every gun, fired in a new direction, caused a disturbance. 
She and her children have been hurried from place to place, 
and at times she must have been a prey to the most weary- 



74 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

ing and wearing anxiety. Her figure threatens to be 
bulky _, and to accompany a duplicity of chin : it is^ however^ 
as will be seen in the sequel, a silly rumour wliich reports 
thatj like another La Valliere^ she lost her influence over 
her " fickle lord '^ since she inclined to stoutness. Her 
manners are quiet_, and she shows a perfect self-possession : 
only on one occasion did she betray to my informant some 
anxiety as to whether the British Minister would visit 
Paraguay. 

All are agreed that during the war Madame Lynch has 
done her utmost to mitigate the miseries of the captives,, 
and to make the so-called " detenus ^' comfortable. Before 
hostilities began she was ever civil to her bachelor fellow- 
countrymen, but the peculiarity of her position made her 
very jealous of wives who, in the middle classes at least, 
are apt to be curious about '^ marriage lines. ^^ She is said 
to be, when offended, very hard, and to display all the 
" ferocite des blondes.^'' Two young Frenchmen of family, 
who when dunned for money which they had borrowed, applied 
ugly words to Madame Lynch, were at her instigation ar- 
rested for debt, thrown into prison, and compelled to beg 
their bread in the streets. This was told to me by an 
English lady, who ought to know the truth. The French 
Consul, M. Cochelet, who would not visit Madame Lynch, 
was kept until the arrival of the French steamer in a room 
at Humaita, where he and his family were exposed to the 
shells of the Brazilian fleet. 

Madame Lynch must be somewhat ambitious. It is 
generally believed that she in company with the (late ?) 
Dean of the Cathedral, subsequently Bishop D. Manuel 
Antonio Palacios, a country priest who succeeded Urbieta, 
and with a Hungarian refugee. Colonel Wisner de Morgen- 
stern — his card so bears the name under his armorial de- 
vice — worked upon President Lopez, and persuaded him 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 75 

that he might easily become Master and Emperor of the 
Platine Regions. As early as 1854 an obsequious deputy 
had proposed in Congress to make the senior Lopez Em- 
peror, and the crown to be hereditary in his family. But 
as Captain Page remarked^ he was '' de facto Emperor/' 
and he did not want the odium of the name. Perhaps his 
son coveted it upon the principle which, amongst us, makes 
a peerage valuable to a man whose father refused it. Upon 
my return to Buenos Aires, I was shown the plaster model 
of a crown, apparently that of the first Napoleon, which, 
stuck to a board, had been forwarded for any alterations 
which the Marshal-President might suggest. Suspecting 
this to be a ruse de guerre in order to stir up popular 
odium, I consulted President Sarmiento. This statesman, 
in the presence of witnesses, declared to me that it had 
been sent out bond fide by a Parisian house, and that it had 
been embargo^ by the Argentine Government, together with 
furniture ordered by the Marshal-President. The furniture, 
destined for one room, and worth about 400/., consisted of 
fine solid curtain hangings, showy chairs, white, red, and 
gold, and tinsel chandeliers, with common cut glass and 
white paint showing under the gilding. It bore the arms 
of the Republic, but it was evidently copied from the Tui- 
leries. A hard fate caused it to be sold by auction at 
Buenos Aires. 

Using the state of political parties in the Banda Oriental 
as a pretext. President Lopez, in early 1864, began actively 
to prepare fcr war. There is little doubt that he thought 
the proceeding one of self-preservation against his mortal 
enemies the Liberal party, which threatened incontinently 
to hem him in, and he is said to have declared, " If we 
have not a war with the Brazil now, we shall have it at a 
time less convenient for ourselves." Since then, in a mani- 
festo, he stated, " Paraguay must no longer consent to be 



76 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 

lost sight of when the neighbouring states are agitating 
questions which have more or less a direct influence upon 
her dearest rights/^ Moreover he felt poignantly in his 
inmost soul the ^' ribald articles/^ those edged tools with 
which the press of Buenos Aires delighted to play^ calling 
him for instance "cacique/^ and Asuncion his "wigwam." 

The following is a simple abstract of the dates which 
render the five years' war remarkable. The precis may be 
useful to the reader, and I have given in the Preface the 
briefest possible sketch of the campaign in its two phases^ 
offensive and defensive. 

October 16, 1864. — The Brazilian army invades the Banda 
Oriental, despite the protestations of President Lopez, 
who declared that such invasion would be held a 
casus belli. 

December 4^, 1864. — President Lopez despatches an expe- 
ditionary column to invade the Brazilian province of 
Matto-Grosso. 

April 13, 1865. — After vainly soliciting permission from 
the Argentine Bepublic to march his troops across 
Corrientes, in order to attack the Brazil, President 
Lopez seizes two Argentine ships of war in the port 
of Corrientes and occupies the city. 

May 1, 1865.— The " Treaty of May 1^' concludes a 
triple alliance, oflPensive and defensive, between the 
Brazil, the Argentine Republic, and the Banda 
Oriental again«t the government of Paraguay. 

May, 1865. — Paraguay invades the Brazilian Province of 
Rio Grande do Sul, and her left corps d'armee 
marches down the valley of the Uruguay River. 

June 11, 1865. — The Paraguayan fleet is defeated at the 
Battle of Riachuelo, and the right corps d'armeCy 
marching down the Parana, is compelled to retreat. 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 77 

September 18, 1865. — The Paraguayan left corps d'arm6e 
surrenders in Uruguayana to the Emperor of the 
Brazil, commanding the allies. 

November 1-3, 1865. — The Paraguayan right corps 
d'armee retreats behind its own proper frontier, the 
line of the Parana River, and thus terminates the 
offensive phase of the campaign. 

For nearly a year, between November 1865, and Sep- 
tember 1866, the Allies having crossed the Parana River, 
hold their ground despite the frantic efforts of the Para- 
guayans to dislodge them. Amongst the actions the most 
severe are the Battle of Estero Bellaco (May 2, 1866,) and 
the Battle of Tuyuty (May 24, 1866). The Commander-in- 
chief, Mitre, at last determines to force the line of the 
Paraguay River. 

September 3, 1866. — The Paraguayan works at Curuzu, 
an outwork of Humaita, are stormed by the Allies. 
This is followed by the Conference of Ytaiti-Cora, 
where Presidents Mitre and Lopez coidd not come to 
terms. 

September 22, 1866. — The Allies attack Curupaity, an- 
other outwork of Humaita, and are repulsed with 
terrible loss, especially of the Argentine army. 

This fait d'armes is followed by nearly a year of com- 
parative inaction ; Marshal Caxias assumes command of the 
Brazilian army, and Admiral Tamandare retires from the 
fleet. 

August 15, 1867. — The Brazilian iron-clad squadron 
steams past the batteries of Curupaity. 

January 14, 1868. — General Mitre retires from the war, 
and is succeeded by Marshal Caxias as Generalissimo. 



78 INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. •- 

February \S, 1868. — The Brazilian iron-clads run past 
the batteries of Humaita. 

March \, 1868. — The Paraguayan canoes attack the Bra- 
zilian ironclads. Marshal-President Lopez retires 
from his Head-Quarters at Paso Pucii to Timbo, 
and thence to the line of the Tebicuary River. 
A general movement in advance on the part of the 
Allies takes place (March 21)^ the result being that 
the batteries of Curupaity are evacuated (March 22). 

June 18-20^ 1868. — Marshal-President Lopez discovers, 
or suspects that he has discovered, a conspiracy with 
revolutionary intentions, headed by General Berges. 
Many executions are reported. 

July 24, 1868. — The garrison of Humaita, surrounded on 
all sides and starved out, evacuates the so-called 
stronghold, makes for the Gran Chaco, on the other 
side of the river, and on August 6th surrenders. 

August 22, 1868. — The Paraguayans evacuate the batteries 
of Timbo, north of Humaita. 

August 28, 1868. — The Allies become masters of the 
deserted line of the Tebicuary Biver. Marshal-Pre- 
sident Lopez retires to Villeta, up stream. 

Oct. 1, 1868. — Four ironclads force the Angostura bat- 
teries. 

November, 1868. — Marshal Caxias determines once more 
to turn the enemy^s right flank, and directs Marshal 
Argolo to begin a military road through the Gran 
Chaco. Admiral Viscount de Inhauma forces the 
Pass of Angostura, November 15. 

December 5, 1868. — The vanguard of the Brazilian army 
crosses the Paraguay River and lands unopposed on 
the left bank at San Antonio. 

December 21-27, 1868.— The ^^ Waterloo of the war.^' 
After four several actions, Marshal-President Lopez, 



INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 79 

compelled to abandon Loma Valentina, and accom- 
panied by a handful of horsemen, dashes through the 
enemy and reaches Cerro Leon. 

December 30, 1868. — The celebrated Angostura batteries, 
commanded by Lieut. -Col. George Thompson, C.E., 
and Colonel Carrillo, surrender. 

January 2, 1869. — The Commander-in-Chief, Marshal 
Caxias, enters in triumph Asuncion, finds it evacuated, 
and declares the war to be " ended.^^ 

At this point finishes the second act of the war, and 
begins the third, which is not yet concluded. Marshal- 
President Lopez, safely sheltered by the mountains, de- 
termines upon a guerilla warfare, and collects for that 
purpose the last of the doomed Paraguayan race. 



LETTEE I. 

FEOM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDi^O. 

Monte Video, August 11, 1868. 

My dear Z J 

You directed me, remember, to proceed 

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

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



FROM RIO BE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. SI 

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

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

6 



82 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MOxNTE VIDEO. 83 

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

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

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

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

6—2 



84 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



FROM Rro DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 85 

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

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



86 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VID:6o. 87 

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

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

" To chatter loose and ribald brothelry." 

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



88 FROM EIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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

" You go to h " Ending with Spanish which even 

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

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



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



FROM RIO 1)E JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 89 

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

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

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



90 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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



* Effingham Wilson. London: 1862. 



FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 91 

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

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



92 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 93 

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

of that river, 

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

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

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



94 FROM RIO DE JANEIRO TO MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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

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

Montem Video ! 

Adieu. 



LETTER II. 

MONTE VIDEO — THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 

Monte Video, August 11, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

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

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



96 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



MONTE VIDEO. 97 

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

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

7 



98 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



MONTE VIDEO. 99 

dingy we know that money has run out, and that the 
*^ cura '' waits to collect more from his little flock of 
" beatas '' and pious seniors. 

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

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

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

7—2 



100 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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

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



MONTE VIDEO. 101 

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

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

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



102 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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

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



MONTE VID^O. 103 

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

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

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



104 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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

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



MONTE VIDEO. 105 

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

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

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



106 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



MONTE VIDEO. 107 

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

After some difficulty in finding room even to stow away 
a few trunks, we will walk ^^ up town^^ and prospect. The 
lower part is Thames Bank, a succession of doggeries and 
groggeries yclept " Free and Easy,^' " Cafe de la Alcanze,^^ 
*' First and Last Wine and Spirit Store," with the usual 
aspect of a seaport, and swarming with pertinacious flies. 
Drainage is everywhere unknown, and the pavement is 
especially vile : in the rain muddy, under the sun dusty, 
and the thoroughfares are less like streets than " channels 
worn by the after currents of the deluge." This may be 
said of all the city, except a single dwarf bit subtending 
the cathedral fi'ont. The place is large, but practically it 
is bounded for foreigners by the Bay west, east by the main 
square and the Calle del Rincon — the neighbour of " 25 de 
Mayo,^' its Regent Street. The northern limit is the Calle 
de Misiones, where is the Gran Hotel Americano, and to the 
south Solis Street contains the Hotel Oriental. Within these 
limits is the Calle de Zabala, where, in 1854, was opened 
the new Bolsa or Exchange, and its adjoining American 
saloon for drinks. Thus are epitomized long drawn out 
ways of abominable weariness. 

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



1C8 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

The first glance at Monte A^ideo sets it down as a town 
rather than a city, what would be called over the water a 
'' one-horse '' place, a single-barrelled affair. You can 
hardly believe that it has or ever had as much behind it as 
Buenos Aires. The streets appear narrow, the squares are 
small and mean, whilst the public buildings are utterly 
undeserving of description. Moreover, they are all carefully 
photo^d by the enterprising Messrs. MulhalFs (M. G. and 
E. T.) " New Handl)ook of the River Plate,'' called in County 
Dublin jocose way ^^ Handbook,'' because the two volumes ai^e 
about as handy as a Post-office Directory. The work, in which 
the veteran sojourner of exact turn of mind detects a variety 



MONTE VIDEO. 109 

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

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



* The first edition, in 1863, was of one volume and 300 pages ; the 
second is in two, 12001'; and the third will be in four — say 3500 pages. 



110 MONTE VIDEO. 

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

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



THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. Ill 

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

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

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



112 THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



THE MURDER OF GENERAL ELORES. 113 

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

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

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

8 



114 THE MURDER OE GENERAL FLORES. 

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

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

At this conjuncture General Flores was foully assassi- 
nated. 

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



THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 115 

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

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

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

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

8—2 



116 THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 

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

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

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



THE MURDER OF GENERAL FLORES. 117 

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

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

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

Ever yours. 

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



LETTER III. 

MONTEVID]^ANS NATIVES AND rOREIGNERS. 

Monte Video, August 14, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

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

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



MONTEVIDEANS — NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 119 

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

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

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



120 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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

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



NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 121 

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

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

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



122 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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

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



NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 123 

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

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

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

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

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



124 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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

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



NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 125 

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

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



126 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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



NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 127 

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

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



128 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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

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



NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 129 

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

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

" Man being reasonable must get drunk." 

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

9 



130 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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

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



* The squadron consisted of — 

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

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



NATIVES AND FOllEIGNERS. 131 

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

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

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

9-2 



132 MONTEVIDEANS : 

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

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

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



* Mr. Masterman has since that time published a book which reads far 
better than his letter. 



NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 133 

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

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



134 MONTEVIDEANS — NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS. 

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

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



LETTEE IV. 

TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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

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



136 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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

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

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



TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 137 

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

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

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

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

Monnema — 

" A feeble native of Guarani race," 

which is hideous. 

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



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



138 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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

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



TO THE eOLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 139 

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

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

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



140 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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

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

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



TO THE rOLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 141 

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

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

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



142 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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

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



TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 143 

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

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

** And Dobrizhoffer was the good man's honoured name." 
We land at the little mole, leaving to the right a dwarf 
dock and a slip for schooner building. Our destination is 
the Hotel Oriental, the best, but bad and therefore dear, 
with prices rivalling Paris and New York. The houses, 
whitewashed against cholera, and rising abrupt from the 



* The names are correctly given by the new Hydrographic Office map, 
by C. H. Dillon, Master R.N., 1847, with additions by Lieut. Sidney, 
1856. 



144 TO THE COLON I A. AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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

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



TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 145 

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

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

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

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

10 



146 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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



TO THE COLON lA AND BUENOS AIRES. 147 

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

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

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

10—3 



148 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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

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



TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 149 

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

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

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

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

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

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

^ " La Republique Argentine " Lausanne. 1865. 

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

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



150 TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 

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



* Section of the Barracas artesian well (June 1, 1862), sunk by MM. 
Bordeaux and Lyons : — 

Metres. 

1. Sand 4 33 

2. Clay (very sandy) 8-02 

3. Clay (muddy) 1-05 

4. Clay (plastic dark blue) 2-90 

5. Tosca (with calcareous nodules) 2*30 

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

shells 28-60 

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

rites, sea shells, nodules of lithographic limestone, part 

of glyptodon's shell 20*30 

8. Greensand, shells, and quartz 0"80 

9. Calcareous shell stratum 0'45 

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

11. /Shelly grit 025 

12. Green clay (sandy) 2*00 

13. J Shelly grit 0-30 

14. I White sandy grit 0*70 

15. Very compact sandy clay 2*25 

16. VCommon grit 1*40 

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

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

1. Humus. 

2. Argillaceous sand. 

3. Compact sand. 

4. Plastic clay. 



6. "Tosca. 



6. Fluid sand. 

7. Plastic clay. 

8. A mixture of several rocks. 

9. Red clay to 180 metres. 



TO THE COLONIA AND BUENOS AIRES. 151 

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

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

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

* According to M. Thiers the Brazilian trade has doubled in ten years 
(30,000,000 iraucs having become 60,000,000) ; whilst in twelve years 
that of La Plata has risen from 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 to 40,000,000. 



LETTEE Y. 

A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES — THE OLD ENGAGEMENT 
KEPT. 

Buenos Aires, Sunday, August 16, 1868. 
My dear Z , 

We prepare to land, and of all self-styled 
civilized landing-places this at the '^^ Athens of South America" 
is perhaps the worst. Vile in fine weather— what must be the 
abomination when Pampero the storm-blast is out ! The 
wind seems always to blow inwards, and summer shows a 
worse river than winter; while with rare intervals the air 
is ever wet, damp, and depressing. 

From the " CanaF' or outer roads, distant four or five 
miles, where the larger steamers, including the mails, ride in 
summer, and whence disembarking is at times almost im- 
possible for a week, you must, as a rule, touch ground at 
your own expense. There are ^'^ Vaporcitos"^ or little 
steamers, the Jacare and the Baby, which come, or which 
come not, as they list. They are never, as they should 
be, under the control of any great foreign company. The 
usual landing process is at present composed of three 
several steps. First you drop with bag and baggage from 
the ship ladder into a lighter, or into one of the sailing 
craft which — manned by foreigners, Italians, or worst 
of all, English — await to devour you. Here, as at 
Monte Video, the water is far too dangerous for gigs or 
wherries. After an involuntary douche caused by the least 
capful of wind, you are transferred, as the boat grounds, to 
a cart painted blood-red, whose pitiful team of half-drowned 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIllES. 153 

and rheumatic horses sticks and dips, rises and struggles 
painfully along, urged by the screams of the European, who 
has now ousted the Gaucho. The last transfer is to the 
northernmost of the two moles, the shallow water utterly 
disqualifying for use the southern one fronting the large 
Custom-house. Men and women, loungers and promenaders, 
gather in groups at the mole-head, adding ridicule to your 
difficulties as if you were in the tidal boat entering Boulogne. 
Lads and boys playfully wreathe their bodies in, out, and 
through the timbers of the main jetty, or bathe and fish in 
the troubled waters below, or foully bewray the dirty steps. 
Some thirty or forty excited changadores (porters) and 
peons (labourers) make a dash at your baggage, and the 
unsuccessful salute the successful with a volley of foul abuse. 
These men are the common carriers of the country : it is 
actionable (with the knife) to call a decent man ^' peon^^ (our 
pawn from the Persian '^ piyadaV^), and the Frenchman will, 
when wishing to say his worst, emphatically declare of the 
hated rival, " C'est un pe-on \" 

After enduring this savage mobbery, you step probably 
upon an iron bar, and climb up broken steps to landing- 
places which are also of the filthiest. The new '^ Muelle,^"' 
built in 1855 for the local Government by the late Mr. 
Taylor, C.E., is a wretched affair, some 440 yards long, by 
20 wide and 7 to 8 high, composed of soft pine timbers dis- 
posed crosswise. There is ever, despite the daily abuse of 
the daily papers, a hole in the mole, or rather a series of 
holes, while a system of mighty cracks, crannies, and 
crevices makes the whole affair a man-trap — but, until 
lately, anything was " good enough for the Plate.^' The 
rain-welled surface is slippery as the clay of Fernando Po 
or the Puy de Dome, and I have seen a man badly hurt 
by it, his legs coming from under him as if on 
ice. 



154 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

Lastly, your luggage is deposited at the northernmost 
half of the " Resguardia/^ here represented by two little 
summer-houses, kiosks, or China tea-rooms, wooden curio- 
sities striped blue and white, queerly attached to the root 
of the long projection. The kiosk mania has migrated 
from the banks of the Seine to far Father Plate; at Buenos 
Aires you see them even in the main square. They sell 
newspapers and cheap books. Erotic lyrics, and half- naughty 
photos. ; none ever knew a body who had ever entered into 
one of them. The Custom-house officers are very civil, 
and slow in proportion ; " nada mas que ropa" will 
generally do the douanier. They open, however, carefully 
every box and bag, although they probably consider rum- 
maging not the work of a " cavalier." For this " pitch 
and toss treatment^^ you pay your part of boat $50, landing- 
cart $20, and say four changadores, $90 = $ 140 (paper) = 
1/. 3^., and you at once discover that the sovereign here is 
the crown in Europe. 

The site of Buenos Aires is commercially bad ; the 
^' old men" could hardly have looked forward to the present 
state of trade. Even for them, either San Fernando to the 
north or Ensenada to the south-east would have been 
better. Strangers explain the peculiar choice by the fre- 
quency and daring of those days buccaneers, when 
shallows, as we shall see up-stream, formed defences. Pro- 
bably the roads were a long while ago deeper, and have 
silted up during the course of ages. Yet DobrizhoflPer in 
1784 found the port of Buenos Aires shoal water. The 
internal action of the earth has, however, certainly caused 
a gradual upheaval of this, the shelf- edge of the Pampas, as 
well as of the great Prairies themselves. On the Parana 
Kiver we shall everywhere see successive marks of former 
water-levels many yards higher than the highest modern 
floods. Others have made dust, the incremental material 



A DAir AT BUENOS AIRES. 155 

swept up like the silt of the Nile by the storm- wind from 
the arid sub-Andine wastes to the south-west. 

Actual Bueuos Aires will soon see a better future when 
its water-front shall be built up like Californian San Fran- 
cisco or the levees of New Orleans. Somebody will find her 
brickj and w ill, Augustus-like^ leave her marble. Evidently, 
present amelioration is loudly called for. The barques and 
brigs, brigantines and polaccos, schooners and luggers in 
port now generally average upwards of 200, and soon they 
will be 500. The injury to merchandize is enormous ; 
therefore every engineer proposes his nostrum, and naturally 
enough the authorities, stunned by so much counsel, are 
deaf to the voice of specific. Similarly the owner of the 
Great Dragon TreeatTenerifife — you remember — over-advised 
by the host of travellers, allowed it one fine day to fall. 
The foreigner accuses the native of being a dog in the 
manger, which perhaps the native is; whilst assuredly the 
foreigner is mostly anxious about the bone purely for the 
boners sake. 

The difficulties in the way of constructing a port are 
certainly enormous. The characteristic feature of the 
south-eastern or Buenos Airean shore is deep water in 
lines and patches — the Outer and Inner Roads, the Pozo, 
the Catalinas, and others. These are broken and divided 
by long narrow banks and shallows, incipient islands, 
whose length is of course disposed down stream. From the 
mouth of the Corpus Christi, also called the Lujan River — 
the nearest stream independent of the Parana delta — a 
fringing shelf of mud and soft stone, the '^ Residencia bank," 
so called from an old Hospital, subtends the land. The 
^^tosca," in places twenty feet thick and thinning off to 
three, is a whitish-yellow skin, an upright and raised crust 
standing out from the mud, like tables of lava. In places it 
is hard, in others it is so soft that the boring-iron slips 



156 A DAY AT BUEiNOS AIRES. 

through it. Where the bank, cut away by currents, narrows 
to a mere strip, are the " Balizas" or inner roads, safe for 
ships drawing less than eleven feet. Northwards is the 
Catalinas patch, so called being opposite the old nunnery of 
St. Catherine in the Calle Templo, alias Tacuari, still 
blessed by a Chapel of Ease. Distant about 2000 yards 
from the Balizas is the Banco de la Ciudad, a sudden 
broadening which begins below the northern part of the 
settlement ; this " City Bank^' is very shallow, and beyond 
it is the " Canal"'' or Outer Roads. The whole place is 
paved with wrecks, and the anchors and ironwork would 
repay dredging, if the main-d^oeuvre were at all reason- 
able. 

Some would clean remove the port to Ensenada, or even 
to Bahia Blanca; others propose a breakwater eight miles 
long, one broad, raised on arches above the highest flood, 
with a '^ Tosca''"' foundation supporting concrete in galvanized 
iron coffers ; upon this they would build piers, steam-cranes, 
a Custom-house, docks, marine markets, and so forth. 
Others would form an enclosed harbour — the favourite idea, 
because it would cause money to be spent. Others advise 
a semicircular pier from Gasworks Point, convex to the 
present Mole, with slip and graving dock, and room for two 
or three streets. This plan is tempting from its proximity 
to deep water. Others, again, would extend the actual piers ; 
whilst others would build the ''Catalinas (tidal) Docks,'' 
and warehouses at the point called Bajo de Catalinas. 

The most sensible project for improving the channel is 
that proposed by my good friend John Coghlan, C.E. His 
plan shows a great leg-of-mutton-shaped patch of reclaimed 
ground, beginning at the gasworks and ending at the mouth 
of the Riachuelo. At an expense of 787,860/. — not one- 
sixth of what is thrown into many European harbours — he 
would convert the City Bank into an island, thus forming a 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 157 

deep channel and securing anchorage near the shore. He 
"would, moreover, trace a suitable land-line by throwing out 
to double the length of the Moles (880 yards) embankments, 
with quays and wharfs, reclaiming ground to the extent of 
230 cuadras cuadradas (the square of 150 varas, each of 
34 inches = 22,500 varas). This emblayement would give 
room for docks larger than any save those of Liverpool, for 
a Grand Central Station where all the railways would meet, 
for Custom-house buildings, platforms, and other neces- 
saries. Moreover, it could spare 120 cuadras for a pro- 
menade, here so much wanted, and to be sold as building 
ground at prices which would to a great extent pay off 
the cost of the proposed works. But he is persuaded that 
such changes should be made in a tentative way. The 
causes that formed the delta-islands of the Parana are still 
active, and in the natural order of events banks must be 
growing up between the mouth of the Uruguay and the 
Parana de las Palmas. Finally, no company would do 
justice to such works; they can hardly be entrusted to a 
Government which rarely outlasts three years and ends in a 
smash — in fact, my friend comes to the wise conclusion that 
the scheme is too vast for the young country in its present 
backward state. 

Meanwhile, in April, 1 868, the Government of President 
Sarmiento signed a contract with the Impresarios, Messrs. 
Madero and Proudfoot, to carry out the plans of Messrs. 
Miller and Bell, C.E. The sum is fixed at $7,000,000, 
which appears large, but which will not be sufficient. The 
work is mainly a huge tidal dock, with a narrow entrance, 
which will make it a mere silt-trap. It is, moreover, to be 
finished in five years, an imprudent and hasty period. The 
scour from the north-west and south-east would be checked 
by such an obstacle ; the diminished flow would render 
dredging useless ; the fringing bank of the river would 



158 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

creep towards the eastward^, diverting deep water further 
from the shore ; and in this case, as in many others, unless 
engineering science can bring the rivers of the future close 
to existing harbours, Bahia Blanca will become the port 
of the Buenos Aires that is to be. 

As we land we remark a great change from the City 
of the Past to that of the Present. Instead of the 
sturdy, rock-like historic fort, " Santa Trinidad de Buenos 
Ayres," which still appears in Sir Woodbine Parishes second 
edition, there is a new Custom-house of two stories, white- 
washed, semicircular, and arched like casemates. Behind 
it, separated by a kind of stone-revetted moat, is a square, 
yellow, two-storied box — not " very handsome and com- 
modious^^ — with a broad verandah, denoting the Government 
House. Wilcocke (1807) shows in his plan " the Fort^' and 
the Parade or Paseo. Parish also sketches the increase of 
growth in his day, and now it is — for South America — enor- 
mous, and ever-progressing. The population is generally set 
down at 200,000. Mr. Coghlan, however, easily reduced it 
to about half that total, and even to less."^ He adopted a 
simple process which may be found useful in lands where 
the census can hardly be reliable. After counting the 
cuadras, say 500, he ascertained the area— three and a-half 
square miles — and compared it, by way of maximum, with 
that of the most crowded part of London — about 30,000 
per square mile — from which of course, subtraction must be 
made. He was, however, astonished at the general ex- 
penditure, at the consumption of the inhabitants, and at the 



* Mr. Coghlan's computation is as follows : — 

Part of the city of which the census has been completed 73,000 

Remaining part estimated at 14,000 

Barracas 6,000 

Boca 3,000 



96,000 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 159 

number of rooms suiting a city with treble the population 
which he allows to it.^ 

We step upon the Paseo de Julio, a mixture of Marine 
Parade and Wapping, badly paved and poorly lighted ; this 
is the city front, now backed by a couple of handsome 
houses, but mostly by low inns, foundries, cafes, and es- 
taminets, shops, stores, and sailors^ haunts, where those 
amiable beings love to growl, grumble, and knag one 
another, as only the uneducated classes of England can do ; 
to drink, curse, and fight, occasionally sallying out with foot 
or fist — foreign Jack prefers the knife — upon the sober, 
whose sobriety outrages their sensitive feelings. At one 
time here was an Alameda, which Dictator Rosas proposed 
prolonging as far as his country palace Palermo ; the break- 
water and railing, however, were swept away by a gale in 
1861, and unfortunately there is now no Rosas to rebuild 
them. 

Sunday is here a crowded day, and the length of your 
purse determines which of three ways you choose for passing 
it. Lack-coin discontentedly lounges about the Paseo and 
the Muelle. Little-money rides the tailor's ride on a 
hack horse to Palermo or Belgrano. Dives sleeps the 
Saturday night at his Quinta out of town, or runs down by 
the Northern Railway to S. Fernando, S. Isidro (summer 
quarters), or the Tigre. He then idles away the day, 
visits, perhaps boats, and returns home plenus Bacchi. 



* In 1717 Buenos Aires had only 400 houses, the same as Cordoba, 
the capital of Tucuman, and the old Jesuit novitiate and university. The 
census of 1858 gave 55,000 natives. The following is the statistic census 
of the city taken till 1869 :— 

Cuadras, 658 (447 corresponding to 329 manzanas or blocks) ; 
houses, 13,116; rooms, 64,670; inhabitants, 72,972; annual rental, 
1,333,517Z. Results: each cuadra averages 40 houses, 197 rooms, 222 
souls ; the annual rent is 4000Z. ; it must, however, be observed that in 
making this calculation houses occupied by their owners, and forming a 
large proportion of the city, are not included. 



160 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

We enter by tlie Calle Cangallo, here pronounced Cajje 
Cangajjo_, " oppidum seu pagus de Rio de la Plata '^ — still 
the title of the Archbishopric. A steep short pitch leads 
to the longitudinal Calle 25 de Maio, the summit of the true 
" barranca/^ glacis, or old river bank, which is everywhere 
traceable between the Tigre and the Riachuelo. It has a 
similar talus, but of greater slope inland, which is rather 
puzzling to drainage, and though formerly set down at 
70 feet, nowhere does its height exceed 64*2 feet above the 
water ; some reckon 50 feet, but the mean of the barometer 
is 29-66. 

The streets are long, narrow, and ill ventilated ; and the 
tramway of modern progress is as yet unknown to them. The 
pavement, even after Monte Video, strikes us as truly detes- 
table. It is like a fiumara-bed, bestrewn with accidentally 
disposed boulders, gapped with dreadful chasms and man- 
holes, bounded on both sides by the trottoirs, narrow 
ledges of flattish stone, like natural rock " benches,^^ flood- 
levelled on each side of the torrent. In many parts the 
side walks are raised three and even five feet above the 
modern street plane, and flush with the doors, which are 
high up as that of the Kaabah. These trottoirs covered, 
like the pavement after rain, with a viscid mud, sliding as 
a ship^s deck, dangerous as a freshly waxed parquet for the 
noble savage, often end at the corners with three or four 
rude steps, rounded slabs, greasy and slippery by the tread, 
as though spread with orange peel, and ascended and de- 
scended with the aid of an open-mouthed carronade, or a 
filthy post blacked by the hand of toil. There is a legend 
of a naval captain who cracked his pate by a header down 
one of these laderas, these corniches, these precipices, and 
certainly few places can be more perilous than they are 
for gentlemen in the state decently termed " convivial.^' 
Like the trottoirs they want handrails. 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 161 

More than one street — for instance, Calles Paraguay and 
Defensa — must be crossed by a drawbridge after rains 
which drown men, and which carry off carts and horses. 
Before the days of pavements, when the pantanos or muds 
were filled up with corn or jerked beef, the earth was con- 
verted by showers into slush, and swept down into the 
general reservoir, the river bed — hence the sunken ways. 
The crossings are nowhere swept : being slightly raised 
above the general level they soon dry and cut up the line 
into deep puddles which lie long, or into segments and 
parallelograms of mire. The thoroughfares are macadam- 
ized with the soil of the suburbs, which cakes under the 
sun, and crumbles before the wind, dirtying the hands like 
London smoke. Drainage is left to those Brazilian engi- 
neers, Messrs. Sun and Wind. The only washing is by rain 
rushing down the cross streets. There is absolutely no 
sewerage ; a pit in the patio is dug by way of cesspool, 
and is filled up with soil, a fair anticipation of the deodo- 
rizing earth closet. The " basura ^' or sweepings are placed 
at an early hour in boxes by the doorways to be carried off 
by the breeze, or to be kicked over by horses driven to 
water : these offals are used to fill up holes in the road out- 
side the city, and yet the citizens expect '' good airs.^' 
Beyond the town, the unpaved lines thus become quagmires, 
impasses, and quaking bogs where horses and black cattle 
are hopelessly fixed. 

Street walking becomes at Buenos Aires a study, an art. 
People prepare for it their toe-nails — excuse the subject — I 
have a duty to perform — like most duties it is "unplea- 
sant.^^ The centre of the nail is scraped thin, so as to 
weaken the keystone of the arch : the middle edge is cut 
into a demilune concave, and the corners, generally removed 
by the vulgar mind, are encouraged to grow square, so as 
not to penetrate the flesh. Inattention to this general 

11 



162 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

practice may lame you for a montli (experto crede !) and 
all your friends will certainly wag the head^ and vote you a 
^' martyr to the gout/^ Another inconvenience is the cus- 
tom of placing the petticoat on the wall side : the bump- 
tious soutane also claims the honour, so you must per- 
petually be hopping on and off the lofty trottoir. To 
escape wind and rain you avoid the side whither the paper- 
slips are whirled : the thoroughfares of the city_, roughly 
speaking, face the cardinal points, whilst the wet and high 
winds strike them diagonally, and the houses act screens. 
Had the lines been fronted more obliquely, one-half of each 
thoroughfare would not have been in the sun, and the other 
half in the shade : moreover all the houses facing south- 
wards would not have been mildewed. The prevailing 
directions are the north-easter especially — like the norther, 
fine and cool — the wet souther and south-easter and 
the gusty south- south-wester and south-wester. Thus one 
side of the street is dry in wet and is windless in windy 
weather, and as the height of the houses increases, those 
at the corners should be rounded off to insure ventilation. 

The street scandal is inexcusable in so wealthy a place. 
The municipality can afford $600,000 (f.) = 120,000/. of in- 
come, but the city fathers, those posts that point the way to 
progress without ever progressing, though eternally ^^ pitched 
into " give no sign, and fresh blood is still wanted. Buenos 
Aires sadly requires the Baron de Campy, who is supposed 
to have paved the Imperial capital further north. The 
new Custom House, the Moles, the Western Railway, the 
Gas Works, the Colon Theatre, and the Water Works, with 
other undertakings carried out by provincial resources, show 
how much may be done if money be not frittered away. 
A little macadam, compacted by water and a steam roller, 
would cheaply remedy the worst evils, and a better material 
would be the admirable Pedregulho or gravel from Salto of 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 163 

the Uruguay, River of the Missions. Broken brick would 
be better than nothing in streets which are not much visited 
by wheeled vehicles,, and these could at present be limited. 
Sufficient care is not taken in naming the thoroughfares : 
France is the great mistress of that art. As at Rio de 
Janeiro, the black forefinger points the direction of transit 
in carriage or cart : this plan^ so necessary in narrow streets, 
might be adopted even in London. 

Buenos Aires is evidently a city j it has a civic hurry and 
excitement ; there is a polished manner of citizen in it ; 
the first glance tells us that it is not, like Monte Video, a 
town. The houses, especially externally, are palazzi, built by 
Italians, who partly follow the Spanish taste ; they appear 
remarkably fine and solid after the poorer architecture of 
the Brazil. It is wonderful, at least for these regions, how 
readily and speedily the tenements are run up, especially 
the outer shell. The streets give vistas of great length : 
practically, however, the City is bounded to the stranger 
north by the Calle del Parque, south by the Calle Bel- 
grano, east by the river and west by Florida, the Regent 
Street. Thus here again we epitomize long thoroughfares 
of intense weariness. This is in fact our club-land — our 
Pall Mall, and within these narrow limits are contained the 
consulate, the clubs, the cathedral, the museum, the libraries, 
the chief hotels, the favourite streets, and the offices of 
the principal periodicals. 

My arrival day was lovely — it was the weather of Italy 
and Algiers in spring. The cool, pure, crisp air made the 
mere sense of life absolutely enjoyable : one would be sorry 
in such weather to be dead. These rarities have methinks 
given to the climate an undeserved good name, and once 
won, a good name in such matters is not readily lost. 

The raging of cholera in 1867-8 shows that Buenos Aires 
is now by no means free, as it used to boast itself, from the 

11—^ 



164 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

epidemic disorders of other lands, and without some sanitary 
measures it may look forward to a plague or yellow jack. The 
whole city, I have said, is built upon and undermined by the 
foulest impurities, and as at Zanzibar, the loose soil permits 
percolation into the wells and rain cisterns. 

August the IGth"^ finally announced as President-elect 
Citizen D. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, surnamed Cara- 
pachay (of the Cara tree), from the islands of the Parana, 
which he and others have celebrated as the Tempe Argen- 
tina. A biographical sketch of Don Yo (Mr. I.), as this 
statesman is called in recognition of a somewhat tough and 
determined will, has been prefixed by Mrs. Horace Mann 
(New York, Hurd, 1868) to her translation of his well-known 
work, " Civilization and Barbarism.'-' Rockets were being 
fired, vivas rang, and bells pealed ; changed hands in the 
" camp'' sheep and cows, and in the city hats and boxes of 
cigars, and the public expressed its general joy at the 
defeat of D. Rufino Elizalde, the chosen candidate and 
nominee of ex-President Mitre. This lawyer, justly enough 
disliked in the provinces because he is known to be an un- 
scrupulous partisan, supposed to favour the " triple alliance" 
in the interest of the Brazil, with which he is connected by 
marriage and other ways, numbered only twenty-two votes 
to seventy-nine. 

D. Domingo has a stiff task before him. He has cam- 
paigned, but he is rather a civilian than a soldier. The 
later rule of Spain has familiarized, I have said, genera- 
tions to the sway of Generals, not Doctores, and his only 
bourgeois predecessor. Dr. Derqui, lasted about a year. He 
is pledged by the promise of all his career to make sacrifices 
in the cause of extended popular education, and in this he 



* Preliminary elections, April 12 ; final, August 16. President assumes 
■power October 12 ; 1 p.m. begins the constitutional period. 



A T)AT AT BUENOS AIRES. 165 

will be ably assisted by the Vice-president^ citizen Dr. Adolfo 
Alsina. He must honourably terminate the present state of 
things, and devote to European immigration the energies 
and expenditure lavished upon a disastrous war. He must 
reform his fleet, create an army, and repress the wild 
Indians, who now ride up within a few leagues of the 
capital, and who, during the last presidential period, have 
made some 200 unpunished raids. He must reform ex- 
penditure — without, however, truckling to those economists 
who would make every servant of the State — even the chief 
magistrate — suck mate, eat '^ asado^^ and '^ puchero,^^ and 
sit upon a horse-skull or the ox- skeleton used by ancients 
as architectural ornament. 

I was afterwards introduced to this distinguished man, 
who, presenting to me a copy of his book, pleasantly in- 
scribed it, " Au Capitaine Burton, voyageur en route, D. F. 
Sarmiento, voyageur en repos,'^ and who allowed me in 
gratitude for his kindness to address to him these pages. 
As yet he has gallantly held his own, despite the ridicule 
of men who, unable to understand his advanced views, honour 
him with the epithet " el loco Sarmiento,^^ and think to 
dishonour him by dubbing him " schoolmaster.^"' Soon 
after his election appeared certain " writings on the wall,'''' 
abusive and indecent, daubed with nitrate of silver over the 
white marble steps and slabs of the city. On November 22, 
1868, nails were planted between the rails to throw off the 
train which carried the President to a picnic on board the 
new steamer America, and but for the care of Mr. Crabtree 
serious national troubles might have occuiTcd. Here a 
revolution usually begins by a dozen ruffians or so rushing 
into the chief magistrate's house and stabbing or shooting 
him. The principal then appears at the window and 
screams " Liberty.^' His friends cheer him lustily , his 
enemies, after firing a few shots, make themselves scarce. 



166 A DAY AT BUENOS AIHES. 

and he and Lis turn their steps towards the National 
Treasury. Next morning a new Governor and a new 
Government appear in order^ and that is all. With Presi- 
dent Sarmiento my sincere wishes are that he may pass 
gloriously through all the perils of his pre-eminence. 

At Buenos Aires I met an old acquaintance^ Mr. Gould. 
In 1856 we had agreed to dine together in 1860^ but fate 
deferred that dinner till 1868. He had just returned from 
his visit to the camp of Marshal-President Lopez ; he was 
wholly Brazilian in sympathy,, and he confidently predicted the 
speedyconclusionof the war. Thus he was completely in unison 
with Mr. Buckley-Mathew, whilst Mr. Lettsom, Mr. Consul 
Hutchinson^ and others lent a willing ear to the other part. 
Mr. Gould showed me a map by Count Lucien de Brayer 
(1863), and allowed me to compare it with the most modern 
plans in his possession. He gave me an introductory letter 
to the officer commanding H.M.S. Linnet ^ and watching 
British interests in Paraguayan waters. The cruiser had 
been sent up " because the presence of one of H.M.^s ships 
would greatly strengthen an appeal for the liberation of 
our fellow-countrymen.^^ He introduced me to the Brazilian 
Envoy Extraordinary, the highly distinguished M. de Amaral, 
who resigned, it is said, his post because he could not 
honestly advance the cause. I owe a debt of gratitude to 
Mr. Gould, but this must not prevent my differing with 
him upon the subject of Paraguay. 

I was also then and there presented to one of the most 
prominent personages in South America, President D. 
Bartholome Mitre. He had lately escaped an impeachment 
for having plunged the country into a war, but the acquittal 
of President Johnson also acquitted him. Beginning life as 
an artiUery cadet, he became successively a military teacher, 
a newspaper editor, a local deputy, and in due course of 
time an exile. He was an Artillery Commandant at the 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 167 

battle of Monte Caseros, and in the same year (1852) he 
appeared as the biographer of Belgrano. Like Echevarria, 
he is a poet, inspired, as were the Magyar Potoefi, the 
Russian Gogol, and the North American Cooper, by the 
glory and grandeur of the Pampas, the Steppes, the Prairies. 
His Muse has been the magnificent uniformity extending 
from horizon to horizon, with its rim-line level as the 
ocean, a sea on land, whose waves of ground represent the 
billows, whilst grass bowing before the wind is the water, 
and the foam-flakes are simulated by scatters of blossom. 
Man feels comparatively helpless in the tropical forest and 
in the sub-tropical valley, on the jungly mountain, and on 
the stony or icy hill. Mounted on his Pampa horse, 
however, he is master of space ; Nature may be less superb, 
still he is her lord ; she is perhaps a poor thing, yet she is 
his own ; and his song, like his gait or the expression of his 
countenance, conveys the one idea of proud exultation. 

As a soldier, at the head of his National Guard, General 
Mitre snatched from the Confederates under President Derqui 
and General Urquiza — who called him General de Papel — 
victory at Pavon (Sept. 17, 1861). He has been Provisional 
Governor, Provisional President, and since 1862 actual 
President and Commander-in-chief, yet his friends lately 
subscribed to buy for him a house — surely this is high 
praise, here and elsewhere. He is, moreover^ a statician, a 
geographer, a linguist, and an orator — flowery, but of no 
mean merit; in sharpness of memory he reminded me of 
H.I.M. of the Brazil ; as a bibliophile he astonished me by 
his knowledge of books, not only of the inside but of the 
outside ; and he has a collection of rare and classical 
works, especially geographical, perhaps unequalled on this 
continent ; and all this at the age of forty-seven — truly life 
circulates fast in these young lands. He had heard some- 
thing of my travels, he received me like an old acquaintance, 



168 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

and he gave me the three lately published volumes of Dr. 
Martin de Moussy, in whose labours^ as a basis for a future 
superstructure^ he had taken a lively interest. 

My admiration of General Mitre does not blind me to 
the fact that his later career bears upon it the stain of a 
profound political immorality,, in having caused for party, 
nay, for personal and for egotistic purposes, a military alli- 
ance, whose result is the present disastrous and by no means 
honourable war. Possibly he did not expect such energetic 
action on the part of Paraguay, which at Buenos Aires 
was looked down upon as a petty semi-barbarous, almost 
" Indian"*^ power. But the statesman and the biographer of 
Belgrano should have known better. Had he not aided 
and abetted with money, with thousands of muskets, and 
with moral support, ex-President Flores in attacking the 
Banda Oriental, the Brazil would have found no opportunity 
of interfering in the politics of the Plate ; and Paraguay, the 
" equilibristra,^^ would not have deemed it her interest or 
her duty to break the peace. The assistance rendered by 
General Mitre to Flores was under the rose, even as 
Garibaldi was provided with the Anglo-Italian Legion, 
whose victories, attributed to the Picciotti, so mystified the 
public. But he is charged by the general voice with having 
brought about a war which has made Buenos Aires, like 
Monte Video, a simple prefecture of the Cabinet of S. 
Christovao ; he has placed his native land in the ignoble 
position which Lord Palmerston chose for us in the Crimea, 
that of a second-rate fighting under a first-rate power ; a 
weak republic by the side of an immense empire. And he 
is bound, if he can, to defend his character, under pain of 
contumacious silence being charged to him. 

Compare the photographs of these two celebrated men, 
Sarmiento and Mitre, who are both excellent illustrations 
of phrenology and physiognomy. The former is short. 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRKS. 109 

thickset, bilioso-nervous, witli beetle brows and high nar- 
rowing forehead, evidently the man of observation ; the 
latter, nervous-bilious, thin, delicate, and highly developed 
in the coronal region, is the man of reflection. This will 
often think without facts : that will not reflect upon what 
he perceives and learns. President Sarmiento is essentially 
matter-of-fact, studious, and prosaic; he is the male tem- 
perament pure and simple. President Mitre is imaginative, 
instinctive, and of markedly poetic nature — in fact, the 
feminine blended with the masculine type. The former is 
a heaven-born Democrat par excellence, a sturdy popular 
magistrate, fond of work, careless of enjoyment, whose 
enemies deride him as a ^^ Gaucho -" the latter, fond of 
pleasure, play, and women, is by nature an aristocrat whom 
Fate has made a republican, and whose foes declare him to 
be an intriguer. Both speak with tolerable fluency, as all 
the neo- Spaniards do, but their oratory is at once known 
by their physique. 

We dined the dinner of 1860 at the Cafe de Paris, Calle 
San Martin, where the " best people" feed. Such esta- 
blishments are more or less common in the Argentine 
Confederation^ and on the Pacific coast, but this is the only 
one which has the least claim to respect. It has upper 
story " particular cabinets" for private dinners ; the public 
eating-room, with its eight looking-glasses and never a 
window, is cleaner than any of the clubs. It produces some 
dishes which might please in Europe : the Peje-rey fish, 
boiled for breakfast, is more delicate than the Goujon, and 
enjoyable as whitebait at a later hour. On the other hand, 
the prices are treble those of the Parisian Cafe Anglais, the 



* Addressing President Sarmiento I call it the Argentine Eepublic, to 
others the Argentine Confederation. The latter word has a grim and 
dolorous sound in the ears of the Unitarian party, who yet are thorough 
votaries of States' rights. 



170 A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 

wines are poor^ and the proprietor, coining gold, does not 
care a fig for public opinion. The waiter, who in Chile 
and Peru waits at full gallop, here creeps the snaiFs pace. 
To secure attention you must give the garqon five times 
the old sou per franc, the fee of Paris ; with less than 
25 per cent, he will be negligent, and, unless you check 
him, he will wax insolent. 

In the evening we went to the Italian Opera in the 
Colon Theatre, a huge pile whose red-painted roof gives 
a fine view of the city and suburbs, whose double row of 
balconies is much admired, and whose fretted ironwork 
shelters a masonic hall, where the brother is safe from the 
'^ Cowan.'^ Its exterior is much praised with little reason ; 
its shape is claret chest, its order is of the railway station 
style of art, and the most we can say of it is that its 
ugliness is not so ugly as that of many such buildings. Do 
you not wonder why the moderns always make their theatres 
like the palaces of Baghdad, " mean and hideous without ?^^ 
The inside is dingy and badly lighted, and sundry vigilantes 
are on guard to keep the passages clear. For real and 
imminent risk in case of fire or panic the audience can 
hardly be worse lodged in any public building yet made. 
Will no one take a hint from the vomitories of the ancients ? 

The first aspect of Portena beauty, of whose face and 
figure I had heard so much, did not dazzle these eyes. The 
most admired belles pointed out to me were the clear, dark 
little crumpled faces, the nez a la Ro.valane ; the low narrow 
brow, beloved of Horace ; the well-opened velvety black 
eyes — which they know perfectly how to use — and the 
piquant expression, which the real Spaniard prefers to the 
signs of the bluest blood. These small physiognomies were 
powdered over like apple-pies, lit up with rouge at the 
cheeks like pommes d'apis, and buried in vast masses, with 
terminal manes of " frightful hair '^ like the mane and tail 



A DAY AT BUENOS AIRES. 171 

of the barb horse, or the trophy-skulls of the Jivaros. 
Those who wore the skin nude wore it dark, and after a 
certain age the moustache was distinct and curly as in the 
majority of cornets. Probably the fame of the Portena's 
charms arose in old days when, as Wilcocke informs us, her 
shoes had silver heels ; when lace below the knees exposed 
the gold fringe of her tasselled garters, and when her bosom 
was veiled with trinkets, jewels, and crosses — the latter a 
toilette of which the late Mr. Gibson of Rome, statuary and 
man of taste, would greatly have approved. 

The performance was not bad — considering that we are 
2500 leagues from the two great head-quarters of the 
musical muse. The prima. Mad. Pasi, and the tenor Sr. 
Leruli, were the last days of Grisi and Mario. Mad. 
Josephine danced well, but the ballet is here utterly 
exotic — admired by neither man nor woman. The corps 
was of local growth — decidedly Gaucho, rigid as gutta 
percha, awkward as Tartars on foot ; wearing dresses made 
for others, and stockings of the brightest, liveliest rose, 
which " fleshings'^ made every leg look as if it had lately 
been flayed. 

We retired to rest that night on board the Yi, with the 
pleasing sensation of having passed an agreeable as well 
as a profitable day. 



LETTEE YI. 

A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

Buenos Aires, August 17, 1868, 
My dear Z -, 

Buenos Aires, I have said, is pre-eminently 
the city of the future, and the mind^s eye sees her seated 
en reine upon her subject flood, with a tiara of towers and 
a fair broad skirt of noble buildings, docks, and promenades 
where mud shallows and the tosca eruptions now sadden 
the sight. At present, however, our business is with 
actualities. And the first thing is to lodge ourselves. 

A host of hotels offer themselves, the great new com- 
fortless Argentine ; the ministerial La Paix, and its succursale 
the San Martin; the expensive and so-called ^'^ fashionable ■'^ 
Louvre— what a misnomer ! — the cheap and second-rate 
Globo, and the rascally Provence, where the French ruffian 
that owns it never attempts to be commonly civil. All are 
abominably bad, and dear in proportion. They show 
discomfort at its acme, and service, food, and care of rooms 
are inferior to third-rate inns in a second-rate European 
city. Surely in a place where gold ounces are so very 
cheap, it would be possible to set up a good new American 
hotel, like the Grand in the Boulevart des Italiens. Perhaps 
the least abominable is the Hotel Universal, in the Calle San 
Martin ; it enters, like the Ancla Dourada, into the category 
of '^ cazas ameubladas,^^ allowing you to dine at the Cafe 
de Paris, at your club, or at your friend^s house — and in 
this most hospitable of cities you will be asked to dine at 
some three places every evening. The Universal has the 



A GLANCli AT BUENOS AIRES. 173 

advantage of being a bath establishment,, where, for the 
use of an old tin pot pulled out at both ends and full of 
muddy Platine water, you pay as much as for a first-elass 
bain complet at Nice. On the other hand it has a serious 
disadvantage, namely, rooms are never procurable there. 

Turned from the doors you may try the '' lodging-house,^^ 
whose main crime is its name. Of these there are numbers 
in the Calle " 25 de Maio " ; they are quite in old world 
style; ground- floors, where ground-floors are an abomination; 
small dark rooms, where man wants them large, light, and 
airy. As a rule they are kept by veteran Englishwomen, 
'' old soldiers,^^ mostly wives or widows of diplomatic butlers 
or valets, here settled for life, and generally provided with 
daughters more or less pretty, who speak bad Creole English 
and good Argentine Spanish, and who go out broadly into 
" society .^•' The wary, however, will be careful how they 
trust themselves under any particular roof. One landlady 
has a pronounced taste for " brandy-pawnee ;" another is 
painfully familiar with her clientele; whilst a third is so open- 
eared to the charms of the lottery voice, that she will invest 
in an impossible speculation the sovereigns entrusted by 
you to her strong box, and she will probably address to you 
a begging letter, representing that she is a lone wife or a 
poor widow. 

We will now proceed up the Calles Cangallo and San 
Martin, to the Plaza de la Victoria, ^' the only centre of 
attraction,^^ says the handbook, as if a centre could be 
plural. On the left is the Methodist Chapel, with a sunken 
cross over the door ; it is recessed, band-boxey, American, 
hideous; and so is the music which periodically electrifies 
those passing down the street. It contrasts most unfavour- 
ably with the convent on the other side of the way, the 
Merced, although this is per se anything but admirable. 
The Church of England '' temple'' is hard by in the " 25 



174 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

de Maio/^ also recessed, of the melancholy Doric type 
to which Protestant Christianity is reduced in these '' idola- 
trous lands /■* There is a chaplain, but the sheep are mostly 
in a state of blood-feud with their shepherd. If he be 
ungenial, they pay him and hate him; if he be fond of 
mild pleasures, say of a social glass, a cigar, and a game of 
whist, they vote him unclerical and propose to pay some 
other person. 

We study the Buenos Airean house as we advance. 
Here all trades are monopolized by some nation, and the 
Italians have made themselves the master masons and the 
masons, even as the Irish are the hod-carriers of the United 
States. Their building is an improved and Romanized 
Spanish, tinted for the most part outside. Every stranger 
coming from Rio de Janeiro remarks the beauty and solidity 
of the houses, and much more does he admire who comes 
from that drab-coloured wooden abomination, Valparaiso, 
where fire or ruin by earthquake is purely a question of 
time. In the old establishment all is coarse and heavy; the 
brick-paved patio, with its rude horseshoe arches, the flat 
roof draining into the Aljibe, rain-tank, or cistern — I have 
advised you to beware of the fluid — and the badly laid out 
plan in which the bedrooms, for instance, conduct to the 
saloons, speak of a time when wealth was general and re- 
finement rare. This under the artistic Ausonian touch has 
become a fairy garden of creepers and orchids, flowers and 
air plants, in half-Moorish style, decorating light colonnades, 
fretwork in stone, or arabesques in ironwork, lit up with 
gilding, and painted with tender green or white and blue — 
Argentine colours which here blend well. The frontage is 
mostly narrow and reduced to a door and two windows ; on 
the other hand, the depth is half a square, or 225 feet. 
Large establishments therefore have generally two or more 
patios, forming a pleasant vanishing vista of shady cor- 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 175 

ridors paved with white marble, and ending in a garden, 
or at least in a shrubbery. On sunny days a velum 
stretched across secures coolness. The system is pleasant for 
the individual, bad for the community, as the waste of 
space is prodigious. All the older tenements are ground 
floors ; the " Alto,^^ or many-storied house, the " Sobrado,^' 
or '' Caza nobre^^ of the Brazil, does not belong to these 
latitudes, but it is becoming common ; and the difficulty of 
finding building ground is also gradually interfering with 
the ventilation. The taste for tall houses has exaggerated 
the mirador, or look-out ; it is often provided with extensive 
balconies, and with well railed exterior staircases ; when 
three stories tall it makes, as in the Limagne, the house 
appear like a box standing on one end. On both sides of 
the entrance-hall are the saloons and dining rooms, whose 
windows looking upon the street are barred like the jails ; 
the inmates therefore can be seen, as in a French bathing 
place, by every passer by — and naughty boys delight to pull 
up the persiannes, or green blinds. This is contrary to the 
custom of Lima, where the sitting rooms in the best tene- 
ments are always at the bottom of the court. 

The main square, Plaza de la Victoria, the heart of cir- 
culation, the business part where men in fine weather seem 
to live, and where you meet all your acquaintances half 
a dozen times a day, is small and mean, fitted for a 
country town, utterly unworthy of a metropolis, the Pro- 
vincial and Confederative capital, the seat of the local 
and general legislature, a New York and Washington in 
one. It suggests the days of that old foundation-stone 
laid down by D. Pedro de Mendoza at the corner of 
the present Calles Eivadavia and San Martin, which 
when nearly crushed by carts was put, by the piety of a 
local antiquary, into splints, a flat cross of iron bands. 
The Plaza is one quarter of what such a city requires, and 



176 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

one half of what it easily could command. To eastward, 
behind the casemated ex-fort and Custom-house, and the 
Governmental *^ bungalow/' is a slovenly, foul, unpaved, 
dusty or muddy space, trodden only by high trotting horses 
and by country carts painted the colour of pig's blood. 
This is separated from the Victory Square by the Recoba 
Vieja, or " old Arcade,'' a thin line of cheap shops, with 
two long walls of jaundice-coloured brickwork, towering 
above the tenements in a fanciful profile, open over head ; 
intended to represent a triumphal arch, but surprisingly like 
a building that expects to be roofed in. If this hideous 
" relique of antiquity," which looks painfully new, really 
belong to a wealthy family that refuses to remove it, the 
nuisance should be abated by the local M. Haussmann and 
the Provincial Government, and thus the Plaza would ex- 
tend itself to the river side. 

The Plaza is surrounded and crossed from north to south 
by avenues of the ubiquitous Paraiso (Paradise) tree, the 
English " Persian lilac," the American *^ Pride of India," 
the Latin Margosa (Amargosa), the Nim of Hindostan, the 
Calendar tree of the Levant, and the Melia Azedarachta 
(Persian Azad-darakht, or '' free tree") of botanists. It is 
universally a favourite from Monte Video to the far 
interior, but the reason why we cannot explain. The 
shrub-like trees are always stunted; they are mere 
sticks in August, with little of leafage, hardly shading, even 
in March, the little kiosks that sell newspapers ; the boles 
are dark and dingy, and the bundles of brown berries are, 
out of chaplets, disagreeably prominent. The general 
aspect of the square is bald and poor, especially when seen 
after Santiago and Lima ; there are no diagonal pathways 
across the terreplein of yellow clayey earth, which every 
shower converts into a swamp of slippery slush. Here re- 
views are held ; I have heard of 6000 or 7000 bayonets on 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 177 

parade^ but I never saw more than two companies at a 
time. Here also " pronouncements '^ are prepared. On 
Sunday, Marcli 28_, 1869, it was proposed at an indignation 
meeting to pull down the office of the Tribuna, the Thun- 
derer of Argentine land having taken, or having been sup- 
posed to take, undue license in the matter of Provincial 
elections. The guard was called away from the police- 
office, all the prisoners at once broke jail, and thus the affair 
terminated to general satisfaction. 

The centre of the square sustains an obelisk some forty 
feet high, of plastered brick, waiting to be made marble. 
On the top, in Masaniello cap, stands Republican Liberty, 
spear in hand, the point of attraction for a system of gas- 
cocks, whose tubes running up the angles become useful 
when the National Anniversary calls for illumination. At 
that epoch also the monument is whitewashed till glaring 
as a bride-cake ; but the coating does not endure for a 
year ; many a rent discloses the petticoat, and the aspect is 
distinctly shabby. The inscription is ^' 25 de Mayo, 1810 /' 
this, I have said, is the date of the Revolution, and the 
birthday of Argentine independence. Each face bears the 
blazon of the Republic, two bare arms shaking hands as if 
before a prize-fight, under the shadow of a (red) foolscap 
which takes a pole to carry it, the sun looking on compla- 
cently from above as though he were bottleholder. Around 
the monument are mustered four statues strongly suggestive of 
New Road art. This obelisk is the most ridiculous of obe- 
lisks save one, I mean that in the Phaynix Park, Dublin, 
concerning which a malignant wrote, — 

" 'Tis a polylithic obelisk that monolith should be, 
A needle insignificant of silly masonry : 

You upclimb its steps with toil, you descend them with a will, 
With Sifacilis descensus that men briefly call a * spill :' 

Scatter'd o'er its faces four Arthur's victories you view, 
And the only one omitted from the list is Waterloo." 

12 



178 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

It was proposed to abolish this mean and semi-barbarous 
monument in favour of a handsome modern fountain ; the 
authorities and the people rejected the idea, as though it 
had been a studied insult — a profanity. 

On the northern side of the Plaza is the reformed cathe- 
dral, which comprises in itself a dozen absurdities, wanting 
only its former belfries. The fa9ade is classical, with pedi- 
ment, alt- reliefs, and portico distinguished by peculiar vile- 
ness of intercolumniation. The dome over the high altar 
is mediaeval, pepper-castor, and Dutch-tiled like a dairy 
turned inside out. The highly finished front is at best '* un 
faux temple antique /* and the general aspect is rather that of 
a Bourse, of a home of Mammon than of a place of prayer. 
The rear is unfinished and bald, with bricks which await 
the plasterer. Inside there is nothing to admire save the 
size, 270 feet by 70, and the stern republican plainness of 
the sepulchral white walls. From the dome base, if you 
do not object to ladders with iron rungs, there is a good 
bird^s-eye view of the city, not equal however to that seen 
from the summit of the Colon Theatre, or from the steeple 
of S. Miguel. As at Monte Video, a bit of decent pave- 
ment, cut stone from Martin Garcia, fronts the cathedral; 
it was proposed as a model for the rest of the streets, but 
the tremendous efi'ort exhausted the projectors. 

On the east of the tall pile is a neat palazzo of Palladian 
pretensions, the Archiepiscopal. Instead of leaving such 
matters to private selection, the Federal Governments of 
1853 and 1861 unhappily adopted a national religion, the 
Catholic, Apostolic, and Holy Roman. Hence the Keve- 
rcndissimo, an evil shoot from the Old World grafted upon 
a NeV World tree. By the palace side is the eyesore usual 
in this country, and many others, the ugly contrast of a 
hovel with a mean, weed-grown, dingy-tiled roof. This 
specimen, perhaps the oldest of the last century's ground- 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 179 

floor habitations, contains the office of tlie Revista Journal, 
and is not to be removed. 

The Recoba Nueva, another row of uninteresting alcoves 
supporting dwelling-li^ses, faces the cathedral, and forms 
a right angle with the Recoba Vieja. Here is one of the 
few stands for hackney coaches, which have room for six 
when wanted for one. Tilburys, cabs, and above all things 
Hansoms, are an ever-increasing want ; at present the only 
light vehicles are private. The fares are not exorbitant, 
but it is as well to make your bargain, and never to trust 
in the matter of calling for you at night. Finding scanty 
pleasure in driving over vile pavements and viler roads, most 
people here prefer riding ; and the livery stables, though 
dear and mostly kept by foreigners, are tolerable. Some 
years hence a pair of tramways will cross the city to the 
four quarters of the compass, and will make a fortune for 
somebody. Buenos Aires, take example from Rio de 
Janeiro ! 

The western side of the Plaza is devoted in the main to 
the culte of Justice, such as she is. The Cabildo, or Mu- 
nicipality, dating from 1711, is a useful public servant; its 
tall white tower, its clock illuminated at night, are the best 
of landmarks, and regulate all appointments. The Cabildo 
front is a portico, under whose shade officers in Magenta 
caps and bags, riding chairs, eye the passers by ; where 
liver-coloured and black-coated men, evidently " doctores " 
from the law courts below, and the notaries' offices hard 
by, carry on eager and gesticulatory conversations ; and 
where European and Negro sentinels pace in heavy march- 
ing order before the entrance of the filthy jail. 

Here and there we see and avoid the policeman jn his 
briquet, leather-pointed casquctte, and dark uniform. Almost 
incredible in a city otherwise so highly civilized is the im- 
punity of crime ; you feci as if living in an aff reuse tuerie^ 

12—2 



180 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

amidst a community of assassins — bandits in the country 
and murderers in tlie city. An ^^ accident^-' takes place 
every day, it is no man^s business ; the policeman, smoking 
his cigarette, calmly surveys the corpse, and hardly turns 
his head to see the fugitive felon^s back. In this matter 
of life-taking the foreigners are bad, the natives are worse ; 
you must not think it always positive bloodthirstiness, it is 
rather an utter disregard for human existence. A popular 
story is told of a friendly Gaucho who cut a friend's 
throat in order to cure the "pobrecito^^ of headache. 
Accustomed from babyhood to wear and to use his knife, 
he draws it when he pleases, and not unfrequently for the 
fun of a little murder. The only life religiously respected 
is that of the non-political criminal ; to hang him would be 
bad taste, brutality, barbarism, and it would be worse taste 
still to flog him. His proper punishment, no matter how 
brutal his crime, is ten months of prison, after which common 
decency allows him to escape. Perhaps he is sent to some 
distant Presidio or frontier garrison ; here his residence is 
ad libitum, and he can always join the Montonera or Gaucho 
bandits (the Kaum, ^^j, of the Arabs), or ride with the 
wild " Indian'^ raiders. A permanent gallows in the out- 
skirts of the city would do a power of good to Buenos 
Aires. And yet, you know, I would abolish in civilized 
countries capital punishment. 

The fact is, since Dictator Rosas, then the only mur- 
derer, fell before the foreign idea which he had outraged, 
every man has been his own Rosas. Therefore would many, 
especially foreigners, hail with pleasure his return ; this re- 
version to the " good old times'' is, however, of course im- 
possible. But of that peculiar personage, who disappointed 
Mr. Darwin, some good is to be said. True he had his 
'^ saladero," his human shambles ; he put to death a priest 
and a nun for incontinence ; he murdered an English 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 181 

family; he had an English envoy horsewhipped in the 
streets; he made a laughing-stock of another; he had horse- 
hobbles made of an enemy^s skin; he forbade men to wear 
beards that represented the letter U of Unitario ; and he 
forced even the free-born Briton to don the red waistcoat. 
But also, in his early career he saved from the pol- 
lution of the filthy "Indians'^ some 1500 Argentine 
women and children, left by his predecessors in helpless, 
hopeless captivity. He discouraged priestcraft, and he 
turned out the Jesuits — they say for refusing to place 
his portrait upon the high altar. He gave to his native 
province a civil marriage ; he permitted all ecclesiastics 
of all denominations to perform the rite ; and when he 
fled on board the English ship after the defeat of 
Monte Caseros (February 3, 1852), he carried with him so 
little, that his friends were compelled to supply him against 
want. Since that time he has been known chiefly for sell- 
ing fresh milk at twopence per quart, in the neighbourhood 
of South^ton. 

We have now finished with the square, the typical part 
of Buenos Aires. A few lines concerning the remainder 
will suffice. Rivadavia- street issues from the north-west 
corner of the Plaza, and running some three miles in an 
east to west direction, cuts the city into a northern and a 
southern half Here we can find a pick-me-up at Mr. 
Cranwell's, or ^' something short^^ within the next door, the 
'*^ American Mineral Water Establishment.^^ A turn to 
the south leads to the Calle Victoria, in which are the 
Alcazar and the Progreso Club, of which more presently. 

The street to the south-east of the square is the Calle 
Defensa, so called because in the days when the English 
were ^'^hereges y tenian cola," General Whitelocke here 
marched up his doomed men, every house — especially the 
houses of God — being a redoubt. We find a wonderful 



182 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

specimen of a Britisli library^ and we glance at two huge 
pileSj S. Francisco and Santo Domingo^, which look some- 
what perilous to those passing by. This thoroughfare, con- 
taining Mr. Morton^s deodorizing apparatus, leads to a mass 
of hospitals, the British, the French Joint-Stock, the Italian, 
and the Convalescencia, all clustering upon the northern 
bank that bounds the riverine valley of the Riachuelo. I 
have pleasant reminiscences of Calle Defensa, Esquina 
Garay ; of enjoyable evenings spent in the hospitable house 
of Mr. and Mrs. Russell. 

Returning to the Plaza, and issuing by the south-west 
angle, we enter Bolivar- street. Here is the College or San 
Ignacio Church, formerly Jesuit property, and externally at 
least the best in the city. The whole block is taken up for 
Government purposes. The educational portion is presided 
over by the highly distinguished Dr. Juan Maria Gutierrez, a 
name well known to European art and science. Part of the 
building has been made over to Dr. Hermann Burmeister, 
naturalist, physiologist, anthropologist, and Brazilian, as well 
as Argentine traveller : the \dsitor will find this collection very 
different from what it was in the days when Rosas reigned. 
Then the roof was in holes, and then a few dusty birds and 
beasts stuck awry upon wires nodded to their fall. The 
inlaid picture and the fossil horse of the Pampas, a zebra, are 
especially worthy of inspection, and the collection of mega- 
theroids is too well known to require more than mention. 
On the west side of the block is the Public Library, to- 
gether with the Land Office and other establishments. At 
the junction of Belgrano you look to the left, and see the 
office of the Standard, the only English daily published 
south of the equator, say the editors. May their supply 
of the paddles with which the Paraguayan canoes attacked the 
Brazilian ironclads never be less ! Beyond it is the Post- 
office, and further on the city straggles out into suburbs. 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 183 

Again you go back to the main square and continue 
Bolivar-street, to the north-west known as San Martin. 
This is perhaps the most familiar to foreigners : No. 44 is 
the Club de los Estrangeros Residentes, and the liberality 
with which the traveller is temporarily admitted free to all 
the privileges of members, imposes upon us a debt of gra- 
titude. Beyond it is Mr. Mackern's stationery store — it is 
wonderful that some enterprising London publisher does 
not use this and similar establishments to make a clientele 
in South America. English books are extensively read 
both by natives and foreigners, but few will take the trouble 
of sending for them to England. Beyond lies the Bourse 
of Buenos Aires, a contemptible affair, ruinous inside, 
and outside unworthy of a country town. 

A turn to the left up Cangallo-street takes you into 
Calle Florida (not Florida), the Regent Street. Here are 
the best shops in the place, barbers and jewellers, mercers 
and modistes, hatters and bootmakers, tobacconists and 
lollipop vendors. The prices are double those of Europe, 
the quality is very inferior, but the farther up country you 
go, the worse you fare. Here girls walk alone by day ; 
giving the place a gay look, and "shopping^-' becomes 
once more possible. Crossing the Calle Paraguay — after 
rain a torrent — we enter the Plaza de Marte, alias the 
Betiro, celebrated for the barracks of Dictator Rosas. We 
stare and wag the head at the equestrian statue of General 
San Martin, and we remember that General Beresford 
held this place in 1807, since which time many a wretched 
political offender has gazed at it with hot and weary eyes 
before being blindfolded, and seated upon the fatal 
banquillo. 

Passing the Church of San Miguel, and some old domi- 
ciles which look like fortresses, you may visit if you like 
the Recoleta or Metropolitan Cemetery. Here formerly was 



184 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

the Betlilemite Convent^ whicli after the extinction of its 
community was turned^ in 1827, to some nse. Being far 
too crowded, plans for enlarging it start up in crops, tlie 
Protestants would willingly have a " finger in the pie/^ but 
the Reformed house is divided against itself, English and 
Anglo-Americans, and in short too many interests are in- 
volved in the matter. The ground is crushed by heavy 
tasteless masses of masonry, tents, sentry boxes, naval 
columns, truncated pillars, crosses, crucifixes, groups of 
statuary, and the normal paraphernalia of Christian piety. 
The poorly cleaned surface abounds in hemlock (cicuta) and 
rank grasses : after a few years the bones are exhumed and 
thrown into a corner hole. These young peoples should be 
innovators — why do they not try first of all things 
*^ cremation ?" A Committee of the House of Commons 
pronounced it, I believe, too expensive for England, but 
here surely a large blast furnace constructed on the most 
modern scientific principles would be economical enough. 
During the present war attempts were made to burn the 
dead in piles from 50 to 100, disposed in layers alter- 
nately with wood. The burly Brazilian Negro com- 
plained that the Paraguayan enemy was too lean to catch 
fire. 

We have now done the city : we have dined at the Cafe 
de Paris, we have seen the Grand Opera, remain only the 
Alcazar, and the humours of a Progreso Ball. 

The former is the great resource for bachelors who do 
not admire the private concert, the tertulia, the teafight, 
the quiet rubber. There are neither lecture rooms nor 
literary meetings in the self-styled '^ Athens of South 
America.^^ Let us remember that we have at home a city 
which, with equal impudence, claims a title which none 
should dare to bear. At the same time the proportion of 
libraries to billiard-rooms is 1 to 100, and of libraries to 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 185 

pulperias or esquinas"^ (drinking houses) 1 to 150. The 
Club reading-rooms, lit up with gas, spoil the eyesight : 
the cafes, with itinerant bands, make the head ache, so men 
go to the " Cas.'' 

" Music Hall," writ large, arrests us. We pay $10 
(paper) for pit or gallery, and $20 for stalls ; there is no 
Cazuela or family tier set apart, and the few feminines 
present are the loudest of the loud. ^' Swells " do not 
patronize the place, except when something new is ex- 
pected — a singer or a squabble. So far, all is inferior to 
Rio de Janeiro, where the Aimee certainly excels the 
Schneider, and where anybody is as good as M. Dupuis. 

The room is a small oval with a few open boxes near the 
stage, which is fronted by a trumpery orchestra. Venti- 
lation is wanting, and it is no wonder that the pale reds 
and yellows of the house wear a dingy, bilious, jaundiced 
hue. The audience, sitting at marble tables, smoking rank 
tobacco, and drinking beer and liqueurs, both equally vile, 
but not cheap as the aspect suggests, delights in French 
Vaudevilles, and songs a la Therese, in which the most vio- 
lent action is admitted, and admired. M. and Mme. 
Cheri Labouchere preside over the revels — the lady was 
once pretty — and the revels sometimes end roughly. An 
actress of prodigious girth once nearly caused a " pro- 
nouncement," because she would remain faithful to the 
tenor. Every night saw its disturbance, men rushing 
wildly about the galleries, and jumping over tables and 
benches, to escape a charge en masse by the police, who 
pursued, " sabre au poing," those that dared indulge in hiss 
or catcall. After witnessing the actions and postures with 
which Mme. Gooz illustrated her song I was not surprised 

* The pulperia is the establishment of the pulpero — grocer, spirit-dealer, 
and vendor of dry goods. It is the venda further north which I have 
described in the " Highlands of the Brazil." 



186 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

to hear that the married women of Buenos Aires had in a 
memorial to the Archbishop^ prayed him to close the Al- 
cazar^ or at least to keep their husbands away from it. 
Silly married women — as if the remedy were not in their 
own hands ! 

Far different^ though situated in Alcazar- street _, are the 
humours of the " Progreso Balls/"' which are frequented by 
all the celebrities and somebodies in the city. The Club is 
most hospitable in sending out its invitations,, and Mr. 
Constant Santa Maria never lets his countrymen lack the 
hint to attend. Socially considered^ the Club Progreso is of 
the highest order, the members are the best men, and 
though its object is of course political, its opinions are not 
extreme. Physically it is a handsome house, laid out more 
in French than in English style ; and having been built by 
a Spaniard, the basement floor is let to shops and stores. 

The ball hardly opens before 1 a.m., though the local 
dinner hour is 5 to 6 p.m. — why not make it at once 2 a.m., 
and snatch the " beauty-sleep^^ before going ? A few, very 
few, heavily bearded old ladies represent the dowager and 
the chaperon, so perhaps the hours are not merely fashion- 
able and absurd. Unmarried girls accompany their mar- 
ried sisters, which savours of innocence. The toilettes 
greatly vary, these resemble peignoirs — those might be seen 
at the Tuileries. I cannot wax enthusiastic about the 
beauty : an Englishwoman there suggested the lines — 

" So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows, 
As yonder lady o'er her fellows shows." 

The men are extensively *^ got up ;" every cheek displays 
the handiwork of the artiste ; every head has been sub- 
jected to the curling-irons; the dressing-room is crowded 
throughout the night, and at times a youth in a sly corner 
of the ball-room draws through his wiry locks the furtive 
comb. Yet, with the exception of a foreigner or two, there 



A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 187 

are no figures worthy of attention. The distinction of ranks 
is here not very perceptible, and even the emigrants become 
as a rule exceedingly Republican. Girls of the best families 
may be seen in stores, shaking hands over the counter and 
chaffing with the shopboys^ whilst these may be the sons 
of ex-Ministers, and perhaps may become Ministers them- 
selves. A peculiar familiarity of conversation is customary ; 
you soon address D. Maria A. B. C. de Tal as D. Maria, 
and presently D. Maria as " Mariquita/^ whilst she honours 
Mr. Smith by interpellating him O Smith ! 

The fine reading-room of the club is turned into an 
appropriate dancing saloon. The white and yellow hangings, 
and the three ormolu chandeliers are not at all like our 
stout leather -lined seats, solid mahogany tables, and 
ponderous gas-stars. The ceiling is low, and insufficiently 
pierced with ventilating holes; the carpet is too soft for 
anything but languid dancing, and silk-covered ottomans dis- 
posed, as sailors say, " athwart ship,^' cut the long room into 
three small compartments, and absolutely forbid rusliing or 
whisking. The thing is to lead out some small dark person, 
to hold her moderately close, to twist mincingly round upon 
yourself some half a dozen times, to stop with a jerk, and 
then to stand amongst the lookers-on. Young Buenos 
Aires is not given to affecting manliness. He has still to 
learn the value of athletic sports, and to attend the school 
of arms. 

