The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Tour Through South America

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: A Tour Through South America

Author: A. S. Forrest

Release date: January 6, 2018 [eBook #56321]
Most recently updated: January 24, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)


[Image of the book's cover unavailable.]


List of Illustrations
(In certain versions of this etext [in certain browsers] clicking on the image will bring up a larger version.)

Index: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y.

(etext transcriber's note)



[Image unavailable.]



:: BY A. S. FORREST ::




First published in 1913 {7}




I.Early Adventurers and Discoveries17
II.The Sighting of the Pacific26
III.The Buccaneers34
IV.On the Way to the Southern Continent48
V.Of the Labourers on the Isthmus60
VI.Canal Projects: Old and New72
VIII.The Panamanians104
IX.Colombia and Cartagena117
XI.The City of the Kings131
XII.Peru—“The Country of Marvels138
XIII.The Gateway to an Imprisoned Land149
XIV.The Land of Nitrates157
XVI.The Camp180
XVII.A Live Industry197
XVIII.On the Road to Paraguay208
XX.A South American Dictator240
XXI.More Modern Times in Paraguay244
XXII.A Glance at Brazilian History249
XXIII.A City of Paradise263
XXV.Some Excursions from Rio286
XXVI.São Paulo299
XXVII.A Source of Light and Power319
XXIX.The Forest338


An Old Map of the Isthmus16
“Caribs” in Terra Firma19
Gold Nose Ring21
Ancient Gold Nose Ring21
Ancient Indian Pottery found in the Graves on the Isthmus24
Pottery from the Graves in Chirique27
The Pacific, from a Peak in Darien29
Huts near the Ancient City of Panama31
The Pirate “L’Ollonois”35
Sir Henry Morgan.—From an old print37
Fort Lorenzo39
Old Sentry Tower on the Chagres River41
The Old Church Tower, Old Panama46
The Ramparts, Fort Lorenzo47
Old Wharves, Colon49
A Family Party, Colon51
A Camp at Balboa53
The First Labour Camp, Gatum56
The Old Church on the Island of Tobago, off Panama58
A Labour Camp (Evening), Canal Zone61
A Toilet on the Zone65
A Street in the Old Quarters, Panama69
Water-babies by a River-side70
An Old Church and Buildings, Panama73
A Stretch of the Chagres River77
Interior of a Shack on the Isthmus79
The Old Panama Railway Track81
Jamaican Labourer on the Zone84
Barbadian Labourer on the Zone85
Map of Republic of Panama89
The Church at Chagres92
Outside a Church on Christmas Eve, Panama98
The Flat Arch of St. Dominic100
Old Houses on the Sea Wall, Panama102
Panama from Ancon105
A Bit of the Old Town108
The Plaza, Panama110
An Interior, Cartagena112
In the Market, Panama116
A Colombian Mother118
A Colombian Village122
On the Banks of the Magdalena River124
Map of Peru and Bolivia126
A Dwelling by a River-side, Ecuador129
A Peruvian Girl{11}133
The Cathedral, Lima135
A Milkmaid, Lima136
The Arid Coast of Peru139
A Llama in Gold, made by the Incas141
Inca Portraiture on a piece of Old Pottery143
A Reduced Human Head145
An Inca Mask in Gold147
Pre-Inca Monoliths in Bolivia148
A Fruit-Stall at Mollendo150
The Jesuit Church on the Site of the Inca “Temple of the Sun”152
A Bolivian Woman153
Sailing on Lake Titicaca154
Balsas on Lake Titicaca155
A Chilian Farmer158
An Araucanian Family159
An Araucanian Indian161
Araucanian Girls163
On the Guano Deposits165
Map of Argentine169
The Lemon-shaped Dome of the Capital171
Landscape near Mendoza175
The Bridge of the Inca176
Crossing the Hills177
A Glimpse of Aconcagua178
Travellers by a River-side179
Chasing Rheas181
A “Pulperia”184
Morning: Going to Work186
Pegging out Hides189
An “Estancia”191
Gaucho Preparing a Meal193
A Gaucho195
The Lonely Camp196
A Prize Hereford Bull199
The Village of Frey Bentos204
On the Parana208
Frey Bentos209
A Paraguayan Lady211
Shepherds and Cowboys, Corrientes215
Igeasu Falls on the Alto Parana217
Old Houses in Corrientes218
A “Posada,” Corrientes219
Sharp’s Map of South America221
Travellers on the Steamer223
The Custom-house, Asuncion227
The Dome of the Oratoire de Lopez230
A Street in Asuncion233
Paraguayan Savages235
Crossing the Paraguay238
A Paraguayan Gentleman245
Map of Brazil250
Beauties at Pernambuco252
Near Rio{12}253
The Railway up to Corcovada256
Coming down from Corcovada257
The Church of the Candeliera, Rio259
The Falls of Tombos in the State of Rio262
Entrance to Rio Harbour264
The Summit of Corcovada, Rio266
“The Silent Bay”267
A Suburban Street, Rio269
Avenida Beira-Mar, Rio271
The Sugar-Loaf by Night, Rio273
A Bit of Rio Harbour274
The Gavea, Rio275
The Botanical Gardens277
End of Santa Cruz279
An Old Church near Rio280
The Shore, Santa Cruz281
Santa Cruz282
Santa Cruz283
Santa Cruz285
At the Back of the Organ Mountains287
A Road amongst the Hills, Petropolis288
The Square of Tiradentes, Ouro Preto289
Near the San Francisco River290
Above the Falls at Tombos.--The Carangola River about 4300 miles from Rio291
Waterfall near Matilde, on the Line to Victoria Espirito Santo292
The Rapids at Pirapora, on San Francisco River293
Old Houses, Bahia294
The Baras de Aquino.--The curious winding track of the Leopoldina Railway296
The Railway over the Confluence of the Paquequr and Parahyba Rivers297
The Road to São Paulo from Rio301
The Approach to Santos303
Government Buildings in the Largo de Palacio305
The National Museum at Ypiranga307
The Theatre of S. Paulo309
The Penteado Technical College311
The Villa Penteado312
Officers of the São Paulo Army314
A Waterfall near São Paulo315
The Wharves of Santos316
The Docks of Santos317
The Power Station321
The Falls of Parnahyba325
A Fazenda329
A Coffee Fazendiero331
Colonists’ Houses at Martino Prado333
The Prado Mansion House, São Paulo336



THE artist or the writer who visits South America to-day finds it as a diamond of a hundred facets, and his main difficulty is to select those points upon which to concentrate his gaze. So vast is the subject, so full of romance, glamour, pulsating life, and world possibilities that not one book but many must be written upon it before the reader can form the barest idea of the well-nigh illimitable nature of the theme. Hence an author who offers any contribution to so vast a study has no need to excuse himself for his apparent temerity, provided he sets on record some new point of view or chronicles his impressions of paths not too well known.

Even if he fails in either or both these aims his work is justified if it contains individual conceptions of the myriad wonders which the continent discloses to the seeing eye. For this far-reaching stretch of earth is the last to be really explored and civilised by Western man. Compared with many portions of it, the forests of Central Africa, the plateaus of Middle Asia, and the deserts of Australia, are as open books. It is only South America to-day, or, to be more correct, a great part of it that is “a field enclosed, a fountain sealed.”

Consequently any contribution which aims at familiarising stay-at-home folk with the marvellous cities, the impressive scenery, the rich products, and the limitless resources of this mighty territory has surely a title to consideration.

The present writer claims to be neither an explorer nor a political theorist, nor, although profoundly impressed with the magnificence of South America’s destiny, has he attempted to forecast the lines along which that destiny will shape itself.{14}

His aim has been far less ambitious, much more simple. Whatever he saw in the country or amongst the people that interested him he has endeavoured to transcribe with interest for the benefit of others. Even so he submits that the ensuing pages will give the general reader a fair conspectus of the rise and development of South America from those far-off days when it was discovered, subjugated, and colonised by Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores to the present day, where a dozen independent Republics have their seats of government in cities where once the flags of the conquerors waved.

The history of each State has been lightly touched upon and space has been devoted to a consideration of the men of light and leading who have helped to direct the fortunes of the continent from the earliest beginnings of its modern history. The romantic adventures of Pizarro are told in one chapter; in another the exploits of the sinister Dr. Francia of Paraguay are recorded; and the reader will not set down the book until he has learned what General O’Higgins and Lord Cochrane did for the independence of Chili, and how San Martin, the Galahad of South America, laid as though on a rock the foundations of that thriving State now known as the Argentine Republic. Moreover, the part played by Simon Bolivar in liberating the northern half of the continent from the Spanish yoke is, the writer trusts, set forth with a due sense of proportion.

Mighty men these, and more or less so because their dramas were enacted on a remote stage of the world-theatre.

But, like the age of chivalry, the days of romance have passed and the author has deemed it a necessary part of his scheme to deal with more prosaic matters, things which impress the work-a-day world quite as much as the sanguinary progresses of Spanish conquerors and the marvellous civilisation of the Peruvian Incas. Something will be found in the book concerning many of the resources of the country.

{15}The imminent opening to universal traffic of the Panama Canal arrests the attention of the entire civilised world. It has been the lot of the author to spend a longer time on the Zone than is generally done by persons not connected with the undertaking. Consequently he has had abundant opportunities of studying, at first hand, not only its constructive arts but also the character of the people living on the isthmus.

His impressions are embodied in the early chapters of the volume.

The completion of this great waterway will make much of this enchanted land as easy of access to us moderns as it was difficult to those old Spanish mariners who dreamed that they were voyaging to an actual El Dorado or to the fabled land of Ophir.{16}

[Image unavailable.]


[Image unavailable.]
A   T O U R   T H R O U G H
S O U T H     A M E R I C A


Early Adventurers and Discoveries

THE history of the Isthmus of Panama, which was the point of departure for the whole of those notable conquests which placed nearly all South America under the heel of Spain, began with its discovery by Alonzo de Ojeda in 1499.

The great name of Columbus figures prominently in this period, for in the course of his fourth voyage he spent much time in sailing backwards and forwards from east to west along the coast of Terra Firma in a vain search for a passage through which his ships might pass to the land of the Grand Khan.

But it was not ordained that the great navigator should add this laurel to his crown, albeit his enterprise made the way easier for those who were to follow.

Baffled by contrary winds and other adverse factors he had eventually to retire from what in his chagrin he termed “the Coast of Contradictions” and return to Spain, never to sail from its ports again.

The reports of Columbus as to the plentifulness of gold in the region of the isthmus sent many other adventurous mariners and captains to the Spanish Main, and soon the history of the time resolved itself into intrigues, jealousies, and savage{18} conflicts between the Indians and the intruders, the latter enduring all kinds of privations in the hope of reaching that rumoured land which overflowed with gold. Dramatic developments began to ensue under an expedition which set out from Hispaniola under the leadership of Enciso, a wealthy notary. On board the ship in which he embarked was a mysterious barrel sent from a farm situated on the seashore, and no sooner was the vessel well out to sea than there emerged from this cask a tall muscular man in the prime of life. Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, who had devised this means of escaping from his creditors, proved in the end to be a valuable addition to the expedition, though the commander’s first impulse and threat was to maroon the stowaway on the first uninhabited island they might come across. They landed at Cartagena and were menaced by the natives, who hovered around them, doubtless remembering previous invasions and the outrages they had suffered. By pacific measures, however, the newcomers conciliated the Indians, at whose hands they then received valuable assistance and supplies of such provisions as the country had to offer. Balboa soon assumed a prominence in the discussions and deliberations of the expedition. He recommended strongly the attractions of an Indian village which he had come across when sailing some years before with Bastides. It lay upon the banks of a river called Darien, and the country all around was not only fertile, but abounded in gold, whilst the natives, although warlike, never made use of the dreaded poisoned arrow. With such enthusiasm did Balboa urge the claims of this region that Enciso determined to follow his advice, and they set sail thither and arrived and founded the town or city of Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darien. The natives of the existing village they put to the sword, having robbed them of all the golden ornaments they wore and the food supplies collected in their huts.

Enciso immediately entered upon his duties as alcalde and lieutenant of the absent Governor Ojeda, but discontent soon broke out amongst the men, who, hoping for rich gains, had begun to get alarmed at the attitude Enciso took with regard to the golden treasure they had captured. Balboa’s chance had now come, and, taking advantage of this discontent, he sought to gather around him a faction strong enough to dethrone Enciso from his position of command, recollecting doubtless the latter’s threat to maroon{19} him and availing himself of this opportunity for revenge. The legal aspect of the case aided in upsetting the pretensions of Enciso to rule on a territory which lay on the west side of the Gulf of Darien, for by the royal command it was clearly under the jurisdiction of Nicuesa, a rival adventurer.

[Image unavailable.]


The deposition of Enciso was accomplished, and Balboa and one Tzemudio were appointed alcaldes by the colony with a cavalier named Valdivia as Regidor. This arrangement, however, was not satisfactory, the general opinion being that the sole authority should be vested in one individual, and it was while the dispute concerning this matter was going on that two ships arrived commanded by Colmenares who, with provisions, was in search of Nicuesa. This man claimed that Nicuesa was the legitimate governor of the province, and that, in his absence, he, Colmenares, was the proper person to command. Balboa could hardly controvert this, and his authority having been acknowledged, Colmenares set out along the coast in pursuance of his search for the missing governor, whom he found at Nombre de Dios.

There ensued a long duel between Balboa and Nicuesa for the supreme authority, and eventually the former won, Nicuesa being placed on a wretched vessel and driven out to sea, nothing further ever being heard of him or his crew.

The rival claims of Enciso and Balboa for the vacant governorship of the community led to its division into two factions, and the high favour in which Balboa was held by the majority was such that, unable with all his eloquence to prevail against him,{20} the erudite and skilful Enciso was put into prison and his property confiscated, after a trial which had but the merest semblance of legality, on a charge of having usurped the office of alcalde in a territory which did not come under his jurisdiction.

When at length, through the intercession of his friends, he regained his liberty he received permission to return to Spain. Balboa took the precaution of sending in the same vessel one of his most intimate followers, to prevent the deposed Enciso from gaining too much sympathy at court, and to answer the charges which would doubtless be preferred by him. Further, Balboa sent a handsome present in gold to the royal treasurer of Hispaniola to impress him with the richness of the new country and obtain what he knew to be a powerful influence with the King.

After the departure of the caravel with his predecessor on board, Balboa set about organising an expedition into the interior, to discover and obtain as much of the precious metal as he could, for he wisely foresaw that if he provided the royal treasury at home with an abundance of the much-coveted gold, any irregularities in his late proceedings would be overlooked by the avaricious Ferdinand.

He sent Pizarro and a band on one such errand into a province called Coyba, but on their setting out they were assailed by the Indians of Darien led by their native lord or cacique, Zemaco, and after a fierce encounter the Spaniards were forced to retreat. Balboa despatched two vessels to Nombre de Dios to bring away the remnant of Nicuesa’s followers who had been left there. While coasting the shores of the isthmus these vessels picked up two Spaniards, painted like the Indians with whom they had been living. These men had been well treated by Careta the cacique of Coyba and repaid his kindness by instigating their countrymen to attack this friendly native and rob him of his wealth and treasure. They carried back to Balboa the news of their discovery at Careta, and he, pleased with the intelligence, set out with a strongly armed force to carry out this base design. On his arrival the unsuspecting chief received him with all the hospitality his savage customs could supply, but even this was not sufficient to deter Balboa from using strategy to overcome resistance and plunder the village, making captives of Careta, his wives and children and many of his people, and taking them back as prisoners to Santa Maria.

The poor outraged chieftain pleaded with his captor to be released,{21} offering to become his ally and show him the realms where gold and riches abounded, and as a pledge of his good faith to give his daughter as a wife to the Spanish Governor, who, seeing all the advantages that would accrue from the friendship of the natives, and not unmoved by the youth and beauty of the proffered wife, accepted the alliance. After impressing his new allies with the power of the Spanish armaments, and astonishing them with the sight of the war horses which were strange to them, he allowed them to depart loaded with presents, but leaving the chief’s daughter, who willingly remained as the so-called wife of the future discoverer of the Pacific.

[Image unavailable.]


[Image unavailable.]


Balboa, with eighty men, once more made his way to Coyba and assisted Careta in invading the territories of one of his enemies, who were compelled to retreat and take shelter in the mountain fastnesses. Continuing their invasion, the combined forces ravaged the lands, sacked villages, putting the inhabitants to the sword and securing much booty. They then visited the province of another cacique, Comagre by name, who was indeed one of the most formidable in the whole country, having at his command three thousand fighting men, and living in what was for these parts a very palace, built of stone and wood and containing many apartments. There was in this palace a great hall in which the chieftain preserved the bodies of his ancestors, dried by fire and wrapped in mantles of cotton richly wrought and interwoven with pearls and jewels of gold. Among the sons of this cacique was one who was of a lofty and generous spirit and superior sagacity. He it was who struck the scales and scattered the gold which the Spaniards were weighing out and quarrelling over. Disdainful and disgusted at their sordid spirit, he asked them why they quarrelled over such a trifle, and said that, from the lofty hills in front of them,{22} he would show them a mighty sea navigated by people who had vessels almost as large as their own, adding that on the shores of this great sea dwelt kings who ate and drank out of golden vessels, and ruled over lands in which gold was as plentiful as iron was amongst the Spaniards.

Imagine the eagerness with which Balboa plied this youthful Indian with questions regarding the means of arriving at such opulent regions, and how his imagination must have been stirred at the intimation of the sea he was shortly to discover.

The difficulties to be overcome, the fierce resistance which he was assured would be offered to his advance through the country he must traverse, only stimulated his ambition to be the first to sail upon the unknown sea. Henceforward all his plans were laid with the one idea of reaching it, and he sent off envoys in great haste to Hispaniola laden with much of the treasure he had already obtained, hoping thus to arouse the interest of his King to such a pitch that he should be furnished with a sufficient force of arms and men to enable him to accomplish a mighty discovery. As some time would elapse before an answer to his request could reach him, Balboa with his followers made incursions into the country round their settlement, exploring the river and its tributaries, but always meeting with a steady opposition from the natives.

Of the hundreds of adventures they must here have met with history records but few, and although they discovered much booty and captured many slaves, they also lost much in their endeavours to transport it to their capital.

Many of the natives lived in huts built like nests in the branches of the trees and reached by ladders, which the inmates drew up at night or when suddenly attacked. These arboreal homes, built of light woodwork and thatched with leaves, were many of them large enough to hold good-sized families, and when other means of overcoming these nest-dwellers failed, the Spaniards would compel them to descend by threatening to fell the trees or set fire to them. And this all for gold. Gold was the object of their search, and no cruelty was too great for them to inflict on any who kept them from their booty. One golden temple, whose renown had reached them, was for many years to come the object of a restless enterprise on the part of the Spaniards. Hundreds of lives were lost in search of it, but never was its whereabouts{23} discovered, clans and tribes joining in confederacy to resist the advances of their enemies.

[Image unavailable.]


A native of the Isthmus of Darien.

Balboa at last constructed a fortress round the town to resist the attacks of and guard against surprise by his wily enemies. Weary of waiting for the reinforcements he had sent for, his followers grew impatient, and anxious and distressed at the non-arrival of help, he determined to go in person back to{24} Spain and urge his claims for assistance to accomplish what he now looked upon as his mission. His followers, however, dissuaded him from leaving them in what was still a dangerous position, for they relied upon their leader to counsel and protect them. Other envoys were found and despatched with letters full of enthusiastic accounts of the wealth of the country, a portion of the gold obtained being also sent, each man giving some of his private hoard to swell the general amount. Surely the King on receiving this evidence of the wealth and resources of his new possessions would not fail to furnish means of extending and developing them.

It was while awaiting the issue of this second mission that the weary and discontented colony of adventurers grew troublesome, and it required all the resourceful ingenuity and sagacity of Balboa to prevent civil war from breaking out. Order had hardly been re-established when two ships arrived from Hispaniola with supplies and men and a commission for Balboa, which although not from the source of royal power itself at least gave a semblance of legal status to his governorship, coming as it did from the hands of the King’s treasurer, Miguel de Pasamonte, to whom the present sent had proved acceptable.

[Image unavailable.]


These were the events which led up to the great discovery, and Balboa was just congratulating himself on the security of his position and the hopefulness of his prospects when he received news from the colleague he had sent home that Enciso had succeeded in arousing the King’s resentment and indignation against Balboa, who was shortly to be summoned back to Spain to answer most serious charges on account of his harsh treatment of Nicuesa. The only comfort left to Balboa was the fact that the information he now received was private and that no definite order had yet reached him from the King. Desperate as he felt the enterprise{25} to be without reinforcements, he yet determined to risk all upon the venture of crossing the isthmus before the King’s commands could reach him. Choosing one hundred and ninety of the most reckless and daring of the wild adventurers that composed his colony, and arming them in such a manner as he thought fitting for the occasion, taking with him several of the Darien Indians whom he won to his side by kindness, and a number of dogs, amongst them his famous hound Leonico, he set out on this perilous undertaking.

[Image unavailable.]



The Sighting of the Pacific

WITH his wild crew Balboa sailed from Santa Maria up the coast to Coyba, where he left half his men to guard the brigantine and canoes, and started out, after offering up fervent prayers to God to grant him success in his mission. Through a country which might have caused dismay to the boldest of adventurers, struggling through pathless bush which seemed almost impenetrable, over steep rocks with the sun blazing down upon them, encumbered with their heavy armour, and with supplies for only two days, they pushed their way, until they reached a forsaken Indian village, where almost overcome by their exertions they were compelled to rest for a time. Many of the band had fallen sick, and after recovering somewhat, were compelled to return to the boats. Fresh guides had to be procured who knew the country through which they were now to pass, and on the twentieth of September, 1513, they started off again through a country covered with a dense growth of forest, streams and water-courses often barring their path.

So slow was their progress that it took four days to go ten leagues. Hunger and thirst consumed them, but they kept on, until they arrived in the province of a warlike cacique who contested their progress. But when the Indians found their companions falling around them, shot down by the fire-arms of the invaders, they were terrified. Guns were new to them; in their ignorance they looked upon them as strange demons who threw out fire and thunder, and when the dogs were loosened on them they turned and fled. Many were overtaken and torn to pieces by the half-famished hounds, others were cut down by the sword, till over six hundred lay dead upon the field.

The conquerors marched into the village and gathered their spoil, gold and jewels, rested themselves from fatigue and tended{27}

[Image unavailable.]


their wounded. The village lay at the foot of a high mountain, and on the following morning, conducted by guides selected from among the prisoners, Balboa leaving his wounded behind him, started the ascent, with his remaining followers. When they had nearly reached the summit the leader gave orders to his men to halt, and forbade any man to stir. Then all alone he climbed and reached the topmost peak, from whence he was able to discern the ocean he had passed through such trials to behold. Often during the long and tedious journey doubts must have passed through his mind regarding the existence of the sea now lying in front of him, but all the strange tales and rumours which for years had been whispered amongst mariners were, after all, true, and he was the first European to know it! This bold adventurer, accustomed to bloodshed and wild disaster, knelt down and gave thanks to God for having privileged him to make this great discovery. Then, calling his men to ascend and share his vision, he addressed them. “Behold, my friends, that glorious sight which we have so much desired. Let us give thanks to God that He has granted us this great honour and advantage. Let us pray to Him to guide us and aid us to conquer the sea and land which we have discovered, and which Christian has never entered to preach the holy doctrine of the evangelists. As to yourselves, be, as you have hitherto been, faithful and true to me, and, by the favour of Christ, you will become the richest Spaniards that have ever come to the Indies. You will render the greatest services to your King that ever vassal rendered to his lord, and you will have the eternal glory and advantage of all that{28} is here discovered, conquered, and converted to our Holy Catholic Faith.”

This perfervid utterance, the incongruity of which strikes us to-day as almost blasphemous, aroused enthusiasm in his followers, who swore to stand by their intrepid leader and follow him to the death in pursuit of their new prospects. They all knelt down, and led by de Vara the priest, who accompanied them, lustily chanted the “Te Deum.” Speculation ran high as to the possibilities that lay before them, but they were all convinced that they were at length on the right road to become possessors of the riches of the Indies. Summoning the notary of the expedition, Balboa called all present to witness that he took possession of all the sea, its islands and surrounding hills, in the name of the Sovereigns of Castile, and had a deed prepared to that effect, which those of his followers who were present signed. The curious ceremonies of piety and plunder were not completed until a tree had been cut down, formed into a cross, and erected on the spot from which Balboa had first viewed the ocean, the names of Ferdinand and Isabella being roughly carved on the trees surrounding the spot. The band then made their way down the hillside, and after massacring another tribe of hostile Indians, and forcing into their service fresh guides, they came to the domain of the warlike cacique, named Choapes, who, after a short resistance, was induced by the arguments of fire-arms and bloodhounds to submit. It is recorded that Balboa, doubtless softened by his religious exercises on the mountain, enjoined his followers to refrain from needless slaughter.

Meanwhile, Balboa sent out scouting parties to discover the best route to the coast, and when the successful one returned, they related how they had reached the ocean and found canoes, into one of which Alonzo Martin had stepped, calling on his companions to bear witness that he was the first European to embark on the newly discovered sea.

Balboa and his men went forward, and on coming to the border of a great bay gave it the name of San Miguel. As the tide was far out, they waited under the shade of the trees until it should flow in. When it did Balboa arose, and, taking a banner on which were painted the arms of Castile and Leon, he, with his sword drawn, waded into the water until it was above his knees, and in a loud voice took possession, in the names of Don Ferdinand{29} and Donna Isabella, of all the seas and lands and coasts and ports and islands of the South, kingdoms and provinces, and, in fact, everything he could think of naming.

[Image unavailable.]


The exaggerated accounts which reached Spain of the wealth and riches of the new colony, of the gold which was to be found lying on the surface of the ground or taken from the rivers in nets, inspired Ferdinand with such enthusiastic pride in his new possessions that he christened them “Golden Castile.” Santa Maria was honoured by being made the capital city, and a bishop was appointed and sent out with all the necessary equipment of friars and other ecclesiastical paraphernalia.

A new Governor was sent out in the person of Don Pedrarias Davilla, with a magnificently furnished expedition to fittingly equip the new capital with all the pomp and pageantry so dear to the Spanish heart. Many youthful caballeros of high descent but low in funds were allured by the prospects of the new land,{30} and flocked to join the expedition in such numbers that only the most favoured and influential could obtain a passage.

Hardly had this magnificent fleet set sail when news arrived of Balboa’s latest discovery, and the revulsion of feeling in his favour would have prevented the King giving such high powers to Pedrarias had the tidings only reached him in time. On the arrival of the new Governor at Santa Maria he was met by Balboa, who had returned from the Pacific shores, with every courtesy, and entertained in the palm-thatched habitation which served the latter as a palace.

Pedrarias contrived to hide behind a mask of friendship his real intentions regarding the new province, and through dissimulation gained as complete a knowledge as possible of all things pertaining to the country and the discoveries of Balboa, who, off his guard, was anxious enough to put the new Governor in possession of all the information he had gathered. But no sooner did Pedrarias feel that he had no more to learn from the pioneer of the Isthmian route than his attitude completely changed, and he ordered a judicial inquiry into the previous conduct of Balboa. The result of the trial was the acquittal of the accused, much to the chagrin of the new Governor, who from the first seems to have been determined to get rid at all costs of the man who, he felt, overshadowed and threatened his prospects in the colony.

Later news which came from the court of Spain, announced Balboa’s promotion to be Governor of the South Seas and the Province of Panama, and Pedrarias, fearful lest Balboa’s influence and popularity should again place him in the ascendancy, and in order to keep a hold over him and join their interests, proposed an alliance between his daughter and the Adelantado; the marriage settlements were drawn up, but before the young lady could arrive from Spain events happened which prevented the union.

The interest of Balboa having been secured to him, Pedrarias was now willing and anxious that further discoveries should be added to the already formidable list, and that more treasure should flow into the insatiable coffers of Spain, and to this end he permitted and assisted Balboa to fit out a new expedition to make further discoveries in the South Seas.

Acla, established and built by Balboa as a settlement near Careta,{31}

[Image unavailable.]


was now fixed upon as the port best adapted as a starting-point for this expedition, one of the boldest and most considerable yet attempted by the Spaniards in Terra Firma. The plan was to carry from this port all necessary materials for the building of four brigantines upon the Pacific shore. The transporting of stores and materials over a country which, when traversed previously by Balboa, unencumbered with superfluous baggage, had presented serious enough difficulties, was a task of almost overwhelming magnitude; yet these hardy Spaniards under the leadership of the intrepid Balboa accomplished it. They were assisted by the more friendly Indians and negroes, but many lives were lost ere the first two brigantines{32} were successfully launched on the River Balsas, which flows into the Pacific.

Their first cruise was to the Pearl Islands, and but for contrary winds, the discovery of Peru might have been added to the list of Balboa’s achievements, but he was anxious to complete the building of the other two brigantines which he had provided material for, and returned to proceed with the work. Whilst busy upon it, he heard rumours that a new Governor was expected to arrive from Spain, to displace Pedrarias, and apprehensive lest a new ruler should be opposed to the schemes he had in hand, he sent a trusted messenger back to Acla, to watch events and report, but was very unfortunate in selecting Garabito, upon whose loyalty he relied, but who ultimately betrayed him.

On his arrival at Acla, Garabito, learning that Pedrarias was still in command at Santa Maria, was indiscreet enough to arouse the suspicions of the colonists, who arrested him, and sent all his papers and letters to the Governor, whilst, under threats of punishment, they obtained from him a confession of the secret of his mission.

The antipathy and distrust of Pedrarias were deepened by the slanders he was only too willing to believe, and he ordered the absent Adelantado back to Acla, ostensibly to talk over the new expedition, but really to stand his trial. Balboa, on his arrival, was cast into prison, where he was visited by Pedrarias, who, with characteristic dissimulation, avowed friendship, and said that the proceedings which he had instigated were merely formal and necessary to clear Balboa’s character of the slanders and charges which had been brought against it.

The charge made was that of treasonable conspiracy to cast off all allegiance to the Crown, under a determination to sail, operate, and trade in the South Seas entirely for private benefit. The evidence rested largely on the testimony of the traitorous Garabito, and eavesdroppers, who stated that they had overheard Balboa and his officers planning to sail on their own account and ignore the authority of the Governor. In vain Balboa indignantly pointed out the flimsiness of the accusation, maintaining that, were there the slightest truth in the charges made, it was very unlikely he would have returned and put himself in the power of the Governor, when he could easily have sailed away in the ships he now had on the Pacific and found a land{33} or island to supply him and his men with safe subsistence, far away from the chances of interference from the power it was alleged he was anxious to cast off.

The trial dragged along for many days, and the verdict of guilty was accompanied by a recommendation to mercy, on account of the prisoner’s great services, while the hope was expressed that permission would be granted to him to appeal to a higher tribunal in Spain.

Pedrarias, glad of the opportunity of clearing from his path a man of whom he was inordinately jealous, would listen to no entreaties from the many advocates of the claims of the prisoner to consideration, and the day following the verdict Balboa, with three of his principal officers, preceded by the public crier, walked in chains to meet his fate at the block erected in the Public Square; and for days afterwards his gory head, stuck on the end of a pole, met the gaze of the sorrowing inhabitants of the town of Acla.

Pedrarias soon found out the futility of attempting to maintain a prosperous colony at Santa Maria, for the implacable hostility of the Indians and the depredations in his ranks by sickness, combined with the disappointment of his expectations of finding the treasure he sought, drove him to shift his headquarters to a more advantageous spot.

Having got rid of the Governor of Panama, in the person of Balboa, he proceeded to establish himself within that territory, and fixing a site upon the bay in which are situated the Pearl Islands, he there founded a city to which he gave the name of Panama, and thither he transferred the seat of government, so that it became the capital of Terra Firma.

[Image unavailable.]



The Buccaneers

THE short-sighted policy of the Spaniards in exterminating the natives of the countries which they conquered, necessitated the importation of the negro from Africa, and led to the development of a huge traffic in slaves, in which England, France, and Portugal played an important part.

The men engaged in this trade were naturally a ruffianly set who soon became familiar with the operations in the newly acquired Spanish territories, and were quick to take advantage of the knowledge which they thus acquired.

Lucrative as the slave trade undoubtedly was, those engaged in it could not but be tempted by the untold wealth which they saw in the countries they visited and which passed them in the galleons crossing the sea; and the growing jealousy on the part of the other European nations of the power and opulence of Spain encouraged the more lawless and daring to organise attacks upon the wealth and treasure in course of transit.

Many of these hardy ruffians, the off-scourings of their own countries, conceived the idea of acquiring territory in the West Indian Islands, and were encouraged by their respective Governments.

A number of them possessed themselves of the small island of Tortuga, which lies to the north-west of Hayti, and from here roved the whole Caribbean Sea making war upon the Spaniards both on sea and land.

They had learned from the Indians the art of curing the flesh of animals killed in hunting so that it would keep for almost any length of time. The method adopted was to lay the meat upon a wooden grill placed over a smouldering fire composed of leaves, into which—to give a flavour to the meat—they cast the skins of the slaughtered animals. The meat thus smoked was called{35} “Boucan,” and ultimately this name was also given to the place where it was cooked, and those who had adopted the preparing of meat in this way were called “buccaneers.”

This name came to be generally applied to the motley collection of characters from all Europe who settled in these parts, every type of social Ishmaelite of the period let loose on the world to fight and struggle for existence as best they could.

Some among them from England had started on their roving life from very exuberance of good spirits and love of adventure. Others were driven to this lawless existence by necessity, or by some trivial violation of the stringent laws then existing in their own country.

[Image unavailable.]


Whenever a successful fleet of these desperadoes arrived in Port Royal or Tortuga, it was the signal to the populace that festive times were at hand—such times as make the head dizzy to think of, lasting not only till the money was all spent, but until credit was gone as well.

The tavern keepers would give credit according to the faith they had in their customers’ ability to redeem their pledges. Doubtless their faith often received rude shocks, for the risks were many, but taking it on the whole their profits were immense, as the larger part of the ship’s plunder was spent with them.

Lawless as the buccaneers were, they yet had laws which regulated the conduct of each adventure they embarked upon.{36} True these were liable to be changed by a successful majority, but, as a rule, all obeyed them, probably because sufficient inducement was offered or coercion used.

During the three distinct epochs of the history of these piratical adventurers the types were constant. From the time when they first forsook their wild calling in Hispaniola and took to hunting men for their treasure instead of animals for their flesh—up to the period when Morgan stood out as a hero who commanded the consideration if not the respect of all the inhabitants of the New World, they were unhampered by the interference of Government.

From 1671 to 1685 they extended the sphere of their operations, and ranged the whole of the Pacific Coast of America from California to Chili, and this has been called the second period.

The third extends from 1685 onwards, and marks the decline of their power, a degeneration in their methods, and a lessening of their numbers.

There is a glamour about their adventures which appeals to most persons, the fine courage and persistent daring which was undaunted by the terrible hardships and sufferings they underwent, giving a touch of heroism to their doings in spite of the inhuman butcheries and cruelties they perpetrated.

Outstanding names of buccaneers are familiar to everyone, Mansvelt, L’Ollonois, Morgan, Dampier, Kidd, Sharp, being a few of the more prominent. Round each of these romances have been written, and although there may be some deeds of valour credited to them, the glory of which they are not entitled to, and some atrocities, the gruesomeness of which they were guiltless of, yet it cannot be said that authentic details of their lives and enterprises do not furnish parallel instances.

Their callous indifference to the sufferings of their own companions prepares us for the studied fiendishness with which they treated their enemies, and their fanatical hatred of the Spaniards overmastered every consideration of humanity.

That the buccaneers had courage and daring is well borne out by the life of Henry Morgan, the son of a respectable Welsh farmer. He appears to have found his way to Jamaica, and there fallen in with Mansvelt, then the most notorious of the freebooters.

After serving a sort of apprenticeship with this redoubtable{37} pirate, Morgan, on the death of Mansvelt was promoted to the command.

Using Jamaica as his headquarters he made excursions in the neighbourhood of Cuba which added to his reputation. His next venture was against Porto Bello, one of the best fortified ports in the West Indies.

[Image unavailable.]


From an old print.

Morgan’s profession and attention were directed to this spot by the knowledge he had of its containing the large storehouses, in which the treasure from the Spanish colonies in the South awaited the arrival of the fleet of royal galleons which sailed with it annually to Spain.

As formerly in Nombre de Dios, so here an annual fair was held, and the merchants who had business came over from Panama with their treasure of gold and silver from the mines of Peru, attended by an escort of Spanish troops.

Ships belonging to the West Indian Company arrived from Africa with cargoes of slaves, and the whole town was, while the fair lasted, a scene of great animation.

Porto Bello at this period was not considered quite a health resort, so that in the off seasons the population decreased. Morgan, who had four hundred and sixty men in his expedition, kept his plans secret, and, only telling his companions that he expected to make a big haul, he landed by night at a short distance from the city. Guided by an Englishman who had been a prisoner in these parts, they marched on to the town, capturing on their way one of the sentinels, whom they bound and carried in front of them. They surrounded one of the castles which stood near the town, and called upon the inmates to surrender, but the only{38} reply was a volley which alarmed the town. After a brief but gallant defence the fortress was forced to surrender, and the pirates, thrusting the vanquished inside, blew both garrison and castle into the air. The Governor of the city and a number of the more influential merchants, had taken shelter in the remaining castle, against the walls of which the pirates now placed broad scaling ladders constructed hastily for this purpose. Up these ladders Morgan forced friars and nuns whom he had taken prisoners to ascend as a cover to his men following close behind, but in thinking the besieged would not risk harming members of their religious orders he was mistaken, for pious and pirates were alike killed by the inmates of the castle, who used all means they could to prevent the assault being successful.

After a long and determined resistance the defenders at length threw down their arms and surrendered, but the Governor fought to the last, killing many of the pirates, and even despatching some of his own men for not standing to their arms. He would accept no quarter in spite of the pleading of his wife and daughter who, on their knees, begged him to give in; and he fell fighting.

The pirates took possession of the castle, shutting up all the prisoners, men and women together. The wounded were placed in an apartment by themselves, “that their complaints might be a cure of their diseases, for no other was afforded them.”

This done, the buccaneers gave themselves up to a wild debauch which lasted well into the night. Next morning the prisoners were brought out and tortured till they should reveal the hiding-places of their treasure.

For fifteen days looting and carousing fully occupied the time of the marauders, and before departing Morgan fixed the ransom of the city at one hundred thousand pieces of eight, threatening to burn the town and blow up the castles if this were not procured at once.

Messengers were sent with this demand to Panama, and the Governor of that city, having got a force together, set out for Porto Bello.

The pirates, hearing of this, went out to meet him at a narrow gorge through which he was bound to pass, and a hundred of them were sufficient to check the approach of the bold men from Panama.

From a safe distance the Governor then sent word to Morgan,{39} threatening him that if he did not retire at once it would go hard with him, to which the implacable buccaneer replied that all he wanted was the money, and when he got it he would leave, but not before. Persuaded that he was in earnest the Governor rode back to Panama, leaving the distressed citizens of Porto Bello to get out of their difficulties as best they could.

The ransom was raised and the demands of Morgan were satisfied.

So astonished was the Governor of Panama at the fall of so strong a city before such a handful of men, that he sent to Morgan to ask him for a pattern of the weapons with which he had accomplished so great a feat. Not without humour Morgan gave a pistol and some bullets to the envoy to take back, with instructions to his master to keep the same for a year, when the sender would come in person to Panama and claim them.

[Image unavailable.]


The Governor, thinking this was no joke, returned the proffered loan, assuring Morgan that he had no need of such weapons. At the same time he sent a ring of gold and the message “that he desired him not to give himself the labour of coming to Panama as he had done to Porto Bello, for he did assure him he should not speed so well there as he had done there.”

In July, 1670, a treaty was concluded between Great Britain and Spain with the object of putting an end to the depredations{40} of the buccaneers, and bringing about peace and a settled state of affairs in the West Indian Islands. On the publication of this treaty, the buccaneers determined on a great expedition; fearing, doubtless, that the chances for their professional operations would be curtailed after the treaty had been put into force and was well established.

Morgan, therefore, made preparations and gathered around him men and ships for what was to be his greatest undertaking. The rewards to be given on this voyage, and the rules for the conduct of the enterprise, were all written out, agreed upon, and signed by each of the pirate crews. Morgan himself was to take one hundredth part of the booty, and the captain of each ship was to draw the shares of eight men over and above his own, for the expenses of his vessel.

The surgeons were allowed two hundred pieces of eight, besides their pay, for chests of medicines. The compensations for the loss of limbs or eyes were very liberal, the payment being made in money or slaves according to the sufferers’ choice. An extra reward was held out to the pirate who should, in any engagement, be the first to haul down the enemies’ colours, enter a castle or perform some similar act of daring.

Panama had been decided upon, by general consent, as being the richest of the three cities from which a selection was to be made, the other two being Cartagena and Vera Cruz.

The pirates sailed first to the island of St. Catherine or Old Providence to obtain guides from among the bandit outlaws from Panama who were banished to that place.

When they arrived at this penal settlement, which was strongly fortified, Morgan, with the connivance of the Governor of the island, put up a sham fight in order to give the appearance that force had been used in obtaining what he wanted.

Having obtained a plentiful supply of provisions and three bandits, who were acquainted with the route from Porto Bello to Panama and who were promised their liberty and a share of the plunder, should the undertaking prove successful, Morgan sent four ships and one boat well equipped to Chagres to take the castle there, while he remained at St. Catherine’s with the bulk of the expedition awaiting the result of this preliminary venture, and to avoid giving the alarm to the Spaniards as to his real design. The castle of Chagres or San Lorenzo, situated on the{41} summit of a steep hill at the entrance of the river, was surrounded by high palisades filled in with earth, a formidable place almost impregnable in those days, yet notwithstanding the strong position it occupied and the extraordinarily brilliant defence which the Spanish untiringly maintained it fell at last into the hands of the enemy.

[Image unavailable.]


On receiving news of the capture of Chagres, Morgan sailed thither with the main portion of his expedition and repaired the castle, establishing a garrison there. Besides this garrison he left a number of his men in charge of the ships, and on the 18th January, 1671, with one thousand two hundred men, thirty-two canoes, and five boats laden with artillery started up the Chagres River en route for Panama.

The next evening they arrived at Cruz de Juan Jallego, where{42} the river was so dry, and the way blocked by so many fallen trees, that they were obliged to leave the boats in charge of one hundred and sixty men who were ordered not to desert their post upon pain of death.

Some of the party continued the journey in canoes, and with great difficulty reached Cedro Bueno, the canoes returning for the rest of the party, and all were assembled that same night, hoping in vain to fall in with Spaniards or Indians from whom they might obtain food, as they were well-nigh exhausted from hunger.

On the fourth day most of the party marched by land, the remainder still keeping to the canoes, both parties being conducted by guides, whilst scouts sent on ahead took care to examine the sides of the track and to prevent surprise from any lurking enemies.

About noon they arrived at a point where the guide accompanying the canoes gave the alarm that he had perceived an ambuscade. Overjoyed at the good news the pirates hastened to the spot where the enemy were supposed to be lurking, but were disappointed when they discovered that the Spaniards had fled, taking with them everything of an edible nature, and leaving nothing but a few empty leathern bags. The enraged buccaneers set fire to the huts, and fell to and ate the leathern bags, so keen had their appetite become. The leather after being stripped of the hair was pounded between stones and then cut into small pieces and broiled, quarrels ensuing over the sizes of the portions allotted.

On the fifth day they arrived at a village where they found traces of recent occupation, and diligent search being made for some kind of animal or fruit on which to feed the army, they discovered a cave in which were stored some sacks of maize, two jars of wine and a few plantains.

On the seventh day they cleaned their arms and tried their firelocks, before crossing the river and arriving at Cruces. The sight of smoke issuing from the village raised their hopes, and caused them to hurry forward. Perspiring and out of breath they reached the spot only to find it deserted and nothing but the fires, of which they had no need, to welcome them.

They revenged themselves by setting fire to the huts, and eating the few cats and dogs that lingered round the village.

In what were called the King’s stables they found some wine{43} and a large leathern sack with bread in it, but so ill did those who drank this wine become, that they jumped to the conclusion it had been poisoned. But their sickness was after all only the effect of the good wine upon their empty stomachs.

As Cruces was the last point in ascending the river to which their canoes could be brought their further progress had to be made entirely on foot. Before they set out on their march some of the pirates made rigorous search in the surrounding district for victuals of some kind wherewith to appease their gnawing hunger, but surprised by the late inhabitants of the town, who were in hiding in the bush, the buccaneers were compelled to retreat.

Morgan now sent two hundred men in advance of the main body to detect any ambuscade that might exist, and to discover the way to Panama.

On the eighth day after ten hours’ marching, the entire force reached a place called Quebrada Obscura, where they were suddenly assailed by a flight of thousands of arrows shot by some hidden foes, and from this point onward they were continually harassed by straggling parties of Indians commanded by Spaniards.

The ninth day had barely dawned when an early start was made to take advantage of the cool morning air, and after an hour’s march they ascended a high hill from which they could see the ocean and discern the ships and boats lying in the bay.

Their troubles were almost forgotten when, on descending to the plain below, they came upon a herd of cattle, and they were not long in killing and roasting a sufficient number of these, on which they gorged themselves in a most ravenous manner.

Filling their satchels with the remains of the feast, they continued their march, always preceded by a detachment of scouts who were now on the look-out—not only for ambuscades—but for any native they might come across from whom they could obtain information as to the position and strength of the defences of the city.

Before nightfall they descried the high cathedral tower, and soon camped for the night within sight of the city itself.

So eager and excited were they that it was with the greatest impatience they awaited the morrow, which they felt confident would see them in possession of the much-coveted treasure.{44}

All night long the inmates of the threatened city kept up an incessant fire with their big guns, in a vain endeavour to reach the camp of the pirates, who indulged in revels and feasted on the remains of their morning’s meal.

When the eagerly expected dawn broke the camp was all astir, and Morgan marshalled his now enthusiastic followers, and with drums and trumpets sounding set out towards the city.

They kept to the woods as affording them cover, and the Governor of the city, unprepared for this change of route, came out with a strong band of followers to check the advances of the buccaneers. He had one novel regiment, composed of wild cattle driven and directed by the herdsmen.

So formidable did the Spanish army appear that many of the buccaneers were overawed, and had it been possible would have refused the encounter.

But Morgan urged them forward, and, dividing the troops into three divisions, ordered two hundred of his best marksmen to advance to the attack.

The Spanish cavalry, whose movements were much impeded by the soft nature of the ground, advanced to meet them, and the fight began in grim earnest. Very soon the horsemen were compelled to retreat before the deadly fire of the sharpshooters, and after making one final effort to disorganise the pirates by driving the wild bulls on to them from behind, the attacking defenders fled in all directions. Those who fell into the hands of the pirates received no quarter; and even friars, who pleaded hard for mercy, had but short shrift.

Before despatching them, Morgan learned from some of the prisoners he had taken that the whole force of the garrison was 400 horse and 2400 foot, not counting the Indians and slaves who were engaged to drive the 2000 wild bulls, the employment of which had proved so futile.

The loss of life on both sides had been great; but the pirates had more dangers to encounter before the city was completely in their hands. Guns which had been mounted in hastily constructed batteries directed a fierce fire upon them as they marched towards the walls, and many more were killed before they got through the gates and began to pillage the town.

For some reason that has never been properly understood or accounted for, Morgan set fire to the place, and all attempts to{45} stay the progress of the flames were unavailing. Richly decorated buildings filled with fine tapestries and pictures were, with few exceptions, reduced to ashes. The fire, it has been stated, lasted for a whole month, and hundreds of slaves who had hidden in the buildings perished in the flames.

Only one of the churches escaped the fire, and the pirates used it as a hospital.

The main body of the marauders encamped at night outside the city, but all day long were busy within its walls ransacking the rich warehouses and dwellings before the fire should reach them.

There was one large warehouse in the city in which the Genoese conducted their slave market, two thousand magnificent houses filled with riches of every description, besides five thousand smaller dwellings and two hundred warehouses, and from these the plunderers obtained a very considerable amount of booty. But by far the most valuable treasure in the city was lost to the pirates, for the King’s plate and royal treasure, together with the gold and silver plate and jewelled vestments of the churches and monasteries, had been put on board a huge galleon and taken out to sea.

It has always been known that much of the treasure that escaped the buccaneers, as well as a large amount of the booty which they captured and hid in various retreats, has never been discovered or reclaimed, and for years many and varied expeditions have been fitted out with the object of seeking and finding these lost riches.

Morgan and his gang had, however, done very well out of their expedition to Panama, from whence they returned to Chagres laden with spoil.

As part of a deep-laid scheme which had matured in his own mind, Morgan, when half-way from Cruces to Chagres, ordered all the pirates to be thoroughly searched, in spite of the usual solemn oath which every one of them had taken, that they would conceal no treasure. He even permitted himself to be subjected to the same indignity in order to prevent the resentment which this unusual order might provoke.

But resentment and suspicion were expressed in murmurings and complaints when the spoil was divided on their reaching Chagres, for it was thought and alleged that the commander had{46} kept the best jewels to himself. The grumbling reached such a pitch that it caused Morgan no little apprehension, but he had already determined on his plan of playing a dastardly trick upon his companions.

[Image unavailable.]


After demolishing the fort at Chagres, and setting fire to the principal buildings in the town, he surreptitiously crept on board the vessel which contained the treasure and provisions, taking with him a few of his chosen companions, and, in the early hours of the morning, while the remainder of the band were in a deep{47} sleep, he sailed away for Jamaica with all the plunder captured by the expedition, a rich store of the treasures which formed the staple commerce between the Old World and the New.

[Image unavailable.]


The resentment and fury of the deserted robbers knew no bounds, for surely in all the annals of their history there was no parallel to such treachery. The English pirates who were thus basely treated by their countryman set out in one of the remaining vessels in hot but unavailing pursuit, and the Frenchmen who had joined the bold enterprise with confidence now made their way back to Tortuga to brood over their wrongs and plan fresh expeditions, vowing vengeance on the lustful bully who had robbed them of their spoil.{48}


On the Way to the Southern Continent

AFTER leaving Kingston, Jamaica, one has an opportunity of observing some of the many types who journey to the isthmus of Panama.