In the red satin room are refreshments, tea and coffee — 
'^ no mas.^^ A little before dawn is a succulent supper, to 
which the sexes in couples sit down and are served; the 
single man must wait till he can serve himself. We look 
round in vain for flirtation even over the tea, or after the 
great event of the evening. This form of salut before the 
real assaut d'armes apparently awaits introduction. A 
grand serieux is the humour, except when the normal French 



188 A GLANCE AT BUENOS AIRES. 

attache shows his inevitable liveliness, or when some model 
Britisher shuffles off his usually inevitable phlegm. 

If I have written in this letter anything to offend Buenos 
Aires or the Buenos Aireans, you will, I am sure, allow me 
to withdraw it and to beg pardon. Amongst the thousand 
places which store my cabinet of memory there is none 
that stands more favourably than the Platine capital. 
The peculiar heartiness with which all, Argentines as well as 
foreigners, receive the traveller ; the friendliness with which 
he is admitted to their homes and made free of their insti- 
tutions ; and their anxiety to gratify his wishes; to cicerone 
him ; to forward his pursuits ; in fact, to make him happy 
as well as comfortable, are not to be equalled in any city 
that I have yet visited. We are apt to take these things 
at the time as matters of course. Perhaps we are often 
vain enough to assume them the tribute paid to our 
remarkable merits. But all this falls away when we have 
leisure to reflect — to look back — and modestly to recognise 
the real benevolence and politeness which prompt the 
gratifying reception. The weeks that I passed at Buenos 
Aires will ever be remembered by me with that pleasure 
with which on a wintry day we recall to mind the sweet 
savour of perfumed spring. Con que — Adios. 



LETTER VII. 

UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND VISIT TO GENERAL URQUJZA, 

Buenos Aires, October 17, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

It will be better, in telling my tale of 
Paraguay, to sacrifice the unity of place to that of time ; and 
instead of proceeding straight to the seat of war, as I did 
in August, 1868, to inspect at once the sites where the 
war began. The line of the Uruguay River will show us 
that ^^ terrible worthy^^ General Urquiza, in his Pampa 
Palace j Paysandu still seared with the scars of siege, and 
other ^'places with names.'^ 

So one breezy, blowy morning (Tuesday, October 6) 
when the north wind was out, and the Garua or Scotch 
mist was down on the world, we boarded, plunging, rolling, 
and dashing, the Campania Saltena^s steamer, Rio Uruguay j 
Captain Panasco, of Tenerife, a civil man and a good sailor — 
happily not Benito Magnasco, an Italian, bilious and surly, 
who is the reverse of both. The party consisted of Dr. 
Gibbings, an estanciero or landowner settled in the 
province of Buenos Aires, and his son, who had preferred 
being Postmaster in Entre Bios to the disagreeable alter- 
native of becoming a " personero,'^ un conscrit. Messrs. 
Maxwell and Johnston — names mentioned before — were to 
accompany us halfway, and then to regain the Banda 
Oriental. Finally, Mr. Power, from the South of Ireland, 
kept us in fun till the day of parting, when he went ofi* sky- 
rocketing to prepare for a sail up the Paraguay Biver. 

We steam towards the Outer Boads, and the low stretch 



190 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

of city waxes lower as we go^ laughing at the beard of the 

casemated Custom-house. The white steeples of La Colonia 

glitter in the sun, and presently a pie-shaped domelet rises 

ahead. This, we are told, is historic " Martin Garcia.^^ It 

reminds us of the Piloto de Altura — the practical pilot who 

made observations — the sailor rei nauticce peritus who 

guided thus far up Mar Dulce, the Piloto Mayor (Admiral) 

D. Juan de Solis. 

" They were the first that ever burst 
Into that silent sea j" 

and they met the fate of Magellan and Cook. Most 
authors have related that D. Juan Diaz de Solis was (in 
1516) slaughtered, roasted, and eaten by the Charruas 
savages on the bank of a rivulet west of Maldonado, hence 
the long sandy reach is still known as Playa de Solis. 
Popular report places the scene of the murder on the Banda 
Oriental coast, nearly opposite Martin Garcia. 

The islet, quasi-circular and averaging about one mile 
each way, is the outlier of a long oval of shoals and shallows. 
To east of it, and nearer the shore, is Martin Chico, rather 
peninsula than island, and the pair are parted from the 
mainland by a channel which has been prettily baptized 
" Canal del Infierno.^^ This passage was rehabilitated in 
1847 by Captain Sullivan, R.N., and presently Captain 
Page, U.S.N., gave it two more feet of depth. Here the 
minor estuary of La Plata narrows from thirty to seven 
miles, and with a fathom and a half of water close to its 
east, " Martin Garcia'^ must be looked upon as Perim 
Island, a shameless pretender : it has been entitled " Pearl 
of the Plate^^ and " Key of the Rivers of the Interior,^' 
when La Colonia and Monte Video deserve all the 
honours. 

This lumpy dome of gneiss and granite, with a low 
alluvial spit to the north — much like a flattish spoon and 



VISIT TO GENERAL URQUIZA. 191 

handle — has its own history. Here the War of Independence 
hegan in 1810, and the islet was carried from a force of 
seventy Spaniards and three gnns by Lieut. Caparroza 
and eighteen Patricio dragoons. A novel and interesting 
use for the " equine^"* is that of storming fortified and insu- 
lated posts. In '^ Argentine Gleanings^' we read of " horses 
making brick !" — of " horses thrashing corn !" — of '^ horses 
churning butter !'' I may add, horses defending coasts 
and leading forlorn hopes (see Muratori) — horses attacking 
frigates (witness the Spanish Mer curio, grounded in 1810) 
— horses clearing earthworks (so did the gallant Osorio^s 
cavalry at Humaita) — and horses assaulting steam-engines, 
as happened to the '' railway battery/^ of which we shall 
presently hear more. 

In 1814, the Irishman, Admiral Brown, successfully ran 
past the batteries — a feat in which he was often rivalled 
by Garibaldi — yet the French squadron was subsequently 
checked by half a company of wounded men under command 
of Colonel Cortanses. The gallant Argentine was taken in 
the war, made prisoner, and sent to Dictator Kosas by the 
French admiral, with the Gallican epigram " Glory to the 
Conquered.^^ Two other Argentine soldiers, Mayer and 
Villanueva, who subsequently became well known in Prussia 
and Mexico, here began their careers : the people still show 
a quarry into which a Neapolitan Sappho, who lived in the 
island, threw herself after the departure of Phaon Mayer. 
In 1859, the brothers Cordero again ran their squadrons 
in safety past the four batteries, and proved how trifling 
an obstacle would be '' Martin Garcia^' against ironclads. 
Finally, here stands, in books, the Argyropolis of President 
Sarmiento : and if the Argentine Confederation wants a 
distinct Columbia and a City Washington, by all means 
place it in this pocket Botany Bay. 

Martin Garcia once belonged to Banda Oriental, now she 



192 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

is attaclied to Buenos Aires. The block of desirable building 
material is forbidden by treaty to be fortified. Therefore we 
find the water-line girt round with ruined batteries. To the 
south-east and behind the point,, we see what may easily be 
reconverted into a redoubt. The next is a strong post at the 
point with embrasures for five guns. The third may be 
called the Flagstaff Battery ; it is on a scarped bank thirty 
feet above the water, with yellow battlements, accommo- 
dating nine or ten guns, and space for more. Lastly, below 
the Commandante^s quarters there is a fourth redoubt 
without guns. The rest of the scene consists of three flag- 
stavesj barracks, and white houses^ gardens, fields, and a 
few patches of shady-looking vegetation, thin grass pricking 
up amongst the rocks and stones. 

We enter the barless mouth of the Rio Uruguay at Las 
Vacas, an artless name which has been vulgarized to Car- 
melo : even so Higueritas, ^* Figlets/^ has Howardized itself 
to " Nueva Palmira^^ — and what a Palmyra ! Presently 
we shall have New Romes, Memphises, Thebeses, and so 
forth. We halt at Fray Bento^s, a little place on the 
eastern bank, facing the stream which haughtily calls itself 
Gualeguaichu. Some philologists render the euphonious 
term, also written Gualeyuay-chu, ^' Little River,^^ others 
'^ Little Devil.'-' My learned friend Dr. J. M. Grutierrez 
translates Gua line, stripe, or blot ; Guai, diminutive of 
painted, and Chue, a land tortoise. Thus the name would 
mean " stream of the striped terrapin .'' He casts out 
the second syllable (" le,"') remarking that, according to 
P. Montoya, the Jesuit author of the best Guarani 
Dictionary, the language had no " \" 

The Fray, after a long hot youth of very dubious pro- 
priety, has of late years cut his wise teeth, and is now greasy 
and redolent of the roti, as becomes his cloth. He has taken 
up '^ Extractum Carnis,'' the great invention of the great 



VISIT TO GENEKAL UllQUlZA. 193 

Professor Barou Justus von Liebig. It is a kind of liquid 
sirloiu, which makes a manner of beef-tea " much im- 
proved/' says the advertisement, " by the addition of a 
little fresh butter, a slice of hot or cold ham, beef, or 
mutton, with spices according to taste." This recipe, which 
makes it an assistant to itself, reminds me of the Irish recipe 
for making " stone soup" — boiling water, with meat and 
vegetables ad libitum. I tried Extractum Carnis, and 
found it detestable, gluey, empyreumatic, with an inde- 
scribable unzest like that of over-toasted bread. In large 
doses it poisons, as does nicotine, and at best it is fit only 
for thickening. But " simple processes for the preservation 
of meat" seem almost as simple as making diamonds, or as 
permuting base metal to gold. So all fortune to ye who 
would supply fresh meat for the roast beef of Old England. 
Steam your stuff into cakes, D. Carlos Lix ! Compress 
hydraulically Messrs. Muiioz and Company ! Inject Chlo- 
ride of Sodium into the aorta, Messrs. Morgan and Oliden, 
versus Messrs. Medlock and Bayly, cum Dr. Kernot with 
bisulphide of calcium ! Deal mysteriously with charqui 
by dark processes Messrs. de Maria and Ariza, Messrs. 
Lermitte and Biraben ! Smoke dry, Mr. Wilhelm Miiller, 
your " moot'n 'awms !" Though results be as yet next door 
to " nil," I will suggest nil desperandum. When you shall 
feed your cattle with oil-cake and pressed aUalfa^ instead of 
killing it when fresh from poor grass, fibreless and over- 
heated by long driving, man shall in the length of time 
achieve conserves of beef. As yet, however, I prefer to 
'^ Ext. Car." a glass of the smallest beer. 

Before turning in we studied for a while the fair features 
of the River Uruguay, also known, as the River of the 
Missions. The name is translated by some stream of the 
Cachuelas or Rapids, by others w^ater of the Uru bird — 
the Charrua name of an aquatic. Every river, like every 

13 



194 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

mountain — M. Michelet answers for the latter, I for the 
former — has his or her distinct physiognomy. Let us com- 
pare masculine Uruguay with the Parana, which, at least be- 
tween the Paraguay junction and the Delta, is palpably and 
distinctly feminine. The former is raw-boned with rock- 
rib, muscular with rolling green '^ loma^"*— swelling ground 
and hillock — which shall presently become hill and moun- 
tain ; sinewy with high sandstone banks, rough-skinned with 
white grit, and hirsute with thin willow, giant grasses, and 
grand forest growth. The latter, Parana, is of the " long 
and lazy '' order of feminine loveliness ; a kind of sleepy 
Venus like a certain Dudu; a broad-bosomed daughter of 
Amphitrite reposing in the softest of osier beds ; a placid 
smiling Princess, who has never heard of revolution, or of 
kings and queens retired from business. 

Geographically and politically, Uruguay is Brazilian, fed 
by the copious rains of the '' Empire of the Southern 
Cross •/' therefore is he tolerably sweet and wholesome, not 
to say clear and clean — at any rate the dirt is clean dirt. 
Parana, three-quarters rain to one-quarter snow, contains 
dirty dirt, salts washed from the saleratus deserts, and the 
mineralized soils of the lower Andes : in parts therefore the 
waters are not drunk. Both are equally pesculent, both 
are barless, both will supply timber-rafts more valuable 
than any on the Rhine, both average in flood two and a 
half knots per hour, and both have water power enough 
to give an engineer dynamical dreams. In both, as the 
slope flattens the curves become sharper, or what is equiva- 
lent, the greater the volume of water, the straighter- are 
the reaches. But the accurate observation of instruments 
must determine this question, and here I stop, otherwise 
Messrs. Fergusson and Tremenheere, who have lately done 
deadly battle in the Journal of the R. G. Society, will deal 
with me as did the rival editors with a certain old friend^ — 



VISIT TO GENERAL URQUIZA. 195 

will battle over me as Dr. E. Gray and Professor Owen 
battled over Paul du Chaillu. 

At 4 A.M. a puffing steam-tender runs alongside the 
" Rio Uruguay •/' her object is to carry off the live freight 
destined for " Concepcion/'' capital of Uruguay. We must 
run down to the south-west ; we must work up to the 
north-east, and thus we must cover some two leagues of 
creek. A riverine islet, a swamp and a branch stream thus 
trouble us, whilst the few houses and the pepper-castor 
dome of the Matriz towering above the tree avenues of the 
right bank, are apparently distant about a mile. It is 
gi'ey-dark, we have amongst us some twenty " colis," 
and the stewards are sleepy-headed as ourselves — even fees 
fail to rouse them. We shift to the cuddy or cabin of the 
Baby, whose air (which can be cut) is mainly composed of 
garlic and onions, tobacco, strong waters, and Basques in 
equal parts. We take mate scientifically compounded by 
Mr. Postmaster Willy Gibbings, and with steady nose- 
melody we join the assembly, jolly as a funeral. 

Our destination is a " Puerto" consisting, as in the Brazil, 
of a clearing in the river-bank, and nothing else. We land 
upon quartz, rock-crystal, agate, amethyst-gangue, chalce- 
dony, jasper, and other forms of silex, which Uruguay 
sweeps down from his highland cradle, and wherewith he 
bestrews Entre Bios as well as Banda Oriental. You are 
duly warned not again to sink capital in Oberstein cameos, 
and pay for them the prices of Italian gems : they are most 
probably the produce of remote Uruguay. 

A cart carries up our belongings and the carter touches 
his hat to us. We observe generally that the stolid 
equality of dead-level Buenos Aires is here in abeyance. 
Scant care is required for our baggage — are we not under 
the protecting wing of H. E. General D. Justo Urquiza, 
Governor and Laird of Entre Rios ? Perhaps the absence of 

13—2 



196 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

independence, robbery, and murder bas somewhat depressed 
tbe spirit of tbe capital. Concepcion del Uruguay bas a 
eburcb of normal size and shape, visited every Sunday by 
the Laird^ the Laird^s lady, and the Laird^s family, but 
it cannot be described as finished. There is the usual 
square, with the inevitable obelisk, surrounded by stunted 
'^ Paradise trees,^' and furnished with brick walks, somewhat 
rare in these country places. A kind of Pompey^s Pillar in 
stucco composite is set in a field of the rankest weeds and 
grasses. The streets, where not overgrown with poisonous 
cicuta and other wild vegetation, are lines of black mud_, 
like those that span the amene suburbs of ^' young Athens /' 
and they are ever deadly-lively as the thoroughfares of New 
York on a hot '^ Sabbath^'' afternoon. The distances are 
truly magnificent — the mile may average three tenements, 
and the connexion is by rough posts and wires or bands, 
like those that secure cotton-bales. Amongst a few good 
houses are lumpy detached boxes of the worst bricks, which 
are piled up without breaking the joint, whilst the surface 
is rarely whitewashed. The cottages are mere bandboxes, 
a long stifi" rush (Junco) being used for the walls and a 
short soft grass for thatch. Such is Concepcion. Throw in 
a building where big balls have been given, a Hotel du 
Commerce, kept by a civil Frenchwoman, who has spent 
twenty-four years in this lively corner of the world, and a 
Cafe de Paris, whose charges are half those of exorbitant 
Buenos Aires, whilst the reception is at least thrice as civil 
— et vHd, as exclaims the gar9on bringing in the breakfast 
carte. 

The staple solid here is a blanket piece of beef-rib, written 
Asado and pronounced Asa^o. Not having had my teeth 
case-hardened and steel-tipped before visiting Argentine- 
land, I have found it pleasant to masticate as indiarubber 
might be. Perhaps its very toughness and the meaty flavour 



VISIT TO GENERAL UllQUIZA. 197 

of the meat — even as freshly caught salmon is exceptionally 
fishy and new-laid eggs are remarkably eggy — form the 
main of its merits. The eupeptic African chooses for you, 
when hospitably disposed, the veteran rooster of the poultry 
yard, the venerablest patriarch of the goats : that takes long 
to masticate ; this has the highest haut gout. The Asado is 
the nearest approach to the raw beef of Abyssinia, and you 
may eat it in the self-same style with your snick-and-snee 
shaving your nose tip. It should be washed down with a 
cow^s horn full of muddy water. I know only one thing 
worse than the Asado, and that is the Matambre, whose 
relation is that of garlic to onion. But it is the fashion to 
speak succulently of the Asa^o. " St. Antonio himself could 
not have resisted the temptation of an Asa^o/^ says a tra- 
veller who makes his attendant address him — " Oh ! Don 
Enriquez, query el Cafife V (Pix)h pudor !) Sir Francis 
Head tells us that Asa^o and Yerba, the most " lasting''' of 
diet, enabled him to ride liO miles a day, and readily to 
recover from heavy falls ; also that the Gauchos can select 
tender bits from meat that no Englishman could manage. 
It is the fashion to eat game that taints and cheese that 
walks : it is now the fashion to carry the " polisson" outside, 
to wear Hessians, and to display the tassels. Basta ! 

We bargain down, or rather Dr. Gibbiugs bargains down, 
a carriage to three dollars Bolivian (each 3^. 3i/.), say half 
a sovereign per head. Coachman, a berry -brown boy about 
twelve years old, who answers to " Amiguito,"' sturdily 
handles the ribbons of the quadriga, the four mules or 
horses being all abreast. Galloping over the springy turf, 
not the mud called a road, we change nags at the frontier 
of D. Justo''s little estate. We visit a Gaucho's ranch to 
take mate and notes ; and we shake hands with his wife, a 
middle-aged body whose prehensile member feels — the com- 
parison belongs to the lively Mr. Power — like a half-alive 



198 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

trout ; tills style of manuquassation is here, they say, the 
thing. We find the prairie gallop interesting. This Me- 
sopotamian Campo appears picturesque after the dull, dead 
flats, the treeless plains south of Buenos Aires, where high 
winds and low rainfall produce a modification of the Arabian 
desert. The ground is disposed in long billows, gently 
rolling down from the highlands of the Brazil ; ^' Monte^^ 
clothes the bottoms, and on the uplands solitary ombus 
(Ficus ombu) shed their dense cool shade, suggesting from 
alar English oaks. The sun sucks-the earth, but the clear, 
uright air shows distances well defined as those of Salisbury 
Downs on a fine October day. The one bad banado or 
swamp does not let or injure us, although the corrals or 
paddocks, and the rodeos or gathering grounds for cattle, 
are knee-deep in bone-dirt and mire. Thin cattle and 
thinner sheep browse upon the grass, which is coarse and 
luxuriant, and the ground is scattered with domes, barrow- 
shaped ant-hills large and small. Pufling up their wings and 
tail plumes, male ostriches troop leisurely away from us, 
fearing no " bolas^' — the hens are mostly laying in the bush, 
also under the protecting wing of D. Justo. Even the 
^' tero-tero,^^ or horned plover, appears exceptionally secure 
as he hovers overhead, screaming abuse at the intruders. 

After a four hours^ drive, now down, then along an avenue 
of young ombiis, we sight the twin towers of a Pampa 
palace, whose architect is D. Justo himself. " San Jose^^ 
will startle those who have not seen Mr. Hutchinson^s de- 
scription, or the sketch of Colonel du Graty. In due time 
the tall fa9ade rises in view ; then appear the garden and 
the aviaries, which contain even African lories and rosy- 
crested Leadbeater cockatoos. On the right are the hut 
lines occupied by the single battalion of gunners — ruSians 
kept in prime order by throat-cutting. Turkeys and other 
poultry strut about, the Laird being the only person that 



VISIT TO GENERAL URQUIZA. 199 

can keep them. Near the entrance are kennelled " tigers/' 
that is to say spotted ounces opposed to the concolor puma 
or lion. We send in our names with due ceremony, and 
we are at once invited to enter the main gate. On the 
right is the chapel, with Italian font, poor European pic- 
tures, gold and silver ornaments, rich Barcelona dresses, 
and " Cortado^' embroidery exceptionally fine. The left 
steeple is the Froveduria, storehouse, grocery, groggery, and 
body-guard house. 

I shall say little about the palace, upon which a dozen 
pens have exercised themselves. Dr. Victorica, a connexion 
of D. Justo, who had kindly preceded the party, placed us 
under the charge of the Sargento Mor, D. Carlos Calvo ; 
state rooms in the inner court were found for us, and, after 
a few minutes, we were summoned to an interview. This 
was an unusual attention, some visitors having been kept 
waiting for a week. The owner met us at the entrance of 
a long narrow saloon, garnished with the usual sofas and 
chairs ; the only remarkable part was the ceiling, divided by 
woodwork into compartments of mirrors, below which hung 
a Saint Andrew's Cross of tinted fly-paper. I made my 
compliments, expressing in all sincerity my pleasure at 
seeing a name so well known thi'oughout the civilized world : 
D. Justo received this little tribute with a bow and a 
smile, welcomed and shook hands with the whole party, 
and seated us near him upon the settee, opposite his full- 
length portrait, which painters persist in making too 
grim. 

I was curious to see and narrowly observed this latest 
specimen of the feudal chief, a man whose history is that 
of the Argentine Confederation, when he was Protector of 
the Provinces — that is to say, Provisional Director of the 
Commonwealth; and who as early as 1853 (July 10) had 
in the name of his country signed with England and France 



200 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

a treaty opening np tlie Rio Parana to all flags — then a 
great desideratum. 

General Urquiza is a short, thickset man about sixty, of 
bilious-nervous complexion, rather dark, with light brown 
and very vivacious eyes, a closely fitting mouth, and broad 
strong jaws and chin. He wears his whisker a l^Anglaise, 
which is in fact the Portuguese, Spanish, and old French 
style still found in country parts : his side hair, which is 
dyed, covers the deficiencies of the centre, and his dress is 
that of the Latin races, black from head to foot. I won- 
dered at his excitable gesticulations, and glances flashing on 
every occasion, a something so far from Castilian repose. 
But presently I called to mind that he was a Basque, whose 
father had emigrated to South America, and had long kept 
a small store at Corrientes. His life is simple in the ex- 
treme. He rises with the light, and holds a '' durbar '' to 
settle the causes of his Entre Rianos, who, though excel- 
lent fighting men, and after the Portenos, the best looking 
of Argentines, require riding on the tightest of curbs. He 
dines or rather breaks his fast at noon, and he sups at 
dark, rarely with his family except to honour a guest. Soup 
and puchero (bouilli), poultry, and sweetmeats compose the 
meals, he never smokes, and he drinks water, which is 
here muddy. At one time he was a vegetarian, and Mr. 
Mansfield approved of him for the all-sufficient reason that 
besides not being one of his ^' poor carnivorous creatures,-*' 
he was a teetotaller. 

Of late years General Urquiza has devoted himself to 
the improvement of an estate which, containing 50 + 10 
leagues or 3,600,000 acres, is larger than many an English 
county. He is said to own 200,000 sheep and 800,000 
head of cattle, whose annual increase must be at least 10 
per cent. : he slaughters 80,000 head at $8 each, which 
represents an income of 125,000/. Grease and wool. 



VISIT TO GENERAL URQUTZA. 201 

salt meat, hair and hides, raise this to 225,000/., and the 
value of the property is supposed to double every five years. 
Public report makes him worth 1,000,000/. to 1,200,000/., 
but it knows about him, I presume, more than he knows 
himself. He is not a good paymaster, his peons are often 
six months in arrears, and his agents, like the publishers of 
M. de Balzac, court ruination. The greater part of his 
wealth was made by supplying cattle and horses to the 
Allies, a profit of which his Eutre Riano subjects were allowed 
to partake. It is no wonder that he withdrew his contin- 
gent from the war. 

It is curious to hear this " despot,^' who can stiU raise 
his 10,000 men, talking quietly like a respectable country 
squire of his land improvements, of the wine made upon 
his estate, and of his model dairy. Encouraged by the 
Gualeguay Railway, the cheapest in South America, and 
laid down by Mr. J. Coghlan, C.E., under 3000/. per mile, 
he proposes to connect his palace with the port of Con- 
cepcion. Depending upon opinion from without, he wishes 
to stand well with all foreigners, and he proposes to establish 
twin colonies on two and a half square leagues to the north 
and south, in sight of San Jose. Can this be the man who 
once ordered the English in Entre Rios to shave their 
beards lest the hair should form the offensive letter U ?* 
Can we be chatting with the '' Gaucho^'' who staked down 
an enemy for some nine years, who sat his horse sucking 
mate whilst hundreds of human throats were being cut 
before his eyes, who ranked at one time highest of the 
four great " Caudillos''— viz., Lopez of Santa Fe (1820-33, 

* The motto of General Rosas was — 

" Murien los selvajes Unitarios." 
That of General Urquiza — 

" Defendemos la ley Federal jurada, 
Son traidores los que la combaten." 



202 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

poisoned)^ Ibarra of Santiago (1822-43), Quiroga of La 
Rioja (1825-37, assassinated), and Rosas of Buenos Aires 
(1830-52, banished) ? I remembered witb some amuse- 
ment tbe comparison of tbe tenacious, energetic, impetuous, 
unscrupulous Basque with tbe stiff, cold, un genial, and 
highly moral old man of Mount Vernon. 

The preliminary interview over. General Urquiza 
showed us, under the arcades of the first or eastern court, 
fresco representations of his battles, done by an Italian of 
more pluck than skill. Here at Caseros fight, distinguished 
by a white overcloth and chimney-pot hat, he leads his thick 
red line of ponchoed men to victory. There at Vences he 
lands his cavalry across the river in compact bodies : under 
his rule there were no " dispersos^^ or " pasados" — stragglers 
or deserters — upon the principle that made Marshal Narvaez 
leave no enemies. He then conducted us to the garden 
west of his palace, and showed us araucarias and cypresses, 
oranges straw-swathed to keep out the cold, and pears and 
fruit-trees close shaved that the sap might have the less 
way to travel. We then visited the two large tanks, one a 
bathing-place for the family, deep enough in the centre for 
pisciculture, and provided with a sailing boat and a hand- 
paddle gig. The second was dry, and served as a corral to 
contain half- wild cattle when a branding festival is to be 
given. Between the two is a neat pavilion, whose summit 
shows the line of the Gualeguaichu River, and the thick 
dark grove of Acacia and Mimosa ^^ Monte,^^ which extends 
to Montiel. 

D. Justo having wisely ascertained from our introductor 
that I was not a " traidor," here sat down and chatted en 
tete-a-tete in Spanish, the only language which he speaks. 
Part of the conversation may be repeated. The General 
openly declared, that had not Marshal- President Lopez in- 
vaded Corrientes, which he looked upon as a portion of his 



VISIT TO GENERAL URQUIZA. 203 

Mesopotamia, he would have aided him with 15_,000 men 
against the Macacos, or Monkeys. The latter is here the 
popular term for the Brazilians, even as their own Tupys 
knew the Negros as '^ Macacos da terra/^ ground (not tree) 
monkeys. This was the truth, but not the whole truth. 
General Urquiza, who was Captain- General of the Argen- 
tine army, had been named to an inferior command, 
" Superior Officer of the Entre Rios cavalry,^' by President 
Mitre, who proposed to be himself Commander-in-Chief of 
the Allies. Moreover, General Lopez had disappointed him 
by promising men, ships, and money, to aid him in besieg- 
ing Buenos Aires ; furthermore, as an arbitrator after the 
battle of Pavon, the former had not been a friend to 
Urquiza. The latter must have known that any rival as- 
sisting to forward the ambitious views of the Marshal-Pre- 
sident of Paraguay would have been used and shot. I 
hardly liked to ask why in dispersing his long-promised 
contingent that was marching upon Uruguayana, he had 
trodden so perilously near the brink of high treason — a 
position which he had generally avoided since his overthrow 
in 1853. He was at that time probably undecided as to 
his part. The sole reason why the Brazil instead of wasting 
gold on the Platine Provinces, did not make Bio Grande do 
Sul their base of operations, was the reasonable fear, that in 
case of a check by Paraguay, the latter would command the 
assistance of one that never wished her well. D. Justo 
spoke sensibly and in a soldier-like way about the cam- 
paign. He declared the Conde de Porto- Alegre (Joaquim 
Marques de Souza), ex- Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial 
Army, to be its best general ; unfortunately he is a Liberal, 
and a Conservative Government must have its own Giulai. 
He gave the Brazilians 24,000 men in the field, and the 
Paraguayans 20,000, or nearly double the vulgar estimate ; 
finally, he predicted that if the empire failed in this 



204 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER, AND 

campaign, her southern provinces would become re- 
publican. 

Never leaving home, and being visited by strangers from 
all quarters, General Urquiza has a right to hold himself a 
man of note ; his family naturally think him the first in 
the vrorld ; and his flatterers declare that but for the 
fault of Marshal-President Lopez, he would have lassoed at 
Uruguyana the Imperial leader of the Brazilian army. 
When speechifying, they will opine that the crown of the 
Empire of the Southern Cross should be transferred from 
the brow of D. Pedro II. to that of General Urquiza, and 
the latter sits listening the while in a cold, abstracted 
silence, deep and impressive. 

We played billiards — the old French pin game — till 
dinner was announced at 8 p.m. Then appeared Madame 
Urquiza, the daughter of an Italian, still in early middle 
age, black haired, broad browed, straight featured, strong 
framed, and looking fit to be the mother of men. Two 
girls compose the last family, the elder being about seven- 
teen and very handsome. They have a French governess ; 
they know a little English, but will not speak it; and a 
German professor teaches them music. Here the sex pre- 
serves the old uncourteous custom noticed by Sir Francis 
Head, of not rising from their chairs to strangers. In the 
evening a dance was evidently wanted, but no one would 
propose it. 

Next morning saw us betimes in carriages. Dr. Gibbings 
tooling as only an old Irishman can do. We visited the 
Escuela Pastoril de la Republica Argentina, a model dairy 
under the direction of an Italian. The general has given 
him a hundred cows for experiments, and a few boys loung- 
ing about in uniform represented the scholars. The two 
rooms suggested a curiosity shop, old and new, for D. Pablo 
(Signer Paolo) Cataldi is everything between a poet, writing 



VISIT TO GENERAL URQUIZA. 205 

the " Liras de la Pampa/' and a pump -maker. He greatly 
prides himself upon his cutting and stamping machine, 
which engraves buttons, prize medals, and portraits of his 
patron, in blue ink. He showed us his system — borrowed 
from Sicily and Roumania — of preserving for two years 
butter fresh, or nearly so, in a coat of cheese somewhat 
like ricotta, and he kindly gave me specimens to send home. 
His Parmesan was remarkably good. 

After breakfast we bade adieu, with many thanks for his 
hospitality, to D. Justo. Knowing my intention to cross 
the Pampas, then in a somewhat troubled state, he favoured 
me with his likeness and with a letter of safe conduct, ad- 
dressed in peremptory terms to the '' Indian" chiefs and 
to their Gaucho companions, who still consider him their 
feudal chief. Ai-med with this instrument, I felt more 
secure than if protected by the flags of England and France ; 
moreover, I well knew that a hecatomb would have revenged 
my death. The main, perhaps the only charm of the per- 
sonal and aristocratic government appears to be that it is a 
rule of honour that begets loyalty. The red ponchos would, 
had I been killed, have taken the field as if bound on a battue, 
and the Argentine Mesopotamia would not have grumbled, 
even had she been called upon to pay twopence in the pound. 
Madame Urquiza courteously sent to my wife, by way of 
'^ recuerdo,^^ a pretty silver-mounted mate, with its bombilla 
or pipette. We all left San Jose under the impression of 
having paid a somewhat peculiar but very pleasant visit. 

I should augur well for Entre Rios if D. Justo were 
thirty instead of sixty years old. He will leave no hand 
strong and cunning enough to hold the provincial reins, 
and to guide the wild team that now hardly dares to chafe 
at the bit. The many foreign estancieros who at present 
enjoy his rule of ^' honey on velvet,''^ hardly conceal their 
fear that it will be followed by a reaction, when the semi- 



206 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

barbarians of the land will make it a Pandemonium broken 
loose^ and lay low all the labours of peace with fire and 
steel. It must^ however,, be remembered that the same 
horrors were expected to accompany the expulsion of Dic- 
tator RosaSj and that the prophecy was notably falsified by 
what happened. Meanwhile, in gratitude for kindnesses 
received, and in the interest of my fellow countrymen, I 
will conclude this letter with '^ Viva D. Justo V^ 
And now till the next — as they say here. 



LETTER VIII. 

UP THE URUGUAY RIVER THE SIEGE 0¥ PAYSANDU, 

SALTO, CONCORDIA, URUGUAYANA. 

Buenos Aires, October 20, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

A stormy night delayed the up-steamer till 
7.15 A.M. (October 9), at which time we began the short 
trip ^' aquas arriba.^^ Nearly opposite Concepcion is the 
Saladero-Estancia of M. de la Morvonnais_, a Breton gentle- 
man who knew this country when an oflScer in the French 
navy. I deeply regretted not being able to accept his 
hospitable invitation. The river here showed little of 
interest. It was in unusual flood,, but the traveller is used 
to the "unusual.^^ For instance, Buenos Aires declares 
her present year's climate to be the worst of the last decade. 
Tree-trunks grew out of the water; snags pricked us with 
their points ; floating islands attempted to choke us ; 
sawyers bobbed up and down, and the huts on the lower 
bank — as usual, one was higher than the other — facing 
the taller re-entering angle of the stream, were half- 
submerged. Estancias were scattered about the uplands — 
a sure sign of good ground ; and the various craft that we 
met and passed made the Uruguay anything but a silent 
highway of the nations. 

Presently remnants of batteries on the right bank showed 
the place where Urquiza had prepared to receive Garibaldi 
and his fighting " cooks.'' Paysandii town is on the oppo- 
site bank ; the buildings, massed in amphitheatre-shape, 
crowned by the Dutch-tiled dome, are picturesque, and 



208 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

withal present a perfect target to a bombarding squadron. 
The river here runs north and south ; the long streets are 
therefore disposed east to west so as the better to be enfiladed. 
Around it the country rises to the Cuchilla de los Palmares, 
which completely commands the landward side. These 
heights afford a glorious view, especially at sunset, of the 
noble river — here somewhat broader than the Paraguay. It 
is a stream of gold flowing through the liveliest green that 
spring can give ; and the beauty, the variety, and the soft- 
ness of the tints above can only be equalled by the pic- 
turesque diversity and amenity of the scene below. About 
one league to the north the uplands sink into the valley 
of the Arroyo Grande (de San Francisco), famous for fight 
and skirmish, and the Arroyo Sacra bounds the Egido or 
municipality about three quarters of a mile to the 
south."^ 

The name of the settlement is under dispute — pardon 
me if you are troubled with it ; but for the last three years 
I have worked at the Tupy-Guarani language, and it is 
evident to me that unless some one record them, all these 
interesting proper names will presently express nothing, and 
the traveller will vainly inquire the " unde derivatur." 
Generally the people translate Pay-Sandii by Father Sandii, 
Sawney or Alexander, and call themselves Sanduseros. 
General Urquiza, however, explained it to me as a corrup- 
tion of Pay Zaingo, Padre forcado, or the father (that was) 
hanged. Thus Ituzaingo alias the Battle of Rozario, where 
the Marquis of Barbacena was defeated by the Orientals, 
and saved only by the valour of the Paulistas, signifies 

* Paysandii is in S. lat. 32° 19' 3", and lon^. W. (G.) 58° 1' 16". The 
difference of London time is 3^" 52"" 15.3* ; and the variation made by 
Mr. Alec. Mackinnou is 11"^ east. The Egido, or municipal lands, to be 
laid out in garden lots and chacras represent a total of 9| square 
leagues + 400 manzanas = 346,000,000 superficial varas (short Argentine 
yards). Here the cuadra contains 100 varas, in Entre Eios 80. 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 209 

" Itu (Frank) who was hanged." I will also remark that 
in the Guaraui tongue " pai" also means to hang. 

Having landed at the unfinished pier of wood and 
masonry ;, whose poor funds were diverted to other purposes 
by D. Leandro Gomez, we proceeded to the normal adjunct, 
a big custom-house, in which our luggage was perfunctorily 
examined. Near the water the tenements are huts and 
boxes of brick, stone, and lime, connected by posts and 
wire. The old buildings are inland, and date before the 
days of steamers. I suppose Paysandii must be called a 
city. It contains 9000 souls, whereas the chief places 
in Entre Eios, Concepcion, Gualeguaichu, and Concordia 
average about 6000. 

We walked up the long street ^^18 de Julio.''^ Last 
night-'s rain had washed the fine bracing air sweet and 
clean ; at the same time it had made the rivulets impassable, 
and had filled the thoroughfares with a black mud, which, 
however, being based on sand, readily dries. After Con- 
cepion the place had a remarkable look of business, of 
bustle, of go-ahead. We found the Hotel de France (M. 
Bertrande) full, and luckily for me an old acquaintance, 
Mr. Good, chief manager of the Maua Bank, gave me 
hospitality and introduced me to the resident strangers. 

The first walk of inspection led us eastward to the main 
or Matriz Square. All the line is up-hill, excellent for 
drainage, and to the north there is a hollow, beyond which 
the land rises again. The streets are strewed with agate 
and broken glass ; as in the Brazil, they are banded with 
ribs of rough stone to prevent the washing away of the 
rain, and the trottoirs are tall narrow ledges of brick. The 
Matriz, with a single tower like that of Humaita, was then 
under repairs, and the only peculiarities in it were a black 
saint and saintess, SS. Benito and Rosa. Having been 
connected with a gun battery it had been severely treated 

14 



210 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

by the Brazilian Whitworths. The brick walls, however, 
allowed the bolts to pass through without doing much damage. 
The sacristan, who was a Swiss, complained that the 
Oriental Government owed to the Junta a sum of $25,000, 
borrowed to put down the Blanco chief, Maximo Piris, at 
Mercedes, and yet that funds for repairing the fane were 
not to be had. 

In front of the church four companies were drilling, and 
the men appeared all to be Italians. The '' Orient aV' 
Government, like that of Imperial Rome, begins, without 
reflecting upon what must be the result, to arm foreigners 
because these are more disciplinable. The last native 
mutiny took place but a few months ago (July 20, 1868). 
The " Guardia Urbana," or constabulary, offended by the 
'' curzo forzoso,'' and by being kept in arrears for two 
months " pronounced,^^ armed themselves, and shouted 
'^ Liberty .^^ About twenty men out of a total of sixty 
carried off" a gun, and having murdered a " Sereno" for 
undue interference, took refuge in Entre Bios. They forgot 
to plunder the treasure chest, which contained $6000, and 
although they proposed to loot the banks, the measure was 
not effected. 

The square is planted round with the usual ragged " Pa- 
raiso^"* trees. Its south side shows an old ranch of a 
chapel. At the north-east corner a single-storied house, 
left in statu quo, represents the head quarters of D. Leandro 
Gomez. When it was bespat by balls, and torn to shreds 
by bolts, the commandant transferred himself to the west 
side of the square. In the centre is an unfurnished pe- 
destal ; " Liberty '^ has been knocked down, and has not 
yet been replaced. The chief battery of the defence, a 
round tower to the south-east of the square, between the 
Liberty column and the Matriz, has clean disappeared. 
This '^ Malakoff,^^ a poor brick affair, was mounted with 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 211 

only four 8-pounders, and a few discharges brought it about 
the gunners^ ears. The other posts were mere street bar- 
ricades, and the chief buildings hastily strengthened. The 
Maua bank was almost knocked to pieces, and required 
complete rebuilding. The plaster pilasters of the Gefatura 
or Police and Magistrates* offices on the " Calle 8 de Octo- 
bre '' had been smashed, and the fayade had been much in- 
jured. The barricades were of the weakest, mostly com- 
posed of wool-bales and overturned carts, behind which the 
defenders fought every foot. 

Paysandii has ever been a battle ground between Blancos 
and Colorados ; and the " very heroic city " is as accus- 
tomed to bombardments as though it had been in Belgium. 
The first was on December 6, 1846. D. Fructuoso Kivera, 
Gaucho, soldier, and first President of the Oriental Republic, 
was succeeded in 1834 by General D. Manoel Oribe. The 
latter having thrown himself into the arms of Dictator 
Rosas, executed a revolution headed by Rivera in 1836 : 
Oribe however held out till 1838, when despairing of success 
he resigned. Rosas refused to let him take this step, 
and thus began a campaign, a siege, and a civil war 
which lasted nine years. The Blancos fought under the 
banner of Oribe, the Colorados were led by Rivera, and 
the latter was assisted by the Republican rifi-raff of 
Europe. On this occasion Garibaldi organized his legion 
of 400, afterwards 800 " cooks,''"' whose immense losses 
show how desperately they were handled. Rivera having 
collected some 5000 to 6000 men harried the country, and 
cannonaded his enemies out of Paysandii in about a week. 
He afterwards lost the decisive battle of India Muerta, and 
fled to the Brazil : he died in 1852 en route to Monte 
Video. 

Standing in front of the Matriz we can see the hopeless 
attitude of the defenders of Paysandu, when it was last 

14—2 



212 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

attacked (December 5, 1864). On the river to the west lay 
the squadron of Admiral Tamandare_, and its fire did the 
most damage. Men say that only the strongest,, even 
threatening^ remonstrances made by the foreign gun-boats 
anchored off the Puerte de los Aguaderos, the French 
(senior), English, Italian, and Spanish, induced that officer 
to allow time for the women and children to escape. I 
hope to see this officially contradicted, for though Admiral 
Tamandare proved himself at first a mere faineant in the 
war, and afterwards a jealous opponent of the Commander-in- 
Chief Mitre, such a fletrissure should not be attached without 
ample reason to his name. On the northern heights were 
the ^^ rebel " batteries, commanded by General Flores and 
Colonels Caraballo (Carabajjo) and Goyo Suarez : the works 
were 400 metres long, and the flying artiller^^ could change 
position about the ridge-crest. The Brazilian General, 
Menna Barreto, occupied the southern flank of the doomed 
town, commanding the fords and passages, and completing 
the investment of the place : his head quarters were near 
the cemetery at San Solano, an underground salad ero built 
by an old Jesuit of that name. General Netto had also 
joined Flores with 1400 men : the total of the allied forces 
is estimated at 12,000 men, and the site of Paysandu is, as 
I have said, a perfect ball-trap. 

The Commandante General al Norte del Rio Negro, 
Colonel D. Leandro Gomez, had charge of the defence. He 
was a noted Blanco, and brother of the Minister of War, 
Andres A. Gomez. Having been compelled by a council, 
of whom eighteen voted against twelve, to evacuate Salto, 
he was instructed by his party to hold Paysandu till the 
last, and daily to expect reinforcements. The notorious 
D. Juan Saa, an old lieutenant of Urquiza, and popularly 
known as " Lanza Seca,"^ was directed to march with 
2500 men upon the beleaguered town. After crossing the 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 213 

E/io Negro he contented himself with observing the out- 
posts of Colonel Caraballo^ and he retired whenever General 
Flores went out to meet him. D. Leandro Gomez^ nothing 
daunted, threw up battery and barricade, loopholed houses, 
placed arms in the hands of all the adults, and more than 
once thought of compelling the foreigners to fight. And he 
kept his ]900 men at work till only 500 or 600 of them 
were left alive. D. Lucas Piris, a sturdy, broad-faced old 
man also fell, and a similar fate awaited the third in com- 
mand. 

The twenty-eight days^ siege ended with fifty-two hours 
of tremendous fire, and Paysandu fell at 7 a.m. on Jan. 2, 
1865. Lieut.- Colonel Thompson asserts (Chap. II.) that the 
Brazilians treacherously entered the town under a flag of 
truce, and it is generally understood that all was not fair 
and above board. But the author of the '' War in Paraguay^^ 
is not justified in throwing the blame of Leandro Gomezes 
murder upon the Brazilian officers ; he has been misin- 
formed about the " indiscriminate massacre of the women 
and children of the place -/' and he cannot correctly assert 
that '' the taking of Paysandu, with the atrocities com- 
mitted there, form a revolting page in the history of 
Brazil.^' On the other hand the Brazil had as little reason 
to boast about having conquered a place ^' so strongly gar- 
risoned and guarded by secure trenches.^'' (Relatorio of 
the Minister of War, p. 3, 1865.) 

The truth is this. D. Leandro Gomez and his sur- 
viving officers were being marched down the street by 
Brazilian soldiers, who were taking him to their Chief. 
Admiral Tamandare had been waited upon by an English 
resident, Mr. Richard Hughes, and that officer in reply to 
a request that the gallant defender's life might be spared, 
replied that he had orders from his government so to do. 
Meanwhile Gomez was demanded by the Colorados, his 



214 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

enemies^ and was still retained by his captors; at tlie second 
time of asking he exclaimed^ " I go with my countrymen'^ 
(mis paisanos)^ and he insisted upon passing over to the 
Orientals. Thereupon his only companion, the plucky 
little Commandant e Braga also cried out, " E yo con mi 
jeute." They were placed for an hour or so in a ground- 
floor room of No. 55, Calle Orientales, at whose corner is 
the Maua Bank, not, as is generally supposed, in the blue 
shattered house opposite the Gefatura. It is said that 
during this nervous interval Gomez showed some sign of 
fear — not so Braga. At length both were taken out and 
shot against the eastern wall of the compound. Their 
corpses were thrown into the general ditch, whence they 
are supposed to have been rescued for the purposes of a 
monument. 

This cold-blooded murder, for such it is, was generally 
attributed to D. Gregorio (Goyo) Suarez, third in command 
of the Oriental forces, and subsequently Minister of War 
and rebel. The vendetta is, moreover, said to have been the 
result of an old private feud, Gomez having once struck the 
mother of Suarez : if the tale be true, such brutality con- 
siderably dims the lustrous gallantry and devotion that 
fought against such overwhelming odds. Of course there 
are two opinions about Leandro Gomez : his party holds 
him a martyr, his enemies a scelerat. He appears to have 
been a '' CaudilV of a better sort; he read Humboldt and 
he had a taste for books and natural history. His medallion 
makes him a good-looking man, with a somewhat pensive 
cast of countenance, and chiefly distinguished by an enor- 
mous *' goatee^' and mustachios. His death caused great ex- 
citement among his friends at Monte Video, who threatened 
to kill the President D. Atanacio Aguirre. And popular 
feeling was outraged by the treatment of the prisoners, who 
were forcibly enlisted into the Colorado or rebel army. 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 215 

Hardly had Paysandu recovered from the horrors of war 
when it was attacked by cholera (1867), and such was the 
panic that sundry patients were buried alive. It is now, 
despite " pronanciamentos*' and internal feuds, a thriving 
little city, the seat of an Alcalde Ordinario, who can decide 
causes to the extent of $3000, and who will soon make way 
for a Juez letrado. It has its photographer, its college, and 
its two banks, the Maua and the Italian. The former has 
just built the best house in the place, and the ground, sold 
for $15 only twenty- two years ago, now fetches $7000 per 
half lot. The resident foreign mechanics make good furni- 
ture, even door-springs, which cannot be manufactured 
at Monte Video. The imports are dry and wet goods. The 
exports are the produce of cattle bred in the neighbourhood, 
and supplying each saladero with about 40,000 head per 
annum. Sheep are still rare, the pasture has not yet been 
fitted for them. 

I spent a few pleasant days amongst the resident 
foreigners of Paysandu. Messrs. Tippet and Serra, engaged 
on the town-survey, supplied me with all details required 
by a traveller. M. Serra is a civilized Brazilian, brought 
up in Europe and speaking six languages fluently ; he has 
lost all that unpleasant look and that aggressive manner of 
the home bred, which seem to say " Nao hai como nosotros,^' 
and which rouse the bile of every stranger. To his brother, 
an employe in the Maua Bank, I am indebted for much 
information and for sundry photographs of Paysandu. Mr. 
Kennedy, the son of an Englishman here settled as librarian, 
and M. Legar, the French pharmacien, had witnessed the 
siege, and enabled me to compile an account of it. Mr. 
Thomas O^Connor and his two brothers showed me their 
salting-house, and as it works only between December and 
July, they put a bullock through the machinery to illustrate 
what 400 or 500 head undergo per diem. I was astonished 



216 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

to find that here and elsewhere the blood is allowed to waste. 
Passed through a sieve,, dried in vacuum pans^ powdered 
and bottledj it would supply the red globules, which in ten- 
grain doses have been found so beneficial in Germany and 
elsewhere. 

I saw but little of native society at Paysandu^ and 
common report did not induce me to see more. The Girl 
of the Period at home would marvel at the life which her 
sister is contented to lead in these latitudes of the '^'^dol drums. ^"^ 
The Sandusera^ who perhaps is pretty, rises and dons her 
morning wrapper at 8 a.m., when she indulges in a little 
ablution, but no toilette. She drinks mate, puffs a secret 
cigarette, and bestares the street till breakfast time — 11 a.m. 
or noon. The siesta relieves her of her ennui till 3 p.m., 
after which mate again acts as an eye-opener. Then com- 
mences the serious business of the toilette ; its object is to 
stroll about the streets and to pay long visits, where more 
mate is consumed. The only talk is of dress, flowers, and 
the private affairs of friends, acquaintances, and the town. 
A man who does not deliver himself of a compliment like a 
pistol shot a brule pourpoint at every second sentence is not 
a ^^ Caballero,^^ at any rate he is a bore. Dinner at dark, 
more ridiculous conversation, perhaps tobacco with a dif- 
fusible stimulant, and bed about midnight. 

I also visited some of the estancias south of Paysandii — 
first, the Rincon del Cangue, belonging to the late Mr. 
Plowes, and managed by Dr. Gibbings. The house is com- 
fortable, but bald of wood, wanting the garden-ground and 
the monte that surround the country houses of the Buenos 
Aires province. Thence we rode over to La Paz, the estate 
of D. Ricardo Hughes : the tenement is far more picturesque 
than usual, the Eucalyptus gum flourishes, and the Passion- 
flower creeper clothes the walls. The host had resided for 
some years in Paraguay before the war, and had sketched 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 217 

the country in a useful map. He believed devoutly, as 
indeed does my excellent friend, Mr. G. Lennon Hunt, 
H.B.M.'s Consul, Rio de Janeiro, in Baliia Blanca as the 
future port of Buenos Aires. The population there will be 
white, ignoring the mixed breeds, that curse of the older 
settlements. The climate is excellent, and the " Indian^^ 
tribes, more like Germans than Patagonians, hospitably 
harboured our unfortunate Welsh colonists, and gave them 
cattle to save them from starvation. 

From La Paz I went to see Mr. Henley^s flax, and found 
the owner drinking cold mate, which is generally held to 
be an emetic. The agriculturist never can forget what he 
has learned at home ; the richest soil with the sunniest 
exposure had been chosen, and the seed which had become 
hot here produced poorly, there refused to grow, and where 
the yield was good it had fed the ants. The people say 
there is poison in these grounds, which have lain fallow 
since the days of their creation. The fact is, that its over- 
luxuriance, its '^ sourness'^ or superabundance of humic and 
ulmic acid, require previous correction. The readiest way 
is to sow a few crops of maize and to burn down the 
stubbles, spreading the ashes over the surface. Also it 
might be advisable to treat the soil with ^' tosca,-*^ which is 
here highly calcareous, as the presence of shells proves. 
There is little doubt that Mr. Henley will succeed, as far 
as flax-growing, but whether he prospers or not is question- 
able. I saw the remnants of the English colony which he 
had brought out. The unhappies had been for some time 
crowded together eighteen in one room. They had been 
fed daily with beef, which in England they saw perhaps on 
Sundays. Consequently, out of forty-one, eighteen died^ 
mostly of dysentery, and others, especially the women, 
sought their fortunes elsewhere. I rode past a few of them 
employed in field labour, and their surly hang-dog looks, 



218 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

and sickly, pallid, ague-stricken faces told me how little the 
climate suited them. 

Having time to spare, and my feet "itching for a 
journey/-' I resolved to visit Salto, the terminus of Uruguay 
navigation. The river in this section becomes exceedingly 
picturesc le. After passing a neat, clean Swiss colony 
which shows signs of roads, we find on the left bank those 
sandstone blufis that have made travellers compare Father 
Uruguay with Father Ehine. A flat table, surrounded by 
rock precipices, falling into an earthslope, and brought up 
by thick dwarf forest below, is pointed to us as the " Mesa 
de Artigas.^^ Tradition declares that the wild potentate, 
D. Pepe, who is described by all the travellers of the day, 
used here to cut his prisoners^ throats and toss them from 
the plateau into the water. On both shores now begins 
a wealth of limestone ; it is, however, hard as marble and 
expensive to burn. Frequent arroyos divide the fine grazing 
grounds, and the lomas or uplands are tasselled with the 
Coquito palm. 

Presently we sight on both sides of the river the normal 
white sheet that argues a settlement. The right bank 
supports Concordia of Entre Rios ; opposite it, in the Banda 
Oriental, lies Salto, " the Cascade," whose site is similar to 
that of Paysandii. Nor will the town require description. It 
has a pier, a Custom-house, three long parallel streets ex- 
tending up the ridge, a main square, a Matriz, poor and 
yellow — the Saltefios appear more busy in temporal than 
in spiritual matters. The Hotel de la Concordia, kept by 
one Diogo Zavala ; an upper square ; a Maua^s bank, pre- 
sided over by the courteous M. Queque; and an office of 
the Morgan Company, Limited (sample-rooms of salted beef, 
48, Oldhall Street, London), where J). Kicardo Williams is 
the ruler. 

Salto was blockaded by the Brazilian Commodore, Joa- 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 219 

quim Jose Pinto, with four guuboats, besides the steamer 
Gualeguay carrying the Oriental flag. The garrison burnt 
the steamer Villa del Salto in order to prevent her falling 
into the hands of the invaders; and accuses the latter — I 
know not with what truth — of firing into the utterly de- 
fenceless town large guns and congreve rockets. The 
foreign residents severely blame Lieut. -Commander Notts, 
H.M.'s gunboat Sheldrake, for going to coal at Paysandu 
during their hour of difficulty, and headed by Mr. Williams, 
formed a deputation and prayed D. Leandro Gomez to re- 
tire from a place which he could not protect. In early 
December, 1864, he yielded Salto without a blow to General 
Flores, and marching south to Paysandu, he presently 
found a grave. 

After inspecting Salto I did the same service to Con- 
cordia of Entre Rios. The town is neat and pretty, the 
gardens are well kept, and the Campo is fertile and pic- 
turesque. I bore a letter for the Brazilian Consul, a 
Portuguese, who had forgotten his mother tongue : he was 
perforce circumspect ; he spoke under breath, and when he 
talked of anything that might be construed politically he 
looked around shuddering as though a bogie had been in 
the room. Even the boatmen on the river trembled at the 
name of General I Jr quiz a, and doubtless by his order arbi- 
trarily made the dollar worth eight instead of ten rialo. 

A comparison between the settlements places Salto at 
least fifty years in advance of her neighbour. The former 
has besides the usual public buildings, its own Steam Navi- 
gation Company — the Compania Salteiia — it has made its 
pier, it is finishing its Custom-house, and it proposes to 
run as far as Sta. Rosa a railway around the rapids which 
disconnect it, as the name denotes, with the upper Uruguay. 
Concordia is lively, morally and physically, as Herculaneum 
and Pompeii. 



220 UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

Here we see the cause of republicanism^ of democracy, 
practically pleaded against that of despotism_, of alien rule. 
The former^ in this home of six-monthly revolutions^ in this 
theatre of battle, murder, and sudden death, in a society 
afflicted by a chronic acephalous disorder, and by exaspera- 
tions of the most savage anarchy, and where the citizen is 
unprepared either by education, by civilization, by tradition, 
or by civic virtues for self-rule and for the choice of his rulers, 
Salto, I beg to say, prospers, progresses, goes ahead. On 
the other hand Concordia, governed according to ancient 
principles, schooled to order, and disciplined into propriety, 
falls out of the race of life : the hand of a self-imposed 
ruler weighs heavy upon it; it sleeps, it swoons, it dies. 
We are encouraged by the experience of these two rival 
villages to believe in that future which is now mainly in 
the hands of poets, in the universal Republic, in the Fede- 
ration of peoples, and in the absolute self-rule which a 
progressive race will presently demand as its birthright. 

The rapids above Salto are hardly passable during the 
dries. About mid-October cruisers cross them, but they 
must presently return, under pain of confinement to the 
upper river till the next year's flood. Admiral Tamandare 
was fortunate in passing over his four gunboats in August, 
1865. Here the best agates of commerce (chalcedonies) 
are found, and about 200 tons are yearly exported to Havre 
and Antwerp : they occur detached or embedded in the 
amygdaloid, adhering to the hard sandstone like butter to 
bread. The noble quartzes appear in water-rolled pebbles, 
large and small ; there is the amethyst, the true agate, jas- 
per, cornelian, onyx, sardonyx, and jet : sign of diamonds 
is also not wanting. All these come from the highlands of 
the Brazil, and are identical with the formations of the 
great Kio de Sa5 Francisco. Amongst them are perfect 
petrifactions of tree trunk, bark, and heart, wood silicified 



UP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 221 

by iufiltration : similarly petrified cowhorns are said to be 
found on the upper Parana. Much of the sandstone grit 
is blackened and polished by the force of the rapids, 
iron-revetted like the rocks in many of the West African 
and east South American rivers. In the great Platine 
valley, I found the crust only here. 

My desire to see Uruguayana and the upper Uruguay 
was thwarted by circumstances. The roads were knee 
deep in mud, and the weather was detestable, now seething 
with sun and mist, then raw and damp with the south 
wind and Gariia, the river fog. The river was falling ra- 
pidly, the wretched little steamer Chata or raft which was 
detached to make the passage, had been forced back to 
repair an injury done by the nearest rapid, and no one ex- 
pected her to make her destination, whilst M. Rivas, the 
owner, crowded her with passengers, and demanded uncon- 
scionable fares. I therefore took heart of grace, and 
merrily returned to Buenos Aires. 

Uruguayana, a fourth-rate Brazilian town in the Upper 
Uruguay, won a name for itself during the last Paraguayan 
war. Here fell to pieces the Corps d^Armee of the east, 
which Marshal-President Lopez had despatched under 
Colonel Estigarribia, to sweep the riverine valley, and to 
effect a junction with the western column. The Paraguayan 
leader had made the fatal mistake of leaving one-third of 
his forces on the right bank of the stream, which now^here 
allows communication without boats ; and this second divi- 
sion of 2500 men, under Colonel Duarto, was annihilated 
with the exception of 300 prisoners by the 13,000 allies, on 
17th August, 1865, at the Battle of Yatay (the Brazilian 
Jatahy). On June 11, the Paraguayan cause had been 
greatly shaken by the defeat of her navy at Riachuelo, 
and Colonel Estigarribia found it advisable to fall back upon 
Uruguayana. This town was presently invested by the 



222 tJP THE URUGUAY RIVER. 

Allies, and in due time, at 4 p.m. on September 18, the 
Paraguayan garrison, numbering without the sick 5103 
officers and men, or a total of 6000, surrendered to His 
Imperial Majesty of the Brazil, who was accompanied by 
his sons-in-law their RR.HH. the Comte d^Eu and the 
Due de Saxe. The spoils of victory included 7 standards, 
6 bouches a feu, 5000 stand of arms, 231,000 cartridges, 
and an altar with its furniture. 

Thus in defeat and disgrace ended the corps of the 
Uruguay, and the first phase of the Paraguayan campaign, 
the aggressive. Adieu. 



LETTEE IX. 

UP THE PARANA RIVEE TO ROZARIO. 

August 20, 1868. 
My dear Z ^ 

At Buenos Aires the Yi received on board 
the wife and daughter of General D. Juan A. Gelly y Obes, 
Commander-in-Chief of the Argentine Contingent — I can 
hardly call it ^' forces'^ or " army.^^ We had also M. 
Artui'o de Marcoartu_, C.E.^ a Spaniard,, who proposes the 
railway from Salto on the Lower, to Santa Rosa on the 
Upper Uruguay. Among the tripsters was D. Hector F. 
Varela, notable amongst the numerous and highly distin- 
guished family of that name : after playing a prominent 
and pugnacious part at a certain Peace Congress, he was 
compelled by a duel to quit France hurriedly, and now 
after holding a variety of high offices he writes in the 
Tribuna of Buenos Aires. I have to thank him for assisting 
me in my studies of Paraguay. We also carried D. Segundo 
Floresj the third son of the murdered President, going, it 
was reported, to obtain a contract for clothing the Brazilian 
troops. Good-looking and much resembling the portraits 
of his father, he was an intelligent youth, speaking good 
English and French, in manner rather shy, and little show- 
ing what a tiger he can be when his blood is up. We often 
met afterwards, and I enjoyed his society — '^ c^etait une 
nature,^' as Goethe used to ask in his old age. Many other 
notabilities had promised to assist at the steamer '^'^func- 
cion,'^ but they failed when it came to the point : a loose- 



224 UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 

ness in keeping engagements seems hereabouts to be a 
chronic disorder. 

The delta proper^ or to speak more correctly, the paral- 
lelogram of the Parana river^ has a base line of thirty miles 
subtending the embouchure of the Uruguay, and forming 
the minor estuary of the Plate, which connects itself with 
the ocean by means of the larger fluvial estuary and the 
sea-gulf. The apex, Diamante, below which offsets the Rio 
Paranancito, lies 178 direct miles from the mouth, and thus 
the true delta would contain some 5350 square geographical 
miles. There are several false deltas, especially that formed 
by the Ibicuy or upper waters of the Parana Guazu, which 
leaves the Parana de las Palmas at Villa Constitucion. A 
smaller division still is bounded by the Parana Guazu and 
the Parana de las Palmas with the little town of S. Pedro 
for its apex. 

There are two chief lines of navigation up the delta of 
the Parana. The course that lies straight ahead from the 
outer roads, and best fitted for small steamers and sailers 
drawing five to six feet, is the Parana de las Palmas, classic 
waters so called in 1526 by their first navigator, Cabot, of 
Bristol, who explored them with a caravel and three little 
ships. In these days its palms are too rare to give it a 
name; at least, we shall not see them till some way up. 
You run down the northern railway, twenty-one miles long, 
to the Tiger's foul stream, where certain wealthy citizens 
have built handsome country houses, and where dwarf 
docks, shipbuilding yards, a railway station, workhouses 
and offices are beginning to procreate a town. The Tiger's 
river is about ten years old — the English boat-club has known 
it for seven or eight years. A sudden freshet made it take 
the place of its south-western neighbour, the Rio de las 
Conchas mentioned by all old travellers ; and like the latter^ 
it feeds the Rio de Lujan, alias Corpus Christi. After a 



UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 



225 



few yards you strike this Lujan — a stream rising indepen- 
dently of, but falling into, the Parana.* Here we are 

* Itinerary by South American Pilot (Part I,, taken from Captain 
Mouchez) : — 



Miles. 

52 
150 

185 
218 
310 



Buenos Aires to Boca del Guazu ..... 
S. Pedro (First Delta) .... 

„ S. Nicolas 

„ Rozario ...... 

„ Parana (Guazii to Parana, 256, Sullivan) 

„ La Paz 392 

Goya 517 

„ Bella Vista 566 

„ Corrientes (Guazii to Corrientes, 322, Sullivan) 635 
„ Mouth of Paraguay River (18 miles from Cor- 
rientes) 653 

„ Humaita 676 

„ Neembucii 702 

,, Asuncion (77 metres, 252-3 feet, above sea level) 865 

By Captain Page of Waterivitch, 1860 :— 

statute miles. 

Buenos Aires to M. Garcia . 45 

the Guazii 24 

S. Pedro 88 

S. Nicholas 40 

Obligado 10 

Rozario 54 

San Lorenzo 14^ 

Mouth of the Carcarana .... 22 

Diamante 67 

Parana ,36 

La Paz 102 

Goya 145 

Bella Vista 53 

Corrientes 87 

Cerrito 18 

Salto del Apipe, terminus of Parana navigation, 780 miles. To the 

Salto de Paraguay, 1070. 

Table by Thomas Aylen, Master H.M.S. Ardent, 1861 :— 

Buenos Aires to Martin Garcia 
Boca del Guazii 
S. Piedro 
Obli-ado 
S. Nicholas 
Las Piedras 
Rozario 
S. Lorenzo 

Diamante (Second Delta) 
Parana .... 



Miles. 

45 
14 
103 
11 
40 
11 
40 
23 
70 
46 

403 



15 



226 UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 

amongst the " Isleria/^ or Islandry proper^ and the caracols 
or windings of the mouths : scenery which owes to Presi- 
dent Sarmiento what Laura did to Petrarch. The proprie- 
torship — a more material matter — is still a moot point 
between the National and Provincial Governments. 1 after- 
wards visited these waters in company with the President,, 
and I can well understand why the " Archipelago of Cara- 
pachay^"* was called " Tempe Argentina.^^ 

From the Lujan, whose bar is shallow, we sight the ships 
lying off S. Fernando, and the white houses on the green 
" barranca"*^ here at its highest, thirty- five metres. Thence 
we run up the wonderfully tortuous Arroyo del Capitan, 
a vein some 100 yards wide, with occasional openings and 
outlets to starboard, which show the main stream, a muddy 
Mediterranean. It reminds me of the Whydah Lagos 
Lagoon subtending the Slave Coast in all the terrible beauty 
of Africa. Here and there the resemblance is increased by 
a wretched road, fronted and backed by swamp, with 
canoes, the horses of the country, ready to aid in escaping 
from hostile floods. After nearly four hours amongst the 
islands of the Parana, a garland of emeralds like " Insulind^'' 
formed by cross cuts passing between main lines of dis- 
charges, our steamer debouches from the Capitan vein into 
the main artery, Parana of the Palms, here three to four 
miles broad with the jump of a sea. At the mouth it 
is 4*50 metres deep, but it shallows rapidly at Praya Honda, 
where it is fit only for ships of light draughts, and that only 
in the best state of water and weather. Another four hours-' 
spell shows on the right bank La Campana, ''^the bell.^' 
Below the high talus is a big shed, a saladero, buried in a 
wealth of willows, and above it rise the large and handsome 
white house and Estancia of the ex-MinisterD.Eduar do Costa. 
Higher up is Zarate, a mead fringed with the salix, and 
a half-finished dwarf pier for landing a few passengers, the 



UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 227 

houses being concealed behind the water-slope. After this 
point comes S. Pedro^ where the Parana de las Palmas 
anastomoses with the Parana Guazii. 

The Yi will run up this " Guazu/^ as it is familiarly called. 
I will first attempt to explain something of the delta 
formation. The general opinion of the older travellers 
makes this ringe of the Pampas the easternmost limit 
of a southern Gulf of Mexico. The limits of this great 
estuary, a rough quadrilateral, would be Cape S. Antonio to 
the south-east, Patagonia to the south (limit unknown), 
westward the line of the Andes, and northwards the 
Chiquitos country, and the water - sheds which divide 
the basins of the Amazons and the Plate. Thence 
the outline would pass eastward of the Xarayes swamps 
and follow the great spinal cordillera of Paraguay. South 
of Villa Rica it would trend eastward, embracing the 
valley of the Parana proper as far as the Salto de la 
Guayra, and to the south south-east the valley of the 
Uruguay would complete the circuit. Thus the length 
would be 1920 geographical miles (betweeu south latitudes 
17° and 49°), and the breadth 600 miles (from 58° to 68° 
longitude) west of Paris. The total area is 1,152,000 square 
miles — nearly half of South America. This vast estuary 
is supposed to have been an inland sea with rocky islands, 
such as the Sierras of Cordoba and S. Luis, gradually 
warped up by the washings of the Andes and the other 
highlands, while the ground grew under the influence of 
secular elevation and deposition. But M. A. Bravard {" Geo- 
logic des Pampas,^^ a work unhappily incomplete) explains the 
so-called Pampasian alluvium by atmospheric and terrestrial 
causes. Secular upheaval produced a shallower sea — upon 
which sand dunes formed a floor, and subsequently the 
dust and volcanic ashes were transported by the Pampero 
builder from the Andes and the arid regions to the west, 

15—2 



228 UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 

and were consolidated by the torrential lowland and sea- 
board rains. Lest dust be considered an inadequate cause, 
he quotes the instance of a single storm at Buenos Aires 
which, after a few hours, covered the verdure with a cloak 
one inch thick. 

South of the Parana de las Palmas is the Parana Mini 
(the Minor Parana) — a middle line very little used. It is 
represented in maps to be a mere branch of the third great 
southernmost arm, the Parana-Guazu. 

On Monday (August 17) the Yi, not yet in light marching 
order, zigzagged and staggered across the north-western edge 
of the outer roads, avoiding the city bank ; turned slowly to 
the north-east, and lastly made northing for Martin Garcia, 
the historic islet. Drawing six to seven feet when at 
anchor and nine when driven, she ploughed up waves of 
liquid mud, and rollers, breakers, and billows of mire 
followed in her wake till she was obliged to anchor. Mr. 
Crawford, her engineer, swore that one should travel up 
such a river upon a pair of stilts. This water, heavily 
charged with detrital matter and arrested by the action of 
the sea stroke, forms the land-banks and islets of dark mud, 
fringing the once mighty estuary now a prairie. When we 
reach the true river, we shall find on both sides a glacis 
defining the bed, and above Corrientes the absence of a 
marked riverine valley will strike us as something new. 

We run too far west to distinguish anything but the 
rolling outlines of the Ban da Oriental or eastern shore, 
along which we coasted when ascending the Uruguay river. 
These ^Homas^^ will presently reproduce themselves behind 
Angostura, and form the slopes where the last great battles 
were fought. We are compelled to steam close by the 
western or fortified side of Martin Garcia. After running 
ten miles more we are right opposite Las Bocas, the mouths 
of the Parana ; but we do not relish entering them at night. 



UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 229 

especially with a bad norther. In front is the gigantic 
Uruguay, an '^ aber/' showing almost a sea horizon, and its 
capes and distances are dots based apparently upon the 
wave. We therefore anchor off the Boca del Guazii some 
170 miles from the sea. 

On the next morning, a Niebla or Cerrazon, a warm 
fog, kept us fast to our mud-hook. In autumn — April and 
thereabouts — it usually lifts at 8 a.m. ; in the cold season, as 
at present, it lasts till 11 a.m., and longer still on the upper 
stream. We presently make play and enter the Boca, which 
is half a mile wide, presently bulging out to 3000 yards — 
thirty cuadras, the passengers say, for here distance is 
counted by squares ; and lastly, settling down to 500 yards. 
The soundings at the entrance show 7*50 metres; this, 
therefore, is evidently the main line. We cast curious 
looks over the smooth, currentless expanse at the far-famed 
Islands of the Parana. Still flooded at high tides, it is a 
riverine Archipelago, formed by Arroyos and Arroyitos, 
Riachos and Cafiadas or hollows, as harsh a view at this 
moment as any on the coast of Essex. The typical growths 
are the poplar and the weeping willow (Sauce de Lloron), both 
transplanted from the Old World, and right curiously they 
contrast. The former, here as elsewhere announcing a set- 
tlement, stands up in the stiffest and thinnest of perpen- 
dicular lines, gaunt, pruned out of all semblance to the 
trees of Touraine, and dark with sombre metallic green. 
The willow bends and droops by the tall tree's side, every 
line is curved and prone, every motion is soft and languid, 
the very music of the leaves is a whisper, not a rustle, and all 
are now drawing on their spring coats of light and feathery 
green. The " Sauce,''"' which forms one quarter of the woody 
vegetation of the Arctic zone, extends from this latitude to 
Patagonia, where it occupies about the same rank ; further 
north it will make way for tropical growth. There are several 



230 UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 

kinds — the useless Lloron^ introduced^ it is said^ by the 
Jesuits ; the Colorado or red_, which gives good timber ; the 
Mimbre or osier^ useful for withies ; and the white or in- 
digenous species^ which has congeners on the Amazons 
and the S. Francisco (Salix Humboldtiana). Their exposed 
roots caused the South American Pilot (i. 5_, 180) to discover 
'^impenetrable mangroves" in the delta of the Parana; but 
here the salt water does not, despite Commodore Jack 
Trunnion, extend; consequently there are no "forests of 
the sea." The largest growth — not very tall, for the wind, 
the great leveller, cuts them down — is that leguminous and 
papilionaceous erythrina, the Ceibo, which foreigners, mis- 
taking for Cebo, mistranslated " tallow-tree." At present 
it is a mere system of woody spikes, forming gigantic 
brooms ; in October or November it will be aflame with 
bright embers of bloom, and then it will be dressed in the 
burnished leaves that suggest the North American " fall." 
The Lianas, here called " Loconte," and in Chile " Boqui," 
appear like climbers upon hop-poles ; presently these creepers 
and air- plants will beautify old age and skeletons, and will 
turn death into life. 

At another season we shall find all the brown grown 
green. Orchard follows orchard of apple, pear, quince, and 
the wild dm^azno or peach, which wants only grafting and 
training ; its tender pink blossoms contrast well with the 
black-green poplars, with the grey-green of the young- 
white willows, with the darker foliage of the older salix, 
with the leek green of the weeping willow, and with the 
metallic greens and burnished tints of the less known 
growths. There is the orange, fast returning to its original 
type ; despite the fade and somewhat bitter taste, the fruit 
is made into cooling drinks, and was at one time gathered 
like the peach for the Buenos Aires market. As the 
clearings in the higher levels and the smoke rising from the 



UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 231 

far inland sliow, the present is the time for the charcoal 
burner. He must lead a wild kind of campaigning life, 
ever in heavy marching order, carrying with him all his 
belongings, exposed to every manner of insect plague, 
worse than the 'Higer" or the aboriginal " Indian,^' and 
perpetually battling with chills and fevers : yet these 
squatters must represent a fair item in an islanders popu- 
lation laid down at 2000. 

On the edges of streams appear various aquatic plants, 
suggesting that the country could grow rice for a continent. 
The " eunco,''^ with papyrus-like head, is of two kinds, large 
and small, the Piri and the Piripiri of the Brazil. The 
' Camalote'^ or pistia stratiotes, called the Aguape further 
north, veils the water with fat, liliaceous leaves, supporting 
the flower stalks. Hence the " Camalotes,^^ or floating 
islets, at times scattered over the river ; there are legends 
of '^tigers^^ and wild beasts being floated down by them 
into civilization — I never saw any that could compare with 
those of the Benin river. Along the lower reach are fields 
of rush and flag, inundated every year, and determined by 
the extent of the flood. Higher levels produce the Flechilla 
or arrow-grass, whose stems and seed-sheaths, matting the 
fleece, are odious to the sheep farmer. There is the " Paja 
Colorada^^ or red grass, with floss-like panicles, the Paja 
Cartadera or cutting grass, which is the true grass of the 
Pampa, and the Paja Brava or Totora, terms applied to 
many different species. The white plumes of the stiff" cane, 
whose tasselled head rises ten feet high, and the green 
leaves that gracefully droop about its base, recommend this 
" Pampas grass^^ to the ornamental grounds of England, 
where, however, it is useless. Here strange cattle refuse the 
rank growth, whilst those accustomed to such fodder thrive 
upon it. Captain Page says that it is common in eastern 
Virginia. Throughout these latitudes it belts the streams 



232 UP THE PAUANA UIVER TO ROZARIO. 

and extends deep into the Pampas^ always following, I 
believe, the watercourses; and we shall find it high up on 
the Parana and the Paraguay. 

The channel winds wonderfully, to the east, to the south, 
and to the north-west. Rival channels abound, and we often 
see far beyond the monte-bush, to our right and left, ships'* 
sails passing up over land like the sailing waggons of the 
Seres. When the waters are out, temporary cross-cuts, as 
on the great Rio de Sao Francisco, enable boats to cruise 
across country. The riverine edges wax higher as we 
advance, and whilst one side grows grass the other becomes 
tree-clad ; higher up, this formation will assume larger and 
more distinct proportions. 

From this lower bed the larger animals, so common up 
stream, have of late been frightened away ; the fish to breed 
in the tributaries and the less disturbed parts ; and little 
life save aerial remains. At rare times a bullet head pro- 
truded from the water and at once withdrawn denotes the 
" Nutria,-'-' indifferently described as an otter, a seal, or a 
sea-wolf. The shag, plotus, or divsr, is of two kinds, one 
dingy brown, the other black with white-tipped wings and 
a plume that commends itself to what wears bonnets. They 
gaze at us with extended necks and ^'^boV down stream, 
in remarkable contrast with the hunchbacked, motionless 
Mirasol or white crane, standing one-legged and meditative 
on the bank, and with the Socoboi, the large ash-coloured 
heron, roaring like a bull because we dare to disturb him. 
Ducks are rare, and yet August is the height of the shooting 
season. Wild pigeons are common before this month ; the 
Paloma torcaza (properly torquaz or torquated) is large as 
a blue rock, and the toroassita equals the ringdove. There 
are swallows, red orioles (sangre de boi) ; " Calandrias-'^ or 
singing thrushes, the Sabias of the Brazil ; black thrushes ; 
pajaritos de las animas, and two red-crested " Cardinals,''-' 



IP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 233 

large and small. Amongst the hawks appears the ^^Carancha/' 
the Brazilian " Caracara/^ an ignoble but clever and versatile 
bird, ranking with the eagle, but feeding like the carrion 
crow ; ready to fish, to combine in hunting away the black 
vulture, in pulling down a crane, and in carrying off a 
chicken ; it will dig its dying talons so deeply into the 
offending hand that the shank must be cut off before it loosens 
hold. And everywhere the skeleton trees are whitened by 
the roosting of '^ Cuervo,^^ the turkey-buzzard. 

No eastern limits has the delta nor occidental either 
till 4.15 P.M., when looking to the west we descry sign of 
a true coast, low but rising above the trees, and rolling far 
away to the south. This '' barranca^^ or bank, which, hem- 
ming in the stream, controls its floods, is straight-lined, with 
level summit, here green, there bare, and its wall-like surface 
is in places broken by blue clumps of trees. The water-cut 
talus or slope seems formed of sand or clay, with here and 
there patches of bush : it appears in the form of cliffs and 
headlands, scarps and slopes, double and compound dis- 
tances, which refresh the eye wearied by the flatness of the 
rushy grassy sea stretching in all other directions. As we 
pass the " Cancha '^ or Reach of S. Pedro, at the head of the 
first or smallest delta, we see from the hurricane-deck the 
glittering steeple, and the tall whitewashed ridge-roofed 
church of Baradero ; the name " place, where ships go 
aground (barar}, or are careened," suggests the Varadouro of 
the Brazil. The hamlet has its bit of history. In 1 580 D. Juan 
de Garay, the founder or restorer of Buenos Aires, divided 
amongst his followers, after killing the Chief Taboba, the lands 
taken from the warlike Querandis. It now owns a Swiss 
colony, concerning which I may refer you to Mr. Hutchinson. 

After this came Obligado, memorable for the chain or 
rather for the three chains. Here Dictator Rosas opposed 
the English and French squadrons by a resilient structure 



234 UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 

composed of a one and a quarter incli chain amidships, 
flanked by two one-inch chains on each side, and floated 
across the channel upon thirteen pontoons formed of small 
dismasted vessels. Commodores Hotham and Trehouart 
sent, on Nov. 20, 1845, Lieutenants Hope (now Admiral 
Sir James Hope) and de la Morvonnais^^ (whose estancia 
we passed upon the Uruguay river), and after the fleet had 
suffered severely by being detained under batteries which 
could not be turned, the cold chisel soon opened a way. 
This " beau fait d'armes " is at this moment especially in- 
teresting ; we are bound for Paraguay, and we become 
curious about chains and booms. 

Now we approach S. Nicolas de los Arroyos, 185 miles 
from Buenos Aires, and famed as the prettiest part of the 
stream. The bottom is here sandy not muddy, and there 
are few snags or sawyers, the rare driftwood being gene- 
rally carried towards the western shore into which the 
stream is now biting. The vegetation begins to change^ 
the '^ ceibo '' is finer though less common, and generally 
the leafage is larger. The left bank is low and flat : the 
right, tall and well raised, supports the townlet, which is 
limited by a creek on the north. All visible from the river 
is a string of new houses, mostly of brick and nearly 
finished : the lower town of S. Nicolas, in April, 1869, will 
be under water. Apparently all the traffic goes '' aquas 
arriba/^ none down ; big ships lie at anchor, other ships 
run up before the '' soldier's wind,''-' and a steam-tug tows 
her three anchors, proud as a hen with chickens. The 
craft is of every kind, good, bad, and indifferent, all being 
equally fish to the war-makers, who prefer quantity to 
quality. At night the ships have an old habit of making 
fast to the trees, hence hoar and reverend jests put into the 

* I regret to see that English writers have chosen entirely to ignore 
the part taken by our French allies in this gallant enterprise. 



UP THE PARANA RIVER TO ROZARIO. 235 

native mouth concerning the nightly repose on the Atlantic. 
The lights, yellow, red, and green, are almost as good an 
illumination as that of Buenos Aires. It is suggestive to 
see the mighty river so populous, thus illustrating what it will 
be two centuries hence, when the sounds of war shall have 
died away from its banks, and the sights from its memory. 

Above S. Nicolas the stream spreads out some six miles : 
its peculiarity is that the deeper water lies near the two 
sides. Ships therefore brush the bush to avoid grounding, 
and to save the curves. We passed unconscious the Vuelta 
de Montiel, that great bend whose delays are so much 
feared by sailors. Again the river narrowed, whilst the 
bank rose to eighty feet, tunnelled and pierced like salt 
licks, by the Viscacha — where it exists — by the martin, 
and by the parroquet. Below the side -slopes animals 
gather to get shelter from the wind, and to chew the cud 
in the presence of water. The approach to the city is a 
big unfinished brick house, bald all about, a small Saladero, 
that kills its 150 beasts per diem. 

At 2 A.M. we halted off Bozario in the swiftly rushing 
stream of two and a half to three knots. Here the river, 
about one mile wide, is very deep, and the ships often lose 
anchors : friction and other obstacles make the under-flow 
faster than the surface current in proportion of eight (or 
eight and a half) to four and three-quarters, or five. The 
fall of the Parana from Bozario to the Puerto de las 
Piedras (thirty-three miles) is seven feet four inches duly 
measured, and giving a declivity of two and three-quarter 
inches per mile. Similarly the Mississippi Biver, from the 
mouth of the Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of 1200 
miles, gives 275 feet, or two and a quarter inches per mile. 

We must, I suppose, land at Bozario, if it only be to 
pay a visit to the Consul. His jurisdiction we are told 
extends no higher up. A tantot. 



LETTER X. 

ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA FE). 

August 19, 1868. 
My dear Z j 

The Spaniard writes Rozario and pronounces 
Rosario \ the Portuguese writes Rosario and pronounces 
Rozario. 

After this etymological caution we may remark that the 
approach to the town is a shelf of hardened silt_, varying 
from 60 to nearly 100 feet high^ which is in fact the edge of 
the Parapasian formation. The outline viewed in perspec- 
tive is diversified by headlands and double distances,, escarp- 
ments and undercliffsj here grass-clad, forming compara- 
tively level downs like those of Dover; there dotted with 
tree clumps and single trees. The barranca or bluff-face is 
tunnelled by the parrot, and monte somewhat resembling 
our oak coppices clothes the sloping base that rests upon 
the wave. The left bank, low, flooded, and peculiarly dull- 
looking, is still Entre Rios, the Mesopotamia of Argentine- 
land. 

The history and topography of Rozario have been so 
well and so frequently described, that I may without the 
imputation of idleness shirk the task. The main interest of 
the settlement is its prodigious growth. In 1850 it was a 
miserable hamlet of mud-huts sheltering 600 souls ; in 
1852 it numbered 1500 to 2C00; in 1855 it had 6000; in 
1857, 12,000. The census of 1858 gave it 13,826, and now 
its population cannot fall short of 25,000. Its importance 
arises from its position as a river port for the vast pro- 



ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA YE). 237 

vinces of the interior. It is also conuected by a coach- 
line with Mendoza^ which lies nearly in the same parallel ; 
and during the last four years it has thriven by the Para- 
guayan war, and by the railway being run towards Cordoba 
— a Central Illinois, which will presently make Rozario 
another Chicago. 

And now, from being the commercial capital of the 
Argentine Confederation, it aspires to become the political. 
A bond fide Federal Washington or Rio de Janeiro is much 
wanted, and Hozario is a central site far superior in every 
way to Buenos Aires. Its promotion is ardently desired 
by the provinces, and the Deputy Quintana highly gratified 
them by introducing into Congress the following pro- 
ject :— 

'^''Art. I. The City of Rozario is declared Capital of the 
Republic, comprising the territory between the Arroyos 
Saladillo and Luduena, on the River Parana, with a league 
of inland depth. 

"Art. 2. All public properties and establishments within 
the federalized territory become national property. 

" Art. 3. The Executive shall have two years to prepare 
the necessary buildings for the national authorities, the 
latter meanwhile residing in the City of Buenos Aires. 

" Art. 4. This law shall be submitted for acceptance of 
the Provincial Legislature of Santa Fe.^^ 

The bill was passed on September 18, 1868, by a majority 
of one — 20 to 19. Had there been a tie. President Mitre 
would have vetoed it. But Sor Tijedo, though opposed to 
the measure, left the Chambers without voting. President 
Sarmiento will doubtless stave off the measure during his 
term of office — six years. After that time Rozario will 
have the best of chances. Meanwhile, the value of land 
has at least trebled, and the Central Argentine Railway 
will presently make it independent of its big neighbour. 



238 ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (sANTA FE). 

and enable it to ship produce direct to Europe. Buenos 
Aires must bestir herself^ and nothing less than a direct 
railway to the Andes can enable her to retain her 
supremacy. 

The landward-sloping talus of these tall riverine banks 
makes all the settlements seen from the stream appear 
small^ ragged, and scattered : viewed from the ridge they 
are large, and regularly laid out. The shape of Eozario 
is square, except where the river bed cuts off an angle. To 
the west there is a bad undrained swamp, which must 
have been a boon to the cholera : here the city thins out 
into scattered buildings, brick-kilns, and enclosures recently 
cultivated. The official plan gives seventeen streets parallel 
with, and fourteen perpendicular to, the stream. Of these 
many are still on paper, and all the interest of the town is 
concentrated in the eight '' cuadras,"" bounded north by the 
Playa or river side ; south, by Calle Cordoba, the Hegent 
Street; east by the Matriz, and west by the Calle del 
Puerto. Within this space is the theatre, lately burnt 
down ; the usual bull-baiting yard, the chief tennis court, 
the Club, the Post-office, the two Consulates, English and 
" American^^ (U.S.), the cafes de Paris and Orispe, acting 
local exchange, not to speak of " London^s cafe and re- 
staurant ;" the new house of Messrs. Dugued and Co., and 
the banks — London and River Plate, the Argentine, the 
Cabal and Co.-'s, and the Maua and Co.^'s. 

The main square, " 25 de Maio,"^ gay with promenades 
on Sunday and Thursday evenings only, is that of the Ar- 
gentine country-town generally. The usual scaly and 
shabby Paraiso trees shelter new seats of cast-iron cleanly 
painted, and surround a column, upon whose summit stands 
Liberty like St. Simeon Stylites. But the deity, unlike 
the saint, wants an arm, and is otherwise much bruised 
and knocked about. The colours are wonderful; the pe- 



ACTUALITIES OF ROZAllIO (SANTA FE). 239 

destal is indigo blue, the cornice is dirty gamboge ycllow_, 
the basement is chocolate-coloured, and the four steps that 
lead up to it are mottled with chipping. Around it stands 
a small family of four young columns a quarter grown and 
headless : the busts which surmounted them have been 
injured and removed. A seedy iron railing and tipsy- 
looking lamps complete the monument, which reads a lesson 
in high art to the Rosarinos. 

Facing the north of the main square is the new Gefatura, 
a tall and handsome building : it lacks, however^ the useful 
clock of the Buenos Aires Cabildo. The Matriz, whose two 
round white steeples of the pepper-castor order can be seen 
from the river, and make ns compliment Rozario upon not 
having too much church, is on the eastern side. Fronting 
west, and adjoining it to the north, is a low yellow building 
that acts as priests' quarters and police office. Nothing can 
be more hideous than this attempt at classical art, its plaster 
Ionic pillars, with intervals unknown to the gods or Vitru- 
vius. At 9.10 A.M. mass on Sundays and fetes the church 
is crammed. Men in the blackest of black suits stand 
bareheaded under that dreadful portico. The women — 
endimanchees — overwhelming society with superfluous dry 
goods, and dressed not to please the other sex so much as 
to displease their own, squat upon the floor. The first glance 
justified me in quoting 

" Ugly church, ugly steeple, 
Ugly square, and ugly people." 

The latter are mostly Chinos — don't mistake this for Chinese 
— uninteresting half-breeds, white-red, with here and there 
a flavour of Ham. China girls, tall and cleanly made, with 
fine long black hair, eyes like the llama's, luscious lips, 
and skins of bronze that show only one single tone, are ad- 
mirable in their early teens. Marriageable at thirteen, after 
the third lustre they devote themselves somewhat fanatically 



240 ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (sANTA EE). 

to the dulia of the jolly god^, now San Martin,, and the 
loving goddess of late called Mai dos Homens. They are 
" passed ^' at twenty, faded at twenty-five, and horribly old 
and hideous at thirty-five. 

The " Sabbath^^ evening at Rozario passes somewhat less 
respectably than the morning. There is generally some ambu- 
lant company that hires a baiting-yard in the Calle de Cor- 
doba, and the citizens delight in fighting animals. Entering 
the circus-tent, which was dimly lit with a dozen tallow can- 
dles, we were obliged to take a box — chimney-pot hats may 
not sit in " vulgar " places. The entertainment began with 
the tumbling of a clown in white night-shirt, spotted with 
black wafers. Then came the man with the dancing bear, 
the supping bear, and the wrestling bear, that pretended to 
lose temper — all were of the small brown species. The 
bull-baiting was announced by prodigious excitement of the 
caninery that was fastened by staples and chains to heavy 
timbers in the yard behind the scenes : they were restless 
and noisy as boys on board a steamer. The baiteewas evidently 
an old soldier, a neatly made little bull, that sensibly kept 
its nose guarded by brass-tipped horns close to the ground, 
and cleverly tossed a succession of assailants. At length 
the clown shouted with efi'usion " Aqui el perro Inglez,"*^ 
and straightway bolted in, direct as a bee line, a vicious 
little brute with broad flat snaky head, somewhat bulkier 
than the rest of its person, mere screws of ears, a well 
scarred yellow-white coat that would have gained by scour- 
ing, and a villanous sidelong scowl, in which was visibly 
written ruffian''s dog. Its friend the bull received the rush 
in full front, and chucked it some yards away, when it was 
caught in an attendant's arms, and nondum satiatus was 
carried to bed, kicking for more fight. All this was pain- 
fully dull. More amusing and of course more barbarous 
were the next two acts, when the dogs were loosed at 



ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA FE). 241 

various animals_, especially at a pony and afterwards at a 
donkey. The latter was ridden by a pink-dressed monkey 
that at first sat well home in the saddle ; but as assailant 
after assailant came on, the hapless anthropoid rose higher 
and higher till the curtness of its coat became distinctly 
visible. Some of the dogs preferred the rider and received 
tolerably severe scratches, others flew at the monture, and 
that maligned animal the ass was in all duels the cleverer 
by half; skilfully avoiding exposure of the throat, which 
was protected by a broad leather band, it bit, it trampled, 
it kicked, it struck out with the forehand, all with the 
agility of the original zebra. The evening ended at the 
Cafe de Paris, Calle del Puerto ; it is the best in the place, 
but bad ventilation gives it the climate of the Gold Coast, 
and makes the stale tobacco-smoke hang heavy and lurid 
as a thundercloud. 

Literature does not flouiish at Rozario — witness the 
" Aviso " of M. Vincent Verge, beginning — 

" The undersigned (Phlebotomist approved), who lives in 
Port-street, No. 165, near the market, prevent the public 
that he hast just received a part of HamburgFs leeches,'^ 
&c. 

Yet even in the balneal Etablissement of civilized Vichy 
we read — 

" Sir Hirschler, Corn- Cutter and Pedicure to Her Ma- 
jesty the Emperor.^^ 

There are two local dailies. El Federalist a is politically 
affiliated to the Nacion Argentina of Buenos Aires in oppo- 
sition to President Sarmiento, the Editor, Sor Emilio Gomez, 
being a negroid. The other is La Capital^ whose redactor and 
editor, Sor Ovideo Lagos, was described to me as an Urqui- 
zista, and something worse. Rev. Mr. Carter, an American 
Missionary, emits the South American Monthly, a magazine 
suited to the most limited capacity, full of goody-goody 

IG 



242 ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA FE). 

talk^ victorious polemique^ and a few apocryphal conversions. 
Finally^ there is a truly civilized Preqo Corriente published 
fortnightly by Carlos F. Gorsse in English and French, 
Spanish and Italian. El Cosmopolitano and El Ferro 
Carril are in abeyance, owing to the absence on a colonizing 
crusade of the sanguine and enterprising Canadian " D. 
Guillermo.'' Mr. Perkins, F.R.G.S., whom I have before 
mentioned, published at Rozario in 1867, the " Expedicion 
k El Rey en el Chaco,^^ giving an account of the settlements 
proposed by him. He has lately been writing in the Field. 
We will now follow the example of Rozario, which is 
being rapidly drawn by the railway out of town to the 
north-west. We skirt the river, turning off at the place 
where presently will be the new Hotel de la Paix, and 
where now is a mere ^'^ jumpery.^^ All the characteristic 
sounds of the American- Spanish town are here — bugles ad 
libitum, and eternal bells, which good taste should abolish, 
should banish to the Kingdom of Heaven. As the Brazilian 
settlement may be known by the Araponga, or bell bird, so 
the Platine is at once betrayed by the shrill scream of the 
Gallo calling out all his brother cocks. In places you will 
hear three grind-organs playing at once, and apparently 
the more they come the more are wanted. With great 
theoretical respect for the subject^s liberty, I practically 
would seize all such sturdy vagabonds and put them to 
honest labour. The hairless dog, whose parent stock came 
from the Sandwich Islands, is here common, though still 
rare further north. They somewhat resemble ugly, clumsy 
Italian greyhounds, and their leaden-grey skins are bald, 
except where a few bristles sprout, and the topknot and 
tail-tuft, which are sometimes white. These " Pelados" 
look unnatural among the canines, and the albinos are 
loathsome as white Negros. The people call them " Ee- 
medios^^ because they cure the rheumatics by sleeping 



ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA FE). 243 

upon the aflfected limb, and having no shelter for vermin 
they are applied to the feet in bed as warming pans or hot- 
water bottles. In out-of-the-way parts of the country 
women prefer them ^^ para extrahirlas la leche." The 
Gauchos of Rozario are peculiarly ugly and wild-looking; 
instead of boots and calzoncillos, the short Turkish drawers, 
they wear dirty-white ill-fitting stockings sandalled to the 
knee with the ribbons of the Spartelle or Basque sandal. 
Their montures are small, poor and ill-bred, heavy-barrelled 
and light-limbed, more like cows than horses ; they want a 
leavening of Arab or of English thorough-bred. The best 
by far are the Mendozinos, despite their exceedingly coarse 
crests, ponderous forehands, and the kind of circus training 
which they undergo. All pull tolerably well, and are very 
quiet, or rather spiritless, being poorly fed and severely 
punished. 

Passing through the straggling suburb to the outskirts, 
where land will soon command its breadth in silver, we 
come to a garden labelled Chateau des Fleurs. It is the 
familiar DeviFs Acre, cut up into long straight walks and 
dwarf flower-beds, fronted by seats and tables under dark 
arbours and trellised vines. We graced the opening night, 
Saturday, November 28, and paid at the door $1 Bolivian 
(35. 2d. — 4^.) A little lumber theatre had been hastily 
thrown up. The stalls were crowded with decent women, 
whilst the men drank beer and brandy on the back seats, 
which gave it the genuine look of a penny gaff. Madame 
Angel and Mademoiselle Talleyrand, who had travelled with us 
from Buenos Aires, sang, danced, and did Theresa and 
Rigolboche (poor girl !) to abundant applause, ^' mas arriba^^ 
being the only objection where the foot was not raised 
sufficiently a la Almah. Though sadly disappointed by the 
absence of a cancan, that gracious gift of friendly France to 
these young lands, the audience was in excellent humour. 

16—2 



244 ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (sANTA FE). 

An unhappy tenor^ beginning to mangle his song without 
ruth or stint^ was literally cheered ofiP the stage — a great 
improvement upon the barbarous European howls_, hisses^ 
and cat-calls. We ended the evening at the house of 
D. Carlos Hurtado^ who^ over some first-rate port^ supplied 
us with an abundance of the most interesting local 
information. 

During our first visit, my good colleague, Mr. Thomas 
Hutchinson, H.B.M.^s consul, was absent on sick leave to 
England. The second found him preparing to quit his 
little quinta in the suburbs. He had done heroic service 
during the terrible cholera plagues which desolated Rozario 
in March to May 1867, and in December to February, 
1867-8. A single month (April) saw 492 victims buried in 
the churchyard. The people mostly fled from the sick, 
even from those sufiering cholerine — an epidemic that visits 
them almost yearly during the great heats and autumnal 
rains. My colleague was ably aided by the Sisters of 
Charity, with their customary devotion to the cause of 
suffering humanity, and by Mrs. Hutchinson, who like 
himself did not escape unscathed. He was then subjected 
to a cowardly attack in the shape of a caricature. The 
native doctors, who, by the depletive treatment had sent 
their scores to the grave, were too glad to throw dirt at a 
medical man who cured many a patient with chloroform, 
chlorodyne, and shampooings with brandy and spirits of 
turpentine. He was, however, gratified by the present of 
a medal, inscribed, " In Memoria de los Tavajos Practi- 
cados por la Log. Cap. Union, durante el Colera de 1867. 
Rosario, 1867.^' And there I believe ended his reward. 
It almost proves a future state, et cetera. 

Mr. Hutchinson of course had troubles with the bad 
section of his constituents, some of whom circulated a 
complaint against him. " Society''' at and about Rozario is 



ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (sANTA FE). 245 

even more divided thau iu Monte Video : the " Camp^' is 
first ; the City comes in a poor second. Amongst the 
citizen-foreigners are also two divisions — gentilhommes and 
bourgeois, nobs and snobs — who dwell wide apart as the 
original owners of the Burra-Burra mine. You may imagine 
the effect of such complications in the most limited of circles, 
especially when further subdivided by separation of saint 
from sinner, Liberal from Conservative, Creole English and 
home-bred English. The consequence is, that practically 
your '^ set^^ is reduced to a quarter dozen at the most. 
This is much less the case amongst the Germans, Italians, 
French, and few Basque. A week at Rozario was long 
enough for me to hear of these troubles, and not long 
enough to involve me in them. We spent, even in the 
town, some very pleasant evenings, especially with Mr. 
Weldon and Mr. George W. Bollaert, a son of the well- 
known litterateur. I cannot commend too strongly their 
habit of dining sub divo in the patio backed, by the fragrant 
garden. 

From Mr. Hutchinson^s Quinta we walked over to the 
terminal station of the Central Argentine Railway, of which 
Mr. William Wheelwright is contractor. This gentleman 
was then building for himself another large house, thereby 
notably stultifying a certain proverb. Now past seventy-one, 
he began life by trading notions in a little Yankee schooner 
on the western coast of South America, and whilst he was 
treated as a mere visionary and speculator, his energy and 
perseverance enabled him to conquer difficulty after difficulty, 
and at last victoriously to establish the steam navigation of 
the Pacific. Since that time his name has been connected, 
more or less, with every great act of progress effected by 
the Hispano-American republics. I afterwards made ac- 
quaintance with Mr. Wheelwright at Buenos Aires, and 
found him, as he had been described to me, in appearance 



246 ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA FE). 

the typical John Bull^ and in character an excellent com- 
bination of what is most valuable in the two races^ English 
and Anglo-American. I only hope that he may live to see 
his various projects crowned with success. 

Mr. Wheelwright obligingly gave me letters to his officials, 
Mr. Ben. Lea, agent for the contractors, and Mr. George 
Cooper, Mechanical Engineer. It is mortifying to find how 
ungenial and even ofi*ensive, after the perfect courtesy of 
Argentine and Brazilian, are not a few of one^s countrymen. 
Perhaps it is often merely the roughness of ignorance that 
never saw society beyond shop or engine-house, but common 
sense should teach a man how to receive a visit without, 
for instance, turning the visitor from his door. The only 
exception to the rule of Central Argentine Railway incivility 
was Mr. Woods, Chief "Resident Engineer. He led us about 
the spacious station which is now being built ; we found all 
in active progress — passenger-rooms, engine-houses, offices, 
repairing shops, wood sheds, houses for mechanics, and 
machinery of every description required. This is doing 
things on a large scale : half the terminal " Cares'*^ in the 
Brazil would fit into a station 1000 metres long by 120 
broad. The site is an old cemetery, from which skulls and 
other valuables were taken; these have unfortunately all 
been dispersed. For making the bricks of the enclosure, 
which requires millions, pugging-machines were brought 
out — the English shape, not the flat Argentine, is pre- 
ferred, and straw and manure are rendered inadmissible by 
the cut ting- wires. Under the upper black humus, one foot 
thick and preferred by the natives, our engineers found a 
subsoil of yellow clay, while sand of superior quality than 
that supplied by the river was discovered up the line, and 
is delivered for $4 per cubic yard. At first the proportions 
were three parts of black and yellow earth to one of 
arenaceous matter ; this was afterwards changed to five 



ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA FE). 247 

yellow, one black, and one sand, and careful drying pro- 
duced a serviceable article. 

The first sod of the Central Argentine Railway (see the 
" Parana and Cordoba R. R./^ a paper read at the meeting 
of the R. Geog. Society, Jan. 23, 1860, by Allan Campbell, 
Esq., C.E.) was turned by President General Mitre in April, 
1863. It is the first great link of interoceanic communica- 
tion, and it will affect, when finished^ one half of Argentine- 
land, an area exceeding the total of Great Britain and 
Ireland, France and Spain, and fitted to support a hundred 
millions of inhabitants. The initial section will probably 
reach Cordoba some time this year, thanks to President 
Sarmiento, who there decreed an Industrial Exhibition, with 
a view of pushing on the works. From Rozario to Cordoba 
the direct distance is 73| leagues (232 English miles), and 
the line adopted measures 247 miles, of which 240 are 
straight, seven are curved, and only four run over broken 
surfaces. The profile of the country is one vast plain, an 
ocean of land, till it approaches the Sierra, where the higher 
levels are well wooded. Thus, while the railway mile in 
the Brazil costs 20,000/., and proves the folly of expensive 
works in young countries with sparse populations, here it 
can be completed for 6400/. This is the sum upon which 
the Government guarantees 7 per cent., and the total of 
247 miles wiU not attain 1,500,000/. The law of 1857 
increased the previous concession to one square league 
(3*25 miles) on each side of the line from Rozario to 
Cordoba, except the four leagues near these two great 
termini, and breaks of one league about Frayte Muerto and 
Villa Nueva. Thus, when the works touch the foot of the 
Andes, the company will own a little kingdom of 3600 
square leagues — fine arable and grazing ground, to be held in 
plenary possession on the condition of its being colonized. 
They should have military settlements echelonnes at every 



248 ACTUALITIES OF ROZARIO (SANTA TE). 

ten miles, and send out emigrants who mnst be prepared 
at any moment to exchange the plough for the sword. 
Properly managed, this place would afford a Hegira to the 
paupers of Europe, and in its turn this splendid and luxu- 
riant waste will begin the life of civilized regions. 

An error of detail made in this line at one time threatened 
serious trouble. I quote it as a warning to future specu- 
lators. The Government ought, immediately after passing 
the bill, to have purchased the six and a half square miles 
which cross the railway longiter, and a very small sum might 
have made them its proprietors. Every month saw active 
men pressing in to exploit the land, the public funds could 
not afford $25,000 (5000/.), sometimes demanded for a 
single square league, and for years the only ground given 
over in the Cordoba Province was the *' Indian country^' 
about Tortugas. It was once expected that the authorities 
would be compelled to offer to the Company, in lieu of the 
land conceded, a round sum say of $500,000, that this 
would be refused, that the question would become inter- 
national, and that the railway would not reach its terminus 
in 1870. All these difificulties, however, have, I am in- 
formed, been satisfactorily arranged. 

We will now return to the Yi. A ^' tormenta^^ or dust- 
storm threatens, and we must hurry on board whilst we 
may. Adieu. 



LETTEE XT. 

FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

August 20, 1868. 

My dear Z J 

"Above Rozario/^ says the South Ame- 
rican Pilot, '^ there is nothing in the river to interest the 
stranger/^ A turn of the world has changed all that. 

Before we go further let us cast a geographical glance at 
this Parana River, which has been compared with the Ohio 
of the United States. The total length is laid down at 
2040 miles — namely 500 of the Brazilian Bios Grande and 
Paranahyba, 1000 of the upper stream to its junction with 
the Paraguay, and 540 before it becomes the Bio de la Plata. 
"We crossed in Minas Geraes, you may remember, its upper 
waters, known as the Bio das Mortes Pequeno. The stream 
between the mouth and the Misiones district is calculated 
to flow at 2J knots an hour ; but this rate appears to be 
exaggerated. It is by no means easy to average the current : 
it is rapid where high converging banks form narrows, and, 
of course, slowest between inundated shores. The annual 
diff"erence of its level is supposed to be twelve feet, but evi- 
dently this will not be the same in all places. Its low 
water is caused by the spring and winter of the southern 
hemisphere ; high water is in its summer and autumn. 
From this time to September it shrinks, and in October it 
sometimes falls one to four inches in twenty-four hours. It 
will wax lower till December, and about January ; when the 
thermometer shows its maximum (60° to 95° Fahr.) it will 
begin to flood. The stream is high and steady from January 



250 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

to June (the minimum of temperature being in June and 
July 30° to 5G° Falir.) ; during this semestre the Parana 
first drains the torrential rains of the Brazilian highlands, 
discharged through the great affluents, and next the Paraguay- 
is fed hy the Xarayes marshes ; while somewhat later the 
Bermejo and the Pilcomayo bring down the melted snows 
of the Bolivian Andes. At this season the inundations are 
frequently severe, the Parana acting upon the Paraguay by 
damming it up, and the floods of 1868-9 materially afi'ected 
the war operations of the Allies. Modern travellers know 
little of the upper bed of the Parana : navigation is arrested 
by the Salto del Apipe, 780 miles from Buenos Aires, and 
few living Europeans have visited La Guayra (1070 miles), 
described by old authors as an awful cataract, but really a 
succession of rapids some twelve leagues long. 

Adieu to llozario of the Bats : the last we see of it is the 
little red-tiled Methody chapel, the brickwork of the big 
station, and the wooden shoot leading to Mr. Wheelwright's 
wharf, where ships bringing material for the railway are 
discharged. There has been a terrible " seca^' or drought 
hereabouts, lasting from April to August. It accounts for 
the prairie fire by night and, by day, for the smoke forming 
in all directions lurid dust-clouds ; these, solid to sight as a 
wall, sweep up from the right of the river and linger in our 
rear. The warm, unpleasant, nerve-trying Viento Norte, 
the norther which causes murders from Buenos Aires to 
Pernambuco, has gradually changed to a steady Pampero, 
and sends flying up under a press of canvas the mob of 
palhabotes and goletas (schooners) which are often delayed 
grumbling for weeks. Here square-rigged craft are the 
fashion — the wind regular as a trade, blowing up or down 
stream, and mostly up, as the palms bending to the north 
pro\'e. However good for navigation, a strong south-wester 
about Rozario makes the Parana very dangerous. The gale 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORKIENTRS. 251 

meeting at an angle the swift, deep current raises an angry 
sea ; at niglit the breeze bites, and the cold high wind 
makes the cloudy sky feel as if there were " snow in the 
air." And so there is, the snow of the distant Patagonian 
Andes to the south-west : the nearest place where that 
meteor can be seen is the Sierra de Cordoba, called the 
" Argentine Alps," and not " Alps" at all. 

The Convent of San Carlos, at San Lorenzo, appeared 
to us as a white fa9ade and tympanum facing the river, 
flanked by four- storied white steeples, and backed by dark 
dwarf dome and brown adjuncts, huts and trees. This 
building has of late years been sketched and described : it 
will be classic ground where in 1810 General San Martin 
fought his first fight against the Spaniards, and defeated 
them with a handful of cavalry. San Carlos is now occupied 
by about a dozen old Franciscans, whom foreigners charge 
wdth admitting women, and other irregularities. It caused, in 
combination with the Odium Theologicum, the Santa Fe 
Revolution of December 1867 — March 1868. Between 
1864-7 the Provincial Governor was D. Nicasio Orono, 
lawyer, merchant, landed proprietor, and man of progres- 
sive ideas. He extended the limits of his little state over 
thirty-eight leagues of the Gran Chaco, and annexed some 
500 square leagues of the most fertile soil; he persuaded 
the Congress to sanction, on September 26, 1867, a civil 
marriage ; and then he attempted to disestablish the Convent 
of San Carlos, to provide elsewhere for the monks, and to 
convert the building into an agricultural establishment and 
college for poor boys. The good Franciscans said no, and 
discoursed about the sin which shall not be forgiven. The 
banker, D. Mariano Cabal, saw his opportunity : at his in- 
stigation 1000 to 1500 gauchos, headed by Sor Jose Fidel, 
Colonel Patricio Rodriguez, and Lieut. -Colonel Nelson — 
what a name for such a miseria ! — occupied the town^ and 



252 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

^' pronouncement " was carried out in the most orthodox 
and approved modern fashion. 

A little above the monastery is the spot where, in 1527, 
Cabot built the Antigo Fortin del Espirito Santo (Sancti 
Spiritus), which was thus senior to Asuncion and Buenos 
Aires. It was abandoned when the great explorer returned 
to Europe, and the Tapiales or mud walls must long ago have 
melted away. We read in Wilcocke and older writers the 
pathetic tale of Lucia Miranda and Sebastian Hurtado : 
how Mangora, Cacique of the Timbuez (Timbu tribe), at- 
tacked for love of her Fort Holy Ghost, and how his 
brother Siripo, equally bewitched, burnt her alive in a wild 
fit of jealousy, and caused her husband to be shot to death 
with arrows. Buenos Aires has also its romantic tale, of 
which one Maldonata was the heroine : she had made her- 
self useful to a lioness, and the grateful beast supported her 
during a terrible famine, and saved her life from the savagery. 

Beyond the Antigo Fortin lay that of Corpus Christi, 
built by Ayolas, to control the Timbii " Indians'"' of the Car- 
carana or Rio Tercero, a western influent of the Parana. 
Here the river settles into its normal aspect. One shore 
is a barranca or tall bank, which now appears to the east, 
and sometimes clean disappears : the other shore is a low, 
grassy, and often-flooded point. The wavy outline of 
the barranca is scattered with copse and trees, and spread 
with a carpet of gramma, plisse as it were, and often divided 
into two webs ; one green, smooth, and low ; the other yellow 
and long-piled. Its height is sometimes eighty feet, and the 
profile is a perpendicular silt-scarp, cut as if with a knife 
above, sloping below, and fissured laterally in all directions 
by rain and rivulet. This regularity of outline we shall trace 
far up into the Paraguay, and by it we shall presently 
explain the one unvarying style of Paraguayan defence, and 
the similar monotony of the Allied attack. 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTP^S. 253 

The cliff section is lined with long horizontal bands of stra- 
tified mnd, like courses of masonry ; here whitish, there 
yellowish, and there ruddy : these denote the process of 
deposition raised by secular upheaval. The fine dark humus 
varies in depth from one to three feet. You may imagine 
its antiquity when Humboldt makes seven lines of humus 
the work of a century in the temperates. It rests upon 
sandy silt, the latter is supported by red or white tosca, 
calcareous clay, sandstone, or marl, and the base is strewn 
with boulders, arenaceous heaps, and tree-trunks, the spoils 
of the mighty river- god. The oyster cliffs at Parana 
on the eastern side contain gryphsea, O. acuminata, 
O. deltoidia, and O. exogyna : below the line lie ochreish 
clays, and sands green and yellow, whose principal fossils 
are Astarte elegans, Pecten, and Plagiostomus. On the 
western shore the succession is vegetable mould. Pampas 
earth, and conchylian limestone. 

As a rule, upward-bound craft hereabouts hug the left 
bank. On board the Yi, however, cautiousness prefers the 
torrential mid- stream to the slack water on both sides, and 
self-sufficiency disdains to take a hint. Our commander 
declares, although the stations are printed upon the card, 
that being ordered to return on the 27th instant, he will 
halt only when he wants beef. A curious party of pleasure ! 
about as free as yonder red-shirted Paraguayan prisoners 
who pass us in the steamer dashing down stream, and who 
affect us with immense excitement. M. Varela and a ridi- 
culous being called Canstatt make after-dinner speeches. 

Presently we sight a narrow in front. The left bank is 
Punta Gorda, called Diamante by General Urquiza, when 
(February 3, 1852) he here reviewed his cavalry, 12,000 
strong, before crossing the river and going to glory at the 
battle of Monte Caseros. The troops were ferried over in 
boats and rafts. On the Entre Riano side a tall and 



254 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

regular cliff of reddisli clay shows three distinct distances of 
parallel bluff in long perspective — the nearest fines to a 
point which projects far out to meet the lowland on the 
other side. North and south of it are swampy grounds, 
and it forms the apex of the larger delta^ beyond which the 
stream is one. A sail to starboard apparently going across 
country shows us the eastern branch, the Rio Paranan- 
cito, upper waters of the Ibicuy. Where the brown silt 
scarp is disposed in a gentler talus, there is thick, furze-like 
monte, leafless now, but dark green in the right season, 
whilst a rich fringe of ever-verdant willow bends over the 
water. A Puerto for canoes is connected with a ribbon 
of path which winds round the bulge of mud precipice, often 
double and parted by wild vegetation, and which slopes up the 
grassy dorsum leading to the line of white houses and 
plantations that comprise the little settlement. It is by 
far the best building site that we have seen yet — higher 
and more open than that of Rozario. The sole disadvantage 
is its one league distance from the river. The choice of place 
dates from the days of the Payagua water- thieves, and suggests 
a valley on the Upper Congo River. Houses mostly with 
sloping roofs, "tejos^^ opposed to ^^azoteas,'^ and with walls of 
tapia — the taipa of the Brazil and the pise of Brittany, not 
unknown to the country parts of England — are crowded about 
the white chapel. The cemetery is about a league from 
the settlement, a good plan here generally adopted. About 
the village are corrals or cattle pens, and " ramadas,^^ poles 
supporting shady roofs of thatch, which must be renewed 
every year. The peach plantations already showing pink, 
and patches of dark-leaved oranges set in rows, from afar 
resemble coffee. Black cattle wander amongst the taillis, 
and the bouquets de bois rabougris, chiefly the Nandubay, the 
tala, and the mimosa. Animals breed here better than in 
the Brazil north of the Parana province, where artificial 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 255 

salt licks must be made, and where the uncaponized bulls 
drive the cows. The horses of Entre Rios are said to be 
large and good. Their habits and soft hoofs, however, 
render them useless on stony ground. 

AVe passed Parana city at night, but I afterwards fre- 
quently revisited it. The approach from Diamante is pic- 
turesque ; the barranca in places is high on both sides ; the 
inlets of wooded ground, and the open slopes of grassy 
downs, like velvet with frayed nap, are a repose to the eye. 
Islands and sandbanks now become numerous ; the former 
are of brown earth, supporting luxuriant grass and thick 
shrubbery ; there is little driftwood upon them, and here- 
abouts no forest supplies snags. The extraneous matter is 
brought down from the upper stream, and forms many a 
" bank of patience.^^ These features will become very 
common above Bella Vista. 

The Bajada, or landing-place of Parana city, is the usual 
gap in the tall cliff fronting a willow- grown islet, off which 
the current is at times a four-knot. The bush-crowned 
barranca shows lines of semi-fossilized strata, not the 
muddy alluvium of Pampasia. Near the water calcareous 
marls and clays alternate with hard shell-limestone, and 
higher up the cliff-face are two " calheiras^' — holes which 
supply white nodular calcaire. From these shells the Para- 
guayans extracted the " nacar^^ or mother-of-pearl with w hich 
they made their once celebrated inlaid work. This is an 
" Indian^^ art, apparently now lost. 

Off the port lie a little steamer and four ships, awaiting 
cargo. There are about a dozen whitewashed houses, the 
rest being mere '^'jhompris^^ or hovels. Here lives Mr. Myers, 
formerly Montague, once in the Royal Navy, but since 
1816, Independence year, an Argentine with a decided turn 
for Rosista politics ; wherefore he is a steamer-agent, and 
full of old local knowledge. Carts and carriages com- 



256 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

municate witli the town^ whicli is a good league inland^ and 
about 200 feet higher than the river. From above and 
below the Bajada we see its churchy San Miguel^ domi- 
neering the rabble of low buildings. For eight years 
Parana was the Federal capital — very well placed for General 
Urquiza^s interests^ very badly for those of the Confederation, 
being at least 390 miles from Buenos Aires. The national 
^''Caravan Government'^ abandoned it in September 1861. 

From Parana a little steamer runs up to Santa Fe, 
crossing the stream ai)d threading a network of lagoons. 
Here begin, on the west bank, the long lines of riverine islets 
formed by the true Parana and its western channel, or rather 
the lateral loop, making a stream six leagues broad known 
as the Rio de San Javier. To the north of it is that geo- 
graphical puzzle, the Saladillo Dulce, which, according to the 
rise and fall of the Parana, flows either to the east or the 
west, now becoming an influent, then an affluent. 

West of the Saladillo stream runs the Salado, representing 
the Red River of the Mississippi valley ; it separates the 
province of Santa Fe from El Gran Chaco or Chaco 
Gualamba — a wild Guarani word, from which we are sup- 
posed to guess the aspect of the place. The name of this 
" hell of Spaniards and Paradise and Elysium of savages^'' is 
translated yi^oq, a lair, a great wild chase : it means a herd 
of Vicunas and Guanacos. According to Guevara, the 
term was originally applied to the doab formed by the 
Bermejo and the Pilcomayo. It was then extended to the 
area of 216,000 square miles — big enough for an empire, or 
for four South American republics — stretching 10° north of 
Santa Fe, and 6° west from the Paraguay River. Helms 
(1806) asserts that Chaco, the ancient name of the land about 
Chuquisaca or Sucre city, gradually extended to the southern 
loAvlands. An abundance of old Spanish and Jesuitic litera- 
ture describes this unoccupied paradise, which is still as it was. 



VROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 257 

a ranclieria of wild ^^ Indians." Colonel Arenales, afterwards 
to be alluded to^ wrote a dull^ but circumstantial book about 
it in 1833. Part of the luxuriant waste was visited by Dr. 
Weddell, the companion of the Count de Castelnau, and it 
was skirted by Messrs. Mansfield and Hutchinson. It still 
awaits a serious exploration, which ought not in these days 
to present any great difficulties. Externally, the mysterious 
land at which travellers gaze with wonder and curiosity as 
the yet empty cradle of a mighty people, is a low and 
thickety jungle, with here and there a swelling " lomaria" 
or ridge, bulging above the dark fringe of impenetrable 
forest. The general aspect of the interior as far as visited, 
is said to be that of western Texas, except that it has more 
rivers and lakes, and that its Selvas (forests) are far richer 
and fairer. It is spoken of as an Eden flowing with mUk 
and wild honey, where people fatten upon game and popped 
corn, toasted and spread. But I have ever found milk 
among pastoral tribes rare during the greater part of the 
year, as is fresh fish on board ship. The Chaco is politically 
claimed by the Argentines to nearly 22° south latitude, 
above which Bolivia asserts her rights. The eastern and 
riverine part is bespoken for Paraguay, and in a short time, 
but for the present war, the grand proportions of the Great 
Wild Chase would have been sadly curtailed. 

On the morning of August 20 we were off Santa Elena 
Point, where is the white estancia^ of D. Mariano Cabal, 



* The estancia is a planter's (estanciero's) farmhouse, farm, and cattle 
grazing ground. The tenement, the sheds (galpones), and all the ofl&ces are 
called poblacion. The hacienda (in Bolivia hata, and in the Brazil fazenda) 
is an estate for cattle breeding and grazing exclusively, unless otherwise 
specified, as hacienda detrigo (wheat), de mineral or de bemficio (mining). 
The quinta is a suburban villa, a small farm, or a country house. The 
chacra is a grain or vegetable-growing farm. The puesto is a shepherd's 
(puestero's) hut, generally with its rodeo (from rodear, to round up stock), 
a bare piece of ground for mustering cattle. 

17 



258 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

the intrusive President of Santa Fe. The next place of 
importance was La Vaz, distant 270 miles from Corrientes. 
It is a hamlet prettily situated upon a promontory forming 
placid bays in places almost land-locked from the river, 
whose flow here increases. About the Puerto canoes were 
drawn high up the golden sands : the upper part is the 
usual sprinkle of whitewashed houses and adobe huts. It 
is known in old books as Cavallo Cutia, the white horse — 
cutia meaning in Guarani_, primarily white; secondarily, paper 
and silver. In front are three distances of woodland, and 
presently the river opens a sea horizon. The land opposite 
La Paz will be laid out in colonies to connect with those 
of Santa Fe, on the very edge of the dangerous Chaco. Its 
nearest neighbour would be the Swiss colony La Esperanza, 
the most northerly of the three; the others being San Carlos 
and San Geronimo, echelonnes to the west. These agi'icolo- 
military colonies will be found most useful against the raids 
of Chaco Indians. All, I repeat, should be fighting men, 
and they should be assisted in extending the frontier and in 
freeing the land, without sentimentality, from the wolfish 
savages that infest it. The Argentine Confederation will 
presently extend the benefit to their vast Pampasian limits. 
Here the vegetation palpably changes. We notice for the 
first time bamboo-clumps (tacuaras) near the water, giving 
to the scene a tropical aspect. Large palms are scattered 
over the higher bank. The species is here called coquito — 
in the Brazil coqueiro (C. butyracea). There is a greater 
luxuriance of growth: we have now trees not brushwood, 
towering above the tall Pampas grass. Flowers begin to 
form a feature, and brilliant Brazilian epiphytes, dwarf 
copies of those further north, adorn the boughs ; not only 
on the dead trunks live columns of convolvulus, even the 
willows are tapestried with creepers from branch to root. 
Here the drift wood is heaped up on the Chaco or right 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 259 

bank — a sign that the stream swings towards it : Captain 
Alvim observed the same opposite Humaita, and probably 
there are local diflferences of action. Mr. Crawford, our 
engineer, believes that the stream encroaches eastward, 
thi'own by the motion of the globe. Captain Page (p. 153) 
agrees with him, and attributes the islets invariably formed 
in the Chaco to the agency of the eartVs revolution. M. 
Elisee Keclus opines that the Parana, like almost all the 
meridional rivers of the southern hemisphere, cuts into the 
left bank. When treating of the Rio de S. Francisco, I 
have alluded to this subject, which is highly important when 
treating of engineering works. 

About noon we passed on the east bank the Rio de la Punta 
Brava, a river which has made its name in history. When 
Garibaldi was expelled by General Oribo from Montevideo, 
together with his patron the Caudillo General, Fructuoso 
Ribera, President of the Banda Oriental, he proceeded upon 
sundry "Corsair^^ expeditions. The Liberator of the Farrapos 
had only three vessels — the barque Constitucion, the brigan- 
tine Pereira, and another. Hotly pursued by Admiral Brown, 
a lieutenant of Rosas^, he ran up this stream, burned his 
ships, and marched inland to Montevideo; thence he 
travelled overland to Rio Grande do Sul. This province pro- 
claimed its autonomy as the Republic or Free State of 
Piratinim, which lasted through nine years, and afterwards 
made a complete ^fl^co. This admiral was an Irishman of 
the good old fighting stamp, and he now lies under a 
splendid monument in the Recoleta of Buenos Aires. The 
Argentines do not deny his gallantry, but they are not dis- 
posed to like or to laud the foreign employe. Concerning 
Garibaldi, then an obscure adventurer, local accounts differ : 
many say that he plundered hard to support his forces ; almost 
all agree that he took nothing for himself. But the ques- 
tion is^ " What business had he to fight at all V Better 



260 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

was candle-moulding in New York^ and then poetical justice 
would not liave been done upon him in the shape of a dra- 
matic biography by ^t. Alexandre Dumas pere. 

The next place of importance was La Esquina — the 
^' corner^^ — which must not be confounded with La Esquina 
del Dourado further south. At this point the southern Rio 
Corrientes^drainingjthey say, the Ybera Lake, joins the Espi- 
nilla or Guayquiraro, the " home of the fat boy," which 
separates the Entre Rios province from its northern neigh- 
bour Corrientes. The settlement lies on the left bank, 
about three miles distant in a true line ; the site is a loma 
or ridge, and the shape is a long scatter of white houses 
with dark patches of orange-grove. A falua boat, flying 
the Argentine flag, suddenly came out of the creek, showing 
that water-way is not wanting. The masts of a ship rose 
from the river. AYe were told that she was the Prince 
Albert, a Nova Scotia collier, which struck upon a snag, or 
had a hole cut in her. Opposite La Esquina is Pajaro Blanco, 
a place of savages and montaraces, where Mr. Perkins 
would plant another colony to lead the ^'^vida fronteriza." 

Early on the next morning we passed the Costa Tala, 
where the river widens to an enormous girth ; and at 7 a.m. 
we reached Goya. Here both banks are very flat, the 
bright green vegetation is very tall, and the stream is three 
and a half leagues wide — a long riverine island, one of a 
mighty many, splitting it into an eastern and a western 
channel. Large ships ascend the latter ; the former is com- 
paratively shallow. Many craft go up the Bocas de Abajo 
or lower mouth to the port, and descend again, losing six to 
seven leagues, rather than encounter the Boca de Arriba. The 
name Goya is a corruption of Gregoria, the wife of a Portu- 
guese settler, and must not be made with Mr. Mansfield 
'^ Goyaz," a province of the Brazil. Dating from 1820, it 
is one of the most thriving places in the upper Parana, and 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 261 

the Correntinos look upon it as a small Buenos Aires. I 
afterwards visited the Puerto^ on a sandy spit^ close north to 
the Arroyo de Goya. Here are the large white capitania 
and flagstaflP, and six or seven brick houses ; the rest are 
shedsj including a large graseria (where fat is boiled down), 
and a kind of chalet, which receives steamer-passengers. 
Carts and horses transport them to the Pueblo, a mile or so 
up stream, where an obelisk and white towers rise above the 
green orchards. It is an industrious commercial little hive 
of 3000 souls, who export their hides and wool, oranges and 
cheeses : the latter are famed through the land, and so are 
the "china^^ gii'ls^ who are said to press them by the simple 
process of supersession. The climate is feverish, and the 
place is too near the lowlands of the Sta. Luzia River. 

Goya has been named of late, being the most southerly 
point reached by the Paraguayan invader, and it readily sub- 
mitted to 200 men. Both here and at La Esquina the 
soldiery, it is said, behaved roughly, and did not leave a good 
name. On the opposite bank is the Rio del Rey, where an 
old settlement was founded in 1748 and abandoned in 1813. 
This stream, even in our most modern maps, is confounded 
with a western branch, the Rio de San Geronimo. 

Six leagues above Goya, near a long point, the Rincon 
de Soto, also called de los Sotos (of the Fools), is the large 
Saladero, formerly belonging to Mr. Samuel Lafone, of 
Montevideo, and afterwards to a Buenos Aires Company. 
We know it by its tall chimneys ; the better houses are 
whitewashed, the huts are of wattle and dab with dull 
sloping thatches, and the place of business has a zinc roof. 
A gaily dressed party of both sexes stands upon the water- 
edge marvelling at our size. The Paraguayans here 
billeted themselves, when it was managed by D. Emilio 
Quevedo and Mr. Thomas O^Connor, now of Paysandu. 
The latter had a narrow escape ; the Paraguayan officer 



262 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES- 

repeatedly declaring a velleite for shooting him, as he was 
evidently a malignant and an ill-wisher to the holy cause 
of Marshal-President Lopez. 

Beyond the Rincon is an historic site, the Bateria de 
Cueva, the name of a fighting old Portuguese estanciero, 
sometimes erroneously written Cuevas, Cuevo, and Cuevos.^ 
As will afterwards appear, it is the typical Paraguayan 
position of defence. Here the Chaco shore is low, while 
the high left or eastern bank is a little sloped; a well- 
wuoded gap or dwarf glen cuts the barranca, and up it 
winds a green path. Evidently the guns should here have 
been placed a fleur d'eau, and they would have done great 
execution, as the river unusually narrows to about 150 
yards. But routine carried the day against common sense ; 
the Paraguayans placed their artillery upon the high ground, 
where their plunging fire did the least damage. 

The lively little episode is as follows. After their victory 
at Riachuelo (June 11, 1865) the Brazilian squadron again 
proceeded up stream and attempted to pass Corrientes, 
then in the hands of the enemy. General Bruguez, the 
Paraguayan leader, made the usual plan to capture or destroy 
it. Marching suddenly from Bella Vista with several 
thousand men and guns, variously stated to be thirty-five or 
fifty, he commanded the enemy's fleet off* Bella Vista. 
The invader ran the gauntlet about six miles down stream, 
when Bruguez, by another forced march, again placed his 
flying batteries on the lower river. On August 12, five 
days before their decisive victory of Yatay on the Uruguay, 
the Brazilians rushed out of the trap down- stream with 
closed hatches. The Paraguayan infantry lying on their 
bellies delivered from the bank volleys of musketry, whilst 
the gunners poured fire upon the Vice-Admiral Barrozo. 



* Lt.-Col. Thompson (chap, vii.) calls the site Cuevas, 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 263 

The Amazonas received forty-one caunou balls, the Ivutry 
twenty-two, and the Guardia Nacional (the flag-ship of the 
Argentine Admiral Muratori) twenty-seven. Presently, 
when Leonidas Estigarribia had surrendered Uruguayana 
(September 18, 1865), the Brazilian army marched upon 
Corrientes, and General Resquin with his Paraguayans 
retired (November 4) towards the Paso la Patria. It 
is said that here he left some quaker guns, which succeeded 
in keeping the enemy at bay ; for five days the latter knew 
nothing of the evacuation till informed of it by an Italian 
schooner going down from Corrientes. In the point of push- 
ing their successes the Brazilians have ever failed ; they 
are like the losing order* of gambler, who will back his ill- 
luck but who fears to run his good-luck. 

Presently we passed the chain of scarped and detached 
bluffs, supporting the upsloping green bank. Amongst 
them is the Barranca de Bella Vista; it well deserves its 
name, but it must not be compared, as a late writer has 
done, with Genoa the Superb, nor with famed Palermo, nor 
with sweet Messina and hoary Etna in the background, 
nor even with the oft-sung and little-deserving Bay of 
Dublin. Over the lines of riverine trees we see the hamlet, 
a streak of white houses crowning the ridge, and sprinkled 
over the hill side amidst clumps of tropical forest and black 
blocks of orange trees, dotted like a tall tea plantation. 
This " Norfolk Island of Corrientes'^ began its career in 
1826 as a settlement of convicts, sent by General Ferre. 
Here the Brazilian fleet running down the river suffered 
severely from the flying batteries of the Paraguayan General 
Bruguez; they had placed their infantry on the decks and 
in the tops, where they could be swept away by grape and 
rifle bullets. Similarly situated is " Empedrado,'' another 
small Correntino town, commanding a glorious view of the 
Gran Chaco, and distant thirty-six miles from Corrientes, the 



264 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

capital. At this place General Robles^ who with 3000 men 
had occupied Corrientes (April 18) ;, and had taken Goya 
(3rd June), retired immediately after the battle of 
Riachuelo, and (23rd July) was arrested by General 
Barrios^ the minister of war_, and sent up to Humaita in 
close confinement. The Paraguayan army was taught to 
believe that he had made an agreement to deliver them up ; 
others asserted that his offence was wasting time at Goya 
and Bella Vista^ instead of attacking the Argentine General 
Paunero^ who was only sixteen to twenty leagues to the 
south ; others that he doubted the success of the cause^ and 
blamed the measures of Marshal-President Lopez. He was 
shot by the sentence of a secret court martial^ at Paso 
Pucu_, after the sentence had been read to the army formed 
in three sides of a square. He must not be confounded — 
as some newspapers have done — with his brother (?), Com- 
mandante Robles of the Tacuari steamer^ who, after the 
battle of Biachuelo, tore the dressings from his wounds and 
died a hero_, saying he preferred loss of life to loss of 
liberty. 

We hurriedly rose from the mess-table as the Yi 
steamed up the eastern channel of the Parana, two to 
three miles below Corrientes. Here the scheme which 
was to place upon the brow of Marshal-President Lopez 
an Argentine crown of his own device was shattered by 
the incapacity of his officers and the rashness of his men. 
At this place the Parana, running north-south, and some 
nine miles wide, is studded with sundry islands, of which 
two are large and well wooded. The eastern bank, about 
the southern end of the longest holme, is broken by the 
Boca del Riachuelo, which is masked by another islet. Here 
the channel is some 500 yards broad, widening above and 
below, and the low sandy and bushy ground south of the 
Riachuelo, and called the Rincon de Lagrafia, is backed 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 2G5 

by fine trees and broken by bays and projections. North 
of the '' Streamlet/' where the quinta of Santiago Derqui 
fronts tlie Rincon de Santa Catalina, rises a tall ruddy 
barranca, striped and patched with yellow and bistre- 
colonred clay, irregular in outline, and topped by a slope of 
dull-tinted grass and clumps of monte. All the ground 
described forms the Paraguayan position. 

In April, 1865, the first Brazilian naval division steamed 
up towards Corrientes ; at that season the water was so low 
that an attack upon Paraguay was deemed impracticable. 
Admiral Tamandare was wasting his time at Buenos Aires 
and Montevideo, imitating the only part of Nelson's career 
which caused his friends to blush. The fleet was entrusted 
to the Commandante Gomensoro, and afterwards to Vice- 
Admiral Barroso, and it anchored almost in sight of Cor- 
rientes, and close to the Chaco or western bank of the river. 
It consisted of nine fine river steamers, fully manned ; these 
were the flagship Amazonas, the only paddle (6 guns) ; the 
Jequitinhonha, the Belmonte, the Mearim and Beberibe (each 
8 guns) ; the Paranahyba (6), the Ipiranga (7), the Iguatemi 
(5), and the Araguay (3 guns) — the total of artillery being 
59, which report exaggerated to upwards of 100. 

Thereupon Marshal -President Lopez, nothing doubtful of 
success, resolved to tackle and carry off" the prey. He could 
muster an equal number of ships, but only 34 bouches 
a feu, and his vessels were mere river craft, roughly 
fitted to carry guns, and with boilers exposed above 
the water-line to every shot. Of the paddles were the 
Tacuari, flagship, and the only war ship (6 guns), 
the Ygurei (5 guns), the Paraguari, Ypora, Marquez de 
Olinda (4 each), and the Jejuy (2) ; the screws were the 
Salto Oriental (4 guns), the Pirabebe (1 gun), and the Yberd 
(4 guns) — the latter prevented from entering action by an 
accident. The weak squadron was, however, reinforced by 



266 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

six " chatas/^ or ^^ chalanas/^ barges or flat-bottomed boats_, 
wbich the Paraguayans used tbroughout the campaign to 
great effect. I know not who claims the honour of having 
suggested the idea. The " chata " was a kind of double- 
prowed punt^ strengthened with sundry layers of two-inch 
planking, undecked,, drawing a few inches water^ and standing 
hardly half a foot above the surface^ with just room enough 
for men to serve a single gun, either mortar, 68-pounder, or 
8-inch. Thus the chata could not only thread, by poling 
or by being towed, the shallow streams ; it could also inflict 
considerable damage upon an ironclad ; and it was hard to 
hit_, as only the gun-muzzle appeared above the surface. 
These gunboats often singly engaged the whole fleet. It is 
a feature of considerable naval interest, and well adapted to 
defend or to attack the inner water communications of a 
country like Paraguay. The Paraguayan fleet was placed upon 
command of Captain Mesa, with Captain Cabral as second. 
Consciousness of inferiority suggested to General Bruguez an 
accompaniment of flying batteries to ply along the beach 
below the barranca to the north of the Riachuelo, and 
boarding parties, consisting of 500 picked men, were sent on 
board the ships. 

Captain Mesa had been ordered to run past the Brazilians 
at daybreak ; to turn short round ; to lay each of his ships 
alongside one of the enemy ; to pour in a broadside, and to 
take the prizes in tow. Amongst other things, grappling- 
irons were forgotten. It reminds me of a certain Anglo- 
Indian attack upon Sikh batteries, when the engineers 
neglected to bring spikes. The action was unjustifiably 
delayed till 9.30 a.m. (June II), and the Paraguayans, after 
exposing themselves to a vastly superior artillery, actually 
ran down to the mouth of the Riachuelo before turning up 
stream. Thus they gave the Brazilians time to make ready 
and to go down to meet them. The fight began well for 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 267 

tlie Paraguayans. The Jeqidtinhonkaj with two 68-pounder8 
and aWhitworth, grounded on a bank in front of the shore, 
and, peppered by the land batteries, was abandoned. The 
Paranahyba had her wheel cut away, and was boarded and 
seized. The Belmonte, riddled with balls, was obliged to be 
run ashore to prevent her sinking. 

At that moment the chief pilot of the Brazilian fleet, one 
Bernardino Gastavino, a Correntino, the son of an Italian, 
who had probably never heard of the Athenians and Pelo- 
ponnesians at Naupactus, or the Kearsarge off Cherbourg, 
but possibly of Admiral Tegethoff at Lissa, bethought him- 
self of a manoeu\Te which changed the fortunes of the day. 
Guiding the Amazonas towards the Paranahyba, he cleared 
her decks with grape, and striking the Paraguan in the middle 
ran her down. The Salto and the Marquez de Olinda had 
their boilers shot through, and the Jejuy was sunk by gunnery. 
The battle lasted eight hours, and the assailant lost half his 
ships — the Tacuari, the Ygurei, the Ypord, and the Pirabebe 
being obliged by the injuries they had received to escape 
and take refuge under the guns of Humaita. They must 
inevitably have been captured had they been pursued by 
Vice- Admiral Barroso ; but, though boasting that he went 
to ^^seek for danger,^^ he neglected, as usual, in his terror of 
the destructive flying batteries, to push his victory. For 
very equivocal conduct he was made Barao de Amazonas ; 
whilst the pilot, who did all the work, became, I believe, 
a lieutenant. Such is mostly the gratitude that the Bra- 
zilians show to foreign employes. Captain Mesa was 
mortally wounded by a single bullet from one of the enemy's 
tops, otherwise he probably would have been shot, as he de- 
served. Both sides claimed a victory, as usual; struck medals, 
and sang Te Deums. The Paraguayans own to 200 men hors 
de combat, while the Brazilians swell to 1500 and even 
3000. The Brazilians assert a loss of 300, which the enemy 



268 FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 

exaggerates to 800. On both sides there were instances of 
heroism^ and it is pleasant to remember the name of the 
Brazilian midshipman — Enrique Martins — shot by the Pa- 
raguayans when he refused to give up his flag. 

The defeat at Riachuelo was, I repeat, fatal to the success 
of the offensive portion of the Paraguayan plans. The Bra- 
zilian squadron could now blockade the river above as well 
as below Corrientes, and by threatening to cut off its rear it 
could compel the corps of the Parana to retreat from want 
of food, instead of communicating with the corps d'armee 
of the Uruguay. Then it directly brought about the fall of 
Uruguayana, surrendered by Leonidas Estigarribia (Septem- 
ber 18, 1865). The affair of Cueva (12th August) was 
intended by the Paraguayans to retrieve their fallen for- 
tunes ; but that attack, as has been seen, also failed. 

Steaming above the long island we saw the trucks of the 
Jequitinhonha still topping the water. The tall cliffs gra- 
dually sank, and the stream became an archipelago of 
charming green isletry ; these disappearing, and leaving an 
open bank as we approached Corrientes. To the west the 
Bio Negro winds up a great gap in the majestic flood 
here — at 900 miles from Buenos Aires — some 2500 metres 
wide. On the left bank are yellow cliffs, partly of argile, 
partly arenaceous, with sand plants at their foot, and 
crowned with the richest verdure ; whilst, far over a clear- 
ing for cultivation, we sight spires, domes, and a memorial 
column. On a cliff projecting into the stream is the pretty 
quinta of Dr. Vidal, with its thatched roof, and white walls, 
and orange avenue leading to the door. Beyond it is the 
Brazilian military hospital, occupying the saladero formerly 
owned by Messrs. Stock and Hughes, of Buenos Aires. 
Turning the broken point, exposing a tanning establishment 
and a timber-yard, we pass towards the little bay fronting 
the north. The water is here forty- five fathoms deep, and 



FROM ROZARIO TO CORRIENTES. 269 

the anchor of our floating hotel is liable to drag. We 
therefore go well in, fronting the Custom House and arsenal, 
the Colegio, or Government House, the tall towered Cabildo, 
and other big buildings that emerge from a mass of vile 
huts parted by foul streets, and nestling under glorious 
trees, palms and oranges. The general appearance is more 
like a Hindu town, say Calicut, than a Christian city. 

On my return I spent a week with a couple of ac- 
quaintances at Corrientes, and perhaps you will like to hear 
something of life in a country capital of an Argentine 
Province. 



My dear Z- 



LETTEE XIE 

A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

September 5-12, 1868. 



Corrientes rests upon the margin of her 
noble river^ here bending eastward^ and showing to the 
north a lake-like expanse. As usual;, the landward slope 
of the bank^ a talus leading to a plateau 60 feet above the 
Parana, makes her appear from the water poor and scat- 
tered, showing only Cabildo and church towers, tree-tops 
and dingy brown tiles and thatches now outnumbering the 
Southern " azotea.^^ Inside, ^' Taraqui " the " green lizard/'' 
as the Guaranis call the place, is, like Rozario, large and 
compact. Held to be the fourth or fifth city of the Re- 
public, it claims for its population 16,000 to 20,C00 souls, 
which I should take the liberty of reducing to 10,000. It 
is a parallelogram of at least a mile each way, numbering 
60 to 70 cuadras. In 1863 it was represented by '^'^ about 1500 
palm- thatched ranchos, 200 tiled roofs, 100 azoteas of one 
to two stories, 3 miradores, 24 pianos, 20 carriages, 6 
flagstaves, and 6 schools.^' Now double all; the schools 
alone excepted. 

We land upon a pier of two planks, about midway in 
the northern front, at a dwarf sandy inlet, studded with 
boulders of porous oxidized sandstone, coarse and honey- 
combed, abundantly weather-worked and water-washed. 
On the bank above is the Capitania del Puerto, at once 
theatre and promenade ; the idlers gather to see passengers^ 
luggage opened, and to grin at the overcharges of the ras- 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 271 

cally boatmen. After the usual examination, whose results 
pronounced me to be an " agrimensor/^ we entered the 
Calle Rioja, going south ; it corresponds with the Riva- 
davia or Regent Street of Buenos Aires. There is a pain- 
ful regularity in the names. The fourteen that open upon 
the northern face are called after the Argentine provinces ; 
but that on the north-eastern corner is " Paraguay ^''^by 
anticipation. Those running east-west have been baptized 
after local heroes — e.g., Vera and Bolivar, Belgrano and San 
Martin ; after battles, as Junin and Ayacucha ; or after 
patriotic subjects, for instance, Sud-America, Confederacion, 
and Independencia. The names are carefully painted upon 
boards, but no one knows them ; you must ask, after the 
old fashion, for the street of Don A. B.^ which is ridiculous. 

The usual little bit of thoroughfare is paved ; the rest 
have a surface of country soil overlying loose sand. They 
are about fifty feet wide, and here and there wooden scant- 
ling shores up scraps of brick trottoir, so narrow that you 
must walk in Indian file. At intervals cross-bands of stone 
or tree-trunks act as bridges, and prevent the street being 
washed bodily away. After heavy rains some thorough- 
fares are cascades and others are pools : both gradually 
pass from a stifi" \dscid mud to a state of ^' hardbake,^' and 
lastly to a mobile black dust, which dirties the hands like 
the atmosphere of a railway. Carts cannot progress with- 
out the tallest of wheels, and three horses in a kind of 
unicorn. There is no gas above Rozario, nor are the 
streets bombees. As in the older French towns, they de- 
cline towards a central gutter, and only the happy water- 
slope of the town prevents the horrors of Lima and Mexico. 
Beyond the centre of population, these thoroughfares fine 
off into alleys of scattered ranchos, rough as newly-ploughed 
fields. 

The house is of the normal headless Arab type ; a long 



272 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

box, unplastered as tlie streets are unpaved, parapetted 
and embrasured at the top. The best are mostly supplied 
with a tile cornice breaking the stuccoed " dickeys/^ and 
with fayades rising high and proud towards the firmament. 
They afi'ect the Argentine silver and azure. The walls are 
either of brick or of the small unbaked adobe, and the 
latter are often set in a framework of timber, as you see in 
the Brazil and in old English farmhouses. The numbers 
are, as usual, odd on one side of the street, even on the 
other : all are apparently parts of an immense whole, 620, 
for instance, or 490 — the lower ciphers being omitted by 
request. The blocks are supposed to measure 150 varas 
(yards) each way ; but they are very irregular. None are 
complete, and even in the heart of the settlement thatched 
hovels and gardens cover the greater part of the surface. 

The older houses of " Taraqui " are quaint and pic- 
turesque ; recessed ground-floors, fronted by verandahs on 
posts with carved capitals. The outside windows look heavily 
barred as any gaol ; and from the street you see the occu- 
pants of the sitting-room, whose sofa and two perpendicu- 
larly-disposed parallels of chairs are correct Iberian style. 
The inner portion is prettily disposed in dwarf gardens and 
grass plots, with seats among the red and white roses, 
shaded by orange trees and tall cypresses ; often there is a 
vinery, and in one I saw a hydrant. The best buildings are 
flat-faced, altos or sobrados, double- storied, with miradores ; 
very few have verandahs projecting over the trottoir, and 
affording shelter from sun and rain. Mostly they are 
'^ half-sobrados,^^ that is to say, raised on masonry founda- 
tions above the damp ground. The architecture, as well 
as the vegetation, here inclines more to the tropical, to the 
Brazilian. The ranchos have sloping tile roofs to pour off" 
the rain, and the poorer tenements prefer the hollow trunks 
of the ^^ palma de tejo ^^ (tile-palm) split, cut into pieces six 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 273 

feet long, placed, like the tiles, side by side, one line convex, 
the other concave, but not fixed with mortar at the edges ; 
indeed, apparently not fastened at all. 

The outskirts show mere " ramadas," sheds and flying 
roofs, tenanted mostly during the daytime by big mastiffs, 
savage as the dogs of Petropolis. We find in the choking 
nionte a luxuriance of castor-shrub ; a tangle of sarsa- 
parilla ; yellow dhatura with gigantic trumpets ; the cylin- 
drical cactus, here, as at Buenos Aires, a gnarled tree ; 
the monster aloes ; the tuna, and the edible tunita (the 
Mexican tenoch), which awaits an improved breed of the 
indigenous cochineal. A few cotton plants linger about 
the bush. Messrs. Robertson found the Corrientes pro- 
vince well fitted for the shrub ; but the industry has never 
been exploited. Of the larger trees are the ^^ carandai '* 
and the palms, used for roofing and paling; various acacias 
and mimosas, especially the algarroba, carob, locust, or St. 
John's bread. It is in this region an indigenous species, 
and the people do not ferment it to chicha. Oranges, here 
valuable, because apparently the staple produce and export 
of the land, are plentiful, sweet, and good without a '^ hand's 
turn'' being done to them. The tree takes about eight 
years to grow, after which it is worth, now that everything 
is exceptionally expensive, one silver dollar per annum. 
The Paraguayans make orange wine, but it is too sweet 
and luscious for human nature's daily drink. And neither 
Correntinos nor Paraguayans have learned to preserve the 
fruit, which at once decays. Some of the naranjales farms 
or orchards are of great size, containing thousands of trees, 
which produce half a million to 800,000 fruits per annum. 

From Rioja Street we turned left down the second best, 
the Calle de Julio (9th July, 1816, National Independence 
proclaimed at Tucuman),and visited M. Carlos Candido Prytz, 
who is living between two boot signs, black and yellow. 

18 



274 A WEEK AT COREIENTES. 

These symbols abound. A Grand Turk_, painfully transmo- 
grifiedj here and there occupies a corner shop^ and in these 
towns the " esquina '^ pays twenty-five per cent, more than 
its neighbours. " Peluqueria " is everywhere the rule, and, 
since the Brazilians and their gold have left, " liquidacion ''^ 
(selling off) is by no means rare. The only posters are 
those of a " Silforama/^ which promises views of the Monitor 
and Merrimac, Fort Sumpter, Vicksburg, and so forth. 

M. Prytz is the son of a Danish Baron who settled in the 
Brazil and became an admiral. Born at Pernambuco, and 
physically a thorough-bred Scandinavian, he is a furious and 
ferocious ^' Brazileiro.^^ He is ready to quarrel about the 
obsolete Abrantes-Christie affair ; and as for the Argentines, 
he would be down upon them in arms at once. To call 
him a countryman of Hamlet would be grossly to insult 
him. It is remarkable that whereas in Europe most men 
born abroad — for instance, English boys in France, and vice 
versa — tenaciously cling to the nationality of their parents, 
the reverse is the case throughout the western hemisphere. 
I presume the reason is that to Youth a world with a Future 
is far more sympathetic than one with a Past. M. Prytz 
has been Brazilian Consul at Corrientes for the last three 
years ; he is, however, a rabid Conservador, and this may 
promote him. I found his nationality too irritable for com- 
fort ; you instinctively feel that all aggressive claims 
to superiority — one of the characteristics of un-English 
England — are virtual confessions of inferiority. Far more 
companionable was M. Edouard Peterkin, a Belgian of 
Scotch descent. There is no material reason why he should 
be* here ; but " quitter son pays,^' says the great traveller 
Confucius, "■ pour visiter Texterieur e'est accomplir sa 
destinee." He contracted to supply the Brazilian army 
with Belgian copies of that ''venerable gas-pipe,"" the 
Enfield ; and with Whitworths. Of these the average size 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 275 

was bought at 35,000 francs, including 15 per cent, to the 
agent. M. Peterkin has been made Inspector of Arms, 
with the rank of Captain of Infantry. 

We sallied out to see the sights, and first of all the 
market-place. I asked for the bath. Point ! Yet I hear 
simultaneously four grind-organs that are actually paid to 
play. The Plaza del Mercado, at which the Calles Rioja 
and Julio meet, is by far the most interesting, and, indeed, 
the only lively spot at Corrientes. The bazar is now 
" hot,'^ and when not so the place is terribly dull. In the 
centre stands a " galpon,^^ a tiled shed, some fifty yards 
long, where flesh, which here means beef, is sold — ^' Car- 
neiro no es carne,^^ mutton is not meat, says the gaucho. 
The butchering is slovenly, and the badly-cut joints, if they 
can so be called, are mere hunks of animal matter. There is 
no milk, the country being pastoral ; butter is very rare, and 
all things are dear; even eggs command four sous apiece. 
The square is surrounded by pulperias, an Italian panaderia 
(bakery), and stores of wet and dry goods — especially 
blankets and saddlery. Of course the Circo de los Gallos 
is not forgotten. 

" That man-'s throat should be cut,^^ said to M. Peterkin 
an old woman, recognising in me a Paraguayan officer- 
prisoner. Many of her sisterhood sat at squat before 
benches or napkins upon which were spread their wares, 
cane and tobacco, gourds and melons, potatoes and maize- 
heaps, with fruits, vegetables, and sweetmeats of sorts. 
Far more " Indian ^' than Christian — say three-fourths 
coloured — they are remarkable for personal cleanliness, and 
there is a merry smile upon many a wheat-coloured face. 
The skin is well lit up, the eyes large and dark, and the 
forehead lies low under volumes of blue-black hair, coarse 
as a horse's mane, and looking as if once wet it would 
never dry till the day of death. The fuU mouths and the 

18—2 



276 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

heavy chins reveal the savage type. Amongst them hob- 
bled an old '' Minas '' negro, probably of Moslem origin, 
carrying a grimy little San Balthazar in plaster. Each she- 
devotee took the doll^ crossed herself with it^ kissed its feet_, 
and rewarded it with a few oranges^ cigars,, or corn cobs ; 
those who would not lend to the saint were treated by the 
old beggar to a sharp word and a vicious sneer. The hard- 
staring foreigners^ French and English^ Yankees and Ger- 
manSj and the ruffian Italians, only laughed at the place 
where his negro beard should have been. 

In the open day turbulent boys and half-^*^ china '^ children 
roll with the dogs about the sand under a sun that peels 
your nose. Black soldiers will loaf about till some fine day 
the market will be closed, the pulperias will be shut to 
insure sobriety, and four or five hundred of them will be 
marched off to put down the ^'^rebelde i malvado Caceres^^ (the 
rebel and villain Caceres) " i su complice i automata Evaristo 
Lopez .^^ I found out that a revolution was going on only 
by asking about a picquet of cavalry stationed in the church 
porch. The Most Excellent Seiior Governor had called out 
the National Guard at the instance of D. Nicolas Ocampo 
and D. Raymundo F. Reguera. Corrientes Province became 
a prey to civil war when ci-usading against Kosas, and 
apparently has never recovered tranquillity. The latter of 
the two worthies above mentioned is the ex-President who 
defended Goya against the Paraguayans : he can sign his 
name, but he signs it " Baristo.^"* The first, D. Nicanor 
Caceres, also made a name when retiring from the invader ; 
his literary attainments rival those of his accomplice ; and 
resembling a certain king, 

" He quite scorned the fetters of four-and-twenty letters, 
And it saved him a vast deal of trouble." 

President Sarmiento says of Tucuman, " it is well to men- 
tion that the Assembly of Representatives was composed of 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 277 

men wlio did not know how to read/' What, however, can 
be expected here when in Spain, the mother country, out of 
15,673,000, some 12,000,000 are unalphabetie ? D. Nicanor, 
an exalted " Federal appears in photographs like a thick- 
set little Cardiganshire peasant by the side of a Patagonian 
spouse. When I returned to Corrientes in April, 1869, 
both these rebels were clean forgotten. You are beginning 
to understand in England why the King of Naples was ex- 
pelled, why Otho I. fled from Greece, and why Queen 
Isabel found herself at Pau. But these South American 
"pronunciamento^^ movements are beyond even the traveller. 
Read, for instance, the history of Columbia, or even of New 
Granada. 