The steamer is crowded and its comfort impaired by the numerous obstacles such as luggage and deck chairs, which prevent promenading and the taking of the usual form of exercise on board ship. On the fore deck, huddled together in endless confusion, are labourers from the island just left; behind their “household gods”—parrots, monkeys, poultry, and dogs—enjoying in many cases more comfort than their owners.

In the dim shadows cast by the awning spread to protect them from the glare of the burning sun, or the torrential rain which might at any moment descend; reclining upon chairs, hammocks or bedding spread upon the deck, men and women of varying age, colour and costume, seek oblivion in sleep from the nausea occasioned by the monotonous rolling of the ship.

On the afternoon of the third day, through the haze of a tropical downpour, Colon is sighted. Though the rain falls in sheets, the eye can trace through the silvery mists the faint outline of the coast and contour of the hills; whilst away across the bay, at its western extremity, the Toro Lighthouse is dimly visible.

This island of Manzanilla, upon which Colon is built, was passed and repassed many times by Columbus, when, on his fourth and last voyage, he searched so diligently for the Straits which he believed existed. His objective was to reach India, the land of the Grand Khan, and it was only after his ships had been reduced to mere leaking hulks, that he abandoned the search for the opening which he imagined must be there. Four hundred eventful years have passed, yet men’s minds have never ceased from{49}

[Image unavailable.]


dwelling upon the idea of making a waterway through the narrow neck of land that connects two great continents and divides two vast seas. From the beginning of the eighteenth century, plans have been put forward for the accomplishment of this task; but it was not until the railway across the isthmus was completed in 1854 that any serious thought was given by responsible persons to such projects. The building of the Panama Railway was brought about by the discovery of gold in California in 1849, when hundreds of adventurers from every part of the globe found this the shortest and quickest route to the western El Dorado. The history of how Aspinwall and Stevens accomplished their task of completing this short railway across a fetid tropical country, is one of the finest records of human endurance and perseverance. Sickness and disease thinned the ranks of their labourers, and the graves of hundreds of workers who perished in this enterprise are scattered profusely across the isthmus. There is a legend current in Panama that every tie on the railroad represents a human life. (That this is an exaggeration, anyone who reflects will readily perceive; for it would mean that 150,000 deaths had occurred in the five years, a number ten times greater than the whole population of the isthmus at that period.) Trains carrying thousands of passengers, and tons of goods across the forty-seven miles of track, have never been able to cope with the{50} enormous and increasing traffic. That a canal, through which the largest ships might pass from the Atlantic to the Pacific, would eventually be constructed, few people doubted; and when De Lesseps, fresh from winning his laurels at Suez, undertook to construct a waterway, his enthusiasm quickly spread to thousands of his countrymen, and a French company was formed to carry out his schemes. The history of the French Canal Company is sad reading, and is now almost forgotten. The Panama scandals and the trial of the De Lesseps, father and son, with many others connected with the affair, are things of the past: the United States Government have taken over the assets of the derelict company, and innumerable American citizens are carried annually to the scene of the great undertaking. From the moment the ship leaves New York, all the talk on board is of the isthmus and the canal, and those who have never visited the narrow belt of land look forward eagerly to catching their first glimpse of this much-talked-of country.

But the unfamiliar light that is frequently diffused over all, producing ever-changing and delicate tints of grey, purple, and blue, veils the landscape in indistinctness, so that expectations of beholding a land on which the sun pours down its burning rays, are unrealised, for a deluge of rain almost invariably welcomes the visitor.

Directly the vessel is berthed, the formalities attendant upon landing attract the attention. All the passengers are ordered into the saloon, and are medically examined by the officer of health for the port. Those unable to produce evidence of recent vaccination are promptly operated upon, and negroes and negresses reappear upon deck with crimson stains upon their long black arms, testifying to the work of the lancet.

Frightened mothers and terrified children are sobbing all around, adding to the general din that arises with the arrival of a steamer. The rain still pours from the leaden sky, which seems as if it could never exhaust its weeping grief, and even in the short distance from the shed upon the wharf to a ramshackle bus or cab, the exposure is sufficient to ensure a thorough drenching.

The main street, and indeed all of Colon, has undergone great improvements of recent years. A short drive and Christobal is reached, a kind of suburb of Colon, now within the territory called Canal Zone, owned by the American Government.{51}

[Image unavailable.]


It was in one of the many wooden bungalows built in the time of De Lesseps, and facing Limon Bay, that I took up my first quarters on the isthmus. The house is quite typical of hundreds throughout the Zone occupied by the more responsible workers on the canal, and in every way possible the comfort of the occupants is considered, and the accommodation is ample for all ordinary purposes.

The verandahs surrounding the houses are securely screened with fine-meshed copper gauze to prevent the intrusion of the{52} fever-bearing stegomyia mosquito and of the thousand other noxious insects which are the pests of this tropical country.

Every window is covered in the same manner, the doors which open from the verandahs being furnished with a strong spring, ensuring their being kept shut. The water cisterns are all covered, as are the rain-water tubs placed around the buildings, and there is no possibility of any insect finding a suitable breeding ground. During the whole of my stay on the isthmus I seldom encountered a mosquito, and it is no exaggeration to say that this insect runs serious risk of sharing the fate of the dodo.

The first work that the Americans undertook upon taking possession of their new territory, was to put into operation all means conceivable for the destruction of the mosquitoes, a work that would have been impossible if the Commission had not possessed the power to direct the sanitary and health measures in the towns of Panama and Colon, which both lie outside of the Canal Zone, but are so intimately connected with it as to be sources of danger, in case of epidemics. The maintenance of law and order is also vested in the United States, in the event of the Republic of Panama proving unable to cope with it.

For the greatest difficulty the Americans have had to contend with has been the climatic conditions so fatal to the workers during the construction of the Panama Railway in 1850, and throughout the operations of the two ill-fated French Canal Companies.

The careful attention which the Health Department of the Canal Commission has given to the sanitation and purification of their new territory, as well as of the towns of Colon and Panama, has amply justified the enormous expense by the wonderful results obtained. When one considers that yellow fever has always been regarded by tropical Americans as indigenous to their climate, it is indeed surprising that this disease has been practically exterminated from the isthmus of Panama in so short a time.

Houses have been entered, cleansed and fumigated; marshes drained, stagnant water treated with petroleum and the bush and scrub around all dwelling houses cut away, until haunt and breeding ground are alike denied to the germ-bearing mosquito.

Everywhere one comes across members of the Sanitary Corps, either lowly negroes and half-bred Indians with cans of petroleum from which they drop a small quantity of oil on any stray pool{53} or puddle that they come to; or the doctors ever vigilant in their inspections of the most out-of-the-way holes and corners in which dirt or disease might lurk.

[Image unavailable.]


The large hospital at Colon, built upon piles over the seashore, was erected originally by the French, but has been improved and modernised until it is as well equipped as any similar institution. There has not been a case of yellow fever within its walls for some years now, and the many screens that formerly were placed around the beds have all been stored away, except one, left as a specimen to show visitors the methods employed in isolating patients suffering from the dread disease.

Colon has changed very much during the last ten years. The fires of 1885 and 1890 destroyed a great many of the wooden buildings of which it was formerly composed; and the only old buildings of any pretensions to durability are the railway station and offices, and a church which was built by the pioneers of the isthmian route in the middle of the last century. Reorganised and rebuilt for the purposes of the Atlantic terminus of the canal, the most prominent features of the town to-day are the large wharves and warehouses for the reception of the materials and{54} supplies for the vast project. Laundries, bakeries, schools, court-houses and administration buildings, dwellings for employees, hotels, stores and machine shops, have been erected on this erstwhile mangrove swamp, an undertaking in itself of great magnitude.

A new railway terminus has been built. The trains which run each way, three times daily, across the isthmus to Panama, carry passengers and baggage to that city and to the numerous wayside stations along the route. They are always crowded with employees of the Canal Commission, and travellers on their way, via the Pacific port, to countries on the western side of South America.

Along the route of the canal, which follows closely the line of the railway, a busy scene of activity is presented. Only those who have travelled backwards and forwards over the line many times, and have branched off along the numerous side tracks that have been laid to carry the excavated earth to convenient or necessary dumping grounds, can be properly impressed with the magnitude and difficulty of the operations, as evidenced not only by the existing works, but by continual reminders of the French enterprise, in hundreds of disused and obsolete trucks, engines and dredgers which lie half-sunk in deep morasses or overgrown with dense vegetation.

The towns and villages that have sprung up along the line of the canal have grown rapidly during the last two or three years, for although the French had erected over two thousand buildings during their occupation, the new owners have added so largely to that number that such towns as Empire, Culebra, Las Cascadas, and Gatum are quite important and considerable centres of industry, with schools, hotels, court-houses and large dwelling houses scattered through them.

The headquarters of the Canal Commission are at Culebra, and it is here also that the largest excavation work is going on. The hill of Culebra (which means a “serpent”) is about thirty-six miles from Colon and ten from Panama, and it was at this point that the two French companies concentrated their efforts. The canal in course of construction, and now nearing completion, is a high-level one, the amount of excavation being considerably less than that required if De Lesseps’ original plan of a sea-level route had been adhered to.{55}

Thousands of persons every year visit this famous cutting, for in it the majority of the great steam shovels are at work. The progress being made is apparent, for on the long terraces the positions of the steam shovels are always altering. Every now and then a great cloud of smoke and dust, followed by a deafening roar, intimates that blasting operations are in full swing. Dumpcars of the latest pattern have superseded the old French ones; and the trains are now composed of a series of new trucks, coupled together, one side of each car being left open with a movable iron plate connecting it with its neighbour. A large truck at on end of the train contains a powerful engine, which pulls a steel plough along the trucks, emptying them of rock and dirt when the desired dumping ground is reached. All day these long trains filled with spoil move backwards and forwards through the cutting, at the different levels made for them by the steam shovels. Gangs of labourers are kept busy laying the tracks to enable the shovels to carve their way into the huge rocky hill. The problem of keeping up a supply of men, fit to stand the climate, has been solved by importing on to the scene Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, and West Indians, and they have endured the climate surprisingly. It is astonishing that in a shade temperature of from 89-91 so much energy can be displayed. In the rainy season the conditions become very difficult to contend against. The River Chagres rises and carries away long tracks of the railway, putting a stop to operations for days at a time. The rainfall amounts on an average to about one hundred and forty inches per annum, most of it falling from September to May. Yet the work proceeds rapidly in spite of the rain. The houses built for the labourers are all supplied with drying rooms, which are very necessary adjuncts to any dwelling on the isthmus, for otherwise it would be impossible to have any dry clothing.

But for the bad climatic and health conditions, the Panama Canal would have been finished long ere this, and had the De Lesseps company had the advantages of modern sanitary methods, the history of the canal might be different. In England it has been customary to hear exaggerated accounts of wasted money and material in Panama until the very name is almost synonymous with fraud and deceit. But on the spot the American engineers have discovered many evidences of the enormous amount of genuine work accomplished by the early companies, under depressing{56} circumstances and difficulties. Much that they did has been utilised, houses, hospitals, and hotels have been put into order, and have proved of great assistance to the present owners. The task of keeping up a working force of thirty thousand men, feeding, housing, and caring for them, can only be appreciated by those who are acquainted with the tropics. As all nationalities are to be found in the vast army at work, this means that the labour camps to accommodate them have to be kept separate and the food supplies carefully chosen, in accordance with the various tastes of different nations. The world at large is the market in which the authorities buy their provisions. It is bewildering to the layman, and impossible for him to understand the numerous engineering problems into which the work is divided. The rival schemes of high level, low level, and sea level, have been subjected to the criticism of the world’s most expert engineers for over a quarter of a century, and although the original plan of a sea level waterway was abandoned by De Lesseps, it is still held by many experts to be the only satisfactory one. The canal scheme that is at present proceeding is one of locks. The River Chagres, which rises in the surrounding hills, is subject to enormous floods, and in the rainy season great tracts of country on the Atlantic side of the isthmus are under water. Villages and workshops are swamped, the railway tracks swept away and disorganisation sets in.

[Image unavailable.]


The control of this river has been the subject of much anxious {57}thought and the experts’ opinion on it would fill volumes. The present plan entailed the building of the great dam at Gatum, about seven miles from the Atlantic terminus of the canal. This is now nearly completed and fills a gap between two ranges of hills, and much of the excavated material from the Culebra cutting (thirty miles distant) was dumped here. As the dam is about a mile and a quarter in length and half a mile in thickness, over two million cubic yards of material have been used for its construction. It has great controlling water sluices and locks, and completes the range of high ground, which will enclose an immense lake eighty-five feet above the sea level, having an area of over one hundred and seventy square miles. Towns and villages at present existing in the territory that extends from Gatum to Culebra will disappear when the great dam is finished, and the water is already being allowed to collect to form the great lake. Double sets of locks have been built at Gatum to raise ships up from the canal, a height of eighty-five feet. Vessels of one thousand feet in length and one hundred feet beam have been anticipated, and there will be accommodation for such boats when they shall be built and present themselves for entrance to the canal. The navigation channel through the great Gatum Lake will have a depth of at least forty-five feet and a width at bottom of one thousand feet until the Culebra cutting is reached, where the width will be diminished to two hundred feet. About ten miles from the Pacific terminus of the canal, at Pedro Miguel, the summit level will cease, at a series of locks which will lower vessels thirty feet, into a channel five hundred feet in width and about one mile in length. Two more locks at Miraflores will lower vessels to the Pacific sea level. The channel from Miraflores to Balboa (the Pacific terminus) will have a width of five hundred feet right to the open sea. Dredging operations are being carried on for the purpose of deepening and widening the channels at the Pacific and Atlantic entrances. Large wharves for the reception of steamers have been erected at Balboa, and dry docks for repairing have been constructed. In Panama itself, although the city does not belong to the United States Government, much money and time have been spent in putting it into a proper sanitary condition, for by treaty with the Panamanian Government the Canal Commission have jurisdiction over all matters connected with health. This ancient Spanish city has now been properly drained and a good water supply laid on, streets which were formerly quagmires in the rainy season, have been transformed by stone pavements{58} thoroughly well laid by the Commission, but charged up to the Panamanian Government.

[Image unavailable.]


There are over five thousand white employees on the work. Police, magistrates, school officers, medical men, mining engineers, surveyors, train conductors, hotel managers, overseers, foremen, clerks, dispensers, judges, mechanics, detectives, chemists, teachers, indeed quite a state has grown up upon this tropical belt, which but for the work in hand would be unexplored bush. The engineering shops at Matachin have grown under the commission to four times the size of the original French buildings, and are capable of accommodating for repairs and putting together over twenty large locomotives at one time. Steam shovels, cranes, trucks, ploughs, and rolling stock generally undergo repairs in these shops. Everywhere along the line improved, modern, up-to-date buildings are occupied as fast as they can be erected, and the social side of life is highly developed. Dances, concerts, and amateur theatricals are always going forward, while of out-of-door{59} sports the national game of baseball is easily first favourite. Everything is done by the authorities to make life on the isthmus as pleasant and enjoyable as possible, and very different from the early days when necessities were difficult to obtain and luxuries impossible. Ice is delivered to all the houses on the Canal Zone daily at a small charge, and bread, vegetables, meat, everything in fact that a dainty mortal can desire, is easily obtainable at the Commission’s Stores, so that in this land of “Perpetual Thirst” there is little of hardship and much of pleasure for the workers who have to live exiled from home.

The Commission has made a rule that every white employee shall take an annual holiday and spend it in the United States, so that there is much coming and going between the States and Panama. In fact, very few stay for long and the ranks are being continually reinforced with fresh recruits. The Commission have also a splendid sanatorium situated on the island of Tobago, a few miles south of Panama. Here, amidst perfect surroundings, the convalescents are nursed back to health and strength and tended with the utmost care. Even strangers who are not in any way connected with the canal, avail themselves of this retreat, and many Panamanians make it a holiday resort. At the foot of Ancon Hill, just outside the city of Panama, the Canal Commission have built a magnificent hotel capable of accommodating over three hundred first-class guests. It was opened in time to receive President Roosevelt when he paid his memorable visit to the isthmus in November, 1906, and since then has housed many other distinguished visitors.{60}


Of the Labourers on the Isthmus

THE most difficult problem that has to be faced by undertakers of transit and construction schemes in South America is that of labour. The natives of the tropical latitudes have little inclination or incentive to give their time and strength to the furthering of projects that are introduced into their countries, and it has always been necessary to any enterprise on the isthmus requiring a large labour force to import men from other places.

The first experiment was made many years ago by the early Spanish settlers, who found it impossible in many places to subdue the native Indians. Negroes from Africa were imported, but many of them contrived to escape from the tasks set them by their enterprising masters, and found their way into the country districts and gradually mixed with Indians they fell in with, and so introduced new blood into the original stock of the country. An attempt to introduce labour on to the isthmus of Panama was made by the promoters and builders of the railway with disastrous results.

The Chinese, who prove so efficient as labourers in nearly every other part of the world, were a great disappointment, and although they are to be found to-day on the isthmus in large numbers, they are not employed in any calling that requires great strength and endurance.

The negroes who were imported proved to be the best available labour, and ever since the railway was established the islands in the Caribbean Sea have furnished much of the labour for Panama.

When the first French company started its operations, Jamaicans, tempted by the high wages offered, flocked on to the{61} scene, and when the work was brought to a standstill in 1901 many of them were left stranded upon the isthmus, and those unable to obtain other employment were shipped back to their island at its expense. Many, however, remained and settled upon small patches of unclaimed land and lived in a primitive fashion without much difficulty, in a country which furnishes abundant subsistence to the cultivator.

[Image unavailable.]


The demand for labour again arose when the U.S.A. Government restarted operations, and numerous sources were tapped to supply sufficient numbers of efficient pick-and-shovel men.

Naturally attention was turned in the negro’s direction, for he is indispensable when such work is forward. Those who urge his expulsion en masse from the Northern States overlook the firm hold which he has got on the plantations of the South. However high racial prejudice may occasionally rise against him, he has made himself absolutely necessary to the Southern planter, who would be ruined if black labour were withdrawn. Besides, it is not a particularly easy task to expel ten millions of people.

It is interesting to note that the nigger is far more appreciated in South America than he is in the northern part of the continent. In Anglo-Saxon colonies the laws against the blacks have always{62} been more stringent and oppressive than those of Spain, Portugal, and France. So much is the negro valued in Latin America that many of the Republics were unwilling to allow their black labour to be recruited for the canal. Only recently the Argentine Consul in Panama sent word to his Government that fifteen thousand of the workmen on the Zone were disposed to transfer themselves to the wheatfields of the South.

Through the action of a Governor of Jamaica in refusing to allow negroes from that island to go to the isthmus (unless upon terms to which the Canal Commission found it impossible to agree) other countries were tried, to make up for the loss of Jamaica as a recruiting ground. Cuba, whence many of the Spanish settlers were brought, suggested to the labour department that Spain would be a likely place from which to obtain labourers, and many were imported on to the work, and proved the wisdom of the choice. Italians also were brought, while the Jamaicans arrived in great numbers, although not under any form of contract. Barbadians, Martiniquians, and Trinidadians flocked in, but all of the negro labourers who are on the work are liable to take a holiday frequently and return to their native countries to spend, in ostentatious display, the money they have earned.

These negroes of the different islands exhibit such lack of sympathy with one another, that the authorities are compelled to house them in separated camps.

The Barbadians predominate on the isthmus, probably because theirs is the most densely populated island, and they have rapidly made themselves acquainted with the conditions on the Zone, settling down as if it were their native land.

The British West Indian negro has a great contempt for and prejudice against those of his own colour who speak the French, Dutch, or Spanish language, and whenever an altercation or argument arises between negroes of the different nationalities, reference is frequently made to the prowess and prestige or weakness and decadence of the rival nations. This characteristic is set out by the old joke which probably originated on the West Coast of Africa, but has of recent years been told of the West Indians. “Yah, you big, black, ugly Frenchman!” a huge Barbadian yelled at a Martinique gentleman of colour who was getting the better of him in argument. “What we give you at Waterloo, eh?”{63}

The Barbadian has generally appropriated a name illustrious by the achievements of its original owner. A Mr. Horatio Nelson introduced himself to me one day near Gorgona, and when I suggested that his was a strange name, he assured me that it was quite a well-known one in England, and that one of his ancestors had made it famous. And on my still professing ignorance of it, he was very hurt and said, “You must be Frenchmans.”

The labourer from Barbados is a big, strong, impudent fellow, and has not got the same good name for honesty as his Jamaican cousin, although he is undoubtedly the better workman. But the negroes who have swarmed in hordes to the isthmus are reluctant to put forth all their strength and energy in profitable labour.

They will employ their hours of leisure in dancing till they stream with perspiration, but they are true artists in avoiding real work. Yet the strength which they undoubtedly possess is often shown in their moments of forgetfulness.

A gang of negroes were engaged in removing long, heavy lengths of timber a distance of about two hundred yards. After they had all gazed for some time at the stack, they were cajoled by the foreman into making a start, which was not accomplished without considerable palaver, the point of discussion being as to whether three men were sufficient to carry each beam.

Two of the gang, having lifted a heavy beam between them, returned to the discussion carrying it on their shoulders apparently little inconvenienced by its weight, and stood for fully ten minutes thus burdened continuing the argument. After a short acquaintance with them, their indolent ways and casual manner become so familiar as to excite little notice.

The quarters in which they are housed are shut during working hours, and none are permitted to enter the premises at night until they have produced evidence that they have put in a day’s work. Should they be unwell, they are examined by the doctor at the nearest dispensary and treated for their complaint. If only slightly indisposed and requiring a little more rest, they are placed in a building set apart for the purpose and allowed to loll about, read, smoke, or sleep until pronounced fit to resume their labours. In serious cases, of course, the patients are at once removed to hospital either at Colon or Ancon.

The accommodation provided for the labourers in the camps{64} all along the canal work have been very severely criticised by a coloured journalist who lives in Jamaica, and who has paid brief visits to the isthmus in order to discover if his fellow countrymen were receiving that attention and care which he considered their due.

Any evidence of labourers’ habitations in Jamaica half as good as those provided by the Canal Commission would be difficult to obtain, for the miserable dirty yards which for the most part form the dwellings of the West Indian negroes in their own islands, with the disgusting huddling together of animals and human beings, cannot for a moment be compared with the cleanly large dormitories fitted with iron-framed bunks which are provided for them on the Zone.

Due regard is given to cubic air space by the Health Department, which insists on five hundred feet for each occupant, whilst the old tin cans and heterogeneous rubbish which the nigger is so fond of collecting and hoarding are rigorously excluded from the dormitories, only reasonable belongings which will not offend against the comfort and health of the inmates being admitted.

The buildings are raised on pillars about five or six feet from the ground, and the large space underneath has to be carefully inspected by the health officers, for, under the pretence of utilising this shelter as a store for odds and ends, there is a great danger of its becoming a heaving rubbish heap.

Sidewalks and drains have been laid all through the labour camps, and little could be done to improve or better the majority of them. In the married quarters, placed at a distance from those occupied by single men, it is more difficult to prevent the tenants from indulging in their extraordinary propensity for hoarding up a miscellaneous pile of articles of no possible use or value. If left to themselves, the labouring negroes neglect to give much care and attention to their dwellings, notwithstanding that many of them appear in public on high days and holidays dressed in the latest fashions, displaying spotless white linen, and giving the impression to casual beholders that they are neat and cleanly in their habits.

The picturesque costumes which are worn by the women from Martinique are reminiscent of the fashions that were in vogue in Paris fifty years ago, while the slight Oriental touch which the brightly coloured handkerchiefs tied round their heads{65} impart is picturesque and attractive. The material of which their gowns are composed has weird patterns and in few other communities is there a variety of quaintly coloured prints to equal those worn by the women who hail from Martinique.

[Image unavailable.]


All these Martiniquian women appear to be very tall, their thin lithe bodies, and small heads accentuating the effect, and the gracefulness of their erect carriage and walk is aided by the long ample folds of their walking skirts, when gathered up and thrown negligently over their arms.

There was a great deal of talk some little time back about the presence of these women on the Zone, and allegations were freely made that the United States Government were paying their expenses to the isthmus, and that the purpose for which they were brought was one that no Government could officially sanction. After a great deal of investigation, much evidence was collected, which went to prove that the women whose moral character had been called in question were quite respectable, and were meritoriously engaged as domestic servants and washerwomen, earning wages far in excess of those obtainable in their island home. Their presence on the Zone is doubtless appreciated by many of their fellow countrymen, and keeps them from growing homesick, for the dancings and rejoicings which they amuse themselves with on holidays and Sundays help to encourage a spirit of contentment.

Over a hundred and sixty affidavits were made by Martinique women upon the isthmus at the beginning of the year 1906, for{66} the purpose of refuting the charges which were brought against them by newspapers in the United States, and the Governor of the Canal Zone at the time, C. E. Magoon, in a letter to the Secretary of War, stated that many of the women were much alarmed when questioned about the articles that had appeared against them, and were apprehensive lest they should be deported back to Martinique. They most willingly gave evidence as to their occupation. They were well satisfied with the wages they were earning and the conditions under which they lived, and all of them protested strongly against the statement that they were “living in sin.” The marriage customs among all the West Indian Islands differ from those obtaining in more civilised communities, and to rigid moralists of northern latitudes may seem rather lax and casual. Few of the women who subscribed to the affidavits put forward were able to write, only twenty-seven out of the whole number being able to sign their testimonies, the other hundred and forty all making a cross. All the names betrayed, as one would expect, the French origin of their owners. Some of them were ingeniously fanciful and almost ludicrous.

Such names as “Susering Johnabatist,” “Danshale Alptired,” “Catherine Maxemen,” “Vuss Marie,” sound rather odd, and the alliteration of names like “Pauline S’Paul,” “Dennis Denir,” “Philomen Philibert,” “Alcina Alcide,” is doubtless intentional, whilst a few like “Gabriel Paralo,” “Fluce Bernadette,” “Eleonore” have a romantic and not unpleasant sound.

But the Martiniquians are not alone in possessing extraordinary names. I remember looking through the register, kept in an official’s office in one of the West Indian islands, and was amazed at the extraordinary names written in it. I asked how it was possible for such inappropriate appellations to have been selected by negroes who surely could hardly have seen them before. The official produced a large old-fashioned dictionary, and explained that when parties came to register the birth of a child and were at a loss for a name, he would read out a list of long words, the most unsuitable of which was sure to be selected by the parents, regardless of absurdity. Fancy a small black child with little clothing or dignity having to support such a name as “Bathybius Johnston.” Luckily, the registered name is forgotten in a day or two, and unless a copy is written out{67} the child usually grows up accustomed to hear itself called by some commonplace and familiar nickname.

During the year 1906-7 there were over twenty-four thousand labourers employed upon the isthmus by the Canal Commission, and most of these were imported from the neighbouring West Indian Islands and Italy and Spain, as it was found difficult to obtain the necessary labour from among the natives.

The country life of Panama is simple, and it requires little effort to supply the necessities of life. The poorer classes of Panamanians who dwell in the country are a mixture of Spanish, Indians, and negroes—all living a more or less primitive life. Marriages are very rare amongst this class, for the women prefer to remain independent of their mates, dreading the ill treatment which is usually meted out by the lords of creation to wives who cannot escape from their bondage. The more common form of family life is one in which the man and woman form a partnership, which can easily be terminated by mutual agreement, and when a parting occurs a division of the household belongings and assets takes place even down to the children.

Their houses are of the simplest construction, consisting of a few trees stuck into the ground roofed over with palm or other suitable leaves. Some of the huts constructed in this manner have an extra room in the roof, which is approached by a roughly constructed ladder. The sides or walls of the huts are made of bamboo split and woven into a kind of rough matting, although some have walls made of the bamboos placed side by side, the intervening spaces being filled in with clay. Partitions devised in the same way are made inside some of the dwellings. As one would imagine, the furniture contained in most of these houses is of the simplest and most elementary description.

Hammocks are used instead of beds for sleeping in, and stumps of trees serve for tables and chairs. The food consists of frigoles, (a kind of bean), bananas, plantains, and yams—which form the vegetable and fruitarian portion of their repasts, while for meats they have so large a variety to choose from that there is no need for them to complain of the monotony of their fare. Monkeys and the large lizard, the iguana, make favourite dishes. Wild turkeys, ducks, red deer, the wild hog or peccary all find a place on their menus, and they have the art which all countries seem to possess of brewing intoxicating beverages, the kind they{68} make being fermented from the sap of a species of the palm. This custom dates from a very early time, long before the Spaniard first set foot upon these shores. Tobacco has been in use among the Indians of America for ages (the followers of Columbus were astonished to see the natives puffing out clouds of smoke from their mouths), and the leaf of the soothing weed grows around them at every turn. A little skill in hunting and hardly any in cultivating are all that is necessary to maintain existence in this fertile country, and until the native is convinced that there are things in life worth possessing which at present he has not got, he will never see the advantage of toiling and sweating to earn money he knows not how to spend, or to live a life he could not enjoy.

Thus he spends his days in a country that is to him

“A fair Utopian mead
Where his throat is never dusty,
And tobacco grows a weed.”

The negroes from the West Indian Islands have been so long in contact with the higher forms of civilisation that they have acquired some of the habits which belong to the white races, and although there is not in any of the countries which they hail from the compelling force of hunger to make them work, the customs of dress and living which they have acquired induce them to labour, in order to secure the artificial embellishments they have come to consider necessary to existence. The isthmus and the canal work have been a happy hunting ground for the negro who wished to enrich himself; and ever since the French Canal Company started operations, it has been almost a habit with many of the Jamaicans and Barbadians to go there and work for a time to earn high wages.

The negroes on the isthmus noticed with increasing alarm the gradual importation of peons from other countries—Spain and Italy in particular—and felt that they were quickly losing the secure position hitherto occupied. I have watched a group of nigger labourers standing outside the wharves at Colon when five hundred Spanish labourers were disembarking from a Royal Mail steamer, and although their faces were as impassive as statues their conversation betrayed their apprehensions.

The labourers recruited from all parts of Spain have settled down upon the isthmus; many of them are at work in the{69}

[Image unavailable.]



Culebra cut and elsewhere. There can be no two opinions as to their superiority to the negro as pick-and-shovel men, and the foremen have no trouble in keeping them at their tasks, as these men have a little common sense and intelligence, as well as brute strength.

[Image unavailable.]


They are employed in clearing away the bush, cutting down undergrowth, laying railway tracks, and attending upon the clearing of the dump trains, and it is surprising how quickly they get accustomed to their new surroundings. At first there was a little difficulty in supplying them with the kind of food they desired and were used to, and the negro cooks who waited upon them were apt to steal some of the rations served out and give them short measure. I remember seeing a body of about forty Spaniards advance to the headquarters office at Culebra to lodge a complaint about their food.

The two ringleaders had with them an old tin can containing water that was very dirty and a piece of meat that was certainly far from being choice. They had come about five miles to see someone in authority and air their grievance. It was pointed out to them that because they were in possession of some stagnant water and putrid beef it was no evidence that it had been served to them as food, and they were sent back with a promise that their camp should be properly inspected. It turned out that the deputation had been organised with the express purpose of getting rid of a Barbadian cook against whom they had a grudge{71}. They had hunted round the district for the dirtiest water they could find, and had been fortunate in coming across a piece of stinking meat that had been thrown out of some wayside shack. So much regard for their comfort had been displayed by the officials that there was a tendency on the part of these Spanish labourers to presume upon it by bringing all their natural cunning into play.

On Sundays and holidays groups of the Spaniards congregate in Panama. They look very picturesque with their great balloon-like trousers and shirts of many colours, and their habit of carrying their coats and jackets on their shoulders like a mantle. They have not yet adopted the lighter styles of clothing usually worn in the tropics, but they do not seem to suffer unduly from the heat. Many of them have very fierce, villainous expressions, and it may well be that the Spanish Government spends less in support of its jails and prisons since so many of its subjects have found employment upon the isthmus.

There is a disposition on the part of these native recruits to the labour forces of the Zone to settle, and not a few of them send home for their wives and families. It does not seem at all unreasonable to suppose that the example of their forefathers will be followed by many of them, and it certainly would not be an undesirable thing to have a fresh influx of new blood.

The rapid increase of private building operations in Panama and Colon, and in the many smaller towns along the line, has given the labourer opportunities for selling his services to a variety of employers, and for years to come there will be a large demand for skilled workmen as well.{72}


Canal Projects: Old and New

THE transcendent egotist who declared that had he planned the universe he would have made health and not disease infectious, would also surely have included in his schemes the omission of the narrow neck of land which joins the two American continents. For ever since its discovery, the isthmus of Darien has been but an obstacle that men have wished to overcome by cutting through it a waterway to connect the two oceans which it divides. Whether Cortez ever penetrated so far south as Darien or no, certain it is that he searched diligently for a passage to the Pacific, declaring this to be the one thing above all others he was most desirous of meeting with.

For the best of all reasons, the persistent attempts to discover what was called the “The Secret of the Straits” proved unsuccessful, and it remained for human energy and ingenuity to create what nature had failed to provide.

As far back as the beginning of the sixteenth century, when the newly founded city of Panama was fast becoming a flourishing emporium for Pacific trade, a proposition was put forward by Angel Saavedra for a canal across the isthmus, and thirty years later Antonio Galvao was suggesting no fewer than four different canal routes.

Spain was, however, jealously guarding her new colonies and any information concerning them, fearing an awakened interest on the part of other powers. To such an extent did this policy prevail that, according to one authority, the mere proposal to open up navigation between the two oceans, or to explore the River Atrato with that object, was punishable with death. The Spaniards themselves possessed neither the skill nor the perseverance to carry out such a work as the excavation of a canal, and dreaded{73} the undertaking of such a project by some more enterprising nation.

[Image unavailable.]


They relied upon ignorance as a means of prevention, and appealed to the superstition of the age by declaring that the disturbing of what was a design of nature would undoubtedly result in the vengeance of Heaven on anyone attempting such a work.

The reports of the gold to be found in this region attracted the buccaneers, and led to their exploring the country to no small extent.

It can readily be understood that the fame of their exploits and their success in acquiring rich treasure by no means accorded with the policy of His Majesty of Spain who, in 1685, closed down, by royal decree, the gold mines on account of their being such an attraction to the pirates, inducing them to undertake the transit from the sea of the north to the sea of the south, to the prejudice of the public cause.

When, however, the power of Spain began to decline and her hold over her colonies gradually relaxed, a quickened interest arose in the Panama trade route, whilst the ever-increasing wealth pouring across the isthmus on mules’ backs or men’s shoulders, continually emphasised the necessity for better facilities of transit. By the end of the eighteenth century it had come to be recognised on all sides that the interests of international commerce demanded the opening up of a line of communication across this strip of land;{74} and the construction of other canals such as the Caledonian and the Forth and Clyde, gave an impetus to the idea of a waterway from the Atlantic to the Pacific at a favourable point.

The early years of the next century saw the first of a number of explorations with the object of determining the most favourable point, and in 1827 Bolivar, the liberator of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru from the yoke of Spain, commissioned Captain Lloyd and M. Falmarc to survey the isthmus. It seems but natural that these two explorers should start from Panama and follow the old road to Cruces. From that point they worked their way down the River Chagres to within a few miles of where it empties itself into the Atlantic.

Their observations led them to the opinion that a canal scheme was premature, and for immediate purposes they recommended a combined rail and water route, by means of a short canal from Limon Bay to the Chagres River, and the use of its tributary the Trinidad, to a spot favourable for a junction whence a railway could be established to the Pacific coast either at Panama or Chorrera. It is curious how subsequent events have endorsed the ideas of these two men, and that developments have followed so closely upon the lines they suggested, by the construction, in the first instance, of a railway the whole distance from Limon Bay to Panama, and then by the present undertaking of a canal to follow almost the same route.

Whether Bolivar purposed carrying out the ideas of the pioneers he sent forth, or was merely calculating possibilities, was never known; for by one of those frequent internal rearrangements which afflict South American republics, New Granada separated from Colombia and formed itself into an independent state.

Thirty years before Bolivar had instigated a survey for canal purposes in the Central American isthmus, Napoleon I had ordered a survey of the Isthmus of Suez with the idea of connecting by canal the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Possibly this was the origin of the fascination which canal building seems ever since to have exercised over certain minds in France.

The New Granada State had not been long in existence as a separate national entity, ere a French company succeeded in obtaining from its Government a concession for the construction of highways, railroads, or canals, from Panama to the Atlantic coast.{75}

The surveys and plans made by this company during the following years were characteristically optimistic and included a claim to have discovered a route which at no point would reach a higher altitude than thirty-seven feet above the mean level of the Pacific Ocean. Such was the interest aroused in France by this alleged discovery, that M. Guizot, at that time Minister of Foreign Affairs, despatched Napoleon Garella to verify the company’s statements by an independent survey. His survey and report thereon were so much at variance with the statements of the Salomon Company, and his inability to discover the pass through the divide (which they asserted to exist) had such an effect on the prospects of the company as led to its dissolution.

Garella, however, agreed largely with Lloyd’s conclusions, particularly as to the desirability of making Limon Bay the Atlantic terminus of a canal; and his proposition was for a summit level waterway, reached on either side by a series of locks.

Lloyd’s observations had also been proved reliable by the confirmation of Mr. Wheelwright, whose survey was made on behalf of the Pacific Steam Navigation Company trading between Panama and the ports on the Pacific coast. At this time the Atlantic port of the isthmus was Chagres, at the mouth of the river of the same name, to and from which the trade was conducted by the vessels of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, who reopened a line of communication which had been practically abandoned since the Spanish occupation of the isthmus. Anxious to improve their route and add security to the transit of merchandise across the isthmus, this company instructed their colonial superintendent, Captain Liot, R.N., “to obtain such information as might be useful in guiding the directors to a sound opinion as to the practicability of influencing the transit of passengers, specie, etc., between Europe, North America, and the Pacific, making the same pass through the Isthmus of Panama instead of by the route round Cape Horn.”

Captain Liot spent a month in exploring the isthmus in company with Mr. McGeachy, the Crown Surveyor of Jamaica. On his return to England he was deputed by a number of commercial magnates in the City of London to ascertain whether the British Government of the day were willing to afford such guarantees and immunities as would secure a transit company against undue risk, should such a corporation decide to establish a{76} macadamised carriage road, or railroad, from Porto Bello to Panama. The Government discouraged the idea, and the project was abandoned; but Captain Liot subsequently published his manuscript containing his impressions and views, and these are interesting reading, were it only for his striking prediction that, for at least half a century to come, a railway or carriage road were the only two propositions that would pay. The interest aroused at this time in the idea of inter-oceanic communication is evidenced by the Bulwer-Clayton Treaty of 1850, by which the Governments of Great Britain and the United States pledged themselves to do all in their power to facilitate the construction of a canal, and to maintain its neutrality when constructed. During the early fifties the attention of American engineers was more particularly directed to two canal routes farther north, one of which was across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, by way of the Coatzacoalcas River.

Not unknown to Cortez, this route had been surveyed in 1842 by Moro, under the direction of José de Garay, whose scheme for a canal in this district involved a waterway of one hundred and fifty miles in length.

As the maximum altitude to be reached was estimated at 656 feet (De Lesseps says 975 feet) above sea-level, Garay’s plan necessitated the construction of from one hundred to one hundred and fifty locks, and it was calculated that the passage from sea to sea would occupy a period of twelve days to accomplish. Within the last few years the Tehuantepec Railway has been constructed, and is now open for traffic. Should this prove as successful as is anticipated, there is little likelihood that anything more will be heard of a canal scheme here to compete with the one approaching completion in Panama. The other route, in the northern part of the American isthmus, was by way of Lake Nicaragua, and had been investigated as early as 1779 by Manuel Galisteo, who passed an opinion unfavourable to a canal project in this locality. However, some British agents at Belize, who accompanied Galisteo’s expedition in a private capacity, sent home glowing accounts to their Government; creating such an impression that when, a year later, war broke out between England and Spain, Captain Horatio Nelson organised an expedition to acquire possession of the Nicaraguan territory.

Although he was successful as far as the Spaniards were concerned, the climate proved an irresistible enemy, and few of the{77} expedition survived to return to Jamaica. Nelson himself only escaped with life, after a long and severe illness.

[Image unavailable.]


Forty years afterwards John Bailey, sent out by an English corporation, surveyed the Nicaragua route, and made an able report, in which he projected a canal by way of the San Juan River and Lake Nicaragua, to the River Lajas, and thence to San Juan del Sur on the Pacific coast.

The Americans have always looked with favour on a scheme for a canal here, owing to the fact that Lake Nicaragua, which is one hundred and ten miles long by thirty-five miles broad, offers navigation for a considerable portion of the route to be traversed. This lake, situated some hundred and twenty-five feet above the level of the sea, is fed by about forty different streams, and empties itself by means of the River San Juan into the Gulf of Mexico.

Difficulties, however, exist in the cataracts by which the course of this river is broken. Strangely enough one of these is the handiwork of those inhabitants of the country who, to block the river against incursions by the buccaneers, sank vessels in it and threw in fallen trees and masses of rock to form a barrier. To canalise the San Juan would involve the construction of seven or eight locks, and this was part of the proposal of Colonel Childs, who in 1852 surveyed the route for the purposes of a canal.{78}

In addition to the utilisation of this river and the fifty-five miles of available navigation on the lake, he estimated that a cutting would have to be made for a distance of forty-seven miles, the total length of the route being one hundred and ninety-four miles, and the time occupied in traversing it being from four to six days. Further locks, to the number of twenty-eight, were embodied in his scheme, together with piers and embankments at each end of the lake, and finally the creation of harbours both on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

So little was realised of the extent to which shipbuilding would develop that this proposed canal was only to be of a depth of from seventeen to twenty feet, and capable of accommodating vessels of under 1999 tons burden.

At the same time that Colonel Childs was carrying on his survey in Nicaragua, an expedition under Mr. Lionel Gisborne was traversing the Darien in the neighbourhood of the Savana River, to verify, on behalf of an English syndicate, the observations and representations of Dr. Edward Cullen, an enthusiast who urged the construction of a canal from the Gulf of San Miguel, by way of the Savana River, to Caledonia Bay, the site of the ill-fated Scottish colony.

Between the undoubtedly excellent natural harbours, which exist both at the Pacific and Atlantic ends of this route, the distance across the isthmus is but thirty-nine miles, and only about thirty miles of actual cutting would be necessary.

According to Gisborne’s report, no engineering difficulties stood in the way of making a cut of sufficient capacity to form an uninterrupted navigation free from locks from sea to sea.

The course of the projected canal was a perfectly straight one, and the greatest depth of cutting required was estimated to be about 150 feet for a distance of two miles. It was claimed that no dredging or deepening of the River Savana would be required, or any other work, such as the construction of dams or locks, be necessary.

A concession from the Government of New Granada was obtained, and a company formed and provisionally registered. There was nothing to be done but to make a simple cut some twenty-five or thirty miles long, thirty feet deep and one hundred and forty feet wide at bottom, and all at an estimated cost of only £12,000,000; and yet the scheme fell through.{79}

[Image unavailable.]


The glowing accounts of both Cullen and Gisborne as to the suitableness of the locality, and the absence of difficulty in the carrying out of the work, cause considerable wonder as to the reason for the abandonment of the scheme; for not till twenty years later did Commander Selfridge prove the statements of Cullen and Gisborne to be erroneous, when in the course of an able survey of this region, he showed that a canal through it would necessitate a tunnel of ten miles in length. At least there was no lack of public interest in the question of piercing the isthmus, for farther south in the Darien three particular routes were being investigated. The first of these, by the way of the rivers Atrato and San Juan, had aroused hope on account of a report common amongst the natives that there was in the divide, between these two rivers, a low depression which the Indians used as a portage for their canoes when travelling from sea to sea.

Indeed there was a tradition of a waterway having been cut{80} through the short distance separating the higher reaches of these two rivers, but this was never verified. A second Atrato route was by using that river in conjunction with the River Bando, whilst still a third proposed to cross from the Bay of Cupica to the River Atrato.

A further contribution to the possibilities of the Darien region in respect of a canal was the discovery in 1865, by M. de Lacharme, of a passage from the Rio Paya, an affluent of the Tuyra, to the Rio Caquiri, which flows into the Atrato; and his consequent survey of the rivers Tuyra and Paya. But it would be difficult even to mention the numerous surveys, plans, and projects that evidenced the eager desire which existed to gain the immense advantages that would accrue to the commercial world by the opening of ship canal communication between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In a report by Admiral Davis of the U.S. Navy, made in 1867, he enumerates no fewer than nineteen separate canal projects, besides seven proposed railroads, in the isthmus between Tehuantepec and the Atrato River. But the question of the location for a canal was most naturally settled by the construction of the Panama Railway, which, in spite of extreme difficulties, was completed in 1855 and opened for goods and passenger traffic between Colon and Panama.

I have described elsewhere the construction of this line and the immediate causes which contributed thereto. The facilities for transit which it offers could not but render its route the most fitting one for the making of a canal across the isthmus; but the railway had been in operation for sixteen years before recent developments with regard to canal construction began with a series of international geographical congresses, the first of which was held in Antwerp in the year 1871.

The question of a ship canal across the American isthmus was discussed at this congress, and the project recommended to the attention of the great maritime powers and of the scientific societies throughout the world.

Four years later, at a second Congress in Paris, the question again came up for consideration. At the sittings of this Congress there was present Ferdinand de Lesseps, who was then at the height of his reputation, having a few years previously, in spite of difficulties and oppositions, fulfilled all his predictions and carried{81} to a successful issue his scheme for a canal from Suez to Port Said. Little wonder that his eloquence had great weight! He told the Congress how all the authors of the various projects for connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific had, up to that time, made the mistake of committing themselves to a canal with locks of fresh water.

[Image unavailable.]


Arguing from his triumph at Suez, he declared that none but a sea-level canal should be attempted, and that such a canal was alone likely to meet the wants of international commerce.

Again a resolution was passed, urging that facilities should be given for the construction of a canal in this part of the world; but resolutions, being merely expressions of opinion, somewhat resemble good intentions in vagueness of destination. However, an active step forward was taken by the appointment of a committee to further the project.

As a result of the enthusiasm that had been aroused, a syndicate at once sprang into existence for the purpose of carrying on exploration in Central America, ostensibly with the view of discovering the most suitable route, but no doubt with the prime object of making as much profit as possible from any concessions it might acquire there.

Lieutenant Lucien Napoleon Bonaparte Wyse (whose name was surely enough to ruin any enterprise) was despatched to the isthmus, and landed there in 1876. He was brother-in-law to{82} General Turr, who controlled the syndicate, and seems to have thoroughly understood the object of his mission, for he not only made a survey, but also an estimate of the cost of a canal.

Whether the survey was in any way a reliable one is open to question, but there can be no doubt that the estimate was very wide of the mark, although he confidently claimed that his figures would be found to be within ten per cent of the actual cost, which alas! has not yet been ascertained.

But most important of all doubtless from the syndicate’s standpoint, he succeeded in obtaining, from the Government of what had by this time become the United States of Colombia, a concession granting the exclusive privilege of constructing a canal between the two oceans through the territory of that republic; reserving always the neutrality of such canal and its terminal ports, and respecting the rights of the Panama Railroad Company.

Thus did the “giving of facilities,” urged by the resolution of the Congress of 1875, degenerate into the “granting of an exclusive monopoly” to a speculative syndicate three years later. In the following year the International Congress again met in Paris to consider proposals for an interoceanic canal.

M. de Lesseps presided at this Congress, and five different schemes were discussed; these being the proposals for canals at Tehuantepec, Nicaragua, Panama, San Blas and Atrato, already described.

The three last-named all fell within the scope of the “exclusive rights” granted to the Turr Syndicate, and from the first the Congress favoured the scheme of Lieutenant Wyse, which, at their request, he modified so as to substitute a cutting for the proposed tunnel at the divide. The Panama scheme was now the only one before the Congress which provided for a canal without a tunnel and without locks, and by a majority of seventy-eight votes against eight (twelve delegates abstaining from voting) it was affirmed that:

“The cutting of an interoceanic canal of uniform level, a work so desirable in the interest of commerce and navigation, is practicable, and the maritime canal, in order to meet the indispensable facilities of access and utilisation which ought to be offered by a passage of this kind, should be made from the Gulf of Limon to the Bay of Panama.”{83}

As was most natural, De Lesseps was urged to undertake the direction of the work, and, although at his advanced age he might fairly have rested on his laurels won at Suez, this veteran agreed to conduct another enterprise, fraught with international advantage and blessings to posterity.

That he underestimated the difficulties attending the task has been abundantly demonstrated, but nothing should lessen our admiration for the courage and enthusiasm with which he assumed the responsibility, and the untiring energy he displayed. To whomsoever may ultimately belong the honour of completing the canal, to Ferdinand de Lesseps will always be due the credit of having initiated the work.

Following upon the report of the Congress, there was issued on 23 July, 1879, the prospectus of a company called “La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Interoceanique de Panama,” but more generally and conveniently known as the Panama Canal Company.

The suggested capital was 400,000,000 francs, or £16,000,000, to consist of 800,000 shares of 500 francs or £20 each. Of these 790,000 were to be issued to the public, whilst 10,000 were reserved for the original concessionaires. It was proposed to call up only 125 francs (£5) per share at first, and interest at the rate of 5 per cent per annum was to be paid during construction on the actual money received.

Even an estimated revenue of 90,000,000 francs annually from the canal when completed was not sufficient inducement to the public, and the issue failed; only about one-tenth of the capital offered being subscribed for.

M. de Lesseps, accompanied by a technical commission of engineers, one of whom was Heer J. Dircks, of the Amsterdam Canal, visited the isthmus; and their opinion was that the canal could be constructed for about thirty-four millions sterling and be completed in eight years. Subsequently De Lesseps undertook a tour through the United States, England, Holland, and Belgium, and a number of towns in France, lecturing on behalf of his scheme; and it is difficult to doubt the bona fides of this indefatigable octogenarian, or his implicit faith in the achievement of his design, especially when it is remembered that he is said to have sunk 309,000 francs of private fortune in the venture.

The assistance of journalists and financial groups was called in, or perhaps it would be more correct to say bought in, and such{84} enthusiasm was worked up that when next offered the capital asked for was subscribed more than twice over.

But a false step had been taken, and henceforth, instead of selfish and ambitious considerations being secondary to the grand ideal of cutting from ocean to ocean a highway of nations for the benefit of the commerce of the world at large, a sordid profit-grasping spirit seems to have possessed the promoters and the public to whom they so successfully appealed.

Early in January of the year 1881 a party of engineers left Paris, and by the end of February were at work on the scene of operations.

The canal planned by the De Lesseps company followed very closely the route of the existing railway between Colon and Panama, and was to be about fifty-four miles in length.

[Image unavailable.]


It was to be constructed on a sea-level plan, with the bottom 28 feet below the mean level of the oceans. At the bottom the width of the canal was to be 72 feet, and at the surface of the water 160 feet, except in the section through the divide at Culebra, where, although with depth of 29-1/2 feet and a width at bottom of nearly 79 feet, the surface width narrowed almost to one-half and would be only 92 feet. The two great difficulties of an engineering nature which confronted the undertaking were the excavation of the cut through the divide at Culebra and the control of the Chagres River with its tributaries, which during the rainy season are subject to extraordinary floods, the waters having been known to rise as much as 38 feet in as many hours.

For the control of this river the French company proposed to construct a huge reservoir at Gamboa, the dam being so designed as to retain the floods of the river and allow the water to escape gradually. From the start the management of the whole undertaking was characterised by unnecessary expenditure and extravagance. Not only does this apply to the financial operations{85} in Paris, but also to the work carried on in the isthmus itself.

An artificial peninsula was constructed at Colon, on which were erected expensive residences. The Director-General maintained a state that was almost regal, receiving the handsome salary of £10,000 a year, with £10 per day for travelling expenses.

All the officials were highly paid, and lived in residences which were surrounded by spacious ornamental grounds laid out at superfluous expense.

But the labourers imported from Jamaica and other West Indian islands were, on the other hand, housed so badly and with such lack of all proper sanitary precautions that sickness and disease quickly devastated their ranks.

The Panama Railway had been acquired at almost three times its market price. The defence afterwards made for this was that an understanding with the railway company was essential, as the shares were held in few hands, and the proprietors of these were becoming exorbitant.

[Image unavailable.]


Losses occurred in September, 1882, when the railway and works were partly destroyed by earthquake, whilst three years later, in a rebellion which broke out, Colon suffered severe damage by fire.

At the end of 1884 little of the actual work of excavation had been accomplished, but the preliminary plans had been prepared and soundings taken. The line of route had also been cleared of tropical vegetation, dwellings and barracks erected for the employees, hospitals built, and large supplies of materials of all kinds were at command.

Twenty contracting firms had the work pieced out amongst them. At this time the Panama Canal Company had raised and received close upon £19,000,000, of which sum it had expended about £14,750,000, too heavy a proportion of which had gone in{86} preliminary expenses. A further sum of £5,500,000 was raised by the issue of 4 per cent bonds, but a year later only about one-tenth of the actual work of excavation had been accomplished.

This state of affairs gave rise to a great deal of adverse criticism, and the adoption of a high-level canal with locks began to be thought of as a less costly and more expeditious scheme—for it had now become so extremely difficult for the company to raise money, that successive reductions had to be made in the amount of proposed excavation work. It was even seriously proposed to build a lock-level canal, with a summit-level of one hundred and ten feet above mean ocean-level; and it was only on the reorganisation of the enterprise and the extension of the time limit that a modification was made to a plan with a summit-level of sixty-one feet. But the slow progress of the work and the continual alteration of the plans and details, combined with the enormous sums of money already swallowed up, had shaken public confidence. Financial aid from at least two large banking institutions and from syndicates formed for the purpose was obtained at a ruinous price. By the end of 1887 the funds of the company had again sunk very low, and it was estimated that a further £12,000,000 would be required within a year.

De Lesseps, who had paid another visit to the isthmus and sailed three miles up the Chagres River, still declared that the work would be ultimately completed, and obtained the sanction of the French Parliament for the issue of lottery bonds. This sanction was not obtained without considerable expenditure; one Cabinet Minister stipulating for a million francs, half to be paid when he introduced the Bill, and the balance when the Bill passed.

The originator of the lottery idea received three million francs, chiefly because he was a big speculator on the Bourse and his hostility would have been mischievous. The necessary amount of subscriptions for the lottery bonds not being forthcoming, the company suspended payment on 14 December, 1888.

Although not unexpected, the news caused a severe shock in Paris, and the whole situation became so serious that a meeting of the French Cabinet was held to consider the best course to be adopted. In order to gain time and to prevent wild speculation it was proposed to permit the company to suspend for three months only, and a Bill for this purpose was introduced, but was rejected by 256 votes to 181.{87}

M. de Lesseps immediately resigned and proposed liquidation. The excitement in Paris was intense, and strangely enough, in spite of the fact that millions of pounds had been lost and thousands of shareholders ruined, the anger of the crowds vented itself, not on De Lesseps, but on the Government of the day. The Boulangists seized upon the opportunity to attempt a political revolution, and the cheers of the populace were divided between De Lesseps and Boulanger.

At a great meeting of shareholders which was held it was agreed to forego the payments of coupons and annuities until the opening of the canal and the raising of more capital. A resolution professing continued confidence in the veteran De Lesseps was also passed.

But the attempt to form a new company for the completion of the canal failed, owing to the lack of subscriptions, and the Panama Canal Company went into liquidation, the work being gradually suspended.

The Panama Canal Bill, to promote the continuance of the work, was now passed by both chambers, and a Commission of Inquiry was appointed.

The Commission, which visited the isthmus with De Lesseps in 1880, had estimated that the canal could be completed at a cost of 843 millions of francs, whilst up to the time of the suspension of the company no less a sum than 1329 millions of francs was expended. The report of the Commission of Inquiry, when issued, stated that a further sum of 900 millions of francs would be required to complete the canal.

Meanwhile a great fire occurred at Colon, in which the railway buildings and a large part of the town were destroyed, and although an arrangement was come to with the Colombian Government for an extension by ten years of the time in which the canal might be completed, the scheme totally collapsed and a legal investigation was proposed.

In consequence of the official liquidator’s report and the painful disclosures which took place at the sittings of the Committee of Inquiry, a prosecution was commenced against M. Ferdinand de Lesseps, his son Charles de Lesseps and other directors, for bribery and corruption. After a trial lasting nearly a month, during which the speech of the counsel for the defence occupied four whole days, M. de Lesseps and his son were sentenced to five{88} years’ imprisonment, whilst the other directors were fined and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. The news of the sentence caused a great sensation, many thinking it savoured of harshness. Ferdinand de Lesseps was lying ill at his country house during the whole of the trial, and although the news of the verdict was telegraphed to Madame de Lesseps, it was carefully kept from the aged invalid. Two days afterwards Charles de Lesseps paid a visit to his father and had a most affecting interview with him. On his son’s departure the old man relapsed into a condition of unconscious stupor. He never regained vigour or recovered from the shock which the failure of his plans and the scandals attached to that failure occasioned. Great care had to be taken lest news from the outside world of the second trial of his son and his colleagues (resulting in fines and imprisonment) should reach the enfeebled intellect and shattered frame and snap life’s thread; and it is said that the papers of the previous years recounting the progress of the work on the isthmus were read to him as if of current issue. Through two years of careful nursing and watching his life was prolonged till on 7 December, 1894, in his ninetieth year, there passed away one who, in spite of the clouds that overshadowed the close of his career, remains one of the most illustrious of Frenchmen. He was neither an engineer nor a financier, but had such magnetic personality and persuasive eloquence as enabled him to enlist the co-operation of practical men whom he inspired with his own enthusiasm, and his reputation outlives the jealousy and intrigue that brought about his ruin, for his name is indelibly inscribed on the roll of fame.

The Official Receiver appointed to administer the affairs of the Panama Canal Company was faced with a grave responsibility. It was his paramount duty to safeguard, as far as possible, the interests of the shareholders by saving from the wreck anything that might remain of their investment. The principal asset, however, was the work already accomplished at so great a cost, and the value of this was necessarily contingent on the completion of the enterprise. On the other hand the experience of the company, with regard to health and labour difficulties, the ever-varying estimates as to cost and time for completion, the continual alterations as to the detail of the work, and the particular level at which it was best to construct the canal; and{89}

[Image unavailable.]



above all the enormous amount of money absorbed for apparently so little return, all tended to prevent the public from further financial venture in the scheme. By the aid of special legislation, and by dint of dexterous compromise, most of the lawsuits which had been instigated against the company were settled, and the claims of a number of its creditors and bondholders successfully resisted. But none of the persons shown to have made large pickings out of Panama money evinced any inclination to refund, although an ex-Minister of the French Government is understood to have shed tears in confessing to a bribe of 375,000 francs.

The Republic of Colombia granted an extension of time for the purpose of the organisation of a new company and the completion of the canal, and, although on a very reduced scale, the work was still carried on.

Towards the close of the year 1894 a new company was formed upon entirely commercial lines and having no connection, alliance, or relation whatever with any Government except such as were established by the concession held from the Republic of Colombia. The board of directors was an entirely new one and was composed of gentlemen having no official relation with the old Panama Company.

Pursuant to judicial sale authorised by the French Court, the new company became the sole owner of all the canal works, plant, material, concessions and other property of the old company. Deciding not to be bound by the conclusions arrived at from the surveys of the old company, the new board of directors resolved to examine and study anew all the questions involved, the most recent improvements in material and the advances made in engineering.

They therefore appointed an International Technical Commission, composed of fourteen members, seven of whom were eminent French engineers, and of the other seven (experts of different nationalities) four had been particularly connected with well-known canal undertakings. The investigations of this Commission were carried on during many months, and the question was studied in all its details—technical, climatic, physical, geological and economic.

It was not till 1898 that their report was issued, and in it they suggested a canal of forty-six miles in length from ocean to ocean, with a system of locks, four on each slope of the divide. All the{91} locks were to have a rock foundation and double lock-chambers, and the time of passage from ocean to ocean was to be less than a day. They maintained that nothing in the physical conditions on the isthmus would prevent a change to a sea-level canal should such be deemed desirable in the future.

They found that two-fifths of the work on the canal had been actually constructed, and that the remaining three-fifths was in a fair way to completion, as, during the last few years, three or four thousand workmen on an average had been employed in working on the canal.

The existence and operation of the railroad greatly facilitated the work of construction, and, whilst the two greatest difficulties were the control of the Chagres River and the excavation of the Culebra cut, nothing had been planned that was not fully justified by practical experience.

For the control of the floods of the Chagres River it was proposed to construct two great artificial lakes, one at Bohio and the other at Alhajuela, and not at Gamboa, the site selected for a dam by the old company. With regard to the cutting at Culebra, the difficulty lies principally in transporting the excavated material to the dumps, and in effecting the transportation as rapidly as will keep pace with the efficiency of the excavating machines.

About the time that the report of this Technical Commission made its appearance, public sentiment in America had been greatly aroused in favour of an interoceanic canal under American control, and general opinion favoured the Nicaragua route. In anxiety lest a rival scheme should be initiated just at the time when the New Panama Company was about to appeal to the great financiers of the world for monetary support, the board of directors sent to the President of the United States the report of their Commission and a letter drawing his attention to the state of the work and the prospects of the new company. It was fully realised that should the American Government decide to construct a waterway, investors would be deterred from backing a private enterprise which could not commercially compete with a national undertaking, and, further, should a Government undertaking be commenced, the Panama Canal would be greatly retarded if not prevented by the difficulty of securing the requisite labour.

The American Senate being engaged in considering the advisability{92} of supporting the Maritime Canal Company in its Nicaragua project, the New Panama Canal Company managed to secure a hearing, at which its position was fully explained and an offer made to re-incorporate the company under American law.

The upshot was that the President was authorised to make a thorough investigation as to the best route for a canal which should be under the control of the United States and the absolute property of that nation.

[Image unavailable.]


This led to the appointment of the first Isthmian Canal Commission, who proceeded to ascertain upon what terms the property and rights of the New Panama Canal Company might be acquired by the United States. The company could hardly submit a definite figure to a body which had no authority either to accept or reject its offer, but submitted a tentative proposal to sell and transfer its canal property to the United States for $109,141,500.{93} The Commission promptly assessed the value at $40,000,000 and submitted a report favouring the Nicaragua route. On this becoming known in Paris the directors of the company at once resigned, and at a general meeting of stockholders it was resolved to accept the Commission’s estimate.

This surrender was practically forced upon the company by the American Government, as the threat to construct a canal at Nicaragua meant death to any hopes of raising sufficient extra capital for the completion of the Panama Canal. A telegram was sent, offering to sell out all assets, rights, and interests to the only possible purchaser at that purchaser’s own figure of $40,000,000. At once the Commission issued a supplementary report, that under the altered conditions the most feasible and practical route for an isthmian canal under the control, management and ownership of the United States was the Panama route.

The scheme for beating down the New Panama Canal Company in its price having proved successful, Congress passed what is commonly known as the Spooner Act, which authorised the President to acquire the property of the Canal Company for a sum not exceeding forty millions of dollars, to acquire the necessary territory from the Republic of Colombia, and to proceed with the excavation, construction, and completion of the canal.

The same Act, however, authorised the President to proceed with the Nicaraguan scheme should he fail in acquiring the Panama property.

At the same time the Hay-Herran Treaty was negotiated with the Republic of Colombia, its object being to secure to the United States the privilege of constructing a canal through the Isthmus of Panama. The Colombian Government failed to ratify this treaty, and, at the instigation of some person or persons unknown, a bloodless revolution was accomplished whereby Panama became an independent republic. This having occurred, the United States immediately concluded with the new State the Hay-Varilla Treaty, by which the United States guaranteed to maintain the independence of the new Republic of Panama, receiving in return the concessions necessary for the construction, maintenance, operation, sanitation and protection of the canal, also a zone of territory ten miles in width, extending five miles on either side of the centre line of the canal, and a group of small islands in the Bay of Panama. The price of the concession was $10,000,000{94} gold to be paid down, and an annual payment of $250,000 gold beginning nine years after the date of the ratification of the treaty.

The way was now clear for the acquisition of the Canal Company’s property. Three-fourths of the purchase money was transmitted by gold shipments, and it took two months to accomplish this prudently and safely and without disturbing financial conditions. The other fourth was conveyed through the ordinary medium of exchange, but all the documents were delivered and possession given the moment the United States Government paid over the money to the bankers in New York who had undertaken to effect the transmission.

The canal is to be ready for traffic in 1915, although rumours are afloat that the official opening may take place at an earlier date. Much depends, however, upon causes over which even the resourcefulness of a great nation has no control. Slides in the Culebra Cut have worried both the French and American engineers, and have given much extra labour. There are twenty-seven in all, and an area of one hundred and fifty acres is affected. The Cucaracha slide has necessitated the removal of an extra two million cubic yards of “dirt,” and it is still active. Altogether over nine million yards of extra excavation have been caused by these natural movements.

The Isthmus of Panama lies in the earthquake zone, and within the last one hundred years many shocks have been experienced. It is always pointed out, however, by engineers that as the flat arch in the old church of Santo Dominic has stood for two hundred and fifty years without being affected, the severity of the earthquake shocks of the past could not have been serious, and no trouble is anticipated from seismic tremors. Industry, patience, and money have accomplished much, and there is no doubt that the canal is nearing completion. Great developments are expected when it is opened, and many that are quite unexpected are certain to take place. It is the intention of the Canal Commission to Americanise the Canal Zone. The majority of workers at present in the district will no longer be welcome when the work is completed. At present there seems to be an impression abroad that the authorities intend to repatriate labourers brought there under contract as soon as their task is done, and that foreigners will be deported as soon as their services can be dispensed with. These will be the preliminary steps towards the establishment{95} of an American Colony. This strikes one as rather drastic treatment at first, but on second thoughts it is clear that the American Government cannot tolerate an idle lot of bush-squatters along their territory; for one thing, the expense of keeping the health conditions good would be too great. The undesired labourers will have to seek other quarters. It is probable that the West Indies will get a large number of them; others may find an opening for their services in Colombia and the other republics further south, who can all do with them. The Zone will be a military reservation, and the canal will be fortified. This was made clear by Mr. Roosevelt at Omaha in September, 1910, when he stated that in his opinion the canal would be opened in January, 1915, at latest, and perhaps by the end of 1913. With regard to the fortifications, he said that the United States Government were bound in honour to fortify their great work so as effectively to guarantee its neutrality and to prevent its being used against them. To refuse to fortify it he asserted would mean the abandonment of the Monroe doctrine. He also pointed out that one of the national advantages the United States gained by the waterway was the doubling of the strength of their navy. Forts are already in course of construction on the islands lying at the mouth of the Pacific entrance and on the shores of Limon Bay. When schemes of great magnitude are accomplished certain interests are bound to suffer. The greatest sufferer in the present instance is likely to be the Tehuantepec Railway. The railways of America may also “feel the draught,” and will no doubt actively oppose the raising of capital for steamship companies. The fixing of canal dues has yet to be done, and the shipping world is looking forward with keen interest to the arrangements that will be made. The passing by the Senate of the Panama Canal Bill in August, 1912, with its clauses giving favoured treatment to America coastal shipping has aroused a chorus of protest from foreign countries, and even in the States difficult points remain to be settled, and until they are the interests of different shipping and railway companies are naturally rather anxious. In nearly all maritime countries preparations are being advanced to take advantage of the new highway, and American shippers in particular are awaking to a sense of the importance of the markets made more accessible. The American Hawaiian Company, now using eighteen ships between Hawaii and New York, has ordered five large freight steamers to the{96} island via Panama Canal. A new company, the “Atlantic and Pacific,” proposes fifteen vessels as a start. The Royal Mail steamers from Southampton to Colon and the Pacific Steam Navigation Company will be in a strong position for obtaining a large proportion of the South American trade. The Hamburg-American are reported to be looking for docks at San Francisco. The Ward and other American lines will become patrons of the canal, and it is estimated that one hundred new American vessels will soon be under construction in national yards, and that will make nearly one hundred and fifty of that nation ready for the canal. Other countries are not idle. Japan has boats in course of construction; Denmark contemplates a service between Copenhagen and San Francisco and other Pacific ports; the Holland-American line of Rotterdam and the French Transatlantic will also enter into the Pacific trade. The Hamburg-American line projects carrying emigrants to the Pacific coast (Peru, etc.) from Hamburg, Antwerp, Cherbourg, Plymouth, Genoa, and Naples at the same rate as to New York plus canal dues. That the whole course of commerce will be changed there can be no two opinions, and that the Pacific seaboard of South America will benefit is also a foregone conclusion. Guayaquil, Callao, Mollendo and Arica and Valparaiso will be brought nearer to their markets by direct steamship service, and the closer intercourse will undoubtedly bring about large increases in their commerce. Ships sailing from the Eastern and Western coasts of the United States will save a distance of from seven to eight thousand miles, and European shipping to Pacific ports will reduce their voyages by about the same number.{97}



WHEN the present city of Panama was founded in 1673, its architects and builders in laying out the new town fixed its location up the rocky peninsula which juts out into the sea at the foot of Ancon hill. They had a vivid recollection of the fate that had overtaken the old city, and were determined that the new one should offer a more formidable front to any invading foe, and so strongly fortified was the new city that with the exception of Cartagena it was the most impregnable fortress in the whole of South America. Shortly after the city was founded it became the capital of Terra Firma, and it was hoped by the founders that the surrounding provinces of Panama, Darien, and Veragua would contribute largely to its importance and support. But the Indians of the Darien province, regaining their independence, became uncontrollable, and the gold mines in the other provinces proved, after extended trials, to be unremunerative, so that the new city was dependent chiefly upon the pearl fisheries, which are to this day of considerable importance to it. The pearls of Panama are of fine quality and remarkable size, and although the fashions of different ages have undergone changes with regard to jewels, the fisheries have, in spite of the increasing popularity of diamonds, been able to hold their own by opening up new markets in Peru and Southern America. The real reason, however, of the importance of the new city was the unique position it occupied. It rapidly became the market for the products of the rich countries on the Pacific coast, and fleets of small sailing craft were ever arriving at the port laden with valuable merchandise. Great stores were built for the reception of the goods until the mule trains were ready to convey them across the isthmus, en route for Spain. Many of the older buildings are now in ruins, but what{98}

[Image unavailable.]


remains affords ample evidence of the city’s former splendour. With the decay of piracy the necessity of keeping up the earlier standards of resistance ceased and many of the older buildings were allowed to fall into decay. Even the old city wall has dwindled until only a portion about a quarter of a mile in length remains. This is a favourite playground of the children, and{99} when the sun is setting, the older people of the poorer classes rest upon the worn-out benches that project from the stone parapets, enjoying the cooling breezes that evening brings. Legend has it that Philip V of Spain was observed by his courtiers gazing into the distance that lay in the direction of the new colonies, and when one of his ministers asked him what he strained his eyes to behold, the King, with a merry twinkle in his eye, replied that “he was trying to discern the walls of Panama, for they had cost so much, that surely they must be visible even from Spain.” The whole of the old town is built of stone quarried from the volcanic rocks in the vicinity; the walls of most of the buildings are from three to four feet in thickness, with the windows placed high up from the ground; the thick doors are plentifully studded with huge nails, and bound by stout iron bands. The cathedrals and churches are massive and liberally supplied with heavy buttresses; in fact, they look more like fortresses than places of worship; and there are so many of them that one might easily fall into the error of believing that the founders of the city and early inhabitants were a very religious community. There is one church in the Calle San José that I visited frequently during the heat of the day, the cool shade it afforded was a welcome contrast to the hot glare of the streets; and although I have been in it many times, I never saw more than two or, at the most, three persons in it at the same time. It has an earthy smell, and is damp, cool, and fusty. Round the edifice altars stand out in harsh relief from the austere whitewashed walls. Carved figures of saints draped in dusty raiment that was once brilliant gave the place an aspect of a cheap waxworks. The small windows high up in the walls let in a silvery light that diffused itself through the interior. The pews or forms arranged down the centre of the aisle were in the last stages of decay, so frail and rotten that they could not support any substantial weight. Occasionally a negress with a bright-coloured turban and long, trailing gown would sail into the gloom and glide noiselessly up to one of the many altars, in front of which she would kneel and stare about as if bewildered. But I was generally alone in the great building, sometimes catching glimpses of the aged priest, who, with robes tucked up, was occupied in sweeping the damp, stone floor, a pathetic reminder of the waning power of Holy Church in the city. At Christmas time there is created in this church a huge{100}

[Image unavailable.]


toy-like representation of the Nativity, with small dolls crudely suggesting the shepherds and the Magi visiting the manger. A great array of candles are set in front and all around the tawdry show, and all day long crowds of the poorer classes stand gazing spellbound at the marvel. All the other churches in the city have some similar exhibition during Christmas week, and the crowds go from one to another, eager to see all they can for nothing. The church of La Merced, which stands in the Calle Real, in what used to be the extreme limit of the city, is built from the materials gathered at the ruins of the old church of the same name that stood in the ancient city of Panama. The church stands at a street corner, and on the left of the main entrance, occupying the corner of the building, is a small chapel, some sixteen feet square, with a door from either street. At all times{101} some worshipper is to be found inside this little sanctuary, for so conveniently situated is it that passers-by have only to step a few feet out of their way to be within its walls. Women with great bundles on their heads step in, cross themselves, mutter a word or two, and are not detained more than a few seconds by their devotions; whilst the man of business and small urchins rush through one door and out at the other, to save the turning at the corner of the street. The oldest church in the city, that of San Felipi Nevi, has the date “1688” carved on a shield above its entrance, but the more modern buildings that have sprung up around it almost hide it from view. Its walls are about five feet in thickness, which doubtless accounts for it still standing. The cathedral in the Central Plaza, the largest building in the city, is in a very good state of repair, and is generally well attended. It has two lofty towers surmounted with conical domes covered with oyster-shells, which glisten and sparkle in the sun. The front of the church is richly moulded and faced with flat, fluted, and engaged columns. In the niches sculptured figures representing the twelve apostles are placed, while at the top, in the centre, is placed an effigy of the Virgin. The whole building is painted over with a disagreeable colour-wash of saffron hue, an act of vandalism that could only occur in a country that pays little or no regard to the upkeep of its public buildings. Another instance of the scant attention and regard for ancient monuments can be seen in the ruins of the once noble church of St. Dominic. The roof of this large building has long since disappeared, probably during one of the numerous fires that have played such havoc in the city. There remains, however, in this church a most extraordinary specimen of building construction—a large arch of over sixty feet span, near the principal entrance, has caused much discussion amongst engineers and architects. It is practically flat, having no other support than its terminal columns. How it has survived the earthquake shocks that have from time to time visited the city is a mystery. Some experts have pointed to it as evidence that no very serious tremors can ever have taken place since it was built. But, however this may be, it is certainly an ingenious piece of construction, probably unique. A legend obtains currency amongst the better informed natives to the effect that before success attended the labours of the builders three failures befell them. On the last occasion the designer of the arch{102}

[Image unavailable.]


stood underneath it and proclaimed it to be a sound piece of construction if it did not fall upon him. It hardly needed the pious architect to point out that something was indeed seriously wrong with the work if it did fall and kill him. But silly legends abound in Latin America as well as in other parts of the globe. The church of St. Dominic must have had an imposing appearance in its early youth, for even the ravages of time and weather have failed to rob it of distinction, and the thick, tropical vegetation that now runs wild over its crumbling walls suggests forcibly that nature is more anxious to hide decay than man is to prevent it. The city has undergone many changes since its birth, and the regular symmetrical design that was in earlier times adhered to by its builders has been so modified and altered by subsequent designers that it is with difficulty that we can form an idea of its earlier aspect. Whenever fire and time have destroyed buildings, no effort has been made to rebuild in the substantial early manner. The old fortifications have nearly all disappeared, and the city has grown far beyond the limits which they set to its extension. Flimsy structures are now erected of timber framework covered with plaster, and treated with a coat of whitewash. The sham is rampant. How the shade of Ruskin would writhe in agony should it chance in its wanderings to visit Panama, where stucco masquerades as stone. A month or two at most of the varying climatic conditions of alternate{103} dry and damp heat and the most pretentious mansions present a disreputable aspect. The colour schemes which are attempted by the decorators are novel and discordant. The half-formed, undeveloped, æsthetic sense of the Latin American is more amazing than the crudest efforts in art of the rudest savages. A striking instance of perverted colour sense was displayed by a prominent citizen during the memorable visit of President Roosevelt. In honour of the unique occasion, this enterprising gentleman caused the exterior of his house to be covered with a hideous magenta water-wash, ornamental parts being picked out in a canary yellow. The originality of this scheme attracted much attention; and although the few judicious grieved, the masses were delighted.{104}


The Panamanians

THE difficulties that beset the early travellers across the Isthmus of Panama over two hundred years ago still remain, and confront the explorer in these regions at every turn. Very little has been done to cultivate the rich lands which are capable of rapidly yielding in great abundance every kind of tropical fruit.

Few roads exist, and until some attempts are made thus to open up the country, little or no change will ever take place in the condition of the interior. The activity on the isthmus to-day is confined to the Canal Zone, but there are indications that in the near future the systematic cultivation of this hitherto neglected country will yield a harvest richer than any ever reaped by the gold seekers of Pizarro’s day.

The average Panamanian of the present day, true to the traditions of his race, has little inclination or no taste for husbandry, and is well content to occupy some trivial government position which brings him in a sure if small income, whilst putting no tax upon his intelligence. He has leisure to live a life of social gaiety in the capital, and spend his time in enjoying the intercourse with strangers passing over the highway to the Pacific coast. With the Spaniard’s love of an indolent life accentuated by a tropical climate, the only violent exercise they ever take is vehement talking by the hour, at all times and in all places on affairs of government. Panamanians are a strange mixture of many races. Spanish by descent, with an infusion of more or less Indian, negro, German, English, Dutch, and French blood, some of them claim that they are pure Indians, and therefore true Americans, and proudly point out that the inhabitants of the United States have not the same authority to call themselves{105} American as the real descendants of the aborigines of the two continents.

[Image unavailable.]


But they are very amiable, these Panamanians, ever ready with a smile or salute as you pass them on the street, and with an infinite capacity for making acquaintances, if not for forming friendships.

Late in the afternoon you can see many of them astride prancing steeds, neat, round-bellied little animals, with finely-arched necks, tapering legs clattering along the newly paved streets, their small feet making a strange music like castanets. The saddles used are of the Mexican type, and the large leathern protections which surround the front portion of the stirrups give the riders a somewhat grotesque appearance. About the same hour a continuous procession of carriages drives along the Savannah road, many of them of smart appearance. The black coachmen are all more or less disfigured with tall, shining hats and brass-buttoned coats, but the occupants reclining behind them look beautiful and cool in bright-coloured gowns of amazing cuts. There are only two roads leading out of Panama over which carriages can pass, and consequently the drivers in the neighbourhood of the city are limited to them. One of these—that leading to Balboa—passes the cemeteries of the city. Until very recently a custom obtained in Panama with regard to the burial of the dead which was so repellent it is almost incredible that it could have existed even in a savage country. A concession was granted by the Government{106} to one of its prominent citizens who let out graves on lease and collected rents from the relatives. Should they fall in arrears with the rent, the stony-hearted concessioner had little compunction in ordering his men to remove the remains from the vault in which they rested, and cast them into a waste bit of ground near by. Other cemeteries separated by walls from one another are provided for the interment of different religious bodies. Jews, Mohammedans, Chinese, Roman Catholics, and Protestants are each buried among their co-religionists.

The United States Government, with a sentimental regard for the feelings of its citizens, has, through the Canal Commission, made a rule that, should any citizen of the United States in the employ of the Commission die while on the isthmus, his body shall be embalmed and conveyed at the Government’s expense to any part of the United States that the relatives may desire.

That a reform of the burial system in Panama from a sanitary point of view was necessary and should have impressed itself upon the health authorities is not to be wondered at, but it only could have been brought about in this instance by the United States having full power over the health and sanitation of the country which adjoins their strip of territory. In the country districts there are, of course, no special burial grounds, but the small wooden crosses and cairns that are scattered up and down serve to mark the spots chosen for the interment of the dead.

There is one other cemetery about two miles from Colon called Mount Hope, better known on the isthmus as “Monkey Hill.” The graves marked with wooden crosses contain the remains of representatives of nearly every country in the world. The monuments erected are of the most flimsy materials, so that any indications of the last resting-place of thousands of the makers of the isthmian route will inevitably disappear. So accustomed were the inhabitants of Colon to the procession of the funeral train, that they became quite callous to the fate of the many who had been stricken with the deadly fevers so rampant in the place, and funerals going along the streets are usually followed by mourners engaged in lively conversation and smoking big cigars.

Close contact with these melancholy scenes is unavoidable in the small area in which the inhabitants of the towns of Colon and Panama dwell, and the high death-rate which both have{107} suffered from has made their populations familiar with the trappings of woe.

The road that leads out of the city to the Savannahs, where the summer residences of the better class merchants are situated, is good, as it comes within the canal strip ceded to the States. It is mostly used by the gentry of Panama, and it has lately been extended right out to the ruins of the earliest Latin city in America, “old Panama,” which was destroyed by Morgan in his famous raid. Very little remains of the city which was known to its contemporaries as the “Golden cup of the West.” Its churches with rich altars, and houses filled with priceless tapestries, its richly furnished mansions, its opulent warehouses and wealthy inhabitants, belong to the past. The ruined tower and walls, all overgrown with jungle, that lie near the shore, are all that remain of the cathedral church of St. Anastasius. A couple of narrow masonry bridges near the city indicate where the famous “gold road” led into the town. Over this road, the Cruces trail which led from Panama on the Pacific to Porto Bello on the Atlantic, travelled the famous mule trains with their precious freights of gold and silver from Peru. The road can still be followed, a track of huge, irregular stones marking the course it took, and in some places fair-sized patches of the pavement are still intact. There is little interesting about the ruined city except its associations with the past. It is dead, and nature is striving hard to inter it decently beneath a luxuriant pall of green. One can only visit the spot to stir the imagination and call up its wondrous past. On this spot Pizarro banded his followers together, and from the now overgrown harbour walls his little fleet set sail on one of the most momentous voyages on record. The happenings in “old Panama” make the first page in the voluminous history of the great sub-continent.

Of the saloons and restaurants, with imposing names and uninviting aspect, much might be said. Even the best of them could be improved with little difficulty, but they serve well enough the uncritical tastes of their patrons. The better class cafés or bars in Colon and Panama are generally attached to hotels; and in the time when the French Company’s headquarters were in the Plaza at Panama the cafés and saloons were filled with exuberant life, until the early morning hours, and the larger and more important bars were the most popular places in the{108}

[Image unavailable.]


city. But to-day the clubs have taken the places of saloons, as far as the higher officials are concerned, while the spread of the canal offices all along the route has greatly affected the business of the saloons. Still on Saturdays and Sundays many of the gold employees on the Zone (clerks, steam-shovel men, engineers, foremen, supervisors, timekeepers, and others, whose occupation it would be difficult to discover) flock into Panama, to witness the baseball games and meet their friends. At such times the saloons and bars enjoy once more a taste of their almost forgotten popularity. The most important saloon is that attached to the Hotel Central in the Plaza. If you sit in it from early morning till late in the evening, you will be certain to meet with every important person in the city. Some you would see very often, others but seldom. Their merry chatter and hilarity make the place lively,{109} and their almost unquenchable thirst keeps the bar-tender busy. Always parched and thirsty themselves, they are obsessed with the opinion that everybody they meet is suffering from the same complaint. Before dinner-time, about half-past six in the evening, the crowd in the saloon of the “Central” gathers, and each small round table is the centre of a noisy group of companions who order cocktails, “high bulls,” and other cheering concoctions. Meanwhile small boys shout the evening paper, a miserable little sheet that never contains any news sufficiently important to cause comment, for all the information it prints has been discussed hours before. Nevertheless, many copies are sold, for the Panamanian, ever anxious to keep abreast with the manners and customs of civilised communities, generally buys a copy. Old women with lottery tickets do quite a large business at this hour, for after the twentieth cocktail even the most accomplished drinker becomes a little regardless and throws his money about recklessly. But for all that, great care is taken in choosing with a becoming semblance of sober judgment a number that the purchaser has some very particular fancy for. Once a ticket has been sold, the demands of others, always ready to emulate the plunging of a good sportsman, keep the vendor of chances busy. Two or three of the roysterers will join together and purchase a ticket between them. The division into shares and complex allotments of the ticket invested entail the making of illegible notes and memoranda which serve to give a business-like air to the transactions. More small boys, wearing a grin that makes up for the scantiness of their clothing, dart in and out through the open doors with paper bags containing pea-nuts, and soon dispose of their entire stock. Piles of these nuts lie on each of the little tables, and the cracking and munching sounds as they disappear make up for breaks in the conversation. The stone floor soon assumes the aspect of a newly gravelled pavement, and the parties begin to separate and make their ways to dinner. Thus early in the evening is the “Central” saloon deserted, and should the visitor be desirous of being in the crowd after this hour, he must seek some other resort. At the numerous gatherings and entertainments which take place in Panama a great variety and odd assortment of types from every quarter of the globe are encountered. Quite apart from the casual gatherings of transients at the hotels, there are many opportunities for those who{110} appreciate gaiety to indulge their taste to the full. Scarce a week passes but there are two or three balls, receptions given by members of clubs or private residents, and visitors to the city generally receive invitations.

[Image unavailable.]


The weekly reception by the President is usually well attended by the Panamanians and visitors, while many of the Canal Commission officials put in an appearance, and with their white uniforms lighten the scene. The official residence of the President guarded by about twenty lounging, diminutive policemen, is alive with bustling movement, and carriages in all stages of decay line the street outside. After leaving your hat with a very unofficial-looking servant at the entrance, you pass into a large salon, and are introduced to the President, who stands near the door. Many of the leaders of fashion and society are assembled in the room, and you soon discover that a free and easy air entirely{111} devoid of anything like formality pervades the apartment. Puzzle games that long ago were sold by the vendors of cheap novelties on the streets of big cities lie around on tables in heaps to amuse the guests, while at circular tables, placed at one end of the room, elderly, stout persons sit playing at the game of puff-ball. The room, about one hundred feet long by thirty feet wide, is furnished with gilded chairs and lounges and tables, and along the top of the walls, doing duty as a frieze, are a series of poorly painted portraits.

These pictures are painted on the surface of the wall, and round each is an oval frame or wreath, also painted in yellow colours, to represent gilding.

Past Governors and patriots and statesmen all glare down on their successors in the game of politics. For whom they all were intended, and what names the originals bore, it is doubtful if any of the present generation could tell, for all the South American republics have scores of heroes whose reputations and fame have long been forgotten, and there are few who have sufficient interest in the past to keep green the records of the illustrious dead. The living specimens of “patriots,” who with perfervid zeal talk of their country’s rights and wrongs, its present and its future, are certainly a better-looking lot than their predecessors, but it may be that the artists who limned the features of the latter have not done the originals justice.

The ladies of Colombia are proverbial for their good looks, and those of Panama are no exception. The popular conception of the jealousy of Spanish husbands, who are commonly supposed to be rather ready with the knife and stiletto, is quite erroneous, at least as far as Panama and Colombia are concerned.

The ladies of Colombia affect the fashions of Europe and Paris, and in Panama one sees but few of the older picturesque fashions that still obtain in many of the cities and towns of the interior. Some of the poorer classes still wear their thick, black hair in two long plaits hanging over their shoulders, and a few of the costumes are rather original, consisting of black silk skirts cut sufficiently close to show the form, a large kerchief thrown over the head, and falling in long folds down to the waist. The mantilla is worn by some, but newer fashions are fast ousting every kind of national dress. In Cartagena and Bogota are seen more of the older, picturesque forms, but it is only amongst the lower orders{112}

[Image unavailable.]



in Panama that frills and flounces still linger. Smoking is quite common amongst the women all over Latin America, and the fair sex in Colombia are no exceptions. Their cigars are often carried in their hair. In Panama the ladies have a freedom that is quite notorious; far from being confined behind iron gratings, they are allowed the diversions of balls, dances, supper parties, and receptions, without any fear of the control of their husbands, who are not always in attendance. The Panamanian señoras are extremely good-natured, and their bright smiles and dangerous glances are bestowed with a careless freedom that would shock their fair sisters in Buenos Ayres. The education of women in South America generally is not so far advanced as it is in the northern continent or in Europe, though they are generally proficient, and frequently excel in musical accomplishments. They are perhaps no worse than the women of other lands in their love of gossiping and scandal, and, accustomed to flattery from their earliest years, and with interests narrowed down to a limited range of subjects, it is little wonder that they are incapable of conversing long or interestedly upon any topic save love, and that when it gives out they should fall back upon scandal. They weary over books, and turn over the pages with but a languid interest, and to any exercise save dancing they are naturally averse. Their conversation is rather free and unrestrained, and they talk glibly of the secret lovers of their dearest friends. Their beauty is but skin deep and wears rather badly; their indolent habits cause them soon to assume a bulkiness of form quite inconsistent with grace or comeliness, and it is only their passionate devotion to dancing that prevents them from becoming positively unwieldy.

Ministers and Consuls from other republics abound at the receptions and balls, and the many fashions in whiskers, beards, and moustaches provoke much comment and many smiles. Merchants, shopkeepers, doctors, lawyers, concessioners, their wives and daughters, all jostle one another in the crush. The rooms get stiflingly hot as the evening wears on; the balcony outside is invitingly cool, and the quiet beauty of the night contrasts strongly with the noise and glitter of the saloons. Across the bay lie the undulating hills, all but lost in a translucent opal pall; the myriads of stars overhead shine with a glory that evokes ejaculations of admiration, the more brilliant of them are{114} reflected with many a tremor in the placid sea beneath. Lights on distant boats bob up and down, while the murmur of the waves as they break gently on the shore makes a music that can be heard above the sound made of all human speech that floats out of the open doors from the salon.

At supper parties it is quite a usual thing for speeches proposing toasts to be made, and when once they are started there is no stopping the flow of oratory. They love long-worded speeches almost as much as the Brazilians, and will listen to themselves and others for hours, and it must be admitted that they have a ready if a simple wit on all occasions. I have heard a Panamanian after dinner make an impromptu speech, in which he felicitously described all the guests around the table, and if his incisive humour was at times a little grotesque and his satire biting, the subject of his jest was as delighted as the rest of his audience at his sallies.

On the last day of the old year I had an opportunity of seeing the Panamanians really enjoying and proving their capacity for entertaining themselves. A ball was given by one of the clubs on 31 December, and as their new president entered on his duties the moment the numerous clocks in the city should cease striking twelve, a fine occasion for a speech presented itself. All the company assembled in the ballroom about ten minutes before the dying year yielded up its last gasp of time. The ladies were seated on two long rows of chairs facing each other, while their attendant cavaliers stood immediately behind them. Each held a brimming glass, awaiting patiently till the time should arrive for the toast. At the last stroke of midnight the new president of the club stepped forward and addressed the assembly. As he went on speaking eloquently of the high honour of the office to which he had been elected, the duties of which he was now entering upon, expatiating on the dignity of the position and the halo it spread round the holder, it seemed probable that all the spirit, as well as the sparkle, would evaporate from the generous wine before any of the guests would have a chance of capturing it. When at last he made an end, after having been actively engaged upon his new duties for full half an hour, all raised their glasses and drank, not New Year’s wishes to one another, but to the success of the club and the health of its new president.

Dancing was resumed when the glasses had been drained and{115} wishes exchanged for prosperity and happiness during the coming year, but it was not until a late or, rather, early hour and after all the ladies had been served with supper that the men settled down to the enjoyment of a long-deferred repast. Bottle after bottle was emptied, and each one round the festive table made a gallant effort to vie with his neighbour in inventing some new toast. Every nationality represented at the board was the recipient of lengthy adulation, and if the good feeling voiced by all present could only be extended to the courts and Governments of the world, little business would be left for Peace Congresses to transact.

The whole of the first of January was devoted to a round of festivities, and the powers of endurance displayed by many were amazing.

Hard or even moderate drinking is said to be a dangerous habit in hot countries, and the medical profession is almost unanimous in condemning the use of alcohol, whilst the old theory that it is a necessity in hot climates has been exploded by scientific investigation, for the enlarged liver which is so common in the torrid zone is no doubt contributed to by the alcoholic habit.

But it is a notorious fact that inhabitants of countries subject to earthquakes and volcanoes get inured to all idea of danger, and walk on the very brink of disaster with a light and merry heart, indifferent to the lessons of experience or the fate of their predecessors, and on that New Year’s Day the orgies of the Buccaneers were equalled, if not excelled, by many of the inhabitants.

“Where the longitude’s mean and the latitude’s low,
Where the hot winds of summer perennially blow,
Where the mercury chokes the thermometer’s throat,
And the dust is as thick as the hair on a goat,
Where one’s mouth is as dry as a mummy accurst,
There lieth the Land of Perpetual Thirst.”

At midday the bandstand in the Plaza was occupied by many of the leading citizens, who with musical instruments, upon which they were incapable of performing, were making an unearthly din, and had attracted a crowd of the common people around them. Tables laden with champagne bottles and glasses were placed between the groups of performers, who were not less ardent in their attentions to the glass than to the instruments of music which they converted into engines of torture. Whenever their confused vision was capable of distinguishing friends amongst the passers-by, an effort was made to strengthen their forces by{116} a capture, and wise persons kept in the background, and witnessed their descent upon the unwary. Every now and then a scuffle would ensue, and those who fell during its progress were content to remain in the positions they had assumed, to the amusement of the spectators.

It is a custom to make good resolutions on New Year’s Day, and to turn over a new leaf. On the following morning, although a trifle belated, many resolves were made, and the penitents heartily swore that nothing on earth should tempt them from their vows. The fervour with which they denounced the cheering cup, and their repugnance to it, was a strong illustration of the proverb, “Familiarity breeds contempt”; but by the end of a week all traces of their exertions had disappeared, and most of them were as ready as ever to face manfully any other duty in the way of celebration that occasion might present.

[Image unavailable.]




Colombia and Cartagena

IF in the matter of details the history of Colombia—the republic in the extreme north-west corner of the South American continent—has been more lurid than some of its neighbours, in general outline that history has followed the course with which students of Spanish-American affairs are so familiar. There was, first, the discovery of the territory away back in the fifteenth century by Spanish mariners, and its subsequent settlement by colonists from the mother country. Spain always started this work with magnificent enthusiasm, but the feeling of rapture over the possession of new dominions soon wore off, and the annals of these colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries make drab and uninteresting reading. Colombia’s history is no exception to the general rule. All its existing cities were founded during the early rule of the conquistadores, and the type of slavery imposed upon the Indian population was given its enduring shape. No great developments or changes occurred in the country until the Spanish rule ended and independence was declared.

Being next-door neighbour to Venezuela, Colombia was naturally one of the first states drawn into the ambitious operations of Bolivar, and for a time it looked as though its capital, Bogota, would assume a predominant importance in the southern continent, but the liberator underestimated the strong sense of nationality which had developed in the different sections of the vast country, and when his influence died down Colombia retained her individuality just as Venezuela preserved hers. Not only did the Spanish sovereignty entirely disappear from the State, but the name, New Granada, given to it by the early conquerors, in honour of the province in the mother country, was changed for the more American substitute, Colombia. At first it was known{118} as the “United States of Colombia,” but in 1886 a reform in the direction of centralisation was brought about, and the country is now called “the Republic.”

[Image unavailable.]


The mania for revolution which has infected the inhabitants of South America has found in Colombia very amenable material to work upon. For years during the last century stable government was a thing unknown; rival factions were always springing at each other’s throats, drenching the country in blood, decimating its population, crippling its prosperity, and embarrassing its finances. Where so many other states have indulged in revolutions,{119} it is dangerous to use the superlative degree; but it is fairly safe to say that Colombia has been facile princeps in the insensate and sanguinary game. Since the establishment of the constitution in 1886, however, events have tended a little towards tranquillity and security; but it would be much too sanguine to dream that the rival parties, the Clericals and the Liberals, have become sufficiently reconciled to play the game in a constitutional manner, although their volcanic passions are for the moment lying dormant. Now that the United States have such important interests in the adjacent Isthmus of Panama, the firebrands of Colombia have to be on their better behaviour, for the “big stick” is a menace which they are bound to recognise. The efforts of the Government to render the country less liable to disturbances are praiseworthy, but the material they have to handle is not very promising, and development is slow. Railways are very gradually connecting up places in the interior. The army is badly equipped, and lack of funds prevents many of its most urgent needs from being satisfied. The navy cannot be said to exist, although the necessity for coast defence agitates the mind of the Government.

A slight improvement is, however, manifest in the latest budgets of the country, but the task of making “both ends meet” is a difficult one. If the republic in many of its features cannot compare for sheer interest with its neighbours, it has yet a commanding claim to the attention of antiquarians, for it possesses the city of Cartagena, which was the most ancient and strongest of the Spanish power in South America. The renown of the city’s prototype in Spain, itself inheriting the name of the still more ancient and famous colony, Carthage, was transplanted to the New World, and for two centuries it enjoyed the esteem of the whole maritime world. Its sun-bleached walls still endure, stern relics of the power of Spain. Belonging entirely to the past, it has escaped unharmed the vandal hand of progress. Surrounded on all sides with walls, it gave shelter to the great “plate” ships and their convoys which anchored within its land-locked waters. There are three harbours, which together extend for some nine miles from north to south, and have a surface of nearly forty thousand acres. The situation was well chosen, for although the waters of the Caribbean form the western boundary of the city, great rocks protect it from the approach of ships; and of the{120} two entrances to the harbour, the Boca Grande and Boca Chica, only the latter is of sufficient depth to allow the passage of vessels of any size. The middle harbour is protected by two forts, and the narrow entrance to the shallow waters of the inner harbour was an additional protection to the city which lies within. To the east of the city, standing upon a formidable hill, is the fort of San Lazar, whilst on another hill about a mile away stands an ancient convent. Although the city stands upon flat ground, it has a magnificent panorama of undulating hills spread before it. Innumerable islets, bays, and capes fill the great harbour, and as the steamer makes its way across the smooth waters it passes many of the loveliest bits of tropical scenery to be found anywhere. Cartagena formerly possessed untold wealth; rich and powerful merchants prospered within its protecting walls. Its fame was world-wide, and attracted the unwelcome attentions of the pirates, adventurers, and privateers of the sixteenth century. Sir Francis Drake captured the city by one of the most daring assaults recorded in the annals of piracy, and the very defences thrown up by the garrison proved helpful to his purpose. As the Spaniards retreated from the hard-pressing invaders, they fell upon the poisoned stakes they had driven into the ground, and their bodies made a soft foothold for the English. The Cartagenians, dismayed and demoralised, fled in all directions, and the city fell into the hands of Drake, who profited by the adventure to the tune of one hundred thousand ducats, which added to the store of gold and glory he had already acquired upon the Spanish Main. The wealth of Cartagena had an irresistible attraction to all kinds of enemies which even its strong fortifications could not dispel. Ten years after it was founded by Heredia it was captured by the French. In 1586 Drake, fresh from humbling the Spanish pride at Vigo and San Domingo, here repeated his successes. Again, at the end of the seventeenth century the French took the city and obtained over a million of money. The power of the mother country was rapidly declining during the following century. Her home and foreign policy had so aroused the bitter antagonism of England that peace between the two countries was impossible. The war of “Jenkins’s ear” arose ostensibly over the treatment meted out to smugglers by the Spanish coastguards. The story told by Jenkins of his having his ear cut off fanned the smouldering indignation of the English people into a flame, and{121} Walpole was reluctantly compelled by the popular clamour to declare war. In October, 1739, the operations were entrusted to Admiral Vernon, a fiery old sailor who gloried in his motto, “No peace with Spain.” Old Grog, as he was familiarly called by his contemporaries, was a gallant enough seaman, although a little given to bragging and blustering. He pledged himself to take Porto Bello; and when he accomplished this feat with the small loss of seven men, medals were struck in honour of him and his victory.