The Gaucho and Gauchito are also here, lounging about 
on animals in correct native costume — flowers stuck behind 
the ears, ponchos, and chiripa- kilts, their short, stiffly- 
starched calzonzillos of white or scarlet stufi^ — hideous de- 
generacy from the broad flowing Turkish Shalwar — show the 
tops of civilized Wellingtons. All the montures are poor and 
many are hammer-headed — the horsemanship is better than 
the horse. The felt or straw head-covering alone distinguishes 
these people from the wild Indians of the Gran Chaco, 
who are paddled over every morning by their squaws in 
canoes, which they easily manage despite the current. They 
bring fruits, manioc, and billets of the wood nandubay, used 
for fuel. The staple of trade, however, is the " Chaco grass,'* 
coarse and thick as a wheat stalk, which, in the absence of 
alfalfa, serves to fatten cattle. The men disdain to do any- 
thing beyond loafing, drinking, and stalking about to sell 
bunches of ostrich feathers, for which they ask a dollar 
when the value is twenty cents. The Great Chaco swarms 
with rascals, and these are not exceptions. The pretty 
squaws are left behind, and the old women attain a pitch of 
ugliness unknown to civilization, which repau's the damages 



278 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

of time. The wavy hair argues that some of them are 
mixed breeds . they wear rugs and blankets^ earrings and 
necklaces of beads; many are ornamented with the real 
tattoo^ which cannot be effaced. A few affect black patches 
round the eyes ; these " dos ochitos^^ are signs of mourning. 
Christianity is evidenced by the crosses which the mis- 
sionaries teach them to prick along and across their 
noses. 

The rest of the city we may easily see. The Liberty 
Square (Plaza 25 de Maio)^ which has altered little 
during the last two centuries^ is a grassy manzana^ whose 
blighted palms and short posts surround a sixty-feet column. 
This supports a diminutive female armed with a lance and 
blackened as to the eyes^, with a suite of plaster heroes in 
yellow epaulettes and broad blue ribbons across their breasts. 
The old cathedral is a savage caricature of the leaning 
monster at Tuscan Pisa. A bell- tower, seventy feet high, 
rises by the side of a low little bare ; it is evidently senior 
to the fane, and was built to call the people nowhere, be- 
cause conspicuous and likely to collect subscriptions. There 
is nought to interest you in the Cabildo, municipality, law 
court, and prison : the substantial building, once plastered 
white, now peeled and scaly, dates from 1812, when Deputy- 
Governor Lazuriaga ruled. A fine view of the river may 
be had from the Belvidere that tops the tall solid square 
turret : this structure, not of " Moorish build," is provided 
with balcony, machicolis, and finials at the corners, which 
suggest pepper-castors or donkeys^ ears. Perhaps they are 
emblematical — " burro" (ass) " as a Correntine alcalde" is a 
saying fathered upon General Artigas — no fool, but a great 
knave. Further to the west is an old Jesuit convent, now 
the Casas de Gobierno, the offices for the usual three great 
departments of State, of Treasury, and of War. Here are 
the Governor and Ministers, the Gefe Politico (Chief Magis- 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 279 

trate or Lord Mayor), the Judges, civil, criminal, and com- 
mercial ; together with the Bank and the Custom-house. 

We have not yet '^ done '' the churches, which in this 
country-capital are many, whilst none are wholly mass-less 
and the canoe-hat abounds in the streets. Fronting the 
Cabildo are the church and cloistered convent of La Merced, 
a domeless brick building with Doric portico, and towers as 
much too low as the cathedral belfry is too tall. The 
regular orders are the Mercedarios and the Franciscan 
friars ; the latter have two houses in a " city^' which has 
not yet dreamed of a book-store. Both are sent to bepreach 
the Indians, and the payers complain that they prefer the 
comforts of town to the Christianization of the Gran Chaco. 
By the side of La Merced is a gloomy prison-like old house, 
dated 1698, with the tall ornamental gateway — here rare^ but 
common at Santiago and Lima — the property of a priest 
some ninety-eight years old : it lately lodged Dr. Santiago 
Derqui, first civilian President of the Argentine Republic 
and failure. Two squares to the north-east is San Francisco 
Solano, whose two steeples, bran-new but still unfinished, 
are not set square to the front, and are ridiculously thin 
compared with the old barrel-roof farcically broad. The 
Azulejos, or blue-glazed tiles, are being slowly applied : 
they come from Portugal, and they cost money. The simple 
inside consists of nave and aisles, formed by five substantial 
whitewashed piers : the high altar is painfully flat, and there 
is a sacristy but no transept. The earlier shell, some twenty 
feet high, is evidently old ; the superstructure dates from 
the days when the Brazilian Pedrinho — cant name for the 
local Napoleon — represented a crown, and when the pretty 
Correntinas made money by means that no one would guess. 
Finally, the new cathedral of San Juan Bautista, ex-chapel of 
the Rozario, fronts an open space, known as El Piso, grand 
in size, but bare except of mud or dust, and being gradually 



280 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

invested by low tenements. Here huge- wheeled carts^ drawn 
by restive cattle^ offer for sale grass and firewood. Begun 
by President D. Juan Puyol in 1854-56, and abandoned in 
1858, this promoted fane had cost in 1863 some $130,000. 
With heavy Doric portico, single double-storied tower, and 
dome bristling with scafibld, it would readily fall but for the 
strength of the bricks, which are set with lime outside, and 
inside with mud. And it runs other dangers : a cannon 
ball has cracked the belfry. Evidence of a foreign hand 
appears in the clerestory and in an embryo transept rounded 
off at both ends ; all, however, is unfinished, except the tem- 
porary wooden chapel, where collections are made. 

We must visit the cemetery, which, as usual, commands 
a charming view. As at Venice the defunct are the best 
lodged, so in South America the Cities of the Dead usurp 
the finest sites. We make it by a road through a dried-up 
marsh that becomes a slimy '' pantano'' after a day's rain, 
despite the ardent sun ; and presently we reach the Plaza de 
la Cruz del Milagro. The auspicious site is like the square 
of a Brazilian village, a common of gramilla or pasto tierno, 
with here and there a wretched rancho, or a half-roofed 
hut, growing up around it. Evidently the burial-ground is 
much too near the homes of the living; meanwhile we 
greatly enjoy the distant prospect of the city and the 
graceful inland slope of the grassy and well- wooded river- 
bank. Before the turreted chapel stands a wooden dial, 
inscribed '' F. Johannes Nepumecinus Alegre, 1857.'' The 
graveyard is badly kept as the Recoleta of Buenos Aires, 
and Joao de Barros the thrush impudently sits upon the 
Emblem of Man's Salvation. The tombs are heavy, taste- 
less masses, which topple over as soon as possible ; some are 
oven-shaped ; a family vault resembles a Californian steam- 
bath sunk in the ground ; there is a quaint monument with 
its iron railing mighty like a bottomless camp bedstead. 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 281 

aud upon anotlier a neat woman mourns in Italian 
marble. 

Three squares to the south lies the Alameda^ sometimes 
used as a raee-course, but being a sheet of water ankle-deep 
in rainy weather^ it is not a favourite promenade. Here is 
a built-up obelisk, the effeet of El Pueblo Correntino^s piety 
in 1828. The base shows a cross surrounded by flames, with 
the date April 3, 1588 ; on one side is inscribed " Dextera 
Domini facit virtu tem '' (Psalm cxvii. 16) ; the other face 
bears a long legend alluding to an event of the Conquista- 
dores days. The city was founded in 1587-88 by D. Alonzo 
de Vera, distinguished as "El Tupi^^ from his ugly name- 
sake, whose cognomen was Cara de Perro — dog's face. He 
called it after his uncle the Gobernador, " Ciudad de San 
Juan (Torres) de Vera de las Siete Corrientes,''' either from 
the seven points of rock jutting out into the Parana, or 
because the mighty river there formed seven great currents. 
Others say that Alonzo and Juan were brothers. The first 
settlement, which numbered only twenty-eight fighting men, 
was attacked in force by the Guaycurus; the Spaniards 
covered themselves with a palisade and a mud bastion about 
half a mile from the barranca under whose shelter lay their 
ship. Outside the fort was a tall cross of hard green wood, 
to which the besieged addressed their prayers; this the 
Indians, believing it to be a charm, carried away and tried 
in vain to burn. They then attacked the stockade, and were 
dispersed by a terrible storm, whereupon the Cacique and his 
six thousand followers begged to be baptized. Excavations 
made in 1856 found remnants of the old clay entrenchment 
and an Indian arrow-head, which, says a pious Catholic tra- 
veller, " seems to confirm the tradition.^'' Moreover, a bit 
of the said miraculous cross is preserved in a neighbour- 
ing chapel; and if this cannot convince you, nothing 
will. 



282 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

Beyond tlie Alameda is the Brazilian military hospital of 
San Francisco,, which caused so much excitement throughout 
the empire when the evil-minded report was spread that the 
Correntinos were plotting to burn it. Its commanding 
position upon the tall bank was admirably chosen. It is, 
however, now being dismantled. Much of the timber has 
been plundered, but the energetic Peterkin stops such pro- 
ceedings with a strong hand. A Brazilian officer involved 
in this ugly affair was duly punished. 

The climate of Corrientes is subject to brutal variations 
of temperature. Sometimes for days together the mercury 
will stand at 106° to 108° (F.) in the shade ; then it will 
suddenly fall to 82°. The people declare that their city is 
not unhealthy, yet they suffer from languor, chuchu"^ (ague, 
the Brazial sezao), heart disease, and "pasmo real ^' or tetanus 
— here common as in Paraguay. I often see the hearse de- 
corated with besoms of ostrich feathers. The nights are cool 
and always dewy : in early mornings the land smokes with 
damp, whilst the sky of noon-day is perfectly pure. Mid- 
winter (July to August) has a few hardly-perceptible frosts, 
always when the sun is down ; so in Sao Paulo the people 
count in the year two freezing nights. On August 13, 
the date of the great Peruvian and Ecuadorian earthquake, 
there was a hurricane violent as those of Buenos Aires and 
Montevideo. September 8 honoured us with a bad storm 
of thunder and rain from the east, that swamped the land, 
and made the street-mud slippery as oil : the next day was 
hot and sultry weather, the morma90 of the Brazil. On 
September 10 the sky cleared, and the people expected 
some twenty days of charming spring. In November there 
are often torrents of rain ; and the citizens, having no fire- 



* Not chucho, which is a kind of poisonous grass, found upon the Pam- 
as. Much less chucha. Some write the word chu-chu, and translate it 
cold-heat," i.e., ague and fever. 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 283 

places, must bury themselves up to their noses in the folds 
of their ponchos. 

A day at Corrientes, when the novelty wears off, is 
not lively. The people rise early, eat oranges, and suck 
mate. They breakfast or dine at 11 to 12 a.m., as in 
Egypt, Syria, and the Andine provinces generally ; and they 
dine or sup at 8 to 9 p.m. Office hours are between 5 to 
10 A.M. and 4 to 7 p.m. The siesta is of course universal. 
Half the day is spent in sleep, and the " balance " in 
eating, drinking, and smoking home-made cigars, which the 
fair ones roll up, preferring the femoral muscles to the 
unelastic wood-slab. We also rise betimes, but when it is 
fine we walk. We feed at the Cafe Restaurant de la Paz, 
Calle de la Independencia, where an itinerant band also re- 
freshes itself. The Carte du Jour, lithographed in Buenos 
Aires, a reminder of the days when money was coined at 
Corrientes, offers the usual allowance of potages, entrees 
rotis, legumes, and desserts. 

After breakfast we say, Flanons ! On Sundays there is 
the sortie de TEglise, where youth and beauty runs the 
gauntlet between two rows of men. The "lady^^ walks to 
church leading, in sign of dignity, an Indian-file of half a 
dozen servants, or rather slave girls. They carry her 
prayer-book and the rug which is to be spread upon the 
nave floor. Poorly treated, and purposely kept in profound 
ignorance, they must stand before their owners in the 
abject position of crossed arms. A redskin boy may still 
be here bought for $80 or $100; and the many foreigners, 
especially the Basques, set in this point the worst example. 

Pretty faces are not rare. At a large ball lately given 
the amount of beauty which cropped out from the far inte- 
rior surprised all the strangers. The " upper ten" appeared 
in a variety of Parisian toilette ; hence one remarked that 
'^ even Buenos Aires looms out in the distance as a beacon 



284 A WEEK AT CORllIENTES. 

of civilization compared with Corrientes/^ The poorer 
classes aflPect white or coloured petticoats,, and blue or 
red shawls^ thrown^ like the "^rebozo"''' of ancient days^ over 
the head. They are cunning at making shirts^ drawers, 
and neatly-embroidered counterpanes^ while they excel in 
pillow lace. Their cut-work and drawn-work were formerly 
familiar to us; but Honiton and Valenciennes have ren- 
dered them obsolete as passement^ crown lace, bone lace, 
Spanish chain, byas, parchment, billament, diamond chain, 
and point tresse. Here, however, they are expensive and 
valueless, as in the Brazil. Formerly Corrientes was a 
great cotton field, and every plantation had its wooden gin. 
Now, despite the great efforts made in 1863, the industry 
has fallen low. Egyptian and Sea Island failed, as might 
be expected, for want of sea air ; and little is now culti- 
vated save the arboreal cotton, which averages per annum 
about 1 lb. of tree-wool. 

A positive aversion to marriage extends from Panama to 
Buenos Aires, — I have noticed it when writing about the 
Brazil. " Concupinage,^^ as the Teuton calls it, is the rule ; 
and the piscoeiro or cicisbeo is an institution when wanted. 
Most men prefer the " china '' girl, who is easily witched by 
TLQ, or by " qui que ce soit,^^ and who disdains the regular 
approaches of hesitant, priant, ecoute, and drutz, or ami. 
" Tutior at quanto merx est in classe secunda '' is the 
ruling idea. Colour prejudice appears rare, and the people 
have forgotten the old distinctions of mestizo (white 
and red skin) ; of cuarteron (mestizo and white) ; of octeron 
and of puchuelo, or one-sixteenth of " Indian '' blood, which 
can hardly be distinguished, except by a yellowish white- 
ness, from the pure breed. 

Before the siesta we pay our visits, beginning with 
D. Victorio Torrent, ex-Deputy and actual Governor. His 
house is a modest '' terrea," guarded by four or five "■ In- 



A WEEK AT CORIIIENTES. 285 

diaticos," with gun on slioulder and big knife in belt. The 
Brazilians declare that they are '^ bugres/^ or savages 
trapped in the chase. We are made welcome by M. 
Bossut^ a Belgian watchmaker, who, having filled his purse, 
is now going home. For a very simple operation he charged 
me 1/., frankly declaring it his lowest charge. M. Dumanet, 
the photographer, determines that we shall sit, and supplies 
us bountifully with copies of his " Indians," and other local 
subjects. After a time we stimulate at the store of Mr. 
T. H. Mangels, Calle Rioja, a collector of botanical curiosi- 
ties : he kindly gave me sundry duplicates, which proved 
useful at home. To him Marshal -President Lopez paid 
$10,000 by way of indemnity for his losses during the 
Paraguayan occupation. We are introduced to the Town 
Major, Commandante Piquet, relative to the La Mothe 
family. He fought under the Generalissimo Caxias against 
the Liberals at St. Lusia, in the Brazil; and now he is en 
route to Humaita. We call upon D. Juan Decoud, editor 
of El Liberal, the most advanced paper ; he has fled his 
country (Paraguay), where he owes a long tale of vengeance. 
Of this distinguished family one was put to death by the 
elder Lopez, and another commands a Paraguayan brigade 
in the Allied service — D. Juan may look forward to be- 
coming Minister and even President. The other periodical 
is the Voz de la Patria, far too moderate to be popular. 

Politics run high here, as in other parts of the Confede- 
ration. Difference of private interests and personal ambi- 
tions engender fierce feuds, that become old ingrained 
hates. ^^ To be deemed a man of worth is enough to be 
one of them ^' (your party) ; and the less scrupulous you 
are in their service, the more you are valued. Imagine a 
combination of the ready kniveing of the Highlander in the 
sixteenth century combined with the political feeling of the 
Englishman in the early portion of the nineteenth. There 



286 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

are perpetual troubles between the two great parties. The 
Blancos or Gauchos of Monte Video here become the Cocidos 
or Federals who^ in the days of Rosas^ were known as 
Degolladores (cut - throats) and Mashorqueros, from mas 
horca, " more gibbet/^ expressing the animus of the party ; 
or mazorca, the corn-cob with which they abominably tor- 
tured their victims. They would make the Republic a con- 
federation or union of the old provinces, forming inde- 
pendent states — a system of Government which may 
have succeeded amongst the Anglo-Americans^ but which 
has ever failed in Iberia. Chile owes the greater part of 
her success to having steered clear of this rock. Opposed 
to them are the Crudos,"^ Liberals or Unitarios, the Colo- 
rados of Uruguay _, who wish a consolidated central govern- 
ment, with a district Columbia — not Buenos Aires, if pos- 
sible — for headquarters. This sterile dualism surprises us 
by its power to make men cut throats and torture one 
another; till we remember that reasoning beings can wor- 
ship the snake and the iguana. Meanwhile all interests 
and dearest desires are wrapped up in creeds, political and 
religious : the cosmopolitan, with his " sublime indifference,^' 
has not yet appeared. Hence, distance from the centres of 
civilization, chronic misrule and stupid superstitions, are 
effectual obstacles to all immigration, except that a main 
armee. This is evidently the sole way to protect the 
frontier, and if duly carried out it might succeed in re- 
pressing revolutions. 



* Crudos and cocidos (raw and cooked, or mature) are words now six years 
old and growing obsolete. The principal divisions known are the Nationals, 
who look to consolidation and a capital at Buenos Aires ; the Provincials, 
or pure localists, who desire conciliation and a district Columbia ; and 
the Federals, or Rosas men, malcontents opposed to the two others, and 
agreeing with the Blancos of Monte Video. The old feud between pastoral 
province and city is well nigh extinct. President Sarmiento has well de- 
scribed it in his " Civilization and Barbarism," and has illustrated it by an 
admirable sketch of the " gaucho malo," General D. Juan Eacundo Quiroga. 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. - 287 

From 1 to 3 p.m. all Corrientes sleeps. After rising we 
sip our mate at the house of D. Carmeu and D. Pepa, 
friends of Pcterkin. The gourds are handed round by the 
girls of the family ; and in houses where this tea is much 
drunk, the " cebador/' as the mate -brewer is called, finds his 
time fully taken up. They chaff us, teach us Guarani as 
spoken in Corrientes, laugh at our errors, and hand us 
cigars, which they roll np in the usual way. We greatly 
prefer the Correntine tobacco, coarsely prepared as it is, to 
the wretched " Havannas,^^ which cost $40 the thousand. 
The '^ weed '^ is full of nicotine, although it appears at 
first to be weak, and the good flavour is much improved by 
long keeping. It is imported in various shapes ; from 
Paraguay in loose " pricks," and from Tucuman in sausage- 
shaped rolls of " bird^s- eye," with a coarse stalk and full of 
saltpetre as the Syrian Jebayli. The citizens complain that 
Paraguayan tobacco and mate, the best of their kind, are 
no longer to be had. 

Towards sunset we repair to the river side and watch the 
fishermen ; here they can always throw in a line and find it 
weighted with at least 2 lbs. After dinner we visit our 
" tertuliano," Dr. Charles F. Newkirk, who owns the only 
wooden chalet in Corrientes — without him the soiree would 
have been unpassable. A Canadian-born Briton, he had 
been fined for practising without licence ; now, however, he 
is en regie, and he makes money despite all the rival mata- 
sanos or carabins. I was glad afterwards to meet him at 
Asuncion. 

The return home at night, though only down three squares, 
was never safe. The Correntinos, unless you interfere unduly 
in the matter of the chubby-faced Correntinas, are a peaceful 
race. Not so the villain camp-followers — the Basque and 
the Neapolitan jackals which follow the track of the Brazilian 
lion. There is such a thing as a Gefatura or Police Office, 



288 A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 

at whose door loll men in fancy uniforms, and the Gefe 
Politico isj as everywhere in Argentine-land, more arbitrary 
than the Prefet of the Seine. Yet a revolver at night is as 
necessary as shoes ; and if an unknown ask you for a light, 
you stick your cigar in the barrel and politely offer it to him 
without offence being given or taken. Dr. Newkirk, during 
my stay, was set to work upon a cut frontal artery and a 
stab in the belly. Peterkin having once been stopped by 
two men, took the hint, and upon a second trial let fly and 
winged the bird. He easily got away before the drowsy 
sereno was aroused by the report. 

This province has long been connected with the name of 
Bonpland, who died aged eighty-four at his estancia in the 
Misiones, near Mercedes, 50 leagues from this city. Four 
square leagues had been made over to him by the Provincial 
Government when President Puyol ruled. The latter also ap- 
pointed him Director to the Agricultural Colony of Sta. Ana, 
and '' Chief of the Museum of Natural Products, Corrientes 
Province.''^ He lived his last years, died, and was buried, 
at La Restauracion ; and his herbarium of 3000 plants, col- 
lected between 1816 and 1854, was left to the public, and 
disappeared. The old Republican seems to have been a 
poor-spirited soul, who would voluntarily have returned to 
his prison quarters. The Messrs. Robertson, who must have 
known the truth, tell a romantic tale of the devoted wife and 
her desperate adventures to procure the liberation of a fond 
husband. " Madame Bonpland ^^ is a *^^ china ■'^ woman with a 
large family, and she never left her native province. 

In 1811, the young Republic, after defeating General 
Belgrano, occupied Corrientes, the " vanguard of Paraguay.''^ 
She repeated the process in 1849, with the view of securing 
a free transit for her arms and ammunition. Corrientes city 
was also the theatre of action in the early part of the present 
war. On 17th April, 1865, five Paraguayan steamers ran 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 289 

into port, surprised, fired into, boarded, and took two old 
merchant vessels belonging to the Argentines, the Gualeguay 
and the 25 de Maio. The prizes thus piratically made were 
repaired, and were made to figure in the Marshal-President^s 
flotilla. The outrage was hailed as a triumph by the out- 
rager, and the indignation caused in Buenos Aires by the 
" vandalic and treacherous aggi'ession '' was of the fiercest. 
"VVar was at once resolved upon, and both combatants, Para- 
guayans and Argentines, be it noted, were firmly persuaded 
that the campaign would be a mere military promenade. 
The same was the case with us in the Crimea, despite the 
Napoleonic precept and the world-wide axiom touching the 
estimation due to an enemy. 

On the day following the capture, the Paraguayan Gene- 
ral Robles, a veteran who, in 1863, received the epaulette 
of Brigadier, occupied, as has been said, Corrientes with 3000 
infantry, and was presently reinforced by 800 cavalry, men 
from the Paso la Patria. Thereupon Bobles marched south- 
wards, committing the usual error of weakening his force by 
leaving under Major Martinez three steamers, two small 
guns, and two battalions. The people w^ere not unfriendly to 
the invaders, and the city was well treated. Some assert that 
white men were forced to kneel in the streets before the in- 
vader's sentinels, and that the women escaped insult and 
outrage with some difficulty; others declare that the Para- 
guayans abused their power only at Bella Vista, and in the 
country parts. 

After this move, D. Jose Berges, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
was sent by Marshal-President Lopez to govern Corrientes 
with the assistance of a triumvirate. That officer's name is 
still remembered with gratitude. He succeeded in curbing 
military licence, and passports were freely given to those who 
desired to expatriate themselves. Governor Lagrana of 
Corrientes^ also retiring south, called out a lands turm; and 

19 



290 A WEEK AT CORTIIENTES. 

on the 3rd April the Brazilian squadron,, under the Com- 
mandante Gomensoro^ left Buenos Aires to attack the in- 
vader. They occupied forty- two days in making 600 
miles. Gomensoro and Lagrana met with the view of com- 
bining operations; meanwhile General Caceres, a resident 
triumvir^ brought into the field 600 soldiers^ and thus 
General Wenceslao Paunero^ the Argentine who commanded 
the land forces^ found himself at the head of 1 600 men. 

On 25 th May, 1865, took place the " Battle of Cor- 
rientes/^ under cover of the Brazilian artillery, which fired 
at friend as well as foe. General Paunero landed his men 
at the mouth of the Arroyo del Poncho Verde, also 
called the Manancial : it is the northern one of the two 
nullahs which traverse the town. The Paraguayans de- 
fended the old stone causeway, or bridge with one round 
arch, which leads over the fiumara to the settlement, till, losing 
about 400 men and seeing the cause hopeless, they fell back 
during the night about a mile to the south. For this 
offence the Paraguayan Colonel Martinez was subsequently 
shot at Paso la Patria. Paunero occupied the Plaza 25 de 
Maio, and busied himself in embarking the wounded and 
those partisans who wished to leave the country. It is 
said that a stampede of horses in the dark caused the assai- 
lants to make for the squadron, and that in so doing many 
of the Allies were drowned. After a single day^s occupation 
Paunero and his expedition returned to the main army, and 
Berges with his triumvirate once more occupied the city. 

The loss of the Argentines in this action about equalled 
that of the Paraguayans. The latter fought with a rare 
ferocity. " No tengo orden,-*^ replied a solitary soldier re- 
solved to die, when summoned to surrender. Another 
swarmed up an orange-tree, and had to be shot down like a 
bird. " Quero morir V' cried a disabled man, cutting at 
those who would save him. I was shown a boy ten years 



A WEEK AT CORRIENTES. 291 

old who had been wounded, and who was taken prisoner by 
the Allies when they entered Curupaity in force; he had 
drawn his knife and defended himself with it till it was struck 
from his hand. 

We may visit the site of the action, which is about one 
mile beyond the town. Under the old bridge the Para- 
guayan dead were buried ; and beyond it, to the left, are the 
Correntino barracks, still pitted with shot and fronted by an 
orange grove. Here was an old battery, afterwards turned 
into a caserne and drill-ground ; and guns had been planted 
on the fiumarabank before 1863. Strongly made of brick, 
the building was easily to be defended by one battalion 
300 strong. The ground then forms a charming slope, 
swelling high above the rocky bank, and dotted with bom- 
bax and with oranges planted in straight lines. The soft 
green turf is bright with flowering plants, which seem to 
prefer the tent-ruts ; and this season — early September — is 
the collector's opportunity. Our walk is limited to the 
Brazilian ^larine Hospital, which was rapidly being dis- 
mantled, and which had entirely disappeared before April, 
1869. The frontage was adapted to the wind, not to the 
sun as Europe requires ; the wards were independent pavi- 
lions for better isolation, and the material was whitewashed 
American pine-lumber, raised on piles, and roofed with wood 
and painted tarpaulin. It could admit 3000 men ; and 
each patient had usually 1200 cubic feet of space. Here, 
as in other hospitals, the French system was carried out, 
and ours found no favour. There were curious tales of 
malversation and embezzlement of stores, especially in the 
matter of '' fios '' or '^ charpy,'-* at which the ladies of the 
Brazil worked so patriotically. 

For the moment, adieu ! More of interest in the next. 



19—2 



LETTEE XIII. 

FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITl. 

Humaita, August 22, 1868. 



My dear Z , 

We now enter upon tlie proper scenes of 
the Paraguayan war. I will tantalize your impatience for 
a while by recounting our life on board the good ship Yi. 

The Yi, I have told you_, is a bran new " floating hotel/^ 
with her plated silver dazzling, her napkins stiff-starched, 
and her gilt mouldings upon the untarnished white panels 
clean as a new sovereign. A common English passenger 
steamer would have been far plainer, but proportionally 
much more comfortable. The splendid saloon all along the 
second deck will presently wax dingy, and there is no pos- 
sible walking in the open air. The tables draw out and 
collapse cleverly, but with trouble. The three stewards are 
expected to do the work of one man ; they are exceedingly 
civil, and they do nothing. Of course, this is the fault 
of the comisario, or purser, a small Spanish bantam, or 
rather "hen-harrier,"'^ who spends all his time in trifling 
with the feminine heart. The captain, Don Pedro Lorenzo 
riores — do not forget the Don, and if you want anything 
say Sefior Don — was an ex-item of that infinitesimal body, 
the national navy of the Banda Oriental. He brought 
out Yi for its Company from the United States, and he 
avenges himself upon Northern and Anglo-American coarse- 
ness by calling all Yankees " rascals."'' His chief duty is to 
bale out the soup, to pass cigars, and to send round sherry 
after dinner. This must be done to everybody at table. 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMATTA. 293 

or the excluded will take offence and sulk like small 
boys. 

Pleasantly enougli passes the sc'nnight — perhaps I should 
call it a fortnight. Every twenty-four hours contains two 
distinct days and two several nights. First day begins at 
dawn with coffee and biscuits, by way of breakfast, and a 
bath, patronized chiefly by the '' yaller '' Brazilian pas- 
sengers. A mighty rush follows the dinner-bell, which 
sounds with peculiar unpunctuality, between 9 and 10 a.m. 
(mind). Upon the table are scattered hors d'oeuvres, olives, 
ham and sausage, together with the gratis wines, sour 
French " piquette^' called claret, and the rough, ready Cata- 
lonian Carlo, here corrupted to Carlon. Port, and similar 
superior articles, are ridiculously dear; for instance, $8 
(325.) per bottle, and of course for a bad bottle. Like the 
Chilian, the Argentine often calls not for the best, but for 
the most expensive drink, and makes the call last out the 
week. We have no soup, but, en revanche, we have that 
eternal puchero, bouilli, ragmeat, which, combined with 
vegetables — potatoes, cabbages, and courges (zavallos) — 
composes the antiquated oUa podrida. It is the national 
dish, the feijoada of the Brazils, here held to be heavy and 
indigestible. The rest is hotel fare. The coffee must be 
made " coffee royal '' if you would drink it ; and the tea is 
the pot-house ('' pulperia ") style, facetiously termed by 
foreigners '' cowslip '^ and " orange Pekoe :" those who want 
the real Chinese must bring it for themselves. 

Tobacco and a small bout of gambling bring in the first 
night, which lasts from noon to 3 p.m. During this period 
all the world of men dressed in faded black is dead and 
gone. Here the siesta is the universal custom, to the 
severe injury of picnics. At the mystic hour you see every 
eye waxing smaller and smaller, till closed by a doze with 
a suspicion of nasal music. At home, people regularly 



294 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

" turn in ;'^ and if you have a visit to pay or a favour to 
ask, do not interrupt the day-night. Strangers soon fall into 
the habit, and it is evidently required by those climates in 
which men sit up late and rise early. I have found it an 
excellent plan in hot countries when hard mental labour 
was required, and, as every policeman knows, it is a mere 
matter of habit. In the Brazil the siesta is not the rule, 
but the Brazilians rarely begin the day at Bengal hours. 
On this parallel, the further we go westward, and the 
more backward becomes the land, the longer will last 
the siesta; the cause being simply that the population, 
having nothing to do, very wisely allows its arteries to 
contract. 

The second day opens with a breakfast of mate. It is 
drunk en cachette ; if not, it must be handed all round. 
Lunch is absolutely unknown ; the unsophisticated English 
stomach therefore clamours for an insult to breakfast and 
an injury to dinner, in the shape of sherry and biscuits. 
The second full feed is at 4 p.m., and exactly resembles the 
first: it lasts an hour and a half. Candles and cigars are 
then lighted, and preparations are made for the soiree 
according to tastes. Some watch the night upon the poop ; 
others converse or mope alone; others play and sing, or 
listen to music. By far the favourite amusement, however, 
is hearty, thorough, whole-souled gambling, which makes 
the fore saloon a standing hell. One passenger is said to 
have lost during the excursion $8000. The Brazilians are 
the hottest players, pushing on far into the small hours. 
Politely admitting the fact that we, thereabouts lodged, 
may be asleep, or may wish to sleep, they open conversation 
in a half whisper. This loudens under excitement to an 
average tone, and the latter speedily gamuts up to a shout 
and a howl, stintless and remorseless. My only resource 
was letting a cold draught through the skylight at their 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 295 

feet and ankles, and thus only the roaring, bawling 
gamblers, who sat lengthening out the night, were cleared 
away. 

We are now about to leave the main branch of the 
riverine system, and to eviter the Paraguay proper, con- 
cerning which you may wish to have a few geographical 
details. The same authority that announces the topo- 
graphical homology of the Parana and the Ohio compares 
the Paraguay with the Missouri, and its great western 
influents, the Salado, the Bermejo, and the Pilcomayo, with 
the Red River, the Arkansas, and the Platte. It rises — 
according to a late explorer, the Cavagliere Bossi, who 
kindly sent me a copy of his work — two leagues from the 
Arinos of the Amazonian valley, and the source may be 
reached without passing through the wild and plundering 
Gnarani tribes. It floods properly in March to June, 
w^hen the supersaturated lands along the upper course dis- 
charge their surplus. The inundation of December- January, 
1868-9, which precipitated the operations of the Brazilians 
against La Villeta, was caused by the Parana, which, forcing 
back and heaping up the waters of the Paraguay, poured them 
over both banks, whereas that to the east generally suff'ers. 
As a rule, the discharge of the upper bed is clear and that of 
the lower is muddy. At the junction, ships prefer to fill with 
the Parana, and higher up the crews drink of the springs 
and fountains. The free navigation of the Paraguay is a 
political necessity for the Brazilian Empire, which has had 
a line of steamers upon it since 1857. In six weeks 
they make Matto Grosso, some 2000 to 2200 miles from 
Buenos Aires; and in case of necessity they can easily 
efi'ect the passage in twelve days and nights, at the rate of 
eight miles an hour. For sailing craft at least six months 
must be allowed, and some have occupied seven in reaching 
Humaita; whereas the round trip from Buenos Aires to 



296 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

Asuncion and back has lately been done in ten days. I 
had once formed the project of riding from Sao Panlo to 
Cuyaba^ and I found that^ with fast mules^ the journey 
would have occupied me two and a half months. 

Even during peaceful days the Paraguayans prepared for 
an attack along the line of their river, and the general idea 
is that the Allies fell into the trap prepared for them, thrust 
their heads into the lion^s jaws, and entered the den at a 
point where the approach had long been prepared to receive 
them. The public has persistently asserted that the attack 
should have been via Candelaria and Itapua, at the south- 
eastern angle of the Lower Parana, some 250 miles above the 
confluence, and within a few marches of the Brazilian frontier. 
From this point the invader could easily have made Villa 
Kica, and, having struck at the heart of the country, he 
would have been master of Asuncion. We may quote the 
high authority of Lieut. -Col. Thompson (Chap. XIV.) for 
believing that had General Porto Alegre or Osorio entered 
Paraguay via Encarnacion, ^^ the war must have been ended.''' 
On the other hand, I heard a very diflPerent account from 
President Mitre, the biographer of D. Manuel Belgrano, who 
was possibly somewhat biassed by the defeat which his hero 
sustained on the Itapua line (January 18, 1811). He observed 
that the direct route to Villa Rica lay through a swamp and 
desert, where even provisions must have been transported by 
land j and that to give up the advantage of a double attack 
by land and water, especially with ironclads, which had not 
been dreamed of when Humaita and other works were thrown 
up, would have been the merest folly. My present belief is 
that the Allies knew far too well the strength of the Para- 
guayan army and the valour of its soldiers to have attacked 
the small Republic without the aid of a fleet ; and moreover, 
that had they done so their raw levies would have been 
annihilated. 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 297 

At 9.30 A.M. yesterday, leaving Corrientes, where some 
twenty ships lay, we steamed past the arched causeway under 
which sleep the dead. The river banks were faced with 
dwarf clifts, detached blocks, and fallen masses of friable 
sandstone, showing lines of stratification and deposit. The 
colours were those of Sao Paulo — yellow, red, brick-red, and 
blood-red (Sangre de boi). Some parts were crumbling as 
" horse-bone '' limestone, others were hard as granite, and 
all were more or less porous. Bits of mica appeared in it, 
but we vainly sought for fossils, the great want of these 
lands. The rock makes good building material, which cuts 
well and hardens readily. 

Presently we were shown the site of that failure of failures, 
the French colony of S. Juan, and the spot where the Siete 
Corrientes gave a name to the city. Though the day was 
before fine, rain and lightning put in an appearance — it is 
said that here they are rarely absent. Six leagues, traversed 
in two hours, placed us at the glorious confluence of the 
Parana and Paraguay, which here equal, says Azara, a hun- 
dred of the biggest rivers of Europe, and yet are 250 leagues 
from the mouth. Compared with these majestic proportions, 
and this mighty sweep of waters, the meeting of the Rios de 
Sao Francisco and das Veluas seemed to my memory insignifi- 
cant. The doab or water-peninsula, which has been com- 
pared with Illinois, is a vast plain of wet and dry mud, such 
as a drained harbour bottom would represent. It is mostly 
below the mean level of both streams, which are here con- 
tained between those natural dykes their elevated banks, 
and these, being of friable earth, allow full freedom of per- 
colation. In fact, the whole country, from the Parana south 
to the Tebicuary north is a " no man^s land,"*^ or an " any 
man^s land,'^ where the " Carrisales '^ of earth and water are 
" pretty much mixed." In 1620 this confluence formed the 
limit between the old Governments of Paraguay and of the 



298 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

E-io de la Plata ; this, however, claimed tlie whole country 
up to the Tebicuary. 

The curves approaching the place where the two rivers 
meet in their might are divided by a long narrow spit of 
land frequently flooded. The surface of the country is com- 
posed of swamps — not " salt-swamps/-' as some have written 
— rejoicing in a variety of names, whose use, however, differs 
in the several places. The "laguna^^ is a real pool or lakelet, 
replenished by floods, and retained by a hard clay floor. The 
" banado '' is a field of deep adhesive mud and stagnant water, 
somewhat wetter than the '' pantano/^ or morass. The " es^ 
tero,^-' erroneously said to be a Quichua^ word, but derived 
from the piri or South American papyrus, and the esteros 
(rushes), which line it, is a stream sluggishlj^ flowing through 
a big swamp. Thus our maps show the northern and the 
southern Estero bellaco — not " Terovellaco,'' as Mr. Mans- 
field has it (p. 310) — to be the meridional strip of the great 
Neembucu bog, which extends from east to west parallel with 
the right bank of the Paraguay river. These waters are di- 
vided by " lomas,^^ or " lomadas,^"* waves of ground rising a 
few feet above the flood level of the quagmires. They sup- 
port an almost impassable jungle, composed of monte, or 
thorn thicket ; " isletas,^'' or bosques of trees ; " macegales," 
small shrubberies ; " pajonales '' and " canaverales,^^ beds of 
reedy grass six feet tall, and " palmares,'' or " palmazales," 
where rise ^' alamedas,'' or avenues of lofty whispering palms. 
And a mixture of all these pleasant features is termed a 
" carrisal,'' as opposed to tierra firma. 

The only settlements in the carrisal are '^'^ capillas,'' or 
wretched huts surrounding churches of noble elevation, and 
decorated with carved pulpits, fancy roofs, frescos, ornamental 



* " It is called estero, which in the Quichua tongue signifies a lake." — 
Guidebook. 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 299 

doors, and marble altars, which are now all destroyed. The 
" fighting men " are upon the war-path, and the '' campe- 
sinos^' or country folks have been driven northwards by the 
retreating Paraguayans. Everywhere the land is wild of 
man ; you will presently see that such has been the system 
from the confluence to the capital. The same tactic was 
adopted in 1811 by Colonel D. Bernardo Velasco when op- 
posing the advance of Belgrano. All the " chapels,^^ rem- 
nants of Jesuit rule now reduced to mud-walled hamlets, 
were connected by threads of path, and he who stepped off 
these sunk waist-deep in unhealthy morass and boggy pool. 
A glance at any map upon a large scale will explain to you 
how it was that two years were spent in battling over nine 
square miles of ground. This swamp fighting was an essen- 
tial part of '' Indian '^ warfare. The Spaniards, under Men- 
doza, their Adelantado, suffered severely on February 2, 
1535, from being entangled, by the wild Querandis, in a marsh 
near Buenos Aires. 

This reach of the Parana is called in old maps Quatro 
Bocas. Looking up the sea-like mouth we see about the 
centre of the stream, where it narrows, a dark dot, the Isleta 
dez de Abril, alias do Coronel Carvalho. Here the Brazilians 
had erected an 8-gun battery, the better to destroy Guardia 
Carracha, also known as ^^ Fort Itapiru.^' It was attacked 
on April 10, 1866, by the Paraguayans under Lieut. -Colonel, 
afterwards General, Diaz, a noted lance, who was at last 
killed by the shell fired by an ironclad whilst he was recon- 
noitering for a canoe attack. The fight was fierce; fifteen 
out of twenty-six canoes were sunk, and of 1200 Paraguayans 
only 400 wounded men returned. It was the first of the 
many reckless actions in which Marshal- President Lopez 
frittered away his devoted forces. Opposite it, and hidden 
by a long point of yellow sand, on the northern river-bank, 
were the ruins of Fort Itapiru — the weak or rotten 



300 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

stone* — which in 1855 fired upon the U.S. steamship Water- 
witch, Captain Page. Before the war it was a neat little semi- 
circular brick fort mounting two to three guns en barbette, 
and built at the root of a promontory backed by a sandy 
beach. The Paraguayans armed it with two 8-inch guns, 
and for some forty days kept at bay the Allied army and the 
Brazilian fleet — eighteen steam gunboats and four ironclads. 
It was the key of the position^ yet it was carelessly abandoned 
by Marshal-President Lopez_, who had here cornered his 
enemy. A photograph of the place now shows a broken 
tower, in whose shade placidly reposes a cow. 

Opposite Itapiru the Parana narrows to 1^ mile; and 
then flaring out into a bay, it is divided into two channels 
by sundry banks and islets. Of these the most important 
are the Banco de Toledo, the Isla Caraya, or Howling 
Monkeys' Island, and the Isla de Santa Ana. Almost due 
south of it on the Correntine shore is the village Corrales, 
alias the Campamiento del Paso, built in 1849. It is also 
called the Correntine Paso la Patria, that is to say Public 
Pass, where homeward travellers were ferried over in canoes. 
At this place the Brazilians raised heavy batteries to bombard 
Fort Itapiru. Under the tall barranca, or falaise, we descry 
a few ranchos, and a little flotilla embarking cattle. The 
pueblo, or village, is hidden from sight. On the northern 
bank, about two miles higher up, was the Paraguayan chapel- 
village — Paso la Patria — some five hours' steam from Cor- 
rientes, and seventy leagues, or eight days' journey from 
Asuncion. Here Marshal-President Lopez had thrown up 
a fine work, with redans and curtains, resting on two lagoons 
and impassable carrisal, and mounting thirty field guns. 



*^ The Brazilians translate the name "pedra fraca;" and similarly Cun- 
hapira, a shan-van-vogh, or " weak old woman." Lt.-Col. Thompson says 
*' Itapiru : ita, stone ; pirii, dry ; dry stone." According to that officer the 
rock is volcanic. 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 301 

Yet he abandoned it precipitately the moment his enemy- 
landed upon Paraguayan ground. The invaders established 
in this place their hospitals and bazars^ of which no traces 
now remain, and it became the base of operations for two 
years. 

The landing was effected on the 16th of April (1866), by 
Generals Osorio and Flores. They chose the mouth of the 
Paraguay river, a few hundred yards above the confluence, and 
they immediately entrenched some 10,000 men. Learning 
this, and finding himself outflanked, Marshal-President Lopez 
hastened to abandon Itapirii and Paso la Patria, whose 
trenches he might have held for months, if not for years. 
Upon this subject both Paraguayans and Argentines agree. 

We now dash amongst floating trees and rippling isles of 
grass and reed up the Paraguay river, which suddenly nar- 
rows from a mile and a half to 400 yards, and appears to be 
a small influent. The cause is the Isla del Atajo, the 
'^stopper^^ (of the current), a long thin island to our left, 
disposed, as usual, with its length down stream. It is a 
flat steep covered with lush verdure, light green and dark 
green, and the trees of good hard wood are colligated by 
bush-ropes. A gentle grassy slope, some sixty to seventy 
feet high in the centre of its eastern side, leads to a cottage 
with posts and verandah, the old Guardia Cerrito, and its 
watch-tower. 

A little beyond the mound, and situated upon a barren 
muddy bank, which was flooded in November, 1868, is the 
Cerrito Station, where the Brazilians built hospitals, store- 
houses, coalsheds, and workshops for repairing engines. Of 
old it was claimed by the Argentine Confederation, but the 
Paraguayans seized it and made it a guardia. The clearing 
shows a scattered village of huts and long lines of thatched 
wattle and dab ; the best are of boarding, roofed with zinc or 
straw. There is a whitewashed chapel^ and the Hotel 



302 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

Brazil^ whose dwarf frontage is pierced for a door and two 
windows. Cranes and piers break the bank, which is here 
four feet high, and in the deep water alongside appear flotillas 
of bazar boats, and an ironclad acting sentinel. 

Leaving Cerrito we sweep round to the north-west, and 
pass the Tres Bocas. The name has been erroneously trans- 
ferred by some to the confluence, by others to a place below 
it, where the Parana and the Parana Mi (the northern 
channel) meet the Paraguay. Properly speaking, Tres Bocas 
is in the latter river, where it is split into two by the Atajo 
islet, and receives in its left bank the Laguna Piris, which 
drains the western part of the Northern Estero bellaco. In 
old days the name sounded joyful to those flying from the 
"reign of terror.'''' Lieutenant Day's chart (1858) shows 
five armed ships watching the Tres Bocas ; and opposite the 
Boca del Atajo was the Primera Guardia, or first guard- 
house. Captain Page here found the Admiral of the Navy 
of the Republic of Paraguay, and a squadron of five small 
vessels. 

We run rapidly past ground whose every mile cost a 
month of fighting. To our right is the Laguna Piris, flow- 
ing from the north-east. The river-like lagoon is not re- 
markable, and there are many similar on the eastern bank, 
treacherously lurking under papyrus and water-lilies. It 
proved, however, most useful to the Allies by admitting 
their gunboats and stores. 

Further east are the sites of the great actions fought on 
the 2nd and the 24th of May, 1866. A graceful line of 
rising surface, clothed in the napindii grass, which is used 
as 'Hie-tie,*' and scattered with fan-palms, shows the 
loma of Tuyu-ti — barro duro, or dry mud.^ A single 



* " White mud," says Lt.-Col. Thompson. The word Tuyu, pronounced 
Tuju, is found in Tijuca, or Tyjuca, near Kio de Janeiro, and is usually 
translated " dry mud." 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 303 

tree denotes the spot where the Brazilian batteries stood. 
This site, the first solid ground seen after the Confluence, 
smells of death ; here lie some 10,000 men, victims of 
cholera and small-pox, fever, and Crimean diarrhoea. Here- 
abouts were fought the battles of Yataity-Cora and Potreiro- 
Sauce, with the great actions, or rather surprises, of July 
10-18, 1866, and of November 3, 1867. 

Nearly opposite, but a little above the Piris opening, is 
the Atajo River — in fact, the eastern arm of the Paraguay. 
The bank is low, and the vegetation, after thinning out, 
becomes more luxuriant, large trees looming in the distance. 
The palm-groves of the Gran Chaco are now bare of mon- 
keys, its oldest inhabitants. 

Three hours' steaming from Corrientes placed us off the 
historical site of Ciu'uzii — the Cross. It is a new outpost 
of Humaita, a short trench, whose right rested upon the 
Paraguay, and its left upon a water which communicates 
with the great Laguna Chichi. The river-bank is here 
broken, and four to five feet high. The current varies from 
two to three miles, and a little below it is a small nameless 
island : the right shore, as usual in such places, is low and 
clear, except of willow scrub. We saw the wreck of La 
Poriena, an American ship taken up as an hospital : she 
was here burnt with some eighty sick on board. Yellow 
mounds show where the now dismantled batteries once were, 
and cattle feed amongst the debris of earthworks. A 
wooden cross near the water marks the Brazilian Campo 
Santo ; and to the north of it are tree-clumps and an en- 
closure where General Argolo, Commanding 2nd Corps 
d'Armee, built his star-shaped redoubt. 

Here, again, the fighting was fierce. The allied fleet 
began September 1, 1866, to bombard Curuzu, the southern- 
most outwork proper of Humaita. The defenders replied 
with spirit. The ironclad Rio de Janeiro was blown up by 



304 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

a torpedo^ and lost her captain and crew. The Tvahy and 
other Brazilian ships were sorely injured. On the 3rd of 
September General Porto Alegre^ having landed 8300 men 
amongst the corn-fields about three-fourths of a mile below, 
gallantly stormed it by rounding, through four feet of water 
exposed to enfilade fire, the flank that rested upon the 
lagoon. The losses were about equal on both sides. Un- 
happily the victor did not follow up his advantage ; after a 
short pursuit he returned to his lines ; whereas all are agreed 
in believing that a single rush would have carried Curupaity 
and even Humaita. 

Another quarter of an hour showed us the lines of Curu- 
paity. Lieutenant Day gives the Isla da Palma near the 
right bank, and on the left the Guardia " Cuvu Paip,^"* or 
" Curipeiti.^^ The word means the place of the curupai tree 
(acacia adstringens, the sebil of Tucuman). Its site is like 
that of Curuzu, a hollow curve on the eastern bank, bounded 
south by a projecting angle ; the right of the works resting 
upon the river, the left upon the Laguna Lopez, which com- 
municates with the Laguna Chichi. The bank slopes to- 
wards the inner estero, and from the river we see only the 
profile of half- levelled earthworks extending ten or twelve 
squares down stream. Along the bank were moored cutters 
and schooners, tugs, steam-launches, and a variety of more 
dignified craft, which had been freighted down stream. We 
shall afterwards visit the comercio, or bazar. At present 
I will only remark that those winged fiends, the mosquitoes, 
despite of oil, raise wounds upon our foreheads, and that 
the jejens, or sand-flies, bite like furies. Even in the 
keen north-east wind Curupaity was a hard nut for the 
Allies to crack, and it broke certain of their teeth. 

After the capture of Curuzu, the Paraguayans had retreated 
to the second outwork of Humaita, and on September 8 
they began to dig the trench, which was about two thousand 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 305 

yards long. But^, despite the energy of the troops, matters 
looked desperate till Marshal-President Lopez, two days 
afterwards, hit upon the notable expedient of proposing on 
interview with the Allied Generals. The Commander-ic. 
Chief, President Mitre, fell into the trap — not so General 
Polidoro, the Brazilian, who had succeeded General Osorio. 
Letters passed under flags of truce ; the two Presidents and 
General Flores had a long palaver, drank some brandy- 
pawnee, exchanged riding-whips, and parted without agreeing 
upon the conditions of a peace. The "Conference of Yataity- 
Cora ^' has, however, the merit of gaining two days for the 
works at Curupaity ; and by 20th September the strongest 
position of the whole campaign was ready to be fought. 

The assault was given at noon on September 22, and 
Curupaity proved itself, under General Diaz, and afterwards 
Colonel Alen, a Pei-ho. Instead of attacking by nighty 
en chemise, the Allies pushed recklessly across an open plain 
under a terrible fire of grape and canister, delivered by 
eight-inch guns at point-blank range. The Brazilians suf- 
fered the least, as they attacked and carried a small out- 
work on the right which was partially concealed by bush. 
The Argentines gallantly struggled up to the trenches 
despite mud knee-deep, and then found that they had for- 
gotten their scaling-ladders. Nothing remained to the 
assaulter but a disastrous retreat, leaving behind him 5000 
killed and wounded, whilst the Paraguayans had but fifty- 
four hors de combat. The mishap filled the Argentine 
Confederation with rage and grief, and the Allies de- 
clined further operations during the ten months between 
September 22, 1866, and July, 1867. Finally, Cu- 
rupaity was, like many other posts, evacuated by the de- 
fenders, who left quaker guns to deceive the assailants. 

We have now seen two of the four river positions — Curuzii, 
Curupaity, Humaita, and Angostura — which did the Para- 

20 



306 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

guayans good service. From Cueva to Asuncion^ from 1865 
to 1868, we shall find that they had but one plan for 
defence. They chose for their stand-point some place where 
the stream was narrowest and flowed the swiftest, also where 
the deepest water was from 45 to 150 yards off" their guns, 
and where a passing ship must expose her prow, broadside, 
and hull. They placed their guns at the toe of a horse- 
shoe-shaped clifi", a re-entering angle generally in the left, 
or eastern bank, whose high and regular wall shows the 
flood-mark. The cliff", a natural earthwork, varied from 
twenty to fifty feet ; the upper half was usually per- 
pendicular, and composed of stiff" clay and sand, assuming 
the natural angle below, and off"ering no facility for scaling. 
It was generally bounded north and south by carrisal and 
impassable jungle. The ojoen-gorged batteries extended all 
along the bank so as to sweep the stream up and down . 
they often aff"ected a crossing or converging fire, and some- 
times, as at Asuncion, where the current hugs the side, 
the guns could not be depressed, and the defenders had to 
depend upon musketry. On the Gran Chaco, or western 
side, they chose, if possible, a low marshy spit subject to 
inundation, and they felled the trees, so that the enemy 
was compelled to act upon open ground. Thus they obviated 
the danger of rifle-pits and artillery duels. 

None of the works could be called permanent fortifica- 
tions. The Paraguayans ignored the bastion, or Italian 
system (of Turin, 1461) afterwards perfected by Vauban, 
and only in one place did they attempt the casemates of 
Albert Diirer (sixteenth century) ; hence the polygonal, or 
German system^ which afterwards became popular through- 
out Europe, was unknown. A redan, or a ravelin, to 
sweep the face of the curtain, was the height of their art in 
field fortification, and the heaviest gun was generally placed 
upon the apex. 



FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 307 

" I want/' said Napoleon, " men behind walls, but 
soldiers in tlie field/' The Paraguayans could hardly be 
called soldiers, but they stood manfully to their guns, and 
proved themselves behind cover better artillerists than their 
invaders. They avoided the " necessary evil '^ of embrasures 
by the rough and ready expedient of placing all their guns 
€11 barbette. Thus they secured freedom of lateral range ; 
but the gunners had no cover ; every third shell ought to 
have swept them away. The casemates of the protected 
system would have been to them, as has been proved in 
modern warfare, mere slaughterhouses. 

The great strategical error committed by the Paraguayans 
was that of the Confederate States — an attempt to fight 
long extended lines. Instead of holding along the stream 
a succession of outposts, which were all lost by direct attack 
or by evacuation, they should have concentrated themselves 
at fewer places, and should have rendered them doubly and 
trebly strong. To defend only a few points, and to defend 
them well, is the recognised general principle in these days 
of short sharp wars. 

The Brazilian attack was necessarily as monotonous as 
the Paraguayan defence. The assailants, after occupying 
the enemy's front in force, also ensconced themselves behind 
lines of earthwork. The next step was to run the ironclad 
squadron past the position, and to land a corps d'armee in 
the Gran Chaco. A " picada,"" or rough path, was cut with 
immense trouble and loss of life, through the tangled vege- 
tation of the low marshy soil, and thus the flank was turned 
both by land and water. Seeing this, the Paraguayans, 
fearing to be surrounded, retreated leisurely northwards, 
and, after a few miles, they readily found another line of 
defence, fronted perhaps by a bog or a stream, and resting 
upon the river and a swamp. 

This is a brief history of the second part of the campaign. 
20—2 



308 FROM CORRIENTES TO HUMAITA. 

At Curupaity we took on board the Commander-in-Chief 
of the Argentine army, who came to meet his daughter. 
General Don Juan A. Gelly i Obes, said to be of Para- 
guayan descent^ began life as an auctioneer. He fought 
in the Montevidean affairs^ and after a long banishment to 
the Brazil in the days of Rosas, he became Minister of War 
and Marine at Buenos Aires; and since he replaced the 
Coraandante Amadeo, he has been the life and soul of his 
motley force, ever in the saddle, and ever au grand galop. But 
this active and energetic soldier has not been fortunate, and 
his enemies have soundly abused him for failing to do some 
great deed. In appearance he is an Aymerican Sir Charles 
Napier (of Sind), the eagle type, with hooked nose, black 
eyes, long white beard and waveless grey hair. A spare 
and lithe veteran in magenta-coloured kepi with gold 
braiding, blue frock, and long riding-boots, he was an effec- 
tive, soldier-like figure. I feel grateful to him for the cour- 
tesy with which he answered all my questions, and for 
his readiness in assisting me to inspect the environs of 
Humaita. 

In my next you will hear about the " Sebastopol of the 
South.'' Adieu. 



My dear Z- 



LETTEE XIV. 

TO HUMAITA. 

Humaita, August 23, 1868. 



From Curupaity we have still two leagues, 
which others lengthen to nine miles, between us and the 
now historical Humaita. The dark sandstone which sup- 
ports the crumbling bank, and which we first remarked one 
day below Corrientes, explains the name '' black stone."*^"^ 
On the proper right bank is Port Elizario, once a camp of 
10,000 men. This was the terminus of the railway, which 
ran some three and a half miles, through swamp and lagoon, 
to the northern side of the Albardon fronting Humaita. 
Thus it became easy to provision the ironclads, instead of 
exposing the squadron to severe damage by passing and 
repassing the batteries. The contractor was Sr Sabino 
Reyes, and the Opposition was severe upon the so-called 
" job /^ yet it was even more useful than the Balaklava 
Railway. 

At the Riacho {alias Boca) de Oro, the Paraguay begins 
its great sweep to the south-east, forming the approach 
to Humaita. Ofi" the mouth are islets, which vary in 
number according to the flood. At present we find one 
large and two small. The former, unnamed in our chart, 
is known as the Isla de Humaita. It forms a tolerably 
regular triangle, with the apex pointing southward ; and. 



* Huma (with the aspirated h), black ; in the Tupi dialect una, e.g. 
Kio Una (Blackwater Eiver) ; and ita, a stone. Lt. Col. Thompson gives 
" Hu (nasal), black ; ma, now j ita, stone. The stone is now black." 



310 TO humaitA. 

curious to say, it was not occupied by either combatant. 
The Paraguayan telegraph-posts, of fine hard wood, still 
linger on the bank, each having its lightning-conductor 
protruding from the top — a " wrinkle '' offered to the 
Brazilian lines. Both combatants adopted in this point 
the practice of Napoleon III., as we did during the Indian 
Mutiny, when telegraphic lines accompanied the Com- 
mander-in-Chief. Marshal-President Lopez passed the 
greater part of his days, like Lord Panmure, sending and 
receiving messages about the most trivial matters. On the 
western side remain a pleasure-house and a garden, built 
for the Brazilian officers in June, 1868, as a relief to the 
grimness of their occupations. Here also was the usual 
watch-tower — a signalling system well known to Paraguay, 
as in China and Japan. It is the guerite of the Cossacks, 
the Portuguese mangrulho, and the Spanish mangruUo, 
locally pronounced " mangrujo."'' The rough contrivance, 
varying from forty to sixty feet in height, is composed of 
four or more thin tree- trunks, planted perpendicularly, and 
supplied with platforms or stages of cross-pieces, mostly 
palms, the whole being bound together with the inevitable 
raw hide. The look-outs are ascended by notched palm- 
trunks, or ladders, which, after a little neglect, become 
dangerous. A few are solidly made of squared timbers, 
roofed over. In so flat a country the mangruUo acts well. 
Before the war it formed a part of the national espionage, 
and, like the dauk of Hindostan, long before telegrams 
were invented, it could transmit, in a few hours, a message 
from the frontier to the capital. The President being alone 
entitled to buy and sell without permission, it was necessary 
to keep a sharp watch upon exports and imports. The 
mangruUo — like the andrumara, or elevated four-poster, 
sometimes horizontal at other times sloping, as in Unya- 
muezi — was also used to sleep above the mean level of 



TO humaitA. 311 

mosquitoes, and for that purpose one was attached to every 
guardia. 

The guardias, or guard-houses, were regularly established 
in 1849, and in 1853 eight of them lay along the eastern 
bank of the Paraguay, besides those on the southern side of 
the Apa River, or northern frontier. They formed a com- 
plete cordon militairey equally useful as resguardo, or coast- 
guard, and as obstacles to Indian raids from the Gran 
Chaco. In 1853 the western frontier numbered eight, but 
since the war they have multiplied exceedingly. The 
Guardia was a strong stockade surrounding a patch of 
maize, manioc, oranges, and other useful vegetation ; there 
was also a rancho for an officer and his guard, some thirty 
^'quarteleros.-'-' Between every two were "piquetes/^ or smaller 
establishments of a sergeant and fifteen men. Both were 
expected to patrol by water and land, and to communicate 
daily with one another in canoes, so as to watch Paraguayans 
and strangers. Most of the strong points fought during 
the war were, of old, guardias and piquetes. 

On the right bank lay remnants of the canoes which had 
the audacity to assault the Lima Barros and the Cabral 
ironclads on the night of March 2, 1868. These desperate 
attempts, showing a heroic and barbarous devotion, were often 
repeated, but never successfully. After the canoe attack 
upon the ironclad Bar7'oso and the Monitor Rio Grande, 
off Tayi (July 9, 1868), the Brazilians thought it safer to 
throw a boom across the stream. The peculiar shape is 
derived from the old Payaguas, and even foreign ships of 
war seemed to take to them kindly. Two planks, twenty 
or thirty feet long, form the gunwales, and are fitted with 
a flooring, which is strengthened by lines and cross-pieces. 
The stem and stern, blunt-muzzled as a punt, describe the 
arc of a circle, and thus only a small central section touches 
the water, gliding and skimming the surface, and easily 



812 TO humaitA. 

propelled by the puny paddle — a shallow^ round wooden 
spoon. Some of these flat-bottomed and wall-sided craft, 
fitted with a troja, or hide hoiise^ could carry 200 tons. 

An expedition of about 1200 men, armed with swords and 
hand-grenades_, was told off' under Captain Xenes, and after 
much fun and merriment they were dismissed with presents 
of cigars by Madame Lynch, who told them to " go and 
bring me back my ironclads.'^ They paddled off* on a very 
dark night in some forty-eight canoes, lashed in pairs by 
ropes about eighteen to twenty yards long, and each 
carrying twenty-five men.* By this contrivance they hoped 
to make sure of boarding, but the swiftness of the current 
carried many of them past the objects of attack into the 
very middle of the fleet. About half the number hit the 
mark and sprang on board almost unperceivedc The crews 
rushed below hatches and into their turrets — not, however, 
before some fifty of them were killed. The Paraguayans 
attempted to throw hand-grenades into the port-holes, and 
ran about seeking ingress, like a cat attacking a trapped 
mouse. The Lima Barros and the Cabral were thus virtually 
taken. Presently two other ironclads steamed up alongside 
their consorts, and cleared the decks with volleys of grape 
and canister. Nothing remained for the Paraguayan sur- 
vivors but to swim for life. 

It is surprising that no attempts were made to blow up 
the ironclads. A heavy shell swung between two beams 
projecting like antennae from the bow of a canoe would 
have had every chance of success. But the object of the 
Paraguayans was not so much to destroy as to appropriate; 
and it was the general opinion that with a single captured 
ironclad at their disposal they would have cleared the river. 



* Lt.-Col. Thompson says " there were twenty-four canoes, each carrying 
twelve men." But in the next page (254) he informs us that " the Para- 
guayans lost more than two hundred men." 



TO HUMAITA. 313 

The war, indeed, was altogether premature : had the cuirassed 
ships and the Whitworths ordered by the Marshal-President 
begun the campaign_, he might now have supplied the place 
of Mexico with a third great Latin empire. 

We pass to the west of the islet below Humaita. Lieut. 
Day (1858) shows eleven feet the minimum depth near the 
left bank. Then sweeping eastward we sight the noble 
curve called the "Vuelta de Humaita/^ some 1500 metres 
long, with a stream 200 metres broad; the current is 2'8 
and in places 3 knots an hour, diflScult to stem and dan- 
gerous to torpedoes. From afar appears the white church- 
tower which suggests the earliest stage of the Malakoff. 
We lumbered through a fleet of merchant steamers and 
sailing craft ; here and there lay an ironclad, and every- 
where the steam-launches, lately introduced amongst us, flew 
buzzing about like flies. In the heart of South America 
all is modern and civilized. Who shall say that war is not 
one of the great improvers of mankind ? Farewell. 



LETTEE XV. 

HUMAITA. 



My dear Z- 



Hamaita, August 24, 1868. 



After a stare of blank amazement, my 
first question was — where is Huraaita ? Where are the 
''regular polygons of the Humaita citadel?'' Where is 
" the great stronghold which was looked upon as the key- 
stone of Paraguay ?'* I had seen it compared with Silistria 
and Kars, where even Turks fought ; with Sebastopol in her 
strength, not in the weakness attributed to her by General 
Todleben and Mr. Kinglake ; with the Quadrilateral which 
awed Italy ; with Luxembourg, dear to France ; with Rich- 
mond, that so long held the Northerners at bay ; and with 
the armour-plated batteries of Vicksburg and the shielded 
defences of Gibraltar. Can these poor barbettes, this en- 
trenched camp sans citadel — which the Brazilian papers had 
reported to have been blown up — be the same that resisted 
40,000 men, not to speak of ironclads and gunboats, and 
that endured a siege of two years and a half? I came to 
the conclusion that Humaita was a monstrous '' hum,'' and 
that, with the rest of the public, I had been led into be- 
lieving the weakest point of the Paraguayan campaign to be 
the strongest. 

As so much that is erroneous has been written about 
Humaita, you will not object to a somewhat prolix true 
description. 

The site of the " Blackstone" batteries is the normal re- 
entering angle of the eastern bank, but the sweep is more 



humaitA. 315 

than usually concave, to the benefit of gunnery and the 
detriment of shipping. Nothing more dangerous than this 
great bend, where vessels were almost sure to get confused 
under fire, as happened at Port Hudson to the fleet com- 
manded by Admiral D. G. Farragut. The level bank, twenty 
to thirty feet above the river, and dipping in places, is 
bounded by swamps up-stream and down-stream. Earthworks, 
consisting of trenches, curtains, and redans, disposed at 
intervals where wanted, and suggesting the lines of Torres 
Vedras, rest both their extremities upon the river, whose 
shape here is that of the letter U, and extend in gibbous 
shape inland to the south. The outline measures nearly 
eight miles and a half, and it encloses meadow land to the 
extent of 8,000,000 square yards — a glorious battle-field. 
This exaggerated enceinte, which required a garrison of at 
least 10,000 men, was laid out by a certain Hungarian 
Colonel of Engineers, Wisner de Morgenstern, whom we 
shall see at Asuncion. He was not so skilful as Mr. Boyle 
with the billiard-room of Arrah. 

Humaita, in 1854, was a mere Guardia in the Department 
de los Desmochados (hornless cattle), a river plain, wooded 
over like the heights of Hampstead and Highgate in the 
olden time. When Asuncion was threatened in 1855 by 
the Brazilian fleet, and troubles were expected from the 
United States, the elder Lopez felled the virgin forest, 
leaving only a few scattered trees, grubbed up the roots, 
and laid out the first batteries, to whose completion some 
two years were devoted. The place does not appear in Mr. 
Charles Mansfield's map of 1852-53. In 1863, Mr. M. 
Mulhall describes '' a succession of formidable batteries 
which frowned on us as we passed under their range ; they 
are placed on a slight eminence, and seem guns of large 
calibre. First, four batteries a la harhette, covered with 
straw shed, which can be removed at a moment's notice ; 



316 humaitA. 

then a long casemate (the Londres)^ mounting sixteen guns, 
with bomb-proof roof; and finally, two more barbette bat- 
teries, making up a total of seventy-eight batteries. As the 
canal runs close to the bank, any vessel, unless iron-plated, 
attempting to force a passage must be sunk by the raking 
and concentrated fire of this fortification, which is the key 
to Paraguay and the upper rivers." (p. 84). At the beginning 
of the war it had only ninety guns in seven batteries. 
An exaggerated importance was always attached to it by 
the Paraguayan Government ; it became a great mystery, 
and strangers were not allowed to visit a settlement which 
was considered purely military. Mr. William Thompson, of 
Buenos Aires, narrowly escaped some trouble by strolling 
about to admire the pretty park-like scenery and the soft 
beauty of Humaita, a site then so amene and tranquil. 

We will now land and inspect the river-side works, be- 
ginning up stream or at the easterly end. 

We passed through the merchant fleet, then numbering 
some 270 hulls, supplying the 3000 booth-tents on shore ; 
this number includes the pontoons of the proveduria or 
commissariat. There is a line of shop-boats, whose masts 
support green waterproof awnings ; each carries a woman 
and an anchor, and they sell all small wants and notions — 
thread, mirrors, and so forth. Two chatas, or barge gun- 
boats, lie alongside the land, one carries a iO-inch mortar, 
the other an 8-inch iron gun.^ It was a hard scramble up 
the stiff bank, which ignored steps or even a ramp. 

At the eastern end we found the corral of commissariat 
cattle occupying the place where stood the coal sheds and 
the iron-foundry. Here had been cast the gun '^^ Cristiano," 
lately sent as a trophy to the Brazil, weighing twelve tons. 



* The calibres of the 8-inch gun and the English CS-pounder are the 
same, but the former weighs 65 cwt., the latter 95. 



humaitA. 317 

and made of bell-metal taken from the churches ; it fired 
a round shot of 150 lbs. One trunnion was inscribed 
'^ Arsenal Asuncion^^ (where it was rifled), 1867 ; on the 
other appeared the patriotic legend " La Religion k el 
Estado" — Church giving to State, somewhat a reversal of 
the usual rule. Next to the Fundicion de Nierro, a ragged 
orange-grove showed where the Paraguayan barracks had 
been ; those of the infantry lay further to the south-west. 
The sheds called barracks which lodged the escort of the 
Marshal- President were a little north of the church of San 
Carlos (Borromeo), a namesake of the elder Lopez ; on 
January 1, 1861, it had been consecrated, amidst general 
rejoicings, by the Bishop. Originally it resembled the 
Cathedral of Asuncion, as represented by Captain Page 
(p. 224) ; the colours are blue and white, whilst the cornices 
and pilasters evidence some taste. We read in 1863 — " The 
church is a splendid edifice with three towers, the middle 
one being 120 or 150 feet high ; the interior is neat, and a 
colonnade runs round the exterior; there are four large 
bells, hung from a wooden scaffolding, one bearing the 
inscription, Sancte Carole, ora pro nobis.^^ It is now 
a mere heap of picturesque ruins, with hardwood timber 
barely supported by cracked walls of brick ; the latter is 
unusually well baked, and the proportions are those of the 
old Romans — twelve or fourteen inches long, eight broad, 
and two thick. One belfry, with the roof and fa9ade, has 
been reduced to heaps ; the south-eastern tower still rises 
above the ruins, but in a sadly shaky condition. The Bra- 
zilians banged at the fane persistently as an Anglo-Indian 
gunner at a flagstaff; and the Paraguayans at times amused 
themselves with repairing it. The church of S. Carlos lies 
in Lat. S. 27" 2', Long. W. (G.), 61° 30^ and here the 
variation is 7° 50' E. 

Near it is the Presidential " palace,'^ a ground-floor shed 



318 HUMAITA. 

of brick, witL. tiled roof, three doors, four windows, and a 
tall whitewashed entrance in token of dignity, leading to a 
pretty quinta, above whose brick walls peep oranges and a 
stunted " curii^^ (Araucaria Brasiliensis). The ^'^ three 
enormous tigers,^^ which each ate a calf for breakfast, are 
gone ; the front is bespattered and pierced with shot, 
and I see no signs of the bomb-proof " taniere^^ in which, 
they say, the Marshal- President used to lurk. The 
quarters occupied by Madame Lynch are far to the rear, in 
the ^^ women's encampment/^ The main sala, whence he 
drove away with kicks and cuffs the officers who announced 
to him the destruction of his hopes by the fall of Uru- 
guayana, was shown to us : here the Argentines found un- 
packed boxes containing furniture from Paris. This was 
their only civilized ^^loot;'' the rest was represented by 
rusty guns, by lean mules, by 100 cases of bottles containing 
palm oil, and by some fifty tercios or sacks of mate, each 
holding eight arrobas, and here worth $4. 

Westward of the " palace'^ lie the quarters of the staff, 
the arsenal, the Almoxarifado (Custom-house, &c.), and the 
soap manufacture. These are the " magnificent barracks'' 
for 12,000 men of which we read in the newspapers, long, 
low, ground- floor ranchos, with mud walls, and roofed with 
a mixture of thatch, tile, and corrugated iron. Never even 
loopholed, they had been much knocked about and torn by 
shot. The arsenal has now been turned into commissariat 
and ammunition stores. It is fronted by a guerite or 
raised sentry-box, and by a huge flagstaff bearing the 
Brazilian flag. 

The batteries are eight in number, and again we will 
begin with them up-stream. After a scatter of detached 
guns, some in the open, others slightly parapeted, we find 
the Bateria Cadenas, or chain-battery of thirteen guns, 
backed by the Artillery Barracks. The chain, which con- 



humaitA. 319 

sisted of seven twisted together, passed diagonally through 
a kind of brick tunnel. On this side it was made fast to a 
windlass supported by a house about 100 yards from the 
bank. Nearer the battery stood a still larger capstan : the 
latter, however, wanted force to haul taut the chain. 

Crossing by one of three dwarf bridges the little nullah 
Arroyo Humaita somewhat below the Presidential " palace,^' 
we come upon the Bateria Londres, that Prince of Humbugs. 
M. Elisee Reclus, whose papers in the Deux Mondes (October 
15, 1866, and August 15, 1868) are somewhat imaginative, 
makes the London battery deliver fire, even as he carries in 
his pen the railroad to Villa Rica. It was built for the 
elder Lopez by a European engineer. The walls were 
twenty-seven feet thick, of brick (not stone and lime). It 
was supposed to be rendered bomb-proof by layers of earth 
heaped upon brick arches, and there were embrasures for 
sixteen (not twenty-five) guns. Of these ports eight were 
walled up and converted into workshops, because the artil- 
lerymen were in hourly dread of their caving in and 
crumbling down. 

The third battery is the Tacuary of three guns. Then 
comes the Coimbra mounting eight bouches a feUj and 
directed by the Commandante Hermosa. The three next 
are the Octava or Madame Lynch, with three guns 
en barbette ; the P esada, five guns, and the Itapirii, seven 
guns — all partly revetted with brick. Being the western- 
most and the least exposed to fire they have sufifered but 
little. Lastly, at the Punt a de las Piedars stands the Humaita 
redoubt, armed with a single eight-inch gun. 

Beyond this point begins the entrenched line running 
south- south-west along the Laguna Concha, alias Amberi- 
caia, and then sweeping round to the east with a gap where 
the water rendered an attack impossible. The profile is good 
simply because defended by impenetrable bush. The guns 



320 humaitA. 

stand in pairs, witli a Paiol or magazine to every two, and 
they had been provided with 200 round of grape, shell, and 
case. The wet ditch is still black with English gunpowder ; 
some fine, mostly coarse. 

The batteries were being rapidly dismantled ; the cade- 
nas and its two neighbours had been to a certain extent 
spared. The guns were all en barbette^ an obsolete system, 
showing the usual wilful recklessness of human life. Re- 
doubts and redans, glacis and covered ways, caponnieres 
and traverses, gorge works and epaulements, citadel and en- 
trenchment, were equally unknown, whilst embrasures were 
rare, although sods for the cheeks might have been cut 
within a few yards. Where the ramosia or abatis was used, 
the branches were thrown loosely upon the ground, and no 
one dreamed of wooden pickets. Though the stockade was 
employed, the palisade at the bottom of the cunette or ditch 
was ignored. Thus the works were utterly unfit to resist 
the developed powers of rifled artillery, the concentrated dis- 
charge from shipping, and even the accurate and searching 
fire of the Spencer carbine. The Londres work, besides being 
in a state of decay, was an exposed mass of masonry 
which ought to have shared the fate of the forts from 
Sumpter to Pulaski, and when granite fails bricks cannot 
hope to succeed. Had the guns been mounted in Monitor 
towers, or even protected by sand- bags, the ironclads 
would have suffered much more than they did in running 
past them. 

Lieutenant Day (1858) gave to the eight batteries on his 
chart 45 guns ; to the casemate (Londres) 15 ; and to the east 
battery 50 ; making a total of 110. In 1868 the river 
and batteries had 58 cannons, 11 magazines, and 17 brick 
tanks (depositos de agua). The whole lines of Humaita 
mounted 36 brass and 144 iron guns : these 180 were 
increased to 195 by including the one eight-inch gun and 



HUMAITA. 321 

the fourteen 32-pounders found in the Gran Chaco. The 
serviceable weapons did not however exceed sixty. Many 
of them had been thrown into deep water^ and will be 
recovered when the level shall fall. Five lay half buried at 
the foot of the bank^ and ten remained in position : of these, 
three were eight-inch, four were short 32 or 36 pounders, 
and two were long 32-pounder carronades. 

The guns barely deserve the name ; some of them were so 
honeycombed that they must have been used as street 
posts. They varied generally from 4-pounders to 32- 
pounders, with intermediate calibres of 6, 9, 12, 18, and 
24. Not the worst of them were made at Asuncion and 
Ybicuy, whose furnaces and air chimneys could melt four 
tons per diem. Some had been converted, but it was a 
mere patchwork. A few rifled 12-pounders had been cast 
at Asuncion. There were sundry quaint old tubes bearing 
the arms of Spain ; two hailed from Seville, the San Gabriel 
(a.d. 1671) and the San Juan de Dios (1684). The much 
talked-of " breech-loading Armstrong " was an English 
95 cwt. gun, carrying a 68-lb. ball, and rifled and fitted at 
Asuncion with a strengthening ring of wrought-iron. The 
breeching lay like a large mass of pie-crust behind it : the 
bursting had probably been designed, as the shot remained 
jammed inside.* The captured guns are now being divided 
into three several parts, each one of the Allies taking about 
forty, which may be useful for melting up into trophies and 
memorials. I was told that the Oriental share was twenty- 
eight guns, of which seven were brass. 

I landed with my Blanco friends, who, charmed by my 
disappointment, despite the natural joy of once more seeing 



* This is possibly the " Aca vera," the 56-pounder, bored and rifled to 
throw 150-pound shots, described by Lt.-Col. Thompson (chap, xiv.) It 
was called " shining head," from the soft expanding rings of brass, which 
were fitted with square-headed bolts. 

21 



322 humaitA. 

camp life, chaffed me bitterly about this " chef d^oeuvre of 
an encampment/' this Sebastopol. They were hardly civil 
to a courteous Brazilian officer of rank — it proved to be 
General Argolo — who, riding past with his staff, invited us, 
though perfect strangers, to drink beer at his quarters. 
They would not even inspect the lines of the Macacos, as 
they called their Imperial Allies. Again and again they 
boasted the prowess of their own party, stating how 500 of 
them had defended Paysandii against a host. 