Popular enthusiasm hailed him as a hero, and the public hero was returned to Parliament by a large majority. In the following year, with a larger squadron under his command, he set sail for Cartagena, confident in his power to take the city. He met with a stubborn resistance, however, and although he succeeded in capturing Fort San Fernando that guards the Boca Chica, his further advances were repulsed. General Wentworth, who accompanied the fleet in charge of the land forces, had serious differences with “Old Grog,” and these were not calculated to help matters. A company of soldiers were landed to take Fort San Lazar, but they were obliged to retreat, leaving two hundred dead and having over four hundred wounded. To add to the discomfiture of the English, yellow fever broke out and wrought great havoc, and the last attempt to capture the city proving unavailing, the fleet gave up the enterprise, retired from the harbour, and made their way to Jamaica, glad to escape the warmth of their reception and the enervating heat of the bay.

Cartagena is one of the most picturesque, if one of the most insalubrious cities, in South America. It is Spanish throughout, and contains few modern buildings of any importance. The atmosphere of bygone centuries hangs over it; time and the elements have imparted a richness to its walls that constitutes its only charm. It is like an old painting by a master hand, mellow and sedate. In the joints and cracks of its discoloured walls, creepers, weeds, and mosses find root-hold and nourishment. The buttresses, bastions, battlements, and sentry towers that strengthen and equip the ramparts, all give evidence of the important part the city was designed to play in the colonial system of Spain. The entrance to the city from the little harbour is through a gateway of three arches of imposing proportions. The larger central archway is for mules, horses, and vehicular{122}

[Image unavailable.]


traffic, the two smaller ones for pedestrians. The Plaza de los Coches, the square to which the gateway gives immediate entrance, is surrounded by an arched colonnade that gives a deep shade to the pavement, shops, and stores. A stream of dark, swarthy, and yellow humanity flows through the open space. The bright dresses of the negresses blazing in the sunlight stand out vividly from the dark shadows of the arches and doorways. The white dust of the streets dazzles the eye, and the gloom of the narrow streets that lead in all directions is intensified by the sharp contrast. The streets are fairly well paved, but very unclean and evil smelling. Quaint balconies overhang the pavements, and through the lattices dark, sleepy eyes gaze languidly at the passers-by. The heat is almost unendurable during the summer months, and the inhabitants are to be excused if they lack energy and indulge themselves freely in the use of hammocks and easy rocking-chairs. The fine white dust that covers the streets in the dry season becomes a kind of mud-like mortar when the torrential rains descend, and the tatterdemalion shoeblacks reap their harvests. Most of the houses in the narrow streets are of two stories, and are painted with vivid primary colours so dear to Spanish eyes. When fresh applied these colours are blinding in their intensity, particularly when the sunlight falls upon them, but when faded and weather-stained they become really beautiful. The red of the pantiles on the roofs, the vivid greens and blues{123} of balconies and doors, give a sparkle to this otherwise grey city. The windows of the lower floors are grilled with the usual iron or wooden bars, and the interiors are but poorly furnished, with one or two chairs and tables. Through open doors, green patios are seen filled with plants and palms, which cover much of the accumulated dirt, rubbish, and garbage. It is amidst these surroundings that families sit and take their siestas or oily smelling repasts. The rooms are dirty and the kitchens full of smoke or odours, so that with the freely circulating air the patio is the most desirable part of the house. A French writer of the last century who visited the city said of the town, that it contained “skilful jewellers, good carpenters, excellent shoemakers, tolerable tailors, indifferent joiners, black rather than white smiths, masons destitute of ideas of proportion, bad painters, but impassioned musicians.” If this was true of the inhabitants of one hundred years ago, it might with considerable aptness be applied to their descendants to-day. The arts and crafts are in a poor way, but they still love music. The population of the whole of Colombia has a lot of black blood running through its veins; and as is the case elsewhere where the same mixture exists, it is rare to find much culture or refinement. The women of Cartagena, the half-breeds, mulattoes, and octoroons, are tall and lithe, often very handsome, resembling the types of Martinique more than those of the English islands of the Caribbean. The whites so called and coloured people mix freely with one another, and no defined colour-line seems to exist. In Cartagena the old order is loath to give place to the new, although in many cases new uses have been found for old buildings. Erstwhile forts are now common dwellings; stately buildings have been turned into shops and warehouses, churches and chapels into stables. The cathedral, an imposing building with a magnificent altar-piece and many curious relics of the past, stands out conspicuously from the other buildings in the town. In its dark vaults are great piles of human skulls and bones, the crumbling remains of victims of the Inquisition, which exercised its terrible power in the early days of the city. These mouldering bones have little respect shown them by the verger of the church, who turns them over with his foot to pick out specimens to show to visitors, and anyone who cares can possess a souvenir. There is a cemetery on a flat, sandy site, a little way out of the city, surrounded by white walls. The enclosed space{124}

[Image unavailable.]


is a field of soft yielding sand, which the wind drives about so that graves are covered and uncovered from time to time, and often the tops of the iron crosses that mark the graves are barely visible above the yellow dust. Around the walls are a series of oven-like vaults, three deep, some sealed with bricks or plaster, others, although containing coffins, left open to the view. A more revolting, unsanitary burial-place could hardly be imagined. Yet in spite of the terrible epidemics of yellow fever and smallpox to which the inhabitants are inured, they regard this plague spot with perfect equanimity. Cartagena was for many years the starting-point from the northern coast for Bogota, the capital, but Barranquilla has taken its place in this respect. The journey up the Magdalena River is made in small steamers, although much of the merchandise is carried still in large canoes about thirty feet long. “Piraguas,” as these craft are locally called, have generally two masts which carry large, square sails, and are manned by a crew who can take an oar when the wind fails. The navigation{125} of the river is not free from danger, and often the journey up to Bogota takes about four weeks. The roads in the country are bad, where they do exist, so that the river is the principal highway. The country people cultivate a little cotton, maize, and indigo, but the agriculture of the country is generally in a very backward state. Isolated dwellings are pitched by the banks of the river, and the inmates live a short if sad life, weaving a few mats for household use, nets for hammocks and for fishing. Their houses, mostly of reeds and bamboos, afford but the slightest protection from the heavy torrential rains. Cartagena, far removed from the capital, is a listless, almost lifeless city, and the foreigner who tries to make business headway amongst the people is doomed to cultivate patience, if he intends to remain in one of the most backward of the cities on the southern continent.{126}

[Image unavailable.]




FROM Panama the steamers of the Pacific mail start on their voyage down the long Pacific coast. That they should carry a curious medley of passengers is only natural, seeing that they stop at the ports of four republics. So numerous are these ports that some of the steamers have to miss many of them, and smaller coastal vessels serve the needs of the few voyagers who visit the smaller and more insignificant places; but still there are enough stoppages to enable the voyager to see something of the curious coast towns, even if he has no time to penetrate into the interior of all the republics. The changes in the character of the coast from the tropical mountain-slopes of the north to the dry-aired coast of the mid-continent are the distinguishing features of the voyage. Travellers from Valparaiso are filled with admiration and delight when their eyes rest upon the sea-board of Ecuador and Colombia, for after the arid monotony of the Chilian and Peruvian coast-lines, where scarcely ever a drop of rain falls to freshen the verdure, the change is to a tropical paradise. The expanse of glorious greenery refreshes the vision—an exhilarating exchange from the dun-coloured vistas which have been left behind. Guayaquil, the principal port of Ecuador, is one of the best situated on the whole of the Pacific littoral, but, unfortunately, is perhaps the most unhealthy. It lies on the bank of the Guayas River, nearly thirty miles from the bar. The city is large for a South American port, and has a population of over sixty thousand, and a railway connects it with the capital of the republic, Quito. The city of Guayaquil is badly drained, insanitary, and swarms with the germs of disease. Its authorities do little or nothing to improve the health conditions, and the recent decision of the United States Government to insist upon drastic improvements being carried out will be hailed by all who have traffic{128} with this port. When the Panama Canal is opened, it is only natural that Guayaquil will assume a new maritime importance, and it is obviously impossible for such a pestilential hole to continue so near to the great connecting link between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

The history of Ecuador runs on parallel lines with that of the other South American republics, and its fortunes have been closely interwoven with those of its neighbours, Peru and Colombia. Its aboriginal inhabitants—Indians of a very low order—were, so the legendary history runs, subjugated early in the Christian Era by a superior race named the Caras, who in their turn were reduced to subjection by those aristocrats of South America, the Incas of Peru. Ecuador was part of the disputed territory which led to the sanguinary struggle between Atahualpa and his brother Huascar, a struggle which gave Pizarro his opportunity of conquering Peru. The conquistadores enslaved the Indians of Ecuador, and found them more docile and complacent than those of any of the allied tribes in South America. The Roman Catholic priesthood established churches, schools, and seminaries, scattering these institutions about with such a lavish hand that Quito, the capital, has been aptly called “The City of Convents.” The natives accepted the Spanish yoke, and toiled as hard as they were obliged to satisfy the exactions of the alien governors. They were among the very last to feel the revolutionary impulses which were born when the power of Spain was broken, and it was not until the Argentine General San Martin, and after him Bolivar, had kindled the torch of liberty, that Ecuador made any attempt to break away from its old allegiance. It was too near to many other insurgent areas to stand aloof from the movement, and it has the distinction of being the second South American republic whose independence was formerly recognised by Spain. Its history since then has been turbulent, but few of the men who have been thrown up by the seething mass of successive revolutions have been of outstanding calibre. The bulk of them have been self-seekers, degraded of character and mean of intellect. Advancement has striven with reaction, and the victory has generally been to the latter, with the result that Ecuador is the worst governed and most backward of all the South American countries. Of course, a few men stand out as having something approaching statesmanlike qualities. It would be strange if it{129}

[Image unavailable.]


were otherwise, for nearly a hundred years have passed since Ecuador was left to work out its own salvation. On the liberal side, Rocafuerte, the first President, has some claims to be remembered, for he did much to establish the constitution by which the country is governed, and to found institutions modelled on those existing in more enlightened countries. Moreno, who seized the supreme power in 1860 and held it for fifteen years, is the greatest figure on the reactionary side. Although he had little or no conception of individual liberty, he proved himself a capable administrator, and since his assassination at the instigation of the revolting liberals, Ecuador has not produced the article which she{130} so badly requires, “the still strong man in a blatant land.” It is the case of an unceasing see-saw between the contending parties or factions, but always the liberal regime is short-lived, for the reactionaries or clericals have a strong hold upon the people. At the moment reaction reigns supreme, and the events of January, 1912, tidings of which have leaked out from Quito and Guayaquil by way of the Madrid journals, reveal an exhibition of savagery which is almost incredible. The Generals, Alfano and Montero, who headed the latest liberal revolt, were hopelessly defeated by the Government forces, and then the authorities set about devising fitting punishments for them. We read that Montero, the President of the dissolved revolutionary Junta, was dragged out of prison and taken to a public street. A huge fire, already lit, awaited him, and the General was flung into it despite his desperate resistance and cries of horror. When he was already half burnt alive, he was fished out of the fire and flung into a vat of water to cool. He was again dragged forth and thrown back into the fire, and before the end came his martyrdom had lasted an hour. This was at Guayaquil. At Quito, the capital, hidden away on the slopes of a volcanic mountain, 200 miles from the sea-board, even worse horrors were perpetrated. The favourite torture was cutting out the victims’ tongues and then taunting them to make a speech. The newspaper correspondents, even those representing the Ecuadorian Government journals, confessed themselves horrified at the barbarities they had to witness. One of them remarked, “If the events which we were condemned to witness yesterday happened once in twenty or once in ten years, we should feel compelled to emigrate from this country.” These well-nigh incredible happenings occurred in January, 1912, and are not a lurid excerpt from a page of the history of the Dark Ages. The only hope for Ecuador’s salvation lies in its proximity to Panama. If the United States in 1898 put an end to Spanish misgovernment in Cuba on the pretext that they could not allow butcheries to go on at their door, there is all the stronger reason that a vigilant eye should be kept on affairs in Ecuador, which lies so close to the great highway, in itself a symbol of modern civilisation, and all that it entails in the way of order, justice, and good government.{131}


The City of the Kings

ABOUT 1500 miles down the coast from Panama lies Callao, the principal port of Peru, a large and busy town, by far the most imposing upon the seaboard of that country. The first town, which stood about a mile from the present one, was destroyed by an unusually violent earthquake shock in 1746. The port of to-day is fast adopting modern improvements, and most of the old mud and wickerwork houses have been replaced by substantial modern dwellings, and the docks and shipping facilities have grown to meet the increasing needs of the country. An electric tramway line connects Callao with the capital, running over a beautiful, richly cultivated plain. The road is wide and straight, and lined on either side with walls constructed with great adobe bricks. Cattle and husbandmen populate the fields, which are irrigated by many streams. “La Ciudad de las Reyes” was the name bestowed by Pizarro on the city that is to-day called “Lima,” a corruption of the Indian word “Rimac,” the name of the river upon which the capital stands. Lima retains more than any other city in Spanish America the subtle melancholy dignity so characteristic of the towns of Andalusia. The whole atmosphere is Spanish, and even the influence which the indigenous art of the conquered race had upon most of the architecture that arose in other cities after the conquest failed to make itself felt in “La Ciudad de las Reyes.” Time has not wrought many changes in the city, and it still preserves its ancient aspect. Even the architects of new buildings that have arisen have not been able to escape entirely from the old traditions, and they adopt timidly the cosmopolitan styles which have been so largely made use of in such cities as Valparaiso, Buenos Ayres, Rio, and São Paulo.{132} The central and most important square in the city, the Plaza de Armas, is full of the old atmosphere. The long, solid building which occupies one side of the square continues to be the seat of the Republican Government, as it was formerly that of the Viceroy of Spain. The square is well shaded by leafy palms, which, in spite of the scarcity of rain, have a freshness that is astonishing, and can only be accounted for by the moist atmosphere which hovers over the city. Some years ago all the trees and shrubs in this square were cut down by order of nervous officials, who doubtless having in their minds the great tragedy enacted on this spot when Pizarro fell a victim to the conspiracy of his fellow-countrymen, saw a danger in the sheltering trees which might conceal armed assassins and conspirators against the Government. The cathedral, with its two towers and richly ornate façade, occupies the eastern side of the Plaza. It is the oldest church in the New World. The shocks of earthquakes and revolutions have failed to shake its strong foundations or massive walls. Inside the spacious aisles divided by plain and solid columns convey a sense of mysterious dignity and strength which highly gilded and ornamental interiors lack. A strong smell of burning incense pervades the silent building, and brown-robed monks glide noiselessly through the gloom. One of the brotherhood, a German, piloted me through the building, and showed with pride the fine choir stalls, whose rich carving so excited the admiration of an American millionaire that, according to my informant, one was sold to him for a hundred dollars, an act of vandalism which it is to be hoped will never be repeated, although my guide seemed to think it was good business. An old illuminated Psalter of the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century standing on the reading-desk in front of the choir was pointed out, its leaves all scribbled over with the sprawling autographs of tourists, and anyone wishing to add his name could doubtless have done so without any remonstrance from the priest. Of all the relics this ancient edifice contains, perhaps the most extraordinary is the actual body of Pizarro, contained in a glass case, which permits the visitor to inspect the very bones of the illustrious founder of the city.

Churches, monasteries, convents, and other religious houses abound in Lima. Monks and nuns attached to the different orders promenade its streets, which are lined with solidly built houses, through the wide-open doorways of which interesting{133}


[Image unavailable.]


patios are visible, many of them surrounded by little galleries, supported by turned and carved wooden pillars, whilst the fronts of some are enriched with projecting wooden balconies, after the Moorish style, only more substantially constructed, and having heavy tiled roofs and buttressed sides; these features, together with the strong doors studded with iron bosses and spikes, and the windows railed with solid bars, betray an Eastern origin. The city is full of ancient houses and palaces which have been converted into tenements, each doorway in the patio giving entrance to a separate household. The city has a population of about 140,000, and their wants are supplied by four market-places, where a large variety of meats, birds, fish, vegetables, and fruits are for sale. Electric cars run through the ancient streets, and brush past mule trains, with their heavy loads and picturesque trappings, whilst the milkwomen, who sit perched up between great shining tins slung across the backs of their horses, have hardly recovered from the shock of seeing motor-cars whir past them. The capital contains the oldest university, as well as the oldest cathedral in South America, and for over three centuries it has been the centre of learning and education. The development of the latter in many of its branches has been steady, if slow, and the establishment of the National Institute of Peru and the Museum is doing much to further the study of the anthropology and archæology of the country. In the museum, a handsome building lying at the extreme south of the city, a collection of Inca curios has been brought together. Mummies, swathed in vicuna cloth and highly decorated, looking like a row of “Aunt Sallies,” occupy a prominent place, and the well-preserved remains of bodies found in the nitrate fields are interesting, although a little gruesome. Ancient fabrics with archaic designs, probably hieroglyphics, pan-pipes, earthenware pots, gold ornaments, all telling of vanished civilisation. The costumes of the country since the conquest, bizarre and curious, whilst the finely wrought specimens of vicuna gloves and masks used by travellers crossing the cold heights of the mountains are very ingenious. The picture gallery contains many portraits of illustrious Peruvians and historical tableaux, but these are of more archæological than artistic value. The National Library, which has been established about a hundred years, contained originally many rare and valuable manuscripts and books, many of which had been{135}

[Image unavailable.]


obtained from the monasteries in the country; but this nucleus of a fine national collection was stolen by the Chilian army when they invaded the capital in 1881, many items finding their way down to Santiago, the rest being sold at upset prices to the shopkeepers in the capital. Nothing daunted by this, the people of Lima started afresh to form the present collection of over 50,000 works, all of the available portions of the original library having been repurchased to restore in some measure the unique character of the collection. The environs of Lima are very pleasant. The vast plain upon which the city stands is well cultivated, and sowing goes on for nine months of the year. Little villages and hamlets with unpretentious houses and huts. The walls of the houses, like those which divide the fields, have a very solid and{136} antique appearance. The brown mud colour is a feature which at once suggests the dominant characteristic of the old Moorish cities.

[Image unavailable.]


Peru is unfortunate in having much of her territory inaccessible from the Pacific or from the capital, and the difficulties of administering her wild forest lands on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera have led to the rubber scandals recently brought to light. The difficulty of communicating with the heart of their country is common to all the South American republics. Brazil has her Matto Grosso and Acre territories; Argentina and Chili{137} the great desolate pampas of the south; and Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, the same problems with regard to much of their territory. Great tracts of the vast continent are still unknown and unexplored; and even when they are, many of them will offer little or no inducement for civilised settlement. Undreamt-of mysteries may exist hidden in the depths of the almost impenetrable forests. Explorers are busy in the country delimiting boundaries and investigating untrodden regions, and the difficulties they encounter all point to the almost impossibility of bringing many of the large tracts under the influences of modern civilisation. The early conquistadors were unrestrained by scruples in their treatment of native races, but the modern Governments have the eyes of a more humane and censorious world upon them. Immigrants are eagerly desired by the Peruvian Government to develop the vast agricultural lands for the production of sugar, cotton, linseed, rice, tobacco, coffee, vines, fruits, and vegetables. On the high lands, where cattle can be raised, there is a great demand for suitable labour. Indeed, from the north of the continent to the south the cry is for workers. Nature having done her share to enrich the race, now only waits for mankind to avail themselves of her bounty.{138}


Peru—“The Country of Marvels”

FROM Tumbez to Callao, the country presents a most arid and uninviting appearance. The high, steep hills near to the shore extend in an almost unbroken line of dull greyish brown, as the sun-baked clay, with here and there patches of dirty white indicating guano deposits. I must confess to a feeling of disappointment on first gazing upon the inhospitable shores of Peru. For my mind treasured recollections of all the glamour and romance that gather round the land and the history of the wonderful Incas.

The world’s records contain few more fairy-like narratives than the well attested story of a civilisation equal in many of its aspects to any the world has known.

Inland, many types are encountered, easily traceable to those “Children of the Sun” who migrated from the north to the interior highlands of the country and established at Cuzco the centre and capital of a great empire. Originally, their very contrast with surrounding tribes gave them a remarkable distinction, whilst their civilisation was full of sound and humane elements. Its keynote was an intelligent socialism, for the citizen had to supply the needs of the aged and infirm, the widow and the orphan, and the soldier on active service, before supplying his own. The person of the Emperor was regarded as divine, and he wielded supreme authority over his realm. In this enlightened society, hidden away for centuries from the eyes of the rest of the world, poverty was a thing unknown, for communism, tempered by an almost extravagant regard for authority, attained during the regime of the Incas an ideal height never achieved before or since.

The Peruvians of those bygone times have left little doubt that{139} they excelled as agriculturalists and shepherds; their mountains were cultivated almost to the snow-line; irrigation on thoroughly sound lines was known and practised; aqueducts and bridges abounded, and adequate roads connected town with town and with the sea. Moreover, the people had advanced sufficiently far along the path of civilisation to have tamed wild animals such as the llama and alpaca for domestic use.

[Image unavailable.]


On a higher plane than this, they had evolved a religion full of sound rules for individual and social conduct and performed with a wealth of ritual. Its central feature was Sun-worship,{140} which relates it somewhat to the Zoroastrianism of the Persians, but it is clear that, in addition, the Incas and their subjects had an exalted conception of a Supreme Being—the fount and origin of the Universe. His greatest temple, which filled one side of the square at Cuzco, was richly ornamented and decorated, its walls and shrines being overlaid with pure gold, in the working of which metal the ancient Peruvians were highly proficient.

Truly, here was a people widely differentiated from the ruck of South American natives—those squalid Indians with whom the Spanish adventurers came into contact. Possessed of sufficient enterprise to establish an empire which, from north to south, extended from Quito in Ecuador to the River Maule in Chili, they were a noble and withal peaceful race; and the inexplicable manner in which this fabric of civilisation arose can only be compared in sheer wonder with the sudden manner of its fall. Although nothing definite seems to have been known in Europe of the empire of the Incas, such an Eldorado had been adumbrated by dreamers and sung of by poets, and the outpourings of these men of fancy fired the hearts of adventurers in quest of a land rich in treasure beyond the dreams of avarice.

The splendid dominion of the Incas fell a prey to the greatest of all the Spanish adventurers—Francisco Pizarro, who outshone his fellows in ability, daring, resourcefulness, and, alas! treachery. The illegitimate offspring of a gentleman and a woman of the people, Pizarro, although lacking in education, proved himself more than a match for the proudest sons of Spain who had received careful training in the schools of arms and diplomacy.

In 1524, we find him settled in Panama with two companions, Almagro and Luque, the trio eager to discover that rich country which everyone was persuaded had other than imaginary existence. Having obtained permission from Pedrarias, the Governor of Panama, Pizarro set sail in a small vessel with 112 men, but after many privations was compelled to retire. Urged on, however, by the persistence of his comrades Almagro and Luque, and undeterred by the defections of his men, spent and weary after a sojourn on an inhospitable island in sight of a swampy shore, Pizarro at length landed at Tumbez on the Peruvian coast, where his eyes feasted for the first time upon the opulence of the Incas. Eldorado was discovered at last!

Pizarro came and saw, but did not conquer, at any rate, not{141} then, and that for the very good reason that he had with him a mere handful of followers. But he lost no time in collecting what he could of the spoil, and taking it as a sample to Spain, where he succeeded in inducing the court to aid and abet his surprising adventure.

He returned to Peru and arrived on the scene at the psychological moment. The last Inca monarch, Huayna Capac, had divided his kingdom between his two sons—Huascar, the rightful heir, and Atahualpa, the old king’s son by an Ecuadorian mother. These two sons began to squabble over territorial questions, and at length Atahualpa endeavoured to appropriate the whole country to himself. This was Pizarro’s opportunity and he was quick to take advantage of it.

The meeting between the Spanish conquistadors and the last of the great Incas was surely one of the most remarkable in history, resembling somewhat the splendours of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. On the surface at least, amity prevailed on both sides, Pizarro being lavish in his professions of good intentions, and Atahualpa child-like in his belief of them.

[Image unavailable.]


The Inca king was carried to the meeting-place on a throne or couch adorned with plumes of various colours, and almost covered with plates of gold and silver embellished with precious stones. Following him were the chief officers of his court carried in a similar manner, singers and dancers accompanying the procession, whilst the plain was covered with countless troops.

Pizarro could make no such gorgeous display, being attended merely by a small band of soldiers and a priest. As always, this latter accompanied the Spanish adventurers to furnish a religious excuse for any excesses that might be deemed necessary. As the royal procession approached, the priest, Valverde by name, holding{142} a crucifix in one hand and a breviary in the other, called upon the Inca to embrace the Christian faith, which he expounded at some length, and to acknowledge as his lawful sovereign the King of Castile, to whom the Pope, God’s viceregent on earth, had granted all the regions of the New World. Little understanding the badly translated harangue, the monarch indignantly refused to comply with the impudent demand, and this was the cue for one of the most remarkable exploits that even Pizarro ever carried out.

The signal was given to fire, and for the first time in their existence the Peruvians were made acquainted with the deadly effect of firearms. In this unprovoked attack, more than four thousand of them were slain, and Atahualpa, rudely dragged from his throne by Pizarro’s own hand, was cast into prison.

Although bent on the Inca’s destruction, Pizarro for a time, played with him with catlike cruelty. When there came a talk of liberty, Atahualpa offered to fill the room in which he was confined with vessels of gold as high as he could reach, provided he were allowed to go free. Pizarro jumped at so tempting a bargain, and the treasure was duly delivered, but the Inca was not given his liberty, and eventually the Spaniard had him strangled. Many pretexts were given for the crime, one being that he had ordered the death of his brother Huascar; another that he kept a great many concubines! But neither of these reasons nor any of the others cited revealed the dark motive in Pizarro’s soul. He was astute enough to perceive that so long as there was a single Inca alive a superstitious reverence would cling round his personality, and the domination of Spain would never be secure.

So perished the last of the Incas, and thereafter the great edifice of civilisation which they had erected crumbled into ruins. There was now a profuse distribution of gold and other treasure, some of which went to the Spanish court, a goodly proportion being reserved for Pizarro and his men.

It was only Almagro who did not get his just due, and Almagro must never be forgotten in the telling of this turbulent tale; for he played a big part in the events that preceded and followed the overthrow of the last Inca. Pizarro showed all through the piece that he was an implacable enemy and a treacherous friend, and his treatment of his comrade in arms exposes his character in the{143} very worst light possible. While he rewarded the priestly Luque—ecclesiastical honours being outside the province of his own ambitions—he failed to fulfil hardly a single obligation to Almagro, who in those early Panama days had borne with him the burden and brunt of the battle.

[Image unavailable.]


For some years after, the history of Peru resolves itself into a duel between the two conquistadors, Almagro usually showing himself as the man of honour, Pizarro as the perjured schemer. But virtue did not avail men much in those days, and when Almagro at last fell into his rival’s hands it was plain that the game was up. He was sentenced to death, and bore his fate with fortitude.

For a little time after that, Pizarro remains the dominant figure in the picture, his rule, for he had long since thrown to the winds all pretence of obedience to Spain, being practically absolute. But the friends and supporters of Almagro had not forgotten the foul way in which their hero had been done to death, and they bided their time.

Their chance was not long in coming. On June 26th, 1541, Pizarro met his doom. A desperate band of conspirators burst into the palace in the square of Lima, broke down the resistance of the guard, and surprised the dictator just after he had risen from dinner. It may be said of him as it was said of Charles I, that nothing became him so much in life as his manner of leaving it. Armed with nothing more than a sword and buckler, he fought with all the vigour of his youthful days; but his courage was unavailing, for the conspirators were numerous and well-armed. Pizarro received a deadly thrust full in his throat, sank to the ground, and expired.

After these picturesque, though lurid happenings, the history of Peru, like that of all the other South American Republics,{144} becomes monotonous. The colonial period resolves itself into a record of oppressive taxation, rigidly exacted, and patiently borne; and events do not begin to move again until the declaration of independence in the early part of the nineteenth century. For the establishment of its freedom, Peru has much to thank the great Bolivar, and that modern Peruvians have not forgotten the invaluable services which the Liberator rendered their fathers the fine equestrian statue of him in the square at Lima testifies.

But Peru has much to show the rambler in addition to the relics of its impressive past. As already intimated, it is a country of marvels, and not all of them are supplied by Incan civilisation. The Indians who preceded that regime were also possessed of quaint and curious knowledge. Amongst other things, they knew how to reduce the human head from its natural size to about four inches. The object of this strange craft was obvious. Just as the Indian of North America carried the scalps of his foes at his belt, so the Indian of North Peru carried the reduced heads of his victims strung together to show his warlike prowess.

The modus operandi of this gruesome process was as follows: The severed head was boiled in an infusion of forest plants, so as to soften the bones, which were then taken out. The head was afterwards hung up, and hot pebbles constantly placed inside until the skin was dried and the required size attained.

The custom is not confined to Peru, but is practised by savage tribes in other parts of northern South America. There is in the British Museum a reduced head from Venezuela, which was presented by Mr. Fagan, British Minister in Caracas. The human likeness of the features in these miniature heads is wonderfully retained and has a most weird appearance. It is not only savage heads that are treated in this barbarous fashion. At least one of the preserved heads which have been brought to Europe bears unmistakable evidence of its having belonged to a white man—probably some wretched adventurer who lost his way in the forest and perished at the hands of these fiendishly ingenious savages.

Railways rise steadily from sea-level with an average grade of about four per cent, clinging to, or boring through, solid rock throughout almost the entire distance, to the highest point at Ticlio, 15,665 feet. The short branch from Ticlio to the mining camp of Morococha, beautiful with its many lakes and glaciers,{145} crosses the range at the stupendous altitude of 15,865 feet above sea-level, which is somewhat higher than the summit of Mont Blanc. The Central Railway of Peru is, therefore, the highest railway in the world. It need hardly be said that the intrepid builders of this unique mountain railway surmounted some of the greatest obstacles ever encountered in the history of engineering.

[Image unavailable.]


To revert to politics, the sore feeling engendered by the war between Chili and Peru has been much embittered by the conduct of Chili in the case of the Tacna and Arica provinces.

It has often been said that treaties between nations are only made to be torn up, and this is evidently how Chili regards them. By the Treaty of Ancon, which was signed after the war on October 20th, 1883, the province of Tarapaca, which is extremely rich in nitrates, was ceded to Chili, while the provinces of Tacna and Arica were to remain in the possession of Chili for ten years as from the date of the treaty. At the end of that time, a plebiscite of the inhabitants of the provinces was to be taken on the point whether they preferred the territory to remain under the sovereignty of Chili. The clause in the treaty concludes: “The country in whose favour the provinces be annexed shall pay to the other the sum of £1,000,000.” Although twenty-nine years have passed since the signing of that treaty no plebiscite has yet been taken, and Peru charges her neighbours with always raising technical difficulties whenever the question of taking the vote is mooted. She prefers an even more serious charge than this, alleging that, as the time when the plebiscite must, owing to international pressure, be taken draws nearer, Chili is making it so hot for the Peruvians in the two provinces under dispute that{146} they are unable to live there. The object of this is, of course, that the plebiscite shall have only one result, and that in favour of Chili.

In this country of marvels, a word must be given to coca, that wonderful plant which grows in the warm valleys of Peru and Bolivia, and will not flourish anywhere else. It grows in the form of a shrub, and seldom exceeds six feet in height. For centuries past the Peruvian Indians have recognised its dietetic value. It is at once refreshing and stimulating; it must be nutritious also, for a native can work for an extreme length of time without troubling about any other form of food. The local way of taking it is by chewing, generally with the admixture of a little lime. When infused, it makes a very refreshing beverage. Its value in medicine is also great, for it is the source of that indispensable alkaloid cocaine.

The collection of the coca leaves involves much care, as they have to be gathered one by one for fear of injuring the plant. The person who has charge of this operation places a mantle alongside each plant and throws into this the leaves which he gathers. The preservation of the leaves is also a difficult matter; if too dry they become reduced to powder; if too damp they decompose.

In the countries to which they are exported, the coca leaves, in the dried form, are used for making wines, tonics, and medicinal syrups.

It will be seen from the foregoing description that coca is a very wonderful and unique product. In countless directions fortune has been kind to South America, showering distinctive gifts upon her with a lavish hand. It would really seem that nature believed in the principle of monopoly, for certainly the coca of Peru and Bolivia and the maté tea of Paraguay flourish on no other soil. With these two products may be bracketed the coffee of Brazil. The three things combined suggest, in the old Doctor’s phrase, “the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice,” and even when the gold, which tempted the cupidity of the Spaniard to the exclusion of everything else, is exhausted the continent will find (indeed, already is finding) a larger, a more regular, and a more constant source of wealth in its indigenous crops.

The sustaining powers of coca, attested by centuries of use, as{147} well as by the fact that it is daily consumed by eight millions of people in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Rio Negro, who require little food of any other kind, constitute a strong argument for its extended employment in the future. If it is such a good friend to the South American Indian, it should be equally serviceable to the soldier on the march; and already the army authorities of several countries are considering the advisability of including it in their commissariat. The present value of the crop—about £200,000 annually—is therefore as nothing to the wealth it may yield in the future.

[Image unavailable.]



[Image unavailable.]




“The Gateway to an Imprisoned Land”

MOLLENDO, the port for Arequipa, Cuzco, La Paz, is anything but an inviting place. It is a dismal town like Iquique, Arica, Paita, and many others on the rainless coast that stretches for hundreds of weary miles down the Pacific. The port is unsheltered and strong south-westerly winds prevail, making the landing in small boats a matter of no little difficulty. The landing-stage or mole belonging to the Peruvian Corporation is the most important feature of the dusty town, for from it all the rich products of the far-distant interior are shipped into the barges which carry them out to the steamers that anchor in the roadstead. The exports are alpaca and sheep’s wool, hides, coca leaves, Peruvian bark, silver, tin, and iron ores. The town itself is built upon steep, rising ground, the roads of which are carpeted with thick layers of ruddy dust, which the wind drives about to the inconvenience of the visitors, although it does not apparently annoy the dirty-looking inhabitants. There are two hotels in the town that offer little choice, and it is a toss-up which is the more deserving of patronage. The houses are all built of wood and painted with colours that soon lose their original hues, for the sun, unmasked by clouds, beats down on them with relentless fury and, combined with the efforts of the dust, contrives to reduce them to a uniform tint of bleached dismalness. The shops expose cheap goods of German manufacture, for all along the Pacific seaboard the irrepressible Teuton is fast obtaining a strong and tenacious foothold. The native market exudes such unmistakable evidences of its contents that only persons with strong stomachs dare venture to make a visual inspection of the wares. Swarthy Indians, enveloped in brilliantly coloured ponchos, lounge on the wharves{150} or in the shade cast by the buildings. The church, built of wood and corrugated iron, in a style absolutely unsuitable to the materials, has two towers surmounted by conical caps that are quite original and absurd. Women sit at little stalls in the gutters or on the pavements, and above their heads little square sunshades stuck on poles give some protection to the medley of fruit in the baskets in front of them. The whole place looks temporary, and one would not be surprised to learn that the authorities were only waiting for funds to lay out a more habitable town. The place has only about 5000 inhabitants, who deserve the sympathy of all right-feeling people. But Mollendo is only a seaport, and the doorway to vast and interesting regions in the interior, many of which are unexplored, and one of which, Bolivia, is still waiting for a proper recognition of its vast resources. The railway to Arequipa and Puno on the Peruvian shore of the highest navigable lake in the world, and to Cuzco, the ancient city of the Incas, has brought these hitherto little-visited centres into closer touch with outside civilisation.

[Image unavailable.]


The first part of the journey to Arequipa is through a succession of sand dunes, desolate and bare, stretching away into the distance on all sides. These dunes, crescent-shaped, are in a state of slow motion, moving in the direction of their horns at the rate of about 100 feet in the course of a year, so that they could give a glacier a few thousand years’ start in a race. Towards Arequipa, which is approached through fertile and cultivated land upon which maize and sugar-cane grow, cattle graze, or,{151} driven by natives, tread out the corn. The city is about 122 kilometres from the coast, and lies in a beautiful valley, green and luscious. The elevation of the city at 7600 feet ensures a cooler clime than that left behind in the baked and roasted coast.

Away in the distance the great snow-clad mountain peaks of Misti, Pichupichu, and Charehani tower into the blue vault above. The city in the valley is built largely of the brown lava thrown up by a volcano in the vicinity. With an almost cynical indifference to the terrible forces of nature, the builders of the city have utilised the product of the volcano to protect themselves from the devastating earthquakes to which the whole Pacific slope of the Cordillera is subject. The architecture of Arequipa and Cuzco differs in many respects from that of Lima, for in both the former cities there are many traces of the strong influences that the indigenous art of the country had upon that of the conquerors. The heavy carvings on the façades and doorways of the many churches and convents in Arequipa betray the influence more than the general design, and many ornamental forms are introduced that belong entirely to the New World. The railway from Arequipa crosses the Cordillera at the altitude of 14,600 feet above the sea, and from the Crucero Alto descends through rich pasture lands upon which great flocks of llamas, sheep, alpacas, and the wild vicuna graze.

At the junction Juliaca the line branches, the northern route leading to the ancient Inca capital. This city Cuzco lies between two streams at an altitude of 12,000 feet, and is a great favourite with tourists from the United States, who go in great numbers to see the many interesting remains of the old civilisation. Although much of the old Temple of the Sun which aroused the cupidity of the Spanish invaders has given place to a Jesuit convent, there are still many buildings that retain the massive walls built by the conquered race. The lower portions of most of the houses are good specimens of the fine masonry for which the old builders are distinguished. The lighter construction of the upper stories is of the Spanish period, with many of its characteristic architectural features. The other line, that branches south from Juliaca, leads to Puno, which lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where a steamer completes the connection with the Bolivian shore at Guaqui, from whence trains depart for La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. Named after the great Liberator,{152} Simon Bolivar, Bolivia is a large country covering about 597,000 square miles, bounded on the north, south, and east by Brazil, Paraguay, and the Argentine Republic, and shut away from the Pacific seaboard on the west by Peru and Chili. Prior to the assertion of its independence it was known as Upper Peru, and in its early years it was virtually a part of a neighbouring State, from which it derived its name. The country is naturally divided into two portions, the high lands to the westward and the grean plains that roll away to the east. The centre of the country is a fertile plateau which is capable of supporting vast herds of sheep and cattle, and raising all kinds of crops. The mineral wealth of the country is rich, copper and gold being found in considerable quantities. But the staple mineral product is silver, for Bolivia is the third largest producer of silver, and in the mines of Potosi, which have been worked for centuries, there would seem to be a practically inexhaustible supply of that precious metal.

[Image unavailable.]


Like so many other of the South American republics, Bolivia{153} possesses undreamt of potentialities for development, but her industry and her commerce with the outside world are sadly hampered for want of a port on the Pacific. Bolivians live in hopes that they will get it one day, not by force of arms, but through the good offices of Chili. Already an arrangement has been arrived at with Brazil under which Bolivia has a better outlet for her products from the north-west. One of her greatest desiderata is to despatch as promptly and cheaply as possible her large and valuable supplies of rubber for shipment to the port of Para.

[Image unavailable.]


Bolivia has been called the cradle of civilisation, and long before the Incas in the neighbouring State of Peru founded their kingdom it was inhabited by a cultivated race, who have left behind monuments of their skill in the shape of statues and buildings strongly wrought of carved stone. Whatever the warlike prowess of this primitive folk may have been, it was not sufficiently developed to resist the invasion of the Incas, and when the Spaniards, under the redoubtable Pizarro, entered the country, they found it under the domination of the latter race.

Bolivia may also make the unique boast that on its soil was struck the last blow for South American independence. The victory of Ayacusho, achieved in December, 1824, proved the death-blow to Spanish domination in the sub-continent, and{154} it is therefore a landmark not only in the history of South America, but of the world.

[Image unavailable.]


Bolivia may also be proud—if nations should be proud of such things—that she has had more revolutions than any other State even in that part of the globe where revolutions are a favourite pastime.

The Bolivians resemble a certain king in one of Browning’s poems, they have favourites manifold, and shift their ministry{155}

[Image unavailable.]


some once a month. The obvious result of this is that the later history of the country makes confused and rather weary reading. One dictator followed another after the collapse of Bolivar’s ambitious dream of establishing a Central South American dictatorship for himself, with the heads of all the other communities subject to his authority. Some of these men, to their credit be it recorded, tried to assume the mantle of the wise ruler, but others were bloodthirsty tyrants. Few of them stand out in bold relief like Francia in Paraguay or Bolivar in New Granada. One of the most celebrated of the bunch was Melgarejo, who in the sixties of the last century abandoned all pretence of governing by any sanction except that of brute force and terror. Although the lives of Bolivians were very insecure, for none of them ever knew when they would be charged with conspiracy against{156} the State and sent to execution, Melgarejo’s regime was not one of undiluted evil. The best points in his rule were exemplified in the application of funds for public purposes, and before his overthrow in 1871 silver production had enormously increased, foreign capital had flowed freely into the country, and the Mollendo Railroad, extending to the head of Lake Titicaca, had been opened.

The war with Chili, in which she joined forces with Peru, ended disastrously for Bolivia, for it entailed the loss of her nitrate territory, and cut her off entirely from the Pacific Ocean.

It is in the retrieving of that highway to the sea that her prosperity in the future lies.

The highlands of Bolivia have been compared with Thibet, the roof of the world, but whilst the Asian tableland consists merely of mountain pastures, that of South America supports towns and populous cities, and affords food for numerous herds of cattle, llamas, vicunas, and sheep, and is covered with harvests of cereals. The mineral wealth of Bolivia lies principally in the western districts, which are consequently the most populous and settled, containing the chief centres of trade at La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Potosi, and Oruro. The eastern provinces of Beni and Santa Cruz cannot as yet point to more than their possibilities, which are vividly suggested in the description of a traveller from the United States, who declared that “the few scattered inhabitants gaze upon a wealth sufficient to pay the national debts of the world.”

The population of the country is something just under three millions. The trade is principally in the hands of Germany and England, but the former country is making far greater headway in the Bolivian markets than are our own merchants and manufacturers. The reason doubtless is that Germany and also France in a lesser degree are taking the trouble to find out what the foreign public really requires.{157}


The Land of Nitrates

VALPARAISO is the principal seaport of the most remarkably shaped country in the world. A narrow strip of land, lying between the Andes and the Pacific, having a length of two thousand eight hundred miles, and a width varying from forty to one hundred and sixty miles, it has not inaptly been compared to a serpent couched on the south-western verge of the continent. When you have voyaged down the coast from Panama, and have experienced the changes from the tropical verdure of the Ecuadorian coast to the arid monotony of the Peruvian seaboard and the dusty, dry melancholy of such Chilian seaports as Iquique, Antofagasta, Tattal, and Coquimbo, the soft grey atmosphere of Valparaiso comes as a welcome relief. One might almost imagine that an English climate had found its way down south, as well as English trade, manners, and customs. Valparaiso—the “Vale of Paradise”—hardly justifies its presumptuous title, for although trees and verdure are plentiful enough, the bay cannot for a moment be compared for beauty with the magnificence of Rio de Janeiro on the other side of the continent. The impressions received are entirely different from any others to be obtained in other parts of South America.

The languorousness of equatorial regions is left behind, and on every hand a virile activity is apparent. This note of virility, which is quite unusual in Latin-American communities, at first excites surprise, and many theories have been advanced to account for the phenomenon. If climate and environment have a great influence on the moulding of racial character, it is not unnatural to suppose that the exceptional characteristics of Chili have had their due effect upon the inhabitants. The Chilians have been called the “English of South America,” and it has been put{158} forward that they derive their origin from the natives of Northern Spain, whereas other South American States were colonised by adventurers from the southern part of the Peninsula. But the precise localities from which the early conquistadors came are lost in the mists of antiquity, and it is therefore much safer to attribute the extraordinary energy and enterprise of the Chilian to his environment, to the harsh experiences he has undergone, and to the strain of Araucanian blood which runs through the whole people. The Spanish colonists from Peru who effected the conquest of the country, had a much tougher proposition to deal with than their compatriots in other parts of the continent, for the natives they found in possession of the soil were not the usual docile type of Indian, but a race of hardy fighters, who were prepared to contest the advance of the invader to the last ditch, as it were. The Araucanian Indians were the most valorous of all the South American aborigines, and it cannot be said with truth that they were ever entirely subjugated, a portion of independent territory being granted them, on honourable terms, after a long struggle. Intermarriage with the Araucanians undoubtedly did much to stiffen the Spanish fibre, and many of the best families in the country to-day are proud to claim descent from this dominant and manly race.

[Image unavailable.]


In Valparaiso, and in Santiago the capital, which lies about fifty miles inland as the crow flies, but over double that distance by rail, the Englishman finds himself very much at home. In nearly all the shops he can hear his native tongue spoken, and at the social functions many of the fashions and customs of his country{159}

[Image unavailable.]



are followed and observed. At the watering-places Vina do Mar and Miramar, not far from Valparaiso, the beach scenes might well be likened to those on the shores of retiring English watering-places, whilst the sturdy children who romp upon the sands display a healthy vitality that only temperate climates seem to develop. Valparaiso is a busy town, where the inhabitants are all on business bent; and although they live upon an earthquake zone, they have expressions free from the anxiety which one might expect to see upon their faces. Many of the buildings, both in the city and suburbs, have many scars and cracks, received during the great upheaval of 1906, and nervous persons prefer to live in structures that are light and low, than to trust to the higher though solidly built buildings that offer little chances of escape in the terrible moments of a shock.

Horses are cheap in Chili; and the beautifully situated racecourse, near Vina do Mar, is well patronised by all classes. Though not so imposing or so ostentatious as the famous course at Buenos Ayres, it is more fortunate in its setting, and the beauty of the surrounding scenery, with the great background of the Cordillera towering into the sky, gives it a character which many race-courses lack. In some respects it might be compared with the one at Rio, but, if anything, it has a more distinguished loveliness. Many tennis courts and a golf course are well patronised by both sexes, and riding is an almost universal form of exercise. In Santiago the government classes make the society more brilliant in its display, and although the city still retains many characteristically Spanish buildings, its inhabitants are cosmopolitan in their tastes and education. The Alameda, an avenue over five miles in length and lined with beautiful trees, is a promenade much affected by the fashion of the capital, and the horses and carriages are only exceeded in elegance and beauty by the women, who are as beautiful as their distant cousins in Argentina. In the evenings the Plaza is a blaze of light and life, and no one can dispute the Chilians’ capacity for social enjoyment. Public monuments to illustrious natives are numerous, and one to O’Higgins, seated on his prancing steed and flourishing his sword, is strongly reminiscent of the numerous replicas of the San Martin monuments which are scattered through the neighbouring republic of Argentina.

These two men had a large share in the emancipating of the{161} continent from the degenerate government of Spain, and their deeds of valour, ever fresh in the minds of their countrymen, continue to animate the spirit of independence.

[Image unavailable.]


When the Spaniards first set foot in Chili they found a large portion of the country under the sway of the Incas, for although that dynasty is generally associated with Peru, at the height of its power it exercised domination over Ecuador and Chili in addition. Almagro, the gallant General who fell a victim to the insatiable ambition of his former comrade Pizarro, was the first of the conquerors to enter the country, but his stay was not prolonged, for the climate was inhospitable, and there was no gold{162} to be had for the seeking. It remained for Valdivia, a lieutenant of Pizarro’s, to carry on the work which Almagro had attempted in a half-hearted fashion. He found the task a particularly perilous one, and before he could complete it he was captured by the Araucanians and slain by the war club of an old chief. Spain, however, persisted in her project, and her eventual conquest of Chili certainly makes one of the proudest records in the variegated page of her exploits in the New World. In the early years of the nineteenth century Chili went through an experience which was common to every other South American country—it battled for its independence. The struggle was long and desperate. The resemblance of the Chilians to the English has already been noted, and it was therefore appropriate that two men of British descent should have lent incalculable aid to Chili in securing her enfranchisement. The names of Bernardo O’Higgins and Lord Thomas Cochrane are deservedly honoured in the country to-day.

O’Higgins was the natural son of an Irish Captain-General, who under the old Spanish regime had played a part in the making of modern Chili, thus illustrating yet once more the statement that there has never been a conflict in modern times but an Irishman has taken part in it. A gallant fighter, a consummate strategist, his exploits on Chilian soil have quite eclipsed those of his father. He outwitted the Spanish generals, harried their forces, and did more than anyone else, with the exception of San Martin, to break the power of Spain in that corner of the globe. He subsequently became dictator of the new republic, but his record as a statesman is by no means so clean or so brilliant as his career as a soldier. His own rapacity and his ministers’ corruption led to his downfall in 1823. Lord Thomas Cochrane was one of those sailors of fortune in which the British Navy has been so prolific. He was almost as great a terror to the Spanish captains as Drake had been some hundreds of years before. His daring bombardment of Valdivia, and subsequent rushing of the forts, demoralised the Spaniards and led to the surrender of the city, and deprived Spain of her last base of operations on the Chilian mainland. Chili has been called “the school of arms” for South America, and, judging from the number of conflicts which have taken place on her soil, the name is more than justified.

The war with Peru and Bolivia, in which Chili came out the undoubted victor, and the civil war, out of which José Balmaceda{163}

[Image unavailable.]



emerges a romantic and heroic figure, are events of more recent occurrence, but sufficient time has elapsed to bring the character of Balmaceda into clearer relief. There is no doubt that his motives were pure and high, and under his administration Chili grew and prospered. A thorough democrat in every fibre of his being, he hated the Church party because he believed it to be the inveterate foe of enlightenment and progress.