In front of the Marshal- President's " palace^' we found a 
dozen Whitworth muzzle-loaders, whose shapely lines and 
highly-finished sights made them look, by the side of other 
weapons, like racers among cab-horses. Without engaging 
in the ^' battle of the guns,''' I may merely state that a few 
Armstrongs had been tried by the Brazilians, but were not 
found to succeed ; the Krupp, like the Lahitte, was ap- 
proved of, and the Woolwich gun was unknown to the Allies. 
The motley armature of the Paraguayans was a curious 
spectacle. By the side of some Blakely's self-rifling 
shells and balls, hand-grenades, which were found useful 
in the triumphant Abyssinian campaign, and the HalPs 
rotating rockets, without the sticks which merely steer them 
into the eye of the wind, lay huge Guarani wads, circles of 
twisted palm, like those which Egyptian peasant-women 
place between the head and the water-pot ; case-shot in 
leather buckets so quaintly made that it could hardly be 
efficient at the usual 300 to 400 yards ; canister composed of 
screws and bar-iron chopped up, and grape of old locks and 
bits of broken muskets, rudely bound in hide with llianas 
or bush ropes. To be killed by such barbaric appliances 
would add another sting to that of death. Here were large 
piles of live shells, some of them lightly loaded with ten to 
eleven ounces of powder, for the purpose of firing tents and 
levelling defences. The conquerors had not taken the 



humaitA. 323 

trouble to wet them, and an old gentleman of the party 
distinguished himself by scraping the spilt gunpowder 
with his boot-toes. I ran from him as I never ran 
before. During the last three days several explosions took 
place ; these extemporized soldiers were careless as Zanzibar 
blacks. 

During the day I saw a review of a Brazilian cavalry 
corps numbering six full troops; and shortly afterwards 
all the Argentine army, or rather contingent, marched past. 
The first at once took my eye ; they were mostly Brazilians, 
Rio Grandenses, not liberated negroes. These Provincials, 
riders from their babyhood, are reputed as the best cavaliers 
throughout the Empire, where the " man on horseback^' is 
universal. Some were lancers ; their heavy wooden weapons, 
not nearly so handy as the bamboo of Hindostan, were deco- 
rated with white stars on red pennons; they carried regulation 
sabres and coarse horse-pistols, and the European trappings 
made them look much more soldier-like than the infantry. 
The lance, so worthless in the hands of raw levies, may be 
used to great effect by practised troopers : the Poles at 
Albuera proved it upon Colborne^s brigade of British infantry. 
The dragoons had swords, Spencer (8-round) carbines, and 
in some cases pistols. As Confederate General Lee, how- 
ever, truly remarked, " The sabre is timid before a good 
revolver,*^ and the carbine is not to be recommended on 
horseback. General Beatson foresaw, when commanding 
the much-abused Bashi Buzeuks in the Crimean campaign, 
that the revolver is the real arm for cavalry, and it should 
be accompanied by the yataghan, to be used when ranks 
lock. In due course of time it will be supplanted by the 
single or double-barrelled breechloader. I have lately tried 
the Albini or Belgian rifle, cut short, and provided with a 
short and heavy saw-handle, and I have had every reason 
to be pleased with it. 

21—2 



324 HUMAITA^ 

The cattle was in excellent condition; you could play- 
cards or count money, as the Spaniards say, upon their 
backs. The animals, however, like the men, were light ; 
they would be efficient opposed to Cossacks, but used 
against heavy cavalry they would dash up, recoil and shatter, 
as a wave is shivered by a rock. 

As a rule the Brazilian cavalry has not seen much ser- 
vice in this war of earthworks. Their principal use has 
been in raids, reconnaissances, and attacks of outposts. 
"With few exceptions they have behaved remarkably well, 
and have been ably and gallantly handled by their officers, 
who acted upon the well-known axiom, that cavalry should 
never surrender. They are now somewhat in the position 
of the Crimean cavalry after the Charge of Balaklava. 
The Argentines, as a rule, were poorly mounted, and being 
mostly foreigners, were inferior riders. The Paraguayans 
at the beginning of the war had good cattle, but they were 
soon annihilated; horses here are rare, and the country 
supplies for the most part only a diminutive Yaboo. They 
charged furiously, not with the fine old Spanish war-cry 
" Santiago y a Elles!'' but with the Zagharit of Egypt and the 
Kil of Persia, a kind of trille here directly derived from the Bed 
Indians. They exposed themselves with upraised blades, like 
Mamelukes, careless of what they took, and determined only 
to give. Their lances are stout weapons of hard heavy wood, 
eight feet long, with iron heels measuring two and a half 
spans, and the heads are those of Anglo-Indian boar-spears, 
not exceeding two inches, and ending in bars that defend it 
against the sabre. 

The Argentine army was variously reported — by its friends 
as an able and efficient arm ; by its enemies as a montonera, 
or horde of thieves and brigands, who have never had a siege 
gun in position. They began with 15,000 men, which 
speedily fell to 9000, of whom some 6000 were Argentines, 



humaitA. 325 

and as there is no recruiting in election times, they now 
probably do not exceed 5000. This is a small proportion 
to be supplied out of nearly 2,000,000 souls — in 1867 it 
was 1,500,000 — whom the Brazil expected to produce the 
personnel whilst she contributed the materiel. Yet all are 
agreed that in case of a war with the Empire, the Con- 
federation could turn out 50,000 men at arms. The 
Argentine losses in killed, wounded, and missing, are up to 
this time 2227 — their own calculation. 

After hearing much '^'' bunkum" at Buenos Aires, and 
reading many diatribes against the '' Marshal of the Army" 
Caxias, who preserved upon this subject a discreet silence, 
I was disappointed by the appearance of the force. The 
Argentine " Contingent" gave the impression of being fine 
men, large and strong ; the rank and file, however, showed a 
jumble of nationalities : the tall, raw-boned, yeUow-haired 
German, the Italian Cozinhero, and the Frenchman, who 
under arms always affects the Zouave, marched side by side 
with the ignoble negro. Sizing and classing were equally 
unknown ; uniforms were of every description, including 
even the poncho and chiripa, and the style of progress much 
resembled that of a flock of sheep. The corps of the four- 
teen Provinces, or rather their remnants, were separated by 
drums and bands foully murdering " Tu che k Dio." The 
best were evidently the Santa Fecinos, known by their 
double tricolor flag; this province has fighting colonies 
of Frenchmen, Swiss, and Germans, who have been accus- 
tomed to hold " Indians" in check. The ofiicers, some 
mounted, others on foot, were mostly Argentines, and they 
rivalled their men in variety of dress : of nether garments, 
for instance, there were underdrawers, pink trousers, dark 
overalls, knickerbockers and gaiters, riding boots, and 
sandals. Par parenthese, the Argentines have only to 
adopt their national colours, silver and light blue, for an 



326 humaitA. 

army uniform, which would be neat and handsome as 
that worn by the cavalry of the defunct East-Indian 
Company. 

The Argentines move easily : they have little commis- 
sariat, and foul hides take the place of the neat Brazilian 
pal-tents. A change of camp is periodically necessary, the 
ground soon becoming impure in the extreme. The men 
carried, besides ammunition, arms, and accoutrements, poles 
to support their mats and skins, raw beef, chairs, tables, 
and round shot to make hearths. They were followed by 
women on horse and foot, the hideous lees of civilization, 
and by carts whose wheel-spokes were bound with hide, and 
which bore huge heaps of household " loot.'^ Being badly 
paid, and often not paid at all, the men must plunder to live. 
As might be expected from a force of the kind, there is no 
ardour for the cause, and esprit de corps is utterly unknown. 
As will be seen, they do not even take the trouble to bury 
their dead. They are kept in order only by the drum- 
head court-martial, and by the platoon ready at a minute's 
notice. 

As for the '' Oriental " army, I failed to find it. The 
force commenced under General Flores with 5600 men, 
and he handled it so recklessly that 600 were sent home, 
and 4600 were killed or became unfit to serve. The rem- 
nant of 300 to 400 is further reduced by some authorities 
to forty to fifty, of whom most are officers under a certain 
General B. Enrique Castro, who is characterized as a 
'^ gaucho ordinario.''' 

The alliance of the Allies is evidently that of dog and 
cat. The high authorities have agreed not to differ, but 
the bond of union is political, not sympathetic. An exces- 
sive nationality amonst the Brazilians is kept up by their 
great numerical superiority ; whilst the Argentines, like our- 
selves in the Crimea, are sore about playing a part so palpably 



humaitA. 327 

" second fiddle/' Hence the war is nowhere popular on 
the Plata,, and troubles may be expected to accompany its 
termination. During my first visit to Humaita, I found 
that a long entrenched line^ with berm, parapet, and other 
requisites, had been dug to separate Brazilians from Argen- 
tines. The reason of the proceeding assigned to me, and 
probably to the Home Governments, was that the general 
commanding was fond of keeping his men at work. 
Are you tired of Humaita ? Then, a rivederci ! 



LETTEE XVI. 

A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

Humaita, August 26, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

Mr. Gould had given me an introductory- 
note to Lieutenant — now I am glad to say Commander C. 
Percy Bushe,, commanding H.M.^s steamer Linnet. A man-of- 
war in miniature^ and the only neutral ship here present, she 
is remarkable for trimness and neatness^ discomfort and in- 
utility. The commander could hardly stand upright in his 
state cabin, and several of the crew, amongst whom I 
recognised an old West African, suffered from fever. The 
" homey element " strongly asserted itself, and all were 
tired of the service — no wonder, after a monotonous diet of 
salt-junk, tired-beef, half-baked bread, and now and then wild 
duck and '^ partridge.^^ The Linnet's guns could have 
done little against a single 8-inch, and a few 68-pounders 
could easily have sunk her. 

Lieutenant-Commander Bushe had been ordered up in 
February, 1868, with the view of protecting the so-called 
British '^ detenus/' Interested motives had spread evil report 
against ]\^rshal- President Lopez, and with few exceptions the 
press of Europe was so well packed that even Our Own Cor- 
respondent, the Consul of Rosario, was not permitted to print 
a line in favour of Paraguay. The war-loan of Sor Riestra, 
made against all neutrality laws, was to be supported per fas et 
nefas. After the Abranteso-Christie-nigger affair, the Brazil 
was to be treated with soft sawder. There was talk of another 
loan, but war — a game at which in these days subjects, not 



A VISIT TO THE GRAN CIIACO. 329 

sovereigns, will play — was costing the Empire about 
$200,000 per diem— a trifle of 14,400,000/. per annum. 

The imagination of the anti-Lopists made notable dis- 
coveries. The Marshal-President of Paraguay had refused 
to treat direct with a junior naval officer when the British 
Minister Plenipotentiary at Buenos Aires was also ac- 
credited to him. Presently appeared in the papers a long 
order, purporting to have been issued by the Chief 
Magistrate of Paraguay, and directing the Linnetj 
in case of her making warlike demonstrations, to be 
sunk. 

In September, 1867, Mr. Gould took the affair in hand. 
It was a hopeless errand. His mission in H.M.^s ship 
Doterelj Lieutenant Mitchell, was looked upon as a 
direct slight, especially after the personal visit of the French 
Minister M. de Vernouille — I need hardly say that in 
Paraguay everything of the kind coming from Buenos Aires 
is deeply resented. He came to take away with him certain 
English employes whose contracts had expired. But many 
had voluntarily renewed their engagements, and all were in 
an exceptional position. It was hardly reasonable to expect 
that the Marshal-President should dismiss a score of men — 
of whom sundry were in his confidence and knew every 
detail which it was most important to conceal from the 
enemy. Ensued another complication. Deceived by a 
noted intriguer, whose sole object was evidently to ascertain 
the animus of the political visitor, Mr. Gould drew up 
certain conditions of peace between the Allies and Paraguay. 
Amongst less important items was the voluntary exile of 
Marshal-President Lopez — he might as well have been 
asked to take up Paraguay and walk. The Chief Magis- 
trate was thus, according to the Paraguayan view of the 
matter, requested to withdraw from his home, his native 
land, the country that had elected him as ruler ; to abdicate 



330 A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

the dignity conferred upon him by the nation ; to fail in 
his duty^ to act the coward. 

Mr. Gould left Paraguay in no pleasant way, and, by a 
regrettable accident, the British widows and children given 
up to him were allowed to land at Montevideo and to tell 
all they knew. Returned to Buenos Aires (September 10, 
1867)^ he expressed a very unfavourable opinion of Para- 
guayan resources and of the Bepublic^s prospects in the 
present war : this was a most delicate subject^ upon which 
a word in Paraguay cost a man his life. The document 
doubtless soon reached Asuncion, by means of the Para- 
guayan refugees, fugitives, and malcontents, who muster 
strong in the Argentine Confederation. Moreover, to the 
utter perplexity of European readers, it differs in all essen- 
tial points from the despatch (Sept. 30, 1867)^ forwarded to 
the Admiralty by Lieut. -Commander Mitchell. 

Mr. Gould — directed by another Minister Plenipotentiary 
who also had not presented his credentials to the Govern- 
ment of Paraguay — proceeded a second time up the river 
on Sept. 4, 1868 ; but for some months before this period 
frightful reports concerning the " atrocities of Lopez '' 
appeared in every print, and it was not judged advisable to 
disembark from the Linnet. M. de Kerjegu, the French 
Secretary, landed, and visited the Marshal-President at 
head-quarters. Mr. Gould suffered from Chuchu, and again 
returned re infectd. His belief that the Paraguayan cause 
had completely broken down proved utterly erroneous, and 
he left for England on October 26, 1868. 

Presently, in August, and again in October and Novem- 
ber, Captain Parsons, H.M.S. Beacon, steamed up the river, 
and was courteously received by the Marshal-President, of 
whom his impressions were highly favourable. He left on 



* Correspondence respecting Hostilities in the River Plate ( ! ) presented 
to both Houses of Parliament. 1868. 



A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 331 

November 18, 1868, with fifteen of the so-called detenus ^ 
who were given to him under parole that he would not 
suffer them to communicate with those on shore. Amongst 
them was a Dr. Fox, who, having abjectly begged a passage 
down stream, afterwards insisted upon being landed. Cap- 
tain Parsons, however, shipped off all his live freight at 
Montevideo. A Mr. Nesbitt, mechanical engineer, having seen 
his wife and family on board, declared, in his own name 
and for a dozen fellow-workmen, that, having ever been 
well paid, fed, and treated, they would not abandon Marshal- 
President Lopez in his difficulties. This was unanswerable ; 
but those who wished to embroil us in an ignoble war de- 
clared that Mr. Nesbitt was forced to say what he did by 
the fear that his mates would be shot, and others shrewdly 
opined that the fate of poor King Theodore had changed 
the aspect of affairs. Again they were stultified by General 
Macmahon, the United States Minister who had replaced 
Mr. Charles A. Washburn. The anti-Lopists all declared 
him to be in durance vile amongst the mountains, and 
possibly compelled to superintend the preparations for a 
guerilla warfare. Despite these predictions, however, he 
returned, about the middle of 1869, to Buenos Aires, bring- 
ing good news of the British " captives,^^ who remitted, with 
his assistance, money to their families. 

For the honour of the British name, I rejoice that we 
were not drawn into a disreputable broil with the gallant 
but overmatched little Republic. Even as it is, Marshal- 
President Lopez was justified in complaining that we should 
be more strict in enforcing the laws of neutrality. The 
Brazil was allowed to buy ironclads in England as well as 
in France ; though the case of the Alabama should long ago 
have taught us better. British and other foreign craft 
crowded the river, affording every possible assistance to the 
Allies. Marshal-President Lopez had surely a right to re- 



332 A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

ceive his letters from Europe ; they were detained in the 
Consular Post-office at Buenos Aires. 

Mr. Maxwell and I landed with Lieutenant-Commander 
Bushe in the Gran Chaco to inspect the site of the much 
talked-of chain. Thrown over the stream where it narrowed 
to 800 metres,, it was a twist composed of one large (1*75 inch) 
and six smaller diameters (1'25 inch)^ and it rested upon three 
chatas (barges), which were soon sunk by the Brazilian guns. 
The heavy obstacle then sank below the surface with a deep 
sag, and as there was no donkey-engine to tighten it, the 
Monitors might have passed safely over the bend. But it 
lay at the point where all the battery-fires converged, and 
no attempt was made either to blow up the chain-house, 
to remove it with gunpowder, or to cut the obstacle with 
cold chisels, as an active enemy would have done. More- 
over, the Paraguayans — who knew that no fort can hinder 
the transit of wooden vessels, even at the slowest speed, 
unless the channel be perfectly obstructed by scuttled craft 
or sunken cribs of stones, or unless the ships be detained under 
a heavy fire by chains or cables, booms, barriers, or similar 
obstructions — had provided it with those " mischievous 
things/^ torpedoes. They were coarse frictional affairs ; the 
employment of electricity as an igniting agent being un- 
known. One ironclad, however, had already been suc- 
cessfully torpedoed, and in the Brazil, as elsewhere, even 
disciplined men feel a natural horror of, and are easily de- 
moralized by, hidden mysterious dangers so swiftly and com- 
pletely destructive. At last, on February 18, 1868, when 
an unusual flood of nine feet quite submerged the chain, 
the ironclad squadron took heart of grace, ran, without 
suffering material damage, the gauntlet of the Humaita 
and Timbo guns, and anchored off Tayi up stream. Thus 
the chain proved useless. 

The narrow spit of ground which the Gran Chaco here 



A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 333 

projects from the north-west to the south-east, and which 
forms the salient angle opposite the concave of Humaita, is 
called the " Albardon"'' — neck or peninsula. Lieutenant Day- 
makes it far too broad and massive. As usual in this swampy- 
region, accidents of ground are very complicated, and can 
hardly be explained without detailed plans. At the first 
sight it is evident that the Brazilians should have cut a deep 
channel across the Albardon, which is nowhere six feet 
above the water level : this would probably have changed the 
(bourse of the stream, when Humaita would have become an 
inland defence. The plan was suggested by Dr. McDonald, 
Surgeon - Major in the Argentine service, and naturally 
enough he was much derided by ignorant men. 

In April, 1868, the Allied armies, having driven the Para- 
guayans into Humaita, determined to complete the invest- 
ment of their stronghold by surrounding it on the Gran 
Chaco side, and by cutting off all its supplies of provisions. 
General Rivas, with 1200-1500 Argentine troops, landed on 
April 30 at the Riacho de Oro to the south, marched north- 
wards, and after repulsing a Paraguayan sortie from 
Humaita, met on the third day 2500 Brazilian troops under 
Colonel Falcao. The latter had landed to the north below 
Timbo, whose defenders had attacked him to no purpose. 
The two corps amalgamated on May 3, and tlirew up the 
redoubt " Andai.''^ The Paraguayans, also pushing on from 
Timbo, opposed this with a new work, the '^ Cora.^^ General 
D. Ignacio Rivas, determining to dislodge them, sent an 
attack headed by Colonel Campos and Martinez de la Hoz, a 
man of family and reputation. His '^ gallant rashness,*'' 
however, served him an ugly turn : the men fled, and both 
commanders were taken prisoners. An Argentine flag- 
bearer ran into the water, and his colours were picked up 
by the Monitor Para : she refused to restore them without 
taking a receipt, and the proceeding bred abundant iU-wiU 



334 A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

in the Platine bosom. This affair was called the '' Battle 
of Acaynasa^^ — the '^ tangled bonghs ; " and Marshal-Presi- 
dent Lopez made of it a great victory. 

Terrified by the determined reconnaissance pushed into 
the Hnmaita enceinte by General Osorio (July 16^ 1868), 
the Paraguayans resolved as usual to evacuate it, but this 
time they were somewhat too late. Of the Commanding 
Triumvirate, Colonels Alen, (not Allen, as the home papers 
wrote him), formerly Chief of Staff to General Robles, 
Francisco Martinez, and Captain Procopio Cabral, the former 
had blown away part of his face in attempted suicide, and 
the command had thus devolved upon the second ; D. Pedro 
Gill being then made third in command. A small ration 
of maize was issued to each man before embarkation, and 
the half-famished garrison began on July 23 the evacua- 
tion, which ended July 25. Their numbers had been 4600, 
families included : they were now reduced to 4000, of whom 
only about 2500 were fighting men. The women and children 
were first ferried over, running the gauntlet of the ironclads ; 
and sundry field-pieces were rafted up a trench which they 
had cut from the Albardon Point to an inner lagoon. 

The stout-hearted fugitives at once threw up hasty earth- 
works on dry land between the waters. But their position 
was hopeless. North-east lay the Allied redoubt, Andai, 
backed by two ironclads ; to the south-west were also two 
ironclads, whose shot crushed through the thin wood, 
and crossing with the fire of the Andai, cut off their retreat 
to the west ; and finally, on the south-east stood the Chaco 
fort held by the Brazilians. The Allied force numbered 
some 12,000 men, of whom 2000 were Argentines. Yet the 
wretches fought for eleven days, losing 800 of their number ; 
amongst them Colonel Hermosa,who was killed by Lieutenant 
Saldanha, the nephew of the Portuguese grandee. Some 
200 to 300 cut a path through the enemy^s lines and escaped 



A VISIT TO THE GRAN CIIACO. 335 

to Timbo ; they bore witb tbem Colonel Alen, who was 
reported to have been wounded in the forehead by the 
splmter of a shell, and two English army-surgeons, Drs. 
Stevens and Skinner. Colonel Martinez and Captains Cabral 
and Pedro Gill surrendered to the enemy ; and it is reported 
that the wife of the first-named officer was cruelly murdered 
by Marshal-President Lopez, because her husband had suc- 
cumbed after so glorious a resistance. 

We will now inspect the scene of action. At the tongue 
or tip of the Albardon, a little north of where the chain 
had been made fast to posts and tree-trunks, we found the 
little Chaco redoubt which defended the chain. It was held 
by the Allies to check the Paraguayan " dispersos,^^ or fugi- 
tives, who were at bay in the wood to the north-west. Three 
guns were inside and two outside ; the fosse was unflanked 
and of no importance. To the north-west we saw the gleam 
of the Laguna Ybera, or Vera, the shining water, with its Isla 
Poi, or narrow islet. The large pond is connected by a long 
ypoeira (Canoe channel) with the Riacho de Oro ; and when 
the floods withdraw, it divides into three or more sections. 
Nothing can be better adapted for ambuscades than this 
mass of tangled shrubby and reedy vegetation. 

Advancing parallel with the right bank of the Paraguay 
River we entered a patch of jungle, abounding with snakes, 
pigeons, and woodpeckers. The large vegetation was com- 
posed of acacias and mimosas ; the smaller growth of the 
candelabrum-tree, the umbahuba of the Brazil {Cecropia 
peltata), now becoming common, and the tall cane, known 
as the " paja brava.'^ The boughs, adorned with orchids 
and small pink-flowered parasitic bromelias, were con- 
nected by the guembe, or tie- tie, which the learned Azara 
confounded with the guembetaya, that fine trumpet-flower 
followed by a maize-like fruit. A scatter of wooden crosses 
showed where luckless skirmishers had been buried, and 



336 A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

mangruUos, or look-outs^ were attached to the taller trees. 
Presently we readied a clearing where the forest had been 
felled to admit the fire of the Brazilian ironclads. Our 
next step was to the Andai_, or Chaco Camp^ the redoubt 
thrown up by General Rivas. I met this gallant Argen- 
tine at Humaita. In appearance he was rather Italian than 
South American; a stout man of medium stature^, with 
straight features^ and rather bushy goatee and mustachios. 
Over his uniform he wore a weathered poncho of vicuna or 
guanaco wool, here costing some three gold ounces, not the 
usual cheap, tawdry imitations made in England; and the long 
riding-boots gave him the aspect of a man of action. He was 
then doomed to temporary idleness, his left wrist having been 
pierced by a ball during the disastrous attack of Curupaity. 

The right flank of the Andai rested upon the river, and 
the left upon the Laguna Vera; whilst its front and rear 
were sufficiently protected from a coup de main either of 
cavalry or of infantry. At the approaches were three, and in 
places four, ranges of trous de loup {bocas de lobo), each 
armed with a sharpened stake. The abatis was picketed down 
according to rule, not loose-strewn after the Paraguayan 
fashion, which wants only a horse and a lasso to open a gap. 
A deep ditch and a parapet, with fascines and sandbags, com- 
pleted the defences. Inside were tall and effective earthen 
traverses, and strong bomb-proof magazines made of mould 
heaped upon layers of tree-trunks. The direct distance from 
Humaita was not more than two miles, and the Paraguayans 
had done their best to gall the garrison with shot and shell. 

I here for the first time saw Brazilian soldiers in camp. 
About 600 men were throwing up inner works to contract 
the arc ; this was probably done to give them some em- 
ployment, for after the evacuation of Timbo the use of the 
place was gone, and the redoubt was presently dismantled. 
The camp appeared clean in the extreme, owing to the 



A VISIT TO THE GRAN ClIACO. 337 

stringent orders of Marshal Caxias_, who well knows that 
cholera is to be prevented by drainage, and that water 
impregnated with sewage and decay breeds fever. This 
purification takes the Brazilians some time, whereas the 
Argentines never attempt it. The men were under canvas, 
comfortably lodged in the gipsy " pals/^ which are here 
everywhere used ; they are better than our bell-tents, but 
inferior to the French tente d^abris. As each holds only 
one officer or two soldiers, they occupy much ground, and 
they are slow to pitch and to strike. On the other hand, they 
serve in this dangerous climate to prevent infectious disease. 

The men were in excellent condition, well clothed, well 
fed, and only too well armed. Meat lay all about, and the 
half-wild dogs were plump as the horses. Poorly azotised, 
uncastrated, and killed after two or two and a half years, 
the flesh is here spongy, but still far more nutritious than 
in the Brazil. All must be of the best quality procurable, 
and the contracts are published yearly in an annex to the 
Relatorio or Report of the Minister of War. The cost 
of feeding each soldier is now about $1 200 (milreis).* 
Besides meat the men receive per six head a daily bottle of 
cacha9a (Brazilian rum) ; and they think with the Irishman, 
that if bread be the stafi" of life, whisky is the life itself. 

The cavalry was armed as I have before described ; the 
artillery with sabre and carbine, often the Spencer ; and the 

* Cavah'y and infantry in camp receive per diem one bullock to seventy 
or eighty men, averagino^ 3| to 4| lbs. per head ; farinha (mandioc flour), 
one-eightieth of the alqueire; mate, three ounces; salt, one ounce ; and 
tobacco, half an ounce. Cavalry on the inarch have an increased ratio of 
meat, one bullock to sixty men. Infantry on the march have one bullock 
to seventy head ; farinha, one-sixtieth of the alqueire ; mate, two ounces ; 
and salt and tobacco as in camp. Charqui (jerked meat) is served out 
on Wednesdays; and bacalhao, or stock-fish, on Fridays. The diet is 
varied with Brazilian lard (toucinho), black beans (feijao), rice and vege- 
tables. In the morning bread and coffee, and before night coffee, is served 
out. Of course the army has not always thus been living in clover, 
and at times it has suffered from severe privations. 

22 



338 A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

infantry with Belgian Enfields and sword-bayonets. Most 
of the latter, being liberated slaves, wonld have dune better 
work with the smooth-bore Brown Bess and with the old tri - 
angular bayonet. This weapon has played an important 
part in the war; the yataghan-shaped modern tool is too 
heavy for such unhandy soldiers, and our lately invented 
saw-sword-bayonet would have been worse still. The arms 
were piled, and the sentries objected, despite the uniform, 
to our passing inside — a precaution not useless in a country 
where the enemy has proved himself so desperate. 

After a pleasant visit and a short chat with the officers, 
we retraced our steps to the clearing, and then plunged into 
the densely tangled thicket to the west-north-west. Here 
we found the redoubt thrown up by the fugitives from 
Humaita ; its right flank resting upon an arm of the Laguna, 
and the remainder surrounded by wood and scrub. There 
were platforms for their five brass guns, two-pounders and 
four-pounders ; they had dug pits for shelter in the uneven 
floor, and when a man was killed he at once found a ready- 
made grave. The fightiog had been fierce ; the trees around 
were cut and torn by cannon, and in one moderate-sized 
trunk I counted six scars. 

Here the wretches defended themselves from the assailant 
between July 24 and August 4. Though half mad with 
hunger and delirious with night- watching, they fired upon 
two flags of truce. The Allies could have easily destroyed 
them, but, to thsir honour be it recorded, the nobler part was 
chosen. A Spanish chaplain in the Brazilian navy — Padre 
Ignacio Esmerata — devoted himself to the cause of humanity, 
and approached them, cross and white flag in hand. Still 
the desperadoes refused to surrender, till their officers proved 
to them that nothing could be gained by self-destruction. 
This bulldog tenacity of the Paraguayan, which is bred in 
his Guarani (" warrior '') blood, may be found in the his- 



A VISIT TO THE GRAN CllACO. 339 

tories of Mexico and Peru. Thus^ when an " Indian '' Ca- 
cique prisoner was sent by Cortes to Guatiraocin, "as the 
captive began to speak of peace, his lord ordered him in- 
stantly to be killed and sacrificed/^ (Third letter of Cortes, 
Collecion Lorenzana.) At length 1450* men, 95 officers, and 
two Franciscan friars included, yielded themselves up to 
General Rivas, who swore on the hilt of his sword that they 
should be safe ; they came forth from their forest den, and piled 
arms in the clearing which we have just visited, the officers 
retaining their swords, and the men being saluted by the 
Brazilian troops. The victors gained only four flags and a 
few worthless arms, with canoes, hides, and sheepskins — 
a richer plunder might be found in Dahome. 

Fresh traces of the death-struggle still lay around, and 
everything spoke of the powerful and vehement nationality 
of Paraguay ; the miserable remains of personal property 
told eloquently of the heart which the little Republic had 
thrown into the struggle. The poor rags, ponchos of door- 
rug, were rotting like those that wore them ; and amongst 
fragments of letters we picked up written instructions for 
loading heavy guns. All were in the same round hand, 
legible and little practised ; it is said that in Paraguay the 
writing drill is regular as any other. There was a stand of 
broken sabres and bayonets ; stirrups of wood and metal, 
mere buttons, like those of Abyssinia, to be held between 
the toes ; and brass military stirrups, made wide to admit 
the boot. The short cloth kepis had been worn by infantry, 
and the tall leather cavalry caps, off which a sabre might 
glance, bore the national tricolor, the inverse of the Dutch, 
blue being the uppermost. 

I felt a something of the hysterica passio at the thought of 
so much wasted heroism. And this personal inspection of the 



* The Argentine papers reduced the number to 1200 ; amongst them they 
placed a few women and children. Some do not mention the two friars, 

22— ii 



340 A VISIT TO THE GRAN CHACO. 

site where the last struggle had lately ended impressed me 
highly with Paraguayan strength of purpose^ and with the pro- 
bability of such men fighting to the last. Lieut. -Commander 
Bushe, following Mr. Gould^ believed that Marshal-President 
Lopez was utterly exhausted_, or that he would not have 
suflPered Humaita to fall ; that the weight of the Allies must 
soon bring about the " unconditional surrender ; '' that the 
success of the Brazil upon the river^ like the campaign of 
the Mississippi^ had cut the Republic in two ; and that Para- 
guay^ like Africa and the Confederate States^ however hard- 
shelled outside, w^ould be found soft within. In vain the 
Paraguayan prisoners declared that the war had only begun, 
and that none but traitors would ever yield. One of them 
asked the medical officer of the Linnet why the ship was 
there. " To see the end of the struggle/^ was the reply. 
'' Then/'' rejoined the man, with a quiet smile, " ustedes 
han de demorar muchos anos.'^ 

The Brazilians affected likewise to look upon the fall of 
Humaita as the coup de grace, the turning-point of the cam- 
paign. This Jock once broken, the river door must soon 
open. About the same time reports of certain barbarities 
committed in Paraguay had assumed consistency, but often 
in a truly ridiculous form. H.M. steamship Linnet was 
supplied with many a telegram announcing that " Lopez 
continues his atrocities : he has shot his sister, his brothers, 
and the Bishop.''^ These '' shaves," so familiar to me during 
three years' residence in the Brazil, were officially reported 
to headquarters. Whatever may have happened since, the 
assertions were then decidedly false. The next mail brought 
the report that Bishop Palacios, instead of being shot as he 
deserved, had received a war-medal or a Grand Cross of the 
National Order of Merit, a kind of Legion d^Honneur, bor- 
rowed from France, and established when the campaign began. 

And now, " till the next/' as men here say. 



LETTER XVII. 

VISITS TO timb6 and to estabelecimento novo (alias 

THE CIERVA REDOUBi). GENERAL ARGOLO. 

Humaita, August 26, 1868. 
My dear Z , 

I bore from Corrientes an introductory letter to 
Commodore Francisco Cordeiro de Torres Alvim, Chef de Es- 
tado Mayor da Esquadra Imperial. This Captain of the 
Fleet — who is its arm as well as its brain — has the bluff, hearty 
manner of an old sailor, and speaks excellent English^ which 
he learned in the United States. He had hoisted his flag 
on board the Cannonheira Mearim, but he appears to be 
ubiquitous. During the three years' campaign he had been 
wounded in three places by the Chata-shell, which did such 
havoc in the casemate of the Tamandare ironclad. On 
Sunday, August 24, he came in the little steam-launch on 
board of which he seems to live, and offered Lieutenant- 
Commander Bushe and myself a passage up stream as far 
as Timbo — three to three and a half leagues. 

A two-knot current was against us, and La Mouche ran 
gingerly on account of floating torpedoes and fixed infernal 
machines. Many had been fished up by the Linnet as well 
as by other craft, but not a few still remained. They did, 
on the whole, very little damage. A torpedo-brigade was 
of course unknown, and after the original maker, Mr. Bell, 
of the United States, died at Asuncion, no one was found 
capable of turning out an efiicient article. Cases contain- 
ing charges of 900 lbs. of gunpowder were tried : they always 
proved wet. The system was, I have told you, frictional and 



342 TIMBO ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO. 

of the simplest. A charge of 40 to 50 lbs. of gunpowder^ in a 
cast-iron cylinder^ was ignited by bolts at each end striking 
a small flask of sulphuric acid imbedded in chlorate of potash. 
The case was placed in a copper-sheathed cask which acted 
floatj and was protected by a framework of four iron bars 
or rods_, which^ of course^ lay up and down stream. This 
apparatus was apparently borrowed from the Confederate 
States, who thus improved upon the older system of dis- 
charging common gun-tubes, with long trigger-lines pulled 
by an operator on shore, or by the passing ship. But the 
Paraguayans neglected to apply to torpedo-canoes the out- 
rigger apparatus* which has rendered the once ridiculed in- 
vention of the Anglo-American Fulton an established offensive 
armament at sea, and a cheap, convenient, and formidable de- 
fence for rivers and harbours. It would certainly have done 
damage, for the ironclads had no picket-Monitors, and in 
an attack they never penned themselves round when at 
anchor with 30-feet logs. An English engineer in the 
Brazil proposed a projecting fender, two scantlings provided 
with iron teeth like a large garden rake, to precede the ex- 
ploring vessel ; his suggestion was not, I believe, adopted. 

Up stream the scenery was charmingly soft and homely; 
well wooded on the Gran Chaco side, and clear to the east, 
showing the presence of banados and esteros, which, filled 
by high rains, remain stagnant. Upon the west bank lay 
the curious contrivances of the Timbo garrison when attempt- 
ing to throw provisions into Humaita. They killed half a 
dozen bullocks, and lashed them cross-wise to a jangada 
(raft) of bamboos or palm-trunks, thatched over with 
grass and pistia, so as to resemble a '' camalote.^"* This 



* Rear- Admiral T. A. Dahlgren recommended " long, slender pine poles 
thirty to fifty feet long, lashed by pairs in the middle to form an X, into 
which enters the bow at one end, heels secured, and from the stern depends 
a net ; the whole to float" — the torpedoes. 



TIMb6 ESTABELECTMENTO NOVO. 343 

word properly signifies a species of waterlily, with fleshy 
leaves of metallic green^ aud with a blue flower-spike ; 
it is popularly applied to the floating islets that stud after 
floods the surface of the Platine streams^ and which are 
nowhere larger than on the rivers of West Africa, especially 
the Benin. Unfortunately, the current here sets to the 
west, and most of the rafts were lost upon the Gran Chaco 
shore. 

The left bank was riddled by Parrots ; and lying under 
the trees as they fell were the corpses of the Paraguayans 
who had been killed by the Monitors, and of the Argentine 
Voluntary Legion who, in early May, had been led into a 
fatal ambush by General Caballero. The former were dis- 
tinguished by their fighting gear, regimental caps, cross- 
belts that carried their ammunition pouches, and a 
piece of half-tanned leather wrapped round the loins. The 
latter lay in uniform, except where it had been removed by 
the vultures. This want of decency did little credit to the 
service : the Augustines remained masters of the ground, 
and a small fatigue-party would have buried the unhappy 
mercenaries in a few hours. 

We steamed up to the east of the long barren Isla de 
Guaycuru. In the smaller branch that divided it from the 
Gran Chaco were the remnants of two Paraguayan steamers, 
sunk by the Brazilian monitors. Admiral Carvalho, created 
Barao da Passagem for running past the batteries of Hu- 
maita, had neglected, like the Barao de Amazonas at 
Riachuelo, to pursue the flying enemy, and had allowed 
four or five of their craft to take lefuge in the streamlets 
above Asuncion. 

Presently we reached the timber slope, down which the 
Paraguayans had shunted the guns of Timbo into the 
river. The thirty-two pounders had been fished out by a 
pair of Monitors, the Alagoas, (Captain Maurity), and the 



344 TIMb6 — ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO. 

Piauhy (Captain Wandenkolk) . Botli, second lieutenants 
when the war began^ are distinguished officers, especially 
the former, who, standing upon his quarter-deck, twice 
fronted the hot fire of the Humaita batteries. We inspected 
the Alagoas, a most efficient river-craft, drawing four feet 
ten inches, with high-pressure engines, which pant and 
puff like those of a railway, and armed like the Rio 
Grande and the Para, with 70-pounder muzzle-loading 
Whitworths, whilst the others had 120-pounders. The 
crews numbered thirty-six to thirty-nine men, of whom four 
work the turret and four the guns. The turret, whose in- 
vention belongs to Captain Cowper Coles, was made oval, 
an improvement, according to the Brazilians, upon the cir- 
cular tower. The thickness of the iron plates varied from 
a minimum of four and a half inches to a maximum of six 
inches about the gun, whose muzzle fitted tight to its port. 
This skin was backed by eighteen inches of Brazilian sucu- 
pira and peroba, more rigid and durable than our heart of 
oak. The bolts were often started, and the plates were 
deeply pitted by the 68-pounders, like plum-pudding from 
which the '' plums '' had been picked out. In some cases 
they were dented and even pierced by the Blakely steel- 
tipped shot, of which Marshal-President Lopez had but a small 
supply. Our naval officers have reported that the cast-iron 
projectiles impinging upon the armour, shivered into irregu- 
lar fragments, which formed a hail of red-hot iron, and left 
the gun without a gunner to work it. The battery men 
always knew when a ball struck the plates at night, by the 
bright Hash which followed the shock. 

At this time the Brazilian squadron in the Paraguay 
River consists of a total of 39 keel, and 186 guns. 
Ten are ironclads, with plated batteries, some carrying 
wooden bulwarks, others stanchions and chains. There are 
six monitors, and three more building : in fact, every pro- 



TIMb6 ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO. 



345 



vince will be represented by one. The rest consists of eleven 
gunboats, seven steamers, one corvette, two bombketcbes, 
one patacbo (schooner), and one brig.^ The fleet is to be 
increased by four new gunboats from Europe, which will 
be stationed in the Upper Uruguay. 

The Monitors and some of the ironclads were built at 
Rio de Janeiro ; the rest were supplied by France and the 
Thames ironworks. A curious form of showing neutrality ! 

We landed at the redoubt Timbo, lately evacuated when 
the fall of Humaita took away its occupation. It is called 
after the old Piquete Timbo, whose deserted ranchos and 
orange-grove may still be seen someway up stream. The name, 
as is often the case in these rude regions, is taken from a 
tree which supplies wood for tables and indoor objects, and 



* The following is the official list : 









Ironclads (10) :- 


- 








Salvado, 8 


gun 


5,130 men. 


Brazil, 


8 


juns 


, 145 men. 


Monitors (6) : — 






Tainandar^, 


6 


>5 


120 


jj 


Alagoas, 1 


J) 


60 „ 


Barroso, 


7 


}> 


149 


>> 




(now 


36 to 39) 


Bahia, 


2 


>> 


147 


j> 


Rio Grande, 1 


}) 


60 „ 


Herval, 


2 


» 


134 


>» 


Para, 1 


)} 


60 „ 


Lima Barros 


4 


» 


171 


5» 


Piauhy, 1 


jj 


60 „ 


Colombo, 


8 


}> 


132 


„ 


Ceara, 1 


» 


60 „ 


MarizeBarros,2 


» 


124 


» 


Sta. Catherina,! 


)> 


60 „ 


Cabral, 


8 


i) 


130 


» 


Gunboats (11) :— 






Belmonte, 


8 


„ 


129 


>> 


OnzedeJunho,2 


» 


83 „ 


Paranahyba, 


8 


jj 


141 


)f 


Lindoya, 1 


3» 


22 „ 


Maracana, 


8 


J> 


89 


i» 


E. Martins, 6 


J> 


108 „ 


Mearim, 


8 


J> 


187 


)f 


Greenhalgh 2 


>> 


100 „ 


Mage, 


8 


J5 


140 


» 


Bomb-ketches (2) :- 


- 




Itajahy, 


6 


»> 


79 


>t 


Pedro Affonso, 3 


J> 


43 „ 


Beberibe, 


8 


>J 


164 


}> 


F.deCoimbra,3 


»» 


52 „ 


Iguatemy, 


5 


» 


120 


)} 


Corvette,Biihiana,22 


» 


166 „ 


Aragaary, 


8 


>» 


82 


SJ 


Schooner, Iguassii 






Ivahy, 


6 


» 


101 


•> 


(carries the 






Ypiranga, 


8 


)) 


79 


» 


Commodore), 4 


}> 


37 „ 


Steamers (7) : — 










Brig, Peperi-assii, 1 


)> 


33 „ 


Taquary, 


2 


if 


96 


J> 








Chuy, 


2 


» 


73 


>> 


Total, 186 


^uns 


3719 men. 


Tramandahy, 


2 


)f 


44 


» 









346 TIMb6— ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO. 

which is supposed to grow only from Corrientes to Paraguay. 
Here in early February^ 1868, the Marshal-President sent 
from Curupaity eight 32 -pounders and six 8-inch guns 
under Captain Ortiz. During the fall of Humaita it was 
gallantly commanded by General Caballero, the preux che- 
valier of the Paraguayan army. A young and handsome man^ 
distinguished by dash and reckless bravery, he and his aide- 
de-camp were captured by the enemy at the Battle of the 
Lomas, but both escaped. The Marshal-President knew his 
value ; he was the only Paraguayan who could safely under- 
take upon his own responsibility such a movement as the 
evacuation of Timbo. 

Timbo, on the Chaco side, is the usual simple redoubt, in 
a shallow bend with the left, resting upon the river, and 
the right, as is shown by the smooth treeless grass, upon a 
dwarf banado. The bank being here barely four feet high, 
the gun -platforms required to be raised. Of these there 
were forty-one facing the east, west, and south ; eight old 
iron pieces remained, but all the field-guns had been car- 
ried oflF. Few cartridges and shells were lying about ; in 
fact, the leisurely evacuation was a perfect contrast to that 
of Humaita. The only extensive work was a triple line of 
zanjas, or wet ditches, parapets, and abatis facing to the south, 
and this the Brazilians were levelling. Hides were scat- 
tered about, and apparently had been i^sed for many dif- 
ferent purposes, for coracles, strengthened by wooden frame- 
works, and for sponging-tanks ; the latter were in " bangue " 
form, like saltpetre strainers mounted upon four dwarf 
uprights. The mat-huts and sheds had been burnt down. 
The Marshal-President is apparently determined to make 
every abandoned place a small Moscow. The normal electric 
wire had not been forgotten. We avoided entering the 
hot, damp powder-magazines ; they are full of the common 
flea, and of its penetrating kin [pulex penetrans), the bicho 



TIMBO ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO. 347 

do pe of the Brazil, the nigua or chigua {" a meat-bag ") 

of the Spanish Antilles, and the jigger of the West Indies, 

here called pique or chique. The pest extends everwhere 

from Corrientes, where it is worst, to Asuncion ; and I heard 

of a person suffering severely from a jigger that had fixed 

itself in his eyeball whilst a roll of tobacco was being 

opened. There were plenty of curios for the curious : brass 

spurs, cavalry blades, and broken flint-muskets, remnants of 

saddles rude as those used by the Pampas "Indians/^ and 

drums with tricolor bands, and inscribed — 

" Republico del Paraguay 
Veneer o morir." 

A Paraguayan bitch, thin as a shadow, still haunted the 
deserted scene ; as we whistled to her she slunk away like 
a cimaron or wild dog. 

On the next day Lieutenant-Commander Bushe took me in 
his gig to the Arroyo Hondo, " the deep channeV^ which 
bounds the Humaita bank immediately to the north. Up 
this stream the Brazilians had sent their light craft to cut off 
the Paraguayan garrison from the capital. On the right the 
land was swampy^ extending a few yards to the Laguna 
Cierva, the southern fork of the Arroyo ; rice might here 
be produced in abundance. Pistia grew near the water ; 
behind it stood the red-leaved Mangui hibiscus, whilst within 
were tall trees, acacias and mimosas, festooned with the 
parasitic HervadosPassarinhos (a polygonum), and dead trunks 
converted into pyramids of verdure by a convolvulus bearing 
flowers of dark pink. After rowing some two hours we 
came to a widening of the bed where the Arroyo headed 
in a lagoon. To our right was an earthwork called by the 
Brazilians '^ Estabelecimento Novo,^^ and by the Paraguayans 
the Cierva redoubt. The Marshal-President had armed it with 
nine field-pieces served by some 1600 men, under command 
of Major Olabarrieta. On the morning when the ironclads 



348 TIMBO ESTABELECIMENTO NOVO. 

ran past Humaita_, Marshal Caxias attacked it with about 
6000 troops. The Brazilians charged gallantly, facing a 
storm of grape and canister at close quarters, up to the 
trench, and were four times beaten back with the loss of 
some 476 hors de combat. After exhausting his ammu- 
nition, Major Olabarrieta retreated on board the Tacuari 
and Ygurei steamers, and landed his men at Humaita. He 
lost his guns and about 150 soldiers : but he will be remem- 
bered by this beau fait d'armes. There is nothing to be 
described in the earthworks; they were «3ven more broken 
than those of Timbo. The land around was a desert ; not a 
living Paraguayan remained in this part of Paraguay ; it was 
odorous of carnage, like the Crimea, and the enceinte 
showed only two long lines of graves. 

Evening came on in the deepest silence, and 

*' calm was all nature as a resting wheel." 

Towards sunset, however, the air became alive with mosqui- 
toes, which replaced the swarming sandflies, and which piped 
a treble to the hoarse bass whoop of the frog. The 
sanguinary culex punctured us with her bundle of stilet- 
toes, till we were obliged to defend ourselves with twig 
wisps. The plagues are said to bite through the closest 
cloth, and the soldiers must have suffered tortures from 
them in this campaign of swamps. 

My companion was a keen sportsman, and he had lately 
had an adventure which recals the Spanish proverb, 
'^ Escaping from the bull one falls into the brook.^"* The 
land now begins to be rich in game. As a rule, the Para- 
guayan guardias and piquetes were not allowed to waste 
ammunition. The sky, which contains too much vapour 
ever to be dark blue, became vocal with the whistling duck 
{Fato Silbador or Anas Penelope) and its congeners, now 
emigrating southwards. Blue-rocks clove the air high 



GENERAL ARGOLO. 349 

overhead, and the parroqucts whirled past us with loud 
screams aud shivering flight. As usual, we were annoyed 
by the Pampas peewit, a sworn enemy to sportsmen. It 
seems to delight in warning its feathered friends that danger 
a])proaches, and its persistent clamour makes impatient the 
most patient. Fine snipe and dark grey snippet ran along 
the ground, in company with water-hens, and jacanas or 
lily-trotters { parr as) ^ of brilliant plume. Carrion birds 
abounded, with fish-hawks, and other accipitres; caracaras, the 
forefathers of the Guaycuru tribe; and the common Bra- 
zilian urubii, or turkey-buzzard — I heard of the celebrated 
urubii-rey, but I never saw it here. The most splendid 
spectacle, however, was the colthereira or spoonbill (ibis 
rubra), the guara of the Guaranis. Flights, varying in 
number from seven to twenty, formed long triangles, and 
their wings of the finest rose, merging into a dark pink, 
caught the reflection of the sun, who sank " like a cloven 
king in his own blood.^^ The pure light of heaven, absorbed 
by transparent vapour and by the impurities of the lower 
atmospheric strata, glowed with 

•* Flaming gold, till all below 
Grew the colour of the crow." 

Then the weird grey shadow, simulating a cloud-bank, rose 
in the west, and the moon saw us safely home. 

Our next visit was to that distinguished soldier, General 
Alexandre Gomez de Argolo (not Argollo)Ferrao, commanding 
Humaita. Born at San Salvador da Bahia of a distinguished 
family that refused to recognise him, he at first served in the 
police under a civilian with whom he could not agree. He 
began in early life to study tactics, by no means a favourite 
pursuit in the Brazil ; and when he went to the war his 
friends predicted that he would do great things. They 
were right. He set out a major of infantry : he returned 



350 GENERAL ARGOLO. 

a Field Marshal and Visconde de Itaparica. After this 
change of life, his father was pleased to recognise him. 

General Argolo is a Liberal in politics; and Liberals are 
apt to look after their own. In appearance he is of the 
bird of rapine type : short, thin, and small, with high nose 
and hawk^s eyes ; a tall, broad forehead, straight hair and 
beard waxing grey ; he may already have turned the half- 
century. Cool in the extreme under fire, he is deliberate 
in act and slow in speech : his drawling tones give you des 
crispations. He is loved as a father by his men, but he is 
by no means a favourite with the Argentines. General 
Osorio, whose salt humour and quaint sayings made me 
involuntarily think of Coeur de Lion, called him, in wicked 
pleasantry, '' Macio, miudo e massante " — a bony bit of a 
bore. 

We visited the quarters of this " model marshal of the 
generalissimo Caxias.^^ The lodging was in the roughest 
state, and the tenant, ever ready for action, sat in long 
boots and chain-spurs. He pressed us to accept a cam- 
paigning dinner, and we soon saw the means by which he 
wins the hearts of men. He seated by his side a Brazilian 
private who had lost both his arms in the Curupaity affair, 
and he fed the cripple with his own hands. Not the least 
pleasing part of the spectacle was to see the perfect self- 
possession of the young Mineiro. After dinner entered a 
neatly-dressed Paraguayan boy whom Marshal Argolo had 
adopted. When taken by the Brazilians as they entered 
Humaita, the youngster asked who was the commanding 
officer, and walked up to him, saying, " General ! you must 
be my father.^^ 

General Argolo accepted the charge, and I have no doubt 
that the orphan has found a home for life. Farewell ! 



LETTER XVIII. 

RIDE ROUND THE HUMAITi. " QUADRILATERAL.'* 

Humaita, August 27, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

Wishing to see the contour of Humaita, 
we applied to General Gelly i Obes, who most courteously- 
lent us his own chargers, and sent with us one of his officers ; 
the latter had the appearance of a Bashi Buzuk Irregular, 
but he did not wear the sword of a private. 

Our first visit was to the comercio, or camp bazar, 
situated immediately behind the tattered church. The flags 
of all nations waved over board huts, mat hovels, and 
canvas tents, which, foul in the extreme, formed a hollow 
square round a pool of filthy water. Some of them bore 
the ambitious names of Hotel rran9ais, de Bordeaux, and 
de Garibaldi. In these places you may get a bed and 
perhaps a bit of breakfast for the normal 1/. I may say 
that I saw for the first time the coinage of the Brazil in the 
valley of La Plata : during my three years" experience of 
the great Empire a gold piece was never in my possession ; 
silver never, except when wanted for a journey ; and the 
heavy copper " dump"' never whilst paper could be carried. 
In the unclean lines which represented streets, idle ruffians 
were lounging about, drunken cut- throats gave ear to guitar 
or accordion, and everywhere, on foot and on horseback, 
appeared the petticoats and the riding-habits of an unmis- 
takable calling. The favourite dress was bright silk, and 
many were robed 

" In chintz, the rival of the showery bow." 



352 THE HUMAITA " QUADRILATERAli." 

Some of this class made fortunes like the more prudent 
kind of " Californian widow." I heard of one that obtained 
from a Brazilian officer the honorarium of 35/. — it was 
enough to bring water into the mouths of the honest. 

We then turned south-east to the hospitals^ of which two 
are large and one small_, the Hospital dos Colericos. After 
the terrible attack of the last year^ all indigestions and 
cholerines were set down as the true Asiatic epidemic. 
About a dozen graves were being dug^ of course for cholera 
patients. But sporadic cases may be expected^ and General 
Argolo told us of a man who had died of pure fright. This, 
however, is the hot season, and even the river is not un- 
wholesome, despite the generation of filth. A few suffer 
from bad colds, the result of the raw south suddenly re- 
placing the tepid north wind ; and here the currents are 
meridional, instead of being diagonal like the north-east, 
the south-east, and the south-west of the coast. As a rule, 
the fevers are simple intermittents ; during six months the 
medical officer of the Linnet saw only one purely remittent 
case. The percentage of sick amongst the Brazilians is 
SJ, whereas in large armies it averages from 10 to 12. 
The ^^carabins" and apothecaries were booted to the fork, 
as in the Crimea, but here they were civil : one great swell 
sported a bridle, crupper, and saddle all silver, with the 
Argentine stirrup, of which at least four- fifths are under- 
foot. Many of the horses start and buck, and few are 
so easily managed as in Buenos Aires, where the lightest 
hand is required, and where the pressure of the reins upon 
the neck turns the animal. 

Still bending south-east, I enjoyed for the first time in 
the southern hemisphere a long hand-gallop over the cool, 
soft, springy turf. It was scattered with the Solanum 
called Cepa de Cavallo, and with a pink-lined mushroom 
which the people term " toad^s meat." In places were dwarf 



THE humaitA "quadrilateral." 353 

pools, which the clayey ground long retains ; here the 
puddles that disappear after the third day in the Brazil 
last a fortnight ; the result is a bad mud or an unpleasant 
marsh. The orange trees, planted by Presidential orders, 
had mostly been felled, and a pile of five fruits costs a 
shilling instead of a cent. The few survivors were webbed 
over with the nets of a sociable spider dressed in black and 
red coat ; it gives a strong yellow silk which will make 
gloves and dresses, and some of it has been exported from 
Corrientes to Paris : I found a far stronger and more 
brightly-tinted material on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea. 
The ground was everywhere sprinkled with Whit worths 
'^^ anti-w^ar bolts,^' 40, 120, and 150-pounders, and costing 
each from 20/. to 50/. Very few had exploded, and a 
pointed stick soon told the reason why : they had been 
charged, not with gunpowder, but with a single one of its 
constituents, charcoal. The Paraguayans soon made for 
them a gun, the Criollo, rifled for 150-pounders, and sent 
thousands of the shot back to w^hence they came. 

Passing the military prison, an open space round which 
patrolled a few guards, and from which the guarded could 
readily have " made tracks,^^ we reached the cemetery. A. 
neat gate, bearing aloft the cross, is pierced in the stout 
brick wall ; the Brazilians and Argentines rest outside it, 
and to the west is a space set off by the Marshal- President 
for the benefit of the heretic engineers who fell at Riachuelo. 
The tombs were mostly new, with a mosaic of little red tiles 
by way of slab ; some, probably children's monuments, ap- 
peared very dwarfish. The inscriptions showed a people that 
carried warlike discipline even beyond the grave : one of 
them reads, " Sirvio a la Patria por veient aiios con lealdad i 
constancia.^' Evidently such a race wanted only the newest 
appliances of civilization, and such ministering angels as 
Whitworths and Armstrongs, Lahittes and Blakelys, to 

23 



354 THE humaitA "quadrilateral." 

make their cause,, despite the want of gros bataillons^ please 
the gods. But Fate was resolved not to countenance such 
an anachronism. 

This cemetery was evidently the site for a citadel : a 
strong central work surrounded by mines, and able to sweep 
the whole enceinte, which now utterly lacks defence. Com- 
manding the rear of the batteries, both those of the river- 
side and of the interior, it could have converted what is now 
a feeble partly entrenched camp, an Aldershott or a Curragh, 
into a place forte. There was every facility for making 
the work, and the waste of labour which raises entrench- 
ments of sods and palm-trunks round eight and a half miles 
of enceinte, would have been well employed upon a refuge 
where the soldier, driven from his outer defences, could 
have found shelter and could still have baffled his enemy. 

We then visited the place to the north-east of the church, 
where, on July 16, 1868, the gallant General Osorio 
first entered Humaita. Further north there is a still weaker 
point, and as a rule the entrenchments opposite the swampy 
grounds were quite neglected. It had been reported that 
boats full of armed men were crossing from Humaita 
to the Gran Chaco, and orders were at once issued to 
bombard the stronghold, whilst Osorio, with a vanguard of 
10,000 men, was directed to make a reconnaissance in force. 
Compelled by the " wolves^ mouths "'■' to dismount his ca- 
valry, the General crossed the ditch and climbed the parapet, 
despite the frantic efforts of the few besieged. He sent at 
once to Marshal Caxias for reinforcements, but none were 
forthcoming ; the only shadow of an excuse being that the 
forces were much scattered, and that the over-cautious vete « 
ran would not risk all fortunes upon a single throw. 
Osorio, furious with disappointment, seized a musket from 
a soldier, and as usual joined personally in the affray ; but 
he presently found himself compelled to retire. The Para- 



THE humaitA ''quadrilateral." 355 

guayans at once returned to their guns, which had not been 
spiked, and poured in a shower of grape and canister. 
The Brazilians, who had six hundred men hors de combat^ 
did not " retreat with banners flying and bands in front, as 
though marching on parade/^ According to the Semanario 
the Paraguayan garrison received the gold cross of the Order 
of Merit. 

The Commander-in-Chief had doubtless been influenced 
by the terrible check at Curupaity, and he with his troops 
naturally believed that so strong an outpost must cover a 
formidable bulwark. At any moment a simultaneous assault 
upon any three or four places would certainly have taken 
Humaita, with perhaps the loss of some 500 men. The eva- 
cuation, however, was allowed to be carried on in peace and 
quiet, and the camp story was, that a French baker — others 
say an Italian pedlar — was the first to enter the land side 
of the highly ridiculous '' Sebastopol of the South.^^ Simi- 
larly, we may remember how fifty Russians in Petropavlofsky 
drove oif a French and English admiral with a squadron of 
five ships ; and when a second attack was made by a com- 
mander of a different trempe, only three dogs, instead of a 
swarming garrison, were found in the place. 

This part of the profile is very poor : an Irish hunter 
might scramble over it. The only outworks were the usual 
loose abatis of branches and brushwood defending a sloping 
trench nowhere five feet deep, with at most eleven inches of 
water. There were no inner defences but a shallow drain 
eighteen inches deep and four feet wide : the earthwork 
parapet barely four feet high, and not more than nine feet 
thick, was propped up by palm trunks and provided with a 
banquette. I need hardly say that to be safe against a 
coup de main the escarp should be about thirty feet tall, 
swept by the flanking tire of artillery, and defended in front 
by a high counterscarp. There is nothing of the kind 

2^—2 



356 THE HUMAITA ''QUADRILATERAL." 

here. The guns are wretched 3.2-pounders_, and each had 
300 rounds of gunpowder^ grape,, case^ and shell ; solid shot 
being little used. Embrasures are wanting^ and the maga- 
zines are round-topped like ovens, so as to hold the bomb 
and to admit rain water. Some are open; others have 
been exploded by shells ; and the trench shows the usual 
waste of cartridges and powder-bags. 

Issuing from the enceinte^ we turned down south upon 
the Curupaity^ or rather the Angulo road. It was crowded 
with cartSj horses, and camp followers, all moving up to 
Humaita. The tanks, large and small, were beautiful with 
the waterlily, which grows even in the trenches ; and 
the long-legged Parra trotted over the broad fleshy leaves 
of the Victoria Regia. This splendid nymphsea, the abati 
irupe or water-maize of the Guaranis, produces an edible 
fecula, like those of the Sind talabs. It is astonishing 
that the Brazilians, as they were regularly besieging the 
" stronghold,''^ did not lay out approaches and flying zigzags. 
They excused themselves by declaring the land too swampy ; 
but the lines of thorny trees that streaked the grass and 
reeds of the baiiados, proved that solid ground, if sought 
for, might have been found. 

After a mile and a half we reached the Brazilian lines of 
circumvallation thrown up by General Argolo : they were 
on a much more extensive scale than the works of the place 
invested. The embrasures stood faced with fascines, and 
their cheeks were revetted with sods; the berm was care- 
fully traced, and the expense magazines (Polvorinas), though 
wanting the sloping roof, appeared sufficiently solid. As 
the lines were never made a base of operations, the labour 
was wantonly wasted — it beat even the Russian batteries in 
the Crimea. 

A hand-gallop of half an hour took us to Paso Pucu, alias 
Brites, from a hacienda or estate that once was here. Mar- 



THE HUMAITA '' QUy\DUILATERAL." 357 

shal- President Lopez made this spot^ the key of the second 
line^ his headquarters, and long defended it after the first or 
outermost, which skirted the north bank of the Northern 
Estero bellaco, had fallen into the enemy^s hands. At this 
important central point converged ten radii of telegraph wires 
coming from all parts of the so-called '* Quadrilateral/' 
The house occupied by the President of Paraguay and his 
family was in a small orange grove; and the low-thatched 
barn with whitewashed walls had been scribbled over by 
visitors in uncomplimentary style. It contained two small 
rooms : one for reception, and a dark hole for a sleeping 
berth. Opposite the door were the remnants of a rancho, 
in which balls and dancing parties had been given by 
" Supreme " direction. To the south was the Bishop''s 
hovel, which had fallen down ; and that of his assistants, 
Franciscan friars, was following its example. The ^' esporon" 
or bomb-proof, called a " cavern '^ by the newspapers, had 
been levelled ; it was built by Lieut. -Col. Thompson, with 
six feet of earth above and on both sides, and here it is said 
the Marshal-President used to conceal himself. Being 
within a few hundred yards of the enemy^s batteries, the 
barn was defended by three traverses, and without them it 
would certainly not have been commonly safe. We could not 
but remark the tall mangruUo, with its ladders surrounded 
by hides and matting, an unusual precaution intended to 
conceal petticoated ankles : I was assured that from this 
point the undaunted Madame Lynch used to direct bellicose 
operations. 

We ascended the largest traverse, which contained 422,080 
cespedes or sods ; these were usually 0.25 centimetres square 
by 0.10 thick. A total of nearly five millions had been ap- 
plied to the works, not including those upon the Tebicuary, 
and of these about one million were around Paso Pucii. 
Here, in the clear night air, we enjoyed a glorious view of 



358 



THE HUMAITA ''quadrilateral/ 



a country which had been fought over for two years ; and 
the first glance proved that the Quadrilateral was a long 
oval whose conjugate extended from Humaita north to 
the south-western point of the Upper Estero bellaco^ whilst 
its transverse section ran from Paso Espinillo to the Para- 
guay river. The former had a direct length of six and a 
half miles, and the latter of nearly four and a half. The 
grand total of the lines defended by the Paraguayans be- 
tween the beginning of the war and March 22, 1868_, was 
56 kilometres. It is evident that the extension was a grand 
mistake.^ 

Behind us_, to the north,, is the enceinte of Humaita, form- 
ing the third or innermost line. This is connected with the 
second or middle line by a zigzag running north and south ; 
and it skirts the difi*erent " passes ^^ or swamp- fords, known 



* The following are the figures of the broken oval, supplied to me by 
Lt.-Col. Chodasiewicz : — 



Eastern Line. 


Distance, 


Length of 
advanced 
Trenches. 


Espla- 
nades. 


Maga- 
zines. 


1. PasoBenitez to P. Espinillo 

2. To the Augulo redoubt, 

third line 

3. To Sauce (south-west end 

of third line) .... 

4. Sauce towards Curupaily . 

Western Line. 

1. Line along Lagunas Chichi, 

Lopez, &c 

2. Line facing Curuzu . . . 

3. Curupaity Hiver-frunt . . 

Second Line. 

1. From P. Espinillo to La- 

guna Chichi 

2. Base of so-called Quadri- 

lateral 

Totals . . . 


6 kilom. 475 metres 

2 „ 417 „ 

6 „ 427 „ 
2 ,, 614 „ 

4 „ 460 „ 
1 „ 929 ,, 

1 „ 988 „ 

6 „ 376 „ 

2 „ 485 „ 
35 kilom. 115 metres 


8 m. 895 

4 „ 955 

2 „ 883 
2 „ 168 

1 ,,"240 
20 m. 901 


91 
71 

111 

38 

42 

52 + 14 

28 

126 
3 

576 


48 

32 

63 + 64 
32 

28 

36 + 6 

27 

23 

310 



The Trihuna estimated the trenches of Humaita fronting the river at 
3600; to the south, 3600; east, 3000; and west, 2100: a total of 12,300 
metres. 



THE humaitA ''quadrilateral." 359 

as Pasos Benitez, Yasi (of the moon), Tanimbu (of ashes), 
and Espinillo, so called from a thorny tree. At this latter 
place the second line sets off to the west with southing, along 
a lorn a fronted with marshes, which communicate with the 
Laguna Chichi. The third or outermost line runs south by 
Paso Mora to the Angulo Redan ; thence, sweeping after a 
sharp angle to the south-west, it passes almost parallel with 
the second line by the Estero Rojas, a branch of the northern 
Bellaco, by the Madame Lynch redoubt, and by the Paso 
Gomez to the Sauce redoubt, and the Linha Negra, upon 
which it abuts. Here the anti-fosse was provided with a 
Tajamar or dam that raised the water one metre, and thus 
succeeded in destroying some of the Allied ammunition. 

To the north-west of Paso Pucu, and apparently six to 
seven miles distant, we see the monte and orange groves of 
Tuyu-cue — ^' mud that was.^^^ This position was long 
occupied by the Brazilians. Further north on the high 
road to Asuncion, and also buried in monte and orange 
grove, lies San Solano, an estancia belonging to the state. 
The extreme left of the Allied camp during the earlier 
attacks, it lies nearly due east of Humaita, five leagues from 
Paso Pucii, and seven leagues from El Pilar. Looking 
towards the south, and about two hours' ride, we descry the 
Loma and palm forest of Tuyu-ti — a point so long held by 
the second division of the Brazilians. 

From our vantage-ground, which commands a fine view 
of swamp, grassy plain and tree-mottes, we can easily master 
the excellent plan of attack proposed by Col. Chodasiewicz. 
He would have carried with 20,000 men Paso Pucu, the 
key of the position. At the same time 10,000 were to have 
marched up from Tuyu-ti after a few hours of bombard- 



* Cue is translated " fue" or " ha sido," " was" or " has been." It enters 
into several bastard names of places, as Canipamento-cue. 



360 THE humaitA "quadrilateral." 

ment^ and anotlier 10_,000 would have issued from Curuzu 
and attacked Curupaity along the line of river-bank which 
was previously to be mined. This could have prevented the 
disaster of September 22_, 1867_, and the combination would 
probably have carried the works. But the Allies knew 
nothing of mining ; the plan was allowed to lie upon the 
Generalissimo Mitre^s desk^ and the attack was made in the 
bull-headed style before described. 

Major Costa_, commanding a detachment of Argentine 
cavaliy posted at Paso Pucu_, kindly lent us a guide to the 
Angulo Redan. Passing out of the second line at Paso 
Espinillo^ we found the approaches strongly guarded ; there 
were bocas de lobo even under water. At this j^oint the 
enemy had been more than usually active : the parapet and 
covered way were often built over swamps for many yards^ 
and plank bridges (pontilhoes) had been carefully laid 
down. 

Presently we reached the Angulo : its site is a felled 
palm-grove, whose stumps still remain, and the rolling 
" loma'^ upon which cattle were grazing commands the whole 
country. Outside it reeks the mass of esteros and baiiados 
which communicate with the northern Bellaco. The works 
were composed of two bastions enfleclie to the front, and of a 
curtain with a smaller bastion closing the gorge. Outside 
is a shallow trench, and a deep ditch requiring ladders. The 
garrison numbered 200 men, who worked only two of their 
sixteen guns : there were a few magazines and traverses of 
little importance. The Brazilians attacked the Angulo, 
whilst the Argentines took up their position further north 
near the Paso Espinillo where the position was weakest. 
General Emilio Mitre commanded, they say, 7000 men ; the 
Brazilians reduce the force to 5000 ; and they here stood for 
two hours at a distance of three squares. 

At the Angulo we found a brother of our guide, with 



THE HUMAITA '' QUADRILATERAL.' 3GI 

troopers hutted under hides. A profusion of raw meat was 
hung up to dry, and the place was not without caiia. Leaving 
the redan we rode along the outer line of entrenchments. 
Here we saw the same kind of work, trenches 18 feet wide 
and deep ; and platforms for guns, 14 feet 6 inches square 
and 3 feet 6 inches high ; magazines at every 36 to 42 feet, 
traverses, sod-revetted parapets 6 feet tall and equally thick, 
a single cavalier, and a ruined farmhouse. The main diffi- 
culty of the attack was the nature of the ground. To the 
south an arenal or sand- wave hides from us Fort Itapiru. 
Northwards is the bouquet de bois that marks the head- 
quarters of the Marshal-President. Presently we struck 
northwards from the outer to the middle line, crossing per- 
pendicularly three several esteros. The water was girth-deep, 
and the bottom was black mud fetid with organic matter. 
Hence the name Paso Pucii, the Long Ford. 

We then turned to the north-west, and soon reached the 
far-famed lines of Curupaity. The works, running nearly 
north and south, were much stronger and better made than 
any that we had yet seen. Unfortunately for the defenders 
it could be shelled by the ironclads, which were only thirty 
feet below it. The works were composed of glacis, fosse, 
and parapets of adobe revetted with sods. Inside was a ditch 
three or four feet broad, with a wall of about the same height, 
which acted covered-way and drained the terre-plein. The 
position is the plateau of Humaita : a tree-clad bank rising 
some twenty feet above the ponds and swamps which front 
it. The attack in front offered peculiar difficulties. On 
the right (north) was the copse where the Brazilians ad- 
vanced and were delayed by coming upon a small outpost : 
hence their loss was small, and they were accused of having 
saved themselves at the expense of their Allies. The left 
flank rested upon a deep lagoon, and between this and the 
monte lay the putrid knee-deep mire which the Argentines 



362 THE HUMAITA "QUADRILATERAL." 

attempted to cross. Our guide pointed oat the place where 
the brave Colonel Charloni^ commanding the Italian Legion^ 
after receiving a musket-ball through the lungs^ was killed 
by a canister shot ; and amongst the fatal casualties was the 
only son of President Sarmiento^ aged twenty-one. 

Behind the earthworks a little Pueblo lay in ruins. We 
then rode to the comercio or bazar of Curupaity. It sug- 
gested past scenes at Balaklava and Kadi Keui. The timber 
walls and canvas roofs were bigger and more substantial 
than usual. The sutlers did not wish or expect to take 
Humaita so quickly. There was nothing for them now, how- 
ever, but to follow the army ; and the bustle of soldiers and 
of camp followers who were removing piles of wood and 
boarding, sacks of provisions, heaps of old arms, and hillocks 
of hides, showed that they did not wish to be left far 
behind. 

We then galloped up the dusty road through the 
Brazilian lines, shook hands with our guide, and thanked 
General Gelly i Obes for the loan of his chargers. We 
had gone round about two-thirds of the so-called " Quadri- 
lateral,^^ or twenty miles in five hours, and there were no 
traces of '^ saddle-sickness.^^ Good-bye. 



LETTER XIX. 
FROM humaitA to guardia tacuAra. 

Guardia Tacuara, August 29, 1868, 

My dear Z , 

I was not sorry to leave Humaita as soon 
as its interest was sucked dry. Two men had deserted from 
the Linnet, and doubtless joined the service ; one unfortu- 
nately had been drowned^ and the steward was missing for 
some days. All looked forward with anxiety to the next 
six months. On the 26th of August the wet season began to 
break up^ and the change was heralded by a storm of sheet 
lightning. At 3 a.m. on the 27th there was a blaze of 
forked lightning, which lit up the thick black clouds^ and 
which was accompanied by loud, sharp thunderings, here 
said to be rare. The United States screw-steamer Wasp, 
Lieutenant-Commander Kirkland, arrived in the evening, and 
steamed off for Asuncion. All was darkness and mystery : 
the soldier and the sailor politician are usually extra political. 
They are converts opposed to old churchmen, volunteers 
contrasted with the regulars. Although there is a letter- 
bag for the British detenus on board the Linnet, I could not 
find out their names, and, as for their numbers, it was 
succinctly and roundly said that the English-speaking em- 
ployes might number one hundred, and the total of foreigners 
one thousand. 

The chart gives thirty-two miles between Humaita and 
Tacuara ; but we shall cover fifty-two between 10 a.m. and 
night. The current may average 1'5 knots per hour. 
Passing the Andai redoubt, we saw that the ditches were 



864 FROM HUMAITA TO GUARDIA TACUARA. 

■filled^ the parapet was levelled^ the abatis was pulled up,, and 
the garrison was being shipped off. After Timbiithe banks 
became lower_, and were not so easily to be defended. About 
noon we steamed past Tayi^ pronounced Taji : it is so 
named from a tree also called the Lapacho,, one of the 
BignoniacisBj which supplies a fine cabinet wood. Here on 
the eastern bank were batteries subtending the normal 
horseshoe : it had been judged necessary to dislodge from 
them the Paraguayans in order to surround and completely 
to cut off the communications of Humaita The line sweeps 
to the east and forms a narrow; its tall barranca is about 
one mile long^ and falls above and below into woods and 
lowlands. Being shelving^ and not^ as usual_, perpendicular, 
it is easier to attack ; still it commands the mouth of the 
Bio Bermejo, and it sweeps the stream with a cross fire up 
and down from two to two miles and a half : the settle- 
ment shows nothing but a dwarf cross and a tall mangrullo 
on a bald point of land ; its few wattle and dab tents and 
hovelsj near the whitewashed church, are abandoned by all 
living things save the vulture. There is also a little bridge 
on the high road to the capital. At the far side of the 
river is the paddle-wheel of another small Paraguayan 
steamer sunk by the Brazilians. 

Here again, on July 9, 1868, two ironclads, the Barroso 
and the Rio Grande, were attacked by twenty-four canoes, 
each carrying ten " bogabantes,''^ as the corps trained to 
such service was called. The affair repeated that of 
Humaita ; and the crew of the Rio Grande, when boarded 
by the enemy, shut themselves up under hatches, and the 
Barroso, which had been passed by the assailant, came up 
and cleared the decks of her consort with grape and 
canister. After this affair the Brazilians thought it wise 
to bar the stream with a boom. 

We then passed a narrow gap in the eastern bank, an 



FROM humaitA to guardia tacuAra. 305 

entrance to the lagoon wliicli forms a short cut to El Pilar. 
This feature is the '^ furado/' the *^ parana-mirim/' and the 
" ypoeira '' of Brazilian rivers. In Lieutenant Day's chart 
it is laid down as the Rio and Guardia of Monte Rico, an 
error for La Monterita — the Little monte. At 12'40 p.m. 
we sighted that classical and important influent the Rio 
Bermejo (Red River), alias Rio Grande. Here, in 1528, 
" El buen Gaboto ^' first saw the savages adorned with gold 
and silver, and imagined the grand misnomer " Rio de la 
Plata.'' The valuables, according to Herrera, were taken by 
the Payaguas, who had entered into the dominions of 
Huana Ceapac : Charlevoix, however, asserts that they 
were the spoils of the Portuguese Alexis Garcia, who crossed 
the continent from the Brazil to Peru, and who was killed 
in Paraguay by the Payaguas, not without suspicion of 
foul play on the part of the Spaniards. 

The general opinion now is that the streams feeding the 
main artery from the west run through red saliferous marls 
and sandstones, whereas that the waters of the Parana are 
clear, sweet, and wholesome. But DobrizhofFer declares 
that the Bermejo is especially salubrious in cases of vesical 
disease ; and all the travellers who have lately investigated 
it assert that the colouring matter is merely oxide of iron 
from the red clay, probably the drift of Professor Agassiz. 
The Bermejo draining the Eastern Andes and the Gran 
Chaco plain, averages five feet deep from Oran in the Salta 
Province to the Paraguay. About ] 856 Sor Arce, a Bolivian^ 
navigated 2000 miles with a raft, and in 1862-3, Captain 
Lavarello took up the steamer Gran Chaco. 

The mouth of the great influent is about 200 yards 
across. The southern or right jaw is low, sandy, and 
densely grown with bush : that opposite is high and per- 
pendicular, and the two contain a small delta of monte 
and water-grass. Fine timber appears up stream, where 



360 FROM htjmaitA to guardia tacuAra. 

the land is evidently on a higher plane. A reddish-yellow 
line crosses the mouthy and for a short distance forms a 
distinct vein along the right bank of the Paraguay. 

Above the Bermejo the vegetation is on a larger scale : 
the current of the main artery slackens,, and the vrater 
becomes limpid as that of the Parana. The eastern bank 
is concealed by the long, narrow river-curves which the 
furado forms. Presently, where Lieutenant Day^s chart 
(1858) shows " narrow pass, 21 to 24 feet/^ we found an 
island splitting the channel, and growing trees twenty-five 
feet high. This place adds a fresh instance to Dobriz- 
hofPer^s chapter upon " The creation of fresh islands, and 
the destruction of old ones." The extent of physical change 
may be estimated by comparing the chart with the running 
survey of Captain Sullivan, R.N., between Parana and 
Corrientes, in 1847 ; and a careful study of the current-action 
might detect some natural law governing the oscillatory 
movements of meridional waters. 