His great mistake was in imagining that he and his ministers could rule a fretful realm without the co-operation of Congress, a mistake also made by Charles I, and with similar results. This it was that led to the civil war which brought along Balmaceda’s defeat, and culminated in his dramatic suicide in the residence of the Argentine minister in August, 1890. Since then the country has been comparatively quiet, for luckily the dispute with Argentina over territory on their respective frontiers has been amicably settled by arbitration. Thus out of much stress and turmoil the Chilians have developed into a prosperous and dominant nation, with a sea power which gives them the command of the Pacific coast of the whole sub-continent.

Not only concerned with war, they have brought the industries of agriculture to a high level of perfection. The Chilian farmers are among the most prosperous in the world, and have been likened to “feudal barons, with hacienda in lieu of castle, with broad acreage, and thousands of sheep, cattle, and horses.”

Nitrate is the chief source of Chili’s prosperity, and the deposits of this invaluable product are found in the great plains of Tamarugal in the two northern provinces. The salty earth called “caliche” which contains the nitrates is found some three to six feet below the surface, and all the principal “oficinas” lie upon a plateau at an altitude of about two thousand feet. The railway which connects these “oficinas” with the coast runs from Iquique and Pisagua, and these two towns are the great shipping ports for the product. The exportation of commercial nitrate known as “Chilian nitre” began in 1830, when something less than nine thousand gross tons were shipped. The quantity has steadily risen until now over two million gross tons are exported annually, the figures for 1911 being over two million three hundred thousand tons. Of this quantity approximately seventy-five per cent is used for fertiliser purposes. The “oficinas,” which are situated on the Pampas, are busy centres of industry,{165}

[Image unavailable.]


employing many men who live in the villages belonging to the works—and stores, schools, and other useful institutions exist to make life upon these bare plains endurable. The “caliche” is worked locally in these factories, where it is first crushed, then dissolved in boiling water, the insoluble matter precipitated, the solution containing the nitre being allowed to crystallise, and the product after being roughly dried is exported in bags. Curious remains of birds and animals and human beings are frequently discovered in the “caliche” deposits, all well preserved, and many of these specimens of the earlier fauna of the country are found in the museum at Lima and elsewhere. The deposits of “caliche” are of course limited, and there is great difference of opinion as to when the beds will be exhausted. But some time ago the Collector of Customs at Valparaiso estimated that thirty-five million metric{166} tons remain at present in private properties—and about thirty million metric tons in the Government properties—and, in his opinion, by 1923 the remaining deposits upon private properties will have been exhausted, whilst the Government properties may last fifteen years longer. Although the Government receive a large revenue from the sale of their stock of this valuable deposit, by the time it is exhausted other sources of wealth will have been developed, for the agricultural possibilities are practically unlimited. Chili also possesses the largest guano deposits in the world, and here is another source of wealth. The material, which consists of the droppings of pelicans, is the most valuable manure known. It is found along the hills that lie near the seashore, and helps to give those weird effects of dirty snow lying on brown earth. Precisely when its use was first discovered is not known, but there is evidence to show that its value was understood by the subjects of the Incas, and it helped to give them that expertness in agriculture which so astonished the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. Humboldt introduced it into Europe early in the nineteenth century, and since then its employment has increased among farmers everywhere, and has been greatly fostered by the improvements which chemists and inventors have brought about in the methods of preparing it for use. Unlike nitrates, there is little possibility of the supplies of this fertiliser ever becoming exhausted.{167}



TO countless people South America is little or nothing more than a geographical expression, and to such the Argentine Republic is the representative State, typical of all the rest. There could be no greater error, for the natives of the great southern continent are sharply differentiated, alike in many traits of character, the vocations which they pursue, and the physiography of the territory which they inhabit. There are, it is true, certain ties between them all; they all boast a common ancestry in the Iberian Peninsula, and they are also united by a common religion, and, to a lesser extent, a common language. Still, the uninitiated person does not go so very far wrong in supposing that the Argentine dwarfs all its neighbours. It would be a veritable Triton among the minnows were it not for the juxtaposition of Brazil, which vastly exceeds it in the matter of size, if not in prosperity. The rivalry between the two countries is of long standing, but even Brazilians have to reluctantly admit that their neighbours are easily first both in the development of their resources and the extent of their commerce. There is yet another factor which gives the Argentina pre-eminence. In its capital, Buenos Ayres, it has the largest city south of the Equator, and, next to Paris, the largest Latin city in the world. The noise of its fame has reached the ears of thousands of people to whom Rio de Janeiro and Lima are mere abstractions. Nor is that predominant fame undeserved. Buenos Ayres is a mighty place of habitation boasting avenues and architecture which would grace any city in the Old World. The progress has been almost incredibly rapid. From an ill-paved, wretched settlement on the flat banks of the muddy River Plate, a splendid city has arisen. There is no “Colonial” atmosphere about it; it has instead all the impress of a European{168} city, and in this respect it stands apart from every other town in South America.

The traveller who approaches Buenos Ayres, after having seen Rio and Montevideo, will probably experience a little disappointment, when he first catches sight of the city, for its fame far transcends its appearance when viewed from the deck of an incoming steamer. The journey up the muddy river is uninteresting, and, but for the buoys that mark the fourteen miles of dredged channel, has no features to distinguish it from the English Channel on a calm day. At night, when lit up by its innumerable lights, the city presents a more imposing spectacle from the river, for the vast area that it covers is then apparent. In the daytime the low-lying metropolis is relieved by only a few outstanding buildings, the lemon-shaped dome of the Congress Buildings being the most conspicuous. Its straight streets are set at right angles, and through the centre of the city runs the magnificent Avenida de Mayo, lined with magnificent buildings of many styles, shaded by tall trees, and at night brilliantly lighted by electric standards. It is in the “Avenida” that you receive the best impression of the city’s importance. Stand at any point of this great boulevard, your mind receives the impression that you have reached the centre of a State which has in a remarkably short space of time risen to be one of the most important countries of the New World.

But the majority of the streets of this vast city are still the long, narrow lanes which the early designers laid out, and they offer dreary vistas of interminable length. Although most of the buildings that line them are new and stately, and have fronts which betoken the wealth of the builders, they are rather ostentatious, and become wearying after a short time. But there are many notable buildings in the city which are worthy of the city’s importance. The Government buildings in the Plaza de Mayo, the Houses of Congress, the numerous hotels, the Cathedral, the Bolsu, and the sumptuous quarters of the Jockey Club compare favourably with similar institutions in other parts of the world. Moreover, the homes of the wealthy landowners, merchants, are veritable palaces, sumptuously furnished, and even persons of lesser estate reside in houses of great beauty and luxury. Clubs are plentiful, and provide for the various nationalities who form colonies in the city. When one considers the fact{169}

[Image unavailable.]


that the city has a population of about one million, which is about a fifth of the entire population of the country, it is not surprising to find that there are many places of entertainment, which are run upon similar lines to those in Paris, London, and New York. Companies from Europe tour South America, and Rio, Buenos Ayres, Valparaiso are favoured with the best talent the world possesses. The opera house at Buenos Ayres is quite a sight on gala nights, and the toilets of the beauties of fashion are not less extravagant or tasteful than those of the fairest Parisiennes. The women of Argentina are famous for their beauty, and although they begin at an early age to put on flesh, they long retain their good complexions and love of showy dress. The men are not far behind the womenfolk in their love of display, good looks, and luxuriant habits, although of late there is a disposition among the younger men to go in for the sports and pastimes generally associated with Englishmen and Americans. The Jockey Club owns and runs the racecourse, and its enormous wealth is derived largely from that institution. Horses and motor-cars are the passions of the rich, as the long line of automobiles of latest types that line the boulevard outside the racecourse testify. There are many horses on the streets of the city that must arrest the attention of the visitors, not on account of their beauty, but of their sorry appearance. The cab horses in particular are badly treated by their drivers, and it is one of the stains upon this city, that has in so many respects emulated the ways of northern capitals, that its authorities allow the brutes who ill use the poor beasts to go unpunished. So far as its maritime situation is concerned, Buenos Ayres is not very fortunate, for the channel of the estuary being so shallow has, notwithstanding the many improvements that have been made in the docks of recent years, forced much of the shipping to other ports more accessible. Rosario has been growing in importance as a grain exporting town, and being well placed in the Parana, large vessels can go alongside and load much of the grain grown in the fertile province of Santa Fé. Bahia Blanca has even a greater importance, and is growing so rapidly that it has not inaptly been called the “Liverpool of the South.” Magnificent graving docks have been built, as well as harbour works, and the Government, recognising the strategical value of its position on the Atlantic, have made it a military and naval depot.{171}

The growth of Rosario and Bahia Blanca is a good thing for the country, for it helps to counteract the tendency towards concentration in the capital, which is about the only real menace to the republic’s continued and increased prosperity. La Plata, the other port which lies about fifteen miles farther down the estuary of the Plate than the capital, has proved a dismal failure. Much money has been wasted in the attempt to make a port for the capital at this spot; but, in spite of its wide streets and imposing buildings, the city has a neglected, desolate aspect, few persons cross its grass-grown streets, and the whole place is a good instance of the Nemesis which overtakes extravagant hopes. The projectors of the city showed a singular lack of foresight in imagining that there was need for another grand city within such easy distance of the capital. The museum at La Plata is a magnificent building, with much to interest the anthropologist, but it proves rather gruesome to the average visitor, who is rather appalled by the enormous collection of skulls and skeletons of American Indians that occupies many rooms and hundreds of cases.

[Image unavailable.]



La Plata has its parks with muddy little ponds and lakes, gardens with beautiful trees, an avenue of giant eucalyptus trees, and its zoological gardens, with a few specimens, that give signs of life that the city could ill spare.

With the exception of Belgrano and Palermo, which are filled with superbly appointed mansions, the suburbs of Buenos Ayres are depressing and sordid. As the town fades into the camp, the houses become poorer and poorer, streets are like quagmires, and old tin cans are utilised for building the shacks occupied by the squalid poor, for, like all great cities, Buenos Ayres has them in great abundance, a mixed lot of the unfit of European and native races.

But the cities are only the small part of Argentina. They are the exchanges rather than the creators of its wealth, a wealth which lies in the far-spreading Pampas, which form the natural feature of the republic. Much has been written upon them, and nearly everyone who has undertaken the task has set on record their two salient characteristics, their apparent limitlessness and their deadly monotony. The first hour’s journey on any of the railways that run from Buenos Ayres is over an unbroken, expansive sea of green, the second hour is the same, and if you go travelling on until sundown, the same landscape will meet the eye. With certain necessary variations, Swinburne’s lines on the North Sea might be applied to the Pampas of the Argentine:

“Miles and miles, and miles of desolation!
Leagues on leagues on leagues without a change!
Sign or token of some oldest nation,
Here would make the strange land not so strange”;

or, as another poet has phrased it, the vast prairie seems:

“Almost as limitless as the unbounded sea, but without its changing smile.”

But the dweller in cities will not be depressed by this changelessness of landscape. He will rather welcome the escape from the congested haunts of man, drinking in with gusto the fresh clean air that has blown over countless leagues of grassland, and revel in the sense of liberty which comes when one stands in the great open spaces and vast solitudes of nature. If the unending sweep of green and the herds of innumerable cattle become oppressive, the eye can seek relief in following flights of hawks and other birds, or in searching for a clump{173}

[Image unavailable.]


of stunted trees, or the round head of a wind-pump, the sweep of a small stream, the occasional hut of a shepherd, or the more imposing “estancia,” as the Argentina farmhouse is called. Cattle, horses, and sheep are never long out of the line of a traveller’s vision, and with them the herdsmen of the plains, the “gauchos.” Although the Pampas form so large a part of the territory, they do not occupy it all, for the country is so long that it boasts all sorts of climates, from the tropical to the arctic. To the north subtropical forests abound; to the west the plains fade away into the mighty Andes, which tower 23,000 feet towards the sky; while to the south lie the bleak hills and arid plains of Patagonia. Cattle-raising, horse-breeding, wheat-growing, and meal preparation, although the staple industries of the Argentine, do not exhaust the list. Mendoza, situated at a point where the Pampas merge into the foot-hills of the Andes, is celebrated for its vineyards. Poplar trees give shelter from the cold mountain winds, and the scene might almost be laid in the Rhone valley. Woods, streams, and lakes give a diversity which is welcome to the traveller who comes from across the plains. Mendoza has plenty of wide streets and low one-story houses. Shady trees line the roads, and streams of water run down the gutters all day long. In the hot dusty weather an army of boys and men, equipped with buckets attached to long poles, sprinkle the streets with water from the runnels. Little bridges of{174} planks are formed across the gutters where they are too wide to step across. In the dark and smoky interiors of the workmen’s cafés and wineshops merry little groups of bronzed and grizzly bearded peons sit round heavy, old-fashioned tables, sipping wine out of great flagons, smoking big black cigars, gambling, and playing cards. Women, with jet-black eyes, and mantillas, move leisurely about the streets, seeking always the shady side, or sit upon stiff wooden chairs placed outside the entrances to their homes, plying their fans vigorously to keep themselves cool, and the flies from settling. The town is laid out with rigid symmetry; the streets are wide and straight, as if drawn with a ruler, and cross one another at right angles. New buildings have sprung up in the principal street, which lies at the lower end of the town, and all the architectural fads and fancies of recent years are represented. Buenos Ayres has set the fashion for all the newer and progressive towns and cities in the republic, and an effort is made in Mendoza to emulate the outside cafés that crowd upon the pavements of the Avenida in the capital. Round the tables, under the awnings, a crowd of the youth of the city congregate before breakfast and dinner, and all the latest styles in clothes are to be seen, and the very latest gossip heard. The Grand Hotel, which occupies a large portion of one side of the Plaza, is an old-fashioned but very comfortable caravansary with flowery patios and lofty rooms, and a fore court in front, which is used as an open-air dining space. As rain seldom, if ever, falls upon this town, it is always safe to take a seat and a meal in this pleasant spot. The popularity of the courtyard is contributed to in the evenings by the cinema pictures which are thrown on to a screen stretched on one side. Crowds gather round the tables to witness the free show, and visitors have opportunities of mixing with the better class inhabitants. The evenings are very hot during the summer months, but the days are stifling. Dust is wafted about in great clouds, and adds to the general discomfort of the sweltering heat, and the noonday siesta is the only refuge for those fortunate enough to indulge in this custom of the country. A public park has recently been laid out on the rising ground on the outskirts of the town. The fertility of the soil, assisted by artificial irrigation, has produced a fine shady spot, surrounded by rich green foliage. Firs, poplars, palms, and smaller plants of many varieties flourish on this beautiful{175}

[Image unavailable.]


site. The great Cordillera forms a background of surpassing beauty to these gardens, as well as an almost impregnable barrier between the republics of Argentine and Chili. In a corner of the park, which is dotted with pools of muddy water, meant for lakes, there is a small collection of animals and birds, hardly large enough to be called a “Zoo.” The best specimens it possesses are the giant condors, which are found upon the surrounding heights of the Andes. These great birds are formidable enemies to travellers on the hills, and many stories are told of their prowess. That they attack sheep and even men can readily be credited, for their outstretched wings frequently measure from eight to ten feet across, while their beaks and talons are equally strong and powerful. A flock of these aerial monsters, sailing near a narrow mountain pass, would scare the nerves of any traveller, for an encounter with them on the edge of a precipice is rather a one-sided affair, in which the odds are all in favour of the birds. The other exhibits in the gardens are mostly native fauna, and there is plenty of room for future extensions. The vineyards round the town and in the surrounding districts are shaded by tall poplar trees, and irrigated by small canals, for nature is all{176}

[Image unavailable.]


too sparing of the “gentle rain” in this sunny region. The water for these canals is derived from mountain streams, formed by the melted snow, and there is no limit to quantities available. The dry air of Mendoza and the altitude (it is 2700 feet above sea-level) render it a most desirable place of residence for persons troubled with pulmonary complaints, and the perpetual sunshine which covers the landscape makes for cheerfulness, in spite of the heat. The wine of this district is much appreciated locally, although the bulk of it finds its market in the provinces of Buenos Ayres and Santa Fé. The best qualities are really good, although they might not tempt the connoisseur accustomed to the wines of France to forsake his vintage. Mendoza is an important station on the Trans-Andean Railway route, and many passengers from Buenos Ayres to Valparaiso find it a pleasant resting-place on the long and trying journey. After nearly twenty-four hours in the train which crosses the monotonous plains, a day’s or a night’s rest at Mendoza acts as a pick-me-up of which delicate people should always avail themselves. Although the railway across or through the summit of the Andes is now completed, and is available for passengers nearly the whole year round, the summer months from November to April are the best for making this trip. Until quite recently the seven-hour journey by coach or muleback, from Las Cuevas to Salado, deterred many from making the journey, but now that the trains run backwards and forwards through the tunnel at the summit, no one considers the journey{177}

[Image unavailable.]


in the light of an undertaking. The scenery is grand. Majestic and rugged mountain tops covered with dazzling white snow lie round on all sides, and as the train winds round the slopes, over valleys and ravines, an endless succession of strange rocky forms are passed. Just before coming to Las Cuevas the train stops at a little station, where there is a small hotel patronised by mountaineers and excursionists who desire to spend a day or two among the rugged peaks. It is nearly nine thousand feet above sea-level, and quite near to the railway track—a curious compact mass of stones and gravel forms a natural bridge over a small river. This bridge gives its name to the station—Punta del Inca. Many passages in the journey are awe-inspiring, and as the route follows that taken by San Martin on his famous march into Chili a good idea can be formed of the difficult nature of his undertaking. Great brown hills, destitute of vegetation, rocky and sandy, predominate. Immense boulders, which threaten to fall at any moment, hang menacingly over the track, which is protected in many places by stout iron sheds. Fallen boulders and rocks brought down by storms and the melting snows lie scattered in wild disorder over the valleys. The scenes are full of a melancholy which even the bright sunlight reflected from the snowy peaks cannot dispel. The distant peak of Aconcagua rising to the enormous height of nearly twenty-three thousand feet, comes into view from time to time as the train winds around its tortuous course. At the highest points reached by the line many of the passengers suffer from the “mountain sickness,” but only a few resolve to brave the “Straits” in future rather than repeat the Andean journey. At Soldado, the frontier station, the customs{178} examine the baggage, and at Los Andes carriages are changed, and the journey down to Santiago and Valparaiso, through richly wooded slopes, is accomplished in about four hours. The traffic between Chili and Argentina is steadily increasing, and the establishment of the Trans-Andean Railway has done much to bring about a more intimate friendship between the two nations.

[Image unavailable.]


The history of the Argentine nation has followed similar lines to those of its sister republics. The conquest by the Spaniards was followed by a long colonial period, which came to an end when the people, after a desperate struggle, won their independence. Since then it has had its wars with neighbouring States, and, like all the rest of the republics, innumerable internecine quarrels. But of late years more peaceful counsels have prevailed, and the settlement of the boundary dispute with Chili, through the more sensible medium of arbitration, is a good augury for the future. Out of the war for independence a great and commanding personality emerges. General San Martin might almost be called the Brutus of South America—the noblest of them all. The Argentines recognise this, and have expressed their admiration and gratitude by erecting a statue to him in the public square of every town in the country, an act which though admirable is apt to bore the traveller. Brave, patriotic, able in warfare, and unselfish are the qualities which can be ascribed in all fairness to San Martin. In many respects he may be overshadowed by Bolivar, but he had none of the latter’s weakness, none of his faults or crimes. His sole aim was to drive the oppressor out of his native land, and he not only succeeded in doing this, but also materially assisted in breaking the power of Spain in Chili and Peru. When his great task was accomplished he retired quietly from the scene of conflict, disdaining to compete for power with{179} self-seeking, unscrupulous politicians. His was a mind utterly incapable of intrigue, so he was content to leave the wily Bolivar to his desperate devices and his colossal dreams of empire.

[Image unavailable.]




The Camp

TO a European the farms of South America offer such contrasts to those he is familiar with in his own country that he finds it difficult to become accustomed to the immense areas of treeless plains that constitute the estancias of the New World. Everything is on a large scale there. A vast territory, now gently rolling like a heaving sea, now flat as an unruffled lake, with few objects to break the eternal straightness of the distant horizon. The atmosphere and the many illusions it creates offer the greatest variety, however, and as day succeeds day with ceaseless regularity ever changing effects of light and colour diversify the aspect of the landscape. The roads through these unbounded plains are wide-extended tracks, fenced in from the private pastures of the estancias, going generally straight for scores of miles. Driving along these tracks behind four horses in a light covered trap the stranger’s ear is open to receive the softest sound, and eyes to note the slightest variations presented. The silence is broken by the fluttering flight of parrots, pigeons, and small brown owls disturbed from their solemn doze by the approaching team, moving on from perch to perch, always settling ahead to be disturbed again. The lowing of the cattle, the swift stampede of groups of wild horses, and the vast hum of insects break faintly upon the ear. Along the track and in the adjacent fields the whitening bones of animals stare out from the rich verdure that has not quite enwrapped them. These pathetic reminders of the fate that overtakes many of the herd are very plentiful, for whenever an animal dies in the camp, the skin only is removed by the gaucho or cowboy, who comes across it in his daily round, and the carcase is left for the hawks and other carrion-eaters, who lose no time in stripping it of flesh, time{181} and the elements slowly completing the dissolution, and eventually removing the last vestiges of the animal’s existence.

[Image unavailable.]


From the beginning to the end of a journey tall rheas flit across the scene. These birds, the ostriches of South America, abound in many districts. They formerly had a geographical range extending from Southern Brazil and Uruguay to as far south as the Rio Negro in distant Patagonia. But the incursions of man, who slew thousands of them for their feathers, have cleared the more cultivated districts, and now they are mostly found on the camps of Uruguay, and the provinces of Corrientes and Missiones, and Paraguay. The Rhea americana resembles its distant relative in South Africa in general appearance, but differs widely when inspected closely. It boasts three toes, and thus goes one better than the ostrich. It is true its plumage cannot compete with that of the latter bird, for it lacks the beautiful curly wing and tail feathers. This is perhaps an advantage to the bird, although a loss to the country. The feathers of the head and neck are a{182} dingy white, those on the crown of the head are of a brownish hue, while the under feathers of the belly and thigh are white, the body feathers being a grey-brown colour. These feathers can only serve the useful purpose of making brushes, and have no claims to be promoted to the high office of adorning ladies’ bonnets. The rhea is a polygamous bird, and the male so thoroughly domesticated that he performs the duty of hatching out the eggs of several of his wives. Their nests of dried grass are easily found, for they have no protection save the long grass that grows around them. On the approach of danger the parent birds sitting upon the nests rise and take to flight, running with rapid strides and outstretched wings, and soon are lost to sight in the airy distance of the plains. On most of the camps the chasing of the birds is forbidden, although instructions are given to destroy their eggs. The race between bird and mounted pursuer disturbs the herds, and does more harm to the live stock than would be compensated for by the feathers that may be plucked. On some native estancias the practice obtains of leasing out the right to capture the birds and pluck them. This is accomplished by throwing three heavy balls attached to the end of a long line round the legs of the running birds. The horseman chases the bird, and swinging the balls round, lets fly with the captive shots, which, if the aim is true, wind the rope round the victim’s legs and quickly bring him to earth. The desired feathers are plucked, and the denuded bird allowed to escape. It is no uncommon thing, however, to see a few gauchos for pure sport surreptitiously chasing these birds. The excitement of the chase appeals to men who live in the saddle, and who love to show off the fleetness of their steeds, and even a chance spectator who witnesses the wild rush of bird and horse across country cannot help catching some of the enthusiasm, and strains his vision to its utmost to witness the finish of a race. There is no shelter for the bird, no way of escaping the unwelcome attentions of his pursuer except by sheer fleetness and endurance. The illimitable camp stretches around for hundreds of miles, and the essential qualities of bird and horse have a fair field and no favour. The rhea is a sociable bird, and is generally found in untrodden regions of the continent, grazing with the llamas and wild cattle in close proximity to or on the estancias that are under man’s control, along with the great herds of sheep and cattle. In this he is like{183} the ostrich, who accepts the companionship of the antelope and zebra of his native land. There is plenty of room on the great plains for all, and they live at peace with neighbours who offer no competition in the struggle for existence. Another curiosity of the camp is the little “armadillo.” It is true one has to search for them, for they are nocturnal in their habits, and not often encountered in the daytime. They are well protected with a hard, strong shell which covers their backs, and when in danger they can move very quickly on their short, strong legs, or can bury themselves underground until the danger that threatens them is past. Night is the best time to catch them, and dogs are used in the pursuit. The armadillo is found all over South America, and in the lone caves of Brazil the fossil remains of gigantic ancestors of this creature as large as the rhino of Africa have frequently been discovered. The armadillos generally feed on roots, worms, and insects, and they assist the hawks and other carrion-eaters to dispose of the putrefying carcases of cattle, sheep, and horses that strew the camp. The flesh of this armour-plated animal is eaten, and is considered a delicacy by the natives all over the country from north to south. It is generally roasted or smoked in its shell, and the Indians of the Guiana will gorge themselves upon this dish whenever they have an opportunity.

The great distances that separate many of the estancias from the stations or ports give employment to thousands of horses, and the usual method of travelling is either by riding or driving in light covered carts drawn by four horses. If the journey is very long, eight horses are taken, half of them drawing the carriage, the other half being driven on in front, and harnessed at some half-way point, an estancia or “pulperia,” where the first team is released and allowed to rest until the return of the conveyance from its destination. These pulperia or native stores are very primitive affairs. A few sticks mud-plastered form the walls, mother earth the floor, while reeds and grasses thatch the roof. When the traveller arrives at one of these he generally finds a few horses, with fore feet hobbled, dozing under the shade cast by a few trees that are planted round the huts, swishing their tails to keep away the flies. Inside the hut or store two or three gauchos squat on boxes, bags, or barrels, and in the intervals of drinking their native spirit, “bolichi” (a fiery, untamed brand), chat with the “bolichero” or publican. The talk is all of the{184}

[Image unavailable.]


camp, for the outside world of civilisation is only a name to them, and the echoes of its doings fall but faintly upon their ears. Horses, cattle, the doings of the neighbouring estancias are discussed with the dark-bearded host, who is the newsvendor to the country-side. Shepherds from far outlying “puestos,” who live in solitary isolation from even the other gauchos of the estancias, find their visits to these wayside inns the principal excitement of their lives. Long journeys of scores of miles, that would be an expedition to an English horseman, are nothing to{185} them. They are as much at home and at their ease in their great saddles, as a club man is in a smoking-room chair, and they can sleep in them as easily as in their beds. The gaucho and his horse are one, inseparable, and if the animal is his own and not one belonging to the estancia, he takes extravagant care of it. With his poncho to keep off the rain, his cigar or cigarette, his “maté” to make his tea in, the gaucho is equipped for any emergency. In some of the “pulperias” there are small billiard tables, not too level; for they rest upon the soft earthen floor, and when not in play are often as not used for seats by the gossips who may happen to forgather. Primitive, yet affording much of the luxury the gaucho finds in his hard life, here also he can replenish his wardrobe and his larder, for belts, knives, “alpagatos” (shoes with rope soles and canvas tops), ponchos, hang all round, and in sacks upon the ground manioca or meal lies ready for a purchaser. The goods retailed are of the cheapest description, most of them of German origin, and especially made to suit the gauchos’ requirements. Primitive ideas obtain amongst these people, and many superstitions too. In one of these “pulperias” I noticed a small pup of only a few days old, lying upon the floor whining piteously for its mother; and on my noticing it, the bolichero explained that it was in transit to a native woman who was suffering from a too liberal secretion of milk. The dress of the gauchos of Uruguay and in the northern provinces of Argentina is strongly reminiscent of the quaint costumes worn by the old-fashioned residents in the island of Marken in the Zuyder Zee. The great baggy trousers called “bombachos” are the feature of the dress common to both, and are so distinctive that one wonders if there can be any connection between them. At all events, they are well suited for riding in a hot climate, for they permit the air to circulate freely about the nether limbs. Apart from the bombachos, the dress of the gaucho has but little in common with the old-time Dutchman, unless it be the tight waistcoats and close-fitting sleeves of the shirts affected by many of them.

They are fond of a touch of colour, however, and although the material out of which their bombachos are made is generally of natural tints, their socks will vie with the most glaring necktie of a Brazilian gentleman. Emerald-green, sky-blue, chrome-yellow, and scarlet-vermilion fresh placed upon a palette are not more striking, and all these are generally selected to enhance{186}

[Image unavailable.]


the beauty of their ponchos. The poncho is an overall, a gigantic fore-and-aft bib, sleeveless, but an admirable protection from the heat and rain. Hanging loosely from the shoulders, it covers the arms in its ample folds, and, like the “bombachos,” allows the air to blow round the heated body. This narrow sheet, with a slit in the middle, is found all over South America and in Mexico, and it has many advantages to recommend it over a sleeved garment. In Chili and Peru the better ones are made out of the llama wool, so fine and hard that they are almost impervious to rain, while their lightness is such that their weight is hardly felt. A good poncho in Chili or Peru often costs as much as £20, but those worn by the gauchos of Argentine and Uruguay are quite cheap and tawdry in comparison. The gaucho takes a great pride in the accoutrements of his horse, and he spends considerable time and pains to have his best Sunday or holiday saddle and bridle replete with a collection of old Spanish coins nailed on to the leather wherever opportunity offers. Brilliant red plush or dyed sheepskin is placed over the saddle, and when he is mounted wearing his best “poncho” and “bombachos,” and broad sombrero hat, he cuts a brave figure to go courting. On the camp his life is one of simple monotony, one continuous round of hard riding and attending to the cattle, searching the herds for sickness or rounding them up into “rodeo” to separate those that are ready for the journey to the “saladero,” “frigorifico,” or meat factory, branding the young cattle with the mark of the estancia, either by slitting their ears or puncturing them, or with the hot iron burning in a distinctive number upon the haunch. He rises at daylight, generally about five o’clock, and in the common, soot-stained kitchen—the “cocina” cuts a great hunk of roasted beef, takes a small handful of farina, and washes this down with draughts of yerba sucked through the “bombilla” (a little tube of metal{187}

[Image unavailable.]


with a bulbous strainer) from the little scooped-out gourd or maté which he always carries with him. Then his day’s work begins. After harnessing his horse, he mounts and separates from his companions, each of whom takes a different direction—riding out to the particular paddock allotted to his care. In his long, lonely patrol he keeps his eye ever on the alert to discover any sick or dead animals that may be lying in the long grass. His keen and practised eye watches the flight of the carrion-birds, and when he sees these greedy scavengers gathering together he knows their quarry is not far off. With these to guide him, he searches till he finds the carcase, which he carefully inspects to ascertain the cause of death. If it is of a malignant nature, he gathers together dried grass and scrub with branches of trees, which he often has to go miles to discover, and placing them round the carcase, sets fire to it, to prevent infection from spreading to the herds. If the cause of death is not of this nature he quickly removes the hide, ties it upon his saddle, and continues on his{188} round of inspection. It is six or seven hours before he returns to the estancia, where he pegs out the hides he has brought with him before sitting down to his “almuerzo,” or midday meal. This eleven o’clock repast varies slightly from the one he partook of in the early morning, consisting as it does of “puchero,” or boiled meat instead of roasted. The meal finished, there are duties about the steading to be seen to, and in the heat of the day the siesta to be indulged in. At three o’clock he has another meal, consisting of maté alone, before going out again to the camp; and on his return at seven in the evening he talks over the details of the day’s doings with his fellows over another meal of the boiled beef, “maté,” and farina. After a smoke, a little music from a banjo or guitar played with an untutored skill by one of the party, they seek their beds—simple pallets of canvas stretched between collapsible trestles, something like exaggerated camp-stools. Next day the same round of duties awaits him, except for the variations that arise at special seasons when sheep-shearing, cattle-branding, calf-gelding, horse-breaking are going forward. Large numbers of horses run and breed practically in a wild state upon the estancias, and the task of breaking them in falls to the gauchos. This is an art and a pastime that they revel in, and as they are paid extra for every colt that they render fit for riding, there is no dearth of volunteers for this necessary part of the estancia work. A herd of horses is driven up by a bunch of horsemen into a corral. The colt or filly to be broken is singled out and lassoed by one of the men, who drags it out into the open. More lassoes are fastened round the fore and hind legs, and the animal is brought to earth. After a raw-hide bit is fastened round its lower jaw, the frightened creature is allowed to regain a standing position, and is hitched up to a post. One man covers its eyes, whilst a great bundle of soft sheepskins is being fastened securely on its back. All this time the fore legs are kept firmly tied together. When all is ready, the man who is to break it in grasps the raw-hide bridle, and jumps lightly on its back. Then the struggle between man and brute commences in grim earnest. With a powerful whip the man belabours the struggling steed, and with a horseman riding on either side to guide the wild beast, the trio gallop off across the plain at a break-neck pace. Before this mad race is started, the untamed one struggles and bucks to rid himself of the unnatural encumbrance. He rolls on the{189}

[Image unavailable.]


ground, lowers his head, and throws his unshod heels high into the air, and then finding that all his efforts are vain, he tears off in a wild fury, hoping to get relief. The race continues until the brute’s strength weakens, and he is turned by the accompanying riders, for he does not yet understand, nor if he could, would he yield to the guidance of the bridle. When the trio return to the “corral,” where a crowd of gauchos have stood witnessing the fun, the exhausted animal is relieved of man, saddle, and bridle, and{190} is turned loose amongst his fellows in the corral. Then they are all set at liberty to roam the paddock till the next day, when the operation is repeated. It takes many lessons to break in a horse, and the sudden change from the completest freedom to the fastest bondage is no doubt very irksome to the animal. After about three or four weeks of training, however, the horse’s lesson is learnt, and the man’s reward is earned. There still exists on some estancias the primitive custom of branding the cattle in almost as rough a fashion as the breaking in of the horses. The herds are rounded up by the horseman into a great bunch, called a rodeo. The unbranded are lassoed by the head and horns, and dragged out of the bellowing crowd. Another lasso is thrown and captures the hind legs, and the animal, then completely overcome, is thrown on its side and the branding iron applied. In modern camps an easier method is employed. The cattle are “corralled” and driven through a long spar-railed passage in which gates are arranged for the purpose of dividing the cattle into different groups, so that as the animals move along, and one is required to go one way, a gate is opened, allowing it to pass out, the gate closing behind it, and leaving the passage free for the next to move into another division if desired. The branding is performed in this passage. One man grasps the animal’s tail and pulls it through the open fence of the “race” or passage, whilst another catches the horns and holds the head firmly against the opposite side. If the brand is to be applied to the rump, the position is in every way favourable for performing that operation; should the brand of the estancia be an ear-mark, the head is in an equally advantageous position.

Branding is a very necessary precaution against cattle-stealing. When an “estanciero” parts with his cattle, he duplicates the brand and the new owner applies his, so that the animal has three brands upon it. This prevents stealing, for if an animal has only one brand of its original owner, it is obvious to the authorities that it has not been legitimately acquired. A brand in duplicate upon an animal is evidence that it is no longer in the possession of the owner of that brand. Should he, however, repurchase one of his former stock, it will have four brands upon it, the two original ones and the two added by the last owner. Transactions, however, of this kind are not of frequent occurrence. Ear-marking is a form of branding that in some instances looks{191} very unsightly, as, for instance, when both ears are slit down, giving the animal the appearance of having four ears.

[Image unavailable.]


The sheep and cattle dips which are necessary to rid the herds of ticks and other insects, form landmarks on the camps, as do the iron-frame windmills which pump up the water for the stock. There has been much discussion recently as to what is the coat of arms of the Argentine Republic, and this nice question in heraldry has not yet been settled. To a stranger the matter seems simple enough, for nothing could be more suitable than a windmill revolving against an azure sky, or a herd romping on a “field vert.”

The “corrals” and runs upon the estancia are used for many purposes, such as dividing the old from the young, the bulls and heifers from the cows, the animals that are to be sold from{192} their brothers and sisters that are not yet ready for disposal. Other “runs” are used for dipping purposes. In these the floor of the “runs” gradually descends into a long trough through which the animals have to swim, their heads being pushed under by men armed with long poles, who are stationed on the fences at either side. Sheep are handled in the same way. The dipping corrals are situated on different parts of the estancia in selected positions, and when these are at a long distance from the farmhouse the men, when employed there, cook their meals of great lumps of beef over a blaze of crackling sticks. The meat is hooked on to a long iron bar which is stuck upright in the ground, and the savoury smell of the roasting, crackling meat fills the air. When it is ready the spit is removed from the fire and stuck in the ground a little distance off, and the men gather round, and with their knives hack off great chunks weighing three or four pounds, and set to with the meat in one hand and the knife in the other, satisfying their healthy appetites. There is great waste at all these meals; the joint is not nearly consumed, and what is left is thrown into the long grass or into the dying embers of the fire. A kettle is always carried by one or other of the men to make the “maté” tea which washes down every meal. Yerba has a great reputation, and is largely consumed all over the southern parts of Brazil, Uruguay, and the Argentine, and even further south. To Europeans it is generally known by the name of Paraguayan tea, for, although it grows in Brazil, Corrientes, and the Chaco, its real home is in Paraguay, where it flourishes in great abundance, and its cultivation and collection form one of the principal industries. It is simply the dried leaves of a shrub that very much resembles the common holly bush. It has been in use by the Indians for centuries, although it was due to the untiring agricultural efforts of the Jesuits that its cultivation was first introduced. The plantations they made in Paraguay, Missiones, and Rio Grande de Sul are still to the fore, and from these cultivated shrubs the best tea is obtained even at the present time, and it sometimes goes by the name of “Jesuits’ or “Missiones tea.”

The collecting and preparation of the leaves of this shrub are generally performed by the Guarani Indians of the surrounding districts. The old-fashioned and native method of preparing the maté or yerba is quite primitive. A group of semi-nomadic Indians will search for a “Yerbula” or natural{193}

[Image unavailable.]


wood where the supply is plentiful, and after forming a small camp of brush huts, proceed to collect and prepare the leaves for market. They clear a space of ground which they beat hard until it resembles a dark cemented floor, and upon this they pile the leafy branches of the tree. A fire is lit around this, care being taken not to ignite the branches and leaves, which undergo by this means a primitive process of roasting. The dried leaves are then reduced to powder in rough mortars formed by making holes in the ground, the surfaces of which are rammed hard by wooden mallets. The dusty mass is then packed and conveyed{194} to the river banks, where it is shipped to a central market. A more improved method of roasting or drying the maté is practised, however, in Paraguay, where large iron pans are used for drying, and machinery is used for reducing the leaves, from which the central rib of the leaf has been removed, to a fine powder. The word maté, which is generally used to designate the tea, applies really to the gourd in which it is brewed, and is an old French word for “calabash.” It still is used in that sense, although very generally applied to the tea. The consumption of maté or yerba[1] throughout South America is very large, and is on the increase. It takes the place of China tea, and is supposed to have many virtues which neither tea nor coffee possesses. That it is sustaining there is every reason to believe; that it has a less injurious effect than tea or coffee on the system does not seem to be demonstrated; but the fact remains that the people believe in it, and have acquired a taste for it, which is largely contributed to by its cheapness. It is not agreeable to the taste of a novice, and when the “maté” is handed to the visitor, it is generally too hot for his unaccustomed palate. The addition of a little sugar helps to render it more pleasing to some judgments, but the gauchos on the camp do entirely without this addition. After a long journey there is no doubt that “maté” acts as a wonderful restorative, and the Governments of maté-producing States are endeavouring to bring about its adoption in the armies of Continental Europe.

A few days spent in camp are full of interest, but a prolonged residence is only for those who are either compelled by their occupation or held by their interests or inclinations to remain upon the solemn prairies. The utter loneliness would, without the occupations that pertain to the animal and agricultural life, turn the brain of one whose life has grown up amongst the life of cities, amidst the society of a variety of his fellows. It is almost as lonely as the great oceans. The dweller upon camps must of necessity be a student of the ever changing sky, of all its moods from sad to gay, stern to smiling, threatening to promising, a beauty ever various and full of an abstract fascination. At times clouds of brown dust swirl up in great curling volumes,{195}

[Image unavailable.]


to obscure and tone down the brilliant displays of sunset colour upon the distant clouds. Even this phenomenon has an interest, and helps to break the tiring sameness of the plains. The flights of the innumerable feathered tribe against the sky—ducks, geese, pigeons, parrots, hawks, plovers, storks, flamingoes, herons, scissor birds, and red birds an infinite variety—help{196} to divert the mind. It requires a long residence on the plains and an unerring intuition for direction and locality, to acquire a familiarity with all these forms of life. Landmarks that the unpractised eye would overlook become live, bold and full of meaning to a gaucho and his horse, who have been acquainted with their surroundings from their birth.

[Image unavailable.]




A Live Industry

THE rapid strides of progress made by the Argentine Republic have been accelerated by the increasing consumption in the United States of the products of her own Western cattle lands. Every year, as the population of the world increases, the heavy demands made upon cattle-producing countries bring newer fields into use. From the middle of the nineteenth until the beginning of the present century, the vast prairies of the Western States produced more than enough meat to supply their own needs and a large export canning business rapidly came into existence, whilst even live cattle were sent yearly to England (the largest consumer) and turned out to fatten on her rich pastures and meadow lands. But the enormous growth of the packing business and the increased home consumption in the States has put an end to the export of live stock or even of frozen meat. This changed situation was Argentina’s golden opportunity, and her entry into the world’s market was well described by General Bartolomé Mitre,[2] who towards the end of the last century wrote as follows:

“The natural pastures [of Argentina] allured the inhabitants towards the pastoral industry. Its vast littoral placed it in contact with the rest of the world by means of fluvial and maritime navigation. Its healthy and mild climate made life more enjoyable and labour more productive. Thus it was a country prepared for live stock breeding, appointed to prosper through commerce, and predestined to be stocked by the acclimatisation of all the breeds of the earth. So it is seen that the occupation of the soil began to be carried out by means of the cattle brought overland{198} from Peru and Brazil, that the commercial activities of the interior are converging little by little towards the River Plate, abundance and prosperity are diffused by this means, and that the first foreign operation of the colonists after the foundation of Buenos Aires in 1580, was the exportation of a cargo of produce of their own labour (hides and tallow) that led up to the import business and induced immigration.”

The author of these words saw the sound basis upon which future developments and progress might be securely founded, for the natural advantages of the country were such as to justify the most sanguine hopes, the Republic being destined to become a great, wealthy, and civilised nation. The cattle which were brought down from Peru and Southern Brazil, where they had been introduced by the early Spanish settlers, prospered well upon the great plains of the South; plains favoured with such fertile soil and mild climatic conditions, that a rich supply of nourishing grasses is their natural inheritance. The early part of the last century saw the growth of the dry-salting industry and the beginning of a large export trade in salted meats, hides, and tallow, and the “Saladeros” of the Argentine and of the countries immediately contiguous to its northern border enjoyed a period of rich prosperity, supplying the markets of the northern states with large quantities of “jerked” or salted beef. But although they still have a standing in the country, these Saladeros are rapidly being supplanted by the modern methods of meat preserving carried on by the great freezing establishments, and in the province of Buenos Ayres these freezing factories or “Frigorificos” consume so much live stock that the Saladeros find difficulty in existing alongside of them.

The “jerked” beef of the Saladeros, unappetising to the senses of both sight and smell, is found in the stores throughout South America, and a large quantity finds its way into the islands of the Caribbean Sea. The strong odour of this meat proclaims its proximity, and its would-be purchasers need only follow their noses in almost any village to discover the commodity. The method of its preparation is both ancient and simple, the carcase of the slaughtered animal being cut into pieces, and the bones, fat, and tendons removed. The pieces of meat are then powdered with salt and maize and placed in the sun until they become shrivelled and nearly black in colour. Sometimes the meat is{199} subjected to a smoke-curing treatment in addition, and in any case requires to be well soaked in water before being cooked, and even then it is far from tender, but soups made from it, although highly flavoured, are said to be very nutritious.

This trade, however, is now almost entirely dependent on cattle from the northern plains of Corrientes, Missiones, Uruguay and Paraguay, and the southernmost states of Brazil, for the introduction of better breeds of cattle into the Argentine, which has been going on for over fifty years, has made it more profitable to export the higher grade beef to more remote markets in a superior form.

[Image unavailable.]


This became possible to an almost unlimited extent since the establishment of the “frigorificos,” seeing that the better prices brought about by the increasing demand induced capital to be employed in the grading up of the cattle and the improving of the breeds until they yield the greatest possible quantities of beef of the highest quality. The “creolia” or native cattle are rather thin and scraggy animals, although they are hardy and well fitted to survive without care or attention, but so great is the tendency to replace them by better breeds, that in time they are likely to disappear altogether. The “Saladeros” confine their attention to the “creolia” cattle and the establishments are generally primitive and dilapidated, the owners caring little about appearances, but compelled by the Government inspectors to keep their premises from becoming insanitary or too unclean. In the grounds which surround the buildings, rows of rough wooden fences are erected, upon which the beef is hung to dry in the sun, whilst the hides are pegged out flat upon the ground and dry-salted for export.{200} In every part of the cattle area the presence of these hides, stretched out upon the ground or hanging over fences, proclaims the national industry, and even at the smallest hut or wayside shed one or two hides are sure to be in evidence. The banks of the Parana and Uruguay rivers are the true home of the “Saladero,” for in early times the sailing vessels that traded between Montevideo and Spain and the West Indies took cargoes of the “jerked” beef to the Brazilian ports and Cuba, there to be exchanged for the commodities that furnished freight for the homeward voyage. Montevideo became the most important port for these vessels, and the ease with which cargoes could be floated down the rivers to the port led to the establishment of hundreds of factories along the banks of the Uruguay and Parana rivers. In the Southern Brazilian State of Rio Grande, the “Saladeros,” protected by a high tariff, still flourish, but they have not enough cattle to supply the needs of their own country, although they slaughter an increasing number every year, and at the present time are not far behind Uruguay in their output. Argentina, on the other hand, is falling off in her output of “jerked” beef owing to the demand made by her “Frigorificos” for grazing land upon which to pasture cattle of a higher grade. In all, about one and a half million animals pass through the “Saladeros” of the three States every year, this large figure not including the cattle consumption of the factories engaged in the extract manufacture and canning business. This latter is another form of utilising the native cattle which are unsuitable for the freezing establishments, as well as the improved breeds which are constantly being introduced, and the industry has attained a very solid and world-wide reputation through the operations of the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, which was the pioneer of the extract and concentrated meat trade, and established the first factory for this purpose in South America.

Their business is so extensive that they now slaughter about two hundred thousand head of cattle annually at their factories on the banks of the River Uruguay, where they prepare their extracts—Lemco, Oxo, Concentrated Soups, Preserved Beef, Tongues, Beef Meal, and Canned Meat. No rivals come anywhere near them in output, for they utilise many times the number of animals disposed of by all their competitors put together.

Their factories at Frey Bentos and Colon are most extensive and adequately equipped, and are models of what such places{201} should be, and very different from the native “Saladero.” Going through the various departments of these two factories, the visitor would not be surprised if told that he was in an engineering, joinery, or almost any kind of industrial establishment; for all branches of the modern workshop are carried on in different parts of the premises. Nearly everything required for upkeep and packing is made upon the spot in the foundries, machine shops, carpenters’ shops and the marvellous tin can factory with its elaborate machinery that is almost human. Here tins of various sizes are cut out, shaped and soldered for the packing of preserved meats, tongues, etc., whilst in another department the machinery for filling and hermetically sealing these tins is equally ingenious and interesting. Large coopers’ shops turn out hundreds of barrels for packing the by-products, such as hides, fat, and tallow. Boilers (mechanically fed), engines, pumps, and electric plant for light and power, occupy their allotted places, and the wharves in front, busy with steamers, sailing vessels, and barges, give the place the appearance of a town of no mean importance.

[Image unavailable.]



The appointments of the slaughtering and flaying beds offer a marked contrast to the old-fashioned methods, and the equipment of the factory for boiling and evaporation is the outcome of experience and the highest engineering skill in its thousand and one details, so complicated as to be bewildering to the mere layman.

During the six months of the year when the cattle are coming in, the factories are in full swing, and the animals pour into the corrals by the thousand, to be driven through the “drives” or “races” into the small corral, where each one in turn is lassoed. The rope is then given a turn round the drum of a small electric motor, and the animal drawn firmly into a small box, the floor of which is a movable truck. The fatal stab is given just behind the hard ridge where the horns grow from the head, the executioner despatching the animals at the rate of two per minute. The blow is sudden, swift and sure, for the men who perform this task are skilful and their services well paid. It is no uncommon thing for one of them to earn as much as £200 during the six months of the year that the killing goes on, and still less uncommon for him to spend it all in the six off months, returning the following season practically penniless.

The animal having been despatched, the carcase is flayed upon the cemented beds which slope slightly to the channel which conducts the blood to a central tank. The meat is then cut up and the bones removed, the flesh being hung in a large, dark, funereal chamber, the walls of which are painted black. This, I was told, was to keep the flies away, for flies, it seems, detest darkness, although their deeds are evil.

Every part of the animal is used; nothing is wasted. The flesh being cared for, the fat goes one way, the hides another; the offals a third and the blood a fourth. Some of the bones are boiled with the meat to make a particular kind of extract; whilst portions of the meat are boiled alone for tinning, other portions are cut up fine by machinery, and made into extract. The bones are carefully sorted and exported for the making of combs and knife handles. The horns are sold to manufacturers in Europe, who split them up, and by processes of their own turn them into such articles as combs, brush handles, boxes, etc., so closely imitating tortoise-shell that an innocent and indiscriminating public mistakes them for the genuine article. Such parts of the animals as are good for nothing else are made into manure.{203}

It need hardly be said that the Liebig Company’s organisation has by no means overlooked the needs of the large number of work-people engaged at their factories, and the settlements both at Colon and Frey Bentos provide accommodation far superior to any to be found in any of the villages in the country-side. The houses and plots of ground allotted to the workers at Frey Bentos form quite a rural settlement, whilst Colon, a more recent and very inviting colony, is a town built upon approved modern lines. The houses, which are all kept painted white, are built in squares, their backs looking on to a large courtyard. This keeps all the fronts free from the unsightly domestic pots and pans and other paraphernalia usually to be seen crowding the fronts of village houses and shacks. Stores, schools, and a doctor’s shop are provided, and each household has its own plot of ground for the growing of vegetables and flowers, and is also provided with the very necessary baths which the architects and builders of the peons’ houses (generally the owners themselves) invariably forget.