About three miles above the newly created island is the 
little town with the long name. Villa de Nuestra Senora 
del Pilar de Neembucu, which formerly was tout bonnewent 
Neembucu. The latter word, also written Nembucu, is 
the name of a large estero lying to the east of the 
Paraguay, and it is translated " palavra larga," — a long 
word, possibly from the extent of the swamp. Between El 
Pilar and the Parana river, the surface of 7 to 8 Paraguayan 
leagues,* forming the Guazucua Department, is said to be 
all mud and water. The distance from Humaita is computed 
at fifteen miles along the land road, and seven leagues by 
the river. Between El Pilar and the Estancia de Yacare, 
where the Brazilian headquarters now are, is a seven- 
league march. 



* The Paragua3'an league reckons 5000, and the Correntine 6000 varas : 
both, however, are estimated, not measured. 



FROM humaitA to guardia tacuAra. 367 

During the days of Dr. Francia, El Pilar, I have told 
you, was the terminus of ship navigation and the gaol of 
foreigners. With its 3000 souls, which travellers have 
exaggerated to 8000 and 9000, it ranked third amongst Para- 
guayan towns; Asuncion and Villa Rica taking higher rank. 
The solid land immediately about it grows, besides oranges, 
small maize, porongos or pumpkins, and excellent cotton : 
it might also be made to produce rice. 

El Pilar was occupied on September 20, 1867, by the late 
Brigadier the Barao do Triumpho (Jose Joaquim de Andrade 
Neves) and by the Argentine General Hornos. About 200 
Paraguayan defenders were killed, and two guns were cap- 
tured ; it is said that when the enemy entered he found 
some women shot. It had before been a Paraguayan 
hospital, and almost every house bore upon it the word 
" enfermeria.^^ Here, as well as at Asuncion and all other 
places where there was anything to plunder, the Brazilians 
are said to have committed outrages. This is possible ; 
some 2243 serviles were bought for the army between 
November 13, 1865, and April 20, 1868. On the other 
hand, it is certain that the Basque and Italian sutlers and 
camp-followers were the vilest of the vile, and they were 
still murdering one another when we passed. Our own 
countrymen also distinguished themselves : one walked off 
with a church bell ; and two others, having dressed up a 
life-sized image from a crucifix in blue jacket and duck 
pants, walked down with it arm-and-arm to the port, pre- 
tending that their comrade was much the worse for liquor. 

At El Pilar the bank lowers, and, as usual, slopes inland. 
The riverward face shows a few straggling white huts, only 
one being an azotea, and the rest thatched or tiled roofs. 
The capitania is a mere bungalow, and its neighbouring 
tenement has come to grief, probably by a shell. Over the 
foreground move a few carretas, or Cape waggons, drawn by 



'S6S FROM HUMAITA TO GUARDIA TACUARA. 

six oxen. There is no sign of fortification. The main 
features of the interior are a church dedicated to the Virgin 
of El Pilar^ an elemental square, and a long grass-grown 
street^ the Calle del catorce de Maio^ running parallel with 
the barranca. It is backed by orange groves, with sweet 
fruit. In the stream lie two wrecks, and one Brazilian 
cannoniere rides at anchor. 

Resuming our way from El Pilar of the Oranges, we 
passed on the left bank the Arroyo Neembucii and the 
Laguna de Oro. About four miles above the town, and 
thirty below our destination, was the bad bend, the Cancha 
de Gadea. Here, on September 4, the Linnet ran aground 
in a falling river, and narrowly escaped detention during 
the dry season. A cold south wind set in, and before night 
we anchored off the Guardia Tacuara — '^ the bamboo,^^ which 
Lieutenant Day corrupts to " Tacuava.^^ The port did not 
look so busy as that of Humaita, but the appearance of the 
craft was much more business-like. Here lay the mass of 
armoured fleet, fourteen in number. Five ironclads and 
floating batteries anchored up stream, looking much like 
dredges, with all but the central bit of bulwark cut away. 
From afar they resembled coffins or hearses upon gondolas 
or half-swamped barges. There were two double- turret 
ships, with 150-pounder Whit worths, and the rest were 
monitors. Battered chimneys, deeply-pitted towers, and 
bows pierced by steel-pointed cones, told the staunchness of 
the Paraguayan gunners; whilst the strong boarding-nets 
spoke volumes for the valour of the enemy. The flanks 
of the Brazil had been severely peppered by the shot 
of Curupaity, while the Lima Barros had her bulwarks 
converted into lace-work by the grape of her consort, 
which relieved her of Paraguayan boarders. Higher up 
the river were steamers embarking the wounded for the 
several hospitals down stream ; and the proveduria or 



FROM HUMAITA to GUARDIA TACUARA. 369 

commissariat Inilks awaited the bread and meat boats from 
Humaittl. 

We lost no time in visiting the transport which bore the 
flag of the late Vice- Admiral Jose Joaquim Iguacio. As 
the lack of surname shows, he did not owe his promotion 
to high family; in fact, he was a Portuguese, and he was 
succeeded by a fellow-countryman, Vice- Admiral Elisiario. 
Upwards of sixty years old, he was one of Lord Dundonald^s 
(as w'ell of Lord Howe's) boys ; still active, despite the hard 
work which he had seen, a veteran with stiff grey hair, 
weather-beaten face, and burly form. The old soldier of a 
sailor — absit verbo invidia — received me with courtesy, 
though much occupied ; sent my card to the Commander-in- 
Chief, whom I was anxious to visit, and gave us both a 
general invitation to dinner. Lieutenant-Commander Bushe 
was very popular in the Brazilian fleet, and he has ably kept 
up the position of a neutral. It is no easy task to stand firm 
when so many influences are brought to bear upon one man — 
the public at home, the Admiralty, the diplomates at Buenos 
Aires, and last, but not least, the combatants. 

The Vice- Admiral, speaking fluent English, began to en- 
large upon the " atrocities of Lopez,'"* and the necessity of 
the Brazil carrying on the war to the bitter end. Popular 
rumour declares that he is not fond of going to the front, 
and that once, after receiving two shots in his hull, he 
retreated. " You really must not expose yourself so reck- 
lesslyj my dear Admiral \" said to him a facetious French 
Secretary of Legation. " Where would be the Brazil if any 
accident happened to you ?" " No, I really must not !" was 
the reply. He is well known for a series of predictions 
that the campaign could not last above six weeks. Upon one 
point he was then very sore. The U.S. steam-ship TVasp 
had received orders to remove from Asuncion the American 
Charge d'Affaires. Her commander, however, was not per- 

24 



370 FROM humaitA to guardia tacuAra. 

mitted to pass the Brazilian lines without promising that 
the neutral flag should not cover Marshal-President Lopez, 
whom all naively expected to run away from their valours ; 
or to convey his treasure, which was afterwards reported to 
have been embarked in the French gunboat La Decidee. 
In this matter the Brazilians acted unwisely : they should 
have been the first to build the golden bridge for a flying 
foe. But the old salt well knew that the President of 
Paraguay would make capital out of the appearance of the 
Wasp, and that other nations would also send up cruisers 
to visit their representatives ; effectively the North American 
craft was followed by four others within a few weeks. 

Lieutenant-Commander Kirkland objected to pledge him- 
self, and a reference was sent to Rio de Janeiro. There 
the U.S. representative, General Webb, whose friends urged 
him not to endure Brazilian outrecuidance, and whose 
enemies accused him of a passion for ultimatums, declared 
that he would suspend relations unless Mr. Washburn was 
communicated with by a U.S. cruiser. The Empire vainly 
off'ered to embark the Minister at Paraguay in one of the 
Imperial vessels, but this was rejected; and finally, in her 
hour of need, she yielded to the Republic, or rather to its 
representative. 

Lieutenant-Commander Kirkland then came up the river 
in triumph. He had lived long and had married in Monte 
Video, where he was considered to be a sympathizer with the 
Blanco party — that is to say, with Paraguay against the 
Allies. Arrived at Guardia Tacuara, he called upon the 
Vice-Admiral, and officially requested to be accompanied 
by a Brazilian ship of war carrying a white flag : when 
this was refused he dropped a few words touching his being 
uncourteously hindered in the performance of his duty. 
This offence, of course, rankled deep. Moreover, he steamed 
slowly up stream, anchoring (August 29) off the Tebicuary 



FROM humaitA to guardia taciAra. 371 

River, where hostilities were actually going on, with the 
object, said the Brazilians, of impeding their progress. 

After his return to Monte Video, Lieutenant-Commander 
Kirkland was of course discreet. But greatly to the an- 
noyance of the Paraguayans, he took up with him a friend, 
acting interpreter, and Mr. Charles F. Davie did not hold 
himself equally bound to silence. From him it was gene- 
rally understood that the President of Paraguay expected to 
be driven by the superior weight of the Allies, from La 
Villeta his last resistance-point upon the river, but that he 
would then retire into the interior and offer all the new 
difficulties of a guerilla warfare. This style of campaign is 
here called guerra de recur sos — sem recursos (without ma- 
terials of war), added the Brazilians. 

At Guardia Tacuara I was surprised by the Brazilian free- 
and-easy system of operations. The fall of Hiimaita has left 
their squadi'on free to advance, and yet they have moved 
during the last month only half a direct degree. Their 
ironclad vanguard squadron have already thrown shot into 
Asuncion. Why do they not do it again — or rather, why do 
they not occupy the capital? It is reported that Marshal- 
President Lopez is falling back fiom La Villeta. Why do 
they not reconnoitre ? Some petty hostilities are going on 
along the line of the Tebicuary. The ironclads unbank fires 
every morning, breakfast, leisurely steam up stream, bang 
away with their big guns at everything they see — we dis- 
tinctly hear their distant thunder — return before dark, dine, 
and sleep in all possible coziness. 

This is comfort, Mais ce n'est pas la guerre ! 

Farewell. 



24—2 



LETTEE XX, 

TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

Guardia Tacuara, August 31, 1869. 

My dear Z , 

I visited the front sundry times^ and tlius 
had an opportunity of inspecting the Brazilian forces and 
of conversing with the chief officers. You shall have in this 
letter an account of my last day. 

The first thing was to reconnoitre Guardia Tacuara. Its 
site resembles that of Curupaity, but it is even stronger. 
The E/ibera, or left bank^ perpendicular above and sloping 
below^ is tall and curving, whilst the stream is narrower and 
swifter than below. The Albardon or spit on the Gran 
Chaco opposite is an impassable swamp, with mud to the 
neck. North of the eastern shelf, where it is broken by 
swamps and hollows, are the old guard-house, the orange 
clumps, and the mangrullo, without any attempt at a forti- 
fication. The corral is composed of single or double palm- 
trunks, and the entrances are barred with three or four 
cross-pieces mortised into bevelled holes ; these easily-made 
stockades are very efficient. The pise walls are tunnelled 
by the house wasp (Vespa Polistes of Latreille), the Lechi- 
guana of Dobrizhoffer, and the modern Echiguano and 
Lecheguana. The thatch is made of the flat stalks of the 
Sape cane (d, saccharum), laid close upon laths below^ and 
plastered outside with clay. 

Beyond the bank -ridge the plain is flaky with the last 
year's mud, and the fine new green grass appears to be ex- 
cellent fodder ; it is, however, bitter and acrid, and it killed 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 373 

off the horses of the Brazilian cavalry. In some cases the 
bellies clove to the backs, as if the animals were starved ; in 
others the stomachs were enormously distended. As a rule, 
any sudden change of Querencia* (place of birth or habitual 
pasturage) is dangerous to animals : here it is deadly. More- 
over, it abounds in poisonous plants, locally known as Ro- 
marillo, Chucho, and Mio-mio. Many Brazilian officers 
of cavalry assured me that such was the case; yet M. Ben- 
jamin Poucel (Le Paraguay Moderne, Marseille, 1867), re- 
marking upon the assertion of an English newspaper, '' The 
very grass of Paraguay is, I am told, poisonous,^^ refers, in 
derision, ce monsieur the author, to the " first Gaucho venu,^^ 
and pathetically laments the manifold evils arising from " I 
am told/' 

The common capim is undoubtedly deadly ; the " capim 
peludo ■■' being the only grass used for forage. This is, how- 
ever, rare ; and the Brazilians found it necessary to import 
up stream from Buenos Aires, Rozario, and other ports, 
countless cargoes of pressed alfalfa {medicago sativa). In 
favourable places down the river three crops a year are 
produced. The article was cheap, but it soon rose to 8/. 
per ton. It was terribly wasted by exposure to wind and 
weather, and in places I have seen it used to bridge swamps. 
This unexpected obstacle added prodigiously to the diffi- 
culties and to the expenses of the invader. 

I passed an estancia, deserted since the war began — a long, 
low barn like that of the Guardia. Attached to it was an 
extensive potrero or paddock, made of palm-trunks: the term 
is sometimes applied to natural clearings in a forest. The 
potrero is larger than the corral, and it is a familiar feature 
in a land whose main industry is breeding. Here the camp- 



* Hence, aquerenciado is said of cattle confined to particular grazing 
grounds. 



374 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

road enters the bush ; it is already trodden into dust and 
mirC; with ruts eighteen inches deep. Of course, the freights 
are enormously high. 

Entering the '' bush/^ I found a familiar vegetation. The 
grassy soil of the highest levels was scattered over with tree 
mottes, called Islas or Isletas de monte. Most of them 
were thorny aromas and aromitas (perfumed mimosas), bear- 
ing purse- nets that swung in the fresh breath of morning, 
and hung with fluffy golden balls, whose scent recalled the 
Fitnah of Egypt. Many were leguminous, especially the 
algaroba — the French carroubier and the carobbe of Italy — 
and the nandubay (acacia cavenia), which is found petrified 
in the Uruguay waters. Tillandsias were rampant upon the 
bough, and on the ferns sat pink-flowered bromelias, so com- 
mon in the Brazil. The absence of inundation was shown 
by huge ant-hills, low domes of loose dark earth. Where 
the floods did not extend regularly the surface was spotted 
with the wax-palm (Copernicia conifera). Its fan-shaped 
and thorn-fringed leaves were those of the curnahuba, as it 
appears upon the Rio de Sao Francisco ; but the trunk was 
prickly only in the upper part, denoting a diff"erence of 
species. Here it is termed carandai, or palma blanca, op- 
posed to the carandai-hu, or palma negra. Of the ^' vege- 
tation rabougrie,^^ the cactus and the caraguata bromelia ap- 
peared to be the most general. The birds were the anum 
(coprophagus), ^partridges f a large woodpecker, parroquets, 
and vultures soaring in search of carrion. Three snakes lay 
dead upon the path, and many snailshells were scattered 
about. 

The road was easily told by broken-down commissariat 
carts and dead cattle ; a thousand head had been expended 
by the Brazilian Government between Humaita and this 
place. Here, as in the Brazil, the railway must take 
the place of the common highway. Further on, the road 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 375 

became worse ; deep bailados had to be passed on ox-skulls, 
billets of wood, and bundles of pressed hay. Of these 
bridges each provedor made his own, and, after a few hours' 
use, the loads floundered through the mire. Carts, drawn 
by six to eight teams of bulls or bullocks, were tended by 
drivers on foot and on horseback, goading and flogging with 
shout and noise even louder than the creakings of the 
greaseless axles ; disputing the way, and not unfrequently 
using their daggers. The noisiest and most violent w^ere 
the negroes, 

" a black infernal train : 
The genuine oflfspring of th' accursed Cain." 

After trudging northward one short league from the 
Guardia Tacuara, I found a long field of black viscid mire 
which led to the Arroyo del Yacare — of the Cayman. This 
is a streamlet averaging four to five feet deep, and about 
fifty broad, which, after forming sundry swamps, discharges 
into the Tebicuary, the main drain of the valley. Here 
carts were hopelessly stuck, and wretched bullocks, with 
patient faces, slowly dying of hunger and thirst, sad- 
dened the eye. The din of war became tremendous — all 
spoke, none listened. The pontoon bridge having been 
removed, I persuaded a fellow, by means of a dollar, to let 
me cross the waist-deep ford upon his horse's crupper. 

The right bank of the Arroyo showed the remnants of 
earthworks. To this point extended the much talked-of 
reconnaissance made (June 4, 1868 J by General Menna 
Barreto. That dashing officer, with 3000 cavalry, reaching 
the Yacare from Tuyucue, fell in with and cut up a picquet 
of some 50 Paraguayan troopers, Presently a larger body of 
Paraguayan horse, supported by infantry and backed by field 
fortifications, coming up, he was compelled to retreat with 
a trifling loss. Such is the Brazilian account. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Thompson (Chap. XX.) gives a very different version. 



376 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

Beyond the Yacare extends east and west along the 
southern bank of the Tebicuary^ a loQg and swelling line of 
loma^ broken and fronted by banados. Upon the crest of the 
land-wave stood the h e ad quarter s_, and below it the tents 
of the body-guard. This was a mixed corps of Brazilians 
and foreigners^ commanded by a Prussian officer,, Comman- 
dante Meyer, who is in high favour and well spoken of. 
The Commander-in-Chief had occupied the Estancia Yacare, 
or de la P atria, a State property, or, as the Brazilians 
called it, the Fazenda of Marshal-President Lopez. Tt was 
a mere Paraguayan farmhouse, a stockade surrounding half 
a dozen ranchos or sheds, and rooms walled with wattle and 
dab. Near it rose a very solid mangrullo, whose three sets of 
ladders commanded a view to the mouth of the Tebicuary, 
distant about four miles. 

A few orderly officers, seated under a verandah facing 
north, eyed me as the pioii-piou often does the pekin. My 
letters, one introductory and public from the Coun- 
cillor Paranlios, and tlie other containing a few private lines 
from certain relatives, were delivered, and presently an 
aide-de-camp told me to walk in, as the Commander-in-Chief 
was visible. 

The room wore an aspect of Spartan plainness ; its only 
articles of furniture were a few chairs, a camp-bedstead, and 
a table covered with foolscap, clean and unclean. The 
tenant received me courteously, not cordially; glanced at 
the letters, ordered " du PeFel,^'' which we drank, a la Bresi- 
lienne, in silver cups, and began to chat. 

The " octogenarian lieutenant'^ numbers, they say, seventy- 
two summers, and appears hale and vigorous as if fifty-two. 
This " Rish safed,'"* or whitebeard of the Allied army, remark- 
ably resembles the excellent portrait of the late Lord Clyde by 
the late Mr. Phillips. I recognised the forehead with deep 
transverse lines, the stiff grey hair, the white, bristly mus- 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 377 

tachiOj the hard network of wrinkles contrasting with the 
fresh, ruddy complexion, and the trick of bending slightly 
forwards as if to seek information. The brow of the 
Generalissimo is, however, narrower, and the eyes are closer 
set. Tough and spare, well knit, and of moderate height, he 
can endure great fatigue, and sit his horse for twelve hours 
together. 

The career of Marshal Caxias is well known ; at least in 
the Brazil. He fought at Monte Caseros Feb. 3, 1852, and 
the next year he was employed in reducing Monte Video. 
He has ever been a devoted Conservative, personally hostile 
to the Liberal party ; and he took the field against them in 
the provinces of Sao Paulo and Minas Geraes.* His enemies 
openly declare that he would not strike a decisive blow 
whilst his friends were out of office, and while his partisans 
were being recruited in a lawless manner. It is hard to 
say of any general that he wittingly commits high treason : 
in the Brazil, however, men are not particular, and the army 
Marshal has certainly given a handle to scandal. I have 
spoken of General Osorio^s success at Humaita, and I shall 
have to speak of Marshal-President Lopez' escape from Loma 
Valentina. Moreover, the Generalissimo gave up his high 
office in an unofficer-like way; after entering Asuncion he de- 
clared that the war was ended, that he had fulfilled his en- 
gagement, and that he was determined to retire on a certain 
day. The excuse was a fainting-fit caused by the heat of a 
buttoned-up uniform at mass ; the public impression, how- 
ever, was that his illness was by no means serious, and, 
despite all official honours, he had no honour at home. 

Like " Lord Khabardar,'' Marshal Caxias has been ac- 
cused of being painfully slow in his military movements. 



* I have alluded to this subject in Vol. II., " The Highlands of the 
Brazil." 



378 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

His friendsj however,, reply that if slow he is sure ; and 
that he has never failed in the long run to succeed. 
Again^ he is charged with great arrogance^ and with being 
a hater of foreigners. His entourage of mediocrities is 
accounted for by his wishing to stand alone in his glory ; 
he objects to be supplied with brains^ as Marshal Pelissier 
was with General de Martinprey. Doubts have lately been 
cast upon his personal gallantry^ but these, I believe, are 
simply hostile inventions. He aj)pears to want initiative, 
the power of sudden action ; and amongst the Paraguayans 
he was famed for selecting the strongest point to attack. 
The principal merit of the " Wellington of South America " 
is that of being an excellent organizer. Before he took 
charge, the Brazilian army was in the worst possible condi- 
tion ; now it can compare favourably as regards the appli- 
ances of civilization with the most civilized. 

The Commander-in-Chief remarked that the strength of 
the country, and the temerity of the enemy, had made the 
campagna a war sui genei'is, an affair of earthworks, a 
succession of sieges, and not " des sieges a Veau de rose.'* 
He compared the difficulties of obtaining transport with those 
of our march from Silistria, and he assured me that the 
Brazilians had lost by cholera four hundred men in one day. 
He estimated his disposable men (July 31) at 28,000 — the 
general opinion being 35,000. The Paraguayans might be 
14,000, which the chief engineer reduced to 12,000. 
General Gelly i Obes increased the total to 15,000, and was 
followed by the Standard; whilst General Urquiza said 
20,000 — probably the most correct estimate. He repeated 
what I had often heard, namely, that the Paraguayan bull- 
dogs, who fight so fanatically for their Marshal-President, 
and who die rather than accept quarter, when once made 
prisoners, and well treated, generally volunteer to serve 
against El Supremo ; adding that he preferred deporting 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 370 

them down stream to encouraging so " immoral ^' a pro- 
ceeding. On the other hand, I could observe that none of 
the information given by the spies, deserters, or captives was 
ever to be relied upon, especially when it concerned Marshal- 
President Lopez. Possibly this arose from the fixed belief 
that their country^s cause would ultimately be successful, 
and from fear of engaging in open treason ; and it is also 
probable that, once made prisoners, they do not want to 
return. Moreover, they have found out that they are ex- 
ceptionally well treated at Rio de Janeiro and Sta. Catherina. 
M. Duchesne de Bellecourt is certainly not justified in 
asserting that the Brazil applies her Paraguayan prisoners 
to painful labour, that they may die the sooner of ^' misery, 
or nostalgia '' — these men are certainly not made of such soft 
stuff. The semi-" Indians " affect, when under examina- 
tion, a peculiar simplicity, or rather stupidity of manner, 
which effectually conceals their cunning. To my question 
about the battalions of women. Marshal Caxias replied that 
the rumour had gone abroad, but that nothing of the kind 
had appeared in the field. 

The papers salaried by, or interested in, the Brazilian 
cause had printed upon the subject of '^ Amazons '' sundry 
solid and circumstantial lies, ending by way of colophon 
with deductions and morals squeezed out of the premisses 
which they had themselves invented. It is amusing enough 
to see at the same time El Cabichui, the Punch of Para- 
guay, caricaturing Her Imperial Majesty the Empress of 
the Brazil, recruiting and reviewing a body of soldieresses 
intended for the war. 

I cannot see any serious objection against the use of 
feminine troops, especially in a country where, as in Mexico 
and other parts of South America, it is said El Fraile, the 
priest, is the captain of the gun, and the woman is the 
gunner. The mythical Amazons were the first cavalry. 



380 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

Amongst the Arabs of Chivalry^ the Hadiyah^ a young girl 
of good family and chosen for courage, rode her dromedary 
in the front of war, " stigmatizing the cowards and making 
braver the brave/' Indeed, the Virgo bellatrix or Vira 
belli, has always been an institution amongst semi-barba- 
rous peoples. The ladies of Sienna did not disdain to assume 
the uniform. The Iberian peninsula has supplied some select 
heroines, witness the Padeira of Aljubarrota and the artil- 
leryman^'s widow, known to history as the Maid of Saragossa. 
In South America the sex had often imitated the example 
of the Chilian Araucanians, whose ranks when cleared of 
males, were refilled by their wives and sisters. In Peru, 
the adjutant of a certain corps summoned at roll-call the 
women of Cochabamba, who were headed by the Governor's 
spouse. "They are dead upon the field of honour !" re- 
plied a Serjeant. D. Juana Azurduy, wife of D. Manuel 
Asencio Padrilla, took at Laguana, with her own hands, the 
Spanish banner. In England we have heard of the heroine 
concerning whose captain it was sung, 

" And he made her first lieutenant 
Of the gallant Thunder-bomb." 

In the Brazil the case of Maria da Ponte and of many 
others, proves that popular enthusiasm would have produced, 
if encouraged, a copious crop of feminine volunteers. 

The Paraguayan woman has always been the man of 
the family ; she tilled the ground and she got in the crop. 
Enthusiastically patriotic, and devoted to the cause of the 
Marshal-President, the ladies of Asuncion even gave up to 
him their jewels, just as the Santiageilas, in 1818, stripped 
themselves voluntarily of all their plate as an offering to the 
safety of their country. As young women in Prussia have 
lately learned to tend the wounded campaigners, so possibly 
their sisters in Paraguay formed, when men began to be 
scarce, an army- works corps, and perhaps they adopted some 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 381 

quasi-military dress. But the arming and fighting of 4000 
" Amazons " ended there. I should have been strongly- 
tempted by the remembranee of " our mothers/^ the Ama- 
zo]is of Dahome,, to have raised — when the guerilla stage of 
the war began — a corps d'armee of some 25^000^ and to 
have fallen upon Asuncion and other half-defended posts. 
I would also have been answerable for the success of the 
movement. 

The Commander-in-Chief ended with an offer of horses 
and sundry courteous expressions. I then proceeded to the 
tent occupied by the Chief of Staff and a relative of the 
Marshal^ Brigadier- General Joao de Souza da Fonseca Costa. 
He was a handsome soldier-like man of thirty-eight or forty, 
with slightly greyish hair and sympathetic expression; his 
aquiline features and plain uniform gave him the look of a 
United States officer. He told me of the affair which, as 
the booming of the guns proved, was actually going on. 
The Brazilians were clearing the tete de pont, a straight cur- 
tain with cunettes that defended the neck of the Albardon 
or land-point projected from the right bank of the Tebi- 
cuary river. Here is the main pass which leads across 
the stream to the Estancia of San Fernando, where the 
President of Paraguay, after quitting Humaita, established 
his headquarters in March, 1868. The Brazilians succeeded 
(August 28) with a total ioss of 203 officers and men killed 
and wounded. Marshal-President Lopez sacrificed on this 
occasion seven officers and seventy-four men killed, five 
officers and 105 men wounded, and three guns, of which 
one was rifled, without mentioning horses and cattle. He 
is not only a general a dix mille hommes par semaine, he 
seems to take a pride in this unmeaning, hopeless waste of 
life. Yet he cannot afford to expend a drummer-boy. 

An orderly then led me to the tent of Lieutenant-Colonel 
R. A. Chodasiewicz, now in the Braziliaj) engineers. When^ 



382 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

in May 1853^ a certain Prince GortschakofF, leading a 
miglity host across the Pruth^ occupied Wallachia, and 
awoke Europe by the roar of the cannon at 01tenitza_, he 
thought fitj being a Pole, to quit the Kussian army. 
He was made a captain in the Secret Service Department 
of the British Crimean force, and he still possesses the 
commission and the medal granted to " Captain Robert 
Hodasiwich '' — the simplified form of the name. In 1857, 
going to England, he published " A Voice from the Walls 
of Sevastopol/^ and then he went further afield. He served 
with the Turks during their campaign in El Hcjaz, and 
afterwards, becoming a citizen of Philadelphia, he fought in 
the ranks of the Federal army. At the beginning of the 
Paraguayan war he joined the Argentine service as a major, 
and he narrowly escaped with his life at the " battle of 
Acayuasa."*^ Nothing saved him in that sauve qui pent but 
his presence of mind : he threw himself into the bush and 
allowed the enemy to rush past him in pursuit of the 
fugitives. As the Argentines would not pay him — they 
still owe 300/. — he transferred his services to Marshal 
Caxias, who was sensible enough to appreciate them. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Chodasiewicz received an order from 
the Generalissimo to show me his surveys of the forts, his 
plans of the first campaign, and his projects for the future. 
I only hope that His Imperial Majesty of the Brazil will 
cause these excellent illustrations to be printed on a large 
scale, with detailed letter-press. Thus alone can this most 
memorable campaign be made thoroughly intelligible to the 
present generation and to posterity. 

At breakfast, under the little tent, the ex-British officer — 
whose nickname, by-the-bye, is *^ O Balao '' — gave me some 
details touching the balloons which had been tried in the 
earlier part of the campaign. The first of these articles 
was brought by P. L. D. Doyen. It cost ten contos of 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 383 

Reis (say 1000/.), and was made of silk : the dimensions 
were 19.8 metres in length by 12.6 in diameter : the total 
weight was 395 lbs. (viz. 250 silk + 25 basket-boat + 120 
netting) ; it was 973 kilogrammes lighter than the atmo- 
sphere, and it was easily managed by four men. Unfor- 
tunately, it was utterly spoilt by being burnt in varnishing. 

Messrs. James Allen and Brother, citizens of the United 
States, afterwards brought two balloons, which were both 
" captive "^ — the '^ free ^^ form was not tried here. One 
was small. The other measured 12 metres + 9, weighed 
143-59 kilogrammes (viz., 5920 silk + 9*15 boat + 1377 
ballast -h 39*47 netting, and +22*0 for the strong stays), and 
its specific gravity was 190*37 kilogrammes lighter than air. 
It was so constructed as to become a parachute if struck 
by a shot. The hydrogen was made with flakes and filings 
of thin iron, placed in two connected wooden tanks, and 
presenting the greatest amount of surface to the diluted 
sulphuric acid. The latter came, like the tanks and bottles, 
from New York. 

This balloon effected some fourteen or fifteen ascents at 
Tuyu-ti and Tuyu-cue. It rose from twelve to eighteen 
metres, and Lieutenant-Colonel Chodasiewicz, who accom- 
panied the owners, could easily discern that Marshal-Presi- 
dent Lopez had about 200 guns in position and 100 field- 
pieces. After it had made the first profile reconnaissances, 
the Paraguayans began to fire at it; and they fired so well 
that a shell burst within fifty yards of the boat. They 
presently learned to defeat its object by burning large piles 
of damp grass. Presently Major, or Doctor, Amaral — here 
all engineers are doctors (of mathematics) — finding the sway 
of the wind a somewhat nervous matter, reported it useless, 
and the Aliens took their departure. The Generalissimo 
did not approve of the moveable mangrullo — a Cossack 
revival,, proposed to him by the Polish engineer. 



S84 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

I took the opportunity of calling upon Crigadier-General 
the Barao do Triumpho. A son of Rio Grande do Sul, 
though upwards of sixty years old and six feet in height,, he 
is celebrated as the best horseman of the Brazilian army. 
He could sit without stirrups any " bucker, '' and use his 
sabre as if on foot with two pieces of money between his 
thighs and the saddle. After a glorious career^ he died on 
December 21^ 1868, of a typhus fever and a complication 
of disorders supervening upon a slight wound received at 
the Loma Valentina. Some months afterwards, when visiting 
Asuncion, I unexpectedly saw his unfinished tomb, inscribed 
" O Barao do Triumpho/'' No man was more regretted, 
and Marshal Caxias justly called him " O bravo dos bravos 
do exercito Brazileiro." 

" We hang this garland on his grave." 

I also missed General da Motta, a ripe Guarani scholar, 
who could have assisted me in explaining Paraguayan names 
of geographical features. All are significant, and deserving 
of record. It will be a pity to imitate Chile, which has 
forgotten the meanings of Aconcagua and Tupungato. 

En revanche, I saw General Osorio, commanding the third 
corps d'armee, the most popular man and the most brilliant 
officer in the Allied army. He was made Barao do Herval 
because he first landed upon the shores of Paraguay proper, 
and his subsequent services qualified him to become a Vis- 
conde. The title, I may explain, is taken from the Serra 
do Herval — of the mate-tea plantation : it lies in lat. 32° 
south, and is a continuation of the Serra Geral of Parana, 
whose eastern declivities have many " hervales." 

General Osorio was lodged in a small thatched house, a 
little to the west of the headquarter farm. An orderly 
took in my card, and I found him sitting with a few friends. 
He was slippered and suffering from osthexy, and thus he 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 385 

is compelled to be driven about — no small mortification. 
After seeinf^ so much of half-civilian oHiccrs, it was a plea- 
sui'e to hear his soldierly greeting, " Entre, caballcro '/' and 
the cordiality of his manners made me at once incline 
towards him. He is a stout, portly man of fifty to fifty- 
two, with the noble bearing of the Rio Grandense gentle- 
man. Despite grey hair and beard, his eye is bright and 
young; and his straight, handsome features bear the frankest 
and most kindly expression. He is the only general uni- 
versally loved and respected by the Argentines as well as 
the Brazilians, and this popularity has, it is said, excited 
the jealousy of his chief — certainly General Osorio^s name 
does not appear in orders as it deserves to appear. He 
is brave to temerity ; horse after horse has been shot under 
him, and the soldiers declare that he bears a charmed life, 
and shakes after battle the bullets out of his poncho. The 
Brazil need never despair of success when she can show 
such a noble example of gallantry and spirit as General 
Osorio. 

It was early in the day, and I had not broken fast when 
the Generars servant brought me half a tumblerful of gin 
in a silver mug. It would hardly have been soldier-like to 
hang fire in presence of the commander of the third corjjs 
d'armee, more especially as another " tot " was handed to 
him. He complained of his legs, but declared that they 
should not force him from Paraguay till the last moment. 
A cloud came over his countenance as he spoke of his 
crippled state. Moreover, he anticipated but little difficulty 
in a campaign beyond the Tebicuary, where the land is solid 
and the fighting would be straightforward. Ill-omened 
words ! The worst action was yet to come, and he was 
fated to be shot through the mouth at the Loma Yalentina. 
After December 11, 1868, he was compelled, by exfoliation 
of the palate bone, to revisit his native province. He re- 

25 



386 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

mained there, however, for the shortest possible time, and 
he at once returned to take part in the closing scene of Act 
No. 2. 

In the cool of the evening we strolled about the camp, 
to see what we could. Women — Brazilian mulatresses and 
Argentine " Chinas" — seemed to abound. Almost all were 
mounted en Amazone, and made conspicuous by mushroom 
straw hats, with the usual profusion of beads and blossoms. 
They distinguish themselves as the hardest riders, and it is 
difficult to keep them out of fire. They are popularly 
numbered at 4000, but this surely must be an exaggera- 
tion. It is bad enough to have any at all. Some of them 
have passed through the whole campaign, and these " brevet 
captains " must fill the hospitals. My Brazilian friends 
declared them to be a necessary evil. I can see the evil, 
but not the necessity. Anything more hideous and revolting 
than such specimens of femininity it is hard to imagine. 

The artillery park stood to the north-west of the head- 
quarters. I counted twenty Whitworths — all kept in apple- 
pie order, as if by Hindu gunners. We saw the men of a 
field battery preparing to march with their twelve guns : 
larger and stronger than the soldiers of the line, they were 
very heavily laden. They are said to equal Paraguayans 
on the plain, but their enemies seldom meet them without 
throwing up an earthwork covering. 

The Brazilian cavalry, the " eyes, feelers, and feeders of 
the army," were here in as good condition as those whom I 
saw at Humaita. The Carbineers had mostly the Spencer 
rifle, and had learned to use it tolerably w^ell. They wore 
upon the chest the cartridge belts which, after becoming 
obsolete in Europe and confined to Turks and Arnauts, are 
now being revived by the breechloader. The regiments con- 
sist of 400 men, as did those of the Paraguayans before the 
war ; but the latter gradually dwindled out of existence. 



TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 387 

The Brazilian infantry — as lias been the case with certain 
Continental armies, and happily not of ours — appeared to be 
the refuse of the other arms. The veteran who commands 
well knows how to handle them ; he always masses his men 
in heavy columns,, and he gives the enemy an '' indigestion 
de negres/^ generally sending 20,000 to attack 7000. Mr. 
Consul Hutchinson ( " The Parana, with Incidents of the 
Paraguayan War, and South American Revolutions from 
1861 to 1868 ") gives the portrait of a certain Sergeant 
Gonzalez, who, 

" Terrible de port, de moustache, et de cceur," 

fought, single-handed, ten men. Negroes, however, will ad- 
vance when they are led, and these men become, after their 
blood is warmed, '^ teimosos " (stubborn and obstinate) as the 
Egyptians, who proved themselves such good soldiers in the 
Mexican campaign. But at all times the officer must say 
*' Venite, non ite,'''' like those of our Sepoy corps, whose dis- 
proportionate loss, compared with the officers of home regi- 
ments, has often been commented npon. 

The battalions began with being 600 to 700 strong, and 
the light infantry 500 ; they may now average 400 to 500. 
The Paraguayans originally numbered the same, but soon 
fell off to half. Perhaps the most distinguished corps was 
the 7th Paulista Volunteers. In the first flush of the war 
it was joined by men of family and fortune, till it melted 
away amongst the swamps and fens of Lower Paraguay. It 
took part in almost every great action, till death and sickness 
so reduced it that the remnant was incorporated with other 
regiments. Amongst the number was an ex-officer of the 
British Navy, Alferez (Ensign) John King, who had been 
transferred to the 53rd Volunteers. I made inquiries about 
him, but he was not to be found, having been Iv^ounded in a 
late action and left in the Humaita hospital. 

25—2 



388 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT. 

As a rule^ the Brazilians rejected foreigners^ and they did 
right in preferring to fight their own battles. At the be- 
ginning of the war the Empire might easily have enlisted 
experienced officers fresh from the Southern States, and 
these would soon have provided her with men. Foreign 
legions have been repeatedly proposed and rejected ; in this 
the Brazil certainly chose the nobler part_, and her spirit and 
consistency under the most adverse circumstances will ever 
be remembered in her honour. 

Besides Mr. King, 1 knew of four English subjects that 
were allowed to enlist. One was a runaway Maltese sailor ; 
another was a mutinous British seaman who had been im- 
prisoned for the trifling off^ence of '' cutting '^ (i.e. stabbing) 
the cook ; and the other two were ne^er-do-weels, apparently 
of respectable family, who had absconded from their ship at 
Rio de Janeiro. Each of these received the normal $200, 
the price of a substitute, and one of them addressed to me 
sundry insolent letters, claiming British protection, and 
threatening to " write to the Times " if I failed to procure 
his discharge. His sole reason for claiming it was that he 
had twice deserted from the English Army. 

I have instructed you upon the matter of Brazilian rations. 
The men are also well dressed. Their fatigue suits are 
blouses and overalls of brown drill, besides the kepi and 
strong highlows ; in grand' tenue they wear tunics and pants 
of good broadcloth, with red facings and black leathers — 
pipe-clay not being here a favourite. On the march they 
carry light knapsacks, and wear white forage caps with red 
bands, and white or blue trousers, tucked up, not tucked in. 
Amongst them I saw the disgraceful spectacle of soldiers 
begging. And yet the pay of the linesman is fixed at $6 
(say twelve shillings) per mensem, whilst the volunteer has 
$30. In the United States war the men drew about the 
same ($16) ; but here half only is given in cash, and the 



TO THE RRAZILIAN FRONT. 381) 

rest is made to pay the etapa or etape^, rations, and other 
necessaries. Hence many assured me that they received 
only a dollar and a half per mensem, and that even this was 
irregularly paid. The officers appeared to have full pockets, 
and the pedlars made little fortunes by selling silver spoons, 
mugs, and similar notions. The campaign is everywhere 
termed a '' guerra de negocios,^^ a war upon the Brazilian 
Treasury ; and many are said to make money out of the un- 
happy soldier. The War-upon-the-Treasury system is known 
to us as to other people. Witness Mr. Calvert, with his 
little gang of thieves, at the Dardanelles ; he was supported 
at home till he began to insure non-existing ships. Here, 
however, it is believed that, with some brilliant exceptions^ 
no rank is free from corruption ; and it is popularly asserted 
that, whilst he had money. Marshal- President Lopez could 
purchase from his enemies whatever he wanted. 

I had taken a letter of introduction, by no means one of 
the least useful, to Sor Leonardo Mendoza, an employe of 
the Commissariat Department. All the " provedores," with 
whom contracts were made at so much a head, are under 
an Intendente — Commissary-General and Chief of the Re- 
parti9ao Fiscal (Treasury) and the Caisse Militaire. The 
first arrangements were concluded with Messrs. Cabal (of 
Santa Fe) and Benitez, who gave general satisfaction. In 
those days, however, pasto or fodder w^as little required. 
About three years ago they were succeeded by Messrs. Lezica 
and Lanuz, of Buenos Aires, who, as ^^ fornecidores ^^ for the 
Brazilian and Argentine Armies, fairly amassed large fortunes. 
At the same time, Messrs. Cabal and Bravo (a supposed 
partner) supplied the pressed hay, till, on March 21, 1869, 
this contract was taken up by Messrs. Molina and Co. ; the 
latter have not found it pay. Besides these great houses, 
there were many Brazilian and other ^' fornecidores,^^ each 
of whom has '^ made his pile.^' 



390 TO THE BRAZILIAN FRONT, 

The waste appeared extensive even to an eye familiar with 
the loss and recklessness of the Crimean campaign. Boxes 
of preserved sugar were spread upon mats in the high wind, 
and bales of yerba (tightly packed in hides, each weighing 
225 lbs.) were chopped open, allowing half the dust to fly 
away. T. & F. MartelFs cognac flowed like water, and 
AUsopp and Tennent were more common than tea. 

I dined with the employes of the Proveduria in their 
large tent, and heard a fine collection of camp boias and 
cucos, " shaves^^ and " yarns." Chauvin and Dumanet are 
well-known characters here. The " Amazons'*^ were on the 
line of the Tebicuary River, and on July 21th, some 7000 
of them had mutinied. The Bishop was in jail. General 
Resquin was the only superior officer not shot by Marshal- 
President Lopez, who was killing forty to fifty per diem. 
The Paraguayan forces were composed of 14,000, chiefly 
boys, and all were dying for want of salt. Caceres and ex- 
Governor Lopez (another Lopez) were marching upon 
Corrientes ; the women of Entre Bios were herding cattle, 
whilst 5000 of the men were proceeding under General 
Jordan to aid the two traitors. All severely blamed a 
circumstance which had lately occurred. Two troopers be- 
longing to the Barao do Triumpho^s command had bravely 
swum across the Tebicuary River, and at imminent risk 
had reconnoitred San Fernando. Instead of being made 
sergeants or receiving the V. C., they had been tipped with 
two sovereigns, one from Marshal Caxias, the other from 
General Fonseca. 

I slept comfortably in M. Mendoza's tent, and after 
coming to the front on foot, I returned on horseback. 
Adieu. 



LETTEE XXI. 

TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

Off the Tebicuary River, September 3, 1868. 

My dear Z , 

On September Ist^ at 2 p.m.^ the Brazilian 
sqnadron moved up to the mouth of the l^ebicuary, whose 
line had lately been abandoned by Marshal-President Lopez. 
The Linnets resolved, before following- their example, 
to honour the day by spending it amongst what Anglo- 
Indians call the " janwars.^'' We heard shots all around 
as if we had been in Western Europe, but here '^ sport^^ was 
accompanied by much tailoring and wounding of game. 

The river views above Tacuara are of the loveliest, a vista 
of successive lakes, diversified with isles and islets, with 
coves and inlets, soft as the scenery of a West African 
stream. The vegetation consists of the normal gnarled hard- 
wood trees, diversified by tall figs and a palm resembling 
the well-known cabbage-palm yatai (Areca oleracea) : the 
undergrowth is a lively-looking broom, a composite, in the 
Brazil called " vassoura.^"* The frechilla or arrow-caue 
grass, whicli much resembles the uba (a saccJiarum) of the 
Empire, shelters prodigious clouds of insects, especially 
sandflies ; it also supplies an oat-like seed said to fatten 
cattle as well as alfalfa. 

We began by operating upon the caymans, with which 
the banks swarmed : one of them was seen floating with 
bleached body and supine like a woman, whilst a vulture was 
pulling at it as though the Paraguay had been the corpse- 
bearing bosom of Mother Ganges. The " yacare^' — in the 



392 TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

Tupi " jacare^^ — is said to be largest and fiercest about the 
Laguua Piris. The red species_, confined to the marshes of 
the interior^ and known to devour children, is probably the 
" papo amarello (yellow throat) of the Brazil. When we 
had collected enough hide to make alligator boots, we soon 
wearied of blowing off the skullcaps of the big lizards. 
One full-grown specimen gave us a little excitement : the 
crew of the captain's gig took it in, and, luckily enough, 
lashed it tightly by both ends to the thwarts. Presently 
Jacare began to recover, and soon afterwards he became 
lively enough, causing much merriment by clapping his fine 
set of teeth and wagging his tail, which had a raised crest 
like the eel's. 

We then began to operate upon the water-hog, known in 
the Urazil as capivarha or capibara, and here capincho — 
not carpincho. Its soft and highly porous leather is a 
favourite tor the tirador or drawer, a belt universally 
worn, and best bought at special shops. It is so called 
because the lasso is held against it to prevent the man's 
side being cut by the dragging of the hide rope. The next 
idea was to support the loins when riding, for which purpose 
it is made six inches broad and even wider. Three pockets 
with flaps were added, so as to act as purse, portfolio, and 
cigarette-case. Lastly, came the ornamentation, a compli- 
cated affair. The usual style is to have front buttons com- 
posed of the various dollars from Spain to Mexico, and in 
some cases the leather is hidden by a scale-armour of silver 
overlapping like the armadillo's. Englishmen sometimes 
send for plates engraved with their crests — not unlike car- 
rying about one's card. One man whom you know used, by 
way of buckle, electrotyped facsimiles of his medals. He 
was threatened with death at the hand of the Gaucho, who 
always covets everything new in the shape of accoutrements ; 
but he was careful to carry his revolver to the fore. 



TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 393 

" Capinchos/' we are assured by the South American 
Pilot (p. 194), "are about the size of our pigs, and their 
flesh is of fair taste, but they are reported as being un- 
healthy/' Captain Page (p. 93) found the carpincha's 
savoury odour very tempting, and seems to have enjoyed it. 
In this subtropical climate the boatmen eat the hydro- 
chserus, of course when young. These porcines live upon 
vegetable substances, and here represent the hippopotamus. 
They are larger than in the Brazil; I have seen one old 
hog weighing 130, and I heard of J^OO lbs. ; the male may 
average 100, and the female 90 lbs. My 10/. householder 
on board the Arno told me that he had shot capinchos as 
big as cows. Irritated by an expression of dissent, he as- 
sured us that it was his project to establish a graseria for 
extracting the fat of the said water-hog; he might as well 
have talked of building a boiling-house for grizzly bears in 
the Rocky Mountains. 

This excess of imagination supports a theory which long 
ago I had worked out upon the North American prairies. 
The Pampa plains, immense and limitless, those mysterious 
sea-like horizons of the solid land, stimulate the fancy like 
the unknown, and cause her to express herself in glowing 
language and exaggerated ideas. Such is the inspiration of 
the Argentine poet. On the other hand, the paucity of 
objects upon which the eye of sense can rest, the grand 
monotony of general, and the dwarfing of animal nature — 
here seals take the place of whales — compel the brain or mind 
to seek a stimulus within itself. " How bridle the imagi- 
natioDs,''' says President Sarmiento (Life in the Argen- 
tine Republic) " of those who inhabit an illimitable plain, 
bordered by a river whose opposite bank cannot be seen V 
Hence, in the prairies, we read of a man riding a hundred 
miles to accoucher of a lie. We find upon the Pampas 
the same phenomenon in an exaggerated form. The glo- 



394 TO THE TEBICUARY HIVER. 

rious, unblushing,, unmitigated '' economists of truth /' 
Kit Carson himself would have " kow-towed " to them ! 

And, curious to say, great mountains have the same 
moral eflPect upon those living in their recesses. The moun- 
tain is nearer and dearer to man than the plain. JHe 
dwells in the bosom of his hills — his hand can almost touch 
the horizon of his world. Thus with him also, the visible 
has little of variety; his imagination is excited by the 
aspect of the greater heights which he does not inhabit, and 
which often he cannot visit. I found the Andine liar by 
no means inferior to him of Pampasia. 

Return we to our hogs, which looked like a blending of 
the guinea-pig and the hare. With bluff muzzles and brown 
skins they stared at us anxiously, and not without a comic 
air of defiance. Lieutenant-Commander Bushe, having ex- 
hausted his bullets, tried at close quarters a charge of buck- 
shot, which only made the pachyderms wriggle in their leaps 
like vicious mules. The crew sighted, in our absence, a 
ciervo (stag), which, at a distance, they mistook for a horse. 
This is the cua9U guazu, or cua9u pucu, the big, or long 
deer (C. paludosus), that haunts river banks; a fine animal 
with reddish-yellow coat, good for rugs. Though uneatable, 
it is the noblest game in this region. Mr. Darwin was 
fortunate, when failing to shoot, he drove off the ciervo by 
throwing stones : the male deer is apt, at seasons, to 
charge home with its large horns, and an onslaught might 
have left the glorious Darwinian theory in its earliest stage 
of development. 

There are three other kinds of deer, which all give good 
meat. The cua9u mini (small stag) prefers plains, whilst 
the cuagu pita (Cervus rufus) and the cuafiibira, or cabra 
de los bosques, is generally found in the woods. Mborevi 
(the tapir) la grande bete, the largest of South American 
ruminants, has been killed out ; and guara or Aguara, the 



TO THE TEBICUAUY RIVER. 395 

wild dog, fancifully described by the ancieuts as half wolf, 
half bear, is uo longer common. Ounces (jaguars) are 
numerous as in the sporting grounds of the Brazil : they 
live in the islands, and dine upon the capinehos. I in- 
quired about the black ounce, a rare variety, which seems 
to correspond with the black leopard of the Niger. The 
jaguar-ete-hun is very uncommon and expensive in the 
Brazil; during my three years of residence I saw only one 
skin — black, like a cat's, with red spots perceptible 
only in the light : it was said to have been brought 
from Northern Paraguay. In these parts the people ignore 
it, and the only Englishman who could tell me anything 
about it was Mr. Bichard Hughes, of Paysandii. The 
albino ounce is as uncommon as its negro brother. Chin- 
chilla rats are said to be found here, but, as in the Banda 
Oriental, the skins are not valuable : they are well developed 
only in the frigid regions. Very common, however, is the 
opossum (didelphus), the gamba of the Brazil and the 
comadrija of the Plate, known to the Guaranis as micure : 
it is a deadly enemy to poultry. The viscacha (lagostomus 
visaccia) is unknown : it has never crossed the Paraguay 
river, whilst the Pampas, to the west, are riddled by it. 
Several times I saw the nutria (otter), a term also applied 
to the seal and to the sea-lion (otis) : it is probably of two 
species, large and small, like the cuiya (Intra Brasiliensis). 
The mataco (or tatu) peludo (Euphractus) and mnlita, 
various species of armadillos, abound ; some are eaten, the 
others are rejected as menschen-fresser. 

We heard in the woods the nnmistakeable roar of the 
guariba, here called caraja (Stentor ursinus, or simia belze- 
buth) ; but the mud and water, combined with the cortadera 
or long razor-grass, and the bushy flowered aguararuguai or 
" fox-taiy prevented our getting within shot. The other two 
common simiadse are the red-furred bujus, the bugios of 



396 • TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

the Brazil, and the pretty little oustiti now so well known 
at home. Miss Popkin, of Monte Video, had charged me 
to bring back for her one of these dwarfs, but they are 
confined, I was assured, to the upper country. 

The birds, like the other fauna, are those familiar to the 
Brazilian traveller. Of that foul cheiropter, the vampire, 
here named Mbopi (vespertilio spectrum), thirteen species 
have been described by Azara. The iiandu ostrich (rhea 
Americana) does not inhabit the swamps. The red Ibis 
is common, but men complain that its flesh smells of 
ginger. That ciconian giant with the black head, here 
known as yabiru, and in the Brazil, jabiru, (Mycteria 
Americana, or Ciconia pillus), is often seen standing 
sentinel-like at the mouths of influents where fish travel. 
Under the name perdiz (partridge), are confounded many 
species such as nothura, tinamus, crypturus, eudomia, and 
rhyncotus. They are mostly of two kinds, the large and 
small; the former rises two or three times, and is then 
caught by dogs and mounted men; whilst the latter, 
objecting to fly, is noosed as in Sind. I saw but one 
specimen of the penelope, which Mr. Mansfield (page 311) 
calls a pheasant ; the natives have it as pavo del monte, 
bush peacock, and yacu-hun, the black jacii. It wore a 
dull grey coat, unfamiliar to me in the Brazil, but the genus 
was not to be mistaken. Lieutenant-Commander Bushe often 
brought back in the evening a varied bag of eighteen brace, 
no small assistance where eggs command sixpence each, fowls 
$2.50 (ten shillings), and sheep $4 to $5, when they would 
barely fetch $1 at Buenos Aires. 

Amongst the birds were two of great interest. One was 
the ipeg-guazu, alias pato real, a truly royal duck. It is 
evidently the parent stock of the domesticated Moscovy 
{i.e. musque) or Manilla duck (anas moschata), and it is 
readily known by its size, and by the white markings of the 



TO THE TEBTCUARr RIVER. 397 

black winga. It flies high, and carries off a full charge of 
shot ; the flesh is excellent, and the weight is often 9 lbs. 
I have heard even of 13 lbs., rivalling a full-sized goose. 
A well- stuffed specimen may be found in the museum of 
Buenos Aires. The other is the Brazilian palamedea 
cornuta, here known as ja-kha, " let us go ! " " vamos ! " a 
good imitation of its dissyllabic cry, by us corrupted to 
chakhan-chaja, jaja, and even tajan. Mr. Mansfield (page 
282) believes it to be a turkey, and it is probably the 
'' wild turkey '' or the " huge blue-grey bustard ^^ of 
Mr. Ross Johnson. It chooses the tops of the tallest trees, 
keeping a sharp look-out from under its erectile crest, but 
its loud cry soon betrays it. This bird is said to eat 
serpents like the Brazilian siriema, which so much 
resembles the South African secretary (Geronticus nu- 
difrons and ccerulescens.) Captain Johnston of Arazaty, 
a good observer, who has opened dead palamedeas, declared 
to us that he never found anything but vegetable substances 
in their crops. He easily domesticated them when in 
captivity; they are far better to look after poultry 
than the irritable agami (psophia), and, being armed with 
a pair of strong wing-spurs, they are not afraid of dogs. 

The other birds are of little importance. Gulls (larus) 
appear everywhere up the river. Ducks, water-hens, 
(fulica), and parras abound in the swamps, and the mirasol 
(paddy-bird), so ugly in captivity, stands like a hunch- 
backed Narcissus to admire his own white image in the 
water. Familiar to me are the scissor-bird ; Joao de Barros, 
the oven-bird ; the pretty viuava or widow, robed in jet and 
snow, as if just from the latest mourning establishment ; 
the neat little swallow ; the woodpecker, the two species of 
the anura, coprophagus , and the pert tico-tico. Amongst 
the parrots and parroquets, of which seven or eight kinds 
are known, I saw nothing remarkable. According to old 



398 TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

travellers the Paraguayans had preserved their ancestral art 
of artificially colouring the plumes. 

At one p.M.^ Sept. 2, H.M.S. Linnet steamed up the 
broadening river and sighted sundry islets which are not 
on the chart. The faint wind which relieved us of 
the morraa90 or stifling calm was very pleasant, 
and we sincerely wished for a heavier sky than the 
thin windsbaume or cirrus which the Brazilians call 
algodao batido — whipped cotton. Trying even to the 
seasoned is the sudden change from raw cold to dry heat, 
and more trying still are the immundicities, Messrs. 
Borachudo So Co. The weather, which I have said here 
mainly depends upon the wind, will gradually gain 
warmth from a minimum of 45 deg. in the cold or south 
wind horizon to 85 deg., and even 100 deg. when Boreas, 
whose blustering is here gone, shall prevail. 

The country still appeared mean, as that about Pekin 
described by travellers. After steaming two leagues we 
sighted five of the ironclads — the Monitors having been sent 
higher up — anchored ofi* the mouth of the Tebicuary River. 
This is usually laid down in south latitude 26° 39' and east 
longitude (G.) 58° 10'; at a distance of 108 miles from 
Corrientes. Lieutenant Day writes the word Tebiquari; 
Lieutenant- Colonel Thompson, Tebicuary or Tibicuary. Two 
derivations were given to me : one from Tebi the rear centre 
of the human frame, and Cuari broad : the compound word 
being the name of a Cacique or a tribe. Others translate it 
Tebi, cua source, and yg water — i.e. water flowing from a 
source which resembles a certain part of man. It is now a 
river with a name — a historic stream which has received its 
bapteme de sang. 

The Tebicuary is the largest river wholly owned by Para- 
guay. It rises in two branches from the Cuchilla Grande 
or great knife-like ridge north of Villa Bica, not from the 



TO THE TEBICUAHY RIVER. 39v) 

Yerbales or mate fields of the Misiones. As in sundry of 
the ueo-Latiu languapjes tlie feminine form denotes something 
larger than the masculine, cuchillo, and this knife-shape 
"would be opposed to Sierra, a saw-like ridgy range. Thence 
it flows southward, and bending west it drains the Laguna 
Ypoa, the '^ lucky lake," which appears to have two — an 
upper as well as a lower outlet. All declared it navigable 
for four leagues from the mouth with a width of 200 to 400 
metres. Others asserted that canoes have landed men at 
Villa Rica. This may be the case at certain seasons, but 
lately a light-draught Monitor grounded about five leagues 
up, and was not got off without difficulty. Our home papers 
boldly asserted that " the Tebicuary is navigable for many 
miles above Villa Rica." 

After the Linnet had roosted we crossed in the gig the 
mouth of the Tebicuary. It was boiling and swirling as if 
very deep, and the flood rushed violently around the tree- 
trunks that formerly stood upon its banks. As usual, at 
the confluence of the various tributaries, there are shoals and 
gatherings of fish, the young ones being probably brought 
down by the smaller streams. 

Striking over to the right jaw of the great affluent we 
landed upon the only quay, a few stakes, piles, and boards 
found useful at high river. The ground is here a false 
delta, or rather an island bearing the name of Fortin : 
it is formed in the south by the Tebicuary proper, and 
northwards by a carrisal wet with the percolation of the 
same stream. 

At the angle where the Fortin fronts the Paraguay river, 
was an eleven-gun battery, in which the defenders had copied 
the invader. Here we saw gabions for the first time ; there 
were traces of sod-revetted embrasures, not mere platforms 
en barbette; curtains were raised behind to traverse side 
shots, and epaulements prevented the works being raked 



400 TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

from the south-west. Facing the Tebicuary, disposed at a 
right angle and connected with the former by rifle-pits_, was 
a second battery of three field-pieces ; whilst about 200 feet 
higher up the stream a ditch and a small earthen parapet 
defended the ford, where a landing might have been effected 
at low water. In the rear of each battery was a separate 
magazine, rough but useful. The quarters for the soldiers 
had been fired, and the ill-savoured hides that covered them 
were charred : the whitewashed walls had been pulled down 
by the captors, and the ruins were occupied by vermin. 
The mangrullo and the large- sized cross alone remained 
intact. Pots and pans, bones and bullock- skulls, strewed 
the ground, but not a gun had been left— not a cartridge 
had been wasted. These trivial defences, evidently the 
work of a few men, had been leisurely evacuated, probably 
a sign that Marshal-President Lopez now deemed it neces- 
sary to economize material. 

Walking up the Paraguayan side we observed that here 
the stream above the confluence of the Tebicuary narrows 
to 300 yards, and its increased swiftness compels ascending 
ships to hug as usual the left bank, which is low and sub- 
ject to floods. Remnants of a boom, intended to delay the 
ironclads in the face of the battery, lay upon the ground : 
it was composed of huge hard- wood trunks, iron-bound and 
connected by bolts, rings, and shackles, and it was sufficiently 
resilient as it sagged down stream to yield before craft at- 
tempting the up-passage. Near it we found cut blocks of 
sandstone, intended probably for anchoring torpedoes. The 
material was a kind of coticular itacolumite from the upper 
bed : a little above Asuncion mica schist appears, and 
eighteen leagues from the capital granite, like that of the 
Brazil, was worked by the natives. 

Still further up the left bank of the Paraguay, and connected 
by rifle-pits with the south-western work, was a third battery, 



TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 401 

built for six guns. The floor and platforms had been raised 
to keep them above the mean level of inundation. All was 
of the poorest and simplest tracing. I afterwards saw a 
Brazilian sketch of these Tebicuary batteries, which under 
the artistes hand had grown to regular fortifications revetted 
with masonry, and vomiting volumes of smoke. 

The carrizal behind this north-eastern work appeared to 
be somewhat higher than the river,, and its fetid waters were 
fit only for the habitation of man''s pest, gnat and mosquito. 
The narrow strip of dark humus between it and the stream 
showed little plots of beans and vegetables, cotton and 
stunted maize. Such is Paraguay proper immediately to 
the north of the Tebicuary River, and there is very little to 
say in its praise. Higher up, however, about Angostura, 
'' infield '''' will take the lead of " outfield " or moorland, 
and in the central region, around Villa Rica, the soil is, 
I am told, exceptionally rich. 

Every strategist supposed that Marshal- President Lopez 
would mass his forces and fight the invader behind the 
frontier-line of the Tebicuary. But he knew that the 
mouth was open to Monitors, and that thus his force would 
have been placed between thi'ee fires. Moreover, as he 
had laid out a road with the normal '' lightning-dauk,''^ 
through the Gran Chaco opposite, he foresaw that the 
enemy might soon become master of it and cut off his com- 
munications with the rear. He therefore hastened to with- 
draw his men and to concentrate himself higher up stream 
behind defences which were fated to give the Allies much 
trouble and to cause them severe losses. Meanwhile he 
established his provisional capital at Luque, a village seven 
to eight miles west of Asuncion. 

My visit was now ended, and it afforded no opportunity of 
passing over to the Paraguayan lines. Mr. Gould was again 
expected in the Parana, and the cabin of the Linnet could 

26 



402 TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

hardly accommodate two guests ; I was also imwilling to 
tax any further Lieutenant-Commander Bushels hospitality. 
Moreover the Brazilian authorities were opposed to private 
visits amongst their enemies^ and, after the frankness and 
courtesy with which they had received me, it was impossible 
to ignore their wishes. Finally, I knew too well that, 
after the many tales told concerning the maltreatment of 
strangers by the Paraguayans, a report of my captivity, per- 
haps of my torture and death, would have at once been 
spread by a host of " friends,^^ and that the " sick leave,"*^ 
so freely granted to me, implied the condition that it must 
be used with due prudence. 

At that time also an evil report was current concerning 
a certain Baron von Veren, whom the Tribuna of Buenos 
Aires called Major Barsen. This Prussian officer wishing 
to see service in the Far West, left Bordeaux, and was at 
once arrested at Rio de Janeiro upon the charge of intending 
to levy war against the Empire. When set free at the 
instance of his minister he j)^ii'sued his journey to Buenos 
Aires, where again, upon a similar count, he found himself 
in the same predicament. Compelled to give his word that ■! 
he would not at once visit Paraguay, Baron von Versen 
crossed the Pampas, and, retracing his way, presented him- 
self to the President of Paraguay. For the third time he 
was arrested as a spy, and, on this occasion, only the action 
of December 27, 1868, saved him from being shot. After 
which he thought proper to revisit Europe. The fact is that 
almost all so-called pasados, or deserters from the Para- 
guayan army, are told off by their government to collect 
information, and the authorities naturally believe that all 
unknown strangers who visit them are in a similar category. 
Thus my trip to the upper waters was deferred hasta mejor 
opportunidad. 

On the evening of September 3 I bade a regretful fare- 



TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 403 

Avell to my kind-hearted hosts, and transferred myself very 
unwillingly on board the Clyde steamer, Vale of Boon, 
Captain Smith. Early on the next morning wc ran up the 
Tebicuary. The flooded mouth was a mass of islets, and 
the huge figs, which formed the avenues of the sides, seemed 
to be growing like mangroves in the water. Presently 
passing the mouth of the Yacare influent the bank rose two 
feet high, and the tree bare trunks were bunchy with para- 
sites like the mistletoe. At last the ledge became tall and 
perpendicular, where the stream runs as that of the Para- 
guay, whilst that opposite was low and flooded. On the 
northern margin appeared an incipient sandstone with strata 
and cleavage. 

The course was tortuous in the extreme, and the channel 
was so narrow that at every turn we scraped the bush and 
forest. After a tight loop, bulging to the south-east, and 
a run of some three miles, we came to a big bend where the 
northern bank projected southwards. It was a mere tongue 
of land opposite the pass described to you in Letter XX., and 
here the Brazilians had crossed to carry the works of San 
Fernando. Vultures rose from the bloated carcases of 
cattle ; and Paraguayan corpses, in leathern waist- wraps, 
floated face downwards, rising and falling after a ghostly 
fashion, w^ith the scour and ripple of the stream. At the 
apex of the re-entering angle of the southern bank were 
the Brazilian earthworks ; a kind of tete de pont was fronted 
by the best abatis that I had yet seen. Opposite it, and 
not connected by a bridge, was the lately captured redoubt 
which defended the San Fernando Pass, with the usual bar- 
racks and mangrullo. 

I chanced upon an animated scene : it will ever be 
remembered by me with pleasure. At the '^ port '' five iron- 
clads were ferrying across the troops, who were that day to 
be followed by their Commander-in-Chief. On the left bank 

26— a 



404 TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 

of the Tebicuary stood outposts and videttes, the comercio or 
camp bazar, and the host of women without which apparently 
the Brazilian camp cannot move. The glorious sun flashed 
through the clear morning air, gilding helmet and lance- 
headj bayonet and sabre, and the young day smiled upon 
the pomp and circumstance of war. Superior oflicers, each 
followed by his staff, moved slowly across the green plain, 
whilst adjutants and orderlies dashed about in all directions. 
With bands playing and colours flying, infantry in heavy 
marching order debouched upon the bank, marching in 
the loose, lithe French style, which looks so soldier-like after 
the heavy tread and stiff progress of our Islandry. 
After the signal of boot and saddle, cavalry corps came 
up at the trot, their round-backed horses neighing with 
excitement ; 

" While trumpets sound their loudest point of tone." 

There was a rumble of field-guns and a loud hum of men, 
and the absence of shout and clamour showed that military 
discipline had done its best. The sailors of the squadron, 
neatly clad in Glengarrys, with overalls and shirts of light- 
blue serge, not without the normal white flap or faliing collar, 
worked their hardest. Four thousand cutlasses are not to 
be despised in such guerilla warfare, and it is surprising 
that the Brazilian authorities refused to adopt the naval 
brigades which amongst us did such good service in India 
and elsewhere. The spectacle was pleasing in the extreme, 
and all the men appeared to enjoy the best health, and 
spirits in proportion. 

As the Vale of Doon was about to turn her head down 
stream, a passenger came hurriedly up to me, and asked if I 
would land to see a ^' barbaridade.^^ Captain Smith, how- 
ever, was behind his time, and he could not afford us another 
minute. Close to the River Pass, according to report, were six 
corpses laid out straight^ with their feet towards the enemy. 



TO THE TEBICUARY RIVER. 405 

and each bearing pinned to his breast a paper inscribed 
— '' Asi perecen los traidores ! " — " Thus perish the traitors."" 
Amongst them was a hue, tall man, with gloved hands, and 
large black beard falling upon his breast. It was variously- 
suggested to have been Vice-President Sanchez, General 
Bruguez, or Sr Jose Maria Leite Pereira, the Acting 
Portuguese Consul, arrested 5 p.m., September 11, at Asun- 
cion. Before I reached Buenos Aires the figure of 6 had 
grown to 17, and included women and children: it there 
advanced, temporarily halting at 64 (Lieutenant-Colonel 
Cunha), at 70, and at 400 to 800 victims (Colonel Choda- 
siewicz), sacrificed to the furious suspicions of Marshal- 
President Lopez. 

I shall retura to this subject in the next letter, meanwhile 
— Adieu ! 



LETTEE XXII. 

RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. THE CONSPIRACY.— THE 

"atrocities of LOPEZ." 

Buenos Aires, September 20, 1868. 



My dear Z , 

Nothing remained for me after my short 
but most interesting visit but to run down south and to 
await the course of events, incertus quo fata f event. A single 
day sufficed for the forty-two leagues between S. Fernando 
and Corrientes; and a week or so at the latter afforded 
me a trip to the mysterious Gran Chaco. The old city was 
a return to civilization after a fashion,, and once more my ear 
was regaled with the cry of the gallo, and tortured by certain 
'^ solos and snatches of song '''' happily unknown to camp. 

From Corrientes I embarked upon the Argentine steamer 
Proveedor, paying Ql. IQs. for a two days' run. Concurrence 
on Thursdays reduces this to half-price, whereas we Sunday 
travellers were charged double. The diet was the usual 
thing, macaroni soup without Parmesan, the eternal pu- 
chero, caoutchouc-like mutton, peas fit for revolver balls, 
mangled fowl, and hard stringy salad. I deeply regretted 
the succulent feeds of the 17. An awful man of dignity 
was the skipper, and even the unwashed purser was a swell 
whose smile was a matter of favour. The ship went well, 
but our lives were literally in the hands of the drunken sots 
that drove her, and who passed their time draining the 
bottle or dancing bear-like to the colic-causing strains of 
travelling Italian zampognari. 

* * * -x- -Jf 

You might have been spared this letter had Lieutenant- 



RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. 407 

Colonel Thompson (Chap. XXV.) been explicit upon the 
subject of the alleged confederacy and atrocities. But that 
officer frankly tells you, " I know very little about the 
subject myself, and probably hardly any one knows much.^' 
It is therefore necessary to seek information out of Paraguay, 
and for that purpose to compulse even common report. 

It would appear that shortly after February 22, 1868, 
when the Brazilian ironclads had fired into Asuncion, many 
Paraguayans began to despair of the cause. General 
Bruguez, who had risen to that rank in June, 1866 ; 
others say the Minister of Foreign Afi'airs, Don Maria 
Jose Berges, was deputed by the citizens to perform the 
pleasant operation which is popularly called '^ belling the 
cat.^^ I have already told you the result of the attempt. 

Shortly after this time the Allied Army began to hear a 
succession of rumours touching the tortures and executions 
of Paraguayans, and of foreign employes, as well as refugees. 
The subject was new. Up to that time the Marshal-Pre- 
sident had preserved a certain character for moderation, and 
despite the reports which are always set on foot concerning 
an enemy, he could not be accused of cruelty. In July, 
1864, we read in Mr. M. Mulhall ('^ The Cottonfields 
of Paraguay and Corrientes/-' p. 106) : " I thanked the 
President for his kindness, and withdrew very much disposed 
to view favourably a country with so intelligent, affable, 
and progressive a ruler.'"' He also remarked, " The govern- 
ment of President Lopez is not only the best adapted for 
the people of Paraguay, but a model, moreover, of order 
and progress, from which the Argentine, Oriental, Bolivian, 
Chilian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, Columbian, and other South 
American administrations, might advantageously borrow 
an idea.^^ (p. 91). After the fatal check at Riachuelo, 
we learn from Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson (Chap. VII.) : 
" A sailor was shot for cowardice the evening the steamers 



408 RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. 

returned to Humaita^ having gone into the hold during 
action. Lopez gave some foreigners to understand that he 
was very much vexed it had been reported to him, but that, 
such being the case, he had no other course to pursue/^ 

The suspicion of treason, and the tirm resolve to fight 
his last man, seem to have acted unfavourably upon the 
Marshal- President. Moreover, it is generally believed that 
about this time he had become addicted to port wine and 
piety ; to mass-going and hard drinking. When T first visited 
the Allies (August to September, 1868), all were talking of 
the butcheries which disgraced his rule, and, as usual, they 
talked so much that the less credulous portion of the public 
began to disbelieve the reports generally. The victims 
were killed and brought to life again half a dozen times 
during the course of the year, and when I last left Paraguay, 
men still hesitated how much to credit. True, the Tri- 
buna of Buenos Aires had published (Feb. 20, 1869) a long 
list of the dead and slain, purporting to be an extract from 
General Resquin^s diary, which began with May 31, 1868. 
But even this paper was looked upon with suspicion. It 
might, after all, be nothing but a ruse de guerre. 

The next important witness is the Honourable Charles 
A. Washburn, United States Minister, and the only 
Foreign Minister accredited to Paraguay. In September, 
1865, 1 was introduced to this gentleman at Rio de 
Janeiro, before his departure for his post. After meeting 
with some obstructions from the Brazilians, or rather from 
the Allies, he reached Asuncion, and was favourably 
impressed by the cause and by the President of the small 
llepublic. He afterwards left his post early in 1865, on 
home leave ; and when he returned to it on November 1 
of the same year, he had to force the blockade in a ship of 
war, the Shamokin, against the wish of the Generalissimo 
Mitre, and under protest from Admiral Tamandare. In 
early March, 1867, he ofi'ered to act as mediator between 



RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. 409 

the combatants, and he passed three days in the Allied 
camp. Tlie negotiations, however, were broken off, and 
the Minister once more retired. 

The ill feeling between Marshal-President Lopez and 
Mr. Washburn began early in 1868, when Asuncion was 
placed under military law, and Luque was erected into a 
provisional capital. The United States Minister received 
an invitation to quit his hotel, and he positively refused to 
obey it, arguing that the Legation w^as part of the United 
States territory. I hardly think that such a proceeding would 
have been adopted by European diplomatists. Asuncion 
had been proved dangerous ; it might have been attacked 
at any moment by a squadron of ironclads, and the Marshal- 
President of the Republic was to a certain extent answerable 
for the lives of foreign agents accredited to him. 

Thus the Minister was drawn into a by no means dig- 
nified correspondence with the Paraguayan Cabinet, espe- 
cially with the acting minister Gumesindo Benitez, who was 
shot, or reported shot, before the question was settled ; and 
with his successor, the notorious Luis Caminos. He was 
subjected to all manner of injurious imputations; of 
harbouring foreign traitors, when he had only given a home 
to two or three Americans and twenty-two English; of 
furthering his fortunes by receiving, in consideration of a 
percentage, " trunks, boxes, and iron safes '' of moneys and 
valuables which belonged to the State ; of being '' bribed by 
the Marquis de Caxias ; ^^ of covering with his seal treason- 
able correspondence forwarded to the Allied Army; and lastly, 
of being " implicated in a vast conspiracy '^ — in fact, of high 
treason. His only excuse for tolerating and replying to 
such insolent charges, was that he feared not only death, 
but torture for himself and his wife and child. Such a 
confession could hardly be palatable to the proud Republic 
which he represented. 



410 



RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. 



On August 31, 1868, Mr. Washburn received his passports, 
and early in the next month the U.S. steamer Wasp, Lieut.- 
Commander Kirldand, was sent up to remove him. As 
the gunboat lay about one league below the capital, the 
Paraguayan steamer Rio Apra was placed at his disposal. 
Whilst the Minister was embarking, two of the employes 
at the Legation, Messrs. Bliss and Masterman, were violently 
arrested for high treason in the streets of Asuncion. In 
the case of these individuals he admits a certain duplicity 
of " fencing and fighting " besides flattering his antagonist. 
But when Mr. Washburn was safely on board the Wasp, 
he heard that Marshal- President Lopez had threatened 
Lieutenant-Commander Kirkland to keep him a prisoner ; 
and instead of returning to his post and compelling the 
restitution of his attaches, he addressed (September 12) a 
violent letter, menacing to put the President of Paraguay 
under the ban of the civilized world.^ 

In the early autumn of 1868, I again met Mr. W^ash- 
burn at Buenos Aires. Physically, he was much changed; 
he had been living in a state of nervous excitement, in an 
atmosphere of terror and suspicion, happily unfamiliar to 
the free air of the United States. Many of his assertions 
were those of a man who was hardly responsible for his 
actions. He declared that all the foreigners at Asuncion 
were in prison, and that doubtless most of them would be 
killed, on the principle that '^ a dead cock does not crow.''^ 
He asserted that Marshal-President Lopez was fighting 
wild, like an exhausted pugilist, furiously hitting right 
and left. He explained the ^' atrocities '''' as the results of 
systematic plunder. A '' hole in the treasure chest '^ had 



* Of this missive Lieut.-Col. Thompson remarks: "Mr. Washburn sent 
from on board the Wasp a letter to Lopez, which would probably have had 
the etTect of my receiving orders to fire at her as she went down, had he 
received it before that took place." 



RETDRN TO BUENOS AIRES. 411 

been found at Luque. The funds were never in the hands of 
a competent bookkeeper; consequently, the wealthy part of 
the community was accused of theft, and was ironed, 
tortured, and put to death, with the sole view of 
confiscation. 

On September 29, 1865, Mr. Washburn published, in a 
supplement to the Buenos Ayres Standard, Diplomatic Notes 
concerning foreigners in Paraguay, beginning with a letter 
addressed to H.B.M.^s Minister Plenipotentiary. It after- 
wards appeared in Paris, much to the wonderment of civilized 
man ; and I regret to say Lieutenant-Colonel Thompson 
has largely quoted from a document which breathes in every 
line a spirit of fierce hatred against a quondam friend. Mr. 
Washburn complains of being watched by forty policemen; of 
living in a ^' deep and funereal-like gloom^' in a " Dionysius 
Gallery.^' Such an existence, he says, " is enough to render 
even the sleep of a brave man fitful and uneasy, and, of a 
man like me, without such pretensions, utterly inadequate 
to ' knit up the ravelled sleeve of care.^ '' This commendable 
candour is surely rare in the annals of diplomacy. He 
quotes Vattel, Martens, and Mr. Wheaton, " his own coun- 
tryman, generally regarded as the highest authority of 
modern times on matters of international law.^^ What do 
his fellow-citizens call speaking to Buncombe ? 