Large recreation rooms and club houses are provided, and the company give an annual feast to their workers, a feast unlimited as to beef and wine, and followed by dancing and singing to the accompaniment of an instrumental band also provided by the employers. There is also available land for those of the workers who care to go in for cattle-raising and farming on their own account; indeed, everything is done to induce and encourage them in such effort, and there is an attractiveness about these colonies which keeps them well populated. A more varied and pleasing life is held out here than that offered by a residence on the great distant melancholy camps, where social intercourse is necessarily restricted, and where the monotony of existence is only broken by the arrival of some chance visitor from a neighbouring camp or an occasional excursion to one of the “pulperias” for a glass of “boliche” and a gossip with similarly situated companions.

In addition to being big consumers of cattle, the Liebig Company are themselves land-holders and stock-raisers on a large scale, their farms or estancias in Uruguay, Corrientes, and Missiones being typical of each of the states, although all managed from headquarters at the two factories. In the Republic of Uruguay they own six estancias and rent two, comprising in all 252,871 acres, whilst in the Argentine province of Corrientes they control 329,941{204} acres, and in Paraguay 118,584 acres, making a total of about 700,000 acres, upon which close upon 200,000 head of cattle are maintained.

[Image unavailable.]


No less than from three to six hundred tons of extract of beef are annually exported from their factories, in addition to the tongues, soups, and preserved meats for which they are noted. If one takes in the whole of the River Plate littoral, the dry-salting and meat extract business consumes about half a million animals yearly, a figure which is destined to grow larger year by year. This consumption of cattle is quite apart from that of the freezing trade, which is on a still larger scale, and in which a capital of nearly four million pounds sterling is invested, much of the money coming from Britain and the United States.

The first shipments of frozen meat from the Argentine were made in 1877, and so successful was the experiment, that within{205} eight years the first large freezing establishment was erected in Buenos Ayres. Others followed in rapid succession, and the combined turnover of the “Frigorificos,” as they are called, has reached the enormous sum of twelve million pounds sterling per annum.

These “Frigorificos” having been for the most part built during recent years, their builders have been able to take advantage of all the experiments and improvements made by hygienic science, and no pains are spared to keep the reputation of Argentine meat above suspicion. The stock slaughtered for foreign markets undergoes a careful examination by veterinary inspectors, the animals being subjected to a severe scrutiny before they are permitted to leave the paddocks and pens adjoining the factories, and allowed to pass along the “race” to the slaughterhouse. In not a few of the factories the “race” has a long, deep trough of water in it, through which the animals pass to cool and cleanse their bodies before they reach the narrow box in which they receive the coup de grâce. Directly this has been given, the truck-like floor of the box is wheeled quickly out, and placed in a favourable position to allow of the carcase being hoisted by the hind legs to a transport rail. The bleeding takes place over a channel which conducts the blood into a large underground tank, and the carcase is then placed upon the flaying beds alongside. Very rapidly the hide is removed by highly skilled and well-paid operators, who are fined for every flaw made by them in the skins they remove. The carcase is next opened up in the presence of the Government inspector, who pronounces his verdict as to the soundness or otherwise of the animal. Having been thoroughly cleaned, the meat is sawn in halves and each side hauled up on to a transport rail and run along to another shed where the trimming is completed before it enters the chilling or freezing chamber, as the case may be. For twenty-four hours the meat is subjected to the freezing process, and then each side is quartered, covered first with a cotton wrapper and then with a stouter one of jute, and the quarters, thus protected from dust and dirt, are shipped into the cold chambers of barges which deliver them to the specially fitted steamers bound for Europe.

As the killing goes on day after day, a seemingly endless procession of “sides” is hurried along the transport rails to the great freezing chambers, which are filled and emptied day in and{206} day out all the year round. The only disagreeable parts of the whole operation are the killing pens and the flaying beds, and the visitor to the Frigorifico, if at all squeamish, will do well to give these a very casual inspection as he makes his tour.

The hides, wet-salted and packed in barrels, are shipped to the tanneries in England, the United States, and Germany; but London is the principal market for the frozen meat of the Argentine, its consumption of home-killed and foreign frozen meat exceeding one and a half million tons annually.

The Argentine has attained her present enviable position at the head of the list of beef exporting countries by giving an intelligent attention to the improvement of her herds of cattle. As far back as 1848 the importation of the best stock from England was commenced, and since then hundreds of prize animals from the British shows have been shipped to the grazing lands of the republic. In 1857 the first live-stock show was held in Buenos Ayres, and in 1875 the Rural Society of the Argentine held the first of the series which has continued annually since that date. The Rural Society has done much to justify its existence, organising, holding together and encouraging the stock-raising interest. Every well-known class of stock is exhibited at its shows, sheep of the Lincoln, Rambouillet, Blacknose, and other varieties, and cattle of the Shorthorn, Durham, Hereford, and Polled Angus breeds. The keen competition amongst exhibitors has led to a high standard of exhibits, of which there is always an abundant entry. This is equally true with regard to the horses which are now bred in the Argentine, the breeders being justly proud of the fine animals they can produce. The same care has been exercised in the choice of sires and mares which have been purchased in England and on the continent of Europe, with the object of obtaining the best breed possible. The thoroughbred race-horse is particularly popular, and many famous race winners have been purchased by the Argentine dealers, sportsmen, and breeders. “Diamond Jubilee” was purchased from the late King Edward for 30,000 guineas, “Val d’Or” from the French breeder, Edmond Blanc, for £12,000. It has been estimated that 400 thoroughbred stallions and 3000 brood mares are in service in Argentina, producing about 1500 foals annually. In the last fifteen years the sales of young stock have increased from 90 animals in 1895, realising on the average £126 apiece, to 483 animals in 1910,{207} yielding an average price of £639. This gives some idea of the importance and growth of the industry of horse-breeding in the republic, and a glance at the list of well-known horses which have been produced, several of them winners of tens of thousands of pounds in prize money, indicates the excellence of the results attained and the profitableness of the occupation.{208}


On the Road to Paraguay

[Image unavailable.]


PARAGUAY is most easily reached by river. The long overland journeys from either Brazil or Bolivia are both of a nature to deter tourists, and the voyage up either the Uruguay or the Parana rivers is preferable to the long dusty train journey from Buenos Ayres to Corrientes. The steamship service of the Mihanovich line which plies upon the River Plate, as well as along the Argentine coast, is one of the best in South America. The vessels are large and adequately fitted for the tropical regions through which they pass. Leaving Buenos Ayres in the early morning, the River Uruguay is reached in about four hours. Great masses of green foliage float down the swiftly running stream, and low-lying islands clad with rich vegetation are passed. Strings of cattle boats or barges laden with their living freight and towed by strong steam tugs appear upon the scene, whilst the white sails of craft of all sizes, and many shapes, flutter over the broad, smooth waters. The river, which is both wide and deep, is the highway to a great many of the most prosperous{209}

[Image unavailable.]


districts in the republics of Uruguay and Argentina. The towns upon either side of the river are small, and removed from one another by great distances. Small villages and insignificant collections of huts peep out from the luxuriant foliage, and glimpses of the life of the inhabitants are caught from time to time. Agricultural pursuits occupy the attention of the people, the raising and tending of cattle and live stock being by far the most important industry. Frey Bentos and Colon are both well-known ports upon this river, at which the steamer comes to anchor. At the numerous stopping places small tenders, row boats, and canoes come alongside, and put on or take off passengers and their baggage, small freight, and mails, very little time being occupied by the operations. Paysandu, famous for its ox tongues, is a small town opposite to Colon, and a railway connects it to the central Uruguay system, thus bringing it into direct communication with Montevideo. Colon is entirely occupied by the factories of the celebrated Liebig’s Extract of Meat Co., and the{210} small villages that have sprung up around it amidst pastoral surroundings are inhabited by the factory workers. Concordia and Salto are the end of the journey as far as the Uruguay River is concerned, the further passage being closed to navigation by falls and rapids. These two towns are typical specimens of Spanish colonial settlements, and present very much the same appearance to-day as they did a century ago. Sleepy would describe them at ordinary times, but at midday the passenger landing from the steamer finds them veritable cities of the dead, for the streets are deserted, and even hotel-keepers are difficult to awaken. Concordia has wide streets but low houses, with roofs either flat or sloping away from the front to the back, so that a straight, unbroken sky-line is presented to the eye. The Plaza or principal square of the town possesses a church with two towers, which, although of comparatively recent date, has, owing to the unfinished brickwork, the aspect of an ancient building. The towers, covered with small green slates, are typical of the church architecture that prevails over nearly the whole of South America. Inside, the church has a plain barrel roof supported by engaged fluted columns of the Corinthian order, the floor is tiled, and highly coloured statues and images adorn the walls; much of the great altar is painted to imitate marble, and a profusion of gilding testifies to the native love of the gaudy. Seen at night its effect is rich enough, when the garishness of the decorations is softened by the mellow candlelight. During the services in honour of the Virgin crowds of women and girls are seated in the front seats of the nave, and notices are placed upon the pillars and in other conspicuous places, intimating that men and boys are forbidden to trespass on the part reserved for the women, while, to enforce a due observance of the order, policemen, in white helmets and brown holland clothes, are in attendance, and the crowds of amorous youths are restrained with some little difficulty from gaining a point of vantage from which to observe the fair. Processions of little girls clad in white pass through the building singing “Ave Marias”; a black-robed priest beating time and marshalling the regiment. Bouquets of flowers are thrown upon the altar steps by the children as they pass—a pretty ceremony enthusiastically observed. The service over, the congregation slowly disperse into the Plaza, and the straw-hatted beaux form up in{211}

[Image unavailable.]



line to gaze upon the fair beauties of the community. Ladies, young and middle-aged, attended by their duennas, linger under the lights of the lamps, conscious of and not ill pleased with the attentions of the human moths fluttering around them. There is no doubt that the ladies of the country towns and cities of Argentina enjoy a greater freedom than do their sisters in Buenos Ayres. In Concordia they play tennis and other outdoor games, and there is a growing disposition on the part of the “society” señoritas to become acquainted with the English tongue.

The buildings in the Plaza are more modern in style than the cathedral or church, and have ornamental fronts generally painted white. Green “pariso” trees shade the square, and in the centre stands the equestrian statue of San Martin. Replicas of this statue are placed in every town of any importance in the Argentine, the only variations being the pedestals, which have local peculiarities of design, workmanship, and material. The statue is rather a poor affair, stiff and conventional in pose and action, but it serves its turn to commemorate the great general and hero of the republic. The inscription on the front records the names of the famous battles of


and a dedication to the army of the Andes, who gloried in that they could say, “In twenty-four hours we have made the campaign, crossing the highest Cordilleras in the world, disposing of tyrants and liberating Chili.” The whole square, which is typical of many others in Argentina, is made up or bounded by houses for the most part of one story, with blinds to keep the fierce rays of the sun from penetrating windows and doors. A few cabs covered with cracked leather hoods and harnessed to scraggy horses are lined up round the pavements of the square. A bandstand railed in with a stucco imitation of rustic woodwork has its appropriate place in the general make-up of the Plaza. During the months from November to March inclusive the siesta hours are from half-past eleven till two, and during these hours the city sleeps. Banks, business houses, shops, and factories all obey the call. The shade temperature during the summer months is high, and although 114° is rarely registered, 100° to 104° are very common. In the winter from March to October the business{213} hours are longer, and midday rest is limited to one hour and a half, from twelve to one-thirty.

Concordia is an important centre for wool and cattle. Sheep do well in the province of Entre Rios, in spite of the heat, and the cattle, although not perhaps so pleasing to the eye as the improved breeds that flourish farther south, are hardy and useful animals. Grapes are cultivated and extensive vineyards surround the town. The wines made in the bodegas of Entre Rios and Mendoza are sent down to Buenos Ayres, where ingenious dealers and merchants are expert in the art of blending them with the imported brands from Europe, so that they can pass them on to the public as the real “Simon Pure.” The roads round the town are badly made, so sandy and yielding that driving is hard work for the horses. The lanes through the vineyards are very pleasant, shaded by the “pariso” and lime trees, and perfumed by the scent of oranges and lemons. The ground is gently undulating, in marked contrast to the low, flat plains farther south and north, and from many vantage points extensive views are obtained of the surrounding country. The town of Salto, on the other side of the river, in the Republic of Uruguay, lies white like a Moorish city, the shipping at the wharves by the river side lending animation to the scene. In the suburbs of these towns are many shacks and huts built of mud or old tin cans, a common method all through the country. The dwelling-houses in the town are of the common Spanish type, and one gets accustomed to the pleasant little pictures of family life seen through open doorways. The patio is the living-room of these houses, and the flowers, vines, and creepers make cheerful wall decorations. The rooms leading off are dingy and ill-ventilated, for the shuttered windows are often kept closed for days. They are cool and free from the plague of flies, but, unless for sleeping in, they are depressing and gloomy. During the hot evenings the inhabitants take their chairs and stools out into the streets, and little groups of relatives and friends block the narrow pavements. All the windows to the houses are barred either with iron or wooden rails, giving a gloomy expression to the house fronts.

Although a small tramway drawn by horses has lately been installed in the town, the automobile has hardly got farther than the showrooms. The drivers of these cars have little horns or trumpets, upon which they perform with gusto, very much{214} in the same way as do the pedlars in Rio upon their primitive instruments. Horses are ridden by all classes, for horseflesh is cheap, and during the making of a call, or shopping, the animals are hobbled by the fore legs and left in the streets, sometimes for hours together. There is no theatre in the town, but a travelling circus sometimes puts in an appearance, and receives the active patronage of the rank and fashion, as well as of the masses. Some of these shows are well equipped, carrying with them their own electric light plant, and, in case this should break down or give out during a performance, an extra plant for the illuminating of the tent by acetylene gas is in readiness. The performance is of the well-known circus type—elephants and trained horses, clowns and acrobats occupy the ring in turns, and cinema pictures wind up the evening’s performance. For a provincial town in South America, Concordia has many things to recommend it—a club with fine premises, a show ground for the annual cattle display, and, for those who desire further diversion, there is the café with its cinema, where, to the accompaniment of music, wine, and tobacco smoke, the evenings may be passed. From Concordia the steamer returns to Buenos Ayres, as the higher river is unnavigable. Trains from the town convey passengers to Posadas, on the Alto Parana, or to Corrientes, on the Paraguay River. The journey across country is hot, dusty, and uncomfortable, and after the river travel very undesirable. The natives who board the train at the various stations through the province are yellow-skinned Indians, with little or no Spanish blood in them. They are dull and sleepy-looking, with dirty habits and forbidding expressions. The landscape is flat and uninteresting for the greater part of the journey, pools of water and marshy swamps being the principal breaks in the monotony of the plains, and the estancias which dot the surface at long intervals make the only landmarks. Herds of cattle, horses, sheep, and ostriches graze upon the plains; a few goats are also found in certain districts, half-wild animals that start away in wild stampedes at the approach of trains. Huts of mud and thatch are grouped around the camp stations, and a few lonely and poverty-stricken-looking shacks, the residences of shepherds and cowboys, appear at intervals in the dreary landscape. Many of the “peons” or native working-classes bear striking resemblances to Chinamen, and the absence of the negro type throughout this province is{215}

[Image unavailable.]



note-worthy. Mounted police, with great sun helmets and white drill clothes, are in evidence at the railway stations, and, although uniformed and bearing swords and revolvers, they seldom wear socks or boots, but content themselves with the simple alpagatos or straw shoes which are common throughout the country. The poncho is very popular with most of the inhabitants of the plains, a really serviceable and sensible form of covering.

At Mercedes a few sun-bleached coaches betray the existence of some important town in the vicinity, although it is not visible from the railway station. Trains laden with hot, uncomfortable cattle and sheep are drawn up in sidings to permit the passenger trains to pass. Carts drawn by oxen and horses lumber along the dusty roads. Much of the country in the north of Corrientes is swampy, and an abundance of bird life clusters around the margin of the shallow lakes. Storks wade through the pools, plover, snipe, pigeon, and rooks hover in the air, and palm trees grow here and there in little clumps, giving a tropical touch to a landscape which but for them has no special feature, save that of monotony. When violent storms of wind, rain, and lightning visit these camps—and their terrific force is indescribable—the whole horizon from east to west is lit up by flashes of blinding intensity, following one another in such rapid succession that they merge together and form long periods of illumination, varied at intervals by streaks of forked lightning which stab the earth with destructive force. Deaths from lightning are not uncommon in this quarter of the continent, the continual roll of loud thunder is deafening, like the near report of a battery of heavy ordnance—the rain descends in torrents, an awe-inspiring deluge, which converts great tracts of the low-lying land into shallow lakes.

Corrientes, the capital of the State, could hardly be described as a fine city or town. It is undergoing some improvements, which will render it a little less destructive to carriage springs and trying to weak ankles. The streets until recently were frightful, one mass of rugged boulders that would baffle the ingenuity of the sure-footed mule to negotiate. The authorities are at work, endeavouring to make the roads and streets passable, but during the operations, which have been started all over the town simultaneously, confusion reigns. The town lies on the western bank of the Parana River, a little below the point where it meets the{217}

[Image unavailable.]


Paraguay; and during the summer months heat, dullness, and sand are its principal attractions. Almost every other house bears a brass plate signifying that a lawyer or doctor resides within, surely an unpropitious omen for the peace and happiness of the inhabitants. Very few shops of any importance enliven the dismal solitude of the streets, and the business houses and warehouses have unpretentious exteriors, and even before and after the siesta hours from eleven to two they are anything but animated. There is a considerable trade passing through the port, however, which makes the river front the liveliest portion of the town. In the Plaza there is the prescribed statue of San Martin, the cathedral, bandstand, and ornamental garden. One ancient building takes up almost the entire side of the square. It is weather-stained, faded, and worn, its dilapidated front bears evidence of antiquity, and tradition says that it is contemporaneous with the foundation of the city. The general decay which has spread over most of the neighbouring buildings is more apparent on this ancient residence of the Governor of the State. Its strongly barred windows suggest a prison rather than a palace, but in days gone by Governors were not the most popular persons in the Spanish colonies, and they needed a strong protection from the disaffected. The Government buildings in the Plaza are in the modern French Renaissance style, their high mansard roofs and delicate plaster ornamentations incongruously placed amidst the heavier and less fanciful styles of the early colonial architecture. The cathedral, which is of the usual type, is lit by the modern electric light, although the priests{218} who administer to the religious needs, and light up the spiritual darkness of the population, still array themselves in the rough brown robes of their order. At one corner of the Plaza stands a large house of one story, with a richly ornamented front in the classical style; through its open door a glimpse is caught of a beautiful patio filled with palms, vines, and plants. These patios are the only bright spots in the city, and even the most forbidding and dirty-looking habitations are rich in the possession of these cheery, verdant bowers. Some of the “posadas” or inns are picturesque enough to look at, particularly if they are regarded from the point of view of a lover of ruins, but as hostelries they do not offer much attraction, for their tottering walls threaten to engulf the inmates, particularly when a good storm is raging. Under the verandahs groups of women sit gossiping and smoking big cigars, which they puff with real enjoyment. A strange medley of animals lies around—dogs, cats, monkeys, pigs, and the curious carpincha, whilst through the turned wooden bars that screen the windows handsome young faces framed with brightly covered scarves peep out at the few passers-by.

[Image unavailable.]


When leaving Corrientes by the steamer it is wise to engage the services of one of the peons who are attached to the landing-stage.{219} These watermen, who are always to be found upon the wharf, keep their attention riveted upon the river, and as the hour at which the steamers arrive is rather uncertain, the advantages of having a watchman who will give timely warning to intending voyagers is apparent. At any hour of the twenty-four the vessel may arrive, and as it remains only a few minutes alongside the quay, it is well for passengers to be at hand.

[Image unavailable.]


The journey up the river from Corrientes to Asuncion has plenty of incident to enliven it, particularly when one of the periodical revolutions of the little republic of Paraguay is in progress, for then the uncertainty of finding villages still inhabited, the prospect of encountering tramp steamers converted into “battleships,” and small troops of armed men parading the river banks only adds to the fascination the romantic country already possesses. Ascending and descending the river one meets with travellers of many nationalities, army officers from the republics of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, merchants and traders, commercial travellers, tourists, and sportsmen. The increasing numbers who journey up these rivers testify to the growing interest that the vast territories in the heart of South{220} America have created, for the Parana is the only practical highway to the State of Matto Grosso, the high central tableland of the continent. Corumba is the busy little shipping port for a vast territory with which it does a thriving trade, and from it travellers to the State capital of Cuyaba embark upon the smaller steamers which navigate the São Lourenco. This branch of the Paraguay is perhaps one of the most characteristically tropical in South America, the vegetation on its banks growing with a profuse abundance. The State of Matto Grosso is an almost unexplored territory, and although containing a wealth of minerals, hardwoods, and rubber, only a fraction has been gathered and exported. When the half-million square miles that constitute the area of this State are contrasted with the total exports, to the value of about the same number of pounds sterling, the possibilities of enormous developments are apparent. The name of the State, “Matto Grosso” (dense forest), gives some indication of the character of the country, and it is not surprising that rubber should be one of its most important products. Gold is found in many of the rivers and hills, and alluvial workings have been carried on ever since the Jesuits, three hundred years ago, discovered them to be profitable. After heavy showers of rain it is said that gold is washed down the streets of the capital. Diamonds, copper, silver, and lead have also been found, and each year sees more enterprises developing some of the immeasurable resources. In the rainy season, when the rivers break through and overflow their normal banks, it is possible for a canoe or small boat to voyage from the Amazon to the mouth of the River Plate, and many projects have been put forward to permanently connect the two rivers by canals. The old maps of the continent show that a waterway was known to the earliest explorers. Captain Sharp’s map, published in the seventeenth century, indicates a great waterway connecting the Amazon with the River Plate, and on it the territory of Brazil and Uruguay are shown as a huge island quite separate from the rest of the continent, and although the map is rough and primitive, the fact that a river route between the points mentioned existed, is insisted upon with a decision indicative of definite knowledge. Railways are now in course of construction which will connect Corumba with São Paulo, and Cuyaba with Goyaz and the federal capital of Brazil, and then the journey from the seaports of Brazil to the farthest{221}

[Image unavailable.]


outposts of the republic will be accomplished in about three or four days, instead of twelve or more, as at present. A few travellers, either to gain experience or from necessity, have made the fatiguing journey from Corumba to La Paz, in Bolivia, and vice versa. From all the accounts they give, it is not one which has many attractions to compensate for the many discomforts and even hardships that are certain to be encountered. From Corumba the traveller proceeds on muleback across a dry, desolate plain, with no shelter and little water for eighteen days, and encounters only a few Indians, friendly enough inclined, but possessed of nothing to offer in the way of hospitality to strangers. Arrived at Sucre, a halt can be made, and a short rest taken before proceeding to La Paz through Cochabamba and Oruro. The whole journey on muleback occupies about forty days, and can be recommended to robust and hardy persons who, tired of luxury and the easy comforts of civilised life, are anxious for a change.

To return to the river. The heat during the summer months is intense, the thermometer usually registering about 90° in the shade. The river continues wide and winding as it passes the Grand Chaco on the one side and the wooded plains on the other. The banks in places are straight as an even wall, and from the steamer look like embankments of masonry. The continual wash from the traffic that plies upon the river has its effect, however, shown by the gaps formed by slides and erosions. Endless swamps stretch for miles during the rainy season, and the many trees are only saved from complete submersion by the twisted cables of lianas which hold them firmly together. Flocks of small aquatic birds amidst the network of creepers and branches are silently alert, fishing for a meal. In many places fantastic and exaggerated tree trunks grow from the water’s edge, and grassy plains, barely rising above the river’s surface, extend for miles. Close by the shores alligators bask, with their ugly snouts just above the water, disappearing immediately they are disturbed by the wash from the passing steamers or the approach of small boats and canoes. On both sides of the river, cattle, horses, and ostriches graze in wild freedom upon the meadowland. Mud huts appear at intervals, and natives in dirty white, ragged garments loll under the shade of thatched verandahs. Many of the huts, constructed with the sides and ends of old kerosene tins and bits of packing cases, add a variety to the architectural styles{223}

[Image unavailable.]


of these primitive habitations. Canoes with blunt prows and rounded sterns ply from shore to shore, and surround the steamers that come to anchor at a “port.” They carry odd cargoes, curious passengers and their belongings, bundles of many colours, old iron bedsteads and chairs, pots and pans, and household goods and chattels; domestic pets, monkeys, parrots, and dogs, all form part of their mixed freight. Trestle beds are the inseparable impedimenta of the German, Italian, and Spanish labourers, who move about from place to place with the characteristic restlessness of born travellers. These beds serve a double purpose, and are used as holdalls for all their owners’ baggage by day, and as their couches by night, when the fore deck of the steamer{224} is transformed into an open-air dormitory. At Formosa, an important though small town on the Argentine side of the river, a large crowd assembles to witness the arrival and departure of the steamer. Cabs and wagonettes convey the passengers to and from the town, which lies at a little distance from the river bank, and the habitual quietude of the port is disturbed for a few hours or so.

During a voyage I made up the river a revolution was in progress, and the town of Villetta was in the hands of the insurgents; an armed steamer lay off the town, its decks swarming with men in khaki uniforms. There were Englishmen and other Europeans on board, members of the great army of soldiers of fortune who always contrive to get mixed up with South American revolutions. On the decks of the innocent-looking tramp steamer which had been re-named the Constituccion, quick-firing and other small armaments glistened in the sunlight, whilst a wireless installation and searchlights testified to the resourcefulness of the insurgents. All along the Paraguayan banks of the river we encountered little bands of the rebels and many deserted villages. Passengers were landed upon the banks near the latter, and surrounded by their belongings were left quite contented, if not happy, with no one to welcome or receive them. In some of the villages a few women and children were left in charge, the men and youths having fled across the river to the Argentine. The women would come down to the water’s edge and exchange news with our passengers in half-amused, half-frightened tones, and many of the aspects of the revolution had an irresistibly comic side to them. Farther up the river more primitive methods of life and commerce prevail, and half-amphibious dwellings lie on the borders of the great “esteros” or marsh lands that stretch away from the river. In the rainy season these lands become vast lakes, the thick, stiff, clayey soil forming an impervious bottom. In the dry season the water evaporates, and leaves behind a grey, dusty soil of great gaping cracks, and a strong, wiry grass and stunted shrubs growing in many patches. The dreary malarious wastes extend far beyond the limits of the river’s bank, and on these placid, stagnant areas the mosquito finds a congenial breeding ground. On these swamps numerous aquatic plants grow, and the camalote and many varieties of white and blue lilies, whilst the Victoria regia spreads out its broad, green leaves and snowy flowers.{225} On the higher lands farther to the north the landscape becomes bolder and more picturesque. Vast woods, dense and almost impenetrable, abound, and harbour a wealth of animal life. Beautifully marked jaguars, tiger cats, and ocelots make their lairs in the dark recesses of these gloomy forests, monkeys chatter amongst the trees, whilst snakes and lizards glide and dart through the confused matted undergrowth. The carpincha, the largest of existent rodents, wallows in the muddy margins of the swamps; a droll-looking animal, rapid though clumsy in its movements, possessing a ludicrous truncated face that would provoke a smile from an anchorite. The whole country is a sportsman’s paradise, for it harbours a plentiful variety of large and fierce quadrupeds, and teems with feathered game. The stately heron and gaunt stork haunt the river banks, as do innumerable water birds, ducks and geese of many native varieties. Pheasants, partridge, snipe, and pigeon fly over land and water, great flocks of parrots, with harsh, strident cries, break the silence of the evening calm. At sunset, when the dying hues of the sun incarnadine the expansive waters, the prevailing tone of greyness comes as a welcome relief, after the blinding glare of the daytime, when from a myriad diamond points the reflected light dances upon the rippling waters. The western sky is diffused with a golden or ruddy glow, and forms a mellow background to the rich, mysterious greens of the tree-clad banks. Cormorants, kingfishers, and storks sail above the surface of the water in search of prey, and when the brief period of twilight ceases the starry swarms of the heavens shine from the blue vault overhead with an amazing brilliance. The long-drawn reflections of the night-lights of the sky in the river form streaks of opal light, which move ever forward with the ship’s advance like dancing will-o’-the-wisps, the rare beauty of the tropical night is deeply impressive, and, in the silence, ideas of space are magnified by many reflections, nature becomes more mysterious, the passing hour more trivial, and man and all his efforts shrink into insignificance.{226}



THE sun was just beginning to dispel the white morning mists when we came alongside the Aduana or custom-house of Asuncion. Our fellow-passengers were all anxious to learn the latest developments of the revolution in progress, and to discover if it was wise for them to trust themselves on shore, for it is proverbial that Paraguay is like a mouse-trap, easy enough of entrance, but difficult of exit. Alongside of the wharf or quay of the Aduana lay a small steam trawler, which, upon closer inspection, proved to be the Government battleship, its deck swarming with a dirty, ill-clad, frightened crew, who were confused by the conflicting orders shouted at them from time to time by youthful officers, barely out of their teens.

The restlessness of the crew of the Liberdad extended to the small tender that rushed about with noisy, feverish haste on various errands, and to the small row-boats manned by crews of mere boys whose faces were smacked and punched by the officers in charge whenever they missed a stroke or pulled out of time.

Upon the wharf soldiers, with bayonets fixed to their loaded rifles, lounged and smoked in the company of dark-eyed market women, who also puffed and pulled at fat cigars rolled between their protruding lips with an easy familiarity.

At the bottom of the flight of steps which led down to the water’s edge a noisy crowd of boatmen wrangled with their fares or contended with one another for favourable positions. One of these boats was occupied by an old man whose face and dress vividly recalled the well-known prints of the patriot Garibaldi, and that he was conscious of the likeness he bore to the distinguished Italian hero was obvious, for, in bright yellow letters, the{227} name “Garibaldi” was painted upon the green stern of his tiny craft. Further inquiry elicited the fact that the owner of the likeness and the boat was one of the family of Italy’s wandering sons.

Two battleships lay far out in the river, one flying the Argentine and the other the Brazilian flag, and the crews’ weekly washing. Small launches kept coming and going from and to these fourth-rate river cruisers, giving an air of warlike activity to the port.

[Image unavailable.]


There was no difficulty in going ashore; and, although passengers bound for stations in the interior found that the railway station was closed and under charge of an old watchman and a few old women who were resting upon the seats of the deserted terminus, they had no difficulty in obtaining rooms in the ill-kept and expensive hotels of the city.

There is little life in the rugged streets of Asuncion at any hour of the day in normal times, but during the early mornings, when a revolution is in progress, a few dogs, cats, and fowls have undisturbed possession of the thoroughfares.

The town is well enough laid out, and follows a regular plan;{228} but the low, one-story buildings which line many of the streets, and the absence of many tall buildings, prevent the city from having an imposing aspect. The roads are bad, and the high pavements, which serve in most cases as balconies to the houses, often compel the pedestrian to use the rough roadways, which, however, are not quite so bad as those of Corrientes. In wet weather many of the roads are converted into rivulets, only to be negotiated by stepping from one to the other of the large stones which lie like boulders across the stream. The older houses are all built with “adobes” or sun-dried bricks, having substantial walls of more than a yard in thickness. The roofs are covered with double layers of red tiles of the “roman” pattern, and many of the external walls are panelled and framed in by columns or pilasters in low relief, the whole front being colour-washed in some fanciful shade, according to the owner’s taste. Blues, yellows, purples, greens, and buffs give a kaleidoscopic aspect to the streets, additional variety being lent by the heavy, massive doors and shutters of the entrances and windows, the former opening into vestibules which lead to the pillared and grassy patios beyond.

The kitchens are dark and sooty apartments, full of a heavy atmosphere, and the pungent smell of garlic and cooking fat; but lofty rooms with heavy rafters made from palm-tree trunks are to be found in many of the houses, timber being so plentiful that even the jerry-builders of the country have no temptation to substitute two-by-three joists and rafters. The majority of the houses boast of broad piazzas with heavy pillars and shady upper galleries, which recall the styles of Morocco and Algiers.

The newer buildings in the town, however, display evidence that the modern utilitarian craze for cheapness, with its almost inevitable nastiness, has spread to Paraguay.

They are flimsy and cheaply ornate, with thinner walls and more hastily contrived and executed doors and windows, the woodwork of which is a sad departure from the ideals inculcated by the stern Francia, whose passion for thoroughness in all things called forth the enthusiastic praise of the “philosopher of Chelsea.”

The Dictator of Paraguay permitted no citizen to slur or scamp his work, but demanded the best from every man, exacting a high standard of workmanship, and enforcing the same by{229} the erection of that extraordinary institution known as the “workman’s gallows,” which promptly ended the career of negligent and deceitful craftsmen. All the windows, too, of the older houses in this strange city have heavier iron bars than those commonly found in Spanish dwellings, and this also may be the result of the stern Dictator’s decrees.

For it was under the auspices of the “Grand Old Man” of Paraguay that most of the city was built. When he took up the reins of government he found Asuncion in disorder, its streets irregular, and its houses built without system or plan. Tropical vegetation ran riot in its roadways, which were unpaved and unworthy of the name. When the visitor to-day feels inclined to criticise adversely the streets and roads of the city as he finds them, he should pause and reflect upon its state a hundred years ago, and bless, even if reluctantly, the name of Francia, who remodelled and paved the town, straightened the crooked ways, and brought about some measure of order.

It has been alleged by the Doctor’s traducers that his real purpose in bringing about so many drastic changes was his own convenience and safety, fearing that the dense thickets that grew throughout and around the city might harbour and conceal designing assassins.

Of the few buildings of any great importance, the cathedral, although large, is dwarfed by a high colonnade which rises up to the roof of the deserted and ill-kept edifice, whose walls are discoloured and faded by the action of rain and sun.

One of the few outstanding features of the place is the huge dome which towers above all the other buildings, but the visitor is disappointed when, on closer inspection, he discovers that it is neither old nor new, but merely a monument to the childish and unstable zeal of the tyrant Lopez, who, with a feverish energy, undertook many ambitious building schemes, which, through lack of means or waning enthusiasm, he never completed.

This dome is constructed of dull red adobe bricks, and is imposing and dignified enough in appearance; but the interior is now utilised as a store, and the inhabitants who use it seem to have little idea as to who built it, or for what it was originally intended.

A few buildings in the main street of the city rise to two, three,{230}

[Image unavailable.]


and even four stories. One of these, the Spanish-American Hotel, is an old stone building, with a lofty piazza surrounded by heavy pillars, whilst quaint, lugubrious staircases wind round this patio, and lead to the upper floors, which are all of stone. In this hotel, travellers to the city obtain solid food and strongly fortified accommodation, and must not be surprised if they find that the charges are proportionately heavy. The place reminded me of many of the old hotels upon the Spanish Main in Cuba, Mexico, and Colombia, where the same free and easy attendance{231} was given to the guests, and the same highly seasoned dishes were set in front of them. A travelling theatrical company happened to be staying in this hotel during my sojourn, but the presence of the fashionable ladies of the footlights attracted but little attention in the city, which was in a highly strung condition, owing to the disturbed state of the country. Few of the beaux of the town dared venture out; many of them were already either in the ranks of the Government or the insurgents, and those who were not were lying low, fearful of being pressed into service.

Only in the market-place were the ordinary scenes of daily routine to be witnessed, and that because the whole of the business is carried on by the womenfolk. The long and terrible war which was waged by the younger Lopez for six years very nearly exterminated the male portion of the community, so that to-day the women far outnumber the men.

This market is a real live place, with its crowds of dark-haired women and children, the former clad in white or brightly coloured dresses and wearing graceful mantillas or shawls of varied hues, squatting upon the ground, surrounded by a medley of wares in the shape of fruits, meats, sweets, and vegetables. Many of the groups that wear the black mantillas over their heads and falling in long, graceful folds around their shoulders, reminded me very much of the funeral parties that mourn round the coffins outside the country churches in Mexico; but the bright colours of the fruits and flowers, and the blue of the sky, seemed to gain in intensity from these little touches of funereal black. Here and there patient kine stand waiting to yield up their supply of milk to passing customers, whilst their muzzled calves strive in vain to obtain their rightful nourishment. Panniered donkeys and mules are ranged in rows along the railings that surround the inner square, women of all ages pass gracefully to and fro amidst the crowd, their purchases or wares poised easily upon their heads, and altogether the scene presents an animation that is in strong contrast with the listlessness of the rest of the town.

Not a few of the young girls and maidens are very pretty, with slender, graceful figures, jet-black hair, and lustrous eyes, fringed with long lashes, their complexions ranging from light saffron to darkest olive shades, although a few of them possess a really European appearance. Their costumes are simple and{232} inexpensive, although many of the poorest wear ornaments in the way of earrings and necklaces, of native workmanship, made of silver and often of gold. I noticed, however, that some were wearing the cheaper forms of jewellery of foreign manufacture, and that the cut and fashions of modern modes were obtaining popularity amongst the better-to-do market women.

Young children of both sexes run about in a perfectly nude state, even in the town, and in the country this is practically a universal custom. The Paraguayans are all rather short, but strongly knit and wiry. They betray little evidence of Spanish blood, and although there must be in the towns many whose origin is Indo-Spanish, the Indo predominates. The language spoken by the masses is the Guarani, an Indian dialect which is common over a large district in the heart of the continent. The upper classes betray a marked Spanish origin, both in their appearance and speech, and are a little better educated; but most of the people of real Spanish descent were killed during the war, and few, if any, remain to-day who can boast a purely European origin, excepting always the small number of foreigners, English, Italians, Germans, Portuguese, and Spaniards, who have found their way into the country during the last century, and settled there, and those who continue to flow in year after year from many climes, making their new homes in this beautiful country.

Smoking is a universal habit amongst the women in the market-place, and when the thick black rolls of tobacco leaf are laid aside, mouths are generally closed over “bombillas,” through which they suck the steaming “yerba.” Vendors of the beautiful native lace wander up and down, carrying over their arms baskets filled with a large assortment of the delicate handiwork. The visitor is quickly singled out for attention, and invited to inspect the goods, and on his displaying the slightest curiosity is importuned to accompany the dame to one of the shops which surround the market square, where, without “by your leave” to its owner, the goods are spread out upon a table or counter, and a sale is sure to be effected. The proprietor of the shop looks calmly on with apparently no interest in the business, but it is more than likely that some understanding with the itinerant vendor exists, and that when the purchaser has departed the shopkeeper will get a commission for the use of his premises. The lace is very{233} handsome, and although small pieces can be purchased for about half a sovereign, the larger articles, with more intricate workmanship, cost as much as thirty and forty pounds. One small basket, the contents of which I inspected, must have contained a stock worth two or three hundred pounds, if the price asked for the various examples was realised by the merry, middle-aged lady who hawked it round the square.

[Image unavailable.]


The Plaza is surrounded by houses of a single story, which have mostly been converted into shops. The high pavement in front of these, reached by steps, is covered by deeply projecting tile-covered eaves forming a kind of verandah, under which groups of women sit amidst their piled-up wares, indolently smoking, expectorating, chattering, and laughing.

Few market-places in the Old or New World have more distinctly unique characteristics than this of Asuncion, none that I have ever seen are so completely in the hands of the fair sex or so free from the intrusion of men.

The city is built on a gradual slope, which rises from the river and extends southwards for a mile or more, its grass-grown{234} streets having different levels, many of them descending with a startling suddenness. In order to progress in a straight line it will be found necessary to continually ascend or descend flights of steps, the difference of level being sometimes as much as twenty feet. The outlying streets are full of interesting little domestic scenes, women with their ubiquitous cigars busy at the wash-tub or hanging out the clothes to dry in the burning sun, culinary operations carried on in the open air under the shade of overhanging eaves or leafy trees. A black-draped doorway here and there intimates to the passers-by that the Great Avenger has paid his dire visit, and through the opening the mourners may be seen sitting beside their dead, and receiving the condolences of friends and relatives, a scene made gloomier by contrast with the brilliant sky against which tall palms nod their leafy crowns, gorgeously plumaged birds wing their joyous flight, and snow-white, fleecy clouds chase one another in endless succession.

At midday, when the sunshine beats warm upon the sleeping town, the shops are closed, the market-place deserted, and desolation reigns in street and square, where the heat from the ground is visible by the quivering motion of the air. The glowing richness of the country roads is refreshing, after these dry, parched, city streets, and the boundless expanse of green hill and valley which stretches around is broken only by the bright silvery light of the river that winds through many and varied scenes northwards, amidst remote, unknown tropical fastnesses, and southwards towards the largest city south of the Equator.

The aboriginal inhabitants of South America are always referred to by the Spanish historians and writers under the generic name of Indians, and very many tribes more or less differentiated by customs, manners, appearance, and language still inhabit the continent. The Guarani peoples who are found to-day in Paraguay are distributed over a large area, extending from the main waters of the Amazon and Madeira rivers through the heart of the continent. Amidst the forests and in the dense chaco of the Paraguay and Parana rivers many still wander in a primitive condition, whilst others but little higher in the scale of civilisation who have come under the influence of the Jesuit missionaries, occupy villages and towns scattered throughout the country.

The early European invaders of the continent were relentless{235}

[Image unavailable.]


in their treatment of the natives with whom they came in contact, for with the utmost rapacity and cruelty they enslaved or slaughtered such of the ignorant and defenceless creatures as were unable to escape into the bush. The country has witnessed countless scenes of brutality and bloodshed, enacted frequently in the name of religion, and in some instances with the sanction{236} and countenance of the priests of Rome, who accompanied the expeditions. The Jesuit missionaries who began their humane and truly great work in Paraguay in 1586 must, however, be acquitted of the charge of cruelty and barbarity, displaying, as they did, a wisdom and self-sacrifice that will ever be memorable in the annals of the race, and the advent of these truly brave-hearted men is one of the brightest spots in the whole of Paraguayan history. The sons of all the nations of Europe contributed their share to the establishment of the mission stations among the Indians, and laboured to teach the primitive savages the principles of the Christian religion and the industrial arts of peace. Churches were built, many of which remain standing to-day, the trackless wilds and forests were penetrated by the faithful band whose unyielding opposition to the grasping avarice and barbarous cruelties of the Spanish settlers has earned for them the high place in the regard of subsequent ages which is their just reward.

Finding that the colonial authorities were careless of the trust reposed in them, the Jesuits advocated the cause of the natives to the very steps of the throne of Spain, and had the satisfaction of receiving the King’s approval of their efforts and his sanction to their further enterprise.

Unlike the generality of religious bodies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Jesuits, instead of leading lives of seclusion, pursued an absolutely reverse method, adopting a policy of practical helpfulness towards the masses of mankind, irrespective of colour, nationality, or creed. Their ranks, comprising some of the cleverest and most business-like brains of the time, were under the able generalship of men who were statesmen, politicians, or fighters, as occasion required, who adapted their methods to the countries in which and the peoples amongst whom they worked, whilst their firmness of character and mobility of action were admirably suited to the great task which they set themselves.

Under their able guidance and stern rule many tribes were arrested from pursuing the aimless, idle existence of nomads, and were collected into villages, where church and clergy ministered to their spiritual and temporal wants. Individual members of these tribes were raised to positions of trust and authority in each village or settlement, native “regidors” and “alcaldes” administered law and maintained order; the assistant clergy{237} managed all the secular matters connected with the communities, instructing the people in arts and industries, directing the agricultural labour upon the land, teaching the young, and caring for the aged and infirm.

No private property existed in these Arcadian settlements, and the produce of nature’s harvests and men’s labour was stored for common use, the surplus being sold or exchanged to pay the King of Spain taxes and to supply the community with such manufactured articles as they required but were unable to make for themselves. The system evolved by the missionaries proved, whilst it lasted, one of the best ever adopted for governing native races and presented so many points of similarity to the plan introduced and perfected by the Incas on the Western Cordillera, that it is probable the Jesuit fathers moulded their government upon that of the ancient Peruvian theocracy.

The simple South American natives were easily led and their respect won by the efforts of the handful of Jesuits whose superior wisdom, strong character, and benign sympathy admirably fitted them for such work.

To these pioneers of a just appreciation of the rights of the natives, the country owes much, and it is unfortunate that the priests who have succeeded them have not lived and acted up to the high example set by the early fathers. The falling away is pitiful and the results deplorable, although, perhaps, the present state of affairs is an improvement upon that existing in the middle of last century, when a foreign resident in the city of Asuncion accused the priests of crass ignorance and gross immorality, adding that they were “great cock-fighters and gamblers, possessing a vast influence over women, a power which they turn to the basest of purposes, but they are little respected by the men.”

During my visit to Paraguay I met with persons who still believe the stories of a wild tribe still extant who flee from the approach of strangers, and who roam the woods and wander along the banks of remote rivers in a state of complete nudity. This tribe is thought by some to be the degenerate result of close inter-breeding, and it is said that the children who have been left behind and captured when the tribe was suddenly surprised have been found to be incapable of learning to talk. The ape-like characteristics of these tribes have been much commented{238} upon, and the other natives regard them as so low in the scale of creation that they have no compunction in shooting them down at sight, looking upon them as little better than thieving monkeys. These “Guaqui” Indians are reputed to have no houses or huts of any description, no clothes or ornaments, no knowledge of the use of fire, and no articulate language, facts which, if correct, would seem to class them as the lowest and most primitive human beings at present existing upon the earth’s surface.

[Image unavailable.]


The history of every country is to a great extent moulded by the character of its inhabitants, and in the case of Paraguay it is not difficult to understand the causes of the interminable and ever-recurrent revolutions which are almost synonymous with the name of the republic. Nature is in one of her bountiful moods in the heart of South America, and does not invite to strenuous toil, for existence is easy and the development of its rich resources makes no appeal whatever to the indolent aborigines of the country.

The swelling rivers Parana and Paraguay irrigate the fertile plains, and the warm, healthy climate stimulates vegetation to a wild profusion. The whole aspect of the country gives a{239} feeling of repose, and especially is this true of the rivers, with their similarity of scenery and comparative absence of human habitations; whilst a journey up these in flood time is one through absolutely desolate regions.

Even after three centuries of contact with virile settlers from Europe, the towns scattered throughout the country preserve the appearance of ancient centres of civilisation long abandoned. Paraguay is a country that does not change outwardly, whatever political upheavals may disturb the routine of the life of its inhabitants.{240}


A South American Dictator

THE early history of Paraguay is almost identical with that of other South American States. Spain, its conqueror and coloniser, chose a psychological moment for the work—that enchanted period in the history of mankind when the world was opening grand visions to poets and inspiring warlike adventurers on mighty quests through uncharted seas and in lands unmarked by the footsteps of civilisation. It would have been well for the honour and glory of Spain had these adventurous mariners and soldiers been inspired with the spirit of Arthur’s knights, for then the history of Paraguay would not have begun amidst scenes of brutality and bloodshed.

The earliest Spanish settlement in Paraguay was at Asuncion, under the leadership of Dominges Irala, and the treatment which he and his followers meted out to the Indians was similar to that which the luckless natives experienced at the hands of the colonists throughout the continent. The Indians were reduced practically to a state of slavery by their taskmasters, whose relationships with the tribal women were of none too scrupulous a character, so that when the Jesuit missionaries arrived they found many abuses, which they did their best to abolish. The long period during which the fathers administered the country was one of comparative peace, and it was only when the religious order was banished from the country that discord and strife arose.

Paraguay was separated from the province of Buenos Ayres in 1620, although the government of both States was administered from Lima, the Peruvian capital. When the spirit of liberation began to stir the colonies to rebellion against the Spanish government, the enthusiasm of Bolivar, the Liberator, quickly spread{241} through the length and breadth of the land, and the mother country, with her national spirit exhausted and her exchequer depleted by the costly Napoleonic Wars, was incapable of preventing the secession of her oversea dominions. One by one the countries, which are all independent republics to-day, broke away from her rule, and in the year 1811 the autonomy of Paraguay was proclaimed after a bloodless revolution. This State was the last to join in the general movement, and then only after having refused the proffered assistance of the La Plata provinces, even going the length of repulsing by force the advance of General Belgrano, who came to invite their co-operation against the Spanish rule.

A few months afterwards, however, they changed their attitude, and followed the example of the other States. Velasco, the Spanish Viceroy of the province, made little or no resistance and was allowed to occupy a position in the new Government.

This first revolution was but the precursor of a long series, not yet ended, the initial independent Government being soon displaced by another revolt, bloodless like the first, and a wealthy gaucho—Don Fulgencio Yegros—became President, occupying the position for a short period, with Dr. Francia as his adviser. In the following year another change took place, and Francia became First Consul. For a period of nearly thirty years this strange personality guided the destinies of the new State entirely single handed.

Little is known of his origin and early history, but his reign of terror is remembered to this day, and was a period of much meaning in the history of the country.

Francia seems to have been of French or Portuguese extraction, and was educated at Cordova, in Tucuman. His original intention appears to have been to enter the Church, but he exchanged his theological studies for those of the law, and on his return to Asuncion soon acquired a reputation as an upright and honest lawyer, a hater of injustice, and a hermit. He became one of the chief advisers during the formation of the republic, and soon rose to the position of the head of the State, successively styling himself Consul, Dictator, and finally Supreme and Perpetual Dictator. In this position Francia soon gave evidence of his remarkable personality, one of his first acts of policy being to isolate Paraguay from the rest of the world. Erecting guardhouses{242} along its frontiers and forts upon its rivers, he succeeded in keeping the State “a field enclosed” all through his long reign. Not a single native was allowed to leave the country, and the few foreigners who succeeded in entering had the greatest difficulty in leaving. A few trading vessels were permitted to enter the river ports, but only when provided with the Dictator’s licence, and under the most drastic restrictions and supervision. As the years wore on Francia grew more and more despotic, retiring within himself and eschewing company until he was as completely isolated from the rest of his kind as his country was from the rest of the world.

The masses of the people accepted his fearful rule with docility and complaisance, but the more educated classes, whose opposition and political intrigues endangered the tyrant’s supremacy, were treated with the greatest severity, wholesale executions being of frequent occurrence.

But against such excesses towards the political classes must be set the many beneficent measures he inaugurated for preserving the peace and increasing the prosperity of his country. Obtaining arms from abroad, he disciplined his soldiers and struck terror into the hearts of the bandits and highwaymen who infested the territory. He went about the city making personal surveys, and taking levels in connection with the improvements he undertook.

Since the expulsion of the Jesuits the Church had sadly deteriorated and fallen low in its influence for good upon the population, and his efforts were untiring in endeavouring to arouse the clergy to a proper sense of their secular duties. He himself held advanced and enlightened views which inspired him with contempt for the supine Church and its sensual, indolent priesthood. He never attended Mass, and consistently refused to profess adherence to a faith in which he had no belief, but his absolute honesty and devotion to the best interests of his people were unquestionable, and his methods saved the country from many years of anarchy. Purging the State of dishonest servants, he set an example which other republics might follow with advantage, and his benevolence to the poor and weak was only equalled by his severity towards the rich and strong.

In appearance this singular man was lean, tall, saturnine, and forbidding, whilst his qualities were a blend of those associated{243} with Cromwell, Napoleon, and Robespierre. He filled his subjects with an abiding dread, and they almost feared to mention his awful name. During his lifetime he was “El Supremo,” and during the years immediately after his death he was referred to as “El Defuncto.” Few save his bodyguard dared to approach him, and when he passed through the streets he ordered the people to retire within their houses and close all doors and windows upon pain of death, whilst anyone found loitering in the road leading from the palace to the barracks of San Francisco, almost the only one he traversed, was severely beaten by the soldiers. He frustrated numerous plots made for his assassination, and many weird stories are told of him and his peculiar relations with his subjects. One old lady used to relate how when a child she was sent one day to the market-place to buy oranges, and was returning with her apron filled with them when hastily turning a corner she came unexpectedly upon the dreaded Dictator. She immediately fell upon her knees and begged for her life, the oranges meanwhile scattering in all directions. Francia smiled, and gently said, “Go, my daughter, you have done no wrong,” then rode upon his way.

On another occasion a funeral procession crossed the road as he approached, and the bearers immediately dropped the bier, priests and mourners hiding themselves behind the hedge at the roadside until he had passed.

When in the year 1820 a plague of locusts (a common scourge of the country) destroyed all the crops and ruin and starvation stared the people in the face, the Dictator issued orders to the agriculturists to at once sow fresh patches of land, enforcing his decree with the threat of heavy penalties, with the result that a fairly good harvest was secured, and the discovery made that the country was capable of yielding two good harvests in each year.

It was only when the hand of death relieved Paraguay from the rule of the Dictator and tyrant that the people breathed more freely. His body was interred in the “Iglesia de la Incarnacion” in Asuncion, but the following day it was discovered that vandal hands had scattered the bricks of the tomb and removed the remains. What became of them still remains a mystery, but the explanation of the priests, “that the evil one had carried them away,” has long ceased to be regarded as satisfactory.{244}


More Modern Times in Paraguay

THE close of Francia’s career opened a fresh chapter in the history of Paraguay. The position occupied for three decades by an outstanding personality was not easily filled, and for a time two men, Carlos Lopez and Mariano Alonzo, ruled as joint Consuls, until the stronger of the two, Lopez, took the reins of government into his own hands, and secured for himself the position of President.

His rule was as absolute as that of his great predecessor; but although he made no drastic changes in the rigorous laws of Francia, he administered them with more indulgence, and the twenty years during which he held sway were comparatively uneventful. At his death, in 1862, it was found that by his will he provided that the government should be carried on by a triumvirate, which was to include his son Francesco, and when the presidential election was held the result was a foregone conclusion, for all the machinery was controlled by the man who was necessarily successful. It is almost impossible, even at this time of day, to write with any restraint of Francesco Lopez, a bloodthirsty monster who had no redeeming quality save, perhaps, his affection for his mistress, Madame Lynch, and the children she bore him. His exploits recall the wildest excesses of Tamburlaine or the Spanish despots of the Dark Ages, and his overweening ambition, fostered by his mistress, translated itself into a fierce desire to become a leading factor in South America, and landed his little country into a war which lasted for nearly six years, and well-nigh wiped out the whole of the male population of Paraguay.

It is almost incredible, until its many fine natural defences are considered, that so small a State could hold out for so long{245} against the combined efforts of three such powerful allies as Brazil, Argentine, and Uruguay. Had national liberty been the object, the struggle would have been magnificent, but being undertaken, as it was, to gratify the caprice of a single man, it was a reprehensible blunder which came within an ace of losing for Paraguay her independence.

The disputes and dissensions which arose in 1863 between Brazil, Argentine, and Uruguay with reference to a revolution then in progress in the latter country, were seized upon by Lopez as an excuse to offer his services as mediator between the contending parties. This offer was declined on all hands, for the name of Paraguay was not popular in the “Plate” at this time, owing to the policy of the former country in excluding foreigners, and badly treating those who did manage to get in.

[Image unavailable.]


Lopez, thus repulsed, seized a Brazilian steamer passing up the river from Montevideo to Matto Grosso, and converted it into a gunboat for his own use. His next step was the invasion of Matto Grosso, where defenceless towns and villages were ruthlessly sacked and burnt. The details of the long war that followed, the many battles, skirmishes, and bombardments all sink into insignificance before the conduct of Francesco Lopez himself. The thin veneer of civilisation he acquired during his stay in Paris soon wore off, and the traits of the Indian savage, inherited from his Guycuru ancestors, were displayed in all their nakedness.

The catalogue of his crimes includes the execution of one of his brothers and two of his brothers-in-law. Their wives and{246} his own sisters were imprisoned in cages and covered bullock-carts for months, being fed through an aperture, as if they were wild beasts, whilst one of them was stripped nude and driven thus through the streets. His most intimate friends and best generals were tortured and shot, and the wife of one general who had surrendered to the enemy was speared by his orders. He forced his mother, aged seventy, to swear before the altar that she recognised him only as her child, compelling her to curse the rest of her children as rebels and traitors. He flouted the nations with impunity and subjected foreigners, including English and Americans, living in his capital to the most excruciating tortures. This monster was killed by the thrust of a lance after his few remaining troops had been defeated and the country reduced to utter helplessness.

The three allies, Argentine, Brazil, and Uruguay, had by a treaty signed in 1865 bound themselves to respect and guarantee for a period of five years the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Paraguay, and the new Government which arose from out the ruins undertook to pay a war indemnity of nearly fifty million pounds sterling, a debt, it is almost needless to say, that has not been discharged up to the present time. The jealousies of these erstwhile allies are the best guarantee of the continued independence of Paraguay, and even the continual dislocation of business occasioned by the incessant revolutions in the country does not tempt outsiders to interfere.

The last two or three years would have been prosperous ones for the country but for the political unrest which makes it almost impossible for any development to take place.

In 1910 Señor Gondra was elected President, and formed his ministry; but he was unfortunate in his choice of Albino Jara for the portfolio of war. Jara headed a revolution to depose his chief, and in January, 1911, succeeded in usurping the presidential chair. In a month Gondra started a counter revolution to regain his lost position, and a fight took place, in which six or seven hundred Paraguayans, who could ill be spared, lost their lives. The revolt was unsuccessful, and the chief officer of Gondra’s party was taken prisoner and shot. Albino Jara does not seem to have inspired his followers with much attachment, although he is alleged to have increased the pay of the army, and in July, 1911, they revolted against his petty tyranny, and{247} he was either persuaded to leave or was shipped out of the country with a pension and the title of general. The president of the senate was called upon to fill the place of President until a new one should be elected, but the role so appealed to him that he resigned the occupancy of both positions in order to offer himself as a candidate for a term of the Presidency.

Having secured both nomination and election, Liberado M. Rogas was installed for the term which ends in November, 1914, but Gondra and his followers, men of means and position, obtained possession of boats, guns, and men, and having the sympathy of the best citizens, succeeded in November, 1911, in obtaining the upper hand. The country was in the thick of this revolt during my visit, and I saw enough in the short time I was there to convince me that the lot of the average Paraguayan is far from enviable, despite his romantic and Arcadian surroundings, where the sun is always shining and the women have no vote but do all the hard work. On all hands one heard complaints of the dislocation of trade, whilst timid folk who were unable to escape out of the country did their best to hide themselves.

Foreigners in the city had to display the greatest caution in their relations with the natives. One Englishman, whose son was lying dangerously ill with typhoid fever, being seen in conversation with the doctor who was attending the case, was immediately warned by the authorities not to mix himself up with politics.

Soldiers were posted at the corners of the deserted streets ever ready to pounce upon likely recruits, and so desperate was the need of the Government for men that even foreigners were in danger of being pressed into the service. I met a youth of Italian extraction a few minutes after he had escaped from the clutches of the Army Board. He had been stopped in the street by a couple of soldiers and carried off to the barracks, where he found many acquaintances who had been similarly captured. He was closely questioned, in Guarani, regarding himself, and had the presence of mind to feign complete ignorance of that language and to employ the Spanish in demanding the reason of his detention. A proficiency in Guarani would have been taken as practical proof that the speaker was a native. Fortunately this young Italian was provided with military papers which proved his nationality, and after an irksome and searching inquiry he was released.{248}

I continually met in the streets detachments of civilians under close guard on their way to the barracks, and found that shops were closed, cafés deserted, whilst the population, nervous and apprehensive, kept themselves in the background. The wharves bristled with armed men, whose wretched physique and poor clothing gave them anything but a military appearance, and they seemed more anxious to keep out of harm’s way than to run any risk of encounter with an enemy.

When the steamers were leaving the port a number of officials went on board and carefully scrutinised the passengers, who had all to be provided with passports to enable them to leave the country, and it was not until the city was left far behind and the town of Villeta safely passed that the apprehensions of many passengers and fugitives were dispelled.

This magnificent and rich country is still a wilderness awaiting development, for its progress during the last fifty years has been so slow that much remains to be done to bring it into line with the general advance made by the surrounding republics.{249}


A Glance at Brazilian History

IF geographical extent, length of seaboard, variety of resources, number of cities, constitute the importance of a country, then Brazil may fairly claim to be the most important State in South America.

It is 2600 miles from north to south, and 2500 miles from east to west, and has a seaboard extending for 3700 miles. In square mileage it is exceeded only by the British Empire, Russia, China, and the United States. It occupies 33 per cent of the whole continent of South America, for it contains within its borders 3,291,416 square miles. It is the proud boast of Brazilian authors that their country is in one sense the most remarkable on the globe, because it is peopled by a single nation, and not by a heterogeneous medley of races, a contention which is perhaps not strictly justified, for even in Brazil many different nationalities go to swell its population, which is quite small for the tremendous area it occupies. To-day it does not contain more than eighteen or nineteen millions of inhabitants. Each year sees an increasing emigration to it, and the nationalities of the new-comers are over thirty in number. Some become naturalised, many refrain from bothering about a formality which bestows few advantages and many obligations. The Brazilian people is made up of three distinct races, Europeans mostly of Latin origin, indigenous Indians and negroes imported from Africa. These different races have mixed and bred, and to some extent have intermarried, and the numerous half-breeds which now inhabit the country are the result. Half whites and half Indians are called “Caboclos,” white and Indian “Mameluco,” white and negro “Mulattos,” the descendants of Mulatto parents “Cascos.” The full-blooded negro is termed “Creolo,” the cross between them and the Indians{250}

[Image unavailable.]


“Carboreto.” These are only a few of the many results of these strange alliances, for there are hundreds of variations resulting from further matrimonial complications. Yet the Brazilian claims them all as comprising one nation. Further, there are to-day many strong and settled colonies of Germans, Italians, and Spaniards in different localities, particularly in the south, which are at present entirely free from the admixture of the diverse strains that run all through the central and northern States. All over Brazil pure negroes still exist, as well as undiluted Indians, and they have the same rights and privileges as their lighter-skinned neighbours, and mix with them with a freedom that is scarcely found in any other country. There is no colour question in Brazil, no antagonism as in the United States of the north, and it seems extremely likely that the merging of the diverse races will go on uninterruptedly until a new type is evolved. When one looks back and considers the problems that confronted the mere handful of adventurous Portuguese pioneers who first settled upon this vast continent, it does not seem at all remarkable that they should have mingled with the races they found and with the slave women they imported. The rough adventurers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries went out to seek their fortunes in wild countries, and they would hesitate to take their womenfolk, even if the latter were not loath to go. This led to their alliances with native and foreign races, and to the population which was destined to hold, if not to develop, the vast country which lay around them. The negro, who has a reputation for laziness, has not transmitted to his descendants any remarkable qualities for activity, unless it be the irrepressible emotionalism which is characteristic of many of the inhabitants of Brazil. Nor has the Indian who for such long ages lived in the most primeval fashion transmitted much initiative. So that what there is of activity and progress in the race to-day must come from the Portuguese and other European ancestry. It is an interesting study, full of suggestion, this of pedigree, even if the student is unsuccessful in arriving at any definite conclusion. The resources of the country are enormous, diverse, and practically inexhaustible, but they have been lying for all the ages hardly touched and generally inadequately worked. The mixed inhabitants are settled upon lands which shelve down from the mountains to the Atlantic coast, or along the banks{252} of the mighty rivers which flow through the impenetrable forests out to sea. There are vast districts of virgin forest and trackless wild where white man has never penetrated, and where the aboriginal Indian is just as savage and untamed as were his ancestors upwards of four centuries ago when European mariners first landed on their shores. Brazil, as we know it to-day, or at least the civilised portion of it, was created by Portugal, and it was one of the distinguished sons of that little nation who had the honour of being its discoverer. In the year 1500 Pedro Alvarez Cabral, sailing from Lisbon ostensibly to make an all-sea voyage to India, diverted his course off the Cape of Good Hope and sailed to the south-west. Forty-two days after leaving Portugal the eyes of the adventurous seaman rested upon Mount Paschoal in the State of Bahia.

[Image unavailable.]


The event was momentous and the hour propitious, for everything favoured Portuguese expansion. The independence of the little kingdom was an accomplished fact, and the possibility of absorption of it by Spain was a remote contingency. The Moors, driven out of the Iberian Peninsula and hurled back to their native Africa, were no longer a menace. In addition to this the Portuguese were quick to perceive that a new era was dawning upon the world, and they were determined to have a hand in the shaping and controlling the future destinies of the newly discovered continent. The conquest and colonisation of Brazil were a national corollary to the earlier discoveries of Portuguese navigators. Cabral, with his companions, was at first inclined to believe that they had struck upon another island similar to those recently discovered in the Caribbean{253} seas by their Spanish rivals, and he christened it, after the fashion of the period, “The Island of the True Cross,” and it was only when the geographical error was realised that the name was altered to Brazil. This name had been used long before, for a western island of the Azores was named “De Brazi,” being derived from the red dye woods which grow so plentifully in tropical latitudes.

[Image unavailable.]


Following immediately upon the discovery of “Brazil” by Cabral and the nominal possession of it by the Crown of Portugal, expeditions were sent, and in two of these the celebrated Amerigo Vespucci took part. He built a fort at Cape Frio, and was so struck by the loveliness of the surrounding country that he thought he was in the region of an earthly paradise. Voyagers on their way to the Indies began to touch upon the Brazilian coast, and it soon became explored by navigators of different nationalities. Portugal, jealous of her rights, had to protect it from the traders of France, who were beginning to have dealings with the natives upon its shores, and in 1527 a post was established for the protection of Portuguese interests. This fort or garrison at Pernambuco was the scene of one or two raids by both French{254} and English seamen, and which hastened the Portuguese Crown to take serious steps to occupy the new territory in a more imposing manner. In 1531 Martin Affonso, with a fleet and about 300 colonists, landed at Pernambuco, and coasted down in the Bay of Rio, and to the mouth of the bay where Santos now stands. On behalf of the Crown he divided the land out into sections, running from the coast into the interior indefinitely, and these were granted to nobles of the Court, who were so unsuccessful in developing their concessions that they were allowed to revert to the Crown. The Portuguese, unlike their Spanish rivals, made no great expeditions into the hinterland of their new colony, and were slow to bring the Indians under their rule. The vastness of the country, and the ease with which the natives could withdraw from the invaders, made it necessary for the governors who were planted up and down the coast to have recourse to the importation of negro slaves from Africa to the northern provinces. Gradually the traders made journeys into the interior, generally along the rivers, to trade with natives, and villages took root; but the greater part of the population settled upon the coasts in such towns as Pernambuco, Bahia, Rio, Espirito Santo, São Paulo, etc.

Of course there were rapacious traders who tried to exact too much from the natives, but a salutary check against their tyranny was soon provided by the Jesuits. These enthusiastic and energetic followers of Loyola have left a deep and abiding mark on nearly all the South American communities. They built churches, founded schools, and taught the Indians the arts of agriculture, and all that they asked in return was obedience and conformity with the rites of the Church. The “Paulistas,” as the lay settlers were termed, saw in Jesuit influence an obstacle to their own domination over the supply of native labour, and conflicts between the religious and secular powers lasted for more than a century, the mother country sometimes siding with one faction and sometimes with the other. But the priests persisted with that zeal which is the traditional mark of their order, and suffered persecution, privation, and even death, rather than relinquish their mission. Vestiges of their work are still to be found in many parts of Brazil and neighbouring States, notably in the place-names, which are often derived from the saints, symbols, and sacraments of the Church.{255}

In the welter of South American politics Brazil has suffered those frequent changes of government which have been the fate of every republic existing in the sub-continent to-day. The first European country to contest the claim of Portugal to this vast territory was France. But although an island in the Bay of Rio was occupied by some French troops in 1515, the danger of permanent French rule was never a strong probability, and it was not long before the invaders were dislodged. A more serious phase of its history was when, in the year 1581, Philip II of Spain united the two kingdoms in the Peninsula, and the affairs of the Brazilian colony were directed from headquarters at Madrid.

It was the Dutch who next had a shot for the prize of supremacy in Brazil, and a very successful shot it was. Spain had by this time passed the zenith of her prosperity, and was “hasting to her setting.” Holland was becoming a predominant maritime power in Europe, and her companies and adventurers were resolutely determined to establish empires both in the Orient and the Western Hemisphere, and some of the settlements which they founded in those vigorous years own allegiance to the Dutch flag to-day.

Holland sent her best sailors to Brazil, and for a time it looked as if the dominion not only of Spain but of Portugal also was ended in that quarter of the globe. For a time the Dutch were practically complete masters of many of the principal provinces. But the Brazilians had a spirit of their own, and never at any time showed a disposition to submit tamely to the encroachments of the Dutch. When the successful revolution in Portugal threw off the Spanish domination in 1640, and the Duke of Braganza was proclaimed King of Portugal, under the title of Dom João IV, and was recognised as the rightful sovereign to all the Portuguese possessions not under Dutch control, an armistice was signed between Holland and Portugal. But that did not affect the Brazilians overmuch; they continued their strenuous attempts to get rid of the Dutch. The people of Maranhão rose in revolt in 1642, and the Pernambucans followed suit in 1645. The battles that followed were adverse to the Dutch arms, and finally the commander, General van Schoppe, had to capitulate, all the fortresses still occupied by the Dutch being turned over to the King of Portugal.{256}

It is perhaps as well for both countries that Holland had to relax her hold, for the Brazilians were separated from their Dutch conquerors by the differences of language, and the still more vital differences of religion. Protestantism is not understood in the South American republics, and therefore any attempts by Holland to make the Brazilians conform to the tenets of the Reformed Church could only have ended in signal failure. The fierce Latin spirit was well manifested by the great leader of the Brazilian revolt, Juan Fernandez Vievia, when at the battle of Tabocas he urged his troops against the alien invaders with the words, “Portuguese! At the heretics! God is with us!”

[Image unavailable.]


Out of this victorious struggle with the Dutch, Brazil emerged a nation, though it was not for some time yet that she was to forswear the suzerainty of Portugal and declare her own autonomy.

The next stage in her variegated history is a quiet one. During the remainder of the seventeenth and the whole of the eighteenth century the connection with Portugal was maintained undisturbed, and the period of calm was occupied by the colonists{257} to penetrate farther and farther into the interior, spreading agriculture, increasing existing crops and raising new ones.

[Image unavailable.]


A big development came during the early years of the nineteenth century. The Napoleonic wars had caused all kinds of disruptions and complications, and naturally Portugal, which was in the thick of the struggle, could not escape them. The Prince Regent, Dom João VI, began to find Lisbon too hot to hold him, and he transferred the Court to Rio de Janeiro in 1808. The Brazilians received him well, but his reign there was not happy. When affairs in the home country became more quiet{258} the monarch’s counsellors in Lisbon urged his return, and with that request he complied, his son, Dom Pedro, remaining at Rio as Prince Regent. Signs were abundantly evident that the spirit of nationhood had established itself very firmly in the hearts of the Brazilian people, and that they were not prepared to brook interference from the Court in Lisbon, which was constantly acting in a high-handed and arbitrary manner. Many national leaders of eminence arose, and it was not long before a declaration of independence was made, and Portugal did little or nothing to prevent the severance. But Dom Pedro, who, whatever his faults may have been, had a national resilience of mind, determined to stop with the reformers, and his reward came when he was promoted to the headship of the State under the imposing title of Emperor.

A digression may be made here touching the strain of insanity which characterised this particular Royal line. One action of Dom João’s is almost as incredible as it is gruesome. He ordered that his mother, who had started her career by marrying her uncle and ended it in an asylum in Brazil, should not be buried for six years.

If the body had been embalmed that would have been nothing unusual, but the Portuguese law prescribes such treatment only for males of the Royal house. When João found himself back in Lisbon he gave orders for his mother’s body to be brought from Brazil and buried with state ceremony; the Queen, be it noted, had been six years dead!

Here is an eye-witness’s account of the awful spectacle: “The next day the Church of the Estrella overflowed with spectators, and the corpse was exposed in full court dress, while the nobility came successively to kiss the hand!... Two of the young princesses were appointed by the King to the high honour of presiding, and four ladies-in-waiting performed the enviable office of tire-women to the corpse. It had been brought over from Brazil enclosed in three coffins, the inner one of lead, where it was laid, surrounded by aromatic herbs, gems, and essences.... One of the princesses fainted twice, and was too ill to reappear; but her sister was obliged to remain, while the ladies raised the body and completely reclothed it in a black robe, a dress cap, gloves, shoes, and stockings, and adorned it with four splendid orders upon the heart.” This throws a lurid light on the attitude still{259} shown to the dead in some Latin-American countries. The bodies of the rich are treated with garish pomp; the bodies of the poor with shameful neglect, if not with contumely.

[Image unavailable.]


Dom Pedro I was a daring, dashing monarch, with mercurial blood running in his veins. His attempts to establish absolutism irritated the Brazilians, who had now advanced too far along the path of political freedom to tolerate that sort of thing; so, in the struggle between people and ruler, the ruler got the worst of it. In 1831, cowed by the determined front which the troops and civilians presented, Pedro I abdicated in favour of his infant son, Dom Pedro de Atcantara. His was a curious type of character, and the most that can be said of him is that he made a showy{260} figure on the South American stage, where showy figures have in the past been so abundant. His faults were not only political; in his private life he was far from being a paragon.

Pedro II was only five years old when he succeeded to the throne of Brazil, and for ten years the country was governed by a regency of three members elected by the legislative chambers, and latterly by one chosen by the electors. As might be surmised, things did not go smoothly, and many risings, revolts, and intrigues embarrassed the Government, which, however, was successful in quelling them for the time being. In 1840, the King being fifteen years of age, he was declared to be of legal age, and he started on his long and popular reign. Two political parties represented the people, the Liberals and Conservatives, and alternately they obtained the ascendancy and grasped the ruling power. The civil wars which raged and distracted the country in the southern State of Rio Grande were followed by the terrible struggle with Paraguay, which was not concluded till 1872. The agitation for the abolition of the slave trade in 1850 was but the precursor of the total abolition of slavery itself nearly forty years afterwards. For years the voices of the abolitionists were raised in the Houses of Congress, with the result that first the trade was abolished (1857), next the declaration that slave-born children were free (1871), and finally all slaves were given their absolute liberty (1888). These drastic changes in the economical conditions of labour in the country were not brought about without much opposition. Great losses were incurred by the planters and slave-owners,[3] who, bitterly opposed to the liberation, turned hostile to the Emperor when he signed the decree, and opposed the claims they urged for compensation. The loss of the support of this wealthy and influential class was an important factor in the overthrow of the monarchy. But the spirit of republicanism which had been engendered by the French Revolution was growing in Brazil and two or three attempts had already been made to establish free institutions in the country. The Republican party had been organised for some years, and an opportunity occurred, and the combination of the anti-monarchists{261} brought about the declaration of the republic in 1889. The feeble old Emperor recognised the strength of the forces arrayed against him, and, powerless to resist the trend of circumstances, he took his congé gracefully. In reply to the communication of the Marshal Deodoro du Fonseca, which informed the Emperor of the intention of the new republic and of his dismissal, he wrote: “Yielding to the imperiousness of circumstances I have resolved to set out with my family to-morrow for Europe, leaving this country so dear to us all, and to which I have endeavoured to give constant proof of my love during the nearly half a century in which I have discharged the office of chief of State: while thus leaving with my whole family I shall ever retain for Brazil the most heartfelt affection and ardent good wishes for her prosperity.”

The new republic with Marshal Deodoro at its head soon got to work, and a constitutional Assembly was organised to compile the constitution of the republic. This was published in the early part of 1891, and in the latter part of the same year the first President was obliged to resign owing to the trouble that arose over his arbitrary unconstitutional closing of the Congress. The army and navy were against the “dictator,” and the States threatened revolt, and peace was only restored when the Vice-President, Floriano Peixoto, took the Presidency. More conspiracies and revolts followed in several of the States, and the navy openly defied the Government, Admiral de Mello demanding the President’s resignation and surrender. Rio and Nictheroy were in a state of siege, and the army placed in positions to defend and keep open the entrance to the harbours. Rio was bombarded, and general disorder prevailed, and civil war raged all over the republic. The “Iron Marshal,” as Peixoto is sometimes called, succeeded eventually in quelling the revolting factors, and owing to the general desire he relinquished the reins of office to Dr. Prudente de Morales, a President who was acceptable to all classes, and who was elected without opposition in 1894. There have been eight Presidents since the republic was inaugurated, and under each the country, in spite of many internal dissensions, has made great strides.

Brazil is destined to assume in the future a far greater importance in the comity of nations than it can boast at present. Its people have no mean record behind them; they have shown{262} a passion for independence and an increasing capacity for government, which argues well for the building up of that great edifice which is certain sooner or later to arise in South America. That they are capable of military valour was demonstrated many times over during the war with Paraguay. The chief need of the country is population, and when the other States emulate the example of São Paulo and invite and encourage emigration Brazil will advance with more rapid strides to the great goal that awaits her.

[Image unavailable.]




A City of Paradise

RIO has one of the most enviable positions in the world. The only other site occupied by a city of any magnitude that can compare to it is that of Sydney, in New South Wales. But Rio harbour has perhaps superior claims to loveliness than that of Sydney by reason of the endless mountain peaks that encompass its vast waters. The innumerable islands that rise up out of the rippled surface are richly clad with all the varieties of a tropical vegetation. The views are endless, each seeming to challenge comparison with any rival. Language almost fails to describe the beauty of the scenery. The infinite variety of the shapes and contours of its bays and islands as seen from the summit of Corcovada is an ever fruitful source of charm. Ships are but mere dots upon its surface when viewed from the distant heights of the surrounding hills, battleships but tiny specks and smaller craft invisible to the naked eye. The harbour is one of the largest and safest in the world, with an entrance nearly a mile in width. This entrance lies between a rugged mountain chain that encircles all the bay and two forts, the São Joã and the Sante Cruz, guard the passage into these bewitching waters. All around are the eternal hills, grotesque and strangely shaped, and covered with the lively greens of tropical verdure. No artist’s eye is required to appreciate the concentrated splendour under the changing lights and shadows, the marvellous panorama is veritably superb, and the islets in the great bay might well be those imagined by Tennyson, “Summer isles of Eden lying in dark purple spheres of sea.” The landscapes could only possibly be properly delineated by a panorama on a gigantic scale, but even the most perfect would fail to excite the mind in any degree approximating to the actuality. The subtle aspects of exotic{264}

[Image unavailable.]


growth and vegetation, the wild, disordered beauty of nature’s arrangements, the rich-growing wilderness of tropical greenery that springs up everywhere is past belief. When examined closer, the vegetation upon the islands and the mountain slopes is bewildering in its profusion. The colour of all nature, under the tropical sun which shines through the misty haze of the moist heated atmosphere, is full of mystery and charm. The forms that the giant trees assume, with innumerable parasites clinging to them, are indescribable. Tall palms, feathery bamboos wafted by the gentlest breezes, give a sense of life even on the calmest days. Rio is a fitting mistress for an exuberant poet, for he could never weary of versing her charms, extolling her exceeding beauty, or revelling in her enchantment. Its shores and its mountain slopes, the fascination of their varied aspects, provoke his enthusiasm at every turn. They possess wonders that can never stale, charms that can never tire. Even if this world-famed harbour is entered when night has hidden the wonders of its mountains from view, the scene is most impressive; the countless lights{265} from the houses that twinkle like ground stars along the shores of Rio and Nictheroy, up the hill-sides and from the hundreds of boats that lie scattered in the bay, form an arrangement of singular loveliness. The lights on the shore follow the lines of the new esplanade, Avenida Beira-mar, from the city right out to Botofogo, and on the other side of the bay, those of Nictheroy twinkle back to them. Small steam launches, distinguishable only by their lights, rush about, and the air is filled with the shrieking of their whistles and sirens. The arrival of a mail steamer at night is the occasion for this nocturnal activity on the part of boatmen ever on the look-out to pick up a good fare, and as the mail steamers lie far out from the landing stage, passengers have no choice but to avail themselves of these harbour pirates, whose craft flock round the gangways as soon as the ship comes to anchor. Fire balloons float in the air, and rockets hiss and leave their trail of sparks behind them, as they rush on their upward flight.

It was on New Year’s Day, 1502, that Goncalo Coelho and his crew sailed into this silent bay. Theirs were not the first eyes to behold its wonders, for they found its shores peopled by a wild, savage race, who lived in their rude villages set amongst the fairest of surroundings. The bay was christened by the Portuguese “Rio de Janeiro,” or “River of January.” This name, which is in no way applicable to the bay, which has no river near it, is a matter for some surprise. The investigations of the Portuguese must have been of a very cursory nature, for they do not seem to have remained long enough to grasp the extent of the harbour they had discovered. They named it, however, and the name has stuck, and even the natives of Rio to-day are called “Fluminenses,” after the river that does not exist. The flat ground which winds round the foot of the hills, and upon which the city now stands, was formerly a mangrove swamp, of which nothing remains to-day. The city now covers an area of eight to nine square miles, and has nearly a million inhabitants. For centuries almost, indeed, until the beginning of the present one, the city, although in such beautiful surroundings, was extremely dirty and badly laid out. The streets were mean and shabby, for even the fashionable and prosperous Rua do Ouvidor is a mere alley. During the early part of the last century the city was proverbial for its filthiness, but it{266}

[Image unavailable.]


gradually emerged from its grime and squalor, its streets were paved, and its sanitation improved. But it was not until the beginning of the present century that the Government and people awoke and with a feverish energy set about rebuilding and beautifying their city, until it was transformed out of all recognition. Hundreds of narrow, dirty streets have been pulled down, to make way for the Avenida Central, a long avenue of fine buildings which would grace any of the great cities of the modern world. Many of the worst streets in the city have been swept away, and in their place broad thoroughfares full of fine, if somewhat ornate buildings, have been laid down. To-day there are miles of spacious boulevards and shaded avenues, with well-paved asphalt roads and walks, all lit by electricity. The magnificent Avenida Beira-mar, which runs from the southern end of the Avenida Central to Botofogo, a distance of nearly five miles, has few equals in the world. Along its asphalt track countless motor-cars race at a breakneck speed. Fine residences have been erected along this avenue, the “art nouveau” styles of France and Germany being the most popular. The modern houses in the suburbs of Rio make up in depth what they lack in width, and they have fine suites of rooms tastefully decorated and furnished with the latest fashions. The{267}

[Image unavailable.]


extravagantly ornamental frontages evince the Brazilian taste for show and showy things. The town is very straggling and winding, on account of the many hills that break into the plateau on which the city stands. But the vistas and views that the irregularity of the plan introduces are an ample compensation for the detours round the buttresses of the mountain range. At the end of the Avenida stands a very graceful white building, the Monroe Palace, in which the Pan-American Congress was held in 1906, and a little further down the magnificent Municipal Theatre, modelled somewhat on the lines of the Paris Opera House. The best companies from Paris and the Continent find in it a stage and auditorium equal to anything they have been accustomed to. Unfortunately, the municipal authorities have not equipped their expensively built Opera Palace with scenery to match. The stage properties are exceedingly inadequate and inappropriate for such a theatre, and the companies who sometimes perform in it. The stage is enormous, and the actors’ dressing and retiring rooms lofty and well devised. The interior is handsomely decorated although it is hardly equal to the new theatre in São Paulo, which is the finest theatre in South America. At the other side of the Avenida Central stands the new National Library, which contains a quarter of a million volumes, and next to it the Palace of Fine Arts, both imposing buildings. In the latter there is plenty of room for more works of art. There are in the Avenida many handsome buildings and many styles; the newspaper offices are conspicuous, those of La Paiz, The Journal do Commercio, and the Journal do Brazil stand out prominently{268} from other buildings. The large classic building with gilded capitals at the northern extremity of this avenue, is the Treasury, which was built to hold the gold bullion, held as guarantee against the paper currency of the republic. The “Ouvidor,” which, although renamed, still goes by its original appellation, is a narrow, crowded thoroughfare. Its shops are among the best in the city, however, and the fashionable inhabitants throng its pavements in the afternoons. It holds much the same position in Rio as the “Florida” does in Buenos Ayres, although it is not so extensive as the latter. Perhaps the most striking feature in both of these streets is the enormous prices charged for their wares. The fashions from Paris find a ready sale in Rio, and the more daring they are the greater are their chances of success. Nothing in a French mode would shock a “Fluminense,” but they are very particular in seeing that their wives and daughters are properly escorted when they go abroad. A young lady would never dream of walking or even talking in public to a male friend of the family unless a proper chaperon were present. The old, almost Oriental, customs of Portugal and Spain still persist, even in their emancipated colonies. Until women are treated with more respect and less suspicion they will never have the influence upon the country that they undoubtedly possess in other civilised lands. The social functions in Rio are many and varied. During the winter months of June, July, and August many dances and receptions are given by the different clubs, such as the “Naval,” “Military,” and “Engineers,” as well as by the legations and by private persons. These functions are attended by all the notables, and form the principal entertainments of the city. Every night the social Brazilian butterflies of fashion have somewhere to go, and the gatherings are very largely attended by foreigners and visitors. Birthday parties are really popular, and at these crushes the host is usually overwhelmed with embraces and gifts, the latter compensating in some measure for the trying ordeal of standing for hours receiving speeches and replying to them. The Brazilian inherits from his Latin ancestors the gifts of a fluent speaker, and is very ready to give a free play to this talent, which the slightest occasion will provoke him to display. At the private theatricals, plays and playlets are generally given in French and children are pushed forward to show their skill, which{269}

[Image unavailable.]


is warmly appreciated by their elders. Enthusiastic and unstinted praise is lavished upon their efforts. Art, literature, music, and the sciences find many devotees in Brazilian society, and even the driest of lectures is patiently listened to by large audiences of both sexes. Music they love, but poetry is their passion. There are few amongst the educated classes in Rio who do not at some time or other in their lives compose odes, sonnets, or lyrics, and feel prouder of their poetic achievements than of any other. Almost every man of the better classes is a Dr., and foreigners above the rank of labourers and artisans are generally accepted as possessing this distinction at least. It may be that it is only politeness and not ignorance that bestows this title upon strangers, and it should be looked upon as an intended compliment. The Brazilian is warm-hearted, generous, punctilious in the observances of the most formal etiquette, and although he can unbend with the freedom of a schoolboy, care must always be taken not to trespass upon this characteristic, or to wound his inordinate vanity. Many of them who have travelled and had the advantages of superior education through intercourse{270} with the public men and leaders of society of other countries, have a greater dignity and wider sympathies, and are less likely to make the mistakes of their less fortunate fellow-countrymen, who cannot see their limitations or realise their national defects. The rapid realisation of the wealth of the enormous States of Brazil shows to most advantage in Rio, for the moneyed classes, governors, and politicians of all the vast territory forgather in the capital. The Brazilians are impetuous, and very ready to embark upon great undertakings, many of which are only practicable in their fervid imaginations. They have been held back by the long, unprogressive policy of their mother country Portugal and the severe handicap of slavery. Even under the Empire small progress was made, considering the size of their country and the extensiveness of their resources. But since the establishment of the republic, although there have been many ups and downs and serious difficulties to encounter, they have contrived to make great headway. The rejuvenation of Rio in the short space of ten years is sufficient to demonstrate what can be done by a determined people, and it is little wonder that when they regard the revolution they have already wrought, they should let their imaginations run to flights that make an ordinary mind giddy. The governing classes have a population of half-breeds to deal with, and bring into line with modern progress, and with such material it is difficult to rapidly accomplish great things. The importation of European labour may help them to carry many of their cherished schemes into effect, but it will take years ere the immense stretches of unexplored territory are brought to yield to the world one tittle of their indisputable riches. The practical difficulties that the republic has to face are many, and the very vastness of its sparsely populated territory is not the least. The Federal Government and those of the autonomous States do not always see eye to eye, and the needs and interests of the outlying States are so diversified that it requires great governmental wisdom to hold them all together. That the Federal capital should be the seat of political intrigue is only natural, and States that are largely settled with colonists from every part of Europe are faced with the conflicting interests and desires of neighbours with whom they have little in common. Politics enter largely into the life of the Federal capital. Ever since the first Brazilian Parliament{271}

[Image unavailable.]


met there in 1826, under the Empire of Pedro I, Liberal ideas emanating from the Parliaments of the world have met with the approval of the best intellects of the capital. Republican tendencies were fostered by men whose eyes were turned upon the trend of politics in Europe and the United States, and the newly forming republics of South America. Revolutions and revolts occurred in the different States with an alarming frequency. Wars with neighbouring republics cost the Federal exchequer many millions, and held back industrial progress. The emancipation of the slaves was no more popular with the planters and agriculturists in Brazil than it was with the same classes in the Southern States of North America, or in the West Indian Islands, and it took time to bring about such a drastic economic change. The Chamber of Deputies was formerly the old palace of the Emperor, and stands near the Caes Pharoux. It is not a pretentious building, nor are the appointments such as might be expected, but a new Parliament House is projected. The entrance or antechamber is at the top of an old mahogany staircase, and the walls are covered with photographs more or less faded of deputies past and present. An old-fashioned carpet{272} covers the floor of this landing, which gives entrance to the chamber and to the “Cabinete do Presidente.” The deputies pass through a small cloak-room to the floor of the House, a square chamber with seats and benches arranged in a semicircle. Upon a raised platform facing the deputies sits the President of the chamber, a brilliant green curtain trimmed with yellow, the national colours, forming a background. Electric fans whir on either side. Dark-coloured porters and messengers walk in and out, and seem at times to outnumber the deputies. Outside in another antechamber, crowds of citizens wait patiently to interview the deputies on different subjects, but generally to obtain some favour. The eloquence of the deputies is their strong point, and the speeches are long, and delivered with great vehemence. Men of all grades of colour sit cheek by jowl, very reminiscent of some country court house in a West Indian Island. The Senate Chamber is situated some distance away on one side of the beautiful “Praca Republica,” the finest garden in this lovely city. The palace of the President, formerly the Palacite do Friburgo, stands in a broad thoroughfare, Rua Cattete, to the north of the city, and although it has a beautiful garden at the side and back of it, it is not very imposing. On the balustrade at the top are four stone eagles with outstretched wings, otherwise the building offers no particular features. Inside the waiting-rooms are crowded on audience days with every class of the inhabitants, who patiently wait their turn and chances to interview the head of the Government. The ancient palace of Itamarity, where the Minister of Foreign Affairs resides when in Rio, is modest and unattractive externally, and does not indicate in any way the magnificence of the interior, admirably fitted for the reception and entertainment of distinguished diplomats and visitors. It contains a ballroom decorated with hangings and upholsteries of emerald-green and gold, a reception-room carried out in yellow, another in rose colour, whilst a corridor running along the outside of the fine library overlooks a garden where palms and exotic flowers abound. The late Baron do Rio Branco had in this palace many and valuable souvenirs of his travels and illustrious acquaintances, amongst them a large seascape painted by the unfortunate King Carlos of Portugal, who presented it to the “Baron.” The Baron de Rio Branco was for many years an idol of the people of Rio, and{273} enjoyed the reputation amongst them of being a great authority upon all matters pertaining to foreign affairs. He was perhaps one of the few men of his time who looked his part to perfection, bearing a slight physical resemblance to the famous Bismarck. He held aloof from the internal politics of his country, and for twelve years held his office in spite of changes of Government and Presidents. His aloofness from the mob of politicians, whose clamourings and wranglings he seemed to despise, placed him in a peculiar position, whilst his efforts to enlarge his country’s dominions and strengthen her army won him the admiration and gratitude of all classes. He tried to establish a “German military mission” to Brazil, and although he was unsuccessful, his advocacy of German instructors for the army may still bear fruit. That the army and navy of Brazil require to be imbued with a stronger sense of military duty than they at present possess is amply exemplified by the many acts of insubordination they have been guilty of in recent years.

[Image unavailable.]


The notable improvements in the Federal capital were carried out under President Penna. He was fortunate in having some{274}

[Image unavailable.]


of the ablest men in Brazil in his ministry, who, with the assistance of the best engineers and architects in the country, set about the reconstruction of the city. Dr. Lauro Muller (the present Minister for Foreign Affairs) was responsible for the general plan of the improvements, and his scheme was worked out in detail by Dr. Paul de Frontin, one of the most talented and all-round engineers in the republic, and at present the General Manager of the Central Railway, the largest in Brazil. Dr. Frontin has had a career crowded with many successes, and he still finds time to fill the professional chair of mechanics and astronomy in the National Gymnasium. He has been associated with nearly all the big engineering schemes in the republic of recent years, and has built canals, railways, bridges, waterworks, and docks, as well as opening out the avenues of the capital, which necessitated the removal of hills that to many would have been mountains. He has done much to make the new Rio almost worthy of its magnificent setting. In Rio the automobile has almost supplanted the “Tilburies,” those curious, old-fashioned gigs, capable of holding only one passenger, who sits beside the{275}

[Image unavailable.]


driver, a few specimens of which may still be seen plying for hire. Electric tramways (called, curiously enough, the “Bond,” by the natives, who associate them with the bonds that were issued for the capital of the first companies) run through the winding city and distant suburbs. These tramways are run by the Rio de Janeiro Light and Power Company, which owns extensive concessions and properties throughout the State, including some twenty-two miles of territory on either bank of the Parahyba River, seventy-five miles distant from the city of Rio, and an installation fifty miles from the capital, where the Lages River passes through a narrow ravine about three hundred feet wide, betwixt solid rock. Here a dam has been constructed, so that the waters above are formed into a lake fifteen miles long by some seven or eight miles wide. From this huge reservoir the water is conducted a distance of one and a half miles through steel tubes to a power-house some thousand feet below{276} in elevation, providing an enormous power for the generation of electricity both for motor and lighting purposes in the city.

The cars run out to the Botanical Gardens, among the most beautiful in the world, and much favoured by climate. As they are approached tall palms are seen that mark their boundary near the border of the great Lake Rodrigo do Frietas, a curious piece of water separated from the Atlantic by a narrow strip of land over which great billows break during a storm. The gardens cover two thousand acres. The avenue of royal palms is half a mile in length, and gives a strongly marked character to these gardens. Fountains and arbours, rustic bridges and ponds, rivulets and waterfalls add to the charm of this sylvan spot. At the foot of the hill grow great clumps of bamboos, whose trembling leaves bend down the pliant stems till they meet and form an arch overhead. The bases of these stems have grown to great proportions, and are so close together that they form an almost solid mass. Narrow shafts of light stream through the roof of leaves, and pattern the path with many curious forms. An infinite variety of ferns abound of lovely shades of green and beautiful design. But for the incessant buzzings of mosquitoes and flies the spot would be perfect. Lizards dart across the ground and birds flit twittering through the trees, and in the sparkling sunlight, brilliantly coloured humming-birds flutter round strange flowers. Butterflies soar high and so rapidly that they can easily be mistaken for birds. Near by a small waterfall that makes rippling music stands a tall palm protected by railings; it is the parent of all the palms in Rio, and sprang from a seed planted in 1808 by João VI, whose bust stands on a pedestal in close proximity.

Another favourite car ride takes one to Tijuca, a suburb situated six miles distant on a beautifully wooded hill, from which extensive views of the city and harbour are obtainable. This suburb contains many summer residences, and abounds with beautiful walks and sylvan paths twining amidst cascades that sparkle in the sunlight.

Other suburbs, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leme, outside the harbour and on the Atlantic seaboard, are also connected by car routes with the centre of the city, and are popular holiday resorts.{277}

[Image unavailable.]





AMONGST the hundreds of islands in the Bay of Rio, there are two which have special claims upon the attention of visitors to Rio, as well as on the gratitude of all good Brazilians.

Vianna and Santa Cruz are two islands lying in the north-west corner of the bay, about an hour’s run from the Caes Pharoux, the picturesque landing-stage and promenade of Rio. The journey across the bay is full of interest; indeed there is not a nook, corner, or islet of the great harbour that does not call forth some expression of admiration, surprise, or pleasure. The surrounding hills are ever changing in expression, and give a sense of security and protection to the shipping, large and small, that can never crowd the vast waters. Past the Islas de Cobras, with its naval barracks perched high up on a rocky base of grass-grown rock, the town grows smaller and smaller, until its wharves and buildings are lost in the distant haze. When the island of Vianna is reached, further surprise is in store for the visitor. Its owner, Senr. Antonio Lage, is the descendant of a French family, and calls himself a Brazilian, but he is really a cosmopolitan who can speak perfectly at least three languages, and who has relationships with distinguished foreigners in many lands. His life story is a Brazilian romance. His grandfather bought the island of Vianna in the harbour in 1856, to obtain the stone to build up warehouses on another island, Enxadas, which he had acquired in 1836 from the friars, whose convent still exists upon the island. In the warehouses he built, his son carried on the business of bonded warehouseman. Owing to the failure of a banking firm in 1864 the warehouse business was involved, and but for the intervention of an English house, Stephen Busk and Co., the Lages’ business must have ceased.{279}

[Image unavailable.]


Through this assistance they were able to carry on. They rented the island and kept the business going until 1881. In the following year the company of Lage Bros. was formed, and they came over to Vianna, their former quarry, and started operations. That was thirty years ago. At first the island was used as a coal depot and bonded warehouse, and although some changes were made, it was not until after the declaration of the republic that things began to move. The constitution of the United States of Brazil, in Article 13 of the first title, enacts that “the rights of legislation on the part of the Union and of the States in regard to railways and the navigation of inland waters shall be regulated by Federal enactment” and that “the coastwise trade shall be carried on in national bottoms only.” Lage Bros, entered into negotiations with Lamport and Holt, who at that time had a fleet of coastal steamers running in the Brazils, and purchased their steamers. A company was formed, which began navigating on a small scale. They started with four steamers, and when the revolution broke out in 1893 their fleet had increased to eighteen, two of which were express steamers, which ran between Rio and Rio Grande de Sul (Port Alegre), making the journey in forty-eight hours. The new line was hardly established when the political upheaval in 1893 disturbed all the commercial activities of the new republic. The first President, General Deodoro, was driven from power, and great unrest{280}

[Image unavailable.]


prevailed in Rio. The next President, Floriano Peixoto, was in his turn intrigued against, and the navy fell into the hands of the rebels, and poor Rio had to endure the ignominy of a six months’ intermittent bombardment. The Government, in order to prevent fresh sources of strength falling into the hands of the rebels, ordered one of the Lage express steamers, which was then lying in dry dock, to be burnt, and purchased the other for transport purposes. During this trying time the island of Vianna was not left unmolested by the rebel navy. They had been accustomed to go to Vianna for repairs, and they knew how well the warehouses upon it were stocked with stores and provisions for the coastal service. They were not long in taking possession of it, and were well set up with all they required to keep them going. The greatest difficulty the revolutionaries had to contend against was the dearth of fresh water. They were fortunate in getting possession of the water-boats, and with{281}

[Image unavailable.]


these they stole up the bay, and refilled from the streams that trickle down from the mountains. They next captured all the Lages’ steamers that were in the bay, and found on them coal and further stores. In order to displace the rebels from the island, which was now their base, guns were taken up the heights of a mountain on the mainland opposite, and a fort was established, which bombarded Vianna for nearly three months, the rebels taking refuge behind the hill which stands upon the island. It was not until the Government succeeded in placing guns upon all the surrounding heights that the rebels were brought to bay in March, 1894. Vianna suffered severely during the long struggle, and its owner nearly as much, for it was not until September of the same year that he got possession of his wrecked island, and found the machine shops, stores, and dock smashed to pieces by shot and shell. He started immediately to repair his loss, and the only compensation he received was the loan of 7000 contas of reis at 7 per cent interest from the Government. For twelve months business had been at a standstill, and the fleet either in the hands of the rebels or held up in distant ports, the{282} expense of paying the crews, port charges, running on all the time.

[Image unavailable.]