I read with surprise these ^'^ windy notes.^^* They 
are a curious specimen of the " dense cloud of oflScial 
verbosity^^ which envelopes every official correspondence in 
Paraguay. The whole savours curiously of want of truth, 
and it is evidently the Guarani habit, like the Chinese, to 
" make a summary,^^ and during the course of the report to 
insert as many sneers and insinuations as possible. All 



* Mr. Washburn's would have made up 240 pages of a volume like this, 
and were judged too lengthy for publication. 



412 RETURN TO BUENOS AIRES. 

purely complimentary terms of expression are accepted with 
the utmost gravity ; any slip of the memory or of the pen, 
however trivial, is dwelt upon at a suspicious length ; and 
lastly, the confessions of men who were probably tortured 
to confess are treated as the confidential communications of 
political criminals. Good-bye. 



LETTEE XXIII. 

TRIP TO ASUNCION, THE CIUDAD. 

April 10, 1869. 

My dear Z , 

On September 4^ 1868, I left, you may 
remember,, the Allied Army crossing the Tebicuary, and 
marching northwards to dislodge Marshal-President Lopez 
from his last river-stronghold, Angostura- cum -La Villeta. 
As they followed the high road up stream for some thirty- 
three to forty leagues from San Fernando, a few skirmishes 
occurred^ especially on November 25. This was distinguished 
by a reconnaissance en force by land and water, in which 
Marshal Caxias and Admiral Ignacio led. From San 
Fernando to the Guardia de las Palm as the invader spent 
eighteen days : he found seven " ports '^ where the ships 
could touch, and one at which his force could be provisioned. 
The Brazilian army had carried out its usual system of cutting 
a road through the Gran Chaco, and of throwing troops on 
the enemy's rear. Four great actions had been fought 
between December 21 and 27, 1868, and the Marshal- 
President had been driven by immense odds from the river- 
line which he had defended with such obstinacy. As I have 
told you, the arch enemy having fled to the interior, the 
war had been officially reported " ended.^^ The second 
phase had, it is true, passed away, but the third and final — 
the guerilla — was still to be fought, and the croakers 
declared that the real difficulties of the campaign were now 
to commence. 

Meanwhile, Mr. William C. Maxwell and I had wandered 



414 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

about quaint Cordoba^ the ex-Jesuit Seminary^ one of the 
oldest of the scattered cities with which the Spaniards had 
built up a kind of skeleton civilization. In company with 
Major Ignacio Kickard^ R.A._, we had inspected the Sierra de 
San Luiz, and visited the scene of the terrible earthquake 
at Mendoza. We then crossed the Andes by the Uspal- 
lata Pass, enjoying two views which amply requited us for 
all our little hardships. We rested at Santiago de Chile, 
known to you by the fire in the Jesuit church,, which 
destroyed some 2000 of the fairest of the fair Chilenas. 
We then embarked at Valparaiso for Peru, and saw what 
we could of the ports ruined by the last " sea-quake/^ per- 
haps the most destructive recorded in history, running some 
risk from the deadly typhus, called yellow fever, but really 
engendered from the putrefaction of unburied dead, human 
and bestial. Finally, we returned to the Plata River via 
Magellan, whose glaciers and contrasts of scenery, 

" Where Chili bhifFs and Plata flats the coast," 

— the western half Andine, the eastern Pampasian — were a 
splendid novelty, a wonder, a delight, that electrified the 
most jaded of fellow-travellers. 

At Buenos Aires, finding myself just too late for the 
homeward-bound Royal Mail, I embarked on Sunday, April 4, 
1869, on board a former acquaintance, the Proveedor. 
She had, meanwhile, been much improved by the new com- 
mander. Captain Carboneschi. On this trip the party con- 
sisted of Messrs. Curtis and Palmer, of the United States, 
and my old friend, Mr. Charles H. Williams, of Bahia, who, 
having suffered a four-years^ infliction of newspaper leaders, 
wished to judge for himself the " crusade in Paraguay.'^ 
One of the first to greet me on board was my quondam 
host of San Fernando, D. Leonardo Mendoza, who had 
accompanied the Allied forces on their up-march to Asun- 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 415 

cion, and whose local knowledge was invaluable. We car- 
ried also D. Francisco Martinez^ a Commissary General of 
the Argentine Contingent ; and a pretty Bostonian (N. E.) 
with two small girls en route to join her husband,, an army 
surgeon. 

The rest on board were the veriest ruffians, riff-raff, raga- 
muffins, that I had seen in South America, even at Monte 
Video. The feminine camp-followers were clad in calico 
dresses, glowing shawls, and satin bottines. The masculine, 
surly because not permitted to be first class, slept on the 
quarter-deck, indulged in " eye-openers,^^ expectorated to 
windward, and smelt rancidly of cabbage and garlic, of 
sausage and bad ^baccy. Each travelled with his catre, or 
scissors-bed, his big bag, his bunch of bananas, and another 
article which must not be mentioned until we shall have 
learned to call a spade a spade. There were never less than 
three Italian grind-organs — in the mysterous heart of South 
America — and when one set landed, another came on board ; 
they stunned us during dinner, and they had the impudence 
to dun us for dinning ns. As the rain often confined us 
to the cabin we suffered immoderately. 

Running swiftly past well-remembered spots^ we halted 
some three hours at Rozario. All the rain of the lower fir- 
mament had apparently combined to raise the mighty Parana. 
The memorable '' Flood of 1868-69 " began in November- 
December last, and the water was still twelve feet above the 
usual mark. The surface was everywhere green with cama- 
lotes or grass islets, some numbering a few inches, others 
large enough to carry a ship down stream. They undulated 
in the wake of our steamer with a grace which doubtless 
suggested the chinampas or moving gardens of Mexico, and 
those that did not hitch to the banks floated out to sea via 
Monte Video. In old days Buenos Aires was full of tales 
about ^' tigers '^ and other ravenous beasts being landed by 



416 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

them in her streets. The lower town was obliterated, the 
Custom-house seemed an ugly bit of Venice, the gasworks 
threatened to fall, the jetty was denoted by a hillock of coal 
rising black from the rushing brown swirl, and nothing but 
the emerald- tinted weeping willows seemed to enjoy the 
mighty footbath. The land, before all sere and sunburnt, 
was now beautifully fresh and grassy, and the uplands were 
dotted with thickly -tufted trees. Here we landed for a few 
minutes in company with my colleague, Mr. Consul Hutchin- 
son, whom I had not met since 1861. During these long 
years he had lived at Rozario — verily he must have as many 
lives as Realmah. 

We anchored off Corrientes city on a rainy day. How dull, 
and low, and miserable it looked, with its foul tanneries to the 
south, and its muddy lines of so-called streets ! I could not 
forget the pleasant time passed there, but — never return to 
a place where you have been happy ! Then the Proveedor 
span by the Cerrito Island and the Tres Bocas ; and, late at 
night, delayed for a few minutes at the once redoubtable 
Humaita. She passed the Tebicuary mouth also during the 
hours of darkness. This shows how little a man may see 
when travelling far by steamer ; my American friends, un- 
lucky during the down trip, never sighted these two most 
important positions. Better, far better, under such circum- 
stances, is the boat. 

I rose betimes on Friday, April 9, for now we were 
ploughing strange waters. We had run out of the " sour 
mornings ^^ of Buenos Aires. The dawn was crystal clear, 
and the river had changed its muddy grey-brown for the 
limpid sarsaparilla, like the black hue of the Upper Missis- 
sippi. Glassy smooths alternated with ruffled streaks, where 
wavy ripples played with the fresh breeze ; and our stern 
drew after it the apex of a cone which spread out behind in 
a double line of dancing wavelets. The banks were curtains 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 417 

of tliiu-leaved willows, fantastic clumps of creepers investing 
dead trunks, and leas of the broad succulent pistia, that 
show whence come the floating isles. We hailed with de- 
light, after the arid growth of the Pampas and the scanty- 
clothing of the desert Chilian shore, the fair Brazilian flora, 
tall mangui-hibiscus, cecropia or candelabrum-tree, and 
convolvulus, here white, there pink. 

" Such towns are these V' said M. Mendoza, as he pointed 
to the few long white-walled Ranchos, known as Villa 
Franca. Its site is a clearing in the eastern bank, where it 
is somewhat higher than usual ; above and below it the 
raised ground falls into tree- clad hollows, and a long island 
occupies the centre of the stream. More interesting was 
the Vuelta Hermosa, which all remarked before they had 
heard its name — a regular '' horseshoe bend,^'' in the western 
barranca, whose fifteen perpendicular feet of stiff" clay under- 
lie sixteen inches of dark vegetable mould, clad in grass and 
well-grown palms. It is a splendid site for a colony, but 
still — it is in the Gran Chaco. The only Paraguayan build- 
ings are in their clearings on the low shore opposite^ 
tattered stockades and tiled ranchos, almost swept away by 
the inundations. Such are the deserted Guardias of Gatrapi 
and La Zanjita. 

Our attention was then called to Villa Oliva, another 
deserted hamlet, consisting of a chapel, El Rozario^ a white 
and tiled house, and half a dozen sunburnt ranchos : deserted 
all, and rising from a drowned land, at whose edge half a 
dozen pistia-islets were cutting themselves adrift. Carts, 
ambulances, and ammunition waggons, left by the Allies for 
want of draught, lay broadcast o\^er the country ; and in 
striking contrast rose the Marshal-President^s telegi'aph 
posts of well-trimmed hardwood (madera de ley). North 
of Villa Oliva was found a single bridge, and the swampy 
ground proved, Paraguayan-like, very unsound and treache- 

27 



418 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

rous to the invader. The same words may describe Villa 
Mercedes. It had its subtending pistia-swamp, its flat open 
clearing of carandaypalm^ its scatters of carts and ambulances, 
its church — N. S. de las Mercedes, a whitewashed, red- 
roofed shed — and its three big tiled ranchos. Here the line 
of telegraph was double : one running along the stream, the 
other striking inland. 

And now the weather becomes fitful : the purple cloud 
at times discharges a few drops, and then a glowing sun- 
shine bursts upon the scene and gives the landscape life. 
This is the best of backgrounds for the new prospect which, 
after more than a thousand miles of luxuriant vegetation in 
the deadest flat, discloses itself about 3 p.m. The country 
again suggests that about Monte Video : its low rolling downs 
are truly refreshing, like a draught of water to a thirsty 
throat : we feel as if sighting land after a long sea voyage. 
You will think these expressions exaggerated, but the im- 
pression was almost universal. Low on the north-eastern 
horizon, with the subtended angles diminished by distance, 
rose five blue points, which, according to the pilots, may be 
seen from Villa Franca. Some called them Cerro de San 
Antonio, others Lambare, others the Peaks of Paraguari, 
whilst the best informed judged them to be the Altos, or 
southern outlines of the great Paraguayan Cordillera. In 
this direction the heights best known are the Cerros of 
Itaugua, which meet the Cordillera of Itaipacua ; the peak 
of Mbatovi ; the range of Santo Tomas, containing a cave 
inhabited by that Apostle ; the Cerro Porteno, near Para- 
guari, where Belgrano was defeated; the cones of Acai, 
near Villa Eica; and Yaguaron, where, in 1755, the Jesuits 
built the mission of St. Bonaventura. 

Nearer, and swelling above the tall tree-curtain of the 
river bank, are Las Lomas — the ridges — grassy slopes, best 
fitted for the shock of armies, thwaites, and bits of stubbly 



TRIP TO ASUNCJON. 419 

ground, golden and ruddy ; yellow with grass below, and, 
higher, dark with monte and capoeira, gently rolling up to 
the hill-crest. Both plain and land-wave are scattered with 
" quinta/' Here the term is applied to groves of palms 
and oranges, whether accompanied by a house or not. To 
the north appears Loma Valentina — a reddish black-dotted 
upland, still topped by galpons or sheds ;* a single tree 
showing the headquarters on the south-western slope, which 
commands the landscape like a map. 

On this spot some 4000 Paraguayans and 3000 
Brazilians — some have increased the number to 15,000, and 
others even to 20,000 — fattened the soil. It was the 
hardest fighting in the whole war. 

" No man gave back a foot ; no breathing space 
One took or gave within that dreadful place." 

Marshal-President Lopez once more here risked his for- 
tunes, and lost ; whilst the Allies, especially the Brazilians, 
w^on, and gained nothing by their splendid, sterile victory. 

The afiair at Loma Valentina is a mystery, and, I may 
say, one of the ugliest of the many ugly facts that have 
disfigured this war. After a week^s hand-to-hand fighting, 
a terrible bombardment, and perpetual rifle-firing, the 
Allies, headed by the Argentines, marched, on the morning 
of December 27, 1868, into the heart of the Marshal- Presi- 
dent's lines. They found the artillery completely dis- 
mounted, and the few Paraguayans who remained after the 
sauve qui pent were cut down or bayonetted. The arch- 
enemy never expected to escape : he had placed his family 
under the care of General Macmahon ; he rose from break- 
fast to mount his horse, and he left behind him his personal 



* The sheds were probably the remains of the immense house which, 
according to Lt.-Col. Thompson, the President built at Ita Yvati (the high 
store}'), about four miles from the river, and two in rear of the Pikysiry 
trenches. 

27—2 



420 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

baggage and female slaves^ his private carriage, and even 
his clothes and papers. Dr. Stewart and others had sur- 
rendered to the enemy, but Marshal-President Lopez dashed 
through the scattered Brazilian forces and rode off accom- 
panied, some say by twenty, others by ninety men, to 
Cerro Leon, his hill stronghold. 

The Brazilian General J. M. Menna Barreto had, before 
the action^ volunteered to capture the arch-enemy. During 
that day there were some 5000 Brazilian cavalry in the 
field, and hardly one-half of them had drawn a sabre. Yet 
Marshal Caxias refused to detach a troop in pursuit. His 
friends excuse him by saying that he had been forty-eight 
hours on horseback ; that his forces had been demoralized 
by the frightful fighting, and so forth. Similarly, when he 
returned on sick certificate to Rio de Janeiro, they declared 
that he was on the point of death when he was seen by the 
public riding a spirited horse about Tijuca and Andarahy. At 
length the Generalissimo detached Lieut. -Colonel Cunha 
and the 54th Volunteers — infantry to catch a man on 
horseback ! This battalion marched as far as Potrero Mar- 
iQore, where a large family of half-naked Paraguayans 
assured them that about two hours before Marshal-President 
Lopez had mounted a fresh horse. Having failed to throw 
salt on the fugitive, the pursuers sensibly returned to camp. 
Comment upon such a proceeding as this is useless. 
Any service in the world would have called upon Marshal 
Caxias to justify himself before a court-martial, and a strict 
service like the French or the Austrian vrould probably have 
condemned him to be shot. In the Brazil, he was created 
a Duke — the only Duke — on March 23, 1869, and he was 
relieved from the command-in-chief on the following 22nd of 
April. 

A little gap in the eastern bank shows the mouth of the 
Suruby rivulet — Surubi-hy, the stream of the Surubi fish. 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 421 

There was fierce fighting at this spot; and on September 
23, an ambuscade of Parag^uayans fell upon the Bra- 
zilian vanguard, destroying many of it, and annihilating a 
whole battalion. As we advanced, hove in sight the 
Guard ia de las Palmas, the usual horseshoe in the eastern or 
left bank here, three to four feet high, and declining to the 
north and south. The large clearing showed a forest of 
poles and sticks; stretchers sheltered by remnants of roofs; 
grass still mangy and worn; green-painted litters and am- 
bulances, and long lines of broken huts and hovels ; in 
fact, the remnants of a big encampment. Here stood the 
general comercio or bazar, and the camp of the Argentines, 
who threw up a redoubt before attacking the Marshal 
President's last line of defence. The second mangruUo to 
the north denoted the Brazilian quarters, then sheltering 
some 20,000 men, and the Generalissimo Caxias occupied 
the Ildoriaga estancia not in sight of the stream. 

The Gran Chaco side appeared low and wet, and a ruined 
Bancho denoted the station of the Brazilian telegraph. 
After Las Palmas both banks sank, and presently the 
eastern rose to three feet, whilst the stream broadened, 
forming a channel island. The latter sheltered the Para- 
guayan canoes, which attacked the Allied Commissariat. 
About this point. Marshal Caxias began the road through 
the Great Chaco, three leagues long, and intended, as usual, 
to take the enemy in rear. The operation was laborious 
in the extreme, but it proved exceptionally successful. 
A little higher up we could distinctly see to the north-west 
the Loma Cumbarity (the " Cumbari pepper-plantation ^'), 
separated from the Loma Valentina by a swampy tract. 
Here, early in September, Marshal- President Lopez took up 
his headquarters, some four miles from the river, and 
hence he could command a perfect view of Las Palmas and 
of the Angostura batteries. 



422 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

Again a gap in the eastern bank shows the mouth of 
the ArroyOj or Estero Pikysyry.* It drains the northern 
Laguna Ypoa (lucky water) — the Laguna Ypao of Mr. Mans- 
field — and it falls into the Paraguay river just below the 
first or southern battery of Angostura. Unfordable^ and 
some sixty feet broad, it completely defended these works 
from the south, and connected them with the Loma 
Valentina. The important and strongly-fortified tren- 
cheira, or line of the Pikysyry, is 9104 metres in length, with 
142 gun-platforms, not including those on the river side, 
thirty-three magazines, and thirty-four drains under the 
parapet. Lowlands flank the stream, and the Paraguayans 
had, according to custom, thrown over its mouth two 
reprezas or dykes — not three, as has been stated — and had 
thus raised to nearly five feet the waters overlying the 
swamps to the south and east. On the north-east of the 
Pikysyry is the rising ground communicating with the Loma 
Valentina, and a little north of the dykes was a redoubt, 
which the Paraguayans were too hard worked to finish 
building. When the main force of the Allies crossed over 
to the Gran Chaco, they here left, in front of the Paraguay 
lines which they intended to turn, the Argentines, the 
Orientals, and the Brazilian brigade of 1500 men. The 
defenders of the lines may have amounted to 4000 — not, 
as has been reported, to 7000 and 9000. 

The end of a long march brought us to the celebrated 
Angostura, or '' narrowing ■" (of the river). Here the 
atream shrinks to 600 yards ; there is a strong current, more 
like a rapid, in the great bend to the east, and the channel 
is full of remansos, or dead water. I was told by an Eng- 



* The word is written in various ways : Pequisiry, Piquisari, Pykjciry, 
and so forth. Lt.-Col. Thompson translates it " Shrimp-stream," from 
piky, a shrimp : and syry, a stream. May it not he the " water of the Pequi 
shrub ?" I have alluded to this tree in " The Highlands of the Brazil." 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 423 

lish engineer, who had worked on board the steamer Salto, 
that he had once seen the river only four feet deep at the 
" gut/^ but it is doubtful if this was ever the case of late 
years. In 1863, vessels have had to throw out two anchors, 
and to be dragged over the bank into deep water. The 
much-feared ^' bitter batteries " occupied the usual position 
at the toe of the horseshoe, and where they could also 
flank the front of the land-lines : a few shapeless heaps 
upon a bank some four feet above the river were their only 
vestiges. The first, or southernmost " Bateria de Angos- 
tura,^' the " left battery '' of the Paraguayans, mounted 
eight guns, of which one was the " CrioUo,'' a 150-pounder, 
cast in the arsenal of Asuncion. The northern, or right 
battery, separated by a distance of 700 yards, was armed 
with seven guns, and others were placed singly, making a 
total of fifteen, and eleven magazines. The works were 
hurriedly built, and, as everywhere in Paraguay, they were 
open in the rear. After the flight of Marshal-President 
Lopez, they were surrendered at noon, December 30, 1868^ 
to the Allied generals, by Lieutenant-Colonels George 
Thompson and Lucas Carillo, the commanders, and the 
gallant garrison marched out with their arms and all the 
honours of war. 

Behind the heaps remained a few rugged huts, and inland 
rose the mangruUo and the ranchos occupied by the Bra- 
zilians. Here we were boarded by a canoe crew of negro 
sailors belonging to an ironclad on guard. This ship was a 
great contrast to the Henry H. Davisofij a Mississippi boat 
bought for the navigation of the Bermejo, which presently 
came rushing past us. As a rule, only the refuse of steamers 
has been sent up to the war. Hereabouts the ground is 
much more simple and intelligible than that round Itapirii 
and Humaita. We were shown to the eastward the hill 
scattered with rude quintas, where the late Barao do 



424 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

Triumplio (General Andrade e Neves)^ leading 2500 cavalry, 
surprised and captured^ at 1 a.m._, December 21, 1868, during 
a cessation of the rain whicli had poured two days, the out- 
lying picquets of the enemy. This feat enabled General 
Menna Barreto to take the Pikysyry trenches in the rear, and 
to open communication with the left of the Allied forces 
north of Las Palmas. 

About one league to the north of Angostura, and on the 
left or eastern bank, we see La Villeta rising above the 
avenued trees of the bank. It is a classical place. Upon 
its Arroyo, called the " Paray^' by Lieutenant-Colonel Jose 
Arenales, the Payagua, or Canoe Indians, violently attacked, 
in 1536, D. Juan de Ayolas, who followed in the footsteps of 
Cabot. The gallant Spaniard, after almost annihilating his 
assailant, founded La Villeta. It is the normal village : a 
single square, open towards the river front, and the white- 
washed and tiled houses have verandahs, but, as usual, no 
back doors, so that each one may the better spy his neigh- 
bour. The " Palace" of the Marshal-President is a larger 
building than the rest, fronting north ; and the pauper 
church, with detached tower, has been turned into a hospital. 
Outlying tenements lie scattered amongst wasted gardens 
and torn orange groves, once so highly prized. On the 
bank is a battery, hastily thrown up by Marshal-President 
Lopez, who expected that the enemy, after the customary 
fashion of running his head at the hardest place, would here 
land. This is the only sign of the " selected and carefully 
prepared fortifications" here found by the Buenos Airian 
journalist. Behind the earthwork stands the white gate of 
the cemetery, and on the crest of the loma lies the quinta 
occupied by General Osorio when he marched upon Loma 
Valentina. 

On the western or opposite bank, partially masked by one 
of many islands, is the Puerto del Chaco. Behind it appears a 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 425 

^niandsome country" of flat meadow-land, dotted with tree- 
mottes and with the tallest carandai palms yet remarked. 
At present it is mostly under water, and the flood extends 
north to the Rio Confuso. After Marshal Argolo had cut 
his painful way through the Gran Chaco, the Brazilians 
reached this place on November 25, 1868. The river rising 
rapidly, threatened to drown out the camp : this precipitated 
operations in a manner not usual. The ironclads, which had 
run past the Angostura battery, at once embarked 8000 
infantry and artillery, but not for La Villeta, as had been 
expected ; they chose San Antonio, four to five miles further 
up. The vanguard was followed by others till the force 
rose to 25,000 men. According to some of the Paraguayan 
prisoners. Marshal Caxias here completely outwitted Marshal- 
President Lopez. This I greatly doubt : moreover, the in- 
tended landing at San Antonio appeared in the Buenos 
Aires papers several days before it was efi'ected. 

North of La Villeta is the wooded line of the " Abay,^** 
wrongly written Ivahy stream. The word means "Indian 
water^^ (Aba-yg). Here also, on the 11th December, in the 
midst of a violent storm, hard fighting took place. Some 
5000-6000 Paraguayans and eighteen guns, under General 
Caballero,whom I have mentioned as the most gallant of their 
ofl&cers, held their ground for nearly five hours, until sur- 
rounded and cut up by the enemy^s cavalry. The Brazilians 
captured seventeen guns, and carried oflP 800 unwounded, 
besides 600 wounded prisoners, many of them officers of rank. 
Of these several at once escaped — General Caballero, Major 
Moreno, commanding the artillery, Major Mongelos, and 
others. The Brazilians had also some 4000 men hors de 
combat, and amongst these was the gallant General Osorio, 
who, badly wounded in the mouth by a musket-ball, was 
compelled to leave the field. 

Here the Cerro de Santo Antonio, which from Angostura 



426 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

appears a tumulus dark with monte_, and springing from a 
yellow plain, becomes a mere swell in the loma or upland. 
To the north-east we are shown theCapella delpane,, orYpane, 
where in peaceful times the citizens of Asuncion enjoyed 
their picnics. The word signifies " crooked water'^ (y-pane), 
and the streamlet must not be confounded with the large 
tributary of the Paraguay, at whose mouth, in S. lat. 23° 30', 
is Villareal, the port whence the Yerba used to be embarked 
for Asuncion. Near this place the Brazilian army en- 
camped after the battle of Itororo. 

Further to the north-east a brown house in the bush was 
pointed out to me as the Potrero Baldovino, which won for 
itself a name on December 6. My informant "as a Para- 
guayan soldier of five years^ standing; he looked hardly 
sixteen ; he had been speared in the Gran Chaco fights ; he 
could show a silver Cross of the Order of Merit, and he was 
then in the service of M. Mendoza. A great bend to the 
east presently placed us in front and south of the Cerro 
de Lambare. It was the scene of the historic fight be- 
tween 40,000 " Indian^^ braves and D. Juan de Ayolas, 
before he disembarked at Asuncion on August 15, 1536. 
The name was that of a Cacique, and also of a well-known 
river-fish. It is a flat-topped hill — a truncated cone, whose 
table is 143*25 metres above the river level. Clad in dark 
monte, and said to be basaltic, it much resembles the curious 
knots which I have described as buttressing the course of the 
Rio de Sao Francisco. I had read ^' The Peak of Lambare 
is enchanting, with its cone-like elevation clad in luxuriant 
foliage, raising its lofty form to the skies" — and I was of 
course disappointed. Here was once a chapel, and people 
used to extract salt from the river mud. 

Evidently we are now approaching a city. A made road, 
with avenues of trees, threads a succession of quintas, and 
runs over the hill on the eastern bank. Dwarf forest. 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 427 

broken by orange groves and coquito palms in small 
clearings, clothes the ground, and the section of the tree- 
clad cliflf that faces the river is of ruddy sandstone deeply 
gashed by the streams that intersect it. An islet, a few 
hovels, and slanting telegraphic posts mark the mouth of 
the deep narrow Arroyo Itororo. The name has been 
wrongly written Itonoro : it is translated " tumbling water/^ 
from Tororo, a jet d^eau, or cascade. The little wooden 
bridge where the slaughter took place is about half a mile 
from the mouth. 

At Itororo took place the fierce battle of December 6. 
The Brazilians, having effected a landing, marched south- 
wards upon La Villeta, and were compelled to cross the 
Arroyo. Field-Marshal Argolo led the attack with the 
second corps d^armee; the first being kept in reserve, and 
the third, under General Osorio, having been detached to the 
left in order to outflank the enemy. General Caballero 
commanded the Paraguayan force, and Major Moreno had 
charge of the artillery — twelve field-pieces. A hand-to-hand 
fight ensued, and three times the bridge was taken and re- 
taken. At last Marshal Caxias led in person his first 
corps d'armee, which, uniting with the second, easily cleared 
the bridge and captured six of the guns. The fight must 
then have been well nigh over, for of his staff" of thirty-three 
officers none were killed and only one was wounded. In 
this affair the Brazilians had upwards of 3000 hors de 
combat. The brave Colonel Fernando Machado de Souza 
was killed, and Field- Marshal Argolo was struck in the 
neck and thigh. 

At a short distance northwards of the Itororo appeared 
Santo Antonio, of old the principal port for loading oranges. 
The " Capitania^' — export officers^ quarters — still remains ; 
a fresldy whitewashed barn with a roof of blackened tiles, 
and a huge flagstaff. Here the Brazilians skilfully effected 



428 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

a landing. It is generally believed, however, that Marshal- 
President Lopez had purposely left the place undefended 
after stationing at Asuncion M. Luiz Caminos, his War 
Minister, with a flying column of 2000 men and eighteen 
guns ready to fall upon any corps that might land. There 
is little doubt that so strong a force attacking in the bush 
would have thrown the Brazilians into complete confusion. 
But the " Grouchy of the Paraguayan Waterloo,^^ as M. 
Caminos is now called, preferred retreating with his com- 
mand upon Cerro Leon, where the mountains promised him 
safety. M. Cuverville, the French Consul at Asuncion, so 
often reported to have been imprisoned by the '' bloodthirsty 
tj^rant,^^ declares that when Marshal-President Lopez and 
Madame Lynch first met him after the flight from Loma 
Valentina, the latter exclaimed, in great agitation, "We 
have had a terrible disaster" (un affreux desastre) — " we 
owe it to M. Caminos." Of course it was reported that 
M. Caminos had been shot. 

And now, as we have been working up stream, whereas 
the fighting came down it, you may like to read an abstract 
of the events which distinguished the December of 1868. 
On the 5th the Brazilian army disembarked at Santo Antonio, 
whereas the enemy expected it at La Villeta. The battle of 
Itororo occurred as the invader was marching southwards 
to attack the headquarters of Marshal-President Lopez. 
Victorious at this point, the Generalissimo, having encamped 
at Ipane, pressed forwards, and, December 11, won the 
battle of Abay. On December 21 General Menna Barreto 
cleared the trenches of Pikysyry, and completely cut ofi' the 
Angostura batteries from the headquarters at Loma Valen- 
tina. Marshal Caxias then drove the enemy from the strong 
point of Ita Yvnti to a position in the woods about one mile 
further to the rear. On December 25 Marshal President 
Lopez lost his cavalry, and found himself reduced to 1000 



TRIP TO ASUNCION. 429 

meiij against 20,000 of the enemy. On the 27th he fled to 
Cerro Leon. It is the general opinion that Marshal Caxias 
"was determined not to capture the arch-enemy : he is 
known to be beyond the considerations of material fortune, 
but unhappily there are many in the Brazil with whom 
party feeling is stronger than conscience, or even than self- 
interest. 

We now pass the fine landmark Lambare. Here the 
current becomes a rapid, a cachoeira, with a swish and a 
swell which again suggests past experiences. Nearly oppo- 
site it is the " Curuai/^ or southern arm of the Delta of the 
Pilcomayo (Bird river), the northern being a little below 
Asuncion. This river, also called Araguay, the "wise 
water,^^ or the water of "understanding/^ because, according 
to Garcilazo, care and experience are required to canoe 
through its curious mazes, is the second in importance from 
the west, draining the base of the Andes, and it is under- 
stood to be of little utility. Uncertain like the Salado, it 
spreads out wide over the plains : Bolivia, however, looks 
to it as her future line of communication, which will super- 
sede that via Cobija on the Pacific nearly 600 miles from 
Sucre, her capital. At present the mouths of the Pilcomayo 
can hardly be distinguished, owing to a lagoon on the left 
bank. At Asuncion no one seemed to know anything of 
it; in fact, the pilots difi*ered about the position of its 
debouchure; and in maps we may notice the same dissi- 
dence, some placing its infiuence north, and others south, of 
Asuncion. 

Hereabouts we cannot disembark. The dead Paraguayans 
still lie unburied around La Villeta, and the live are prowling 
about, despite the ironclads, picking up in all directions arms 
and ammunition from those who want them no more. All 
manner of "pasados^^ (deserters) are hanging about; and 
there is a report that in the Gran Chaco opposite exists a 



430 TRIP TO ASUNCION. 

large quilombo^ or maroon settlement, where Brazilians and 
Argentines, Orientals and Paraguayan fugitives, dwell to- 
gether in mutual amity, and in enmity with all the world. 
The ground-plan of the campaign is, however, as I have 
said, simple ; and this glance from the steamer-deck explains 
to us the scene of the last seven months' lighting since 
April 10, 1869. 

I hope that you have found this difficult letter intelligible, 
and that you will let me say, temporarily — Farewell. 



LETTER XXIV. 

DESCRIBING ASUNCION, EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 

Asuncion, April 15, 1869. 

My dear Z , 

You will patiently endure a somewhat 
detailed description of the ex-capital of " Prester John's 
Country in the South.'' Unique in this world of Hanseatic 
cities^ it is one of the most characteristic^ and, allow me 
the word_, idiomatic of towns : a glance reads its history, 
and yet the plumitifs who called it the "most go-ahead 
city on the continent/' seem to have missed the peculiarities 
of its physiognomy. 

It is old for these lands, being founded on the Feast of 
the Assumption of the Virgin (August 15, 1536). Ayolas, its 
Romulus, had evidently a nice eye for sites. The Paraguay 
river, here 800 to 1000 yards broad, sags to the eastward, 
forming a bay or port of still, dead surface, like a little 
lake, and the bight is land-locked by a natural breakwater, 
a long green islet upon which cattle graze. Ships anchor 
in perfect safety along the shore, and extend in lines high 
up stream. Their presence adds not a little to the beauty 
and amenity of the scenery, which has all the softness and 
grace, without the monotony, of the fair, insipid shores 
about Humaita. 

It is comparatively defenceless : even the half-river 
stockade shown in the maps of 1857 had been allowed to 
disappear. True, the invader must run the gauntlet of the 
Tacumbu ten-gun battery, which lies below a palm-tasselled 
hill, and separated by a neat glacis from the tall, red sand- 



432 ASUNCION, 

stone cliflP, which, scarped in case of attack,, commands the 
river. The old brick outwork, however, is open behind, and 
is raised so high that its plunging fire is little to be feared. 
On the east of it is a redoubt, with platforms for four guns, 
of which only two had been mounted : it shares all the 
defects of its larger neighbour, and both, at the time of 
my visit, were thoroughly dismantled. Here, I suppose, 
are the two casern ated batteries which the older charts 
caused to front the mouth of the Pilcomayo. In imme- 
diate rear of the guns stood ruins of the usual powder- 
magazines, not sloped as they should have been. Behind 
the works the green ground is made swampy by an unclean 
rivulet draining to the east ; and about 200 yards further 
are tattered sheds on the principle of the Humaita bar- 
racks. 

The most striking object is the unfinished palace of the 
Marshal- President : it might have been built to great 
advantage upon higher ground, but it is evidently intended 
to attract the first glance of the arriver, and to be the last 
upon which the departing eye dwells. It is an extravagant 
construction — a kind of Buckingham Palace, built upon the 
abrupt slope of the river, from which only a narrow terrace 
divides it ; consequently, the inland fa9ade is not nearly so 
tall as that which looks riverwards. An utter absurdity, 
considering the size of the town, it consists of a body and 
two wings projecting southwards into a small square, provided 
with a fountain. The centre is capped by a substantial 
square tower, one of whose four pinnacles has been knocked 
away by the Brazilian ironclads : a little damage has also 
been done to the west flank. A fine broad staircase, boldly 
planned, enters the middle of the fa9ade, and abuts upon a 
terrace evidently intended to command the square, for the 
purposes of speechifying and of sight-seeing. Here are 
some wondrous attempts at art, emblematical sculptures, 



EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 433 

such as a Liberty cap on a pole, supported by Religion and 
Patriotism. Also a pair of heraldic lions ; the lion of 
Paraguay, be it observed, is a jaguar, not a Britisher, nor, 
as M. Demersay says, a leopard. It is, in fact, the Icon de 
Ibera, a beast almost as harmless as an " Essex lion.'' 
Still, the Argentine National Hymn refers to it in the 

line — 

" Y a sus plantas rendido un leon." 

These lions are made of Country grit ; they are grotesque 
with a witness, and they carefully present their posteriors 
towards the master of the house. The wings are laid out 
in large saloons and ball-rooms below, and above in about 
a score of small apartments, some of which have fire-places. 
The architect was an English master-mason, Mr. Taylor, 
and his workmen were Paraguayan lads and recruits, hired 
at eighteen- pence a day ; all things considered, they have 
not done badly. 

Mr. Taylor was one of the unfortunates. One night, late 
in 1868, when he was returning quietly home, he was led off 
to the Capitania (Port Captain's office), where irons were 
rivetted to his legs. Without a word of accusation, he was 
tormented by being thrown, back downwards, in the sun, 
and by being cowhided when he called for water. Some 
are of opinion that these brutalities were the unauthorized 
work of underlings ; others again assert that nothing of the 
kind could take place without the cognizance of the chief 
authority. However, after the decisive defeat at the Lomas, 
Marshal- President Lopez happened to ride past where Mr. 
Taylor and the chief of the telegraph office, Mr. Fischer 
von Treuenfels, a Prussian of talent and education, hap- 
pened to be lying in irons. They appealed to him for 
mercy : he professed not to remember them — doubtless 
their imprisonment had worked great changes — and he at 
once, ignoring their offences, ordered them to be set at 

28 



434 ASUNCION, 

liberty. Mr. Taylor retired to Buenos Aires^ leaving in 
the camp of Marshal-President Lopez^ his wife, an English- 
woman, and three children, of whom one was at the 
breast. 

A few minutes more place us off an apology for a plank 
pier where men land. Opposite it is a small redoubt, dis- 
mantled like the rest, and supporting a few dirty little 
" pal ^■'-tents, and huts called hotels : these are inscribed 
" Garibaldi,'' '' Au Petit rran9ais,'' '' Le Sapeur,'' and so 
forth. It is a kind of suburb of the comercio or bazar, 
which lies hard by to the south-west. 

Here we have a general view of " La Ciudad,'' the capital 
townlet, seated upon its amphitheatre of red bank, which 
slopes gracefully down to the lake-like stream : formerly 
it fronted due north ; but Dr. Francia, with his own hands, 
changed the orientation to 25° east. Thus it occupies the 
riverward side of a hill, or rather the section of a ridge 
which is bounded by low drains to the east and west. The 
length from the pier to the railway station is about three 
quarters of a mile, and the depth from the river to Calle 
Pilcomayo, which crowns the ridge-top, is from 500 yards 
to half a mile. It may still be extended to the south, 
where six streets only, out of a total of thirteen on paper, 
have been partially laid out and named. Beyond them the 
ground droops towards a shallow valley, and the thorough- 
fares are mere holes or piercings in the dense bush, with 
here and there a rancho. The ridge-crest is seventy-five 
metres above the river. At present there is no plan of the 
city, but this want will soon be supplied. 

On the right of the landing-place, between the two 
redoubts, is the much talked of Asuncion arsenal, where the 
*'busy iron islanders,'' about thirty in a total of 150 hands, 
are said to have cast upwards of a hundred guns. The 
large sheds, raised upon the site of an old convent, are of 



EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 435 

fine brick, cased at the corners with the red porphyritic 
rock, here coarse and micaceous, there fine as gneiss, which 
crops out of the Tacumbii hill. The building, inscribed 
R.P. (my friends read " Rip '^), is well provided with a dry 
dock, with a floating dock, with slips for shipbuilding, with 
boiler-houses, and with machinery, of which few vestiges 
remain. Even in 1857 this dockyard was building two 
steamers of 500 tons : it had furnaces, steam-hammers, and 
portable engines, for working wood and iron. In 1863 it 
had built six of the eleven steamers which composed the 
Republican fleet. Mr. M. Mulhall remarked of it, 
" When the new offices are completed, this will be a grand 
arsenal, and the fire-eaters of Buenos Aires, who may be 
suffered to pass Humaita, can learn an instructive lesson 
in this 'retrograde^ country''' (page 88). Many English 
employes have served in this arsenal. Six years ago it was 
managed by Mr. Marshall, with Mr. Grant as foreman. 
They were stabbed by a native, and the latter was shot. 
The medical officer was Dr. Barton, who was allowed to 
leave the country some two years before my visit. The 
next superintendent was Mr. Whytehead, a mechanical 
inventor not unknown in England : he is said to have 
suicided himself; and his successor is Mr. Nesbitt, who, I 
told you, volunteered to remain in the country. 

Between the landing-place and the arsenal is the Pro- 
veduria or Commissariat, a large rambling barn of brick 
and tile. It fronts the comercio, now laid out in streets ; 
the booths, which sell everything, and over which wave 
all manner of flags, the English included, are mostly 
double-poled canvas tents upon wooden foundations, 
raised some four feet high. They are composed in due 
succession of stolen doors, windows, and other furniture, 
then of cask staves, and lastly of lumber brought up by the 
ships. Foul with offal^ these pest-houses are fit to lodge 

28—2 



436 ASUNCION, 

only the flies bred by the horses and the meat, whilst the 
chorus of drunken voices and the twanging of guitars tell 
all the low debauchery of a camp. We pass on, humming 
" She was a harlot, and I was a thief,'' to the new Custom- 
house opposite — a strip of whitewashed building conspicuous 
from the river, and therefore showing sign of shot. The 
long western face is arched, but not with '' Moorish arches,'' 
as a late traveller says ; and the depth being built up a 
slope which has not been levelled, gives to the arcade a 
peculiarly crooked and tumble-down aspect. 

The landing-place is deep and slushy, with loose reddish 
sand contrasting well with the greenery, and with water in 
almost equal proportions. Here begin the tramway and 
telegraph posts, running eastward, and passing a casemated, 
stone-revetted battery of ten guns, which commands the 
landing-place and the river. It concludes the system of 
defence, and you would find it hard to explain how such 
miserable works put to flight a squadron of Brazilian iron- 
clads. The tramway runs up the Calle de Asuncion, alias 
de la Iglesia, the chief street near the river. As the road 
has been graded down, many houses are perched upon tall 
detached blocks of stiff" red clay and incipient sandstone. 
The formation of the Asuncion hill is of grit and pudding- 
stone, often covered with a cape of iron ; the rock is 
evidently ferriferous, and the metal occurs pure in pyriform 
grains. The surface is a sand composed of fragmentary 
quartz, milky and coloured pale -red by oxide: the 
pieces are all more or less polished, and water, often 
chalybeate, bursts through the covering. The streets of 
Asuncion are the streets of Buenos Aires, only these are on 
a flat, and those are on a slope ; moreover, the latter usually 
lack side-paths. Where they lead to the river the thorough- 
fares are deeply gashed by rain, and in some places water 
stained with oxide gushes from the ground, making them mere 



EX CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 437 

nullahs. I thought involuntarily of the streams that are 
taught to run down the wide avenues of Salt Lake City. They 
arc divided by bands of the roughest yellow or red sandstone 
grit (sangre de boi), sections of a mountain torrent, into 
parallelograms of sloppy mud and ooze, where guns and 
cattle stick. Here and there is a paved ramp of impracticable 
slope, and nowhere can a carriage be used. Offals lie all 
about : there is a dead animal in each line ; and where 
carts pass the wheels are often bogged in the quag- 
mire. The Brazilians declare that they have improved the 
streets, which they found overgrown with grass and weeds. 
Like all public works at Asuncion, nothing can be viler than 
the thoroughfares, and remember that I visited them in the 
heart of the '' dries. "^ 

A few paces lead us to the old Cathedral, now the Encar- 
nacion Church. Curious to say, no fane has been raised 
to San Bias, patron of Paraguay, and even San Francisco 
Solano, who in 1589 reached Asuncion, has not won the 
honour of a chapel. The shape is truly Paraguayan; a 
single belfry to the south boasts of more than usual pic- 
turesqueness : the simple old Spanish fa9ade, pointing east, 
with the spacious tiled atrio, and the three-arched porch 
leading to the doors, has the improvement of a more massive 
cornice than is usual in South America, and the body is a 
long dorsum of red tiles. The colours are pink and blue 
upon a white ground, forming the national tricolor, which 
we everywhere see at Asuncion, and the material is brick 
upon ashlar of boulders. To the north is a garden and 
lodgings for the Sor Cura, but both are sadly dilapidated. 
Inside the church the naves appear far too wide, and the 
rules of proportion are evidently ignored. The pulpit, font, 
and confessionals are of quaint forms, manifestly not modern. 
During mass, the worshippers, as everywhere in these regions, 
were separated by sex; similarly St. Charles Borrcmseus 



438 ASUNCION, 

divided his temple into male and female. At otlier times 
there were so few voices and so many echoes that imagina- 
tion took the mors au dents. I was once startled by the 
impudence of a French " Frere ignorantin/' who^ disturbed 
in fierce love-making to a pretty Paraguayan, stared fiercely 
at me from his stray corner, as if I, forsooth_, had been the 
ofi'ender. Here reposes the terrible Doctor Francia ; he 
never decreed for himself a monument,, holding, probably, 
that " pourrir sous du marbre on pourrir sous la terre, c^est 
toujours pourrir/^ 

A few steps lead to the main square, the Plaza de la 
Cathedral, or de Gobierno, the nucleus of the old town, 
which, however, has lost all its antique aspect. In the 
raised centre reviews were held, the public rejoiced in 
Christmas *^*^ tamashas,"*^ such as races of 200 yards, fire- 
works, the sortija or running at a ring, and the gomba or 
<( nigger-dance -" here Toros fought in real earnest, not like 
the bull-play of Lisbon and other places. It was, in fact, the 
site for spectacula and circenses. Facing the river side is 
the Cabildo, a ponderous two-storied building of the parallelo- 
pipedonic order. The central pediment bears the usual two 
medallions ; the upper one has '' Republica de Paraguay" in- 
scribed in crescent shape over a vulgar " lone star^^ — here 
with eight rays, and in other places with six — their sup- 
porters being crossed branches of yerba and tobacco, which 
show but little difference. The lower oval has the same 
external legend, half circling a medallion, whose rim bears 
the yerba and tobacco, whilst the centre is inscribed with 
" Paz y Jastiza,^' bisected by a pole which bears a Liberty 
cap and stands upon a lion passant. This Paraguayan coat 
of arms here appears everywhere, in place and out of place, 
from the buttons of the soldiers^ uniforms to the fa9ade of 
the cathedral. The Cabildo is supported by piers ; whilst 
under it are dungeons more terrible than the Piombi of 



EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 439 

Venice. In the second story heavy pilasters, forming ten 
arches, make a deep verandah, equally efficacious against sun 
and rain, and provided with strong wooden balconies. The 
outlying sentry-boxes and the large flag-staff are painted 
tricolor, and remind us that wearing the national colours 
was once obligatory. 

South of the Cabildo, and facing west, is the terrible 
" Palace " of Dr. Francia. It was originally a retreat for 
Jesuits' lay brethren, and after their expulsion it became 
the Government House. The whitewashed ground-floor 
tenement has verandahs about eight feet broad, with eighteen 
columns fronting the river, and ten facing the main square. 
These pillars, circular in the fayade and angular at the cor- 
ners, support heavy hard-wood beams, on which rest rafters, 
laths, and tiles. All the windows are jealously barred. It 
is literally hemmed in by barracks, the largest lying to the 
west, opposite the main entrance ; and there was hardly any 
difference between the palace of the Dictator and the quar- 
ters of his Prsetorians, Formerly it was backed by the 
public gaol, of which we read horrid descriptions ; and all 
the barracks had State prisons, " grillos/^ oubliettes, and 
underground ^^ puisards.^^ 

Facing the '' Palace,'^ on the opposite side of the square, 
is the new cathedral. It was built in 1845 by the elder 
Lopez upon the site of a chapel which he pulled down. Seen 
in profile, it is the normal barn, with the three distinct tiled 
slopes of nave, aisle, and sacristy or verandah. The fa9ade, 
approached by a spacious atrio and steps of brick and stone 
slabs, has two white towers banded with red ; the pilasters 
are in low relief, the weathercocks are extravagant, and the 
Cross rests upon the arms of the Republic. The doors are 
usually shut ; but a few Franciscans, with neuter-sex coun- 
tenances, hover about the building like birds of prey. The 
interior is a gloomy barn, whose piers support a flat roof 



440 ASUNCION, 

of common painted wood. The chapels are not recessed, 
and the sacristy looks poor and humble. The only remnants 
of antiquity are the gilt pulpit and the high altar, now a 
mass of tinsel. The river bank opposite the cathedral is 
here thirteen metres high; and the stranger who lingers there, 
delighted with the view, would not suppose that he is stand- 
ing upon the arched, oven-shaped dungeons where captivity 
was more deadly than in the cells of Harar. They were 
probably under some barrack, which has long disappeared. 
The discovery created much excitement amongst the Bra- 
zilians, but now, I supppose, the holes have been filled up. 

At right angles with the cathedral is the palace of the 
elder Lopez and of La Seiiora, Madame Mere, as the Sora 
Presidenta, his wife, was always called. Fantastic and Para- 
guayan, its upper story is supported by fifteen pink pillars, 
with quaint Egyptian-like capitals, forming the normal deep 
verandah. A green-painted balcony, a back wall of pierced 
bricks, and a flying roof, distinguish the Paraguayan " "White 
House." The lower story, tinted to resemble marble, has 
two doors and twelve windows, looking over the square 
upon the beautiful river. The palace is connected, as usual, 
by long walls, with a substantial two-storied building in 
the rear, the property of General Barrios. Most of these 
houses having adobe walls are tiled down the weather side 
to prevent washing away. All have aljibes or tanks to col- 
lect the rain and to breed mosquitoes : here the cistern sup- 
plies the best drink ; well-water being hardened by saltpetre. 
The rest of the Cathedral square is occupied by four ground- 
floor bungalows, like that of Dr. Francia ; the south-western 
whitewashed building is the old theatre; the rest were in- 
habited by the Ministers and other dignitaries. 

A few paces beyond the cathedral lead us to the Hotel de 
la Minute. The house once belonged to a Paraguayan of 
importance. It fronts a new theatre of ambitious size, said 



EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 441 

to be built upon the model of " La Scala/^ and fitted for 1000 
spectators. Its flanks are one hundred yards long ; in fact, 
it occupies a whole " cuadra.''''^ The brick walls that back 
the three tiers of boxes are four feet thick; they must be 
fearless of fire, and, after the usual theatres of South 
America, they suggest the Coliseum. The building was un- 
finished, and of course a dead mule occupied the inside. 
South of the theatre is the plain ground-floor house of 
Madame Lynch, who did not live in the palace of the Mar- 
shal-President, and she had bought the next-door house in 
order to establish an hotel. In Paraguay money-making is 
a passion even more passionate than love-making. 

Following the tramway, we presently reach the railway 
station, also built by Mr. Taylor. It occupies a whole 
" manzana/' and is not without pretensions. A tall central 
clock-tower, topped by a balconied Belvidere, the highest in 
the city, forms its fourth story ; the long upper rooms are 
used as ofiices, and there are quaint turrets at each of the 
corners. It is somewhat in the reduced Tuileries style, 
now afi'ected by New London between Westminster and 
Hyde Park Square. The zinc roofs of the ^^gare" and 
towers have been stripped ofi" to make canister shot, but the 
timbers are almost as hard as metal. Altogether it is a 
good solid building, far superior to anything at Buenos 
Aires. 

Returning to the main square, we bisect the city's depth 
by means of the filthy Calle de la Cathedral, which runs 
from north to south. Looking down the Calle de la Palma, 
the Oxford opposed to Regent Street, we see, towering over 
the line of hut and hovel, the unfinished palace of D. Benigno 



* The cuadra of Asuncion varies. It is here assumed to measure 100 vares. 
Travellers make the blocks eighty yards square and the streets fifteen yards 
wide. The " manzana" I have already explained to mean a cuadra cuadrada, 
or square cuadra. 



442 ASUNCION, 

Lopez^ in wliicli the Paraguayan type has been somewhat 
skilfully blended with Palladian architecture. Having 
become the headquarters of the Argentines, it is fronted 
by a fine lakelet of liquid mud. Cathedral Street here abuts 
upon the now deserted Plaza del Mercado, a large space of 
deep sand, surrounded by ground- floor tenements. At one 
corner is the " casa terrea '^ of Marshal-President Lopez ; 
the exterior is mediocre, but the inside is comfortable enough. 
Here General Osorio took up his quarters before occupying 
the house of Dr. Francia ; and here, in March last, the 
Brazilian Consul received the Councillor Jose Maria da 
Silva Paranhos. Ten years before (1858) the latter had 
been welcomed to the same house as Brazilian Ambassador 
by President Lopez, senior. 

West of the building, and fronting the " Caile 25 de De- 
cembre,^'' is the unfinished chapel of S. Francisco. The 
brick dome, of scantiest diameter, still bristles with its chetif 
scafiblding of bamboo and palm-trunk. I cannot understand 
how Senor Homem de Mello (Viagem ao Paraguay, February, 
March, 1869) calls this thing a " magnifica basilica.''^ Further 
west again is a long ground-floor barn, the " Club Nacional,-" 
as we read upon the lamps that front its entrance. It was 
once civilized — as far, at least, as lodging its members 
at the rate of sixteen riyals (six shillings) per day ; and 
during fetes it was always well filled. The newspaper 
literature, however, was confined to the SemanariOy or 
weekly organ of the Government ; and to the Correo de 
Ultramar. The library contained a few volumes of silly 
stories, and Colonel du Graty^s " Paraguay -" whilst upon 
the table lay pictures of Parisian fashions ; in fact, the Petit 
Courrier. Billiards and cards were of course encouraged. 
Sentinels are now at the door, and the soldier seems lord 
of all he surveys at Asuncion. He is accused of excessive 
" looting,^^ and not a few of the officers are supposed to 



EX-CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY. 443 

have lent him a ready hand. But there could have been 
little to plunder, and the noise made about an old piano 
taken from the club suggests far more smoke than fire. And 
why should not the soldier be allowed to plunder a deserted 
place ? Why cut away from him half the inducement to 
fight ? Prize-money, all the world over, enriches mostly 
the non-combatant ; and the barefaced way in which it is 
habitually " shroffed^' has made the very word a scandal. 
Those who abuse the Brazilians will do well, before throw- 
ing the stone, to remember certain glass-houses at Hydera- 
bad, Sind, and the Summer Palace, China. 

Passing through the market-place we find, further south, 
a third and a more extensive square, formed by smaller and 
meaner tenements. It is considerably larger than any- 
thing at Buenos Aires. Formerly the place '^ presented a 
most picturesque aspect at sunrise, several hundreds of 
women dressed in white being assembled to dispose of their 
different wares — fruits, cigars, cakes, and other comestibles.^' 
At present all is barren. In it is the United States Legation, 
which Mr. Washburn had insisted upon not transferring to 
Luque. The house is now the Gran Hotel de Cristo — devo- 
tional-sounding, but unusual. The Calle Pilcomayo hard by, 
on the ridge crest falling to the south, would be the finest 
site for a palace, and it commands a magnificent view of 
plain, hill, and river. The large whitewashed building to 
the south-west has become the Brazilian military hospital. 

The population of Asuncion was made by Du Graty 
48,000. Mr. Mulhall reduces the figure to one-half, in- 
cluding the suburbs. Mr. Mansfield lets it down to 20,000 ; 
and I would further diminish it to 12,000. We have now 
learned the ropes and mastered the peculiarity of its 
physiognomy. It is the true type and expression of Para- 
guay—of a people robbed and spoiled. The Presidential 
House would have paid the paving of half the town. Public 



444 ASUNCION. 

conveniences are nowhere; the streets are wretched ; drainage 
has not been dreamed of; and every third building, from 
the chapel to the theatre, is unfinished. The shops were 
miserable stores, like those of the '^ camp-towns '^ in the 
Argentine Republic. The post-office consisted of two small 
rooms in a private house. The barracks and churches, the 
dungeons, and the squares for reviews, are preposterous. 
Every larger house belongs to the reigning family Lopez. 
The lieges, if not in the caserne or the violon, must content 
themselves with the vilest ranchos, lean-tos, and tiled roofs 
supported, not by walls, but by posts. Nor may they dis- 
play their misery : it must be masked from the eye of 
opulence by the long dead brick walls that connect palace 
with palace. A large and expensively-built arsenal, river- 
side docks, a tramway, and a railway, have thrown over the 
whole affair a thin varnish of civilization ; but the veneer- 
ing is of the newest and the most palpable : the pretensions 
to progress are simply skin-deep, and the slightest scratch 
shows under the Paraguayan Republic the Jesuiticized 
Guarani. 

I had expected to find Asuncion the last of the many 
little Moscows by which the Marshal-President marked the 
line of his retreat. Possibly, in their overweening national 
self-confidence, the Paraguayans e^spected, despite all dis- 
asters, soon to come to their own again. Even the railway 
had not been pulled up, and was allowed to save the Allied 
Army some two months' work. Farewell ! 



LETTER XXV. 

AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

Asuncion, April 13, 1869. 



My dear Z , 

I found at headquarters a complete change 
of masters. Marshal the Duke de Caxias had given up the 
command to General Guilherme Xavier de Souza, and had 
departed with his staff, including Brigadier Fonseca. Osorio 
and Argolo had left Paraguay badly wounded; and of the 
old hands only General Menna Barreto, who had fought 
through the war, remained. In the fleet, Admiral Carvalho, 
the Barao da Passagem, who succeeded the Visconde de 
Inhaiima (at Rio de Janeiro, March 8,1869), had been re- 
emplaced by Admiral Elisiario, one of the best officers now 
sent up when no longer of use ; and the able and energetic 
Captain of the Fleet, Commodore Alvim, was no longer to 
the fore. The Councillor Jose Maria da Silva Paranhos, 
Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet of Sao Christovao, 
had returned, after inspecting Asuncion, to the labours of 
his especial mission at Buenos Aires. This able diplo- 
matist, committed to a war policy, they say, since 1858, 
had been sent from the Brazil with orders to establish at 
the capital of Paraguay a provisional government, with an 
acting President. 

For the chief magistracy there were many candidates. 
Those foremost in the field were Dr. Serapio Machain, an 
invalid hardly expected to live ; sundry members of the in- 
fluential and deeply-iujuredDecoud family; Colonel Iturburii, 
who long commanded the Paraguan Legion in the AlJied 



446 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

Army ; Seiior Egisquiza_, who was believed to be a ^' Lopizta/^ 
and D. Carlos Saguier, an Argentine raercbant^ son of a 
French settler, and born in the little Republic. The 
latter 's brother was the D. Adolfo Sagnier, an Argentine 
captain who had distinguished himself by a highly sensa- 
tional report concerning the " atrocities of Lopez /^ It is 
to be feared, however, that Paraguayan blood will always 
lapse into the path of Francia and Lopez. Moreover, a 
President without subjects enough to form a ministry — as 
is at present the case — would be a palpable absurdity, and 
M. Paranhos could not lend himself to the farce of creating 
a nation out of a few war-prisoners. 

Messrs. Prytz and Peterkin were absent on leave. M. and 
Madame Auguste Chapperon, of the Italian Consulate, had 
run down to Buenos Aires. The Portuguese Consul had 
been shot, they say, by " Supreme '' order. M. Cochelet, 
Consul de France,"^ had been succeeded by M. Cuverville, 
ex-Eleve Consulaire. I did not seek the acquaintance of 
this young person, who wore upon his arm four of the very 
broadest gold stripes — where will the broadcloth be when 
he shall become Consul General ? An ugly story, involving 
a serious breach of confidence, was current about him and 
the family of the unfortunate Mr. Taylor. Moreover, he 
was in the habit of setting afloat apocryphal tales which 
found their way into the papers. One was touching a silver 
handbell, with fleur-de-lis, which belonged to Madame 
Lynch, and which had been treated with especial distinction 
by M. Paranhos : the latter assured me that he had bought 
it at Buenos Aires. 

The United States Minister, General Macmahon, was in 
the mountains with Marshal-President Lopez : no com- 
munication from him had reached the sorrowing sisters at 



* M. Libertal, the chancelier, universally reported to have been tor- 
tured and shot, was removed from Asuncion by the French gunboat. 



AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 447 

Buenos Aires. The Brazilian party thereupon declared 
that he was in durance ; but Paraguay was not likely, 
under the circumstances, so gratuitously to offend her power- 
ful sister Republic. The anti-Brazilians asserted that his 
letters had been intercepted by the Allies. Commander 
Parsons, of Her Majesty's steamship Beacon, which had 
relieved the Linnet^ was awaiting permission to visit the 
Marshal- President, and to carry off the last of the English 
detenus. I have before referred to the success of this 
officer's first mission : he had not, however, been supplied 
with a list of all the British employes, and at the moment 
of his reception by the President of Paraguay, Messrs. 
Valpy and Burrell were within two to three miles of him. 
The Argentines favoured his visit. The Brazilians refused 
a flag of truce ; and although they would have perforce 
allowed passage through their lines, they would have left 
him alone and unescorted to find his way across the 
deserted tract separating them from the enemy. Their 
overweening self-confidence in their own prowess gives them 
an arrogance which is becoming very offensive to foreigners. 
The bullying manner of the subaltern officers, especially 
with strangers, contrasts most unfavourably with the cour- 
tesy of the Generals and Marshals. If any ridiculous asser- 
tion concerning ^^ Lop'z,'' as they pronounce the name, be 
received with the least reserve, they raise their voices, and, 
with open sneer, deprecate any "defence of the tyrant.'' 
I have before warned you not to confound this negraille 
— these sweepings of second and third class negroes and 
negroids — with the noble Brazilian nation. They all believe 
that such a campaign has never been fought ; that such 
hardships have never been endured ; that such battles have 
never been won. The Empire, for a couple of generations, 
has been essentially pacific, and the ignorant have of course 
no idea of what is war. 



448 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

The Allies knew nothing about the plans or position of 
Marshal-President Lopez. He might have been at his pro- 
visional capital Pirebebm, the " light skin/^ east of the 
Pirajii terminus of the railway ; or at Cerro Leon, south-east 
of the Ypacaray Lake, whilst others placed his actual camp 
at Asciirra, further to the north-east. All these are places 
on the Cuchilla or ridge communicating with the main 
rangC;, and between ten to fifty miles distant. Of the geo- 
graphical features, only the names were known. Some 
declared that the Paraguayan position could be surrounded, 
which is not probable ; others that Ascurra is a table-land, 
upon which cavalry attacking from the river could operate. 
None could explain what there was to prevent the enemy 
retiring into the mountain fastnesses. 

Marshal-President Lopez, on the other hand, was perfectly 
well informed by his many spies of all that happened in the 
Allied camp. A certain Hungarian Colonel (in the Para- 
guayan army), Wisner de Morgenstern, who printed his 
family arms upon his card, and who had become a great 
landowner in the Republic, had been imprudently allowed 
to reside at Asuncion. This is the individual who is said, 
in conjunction with Madame Lynch and the Coadjutor 
Bishop Palacios, to have tempted the Marshal -President to 
attack his neighbours, and, as chief military engineer, to have 
laid out the absurd entrenchments of Humaita. He was 
made prisoner by the enemy in due time, and he kept a 
small pulperia at the street corner, where officers came for 
their periodical dram, and visited a pretty daughter, who was 
reported to reward important intelligence. The Brazilians 
also confided unduly in two chief officers of the rebel Para- 
guayan Legion, Colonels Iturburu and Baes. The latter 
was a man of the kill-you-and-eat-you order. He had re- 
peatedly volunteered to set out with a few troopers under 
pledge to capture and to capouize the arch-enemy. All, 



AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 449 

however, believed that he was most unwilling to see the 
offer accepted. 

Shortly before my arrival, the Paraguayan outposts had 
attacked the Brazilians with a '^ railway battery" of two 
guns, and had killed and wounded some forty men. The 
steam-engine w^as charged by the Rio Grandenses, lance in 
hand ; and no one had the presence of mind to lay a log, or 
to cut the throat of a horse across the rails in rear. The 
Paraguayans, after doing damage, leisurely retired, and stopped 
the train to pick up two of their wounded who had fallen 
out of it. After my departure they fell upon a vedette of 
cavalry, and drove off, it is said, all the horses. For the 
first few weeks after the " affreux desastre," they numbered 
at most 2500 men and youths, most of them hurt and 
wounded. The wonderful " morosidade" of the Allies 
allowed the prisoners — the lost and those placed hors de 
combat — to return to their colours; and in April, 1869, 
Marshal-President Lopez was supposed to have 6000 troops, 
which others exaggerated to 8000 to 9000. Arms and ammu- 
nition had become exceedingly scarce, but the former could 
always be picked up fi'om the enemy's field of victory, whilst 
the women were kept to hard labour making cartridges. 

A good new hotel — de Paris — is preparing at Asuncion. 
We lodged at the Hotel de la Minute, which has succeeded 
the " Hotel de Francia, a fifth-rate inn, with exorbitant 
charges for small rooms." We paid, everything included, 
$3*50 per diem — a moderate charge for unexpected good 
treatment. The French owner was an old soldat d'Afrique, 
and he was chafing under an insulted nationality, having 
been lately " shopped" under the pretext that he was re- 
ceiving stolen goods, when he was only buying furni- 
ture for his inn. At the same time sundry tobacco-bales, 
the property of a foreigner, were confiscated because he had 
carried arms against the Allies. This gave rise to a report 

29 



450 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

that tlie invaders^ who professedly declared war against the 
Government of Paraguay only, were about to appropriate 
the belongings of all who had opposed them in the field. 
As the whole of the Paraguayan population was in this 
category, the result would have been general spoliation. 
Nothing of the kind was, I believe, intended; but it was 
impolitic in the extreme to raise any such question. 
Marhal-President Lopez could hardly fail to make capital 
out of the report, and to show his vassal-citizens that they 
had nothing to expect except by fighting to the last. Mean- 
while, money was being coined. I was asked if my claim 
upon Paraguay had been settled, and was assured that by 
the easy sacrifice of half of what did not belong to me, the 
rest could be recovered in hides or in yerba. Afterwards, on 
board the Arno, I met a Brazilian ^^ fornecidor,^^ who, 
accompanied by his Traviata and his Traviata^s mamma and 
daughter, openly boasted that in three days he had cleared 
30,000 silver dollars. This " flogs" even the Anglo-Indian 
commissariat officer whom we subalterns used to greet with 
the stock question about the date when he expected trans- 
portation. 

At Asuncion I again met Lieutenant-Colonel Chodasie- 
wicz : he was amiable as ever, and ready to impart his 
stores of information ; but his position had not improved 
after the departure of his patron Marshal Caxias. He had 
proposed to attack the last Paraguayan position on the 
Lomas, by marching up stream 10,000 men and twelve 
guns, escorted by the Monitors. The rest of the army 
having for base the line of the Tebicuary river, would have 
advanced, not by the Gran Chaco, but eastward of the Laguna 
Ypoa, and by Caapucu, till they reached the apex of the 
triangle, Ita, which lies in the rear of Angostura. But 
such combined movements are hazardous, even when at- 
tempted by the best troops. 



AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 451 

Fortunately for me, my good friend Dr. Newkirk, for- 
merly of Corrientes, had shifted his quarters further north. 
He had enjoyed an excellent practice, and in one month 
was able to clear 600/. Now he complained that the cli- 
mate, which to me appeared odious, was exceptionally 
healthy. Asuncion, situated in the southern third of the 
western length of Paraguay, is nearly on the parallel of Rio 
de Janeiro. Yet here, when we landed, the raw, uncomfort- 
able south wind, which prevails in the cold season, made me 
remember ague for the first time upon the river. It was 
presently succeeded by a burst of the tremulous molecular 
action called heat, damp and stifling as that of Panama, 
with a copious evaporation, which generally ends in fearful 
storms of thunder, lightning, and rain. At 3 p.m. 
96° (F.) in the shade, and at 11 a.m. 97°, are not uncom- 
mon. The north wind, which prevails during the wet half 
of the year, is as full of misery as a norther at Buenos 
Aires. At the springs and changes of the moon, the people 
expect tempests and shifting of winds. Bad weather at 
these epochs sometimes lasts through the quarter. It is 
popularly said here, as in the Brazil, that summer and 
winter meet in one day, and that Paraguay combines the 
four seasons in twenty-four hours. Between midnight and 
6 A.M., it is spring ; summer then extends to noon : the 
third quarter is autumn ; and from 6 p.m. to midnight it 
is winter. As in Sao Paulo, the whole season between 
March and September is the only time to travel. Furious 
tempests and torrents of rain are usual about the end and 
beginning of the year. 

Dr. Newkirk occupied in Calle Liber dad the house be- 
longing to Dr. Stewart, formerly Physician-General to the 
Paraguayan forces. This gentleman had married a rich 
native, the niece of Colonel Baes, who brought him also a 
neat quint a or finca, and some half a dozen estancias^ large 



452 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

cattle farms. No stranger, I may observe, may hold landed 
property in the Republic ; and those who marry Para- 
guayan women become de facto naturalized citizens and 
subjects. Dr. Stewart had yielded himself prisoner after 
the battle of the Lomas, when Marshal-President Lopez 
dashed away from or through the enemy. He afterwards re- 
turned to England, landing at Buenos Aires and at Rio de 
Janeiro, where he was honoured by the Emperor with a 
lengthened interview. His low estimation of the Marshal 
President found its way into the newspapers, and thus, it is 
feared, the safety of his wife and children, who were marched 
north with the Paraguayan headquarters, may be terribly 
compromised. 

Mr. Williams met at Asuncion an old Bahiano acquain- 
tance, Lieutenant-Colonel da Cunha, commanding 54th 
Volunteers. He had been badly wounded in the action of 
December 21, 1868, and only four of his twenty-one officers, 
and 90 out of 560 men, remained unharmed. These figures 
prove that, when manfully led, the Brazilian negro will 
fight. He praised the steadiness of the Paraguayans under 
arms ; also their intelligence, of which I could not discern 
a trace. He was severe upon the ferocity of their officers, 
and he spoke of the Duke de Caxias pretty much in the 
tone adopted by our cavalrymen in the Crimea when dis- 
cussing Lord Cardigan. 

We were presently introduced to the foreigners at Asun- 
cion, and I owe the subjoined list of present prices^ to the 



* Tug steamers are paid according to the tonnage of what they tow, 
400Z. being the general sum from the sea to Asuncion. The ton pays $16 
(f.) from Montevideo to Asuncion ; a ton of coal from Eozario the same. 
Pressed hay 6/. per fardo of 20 arrobas (each 25 lbs.). Washing, per shirt, 
3*. Riding horse, per trip, 2/. Provisions are dear. Two lean chickens 
are worth $2 to $5 (f.) ; the arroba of beef, |3 (f.) ; the sheep (small and 
poor) fetches $6 (f.) ; cabbages (half grown) per dozen, |5 to $10 (f.). 
Meat averages 6c?. per lb. wheu at the cheapest. Bread is 1 piastre 



AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 453 

kindness of Mr. Wingaard^ a Swede, and Mr. Bertram, who 
had a Casa de Remate, or auctioneer's office, in the Calle de 
la Palma. Of the two staples, yerba and tobacco, the first- 
named once formed half the exports of the Republic j now 
it is procured with difficulty at the rate of $2 per lb. 
The latter is equally scarce. Before the war the comercio, 
or common quality, ranged between 9 ryals and $1 40 
(f.). The ^' amestizado '^ was worth $2 (f.). The species 
most prized in Paraguay are the pety-hobi, or " green to- 
bacco,^^ which is cultivated about Villa Rica, and the pety- 
par^, a " spotted " or " speckled '' petun. The latter, 
known by the large yellow discolorations which appear 
with the flower, grows only in certain places. The plant is 
carefully topped, and the leaves, selected by the " acopia- 
dor,'" were tied up into small bundles. A man lately 
bought for $5 (f.) an arroba of the latter^ but it was pro- 
bably stolen. The canela, or cinnamon-coloured variety, 
was ever so rare that it could be purchased only by making 
interest with a village chief: the value was $4 to $6 (f.) 
per arroba. Little care was taken in curing the weed. My 
friend Mr. George Thompson, of Buenos Aires, gave me 
several varieties of small specimen cigars, made about 1860, 
and then costing 1/. 126*. per thousand. One of them had 
a smooth greenish leaf, like the Manilla; another had a 
" capa '"' of pety-hobi wrapped round common ^' comer- 
cio."*' All were too rough in appearance to suit the Eng- 



(8 riyals) per twenty-four rolls, each of \\ oz. Paraguayan diet chiefly 
consists of maize and manioc, oranges and mate. All prices are in " pata- 
coons" of ten ri\'als each. The Boliviano, or Bolivian dollar, is worth two 
riyals less, or almost three shillings. Wanting small change, the common 
people have chopped up these pieces into two and four bits ; and the half 
dollar is popularly termed a " Boliviano." House-rent formerly varied 
from one to three dollars per month, and a pair of lodging-rooms could he 
had for $6 to $7 (f.). Furniture is rare; the citizens mostly slept in ham- 
mocks lushed to rings built in the wall. 



454 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

lish markets, and though mild in flavour were very heady. 
Yet, as you know, certain connoisseur friends in London 
did not dislike them. 

We wished to visit the French colony of Nueva Burdeos, 
which I have said proved an utter failure. The site of this 
place and of other small towns on the far hank of the river 
may be seen from the uplands, but they may not be visited 
without the permission of the Brazilian Admiral, who is apt 
to refuse, judging the trip unsafe. We ascended the 
highest ground behind Asuncion, despite the dreadful 
effluvia from the carcases of cattle, and enjoyed a charming 
view of the little city, the noble expanse of the river valley, 
the grand sweep of the stream, and the sinuosities of the 
Pilcomayo's mouth. On the summit is a mangrullo, with three 
ladders and a solid roof, guarded by a detachment of Bra- 
zilians, and behind it is a cemetery, small and new. 

We visited more than once Dr. Stewart^s quinta, east- 
ward and out of town. The road runs by the railway 
w^orkshops, which are unimportant ; and past the little 
church of S. Boque, a single-steepled aff*air, like most of 
the others. It then crosses two small wooden bridges 
thrown across the " Chorro," a rivulet of spring water, at 
whose mouth ships fill their tanks, and under whose dwarf 
falls the citizens in happier days enjoyed their douches. Then 
leaving the railway to the left, our route winds across deep 
sand, and we pass the house occupied by the Oriental army of 
150 men, under General Castro. They are detained here by 
the general want of transport. On the right is the garden 
in which are encamped 350 Paraguayan soldiers in charge 
of two brass guns. I confess that Asuncion appeared at 
that time eminently open to a coy p -de -main. The garrison 
consisted of some thousand Brazilians, dispersed in barracks ; 
in case of a surprise these men, who are subject to panics, 
however stoutly they may have stood up in the field, would 



AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 455 

probably have barricaded themselves ; and, if not, they cer- 
tainly would have marched up too late. A few corps of 
Paraguans might, I believe, have entered Asuncion before 
dawn, cut the throats of the unarmed residents, and retired 
with plenty of booty : they would probably have been 
joined by the 420 men under Colonel Baes. 

Beyond the Oriental headquarters we passed dwarf trin- 
cheiras, or earthworks, supported by palm-trunks, and 
commanding the land approach, with platforms for two 
guns ; of these barricades many are scattered across the seve- 
ral roads. Fording a stream and giving a wide berth to a 
dead mule, we turned into the gardens that lay on our 
left. It was impossible not to remark how Brazilian the 
fauna and flora had become. The chattering ainuns, the 
parroquets with thrilling flight, and the bem-te-vis were 
noisy as ever; the charming white and black viuva flitted 
from bush to bush as on the banks of the Rio de Sao Fran- 
cisco ; and the tame little doves ran along the ground, whilst 
the large blue pigeons, swifter than the hawk, winged their 
arrowy flight high above. The quaint staccato voice of 
the frog contrasted with the monotonous chirping of the 
nyaciingra or chicharra, a large cicada. Here and there we 
started a lizard or an iguana, resembling the dragon of 
Saint George in pictures. There were beetles of many kinds, 
and achatina shells, mostly tenantless at this season ; the 
spider wove on almost every tree her large web-like 
nest, and the ant was, as usual, busily engaged in useless 
labour. 

The monarchs of the woods were the flgs, especially the 
bunchy Ympomen and the Tavumen, with dark-coloured 
fruit. The characteristic trees were mimosas and acacias, 
especially the inga, the quebracho, and the jacaranda, or 
palo de rosa. Of these woods a beam has been found 
bearing the date '' Octobre xx. 1633.'' I recognised the 



456 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

cedro_, thougli young, by its hard fruit ; and saw a tree wLich 
much resembled the ibirapitanga, or true Brazilian dye- 
wood. Mr. Mulhall (p. 99) mentions " a tree called by a 
Guarani name, signifying ' red wood.' " The napinday, a 
prickly mimosa, which closes its leaves at sunset and before 
showers, was pointed out to me. The palms were the 
coquito, with the usual raceme, and the fan-leaved carandai, 
that useful ceroxylon, which is cut for house-roofs only 
when the moon wanes. Here and there a Persian lilac, 
"margoso,'^ or Nini tree grew well, whilst the Brazilian 
araucaria did not thrive. The myrtle and papaw, the ara9a 
and caju, flourished wild in the bush; and there was an 
abundance of the banana, whose fruit before the war was 
looked upon as "basura"' or sweepings. The orange tree 
is here fifty- five feet tall, far exceeding that of the Brazil, 
and even of Corrientes ; till thirty years old, it is half- 
grown, and when arrived at full age it averages per annum 
500 fruits. I have heard of its producing thousands. These 
aristocrates du regne vegetal are intolerant of neighbours 
as the European conifers. Every traveller remarks how 
clear of grass is the ground which they shadow ; but none 
explain whether the soil becomes barren by imbibing the 
acid juice of the fallen fruit, or whether it results from 
some deleterious emanation. 

The shrubs were the fedegoso, so well known in the 
Brazilian interior ; arrowroot ; wild indigo, now seeding ; 
the verbena ; the white oleander, here a stranger ; the wild 
prickly solanum, or " Devil's tomatoes •" the castor-oil 
plant; the lantana; the pinhao bravo, which gives croton 
oil ; wild tobacco ; the broca, or burr ; and the vidreira from 
the Gran Chaco, a juniper-like plant, whose ashes reduced to 
a calx are used by the glass-maker. There are not less than 
seven species of cactus, chiefly the cylindrical and the 
quadrangular. The wild flowers are the familiar vincas. 



AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 457 

whose lustrous green leaves, contrasting well with its pink 
blossoms, have recommended it to Europe, and even to 
Egypt ; and the diamela, or Paraguayan jasmine, which 
resembles a small white camelia, with a rich but feeble 
perfume. The sensitive plant clothed the campo like clover 
or lucerne ; its flower is a pink catkin ; and its stem, 
armed with small thorns, resembles the feathery mimosa. 
Convolvulus hung upon the dead stumps ; air plants sat 
upon the tree-forks ; and the birds had planted the red- 
berried parasite wherever it could take root. There was an 
abundance of sarsaparilla ;^ of the red-stemmed sugar- 
cane ; of melons ; of the arachis or ground-nut, which here 
takes the place of the olive ; of mandioca, the local parsnip ; 
of oats, which, formerly unknown by name in the Republic, 
now grow wild ; whilst the cotton, which at one time pro- 
mised to become a staple of Paraguayan export, was black 
with neglect. 

The house was the normal quinta of the country ; strong 
and substantially built. A deep verandah, fronting a lawn to 
westward, and commanding through the shady trees a fine 
view of the city, led to a hall and four rooms remarkable 
for nothing but their ceilings. The offices were to the 
south, and the interior was in disorder : torn books lay in 
the corners, a huge mirror had been smashed, and the fur- 
niture was represented by the foul beds of the Paraguayan 
" care-taker '' and his friends — ruffians like himself, who 
sleep all night and half the day. He has given up the tene- 
ment to these " four great orders of knighthood " — 

" The earwig, the midge, the bedroom B., 
Never forgetting the gladsome flea." 

A companion, Mr. M'Nab, gave him a sovereign to fetch 



* From " zarza," a thorn ; and " parilla," a vine : not a gridiron, as Do- 
brizhoffer has it. 



458 AT AND ABOUT ASUNCION. 

an " asa^o " for breakfast. He returned after three hours, 
swearing that the coin had slipped out of his pocket. Even 
a negro would hardly have done this. 

Thence we walked northwards to the house of the Seiiora 
Dona Macedonia, a niece of General Berges, aged eighteen, 
and a great favourite with foreigners. As she was absent 
we entered the pulperia, or drinking-shop, upon the ground- 
floor, and failed to buy a tin of sardines, because the house 
had no change for a gold piece. All about were pretty 
^' villas /' and the roads, which were adorned with the noble 
palma real, so much admired at Rio de Janeiro, showed 
signs of careful hedging. 

We also visited the finca of Madame Lynch, which was 
said to grow some two hundred arrobas of coffee. The bun- 
galow was neat, and fronted by a lawn through which brick 
conduits led to a plunge-bath in a grassy hollow. The 
Mocha was not forthcoming, but there was a vinery which, 
trained to arbours, as are all in these regions, must have 
produced a quantity of grapes. The aged stems lay help- 
less upon the ground, and all was desolation ; the only 
inhabitants were a few Paraguayan peasants, who were eat- 
ing their chipas, or coarse brioches and chocolo, the " buta^^ 
of Hindostan, young maize roasted or boiled. 

Our excursions about Asuncion were always short. The 
climate, to strangers at least, is exceedingly enervating; 
and very few miles in deep sand suffice for the best-girt 
walker. Adieu. 



My dear Z- 



LETTER XXVI. 

AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 

Asuncion, April 15, 1869. 



There are two ways of making Luque, the 
ex-provisional capital village, where the Allied headquarters 
lie : by horse along the old road, or by the railway which 
I told you the Paraguayans neglected to tear up. It is 
believed that the whole is open as far as Pirayii terminus, 
54 miles, which would lead into the heart of Lopez-land; 
and that the enemy contented himself, after sending down 
his locomotive battery, with destroying three bridges, in- 
cluding the Juquery, which is one league and a half beyond 
the headquarters. 

We had been warned that the journey by rail would not 
be pleasant, and, expecting nothing, we were not dis- 
appointed. The first daily train, at 6 a.m., is held dangerous. 
Of late, certain waggoners have been arrested for cutting 
the trestles, holding that the caminho de ferro spoils their 
trade. Every train, in fact, 'does the work of nine carts, 
which can carry only two bales of pressed hay each, and 
without the iron road, the Brazilian operations, I have told 
you, would have been greatly delayed. 

Mr. Williams and I were introduced to the Major, who, 
stick in hand, ruled the station. Under the military system 
of Marshal-President Lopez, all the railway officials were 
captains and lieutenants, and a military band played on 
each arrival of the train. We found M. Petersen, a Dane, 
and inspecting engineer, exceedingly civil. The second 



460 AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 

train had started before its time ; apparently the departures 
are never exacts except when you reckon upon their in- 
exactitude. We passed the time in inspecting the fine 
barracks of San Francisco, and the " banquillo" or benchlet, 
facing east, a seat between two posts,, where criminals 
were shot at daybreak against a dead wall. Traitors, as 
usual in these lands, were fired into from behind. 

The Major had promised us places by the third train, 
which leaves at 10 a.m., and for this time we were careful not 
to be late. Every appliance was of the rudest description. 
The asthmatic little engine — which, after serving its time 
upon the Balaklava line, and being condemned as useless at 
Buenos Aires, had been shipped ofi" to Paraguay — was driven 
by a Brazilian officer in goggles. Passenger-carriages there 
were none; and the shallow waggons piled three stories 
high with sacks of maize and bales of pressed alfalfa, each 
weighing 300 to 400 lbs., formed a perch from which a 
fine act of flying into the nearest field could be performed. 
Something of the kind happened to the next batch of 
travellers, with due fracture of nose, limb, and head. 

Dr. Newkirk was accompanied by his faithful servant, a 
Correntino, who hardly lost a moment in getting drunk, 
and in addressing us generally with japii — a lie. After the 
usual delay, we wound slowly through the eastern suburbs, 
hard stared at by a few ^' half-sarkit •" and cotton drawered 
natives, an ill-favoured race, of whom no ^' pathetic fallacy^^ 
could make a provisional government. Our eyrie was 
lined with a body of Paraguayan dames and damsels, all 
more or less tinged by red-skin blood. They screamed 
lustily when the smoke and steam combining to blow in 
our faces, spotted skin and raiment with blacks, as though 
we had been peppered. The dress was a red or white 
cloth over the shoulders, a tipoi or chemisette very open in 
front, and a petticoat with lace flounces ; shoes were rare, and 



AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 461 

the hair was plaited behind, and formed into two bunches, 
somewhat like the coiffures of Harar. They spoke Guarani 
to one another, Spanish to us. Amongst the detached 
houses one was shown to me where the redoubtable Francia 
had passed a considerable portion of his manhood, poring 
over a scanty library, meditating upon the future, and, 
doubtless, eating his ambitious heart, as must have been the 
case with a certain contemporary of ours who also rose to 
a throne. The curves were exaggerated ; the light engine 
seemed to jump rather than to run ; the canting over 
caused our fair neighbours — officially called fair — to clutch 
at us with iron fingers, and I never felt — even while racing 
against time over the unstuffed pots of the " Santos and 
Jundiahy^^ — that we were doing better to secure a spill. 

The worst part was up a swelling loma that extended nearly 
to the half-way village. La Trinidad. Its single-steepled 
church, whose belfry spreads out above to support a huge 
vane, contains under a long triple profile of tile-roof, the 
mortal spoils of the late President Lopez (senior). 
Around this are scattered the picturesque " Summer 
Palaces,^' with quintas and naranjales, laid out by the 
reigning family for their conquerors, and huts smothered 
in dense copse and glorious trees. Trinity was celebrated 
for cock-fights, and still stood there a single large rinadero 
(pit), in the normal shape of a skeleton wooden circus, 
bared of its thatch. The scatter of upright poles and torn 
mattings, all now deserted, showed where the Argentine 
forces had lately been encamped. From this point the 
little city looks exceedingly well. At no great distance to 
the right of the road is the Recoleta, or original cemetery, 
so called from the " Recolets '^ of old authors. 

Beyond La Trinidad the road greatly improved, and its 
long straight lines spanned in perspective the Campo Grande, 
a charming grassy plain, with rare " rolls" and " dips," 



462 AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 

Tips and downs. Upon its further side rises the loma, which 
shows the Luque village^ a neat place seen from a distance. 
Here the bridges were in good repair ; the stations were 
for the most part remarkably substantial, as if made to last 
for ever ; and that opposite La Trinidad was a neat chalet. 
The carpenters will not take the trouble to whittle down 
their extremely hard timber^ and building material every- 
where abounds. 

After a run of little more than seven miles in thirty 
minutes, during which the levels rose to 2(^0 feet, we 
reached the Luque station,^ and were greeted by one of 
the employes, Sefior Cordeiro, who remembered my former 
visit to the front. This gentleman gave me two parchment- 
bound volumes, containing the Life and Miracles of Saint 
Ignatius de Loyola. I also managed to procure a mutilated 
translation of Colonel du Graty, with notes by D. Carlos 
Calvo. This work was officially recommended to all good 
patriots, and hundreds of copies were found in store at 
Asuncion. The literature affected by foreigners in Paraguay 
seems mostly to have consisted of grammars, dictionaries, 
and ready letter- writers. Travellers remarked that, although 
all the natives could read and write, a village often con- 
tained only a single book. 

We found Luque the normal settlement derived from the 
Jesuit ages ; a single quadrangle surrounded by some forty 
or fifty ground-fioor houses, with deep verandahs or corridors 
on wooden posts, whitewashed walls and red-tiled roofs. All 
opened, for better espionage, upon the grassy space in front. 
To the east was a mean little chapel, and on the west was 
the great comercio, or camp-bazar. We chose the Hotel 
de Paz, a kind of booth, where for a sovereign we break- 



* For the rest of the line, as far as Itaugua (twenty-five miles), and a 
visit to Pirayu, Paraguari, Yaguaron, and Ita, Mr. M. Mulhall (page 95) 
may be consulted to advantage. 



AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 463 

fasted decently, with bread and vin de paya, a stewed fowl, 
and the best beef that we had eaten in Paraguay. Drunken 
soldiers were loungiug about, and Dr. Newkirk, after in- 
specting the accounts of his fraudulent apothecary, at once 
recognised the brand of a favourite charger belonging to Dr. 
Stewart. The trooper who rode it was of the San Martin 
corps, but a dollar and a card sent to the commanding 
officer soon caused the restoration of the stolen property. 

The country about Luque consisted of landwaves dotted 
with ant-hills and tussocky grass ; and belts of wood, espe- 
cially thorn-coppice, dividing open esteros, rivulets here 
called caiiadas, and marshes and mud-pools floored with 
hard clay. Here and there a bunch or bouquet of vegeta- 
tion somewhat better than usual, showed the " copuera,^"* or 
countryman's house. In this part of Paraguay the " capilla^'- 
village is not known ; the people live in detached farms 
with mud walls, and open ranchos surrounded by oranges, 
palms, and mamones, as papaws are named after the shape 
of their fruit. Cotton was formerly grown here in fields 
neatly kept as gardens, and some contained 300 lineos, or 
20,000 hills. The shrub has now been allowed to run wild. 
Marshal-President Lopez had made, much like Mohammed 
Pasha of Egypt, the planting of tree- wool obligatory, and with 
20,000 troops at his command, hands were never wanting. 
The soil is distinctly poor : the Brazilians declare that 
they are fighting for a country — unspoiled *^^ Arcadia of 
English capitalists,^' the " most interesting, loveliest, 
pleasantest in the world '' — which they would not accept as 
a gift. At present the surface is tolerably pure ; presently 
it will become a sheet of offal and garbage, and the waters 
will be turned into cess, and sink, stagnant and putrid, into 
animal and vegetable decay. 

After breakfast we crossed the railway in order to call 
upon the Exmo. Sr General-in-Jefe del Ejercito Argentino, 



464 AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 

the Brigadier- General D. Emilio Mitre, to whom we car- 
ried letters from President Sarmiento, and from his dis- 
tingnished brother, D. Bartholome. I was astonished to 
find that officer in proximity with the Brazilians, the 
Saturday Review, usually so well informed, having lately 
" virtually dissolved the triple alliance of the two Plate 
(sic) Republics with the Empire." 

The Argentine camp lay north-west of the comercio. 
The site was a pleasant slope facing eastward, where stood 
the lines of the several corps, most of the tents being 
bushed in with branches of orange trees mercilessly hacked 
down. Altogether you could hardly imagine a more 
pleasant place for a picnic in fine weather — in rain it must 
be hideous. There was an unmistakeable improvement in 
the aspect of things ; the men were cleaner ; their uniforms 
were more uniform ; they did not look discontented ; and 
their foul tents of hides had been exchanged for canvas. 
Still, however, almost all those we saw, officers excepted, 
were foreigners : Frenchmen, Germans, and Spaniards, and 
not a few who wore the easily-detected look of the runaway 
British seaman, completed the '^ collection of human zoology.'^ 
After the late events at Loma Valentina, there has been 
even less of entente cordiale between the Allies than before ; 
and the Argentines smart under the conviction that they 
had been robbed of their credit by the Generalissimo Caxias. 
I heard of but one Englishman, Colonel Fitzmorris, who 
bore a commission, but doubtless there are others. 

We gave our cards to a sentinel who was pacing in the 
perfumed shade of the naranjal, and an aide-de-camp pre- 
sently led us up to where D. Emilio was sitting in uniform 
upon his easy-chair. Near him rose his small campaigning 
tent, and opposite it stood a carriage-bed, a kind of four- 
gon, somewhat like the old waggon of the Suez road, cap- 
tured from Marshal-President Lopez, after the flight from 



AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 465 

Loma Valentina, aud containing as you will see, a wealth 
of damaging documents. Good horses were tethered to the 
tree-stumps around. The General welcomed us, glanced at 
our letters, and asked if we had breakfasted — it is his generous 
practice to keep open house or tent. He then produced a 
box of the best Havannas, which were followed by cups of 
the fragrant Yungaz coffee. Originally from Mocha, this 
Bolivian variety is justly held in the highest esteem ; unfor- 
tunately it is rare as it is delicious. I first tasted it in the 
hospitable house of the Messrs. Duguid at Buenos Aires^ 
and the perfumed flavour faintly suggested the odour of 
incense. 

The guest-rite concluded, we sat down to a table spread 
with charts, especially an enlarged copy of Captain Mou- 
chez^s excellent map, into which details taken from various 
informants had been filled. D. Emilio pointed out to us 
what he thought should be the future of a campaign, con- 
cerning which I can only say that it still drags its slow 
length along when it should have finished in the beginning 
of 1869. Commanding the Argentines during the latter 
part of the war, he has seen much service, and he wdll pro- 
bably see more. He is one of the few Platines that have 
ever shown aptitude for la grande guerre, and his country 
has done wisely to employ him. D. Emilio is a tall, 
stout figure, well known for personal strength, and he has 
the jovial look which often accompanies great physical 
force ; his beard is dark and full ; his hair, though not grey, 
is becoming scanty at the poll, and yet he appears much 
younger than his brother, D. Bartholome. Altogether he 
is a prepossessing and military figure, which must com- 
mend itself to the sex whose commendation he mostly 
values. His men are thoroughly satisfied with him, and he 
has something to say in favour of their dash, but little 
about that solidarite which he so much admires in the 

30 



466 AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 

Paraguayans. They must win by the first charge, and they 
have a holy horror of playing long-stop to besieged bowlers. 
The foreign portion has probably never fought before. 
Gaucho warfare consists of scattering before the fight, gal- 
loping about, banging guns and pistols in the air, shouting 
the Redskin " slogan/^ and foully abusing one another^s 
feminine relatives. The infantry take shelter, and ad- 
vance under cover so as to steal a march upon the enemy. 
Both cavalry and infantry retire when a few men have been 
wounded or killed ; and, after the " battle '' the throats of all 
prisoners are cut, according to the fashion of the Mohawks. 
D. Emilio praised the persistency of the Brazilian whites, 
who, in this particular, apparently resemble the Russians. 
He numbered his men at 5000, and he did not seem to 
think an increase probable ; many a '^ tropilla ^' of horses 
must be forthcoming before even these can move. 

On our taking leave, D. Emilio gave us a general invita- 
tion to dine with him, and in this case it is equivalent to 
a particular. Returning to the Luque village, we called 
upon Colonel Ferreira, Chief of Camp Police. His quarters, 
situated a little behind the only square, have been, to judge 
from the rudimental arms of the Republic painted upon the 
walls, an official residence. Then proceeding to the State 
House, at the north-eastern angle of the Plaza, we sent m 
our cards to the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Army, 
Marshal Guilherme Xavier da Souza. His adjudante d^ordens 
(aide-de-camp) courteously asked us to sit down whilst the 
Generalissimo was finishing some official business. Presently 
we entered, and found him in a camp chair before a plain 
deal table, which bore materials for making cigarettes. A 
tall thin man, with pallid, not to say yellow skin, high 
features, and straight thin black hair, together with an ex- 
pression of countenance peculiarly Brazilian, his nationality 
is not to be mistaken. He was dressed in mufti, black 



AGAIN TO THE ALLIED FRONT. 467 

from head to foot, without any sign of his rank, or even 
of his profession. Dr. Newkirk declared that he had never 
seen him look so well ; I thought his appearance almost 
corpse-like. He is evidently suffering from liver complaint, 
and at times sudden faintness compels him to dismount 
from his charger. His enemies declare that his ill-health 
began with a fall upon parade, when he struck with his 
sword at an officer. They also injuriously call him General 
da Corte — but what else was the gallant Lord Raglan ? 
Moreover, the Generalissimo is only acting temporarily, like 
a certain '' Jemmy Simpson"^ who was sent to uphold in 
the Crimea the honour of the British arms, when nearly a 
decade before he was pronounced superannuated in Sind. 
The Marshal spoke freely of the war. He numbers his men 
at 20,000, forming the two corps d'armee, commanded by 
Generals Machado Bittancourt and the highly-distinguished 
Menna Barreito ; and he would fain have a third of 10,000 
more. The vanguard consisted of 4000 men, under the 
Brigadier Vasco Alves, who held the Juquery bridge. He was 
very severe upon the climate of Paraguay, with its immense 
variety of " immundicies,"'^ but he expected that the approach- 
ing winter would do him good. 

From the Quartel General we walked about the camp, 
which is kept in far better order than the city; and we 
inspected the men, who seemed, like mulatto children, to 
grow darker every month. Except here and there an officer 
or a bandsman, all appeared to be deeply tarred. Again 
we found the unpleasant spectacle of begging soldiers, even 
amongst the highly-paid volunteers. Mr, Williams was 
assured by a liberated African whom he had seen at Bahia 
that the men had been in arrears for nine months. The 
officers could not wholly deny the fact, but they justify the 
non-payment for three to four months, as proposed by the 
Duke de Caxias, on the grounds that the soldiers have all 

30— :i 



468 AGAIN TO THE ALLIED ERONT. 

they want_, and that the issue of money is a signal for all 
manner of disorders. When recounting my experience to 
high authorities at Uio de Janeiro^ I found that this style 
of procedure was there unknown. 

At Luque we witnessed the unloading of three railway 
waggons^ under charge of a furious major of infantry, acting 
conductor. The maize sacks and hay bales were tossed one 
by one upon the muddy ground, and were slowly rolled up 
the bank of the little cutting by a score of negro Sepoys in 
fatigue suits. As usual in these lands of liberty, every boy gave 
his opinion, and obtained at least as good a hearing as his 
seniors. In France or Englandsome seven hundred men would 
have been told off, and they would have done in ten minutes 
the work which here occupied nearly an hour. This typical 
slowness in small matters illustrates the whole course of the 
long campaign. The Juquery bridge took nearly a month 
to repair, and a facetious editor at Buenos Aires allowed 
the Brazilians half a year before they could prepare a fresh 
base of operations. 

As we left Luque in an unloaded train, pushed by the 
engine at the rate of twenty-five miles an hour, we were 
cheered by a characteristic incident. Suddenly in the 
evening air appeared a bundle of something describing a 
parabola : it was a Brazilian soldier in uniform, who thought 
jumping the readiest way to leave the waggon. All sup- 
posed him a dead man, but his African head had alighted 
like a shell upon the loose sandy surface. He rolled over 
as might a toy tumbler, and at last, seated upon his broadest 
breadth, with highlows extending skywards, he displayed at 
us flashing ivories and widely-open eyes which recalled the 
inlayings of some Lower Empire statue. 

We were not sorry to find ourselves, sound in limb, once 
more within the walls of the Hotel de la Minute. 

Farewell. 



LETTER XXVII., 

AND LAST. 



My dear Z- 



Buenos Aires, April 21, 1869. 



H.R.H. the Comte d^Eu, with that devo- 
tion to the interests of his adopted country which has ever 
characterized his career^ volunteered his services as Com- 
mander-in-Chief of all the Brazilian forces operating in the 
Republic of Paraguay^ and they had been accepted on March 
22, 1869. It was popularly said in the Brazil that only 
His Imperial Majesty and the people, supported through thick 
and thin the war policy, whilst the Conservatives who were 
in office showed signs of wishing to conclude an honourable 
peace. Many therefore believed that the gallant and amiable 
young Prince, still only twenty-seven, was a victim to poli- 
tics, and fated to fail. They predicted for him an enthusiastic 
reception — a banquet, with speechifying, boasting, and pro- 
mising in foison ; much hurry, bustle, and confusion ; a move- 
ment rather circular than progressive ; and at last, ill-health 
and resignation. The husband of the Princess Imperial, 
however, accepted without hesitation the task of pushing on 
the fight to which he was virtually pledged, and persevered 
with stout heart and all the energy of his house. On April 
6, 1869, he reached Monte Video, accompanied by his staff, 
whose chief, by-the-bye, was the ex-Minister of War, Gene- 
ral Polidoro da Fonseca Uuintanilha Jordao. That officer, 
you may remember, succeeded (July 10, 1866) General 
Osorio in command of the Brazilian forces : he left in Para- 
guay a name by no means popular with either army. 



470 CONCLUDING LETTER. 

On April 14 the Comte d^Eu showed his promptitude by- 
hearing a salute at Asuncion, and by occupying the Cuartel 
General three days afterwards at Luque. Thence he ad- 
dressed to his men the following proclamation : — 

" Having been appointed, by an Imperial decree of 
March 22nd ult., Commander-in-Chief of all the Brazilian 
forces operating against the Goyernment of Paraguay, I this 
day undertake the arduous task. 

" Upon the heroic troops now united under my command 
the Brazil has reposed her dearest hopes. 

" It is for us to attain, by a supreme effort, the full end 
which placed under arms the Brazilian nation ; to restore 
to our beloved country the peace and security indispensable 
to the full development of her prosperity. 

'' With such holy objects presented in our minds, each of 
us will ever do his duty. 

"This is the anniversary of the day when, led by a 
general of indescribable heroism, you effected, in face of the 
enemy, one of the most daring of military operations. 

" Numberless proofs of bravery and endurance, displayed 
before and after that ever-memorable date by the Army, 
the Navy, and the Volunteers, have shed deathless glory 
upon the Brazilian arms. 

" The God of Armies will not allow the fruits of so many 
sacrifices, of so much perseverance, to be in vain. He will 
again crown our efforts and those of our loyal Allies ; a final 
triumph will secure for four nations the benefits of peace 
and liberty, and victorious we will see again the delicious 
sky of our native land. 

" Comrades ! you will find me ever ready to advocate 
before the powers of the State your legitimate interests. 

" Obliged, when I least expected it, to take the place of 
generals whose experience had guided them through the 



CONCLUDING LETTER. 471 

trials of a prolonged war, I trust to receive from one and all 
of you the most cordial co-operation. 

'^ Your support will enable me to fulfil all the demands 
of the arduous commission imposed upon me by my deep 
devotion to the greatness of Brazil. 

" Long live the Brazilian nation ! 

" Long live the Emperor ! 

" Long live our Allies ! 

(Signed) ^' Gaston d^Orleans, 

" Commander-in-Chief." 

I will only say of this " Order of the day" that it shows 
the best intentions, but that it lacks flavour and originality, 
whilst the appeal to the " God of Armies" is an antiquated 
practice rapidly falling into decent disuse. 

My task was now at end. I had now seen all the most 
interesting sites of the most heroic struggle known to the 
world since the "^ Beggars" of the Lower Provinces arrayed 
themselves against Philip of Spain. My companion and I 
had only to intone the pleasant words — 

"Tralala — lalala, partons I 

Oui, partons ! 
Prenous nos attributs." 

We ran down to the river in the Osorio, Captain Smith, 

an old acquaintance ; and enjoyed ourselves in the company 

of the '' raw Scotch laddie ;" whilst Mr. Cawmell, the purser, 

could complain only of over-fatigue — perhaps he was born 

tired — induced by perpetually handling the " swizzle-stick." 

The next day saw us at Humaita, whose batteries had clean 

disappeared, whilst the church had not been repaired. The 

rive]' bank looked low after the falaise of Asuncion, even as 

the grand proportions of Bio (de Janeiro) Bay and 

" The tow'ring headlands crowned with mist. 
Their feet among the billows," 

are dwarfed by contrast with the Platine mouth. Corrientes 



472 CONCLUDING LETTER. 

again looked exceedingly mean and unclean, and we then 
transferred ourselves, in a violent squall, to the neat little 
steamer Goija, Captain Bellesi. 

The Goya landed as at Buenos Aires, not without a 
trifling adventure which might have turned out serious. When 
night was about its noon on Saturday, April 17, we were 
suddenly thrown clean out of our berths. The crushing and 
crashing of spars told us that a collision had taken place. 
We ran on deck, expecting an ugly swim and cold dreary 
night amongst the mosquitoes. But I was once more in 
luck, having just escaped the Santiago wrecked at mid- 
night in Mercy Bay, Straits of Magellan. Large loomed 
a hull, the Itapicuru steamer, which had just crossed our 
bows. Fortunately, however, as we were making thirteen 
knots an hour, the captain and the two English engineers 
were on the alert, and " Stop 'er V and " Back ^er V were 
ordered and obeyed in a few instants. We swept away the 
enemy^s three boats, whilst several of our plates were 
destroyed; the stanchions were twisted as if by machinery, 
and we sustained a total of damage estimated at $3000 (f.). 
We followed the foe, whistling her to stop, which of course 
she did not, and the results of the affair were legal pro- 
ceedings, in which the Goya will be happy if she receives 
half her claims. 

My most obliging and accomplished friend, Mr. G. P. 
Crawfurd, at once carried me off to the office of the Buenos 
Aires " Tribuna," where I renewed acquaintance with a 
fellow traveller, D. Hector Varela, and was introduced to 
his brother, D. Rufino. The latter allowed me to inspect the 
documents taken at Loma Yalentina from the private carriage 
of Marshal-President Lopez ; and these prove him to be 

" Cunning and fierce — mixture abhorred." 

They range through upwards of a decade, and throw a fierce 



CONCLUDING LETTER. 473 

light upon the shades of Paraguayan civilization. Thus, whilst 
sundry partisans brazenly assert that the Republic decreed 
that from January 1, 1843, " the wombs of female slaves 
should be free" and manumitted all her serviles before 1851, 1 
found a document, stamped '^ Sello Cuarto/'' and dated April 
19, 1858, in which serviles were sold to D. Miguel (now 
Colonel) Baes for 125 (f.) a head. The dollars were of full 
value, but in paper, as Paraguay lacked silver. Again, the 
Esclavos del Estado are alluded to in a rescript dated 1862. 
With these papers before me it was easy to understand 
how desertion from the Paraguayan army was next to im- 
possible. The soldiers never went out of camp alone, or in 
a lesser number than four ; and each answered for the other 
three with his life. A General Order, dated Paso la Patria, 
March 25, 1866, and signed by one of the most sanguinary 
officers, Francisco Z. Resquin, thus establishes the award of 
" levanting," and even of sleeping whilst on duty. The 
culprit was shot. The two men that stood on parade to his 
right and left received each twenty-five "palos" — lashes 
with a bulFs hide. The cabo or corporal of the section 
was degraded to the ranks for two months, and ran the 
gauntlet till some forty blows were dealt to him "^ en cir- 
culo." To the sergeant of the company were awarded fifty 
" palos de paradu," on foot ; moreover, he was ordered to 
serve one month as a soldier, and one as a corporal. The 
commissioned officer was " remitted to his Excellency the 
Marshal- President," and his penalty was arbitrary: usually, 
the oft'ender was reduced to march in the ranks with naked 
feet ; sometimes he forfeited life. All ofiences committed 
in the vanguard came under the especial jurisdiction of the 
President, and none ever found mercy. It was rumoured 
that in the most obstinate attacks the Paraguayans were 
formed, Roman-like, in three lines ; and that if oue fled the 
corps immediately to the rear was ordered to fire upon its 



474 CONCLUDING LETTER. 

comrades in arms. This also appeared to be confirmed by 
a General Order. The mothers or wives of the bravest 
officers, who were compelled by the fate of war to yield 
themselves prisoners^ were forced publicly to disown their 
sons and husbands as traitors to the country; and failing 
to do so they were imprisoned^ exiled,, or flogged to death. 
It is generally believed that the Draconian edicts issued 
against desertion became with time still more bloodthirsty, 
and that shooting the collateral offenders was preferred to 
flogging. 

An original and sundry copies of courts martial (consijos 
de guerra) were given to me as specimens. They were of 
the most summary and drum-head nature. Paper^ like salt, 
had become exceedingly rare, one of the reasons being that 
affairs of the most trivial nature were lengthily documented, 
and forwarded to headquarters. Two pieces about the size 
of your hand, coarsely made out of caraguata, or fibre of 
the wild bromelia, and, to judge from the red lines, torn 
from some account-book, were tacked together and covered 
with writing. A man's life is in each one of them, and 
the tenor usually is as follows : — 

" Long live the Republic of Paraguay ! 

" Relation of the soldier Candido Ayala, of the company 
of Grenadiers, and of the battalion No. 3, and it is as 
follows : — 

" The said soldier, when standing at night around the 
fire with other men of his own company, repeated to them 
the sayings and the offers made to him by the enemy, as he 
was going in the vanguard under Serjeant-major Citizen 
Benito Rolon, on occasion of finding himself where he and 
they could hold communication. One of them said to him, 
^ Come you amongst us; throw away your hide-ponchos; here 



CONCLUDING LETTER. 475 

we are well, you will want nothing, and forget your Presi- 
dent, an Indian, old and pot-bellied ! ' And the moment 
that the commandant of the corps happened to be near them 
and heard their conversation, he reproved them and cut them 
short, saying ' Silence ! who authorized you to repeat such 
words uttered by that canaille ? and how dare they speak 
against or insult our Marshal, he being the handsomest and 
most gracious (gracioso) sovereign in all the American 
continent ? ' Upon which he called up the soldier, and 
asked him with what idea he had repeated a conversation 
which tended to wound and personally to injure our Lord 
( Senor) President. The other replied that he had repeated 
it without evil thought, not knowing it to be blameable, 
and at once he was placed in the stocks at the colour 
guard, where he remains, the report being thus sent to the 
Commandant of the Division. 

" Encampment of San Fernando, April 4, 1868. 

Signed, '' Julian N. Godoy.'' 

" By order of the Most Excellent Lord Marshal President 
of the Republic, and General-in-Chief of its Armies, let the 
above-named soldier, Candido Ayalo, of the battalion No. 3, 
be shot (pasese por las armas), and let the individuals of 
his company who were with him, listening to his words, be 
chastised with fifty blows (palos) ; the execution of this 
sentence being committed to the sergeant-major commandant 
of the said corps, who, in carrying out the order, will 
ascertain the names of those chastised with blows, for the 
purpose of reporting them. 

" Encampment at Tebicuary, April 4, 1868. 

Signed, " P. Z. Resquin.'' 

" In carrying out the present order, received with due 
respect, to shoot the soldier Candido Ayala, of the battalion 



476 CONCLUDING LETTER. 

No. 3, for the reason above stated, I had this done to-day 
according to command, and I caused to be chastised with 
fifty blows the sergeant Faustino Sanabria, and the corporals 
Jose Jiqueredo and Bias Jimenes, and the soldiers Baltazar 
Medina, Mathilde Piro, Tomas Duarste, Cecilio Maciel, and 
Canuto Galeano, who had given ear to the provoking words 
of the said Ayala ; and as the soldier Canuto Galeano was 
chastised by some mistake of the corporal with forty-nine 
blows, I ordered the fifty to be completed, upon which he 
turned to me as if ofiended, and asked me to chastise him 
still more if necessary. For which insolence I had him 
chastised with twenty-five more blows, and left him in the 
stocks. 

All which I respectfully report to your Lordship (V. 
Senoria). 

"Encampment at S. Fernando, April 4, 1868. 

Signed, " Julian Nicanor Godoy.''^ 

In almost all cases the men were shot for leaving camp 
to visit their families or relatives. On April 20, 1868, 
private Pedro Guanto was charged by two boys, respectively 
aged twelve and fifteen years, with having asserted some 
months before that Paraguay was not strong enough to 
support the war — " parece que vamos a perder '' He was 
"passed under arms.'^ Amongst the orders was one dated 
August 15, 1868, by the Secretary of War and Marine, 
degrading General the Citizen Vicente Barrios, married to 
D. Ynocencia, the President's elder sister, and transferring 
his rank to the honorary Colonel Luis Caminos, officer of 
the National Order of Merit. Another, dated December, 
1868, acquits and releases D. Venancio Lopez, whom all at 
Buenos Aires had " put to death by that species ol" torture 
known as the Cepo Uruguayana.^' After September 10, 
1868, nothing transpired concerning the fate of D. Benigno 



CONCLUDING LETTER. 477 

Lopez. Some declare that on the road to execution he said 
to an acquaintance, " Take my hat ; a man about to die 
wants no head covering/' Others reported that he had been 
flogged to death by Aveiros, a government clerk, and by 
Matias Goiguru, a captain of cavalry ; while others assert 
him to be still living. The same is the case with Vice- 
President Sanchez ; whilst a few saw his body at San Fer- 
nando, many are convinced that he still breathes the upper 
air. 

The women of Paraguay were not less arbitrarily treated. 
I saw one order for 700 of them, and another 810, to 
proceed, guarded by an officer and thirty troopers — who 
probably had no sinecure — with all possible despatch to the 
Capilla de Caacupe, where they were to " occupy themselves 
usefully in agriculture,^' maize and mandioca. The Allies 
may therefore give up all hopes of starving out this stubborn 
foe. Another document (S«pt. 26, 1867), establishes a 
central commission for receiving money, or, that failing, 
jewellery and precious stones, required for the defence of 
fatherland. La Senora, the President's mother, subscribes 
fifty ounces, and D. Elisa Alicia Lynch, one hundred. 
It is, therefore, vain to say that Marshal-President Lopez 
must put his subjects to death in order to plunder their 
property. 

Yet amidst the papers of sternest import, the instruments 
of tyranny which riveted chains upon a free people, are 
others which show heart of a softer stuff. The President of 
Paraguay, compared with Tiberius and Nero, is anxious 
about his eldest son " Panchito" (F. Lopez), who was 
so often reported to have been slain in battle when only 
about thirteen to fourteen years old. He shows much 
tenderness to his youngest child Leopoldo. I saw the 
original of the following, which he addressed before the 
affair of Loma Valentina, to Major-General Macmahon : — • 



478 CONCLUDING LETTER. 

"Piquisiri, December 23, 1868. 

" Sir, — As the representative of a friendly nation, and 
to provide against all that may happen, allow me to entrust 
to your care the subjoined document, by which I transfer 
to Doiia Elisa Lynch all my private effects of whatever 
description. 

" I beg you will have the goodness to keep the document 
until it can be securely delivered to the aforesaid lady, or 
returned to me, in the unforeseen event of my having no 
personal communication with you. 

'' Allow me also to entreat you from this moment to do 
all in your power to put into effect the intentions named 
in the document. 

" Receive, beforehand, all the thanks I can give you. — 
Your faithful servant, 

" Francisco S. Lopez/^ 



[same to same.] 

" Sir, — As you have had the extreme goodness to offer 
to take charge of my children, I now recommend them to 
your protection should anything happen to me. 

" I authorize you to adopt any means in their favour 
you may consider best for the welfare of those poor little 
creatures, more particularly Leopoldo, whose tender age 
fills me with anxiety. 

^^ You will thus gain my eternal gratitude, since the fate 
of those children is what will most trouble me in the ter- 
rible period I dedicate to the fortunes of my country. 
They will be safe under the protection of a gentlemau 
whose qualities I have been able to appreciate, not, indeed, 
during a long acquaintance, but to me a happy one. 

^' It is thus. General, I venture to trouble you, with 



CONCLUDING LETTER. 479 

motives which make no other call than in that gentlemanly 
feelins: I congratulate myself in having found in your 
Excellency, to whom I now oflfer my friendly acknow- 

gmen s. ^^ Francisco S. Lopez/' 

Another was a paper (December 23, 1868) in which he 
appoints Madame Lynch universal legatee. This will is, 
I am informed, illegal, the mother in Paraguay being under 
such circumstances heir-at-law. He is said to be not an 
unaffectionate son, although public report made D. Juana 
a suicide, and Mr. Washburn declared at Buenos Aires 
(Sept. 20, 1868) that " Lopez" had imprisoned, flogged, and 
tortured his mother and his sisters. 

This letter is a curious mixture of sympathy, of stern- 
ness, and of natural grief. It evidently alludes to the 
much talked-of conspiracy, and it proves, if credible, that 
D. Benigno Lopez was then living, although his death had 
often been reported. 

And the following is a literal translation : — 

" To the Senora Da. Juana Paula Carrillo de Lopez. 

'' September 10,1868. 
" My dear Mother, 

" I have received your welcome letter of the 
3rd instant, and I still live to acknowledge this upon the 
sixth anniversary of my father's death, through the mercy 
of God, who has vouchsafed to spare me, despite so many 
machinations of my own ones and of strangers. 

" Several weeks have elapsed, it is true, since my last letter 
to you, and I highly prize your affectionate reproach, when 
on other occasions a longer neglect would be of no im- 
portance. My silence is owing partly to my bad negligent 
habits, but now, especially, to the moral suff'erings which 
have for some time been my lot. The singular circum- 



480 * CONCLUDING LETTER. 

stances which have taken place in our house make me 
stand ashamed before the world ; and, but for your letter, I 
should perhaps have felt a repugnance to taking up my pen 
and to tracing a word upon subjects as monstrous as they are 
horrifying. You invoke, however, the sad memories of 
the day, and you ask me to write to you. This overcomes 
my objections, and I still write, although hardly knowing 
what to say. 

" I cannot express to you, mamma, all the pain with which 
I read your letter, because, after all my requests to Senor 
Sanchez, that he would disclose to you from me the know- 
ledge which I possess of the unhappy affair to which you 
refer, I should have expected, however hard it might have 
been, something more natural and frank. Poor mamma ! 
You, perhaps, do not know that I have already passed 
through every possible bitterness in this monstrous affair 
without daring to complain. But, I thank you, my mar- 
tyrdom reached its crisis when I learned the facts. I fear 
on my part further to embitter this day by dwelling upon 
a subject not less bitter than the worst which happened 
six years ago. Useless were all my endeavours, and 
vain were all my hopes ; and again I explain — or rather 
others explain for me — the cause. All arrayed themselves 
against me, and none busied himself save with his victim. 
But God permitted light to shine through the darkness ; 
my enemies were confounded, and I am still here. I am 
all in all to you, and would to heaven ! — would to heaven ! 
that I could be so for all those who did not think to require 
my help. 

'^ Venancio, Benigno, and Ynocencia, are in good health. 

" "Were I allowed a word of advice, I would recommend 
you not to show excessive alarm concerning all that is hap- 
pening : it would hardly be prudent, although a mother's 
tender heart requires some expansion. 



CONCLUDING LETTER. • 481 

" I receive your welcome letter rather as that of a mother 
to her son, than as of a suppliant to the magistrate : the 
latter case would only do harm. 

" Please convince yourself, mamma, of all the love with 
which your blessing is begged, by 

'^ Your most obedient son, 

(Signed) ^^F. S. Lopez.'^ 

A few hurried last hours amongst friends in Buenos 
Aires, the open-hearted, made me regret that such a distance 
was to separate us. Once more on board the comfortable 
Arno, Captain Thwaites, I found myself at home. Followed 
a glance at the old familiar scenes of Rio de Janeiro, which 
you have been told were somewhat stunted by contrast with 
the Plate, the Andes, and Magellan. And lastly, by 
way of finale, three weeks on board the Douro, bound to 
Southampton, with 365 passengers, of whom 86 were at an 
age delightful only to their mammas. The passengers 
were mostly Portuguese, whose main characteristic was 
expectoration ; and the feeding was worse than anything I 
had yet seen on board a Paraguayan river-steamer. The 
cabins, with their berths disposed athwartship, were stuffed 
full : the kitchen — I should say galley — and the store- 
room were not. 

With which parting grumble I bid you — Farewell ! 
* * * ^ -x- •}«• 

Thus much I have written out where as the Arab says, 
the warm south is blowing ; the cool waters are flowing ; 
the flowers and fruits are growing ; and Nature looks up to 
the All-Knowing. Adieu ! bright skies of the Bourbonnais, 
and fair valley of the AUier, and park vocal with the 
rustling music of the broad-leaved, green-berried palm-trees. 
Adieu, Vichy ! and may the world treat thee as thou hast 
treated the passing guest. 

31 



INDEX. 



Adams, Mr,, warned against harming tlie 

bricks of a fallen building, 110 
Adventure, an, which might have been 

serious, 472 
Alegre, General, at the storming of 

Humaita, 304 
Alen, Colonel, his attempt at suicide, 334 
Allied armies invest Humaita, 333 
Alvim, Commodore, visit to, 341 
American Gran Hotel, imposing grandeur 

of, 106 
American Mineral Water Establishment 

at Buenos Aires, 181 
Andrade, the Portugal patriot, death of, 

142 
Angostura battery surrendered, 423 
Angulo Eedan attacked by the Brazilians, 

360 
Animated scene, remembrance of an, 403 
Anti-Lopists, false reports of the, 329 
Argentine army, weapons of the, 323 ; 

various reports on the, 324 
Argentine camp at Luque, aspect of the, 

464 
Argentine Contingent ajumble of nationa- 
lities, 325 
Argentine railway, machinery for making 

the, 246 
Argentine soldiers, loss of, at the battle 

of Corrientes, 290 
Argentine Voluntary Legion led into a 

fatal ambusb, 343 
Argolo, General, and his staff boasting of 
their prowess, 322 ; visit to, 349 ; the 
predictions of his friends, 350 ; his in- 
vitations to a campaigning dinner, 350 
Arroyo Hondo, visit to the, 347 
Artesian well in Buenos Aires, 150 
Assembly of Representatives, ignorance 

of, 276 
Asuncion, the seat of the first diocess, 
24; General Congress at, 41; meeting of 
an Extraordinary Congress at, 55 ; fired 
into by Brazilian ironclads, 407 ; de- 
tailed description of, 431 ; palace of 
the Marshal President at, 432; the 
architect of the palace cruelly tor- 
mented, 433 ; pest-houses at, 435 ; 
landing-place and river at, 436 ; bad 
state of the streets at, 436 ; pictu- 

31 



resqueness of the old cathedral at, 437 
the much talked of arsenal at, 435 
the terrible palace of Dr. Francia at, 
439 ; deadly dungeons at, 440 ; fan 
tastic palace of the elder Lopez at, 440 
palace of D. Benigno Lopez at, 441 ; 
plundering the Club Nacional at, 442 
various estimates of the population at 

443 ; no pretensions to civilization at 

444 ; complete change of masters at 
head-quarters, 445 ; candidates for the 
chief magistracy at, 446 ; the French 
consul removed from, 446 ; confisca- 
tion of the property of a foreigner at, 
449 ; its changeable climate, -452 ; 
prices of provisions and house-rent at, 
452 ; produce of the orange-trees at, 
456 ; unprotected state of, 454 ; rude 
appliances of the railway at, 460 

Atrocities of Lopez grossly exaggerated, 
128 ; frightful reports concerning the, 
330 
Attempts to assault two ironclads, 311 
Ayolas, D. Juan, attacked by canoe 
Indians, 424 



Bajada, mother-of-pearl found at, 255 

Balloons tried in the early part of the 
campaign, 382 

Banda, miserable state of the mixed popu- 
lation in, 134 

Barracas artesian well, curious, 150 

Barranca de Bella Vista, a settlement of 
convicts, 263 

Barreto, General, cuts up a piquet of 
troopers, 375 ; his retreat from the 
banks of the Arroyo, 375 ; he volunteers 
to capture the enemy, 420 

Barrios, Vicente, degradation of, 476 

Barros, Jose de, duped by a farcical pro- 
ject, 141 

Barrosa, Vice-Admiral, neglects to push 
his victory, 267 

Basque and Italian sutlers murdering one 
another, 367 

Bateria de Cueva, the Paraguayan posi- 
tion of defence, 262 

Bateiia Londres, the Prince of Humbugs, 
319 



484 



INDEX. 



Batlle, Colonel, seizure of, 114 
Battalions of women, rumours about, 379 
Batteries of Humaita, various, 319 
Battle cf Abay, hard fighting at, 425 
Battle of Acayuasa a great victory, 334 
Battle of Corrientes, loss of Argentines 

and Paraguayans equal, 290 
Battle of Cueva, failure of the Para- 
guayans at, 268 
Battle of Curupaity, serious loss of 
soldiers at, 305; scaling ladders for- 
gotten by the Argentines, 305 
Battle of Itororo, loss of Brazilian sat, 427 
Battle of Loma Valentina, loss of Para- 
guayans and Brazilians at, 419 ; the 
whole affair a mystery, 419 
Battle of Monte Caseros, fall of Dictator 
Rosas at, 61 ; General Urquiza going 
to glory at, 253 
Battle of Paysandu, between the Blancos 

and Colerados, 211 
Battle of Potreiro- Sauce, surprises of the, 

303 
Battle of the Lomas, and escape of 

General Caballero, 346 
Battle of Riachuelo, arrest of General 

Robles at, 264 
Battle of Veuces, and conquer of Corrien- 
tes, 59 
Battle of Yataity-Cora in 1866, 303 
Battle of Yatay, defeat of Colonel Duarto 

at, 221 
Belgrano, General, defeat of, at Corrien- 
tes, 288 
Berges, D., sent to govern Corrientes, 289 
Berro, D. Bernardo, grotesque appearance 

of, 114 ; murder of, 115 
Biscayans emigrating to PotosI, 104 
Blancos, rise of the, 114 
Bliss and Masterman arrested for high 

treason, 410 
Blood thirstiness of Montevideans, 122 
Bonpland, herbarium of, 288; taken 

prisoner, 51 
Bonpland, Madame, desperate adventures 

of, 288 
''Botany Bay" of Dr. Francia, 7 
Brazilian army, wrinkle offered to the, 310 
Brazilian cavalry, review of, 323 
Brazilian consul forgets his mother 

tongue, 219 
Brazilian infantry stubborn and obstinate, 
387 ; the soldiers not free from cor- 
ruption, 389 
Brazilian forces, inspecting the, 372 
Brazilian Marine Hospital, embezzlement 

of stores at, 291 
Brazilian negroes, manly fighting of the, 

452 
Brazilian officers maltreated by Blanco 
girls, 119 



Brazilian soldier, curious antics of a, 468 

Brazilian soldiers in camp, clean ap- 
pearance of, 336 ; cost of feeding them, 
337 

Brazilian squadron, official list of the, 
345 

Brazilian subaltern officers, bullying man- 
ners of, 447 

Brazilian treachery and indiscriminate 
massacre, 213 

Brazilians and Argentines, their alliance 
not sympathetic, 326 

Brazilians' confidence in two Paraguayan 
officers, 448 

Brazilians, oversight of the, 449 

Brazilians refuse a flag of truce, 447 

Brown, Admiral, successful feat of, 191 

Bruguez, General, lively little episode of, 
262 

Buceo admired by bathers, 94 

Buenos Aires, revolutionary committee 
established at, 65 ; Fenian club at, 94 ; 
thirty people drowned in a storm, 127 ; 
salting houses in, 147 ; irregularity of 
steamers at, 152 ; savage mob at, 153; 
dangerous state of the new Muelle at, 
153; the kiosk mania at, 154; injury to 
merchandize at, 155 ; difficulties in 
constructing a port at, 155 ; various 
opinions for constructing a port at, 156; 
Coghlan's project for improving the 
channel at, 156 ; increase of popula- 
tion at, 158; how Sunday is passed at, 
159; dangerous state of streets at, 160 ; 
prevailing winds at, 162 ; street 
scandal inexcusable at, 162 ; thorough- 
fares imperfectly named at, 163 ; epi- 
demic disoi'ders at, 163 ; abusive and 
indecent writings on the wall at, 165 ; 
how a revolution begins at, 165 ; hotels, 
abominably bad and dear, 172 ; an 
Englishwoman's lodging-house at, 173 ; 
hideous Methodist chapel at, 173 ; 
Merced convent at, 170 ; Church of 
England temple at, 173 ; beauty and 
solidity of the buildings, 174 ; hideous 
relic of antiquity at, 176 ; scarcity 
of public vehicles at, 179 ; Cabildo, 
court of justice at, 179 ; impunity of 
crime at, 180 ; Mineral Water Estab- 
lishment at, 181 ; museum of San 
Ignacio Church, 182 ; free club for 
travellers at, 183 ; a good opening for 
London publishers at, 183 ; fashionable 
shops in, 183 ; statue of General San 
Martin at, 183 ; attempts to burn the 
dead at, 184 ; familiarity at, 187 ; hos- 
pitality of the natives at, 188 

Buenos Aires to Southampton, parting 
grumble of the voyage from, 481 

Butter, preserving for two years, 205 



INDEX. 



485 



Caballero, General, captured at the 

Battle of Lomas, 346 
Cafe de Paris at Buenos Aires the great 

resort for bachelors, 184 ; dining at 

the, 169 
Californian widows, how they make for- 
tunes, 352 
Calle Florida, the fashionable part of 

Buenos Aires, 183 
Caminos, M., reported to have been shot, 

428 
Camp and City men, difference in the 

habits of, 120 
Campos and Martinez de la Hoz taken 

prisoners, 333 
Capella de Ipane, the place to enjoy 

picnics, 426 
Carvalho, Admiral, his neglect to pursue 

the flying enemy, 343 
Castle of S. Joseph, view of the ruins, 99 
Cattle estate not pleasant to visit, 102 
Caxias, Marshal, repulsed at the Cierva 

redoubt, 348 ; his career, 377 ; his 

fight at Monte Caseros, 377; employed 

in reducing Monte Video,377; accused of 

being slow in his military movements, 

377 ; famous for selecting the strongest 

point of attack, 378 
Cemetery at Humaita, 353 
Census of Paraguay, 8 
Cerriio station, flooding of the, 301 ; 

seizure of, by Paraguayans, 301 
Cerro de Lambare the scene of au historic 

fight, 42t) 
Cerro, the, a fine view of Montevideo, 100 
Chaco, paradise and elysium of savages at, 

256; wants a serious exploration, 257 
Chaco islets attributed to the agency of 

the earth's revolution, 259 
Chain at Gran Chaco, uselessness of, 332 
Charloni, Colonel, death of, 362 
ChS,teau des Fleurs, the familiar devil's 

acre, 243 ; it has the genuine look of a 

penny gaff", 243 
Chilenas ladies destroyed by fire in a 

Jesuit church, 414 
Chodasiewicz, Colonel, his proposed plan 

of attack on Paso Pucu, 359 ; plans of 

his first campaign, 382 ; his projects 

for the future, 382 
Christie, Mr., sent as Plenipotentiary to 

Asuncion, 64 ; fails in his mission, 64 
Club for travellers free at Buenos Aires, 

183 
Club Nacional, Brazilian soldiers plunder- 
ing the, 442 
Club Progreso and its invitations, 186 ; 

dancing at the, 187 
Colon theatre mean and ugly, 170 
Colonel du Graty, a mutilated translation 

of procured at Luque, 462 



Colonel Thompson's Guarani vocabulary, 3 

Colonizing in the River Plate, 88 

Colonia, La, short description of, 143 

Commerce of Paraguay, 18 

Comte d'Eu volunteers his services as 
Commandei'- in-Chief, 469; his prompti- 
tude on hearing a salute, 470 ; his pro- 
clamation at Luque to his men, 470 ; 
his Order of the Day not original, 471 

Concepcion del Uruguay, description of, 
196 ; provisions at, 197 ; interesting 
prairie gallop at, 198 

Convent of San Carlos, pronouncement of 
the, 251 

Cordillera, supposed rise of the, 5 

Cordoba, wandering about the quaint city 
of, 414 

Corpus Christi built to control the Timbu 
Indians, 252 

Correntine tobacco preferable to Ha- 
vannahs, 287 

Corrientes, arrival of the Brazilian fleet 
at, 265 ; ridiculous fashion of naming 
the streets at, 271 ; savage mastiffs at, 
273 ; orange-farms at, 273 ; Turks 
painfully transmogrified at, 274 ; scar- 
city of provisions at, 275 ; relitiious 
superstition at, 276 ; family vaults in 
the cemetery like a Californian steam- 
bath, 280 ; miraculous cross at, 281 ; 
variations of temperature at, 282 ; 
female beauty at, 284 ; their aversion 
to marriage, 284 ; bitterness of political 
parties at, 285 ; revolvers at night 
necessary, 288 ; war at once resolved 
at, 289 ; piratical seizure of ships at, 
289 

Crabtree, Mr., prevents serious national 
troubles, 165 

Costa, Brigadier-General, visit to the tent 
of, 381 

Courts marshal, specimens of sundry 
copies, 474 

Cuchilla de los Palmares, glorious view 
from, 208 

Curious party of pleasure, 253 

Curious reports in Paraguay, 30 

Curupaity, far-famed lines of, 361 

Curuzu, bombardment of, by the Allies, 
3U3 ; capture of, 304 

Cuverville, M., ugly story concerning, 446 



Dairy, experiments for a model, 204 
Derivations of the word Paraguay, 2 
Diamente, formation of banks of patience 

at, 255 
Diaz, General, killed by a shell from an 

ironclad, 299 
Discontent, suggesting a mode to pre- 
vent, 82 



486 



INDEX. 



Discovery of an infernal machine to blow 

up the Ministry, 113 
Documents taken at Loma Valentina, in- 

spectiug the, 472 



Elisiario, Vice-Admii-al, popular ru- 
mour of, 369 ; his predictions on the 
campaign, 369 

El Pilar, the gaol of foreigners, 367 ; 
Brazilian outrages at, 367 

Emigrants, outward bound, description 
of, 86 

Emigrants' colony, utter failure of the, 6Q 

Emilio, General D., visit to, 464 ; his 
aptitude for warfare, 465 ; his prepos- 
sessing and military figure, 465 ; his 
praise of the Brazilian whites, 466 

English cruisers, uselessness of, 100 

English subjects enlisting in the Brazi- 
lian army, 388 

Esmerata, Padre, his devotion in the 
cause of humanity, 338 

Extractum carnis, a detestable kind of 
beef-tea, 193 



Feminine volunteers, courage of, 380 

Ferreira, Colonel, his quarters an official 
residence, 466 

Floating hotel, life on board a, 292 

Flores and his son, violent altercation 
between, 113 

FJores, D. Manuel, supposed poisoning of, 
by the Blancos, 116 

Flores, Don Pedro, his duties on board 
ship, 292 

Flores, General, origin of the murder of, 
110 ; the banishment of his three 
sons, 117 

Fogs in the Boca del Guazu, 229 

France annoyed by the treatment of her 
subjects in Paraguay, 66 

Francia, Dr., his remarkable character, 
39; how England derived her knowledge 
of, 43 ; origin of his family, 47 ; elected 
perpetual Dictator, 47 ; his remarkable 
administration, 48 ; diplomatic rela- 
tions with foreign powers cut off by, 
50 ; his deeds of generosity, 51 ; his 
death, 52 ; resting-place of, 438 

Fulton's formidable defence for rivers, 342 



GalvIO and his gallant wife fought to 
death, 144 

Gastavino, Bernardino, successful ma- 
noeuvre of, 267 

Garay, D. Juan de, the restorer of Buenos 
Aires, 233 



Garibaldi considered an obscure adven- 
turer, 259 
Garibaldi's loss of his legion of cooks, 211 
Gaucho and Gauchito, hideous costume 

of the, 277 
Gaucho warfare, what it consists of, 466 
Gauchos of Rozario, ugliness of the, 243 
Gelly, General, his courtsey, 351 
Gold mines in Uruguay, 34 
Gould, Mr., his predictions, 166; his 
hopeless errand, 329 ; his conditions of 
peace between the Allies and Paraguay, 

329 ; his departure from Paraguay, 

330 ; his unfavourable opinion of Para- 
guayan resources, 330 ; his second 
mission to Paraguay, 330 ; his erro- 
neous opinions on the Paraguayan 
cause, 330 

Gomi-z and Braga shot, 214 
Gomez demanded by the Colorados, 213 
Goya famous for oranges and cheeses, 261 
Gran Chaco, the visit to, after the action, 

338 
Grass of Paraguay poisono ii s to animals, 373 
Great Chaco, loafing and di'inking of the 

men at, 277 
Guard-houses on the Paraguay established 

to watch strangers, 311 
Guardia Tacuara, free-and-easy system of 

operations at, 371 ; reconnoitring the 

ground at, 372 
Guayquiraro, the home of the fat boy, 260 
Guazu river, opinions on the formation of, 

227 
Guerilla warfare determined, 79 
Guns of the Paraguayans a curious spec- 
tacle, 322 



Handbook of the River Plate deserving 

of patronage, 108 
Hawaii, terrible earthquake at, 127 
Health-officer of Monte Viddo, arbitrary 

powers of, 102 
Henley, Mr., his uncertain prospects of 

flax-growing, 217 
Holy week, worship of the Montevideans 

in, 127 
Hopkins, Mi\ E., his claims for compen- 
sation ignored, 63 
Horses storming fortified and insulated 

posts, 191 
Hotel de la Minute, its proprietor charged 

with receiving stolen goods, 449 
Hotham, Sir Charles, his arrival at 

Asuncion, 61 
Humaita invested by the Allied armies, 

333 ; a Paraguayan sortie repulsed 

from, 333 ; true description of, 314 ; 

its importance exaggerated, 316 ; 

merchant fleet at, 316 ; line of shop- 



INDEX. 



487 



boats at, 316 ; wants and notions sold 

at, 316 ; absurd entrenchments of, 

448 ; disappearance of the batteries at, 

471 
Human Zoology, collection of, at Luque, 

464 
Hunting farmed out by the Oriental 

government, 93 
Hutchinson, Mr,, his heroic services 

during the cholera plague, 244 ; 

caricatured at Rozario, 244 ; presented 

with a medal, 244 



Infernal machines, fishing up, 341 

Ironclads attacked by Cimoes, 364 

Isla de las Flores, fragrancy of its wild 

vegetation, 94 
Island of Liberty, imprisonment in the, 

100 
Italian porters in Monte Video not to be 

trusted, 104 
"Itapiru carelessly abandoned by Lopez, 

301 



Jesuits in Paraguay, their influence, 26 
Juquery bridge held by Brigadier Vasco 
Alves, 467 



KiRKLAND, Lieut., a sympathizer with 
the Blanco party, 370 ; hindered in 
the performance of his duty, 370 



La Ciudad, view of, 434 

La Paz, a useful colony against the raids 

of Chaco Indians, 258 
La Plata, great increase in the trade of, 

151 
La Trinidad celebrated for cock-fights, 

461 
La Union, bull-fights held at, 110 
La Villeta, operations hastened by the 

inundation of, 295 
Lasso, the, how to avoid, 148 
Law and justice in the River Plate, 91 
Libertat, M., accused of conspiracy, 131 
Liberty Square at Corrientes, a savage 

caricature, 278 
Libraries, billiard rooms, and drinking 

houses at Buenos Aires, 185 
Lines defended by the Paraguayans, 353 
Loma Valentina, Lopez's documents taken 

at, 472 
Lomas, proposal to attack the last Para- 
guayan position on the, 450 
Lopez, D. Antonio Carlo, President I., 

elected in 1845 56 ; his marriage with 



D. Juana Paula Carillo, 57; conspiracy 
to shoot him in a theatre, 64 ; sends 
to London for explanations, 65 ; 
undertakes negotiations with the Holy 
See, 66 ; his death in 1862, 67 

Lopez, D. Francisco Solano, President II., 
elected in 1862, 67 ; his first meeting 
with Madame Lynch in Paris, 72 ; 
actively prepares for war, 75; his 
atrocities greatly exaggerated, 128; 
unfit for guerilla warfare, 128; his 
scheme shattered by the incapacity of 
his oflicers and men, 264 ; prizes pira- 
tically made figuring in his flotilla, 
289 ; abandons Paso la Patria when 
the enemy appears, 301 ; he proposes 
an interview with the Allied Generals, 
305 ; muzzle-loaders found in front of 
his palace, 322 ; he is asked to abdicate 
his country, 329 ; reports concerning 
his atrocities, 330 ; his complaint of 
the laws of neutrality, 331 ; his letters 
detained at Buenos Aires, 332 ; his 
victory at Acayuasa, 334 ; the wife 
of Colonel Martinez murdered by, 335 ; 
he arms the Cierva redoubt with field 
pieces, 347 ; his defence of Paso Pucu, 
357 ; his place of concealment, 357 ; 
he expects to. be drawn from La 
Villeta, 371 ; he concentrates his 
forces at the Tebicuary river, 401 ; 
his government a model of order and 
progress, 407 ; his ill feeling with Mr. 
"Washburn, 409 ; his escape from Loma 
Valentina, 419 ; takes up his head- 
quarters at Loma Cumbarity, 421 ; 
his palace at La Villeta, 424 ; he pur- 
posely leaves Santo Antonio undefended, 
427 ; the loss of his cavalry at the 
battle of Itororo, 428 ; he releases the 
architect of his palace from imprison- 
ment, 433 ; ignorance of the Allies 
concerning his movements, 448 ; he 
makes all the railway officials captains 
and lieutenants, 359 ; his documents 
taken from his private carriage, 472 ; 
his tenderness to his children, 477 ; 
his letters to Major-Gen, Macmahon, 
478 ; he appoints Madame Lynch uni- 
versal legatee, 478 ; his sympathy, 
sternness, and grief, 479 

Lopez, D. Benigno, doubts concerning the 
fate of, 476 

Lopez, D. Venancio, acquitted and re- 
leased, 476 

Luque, journey by rail to, dangerous, 
459 ; the normal settlement of, 462 

Lynch, Madam, her trials throughout the 
campaign, 71 ; birth of her first child, 
73 ; miseries of the captives mitigated 
by, 74 ; her ambition, 74 ; her present 



488 



INDEX. 



to Captain Xenes' soldiers, 312 ; her 
quartei's at Humaita, 318 



M 'Donald, Dr., suggests a plan for a 
channel across the Albardon, 333 

M'Mahon demands the release of Messrs. 
Bliss and Masterman, 130 

Madariaga, Grovernor, treachery of, 59 

Maldonata and the lioness, romantic 
tale of, 252 

Mamelukes of S. Paulo, plunder by the, 
10 

Mariette, Captain, arrest of, 115 

Maroon settlement at La Villeta, 430 

Marshall and Grant stabbed by a native, 
435 

Martin Garcia and her batteries, 192 

Martin Garcia, an island only fit to travel 
on stilts, 228 

Martin, General, his defeat of the Spa- 
niards in 1810, 251 

Martinez, Colonel, shot at Paso la Patria, 
290 ; his wife murdered by Lopez, 
335 

Martins, Enrique, shot for refusing to 
give up his flag, 268 

Masterman and Bliss, violent and illegal 
arrest of, 129 

Memorial from the married women of 
Buenos Aires to the Archbishop, 186 

Mendoza's tent, collection of yarns in, 
390 

Menna Barreto, General, his head-quar- 
ters, 212 

Mercado del Puerto, market-place of, 99 

Mesa, Captain, mortally wounded, 267 

Metropolitan cemetery at Buenos Aires, 
184 

Military and mob law, struggles of, 115 

Military correspondent constituted, 80 

Misiones first established in Paraguay, 26 

Mission of Paraguay, military organiza- 
tion of the, 32 

Missions system, remarkable features of, 
32 

Mitre, President, a prominent personage, 
166 

Money a signal for disorders among Bra- 
zilian soldiers, 468 

Monte Video, terrific gales in, 84 ; short 
sketch of, 95 ; Cerro, the best view of, 
100 ; uselessness of English cruisers at, 
100 ; importance of knowing the cur- 
rency of, 103 : extortions of travellers 
at, 103 ; Italian porters at, 104 ; 
tramway in, 105 ; dishonesty of cus- 
tom-house officers in, 105 ; their lodg- 
ing houses, 105; bad roads in, 107 ; 
drainage unknown in, 107 ; old Spanish 
houses in, 107 ; impoverished look of 



the tenements at, 108 ; General Oribe's 
nine years' siege of, 110 ; the cause of 
the revolution of 1868 at, 110 ; mur- 
der of General Flores at, 111 ; danger 
from soldiers in, 122 ; an Englishman's 
head laid open by one of the vicious 
" bobbies" at, 123; theatres and amuse- 
ments in, 123 ; the fair sex partial to 
bull-fighting at, 124 ; soldiers and 
priests in the cockpit at, 124 ; prize- 
fighting and fair play at, 125 ; public 
institutions at, 126 ; attempt to form 
an English club at, 126; Gormandi- 
zing club at, 126 ; terrific storm and 
loss of life at, 127 ; worship on Holy 
Saturday at, 127 

Monte Video and Humaita, sketch of the 
route between, 136 ; names of tiie 
various writers on, 149 

Montevidean shops, glitter and attractions 
of, 118 

Montevidean soldiers, danger of, 122 

MontevideansandPortenos, their jealousy, 
96 

Morvonnais, M. de la, regret at not being 
able to accept his invitation, 207 

Mosquitoes, sufferings of the soldiers 
from, 348 

Mothers and wives of officers forced to 
disown their sons and husbands, 474 

Murder of two Spanish subjects, 116 

Music Hall at Buenos Aires, nightly 
revels at, 185 



Newkirk, Dr., and his drunken servant, 
460 ; his fraudulent apothecary, 463 ; 
his lucrative practice, 451 

Nueva Burdoes, failure of the French 
colony of, 454 



Obes, Commander-in-chief of the Argen- 
tine army, 308 

O'Connor, Mr., his narrow escape from 
being shot, 261 

Oliveira, Admiral, out-generalled by Lopez, 
63 

Oriental army reduced to a remnant, 326 

Osorioand Argolo badly wounded, 445 

Osorio and Flores laud upon Paraguayan 
ground, 301 

Osorio, General, repulsed rom the Gran 
Chaco, 354 ; his popularity, 384 ; his 
soldierly greeting, 385 ; his charmed 
life, 385 ; his examples of gallantry, 
385 ; shot through the mouth at the 
Loma Valentina, 385 ; not popular 
with either army, 469 

Otters and sea- wolves in the Parana 
river, 232 

Outbreak of the pronunciamento, 117 



INDEX. 



489 



Palacios, Bishop, not shotas he deserved, 
340 

Pampa palace, invitation to enter the, 199 

Pampas peewit, the enemy to sportsmen, 
349 

Paraguay, derivation of the word, 2 ; 
geography of, 3 ; latitude of, 4 ; area 
of, 5; political distribution of, 6 ; 
official census of, 7 ; education in, 16; 
newspaper first established in, 17 ; 
commerce of, 18 ; imports of, 21 ; 
taxes and revenue of, 22 ; imports and 
exports of, 22 ; discovered by Sebastian 
Cabot, 23 ; roads in, 23 ; historical 
sketch of, 23 ; divided into two govern- 
ments, 25 ; missions established by the 
Jesuits in, 26 ; ignorance of the clergy 
in, 26; travellers deluded in, 28; 
pleasures and labours in, 30 ; cere- 
monies of worship in, 30 ; celebration 
of the Saint's-day in, 30 ; birth of a 
Republic in, 37 ; improvement of, by 
Dr. Francia, 45 ; its system of govern- 
ment, 54 ; free navigation of, a political 
necessity for the Brazilian Empire, 
295 ; geographical details of, 295 ; re- 
ported barbarities in, 340 ; passion for 
money making at, 441 ; scarcity of 
literature in, 462 

Paraguay women, arbitrary treatment of, 
477 

Paraguayan army, how desertion from 
impossible, 473 

Paraguayan coat-of-arms, indiscriminate 
nse of, 43 

Paraguayan garrison surrendered, 222 

Paraguayan gun-boats a feature of naval 
interest, 266 

Paraguayan officers, their ferocity, 452 

Paraguayan race, mixture of breed in the, 

10 ; character of the, 12 ; diet of, 12 ; 
education of, 16 ; independence, ratifi- 
cation of, 55 

Paraguayan soldiers, heroism of, 14 ; 
their deficient intelligence, 15 ; their 
ferocity at the battle of Corrientes, 290 

Paraguayan subscriptions for defence of 
fatherland, 477 

Paraguayan women, patriotism of, 380 

Paraguayans, their plan of defence, 306 ; 
their hopeless position, 334 ; their 
desperate fighting, 434 ; their escape 
to Timbo, 334 ; grand total of the lines 
defended by the, 358 ; rumours of the 
tortures and executions of, 407 

Paraguay©, description of the prisoners of, 

11 ; their deformities, 11 

Parana abandoned by the Caravan Go- 
vernment, 256 
Parana river, dangerous for navigation, 250 
Parana river, its chief lines of navigation, 



224 ; geographical glance at the, 249 ; 
memorable flood of the, 415 

Parsons, Captain, favourable impressions 
of, 330 

Paseo de Julio, uneducated inhabitants 
of, 159 

Paso la Patria abandoned by Lopez, 301 

Paso Pucu, an important central point of 
the war, 357 

Passenger steamer, foul play suspected to 
a, 135 

Passengers' lives in the hands of drunken 
sailors, 406 

Paysandu, population of, 209 ; native 
mutiny at, 210 ; murdering a Sereno 
at, 210 ; head-quarters of D. Leandro 
Gomez at, 210 ; Maua bank demolished 
at, 211 ; the battle ground of the Blan- 
cos and Colorados, 211 ; campaign, 
siege, and civil war at, 211 ; hopeless 
attitude of her defenders, 211 ; fall of, 
213 ; massacre of women and children 
at, 213 ; attacked by cholera, 215 ; 
people buried at, 215 ; imports and 
exports of, 215 ; Mr. O'Connor's salt- 
ing-house at 215 ; female indulgences 
at, 216 ; flax-growing not profitable at, 
217 

Paulista Volunteers a distinguished corps, 
387 

Paupers of Europe, where they should go, 
248 

Peterkin, M., contractor for guns to the 
Brazilian army, 274 

Plaza de la Cathedral, amusements in 
the, 438 

Plaza de la Victoria, the business part of 
Buenos Aires, 175; dark and dingy 
aspect of, 176 ; pronouncements pre- 
pared at, 177 ; indignation meeting at, 
177 ; ridiculous obelisk at, 177 ; 
architecture of the reformed cathedral 
at, 178 

Political prisoners, amnesty of, 55 

Political quarrel by the people of S. 
Paulo, 33 

Portena beauty not dazzling, 170 

Portuguese squadron destroyed by a siege, 
142 

Potosi, remarkable emigrating to, 104 

Prize-fighting on the Cerro, 125 

Progreso balls frequented by celebrities, 
186 

Project for improving the channel at 
Buenos Aires, 157 

Prospect of emigrants to the Eiver Plate, 
91 

Prytz, M., the furious and ferocious 
Brazilian, 274 

RiACHUELO, defeat of the navy at, 221 



490 



INDEX. 



Railway at Asuncion, rude appliances of, 

460 
Eeid, Dr. , in charge of the British Hospi- 
tal, 151 
Eepublicof Uruguay, three hostile parties 

in, 112 
Resquin, Francisca Z,, his severe General 

Order, 473 
Eio Bermejo, salubriousness of its waters, 

365 
Rio de la Plata, first Viceroy of, 36 
Rio Grande and their savages, 365 
Rio Paranancito, vegetation of, 254 
Rio Uruguay, on board the, 189 
Rivas, General, his personal appearance, 336 
River Paraguay the reservoir of a thousand 

streams, 138 
River Plate, colonizing in the, 88 
Rivera, D., his flight to the Brazil, 211 
Robles, General, tried by a secret court- 
martial, 264 ; prefers loss of life to loss 
of liberty, 264 
Rosas, Dictator, outrages of, 180 ; op- 
poses the English and French squa- 
drons, 233 
Royal mail steamers, reduction of fares 

in the, 83 
Rozai'io, arrival at, 235 ; perspective 
view of, 236 ; prodigious growth of, 

236 ; its site superior to Buenos Aires, 

237 ; new laws introduced in, 237 ; 
value of land at, 237 ; column of 
Liberty at, 238 ; hideous attempt at 
classical art at, 239 ; female beauty 
not interesting at, 239 ; baiting- yards 
on the Sabbath at, 240 ; limited ca- 
pacity of newspapers at, 241 ; hairless 
dogs used instead of warming-pans at, 
243; organ-grinders might be put to 
honest labour, 242 



Sailoks demoralized by torpedoes, 332 

S. Juan, failure of the French colony at, 
297 

SS. Philip and James, peculiar places of 
worship, 98 

Saladillo Dulce a geographical puzzle, 256 

Saltenos better in temporal than spiritual 
matters, 218 

Salto, thepicturesqueterminusof Uruguay 
navigation, 218 ; blockaded by Com- 
modore Pinto, 218 ; its surrender to 
General Flores, 219 ; precious stones 
found at, 220 

Salto and Concordia, rivalry between the 
two villages, 220 

San Ignacio church, art and science taught 
at, 182 

Sanchez, Vice-President, supposed to be 
still breathing the upper air, 477 



Santo Antonio, skilful landing of the Bra- 
zilians at, 427 

Sarmiento and Mitre compared with 
phrenology and physiognomy, 168 

Sarmiento elected President of Buenos 
Aires, 164 

Sebastian Cabot, Paraguay discovered by, 
23 

Serviles sold to D. Miguel, 473 

Sheep farming in the River Plate, 89 

Shooting, civilized style, in a waggonette, 
145 

Sketch of the campaign, short abstract of 
the, 76 

Soldiers causing explosions at Humaita, 
323 

Solis, De, discoverer of the Parana, 137 ; 
slaughtered, roasted, and eaten, by the 
Charruas savages, 190 

South America, terrible earthquake in, 
127 

Souza, Marshal, visit to the State House 
of, 466 ; his nationality not to be mis- 
taken, 466 ; the injurious talk of his 
enemies, 467 

Spanish forbidden to be taught in Para- 
guay, 31 

Speculators threatened with serious 
trouble, 248 

Squatters kind of campaigning life, 231 

Stewart, Dr., yields himself prisoner, 452; 
his interview with the Emperor at 
Rio de Janeiro, 452 ; his wife and 
children in danger, 452 ; restoration 
of the stolen charger of, 463 ; he 
surrenders to the enemy, 420 ; his 
house given up to the five great orders 
of knighthood, 457 

Stocks in Paraguay, tortures of the, 132 

Stores, free importation of, 21 

Suarez, D. Gregorio, his revenge for an 
old private feud, 214 

Suggesting a mode to prevent discontent, 
82 

Swamp fighting an essential part of 
Indian warfare, 299 



Taji, batteries at, 364 ; Paraguayans 

dislodged at, 364 
Tamandare, Admiral, serious charge 

against, 212 
Taraqui, quaint and picturesque houses 

of, 272 
Taxes and revenue of Paraguay, 22 
Taylor, Mr., brutal treatment of, 433 
Tebicuary batteries, sketch of, 400 
Tigers and wild beasts, legends of, 231 
Timber, growth of in Patagonia, 230 
Timbo, appearance of, after the evacua- 
tion, 346 



INDEX. 



491 



Timbo garrison, curious contrivance of 

the, 342 
Torpedoes, construction of, 342 
Torpedoes provided by the Paraguayans, 

332 
Travellers deluded in Paraguay, 28 
Travellers made comfortable by the Ar- 
gentines, 188 
Travelling to the Upper Uruguay thwarted, 

221 
Tres Bocas, a retreat for those flying 

from the reign of terror, 302 
Triumpho, Brigadier-General, glorious 

career of, 384 
Tuyu-cue occupied by Brazilians, 359 
Tupy-Gruarani language, three years at 

work at the, 208 



Urqtjiza, General, introduction to, 199 ; 
description of, 200 ; the improvements 
on his estate, 200 ; his large amount 
of cattle, 200; the value of his property, 
201 ; a bad paymaster, 201 ; curio- 
sity excited in conversation with, 
201 ; fresco representations of his 
battles, 202 ; his predictions on the 
campaign, 203 ; his going to glory, 
253 ; reviewing his cavalry at Punta 
Gorda, 253 

Urquiza, Madame, her appearance at the 
dinner-table, 204 ; her handsome pre- 
sent, 205 

Uruguay, gold mines in, 34; the best place 
for Irish emigrants, 94 ; not fit for 
English emigrants, 133 ; patriarchal 
marriage not the law of the land at, 
133 ; her richness in metals, 133 

Uruguay river, studying the features of, 
193 ; fed by the rains of the Empire of 
the Southern Cross, 194 

Uruguayan national flag, description of 
the, 100 



Uruguayan navigation compared with the 
Rhine, 218 

Varela, D., compelled to quit France 

through a duel, 223 
Velasco, Colonel, tactics of, 299 
Vences, battle of, in 1847, 59 
Veren, Baron von, evil report of, 402 ; 

three times arrested as a spy, 402 
Villareal, Brazilian army encamped at,4 26 

War-loan of Sor Riestra, 328 
Wars teach nations their geography, 139 
Washburn, Hon. Charles A., nonsensi- 
cal abuse of, 129 ; introduction to, 
408 ; he acts as mediator between 
the combatants, 409 ; his ill feeling 
with Lopez, 409 ; receives an invita- 
tion to quit his hotel, 409 ; removed 
by Commander Kirkland, 410 ; his 
violent letter^o the President of Para- 
guay, 410 ; his diplomatic notes con- 
cerning foreigners in Paraguay, 411 ; 
watched by forty policemen, 411 
Water-hog, operations upon the, 392 ; 
excess of imagination on the, 393 ; 
their comic air of defiance, 394 
Watch-towers used for signalling, 310 
Webb, General, his passion for ultimatums, 

370 
Wheelwright, Mr., his trading notions, 

245 
Whytehead, Mr., suicide of, 435 
Wild maize, where grown, 6 

Xenes, Captain, his night expedition, 312 



Yataitt-Cora, merit of the Conference 

of, 305 
Yungaz coffee fragrant and delicious, 

465 



THE END.