Such was the stormy, troubled sea that the new shipping company had to weather. That they did so was due to the dogged persistence of Antonio Lage, whose enterprise and ability have brought about the present prosperity of the company. The line now possesses nineteen steamers, of which four carry passengers as well as cargo, eight are cargo boats only, while seven are new passenger boats of over 3000 tons, with all the latest improvements, twin screw, freezing chambers, and having a speed of over twelve knots. They are all fitted with Marconi apparatus, and the many comforts which passengers travelling upon modern vessels are accustomed to. Seven more ships of{283}

[Image unavailable.]


this class are being built to continue the coastal trade right up the Amazon to Manaos. From 1894 the rebuilding of the destroyed island has gone steadily on. Each year additions have been made, and the great rock which covered the larger part has been cut through to form a dry dock. The material removed was utilised to extend the shore and circumference of this island, and its contiguous neighbour, Santa Cruz, which Sen. Lage purchased in 1902. Large and spacious stores have been erected, with machine shops, bonded warehouses, foundries, boiler-makers’ shop, electric power station, and shipbuilding yard, houses for the employees, and all the buildings necessary for a growing shipbuilding and{284} repairing yard. The island of Santa Cruz is a little paradise, and is now connected with the industrial Vianna by an imposing bridge. It has been laid out as a large park, and upon it are beautiful houses which its owner has built for the members of his family. These houses are in the American colonial style, luxuriously appointed, and lacking in no comfort which the furnishing world can supply. From the windows and balconies magnificent views of the expansive bay are obtained, while the surrounding grounds are filled with many varieties of exotic shrubs and trees. Flowers, fruit, and kitchen gardens flourish on Santa Cruz in ordered beauty, and from every spot upon the island vistas and views of astonishing loveliness meet the eye. Nature and art combine to make an entrancing island, unsurpassed by any, even in this silvery bay so famous for the beauty of its shores. Birds, native and foreign, of many brilliant hues, flit unmolested through its trees and along its shores; their confidence in the protecting care lavished upon them holds them to a spot where they find perfect freedom and plentiful provision for all their needs. Upon gravelled paths, on lawns of softest green, water and grain are daily spread for their repast by thoughtful hands. So tame are many of these birds that they respond to the call of their master’s voice, and even fly in through the open windows and perch on chairs and tables. In the early morning the mingled song of myriad songsters heralds the dawn. In the shade of leafy mango trees the woodpigeon coos his tender notes. The air is alive with melody. The whir of wings, and the rustling of the dew-drenched grass as the tame deer bounds along, vary the sounds. The warm light of the new-risen sun tinges all objects with the mellowest hues. The greens are softer in the morning light; the thousand distant isles and hills lie veiled in the melting mists; the colonial architecture of the dwellings on the island imparts an air of homely comfort to the scene—an air that most tropical scenery generally lacks. The trailing and climbing flowers that hang from the balconies and walls call up thoughts of England. The gardeners who tend with care the lawns and walks are early astir, and accomplish much of their day’s work before the sun’s rays gain their full strength. The sound of voices and the faint echoes of hundreds of busy hammers in the sheds upon the neighbouring island blend with the music of the birds. Nature, art, and industry are brought into closest contact upon{285} the twin islets of Vianna and Santa Cruz. Order, taste, and industry have transformed one of them from an overgrown, chaotic, mangrove fringed wilderness into an Eden. A Chinese writer who, centuries ago, in answer to the question “What is it we seek in the possession of a pleasure garden?” said, “The art of laying out gardens consists in an endeavour to combine cheerfulness of aspect, luxuriance of growth, shade, solitude, and repose, in such a manner that the senses may be deluded by an imitation of nature. Diversity, which is the main advantage in a judicious choice of soil, an alternation of chains of hills and valleys, gorges, brooks, and lakes covered with aquatic plants. Symmetry is wearying, and ennui and disgust will soon be excited in a garden where every part betrays contrival art.” Had the writer of these lines seen Santa Cruz as it is to-day he would have been satisfied that it fulfilled all the requirements necessary to a perfect garden.

[Image unavailable.]




Some Excursions from Rio

THE vast territories which amalgamated to form the United States of Brazil suffer more than anything else from the lack of that railway communication which has opened up the beauties and resources of the country immediately surrounding the Federal capital.

The first railway in Brazil was due to the enterprise of the Viscount de Maua, and the line was originally named after him, as was the town at the northern end of the Bay of Rio from which it started. Originally this line extended only from Maua to the foot of the mountain below Petropolis, but to-day it passes through that town, and extends far beyond it, having developed into the vast railway system known as the Leopoldina. No longer need intending passengers travel by boat across the extreme length of the bay, for the line from Entroncamento to Maua is now a mere branch of the main line which, starting from the capital itself, extends northwards far into the interior. At a distance of about thirty miles from the terminus in Rio and at an elevation of three thousand feet above the sea-level but backed by higher hills and mountains covered with dense woods, stands the picturesquely beautiful city of Petropolis. Many years ago this place was a mere colony of agricultural Germans, but its ideal situation marked it out as a summer resort for the wealthiest Brazilians, and when the capital was ravaged by continual epidemics of yellow fever it gained in popularity by the permission granted to the foreign Legations by their home Governments to take up their residence in this salubrious spot. Ever since for six months of the year it has been the centre of the social life of the republic, for society and fashion invariably follow the Diplomatic Corps. The Emperor built himself a magnificent{287} palace in the place, setting an example which was speedily followed, until to-day it is a collection of noble and imposing mansions, surrounded by the most exquisite gardens and grounds.

The route to this garden-like mountain city discloses a continual panorama of tropical scenery, and the profusion of the vegetation on the mountain slopes is indescribable. As the train climbs the steep gradients, endless and ever changing prospects meet the eye, and the comparatively short journey furnishes an excellent idea of the characteristic scenery of the environs of the finest harbour in the world. With the improved health conditions in Rio the season in Petropolis is gradually becoming shorter and shorter, and there is a probability that the Legations may again take up permanent residence in the capital, but the mountain city will never fail to attract lovers of the beautiful. Another important branch of the Leopoldina Railway has its terminus in the State capital Nictheroy, on the opposite side of the harbour from Rio. This line branches at Porto das Gaixas into two great arms, which embrace the whole of the eastern portion of the State, and connect it with Victoria, the capital of the adjoining State of Espirito Santo.

[Image unavailable.]



On one branch of this line is situated the important city of Nova Friburgo, the oldest immigrant settlement in Brazil; for as far back as the beginning of the last century this well-chosen spot was colonised by a party of 1700 Swiss refugees from Fribourg.

The town stands on the northern slope of the Mar mountain, known as the Boa Vista, on account of the sweeping view which is obtained from this point. Although not so elaborate as Petropolis in respect of buildings, nor so favoured by the aristocratic element, Fribourg has, if anything, a finer climate, and is blessed with a rich and fertile soil that has brought it much prosperity. Again the difficulties of the steep ascents have been overcome by enterprising engineering feats which have linked up this coffee district with the capital some four thousand feet lower in level.

[Image unavailable.]


Perhaps the most extraordinary enterprise of modern times is that undertaken by the State of Minas-Geracs in the building of their new capital of Bello Horizonte. The State of Minas is the greatest mineral district in Brazil; it has been said of it that “what doesn’t hide gold contains iron, what doesn’t{289}

[Image unavailable.]


contain coal spreads diamonds.” The journey through the country, which is accomplished over the Great Central Railway, is singularly interesting, and the nights spent in the sleeping cars are pleasantly cool after the heat of the day. The hilly country is well covered with trees and watered with rivers, and is admirably adapted for colonies of European settlers. Gold and diamond mines have already yielded vast riches, and with the increasing facilities for travelling that the railway systems are opening up, still greater are in store for the State. Ouro Preto, the old capital, the famous Villa Rica of former times, lies on a hill-side at an elevation of one thousand feet above sea-level. It is a picturesque, rambling old city, with tortuous streets running down its steep inclines, and many old churches and convents built in the old colonial style. In striking contrast with the ancient capital is Bello{290}

[Image unavailable.]


Horizonte, the new one, planned, laid out, and built within the last few years. The new capital is about a six-hours’ railway journey from Rio, and is laid out on an ambitious scale on a beautiful site surrounded by gently rising hills with broad avenues and streets, parks and gardens, Senate Houses, Government buildings, a splendid presidential palace, a fine theatre, hospitals, schools, and every possible requirement for a prosperous and flourishing city. Rows of trees line the broad avenues. Houses, mostly of one story, await the population that has not yet arrived to occupy all the vast accommodation that has been provided. Such is Bello Horizonte, the new capital of Minas-Geraes, a State which occupies an area of over 220,000 square miles without a seaboard, but which is perhaps greater in natural wealth than any other State in the Brazilian Federation. Its development has been marked by all those characteristics that pertain to the history of countries where the discovery of the precious metals has attracted adventurous spirits upon fortune bent. From the earliest days of Portuguese exploration exaggerated rumours of the fabulous wealth of the interior of the South American continent have been in circulation, and have stimulated the organisation{291} of expeditions for the purpose of exploring and prospecting the high tableland which lies beyond the Serra do Mar. In one respect the early history of Minas-Geraes resembles that of the State of São Paulo, inasmuch as it is connected with the story of a marooned sailor who penetrated to the interior, mated with the daughter of an Indian chief, and reached high position and power in the tribe.

[Image unavailable.]


The Carangola River about 4300 miles from Rio.

The Indians themselves set little store upon the gold and precious stones, but finding they were so much prized by their white masters, did not hesitate to please these latter by painting in most glowing terms the richness of the country in these treasures. Further, their own internal feuds prompted them to encourage the expeditions of the new-comers, the native tribes thinking thereby to regain possession of territories from which they{292}

[Image unavailable.]


had been expelled by enemies, and little realising that they were merely placing on their necks a fresh yoke, and paving the way to occupation of their country by white invaders. One of the earliest organised expeditions was that in 1674, under the leadership of Fernão Dias, who had been rewarded in advance by the Portuguese Government by being created Governor of a district which he was still to discover. Dias, of Portuguese extraction and noble birth, had already distinguished himself by conquering and subjecting as his slaves the Goianás, one of the most powerful of the Indian tribes. Feared but not disliked by his slaves, he could always command a large following, and set out from Taubaté with a considerable army, crossing the Mantiqueira and establishing at Serra Negra the first regular settlement in the territory, which was afterwards to be known as Minas-Geraes. A second settlement was founded at St. Anna; and pushing still further, in spite of difficulties and dangers, this intrepid leader reached St. João do Sumidouro, which became the central point for future operations. For three years he held his own against opposition and intrigue, prospecting the region of Rio das Vellias, where he ultimately succumbed to fever. But it was with the discovery of gold at Ribeirãs Carmo and Ouro Preto that the real development of the State commenced, and by the year 1700 a large number of mines, the property of their discoverers, were in working order. The system of{293}

[Image unavailable.]


mine-owning was now changed to that of claims, the objecting Paulistas being promised that they should lose nothing by the change, and entrance to the territory by way of Bahia was interdicted. This, however, only led to the opening up of the new road from the coast by way of Espirito Santo, and five years later the futile prohibition was withdrawn. By this time the wealth of the territory had become known, and large numbers of all classes, old and young, rich and poor, flocked in from all parts of Brazil and from lands beyond the seas. Miners and their following have never been a class easily governed, and the arrogant claims of the Paulistas were resented by the rest of the community, who united in opposing them, and thus commenced the welding together of the elements which have gone to make up the population of the State as one finds it to-day. But it was long ere anything like civilised order was established, for the cruelty of the white taskmasters towards the natives and the negroes imported from Africa led continually to bitter feelings of unrest and revolt, whilst the ruling classes, unrestrained by a licentious and unruly priesthood, were themselves demoralised and dissolute, and stern, almost tyrannical, measures were necessary before{294}

[Image unavailable.]


the foundations of government were laid. Much of the State is still unknown save to the wild Indians who roam its forests, but it is gradually being opened up. In addition to the mining industry, which has been carried on for over two hundred years, Minas does a considerable trade in cattle, coffee, tobacco, and other agricultural products. The dairy industry has recently become prominent, and offers a good field for the investment of capital and experience, whilst a fresh source of wealth exists in the manganese discovered in the State when a cutting was being made for the Central Railway. This latter is not only the{295} means of direct communication with the Federal capital, but is pushing out its branches and extensions in all directions. Known originally as the Dom Pedro II Railway, this line is now a Government concern, and aims at bringing all the States of the Union into direct communication with the capital, linking up with other lines, and taking advantage of river transit until inland connection shall be established even with the Amazon, the greatest waterway in the world.

If the traveller wishes for a more ambitious excursion, it will be quite easy for him to voyage northwards towards Atlantic seaboard cities almost as fair as Rio itself. But the selection of the steamship line is of the greatest importance. The two lines to be recommended are the Royal Mail Steamship Co. and the Lage Iramos, either of which is preferable to the national line, Lloyd Brazileiro. The traveller will find in Bahia or San Salvador a city of glamour and enchantment. It was one of the earliest European settlements in Brazil, and it had for a long time a chequered and turbulent history, what with Indian ravages and the desperate conflicts between the Portuguese and the Dutch. But to-day its lines are cast in more peaceful places; its inhabitants have grown to 250,000, who, taking advantage of the lavish way in which Nature yields her treasures in this district, seem quite contented and prosperous. The city consists of an upper and a lower town, the former of which is built on the cliffs. Here are the Governor’s palace, the Senate building, the Public Library, and the cathedral. The last-named edifice is one of the oldest buildings in South America, having been founded as a Jesuit college away back in the sixteenth century. Its interior, like the interior of all the other Bahian churches, is full of florid embellishment, and exhibits the tendency of the Latin-American people towards flamboyant expression in their architecture. Bahia is not only one of the most picturesque of all the cities of Brazil; it is the sea-gate of a large and fertile province, where the kindly fruits of the earth grow and ripen with tropical rapidity. The palms of the district yield a special form of nut, which is exported to the east. Tobacco is a flourishing crop, and coffee cultivation an industry of prime importance. Cotton is grown over an extensive area, and not all of it is exported, for Bahia has many mills of its own. The State is also a great producer of rubber, while the cultivation of cocoa increases year by year.{296} Cattle-raising forms yet another occupation of the Bahians. The transport facilities are also good; several railway systems connect the city with the producing districts, and fleets of coastwise vessels make other ports on the Brazilian seaboard quite easy of access. A brisk export trade is transacted with foreign countries, one of the best of Bahia’s customers being the United Kingdom.

[Image unavailable.]


The curious winding track of the Leopoldina Railway.

Further up the coast lies Pernambuco, and this likewise will be found a most desirable halting-place. It is a conglomeration of four towns, Recife, the commercial quarter, Santo Antonio, which contains the Government offices; San José, where the public works and railway stations are situated; and Boa Vista, the fashionable residential quarter. The several townships are connected by handsome bridges, a feature which gives Pernambuco{297} a distinct character of its own, and has earned for it the sobriquet of the “Brazilian Venice”; a coral reef about five hundred feet from the shore runs along the entire front of the city, and forms a natural protection to the magnificent harbour. This reef marches with the coast from Bahia to Maranhão, a distance of nearly a thousand miles.

[Image unavailable.]


One is charmed with the aspect of Pernambuco long before one sets foot upon its quay. The palm groves and the red roofs of the houses compose into a really charming picture. The population of the city verges upon two hundred thousand. Its docks are spacious and well managed, and its importance as a commercial centre is demonstrated by the fact that no fewer than ten cable lines link it up with the great outer world. Several railways, of which the most important are the Great Western of Brazil, the Recife and San Francisco, and the Alagoas, connect it with the interior, and bring down to the port supplies of sugar, cotton, rice, tobacco, indigo, cinnamon, pineapples, grapes, oranges,{298} bananas, and other commodities. The shippers of Pernambuco are favourably placed for despatching their merchandise to its destination, for the port occupies a point on the American seaboard nearer to Europe than any other.

If the traveller still pines for new worlds to conquer, the Lage Iramos steamers will take him to the mouth of the mighty Amazon, known to every schoolboy as the largest river in the world, and destined to become more and more the great outlet for the trade of Brazil. The great estuary of that stream is like a huge inland sea debouching into the ocean, for it is not only the waters of the Amazon that are there discharged, but the effluents of a dozen tributaries, many of them larger than any river that Europe can boast. The trip up to Manáos, many miles inland, will be more than sufficient to impress the voyager with the magnitude and majesty of this noble stream.{299}


São Paulo

UNLIKE most of the State capitals of Brazil, São Paulo lies some distance inland, but in close touch with its port Santos, some thirty-five miles distant. Many passengers travelling by the Royal Mail steamers bound for the Argentine, disembark at Rio and take the train from the Central Railway Station across country to São Paulo, rejoining their steamer at Santos. This variation is not only a pleasant break in the voyage, but affords the opportunity for viewing the most thriving and prosperous city in South America.

The journey by rail from Rio to São Paulo occupies about twelve hours in a sleeping or observation car, equalling if not excelling anything of the kind in Europe. The separate two-berth cabins provided with electric light and fans will be appreciated by the most experienced railway travellers accustomed to the latest improvements in the way of comfort.

The first part of the journey is through a hilly country, with immense woods and thick undergrowth of tropical vegetation, covering the earth as with a vivid green mantle as far as the eye can reach. Numbers of curious trees with fantastically twisted stems reaching to a height of 100 to 150 feet tower above the dense masses of tangled foliage, tall palms of many varieties with fan-shaped leaves, and straight smooth trunks, grow side by side with dwarfed bushy shrubs, over which great banana leaves bend with their own weight, whilst magnificent flowers and orchids of brilliant colour peep out from the dark recesses of the woods, sparkling like jewels in a mass of lovely hair.

As São Paulo is neared, the tropical luxuriance fades, and nature’s wild and prolific garden is replaced by the ordered arrangements of man’s industry, for this State is the best farmed{300} as well as the most thickly populated in all Brazil. Its staple industry produces at least one half of all the coffee consumed in the world to-day, besides which its people gather large harvests of sugar, cotton, grapes, tobacco, and several kinds of cereals, principally rice and wheat.

This agricultural prosperity is due to several causes: a kindly climate, a regular rainfall, a natural system of irrigation, and an increasingly industrious population from all parts of Europe.

The workers in this State pursue their occupations amidst the fairest surroundings, and in an environment well calculated to induce happiness and contentment. The air is clear, the climate mild, the sun shines brightly, the scenery is varied and cheerful, whilst the social element so necessary to civilised beings is full of charming diversity.

The capital of the State takes second place amongst the cities of Brazil, and like the Federal capital has in recent years undergone many changes. Much of it has been already rebuilt, and more is undergoing alteration. New buildings, imposing and exhibiting the latest styles of architecture, have largely replaced the old Portuguese colonial houses which, although solid, were rather lugubrious and forbidding.

The replanning of the city has the enthusiastic support of all the inhabitants, and not a few of the more prosperous citizens have evinced a public-spirited generosity in their contributions to the beautifying of their city. The work that has already been done, and that still going on, is worthy of the magnificent site which the city occupies between two great mountain ranges, the Serra do Mar and the Mantiqueira, the peaks of the latter rising from 2000 to 2500 feet above the level of the sea. Two rivers take their rise in these hills, the Paranapanema which flows in a westerly direction and forms the boundary between Parana and São Paulo States, and the Tieté which in a north-westerly direction flows right through the latter State. Both these large rivers are but tributaries of the Parana, the great waterway of the interior of the continent.

The State extends over an area of more than 112,000 square miles, and its climate varies in the different zones, which have strongly marked and differing characteristics.

The low-lying lands which border on the coast at the foot of the eastern Serra are marshy swamps, a region of damp heat{301} uncongenial to man but excellent for the cultivation of rice. The humid, steamy air of the littoral is in strong contrast to the agreeable conditions on the plateau upon which the capital stands. The intermediate region of the Serra do Mar is covered with dense vegetation, subject to heavy rains, whilst mists continually envelop the hills, and the sun shines but seldom through the thick vapours. Frost and hail are not uncommon on the Serra, and even snow is not unknown.

[Image unavailable.]


But it is the plateau between the Serra and the Parana that possesses the most favourable climate, for although the temperature varies slightly it is always agreeable and pleasant, being neither too hot nor too cold. This plateau is perhaps the most fertile and productive in the great continent, which abounds with favoured regions, and its great prosperity gives some indication of its popularity with European settlers.

The early history of the State of São Paulo has a romance running through its pages which can never cease to be of interest,{302} and the beginnings of its prosperity are traceable to the friendly relationships established in the beginning of the sixteenth century between a shipwrecked Portuguese sailor, João Ramalho, and Tybiricá, the chief of the Guayanás, a tribe who dominated the country.

Ramalho married the chief’s daughter, and this alliance cemented a friendship with the chief and his tribe, over which the castaway soon acquired so great an influence that when Martin Affonso arrived at the head of an expedition he met with a friendly welcome. For his good offices Ramalho was rewarded by the Portuguese Crown with a grant of the lands which he and the tribe were occupying, the new-comers establishing a settlement at St. Vincente, near Santos, and erecting a fort on the island of St. Amaro at the entrance to the bay. From the union between the Portuguese settlers and the Guayanás there sprang the race of half-breeds known first as Mamelucos and later as Paulistas, a race that accomplished much in the exploration and development of various parts of Brazil.

The village of St. Andre, where Ramalho and his father-in-law Tybiricá lived, rapidly grew until in 1533 it was raised to the position of a town, and these two settlements of St. Vincente and St. Andre were the forerunners of the cities of Santos and São Paulo which afterwards arose upon adjacent sites.

The Jesuits, who arrived upon the scene in 1554, proved an important factor in suppressing the invasions of savage tribes who threatened the little colonies from time to time, and in organising the settlements by the construction of a road connecting that at the coast with the mission station which they established at São Paulo. This mission station grew in power and importance until finally it usurped the position of St. Andre, which was destroyed at the instigation of the priests.

The history of the two succeeding centuries is filled with the contests between the lay Paulistas and the Jesuits, their methods being in constant opposition, for whilst the former desired native labour to cultivate their lands and work their industries, they found that the missions absorbed most if not all of the available natives. These were gathered under the protection of the missions upon the communistic plan so successfully practised under the Jesuits in other parts of the continent, the natives meeting with fair and considerate treatment, although practically reduced to{303} the position of slaves working for the common good. The laymen sought to bring the natives into the condition of slaves for their own personal interest, and to treat them as property to be used for their own aggrandisement, and professed to see little or no difference in their doing individualistically what the Church did communistically.

The association of the whites and their half-Indian progeny with the pure native Indians was also the cause of much dissension, and led to numbers of the latter withdrawing from the settlements and forming new ones antagonistic to the invaders. In all the quarrels Tybiricá stood loyally by his son-in-law’s fellow-countrymen, and even fought against his own brother when the latter led an attack upon São Paulo.

[Image unavailable.]


As the Mamelucos grew in numbers their demands for native labour increased, and its monopoly by the Jesuits came to be a grievance which the laymen determined to redress. Raids upon the Indians of the interior were consequently organised, and the adventurous Paulistas did not hesitate to risk their lives in the pursuit of tribes as far as the borders of Bolivia after the nearer districts had been cleared of natives, and in these expeditions even the mission settlements of the Guayaná were not spared. Immense numbers of natives were captured and brought down{304} to the markets of São Paulo for sale, many of them being purchased to supply the demands of neighbouring States.

As this slave hunting went on unrestrained, the Jesuits removed their missions further west to escape the attentions of their enemies; but in 1641 a large party of the Paulistas invaded the Paraguayan missions and bore away many natives as captives. These Paulistas had become adventurous, and hardy, past belief, and were the most energetic race in the whole continent, opening up much of the country in the course of their expeditions—discovering diamonds in Minas, gold in Maranhão, and laying the foundations of towns and villages wherever they went.

When the emancipation of the Indian (not the negro) slaves was decreed in 1758, the energies of this indefatigable people, checked in one direction, were turned towards exploration for a period, and it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when their country was opened up to the trade of the world, that they found fresh and congenial outlets for their enterprise.

During the whole of the last century immigration has flowed steadily into the country, and its abundant agricultural wealth has been developed with a steady persistence. The virile peoples from the Old World, who have flocked into the State, have been rapidly absorbed by the Paulistas, and a conglomerate race, made up of many elements, now populates the country. The energy of the Paulista resembles that of the American of the United States, and the activity in the city of São Paulo is remarked by all who have compared it with Rio and other towns in different parts of Brazil.

The city of São Paulo is full of pleasant surprises. Its three principal streets, the Rua São Bento, Rua Quinze de Novembro, and Rua Direita, form a triangle in the busiest part of the city, and are narrow, crowded thoroughfares, the electric cars taking up the principal part of the roadways, which in business hours become so congested that progress is very slow, both for pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

Many of the shops are fine, and contain a goodly display of wares, but prices are high. Their harvest season is somewhat restricted, owing to the large number of feast days or holidays throughout the year, in addition to the Sundays, upon which{305}

[Image unavailable.]


the bulk of the shops are closed. In the case of tobacconists Sunday closing is rigorously enforced, and the multitude of smokers have to lay in their supplies for the week-end. It is on a Sunday or a festa day that the crowds in the street are most interesting, for then the folk come out in their gala clothes on pleasure and amusement bent. There is no uniformity whatever in the costumes worn by either sex. Bare-headed women wearing fur boas, men wearing overcoats, others clad in white drill suits and straw hats or black felt head-gear, parade the streets in an ever changing stream. The car conductors, in grey uniforms with gold facings, are kept busy attending to the human freights, whilst policemen, in black with red facings, direct the traffic with small, white batons, as in Paris. Lottery ticket vendors yell their wares in competition with purveyors of sweets, cakes, and pastries, whose yellow delicacies tempt the flies and children who swarm around, the former brushed off with large feather brushes, the latter encouraged by glowing entreaties. Everything{306} looks new here, even traditions and customs from the Old World seeming to undergo a change. In the crowds at the street corners the men are mostly garbed in black, but the women affect all the colours of the rainbow.

White dresses predominate, but blues, magentas, yellows, pinks, greens, and faded vermilions are freely admixed, varied with yellow and red kerchiefs and purple shawls. Here a group of four or five mules ridden by bare-footed countrymen in blue trousers, there shaggy yellow ponies, sun-faded and mud-stained, brush through and rub against the holiday-making crowd. Yonder, on the steps leading up to the gardens, sits an Italian, munching his midday meal of bread, cheese, and olives. In these gardens, in front of the President’s palace, are many curious and beautiful trees, amongst them two stately oaks with the freshest of green leaves, soft and delicate, as in early summer.

The palms and ferns, cut and cropped into fantastic shapes, mingle with the cactus, which needs no such attention. In the shady bowers are welcome resting-places, where the wearied sit in the patches of sunlight that splash warm upon them through the branches, reading the papers in French, Italian, and Portuguese, smoking eternally, conversing frequently, and moving but seldom. Flower-sellers move here and there, offering tempting bunches of the loveliest pansies, violets, and roses, and add colour to the scene. The singing of birds, the tinkling of the car bells, the hum of voices, the strident cries of the hawkers, all mingle on the sunny Sunday morn, and a happier-looking city and people it would be difficult to imagine.

A favourite jaunt with the Sunday or holiday crowd—Italians, negroes, Portuguese, Germans, Paulistas, and English—is a run on the car from the Largo do Sé to the gardens and museum at Ypiranga. The journey occupies about half an hour, and the route runs through the Square of 15th September, along the Rua do Gloria, with its small one-story houses, past the abattoir, through boulevards planted on either side with trees, to the suburbs, where building is going on in all directions, the workmen busy at their jobs, although it is Sunday. Outside the town are market gardens and fields with green grass and rich, red soil, firs and pines on all sides, cattle browsing in the meadowland, rose-covered villas and factories springing up amidst the green fields.{307}

Most of the occupants of the cars descend at the gardens of the Ypiranga, in the grounds of which are wide walks, raised terraces, lined with cypress trees, and well laid out beds of flowers and shrubs of all varieties.

The museum is built upon the spot where the independence of Brazil was proclaimed in 1822 by the Prince Dom Pedro, who, on learning of the refusal of the Cortes at Lisbon to listen respectfully to the Brazilian delegates, impetuously gave utterance to the famous cry, “Independence or Death!” and was shortly afterwards proclaimed constitutional Emperor of Brazil.

[Image unavailable.]


The museum, erected as a monument to commemorate this historic event, is a well-designed and imposing building, containing fine staircases and lofty galleries, in one of which is a huge picture illustrating the “Independencia ou Morto” incident.

The galleries are filled with collections of various objects of natural and historical interest such as butterflies and birds, wasps and bees, with their curious nests, old leather-covered{308} furniture, sedan chairs, cupboards, fourposter beds, and chests of the colonial period.

Amongst the many curious and instructive objects gathered together are pottery from all parts of the continent, including Colombian, Peruvian, and Mexican; stuffed fish, weird in shape and marvellous in variety, taken from the rivers; lizards, chameleons, turtles, alligators, and snakes. Here, too, are specimens of the feathers and ornaments worn by the savage Indian tribes of the State of São Paulo, head-dresses of yellow feathers, necklaces of human teeth, collars of green parrot feathers and beetles’ wings, and of beadwork mixed with feathers.

The instruments, warlike and peaceful, of the native tribes are also well represented, such as clubs, bows and arrows, stone hammers, baskets, crudely made straw hats, a curious fire-making appliance consisting of spindle revolving in a disc; native panpipes, calabashes, and mats.

Amongst the stuffed animals are such curiosities or freaks as a calf with only two legs, and another with two heads.

The Paulistas, imbued with the spirit of freedom, have bestowed upon many of their streets and squares the names of patriots and public benefactors, as witness the Avenue Tiradentes, which perpetuates the name and fame of one of the ardent spirits of the eighteenth century, who ever strove to rouse the nation to throw off the yoke of Portugal.

Tiradentes, although not the leader of the conspiracy which failed, nevertheless was a martyr to the cause and was beheaded, drawn, and quartered, his head exposed to the public gaze in Ouro Preto, and his house there burned to the ground. He was the first republican to shed his blood in the cause of Brazilian independence, but not till a century after his death was the aim accomplished.

Throughout the city such names as Avenida Rangel Pestana and Rua Visconda do Rio Branco testify to the esteem in which the inhabitants hold their public men.

In striking contrast to the narrower streets is the Viaducto Clia, a broad avenue that leads to the new part of the city where everything is on a magnificent scale, with squares and avenues of which any city might well be proud. The valley which separates the old city from the new was undergoing great alterations during my visit, vast business palaces springing up on this beautiful{309}

[Image unavailable.]


site. Overlooking this valley, which is being laid out tastefully as a public garden, stands the Municipal Theatre, one of the finest buildings in the country, built at a cost of nearly half a million sterling. It is a fine monument to the wisdom, skill, and taste of its projectors, engineers, and architects, and from its commanding position compares more than favourably with its rival in Rio. The interior is elaborately decorated. Marble staircases, handsome balustrades, gilded columns, white and gold walls, and frescoed ceilings all enrich the imposing vestibule. The foyer is a spacious{310} apartment, seen at its best when a dance is going forward. It was my good fortune to be present at a ball given by its inhabitants in honour of its architect, Dr. Ramos de Azevedo, and Señor Antonio Prado, who was Mayor of the city when the theatre was commenced. Exquisite floral decorations were lavished upon the staircase, corridors, and ballrooms, thousands of electric lamps being dotted everywhere amidst the flowers.

The brilliance of the ladies’ costumes set off with sparkling diamonds gave an added animation to a scene which equalled if it did not surpass the grand functions in Rio, where one is used to costly and elaborate displays.

The Largo do Palacio is a pleasing square which overlooks a great stretch of the surrounding country, and is formed by the President’s Palace and the administration buildings of Justice, Agriculture, and Finance, an imposing and quiet retreat on the margin of the busiest part of the city. But São Paulo is rich in fine buildings, schools, technical colleges, and institutes testifying to the educational facilities afforded to all classes of the community. Hospitals and asylums evince care for the sick and mentally afflicted. Government enterprise in the erection of these buildings has been ably seconded by private munificence, and the Escola de Commerco Alvares Penteado is a good example of the public spirit displayed by the citizens. This fine building, presented to the town by the Condé de Penteado, occupies the whole side of one of its squares, and its good and pleasant proportions are in the style associated with the latest architectural movements on the continent of Europe. The Condé has done much to embellish the city, and his private residence, the Villa Penteado, in the suburb of Hygienopolis, is one of the most notable of the hundreds of luxurious mansions that adorn the surrounding avenues.

This villa is in reality a palace quite in harmony with the progress of the city. The design reflects modernity of taste down to its minutest details, and the happy use that has been made of native woods in the internal decorations and fittings is truly ingenious. Its owner, a notable figure in São Paulo, has had much to do with the cultivation of coffee, for, inheriting estates of growing importance, he was not content to remain a “fazendero,” but entered into the field of industry with all the keenness characteristic of the Paulistas, and inaugurated one of{311} the largest jute mills in Brazil. His son, the Condé Sylvia, follows close in his father’s footsteps, being a thorough believer in the Gospel of Work, and presents the rare spectacle of a young man of fortune energetically forcing his way to the front as a captain of industry.

[Image unavailable.]


The Paulistas have built and developed so many fine buildings and institutions that there can be no doubt of their ability to give fitting expression to their high ideals, whilst numerous beautiful residences give ample evidence of their good taste, and would attract attention in almost any city in the world.

The Minister of Justice, Dr. Washington Luiz, has control of a department of the State which is of the greatest importance to the community. All vehicles, cars, carts, carriages, and wagons are licensed under this department, and an efficient method of inspection is in operation. Similarly porters, newsvendors, sellers of lottery tickets, chauffeurs, and hawkers are all obliged to take out licences{312}

[Image unavailable.]


that are registered in the card catalogues of the department. The system of identification cards, with photographs and fingerprints of the owners, has been brought to a high state of perfection. All known criminals are filed for reference in a separate register from that which is kept for ordinary civilians who for purposes of travel desire to possess a proper certificate of identification. Another card catalogue kept up to date contains full particulars of all houses of business occupied only during the daytime, and the private addresses where the owners can be communicated with at once in the event of fire, burglary, or other unusual occurrence. To aid the police a most wonderful telephonic system has been installed throughout the city and suburbs, so that every constable on beat can always put himself in communication with headquarters should need arise. The street call stations are attached to posts provided with alarum bells for use by day and electric lamps that can be switched on at night, in order to call the attention of the patrol and bring him to the receiver, which is enclosed in a small box. Keys are provided throughout the force which fit these boxes, so that whilst the instrument cannot be tampered with every police{313} officer has access to it, and outlying patrols can summon aid from headquarters, or in turn be hailed whenever necessary. A tape machine at headquarters automatically registers all calls that take place, noting the minute, hour, and date by a series of punctures, thus keeping the record and identification of calls from the various stations.

Motor ambulances, prison vans, and fire-engines can be brought at the shortest possible notice to any part of the town and district within a mile radius, and the equipment of all the “public assistance” motor vehicles is most efficient and up to date. The very latest models of motor-drawn fire-engines, escapes, and wagonettes are held in readiness at the fire-stations, all of which are in telephonic communication with hundreds of call offices throughout the city; indeed, a finer system has not been installed in any town of importance. Great attention is paid to fire drill, a dummy wooden house of four stories being used at the central station for the men to practise upon.

The army of the State, officered and drilled by a French mission, is, although small, one of the most efficient in the Union. The military bearing of the men when on parade and their workmanlike evolutions in camp and field compare more than favourably with those of the Federal troops themselves. In the early morning companies in their canvas working garb may be seen busy at drill in the fields around the city, and the officers are justly proud of their men’s accomplishments. The barracks or caserne is a large and commodious range of buildings, with stabling attached for the mules and horses, a veterinary hospital, fitting and repairing shops, riding school, fencing rooms, and gymnasium, all kept up to a high standard, and but for the language spoken by the men the visitor might easily imagine himself in the “caserne” of a French town.

The duty of preserving order devolves upon a police force which is drilled upon the military system, which apparently well fits them for the carrying out of their civil duties, and few cities in South America can boast of public servants who are better trained or who exhibit as much esprit de corps as the soldiers, police, and firemen of São Paulo.

Another State department deserving of the highest praise is that of agriculture, presided over by Dr. Padua Salles, a man of exceptional ability and delightful personality, who has done{314} much to enlarge the influence and usefulness of the department under his charge.

[Image unavailable.]


Under his direction the principal interest of the country, its agricultural development, is well fostered and cared for. Much has been accomplished in the exploration and development of the vast hinterland, which it will take time and patience to cover fully. Maps and statistics of the rivers Tieté, Ribeira de Iguape, Juqueryquerê, Feio, and Aguapehy, have been drawn, compiled, and published by the Commissao-Geographica E Geologica, and a splendid reference library and publication{315} department are at the free disposal of all desiring the fullest information regarding the State and the opportunities it offers to the investor. Its climate is inviting to Europeans, and is especially popular with Italians, who flock thither in large numbers, and have every provision made for their reception and encouragement. Hotels are provided for the accommodation of immigrants until they have chosen their location and settled therein. Schools and colleges for technical and agricultural instruction abound. The Agricultural College at Piracicaba, about 150 miles north-west of São Paulo, is one of the best equipped of its kind; whilst the Fazenda Modelo, or model farm, covers an area of 800 acres, upon which almost every useful and profitable crop is grown with splendid results.

[Image unavailable.]


Besides the staple product, coffee, São Paulo produces plentiful crops of corn, rice, beans, sugar-cane, cotton, and tobacco, whilst manioc, or cassava, Irish and sweet potatoes, arrowroot, oats, and field peas are largely cultivated. Coffee{316} however, is almost the only agricultural product exported from the State, for the others barely supply the home demand. Of the industries dependent upon the produce of the country mention must be made of the distillation of “aguardiente,” or cane whisky, and the manufacture of sugar, a number of factories existing for the production of these commodities, as well as for cotton-weaving, the supplying of rectified spirits from corn, and the utilising of textile fibres in the making of bags, carpeting, and twine. Grape-growing has been started and experiments made to ascertain the variety of grape likely to yield the best result, and a vine has been produced specially adapted for the prevailing climatic conditions and which resists all vine diseases.

[Image unavailable.]


São Paulo is especially fortunate in possessing in the waterfalls on its rivers an abundant supply of power for the generating of electricity wherewith to drive machinery, propel tramcars, and illuminate houses, shops, factories, and streets, and this should prove a most potent factor in the growing development of the State.

When it is remembered that the most productive part of the State is situated more than a hundred miles from the sea and, moreover, upon a plateau or tableland which is from 1800 to 3000 feet above sea-level, some conception can be formed{317}

[Image unavailable.]


of the difficulties which had to be overcome in connection with the transport of produce for export from the port of Santos. These difficulties have, however, been successfully overcome by the São Paulo Railway, one of the most extraordinary in the world. It connects the port of Santos with the town of Jundiahi, one hundred miles inland, and the capital city São Paulo lies about midway between the termini. In making the ascent of the Serro do Mar such steep gradients are accomplished that a climb of 2600 feet is achieved within a distance of five miles. This is effected by means of wire ropes wound upon stationary engines, which pull the trains up and down over a distance of six miles through extremely beautiful scenery. Over this short line passes all the immense export of coffee and other produce which leaves the State through its port of Santos. This port was, not longer than twenty-five years ago, one of the worst in the world with regard to that terrible scourge yellow fever, and shipowners dreaded to send their vessels thither to have their crews oftentimes entirely carried off and the ships delayed for months at a time, unable to obtain hands to man them.{318} But all that has passed away, thanks largely to the improvements carried out by Gaffrée Guinle and Co., now the Santos Docks Company. Although low-lying and steamy, Santos is to-day quite a healthy city of some 30,000 inhabitants, and the largest coffee emporium in the world. Situated in a fine harbour, its wharf front extends for nearly three miles, and is provided with hydraulic and other machinery for manipulating the freights of the ocean liners that lie alongside. The city to-day has spread itself across wide, flat land at the foot of the hills, and is well provided in the matter of water supply and sanitation, whilst its broad, straight streets are well paved and electrically lit. It is well furnished, too, in respect of schools and institutions, churches, consulates, libraries, and clubs, and is, moreover, in complete telegraphic communication with the interior of the State and the rest of the world. After a stay in the State of São Paulo, sufficiently prolonged to permit of an acquaintance with the industry and enterprise of its citizens, the delightfulness of its climate, the abundant fertility of its soil, and the beauty of its scenery, one sails from the port of Santos with a feeling of regret at leaving so fair a clime, and with a conviction that its prosperity will yet enhance and carry it to a high position amongst the states of the world.{319}


A Source of Light and Power

SÃO PAULO is rich in the possession of an abnormal number of waterfalls and rapids—in fact for its size it is in this respect the richest state in the world. Much of the power that flows over these rapids has already been utilised and does an enormous amount of work, and more is destined in the future to be harnessed to supply the increasing demands of industry. Rivers and streams rise in the great Serro do Mar, and flow over a hilly country, encountering so many changes of level that innumerable falls and rapids are the result. One of these rivers, the Tieté, which rises in the hills not far from Santos, flows in a north-westerly direction till it joins the Parana. There are many falls in this river, sometimes situated so close together that in the course of half a mile several may be counted. At one fall near the little country village of Parnahyba, about twenty-two miles as the crow flies from the capital, a power station has been erected, and at it sufficient electric power is generated to run the extensive tramway and lighting systems of the whole city. The plant belongs to the São Paulo Light and Power Company—one of the largest business concerns in South America. The Sorocabana Railway runs along the green banks of the river from São Paulo, and passes a little wayside station called Baruery. Here all the material and supplies for the power station are unloaded, and all life that centres round the station is connected in some way with the Light and Power Company. Goats, fowls, and children run wild round the trains when they come to a standstill in the little station, although there are but few habitations to give indications of a settlement. A long drive over undulating dull red roads that wind round hills and alongside the river brings the visitor to the power station, which is built{320} in the dry bed of the diverted river. Upon a beautifully wooded hill stands the manager’s house, overlooking hills and valleys of rare beauty.

The power house stands below a reservoir, which is connected by three enormous iron pipes with the dam 2200 feet higher up the river. Two of these pipes are twelve feet in diameter, the remaining one fifteen feet, and through them the water rushes to feed the reservoir immediately above the station. Short, thick pipes lead the water into the seven large turbine generators which together develop over thirty thousand horse-power. The current generated is received at a pressure of 2300 volts and transformed to 40,000 for transmission across the twenty-two miles of line to the city, where it is again transformed at the distributing station to a voltage suitable to the requirements of consumers. All along the river’s banks the natives were early taught by the Jesuits to construct small water-mills for crushing their sugar cane, and although these primitive “power stations” still exist in considerable numbers, the owners of them are amazed that the power they have used for so long should be able, by passing through the turbines, to accomplish the mighty feat of driving 200 large cars over 100 miles of streets at almost any speed, as well as turning the heavy machinery of factories and mills many miles away. The numerous workshops for repairing the machinery of the station employ a small army of nearly 200 men, and the Brazilians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Germans, who form this staff are housed in the picturesque little village of Parnahyba, which nestles on a hill-side about a quarter of a mile away. A typical country church stands on the sloping village square, and is the only building of any importance in it. It is fairly well built, but decorated with the cheap, garish ornaments that attract the untrained eye. In front of the high altar paper flowers, in inferior china vases, and cheap candles embellish the shrines of the velvet-robed plaster saints. Poor lithographs, all highly coloured, mark the stations of the cross. Confessionals, open at the top and sides, barely conceal the priests who listen to the recital of the villagers’ lapses from grace. Outside, groups of orange trees grow round the little bamboo dwellings, while further down the hill the river, released from its labour at the power house, rushes past, making a cheerful music. The trees harbour birds of myriad hues, the{321}

[Image unavailable.]


river teems with fish. Long canoes lie alongside the grassy banks, and children play upon the shores happy and free from care. In the evenings and on feast days the village is full of animation; men and women gather in little groups and gossip, the latter smoking pipes, which are considered effeminate by the men, who prefer cigars and cigarettes. Horse and cattle kind are plentiful, and the men amuse themselves with races upon a small scale. “Caipiras,” as the small farmers are called, are experts on{322} the course, and have much of the trickiness and low cunning that long contact with horseflesh is believed by many to engender.

A racing story is told in the locality about an Englishman who owned a horse he was eager to match against all comers. A day and course were fixed upon, but, to the surprise of outsiders, the race was won by an old “caipira,” whose steed was heavily backed by the punters on the course. The crestfallen and astonished “Ingleze” did not discover till long after his defeat that the winner was an old race-horse that had been surreptitiously obtained from São Paulo for the purpose of taking down his boastful pride. It was the last appearance of an English owner on the Parnahyba race-course, and the natives chuckle to this day over the way the old “caipira” soaked the “Ingleze.” A few days spent at the manager’s house on the hill are full of interest, and the details of the day’s work in connection with the station provide ample topics of conversation. Watchful attention has to be given night and day to the great installation, for lightning storms occur frequently, and may at any moment cause a slight disturbance of the transmission, which, but for the reserve steam power station in the city, would envelop the town in darkness, bring the whole tramway service to a standstill, and stop thousands of machines which are dependent upon the station for driving power. Telephones connect the distributing with the power station, and the latter with the manager’s house, and even his bedroom is provided with an alarum which can rouse him at any moment from his slumber. The Light and Power Company of São Paulo have acquired many concessions along the Tieté, and other rivers and sites for future stations have already been fixed upon—two at Pirapora, and one, where construction has been going on for some time, at Sorocaba, about three miles distant from Parnahyba. Surveyors and engineers are at work planning another station at Pau d’Alho, so that the rapid developments which are taking place in the State will not catch this enterprising company napping. At Pirapora, not far from the village, there is a Roman Catholic convent where a dozen priests under the direction of a bishop are housed. The building itself is new, but the site was occupied by one of the earliest Jesuit mission stations in the State. The church, Bom Jesus de Pirapora, in the village of about 1500 inhabitants, has an extensive fame, not only in the State of São Paulo, but in others lying at a great{323} distance, for it has a reputation for miraculous cures. It is the Lourdes of Brazil. The great annual pilgrimage to this shrine attracts thousands of afflicted persons, lame, halt, deformed, and blind, who walk from great distances, enduring many hardships and suffering privations with astonishing fortitude. Many die on the way, but the thousands of photographs preserved in the church are evidence of the numbers who have visited the spot, and these pictures of the cured, with their crutches and bandages, serve to advertise the virtues of the shrine. A legend exists in Pirapora to the effect that Christ rose from out the river some years ago, and the authority of the church supports and spreads the myth. At the annual gathering of the pilgrims, bishops and priests from distant parishes are present in great numbers, encouraging the patients with advice, and administering healing slaps on the faces and bodies of the victims to accelerate the cures. Many of the natives of Pirapora have never left the precincts of the little village, and spend their lives in ignorance of the ways of the great city not fifty miles away. The priests still exercise a powerful influence over their lives, and girls and unmarried women are kept indoors and out of the public gaze with Oriental strictness. A curious market is held outside the church on Sunday mornings and on festa days. The priests hold an auction, and horses, cattle, goats, pigs, chickens, flour, rice, vegetables, fruit, furniture, and innumerable odds and ends are offered for sale and knocked down to the highest bidder. The proceeds of these sales go into the coffers of the church, and as the stock sold is the gift of the people this is their way of supporting their religion. This system is prevalent throughout the country, and in many districts it becomes a sort of “fair,” at which all kinds of little stalls, covered with bunting and adorned with flags, are set up to provide refreshment to the holiday crowd. Firework displays wind up the day, and as all the squibs, rockets, and roman candles are home-made, the uncertainty of the behaviour of each separate piece gives an added zest to the spectators. At the church auctions strange lots are sometimes offered to the public; mysterious parcels, without any marks or signs to give indications of their contents, occasionally fetch high prices, and on being opened disclose some ludicrous object such as a baby’s feeding-bottle or rattle. A bunch of wild flowers, gathered and given by some village beauty, will generally cause excited{324} bidding by her admirers, who compete with extravagant bids against one another, until it is knocked down at an absurdly high figure. There is plenty of sport to be had along the river’s bank, and hunting parties make good bags of birds, monkeys, carpincha, and occasional deer. Fishing is also a popular and profitable sport with the natives, who are not too partial to strenuous exertion. Most of the workers on the small farms own their land, and the crops of maize, sugar, and rice provide a comfortable and easily obtained livelihood. From the sugar juice a highly intoxicating liquor called “pinga” is distilled, and sold in kegs to the small stores, who retail it to the public at about 20 reis a glass (less than a farthing English money), a price that brings it within the reach of all, and contributes largely to its popularity. This fiery brand is responsible for much of the crime that takes place in the country. A tragedy attributable to pinga occurred some little time back at Parnahyba, which for about a fortnight was full of speculation as to the cause. One of the great gates that guard the entrance to the water conduits leading from the upper dam to the reservoir had become jammed, and a diver was sent down to ascertain the cause. It was noticed that he had taken a peg or two of pinga before he donned his helmet, but little heed was given at the time to this not unusual proceeding. He soon came up from his first examination, and reported the position, which necessitated the attachment of a strong wire rope to the damaged door, in order that it might be pulled back into its proper place. The diver descended again, taking the end of the stout rope with him, and for a long time the men at the pump went on turning to supply him with air. After an hour had gone by without a sign of the diver they grew alarmed, and pulled at the communication cord without receiving any answering signal. Two more divers were telegraphed for from Santos, and until they arrived the following day the pump was kept going, in the hope that the unfortunate man was alive, but perhaps entangled with some obstruction which prevented him from coming to the surface or from replying to their repeated signals. All that the newly arrived divers could discover, when they descended, however, was that the air supply pipe to the missing man led over the jammed gates into the great pipe, and that it was divided; the victim must be somewhere in the long 2000 feet tube. Search was made in the reservoir above the{325}

[Image unavailable.]


power station, but no sign of the missing man could be discovered. The excitement in the village grew to fever pitch, and spread to the inhabitants along the river’s bank. Endless suggestions and theories were forthcoming as to what had happened and the means to be taken to clear up the mystery, which puzzled the wisest and most expert opinion. One theory set up and spread by the subtle-minded labourers was that the missing man had slipped out of his suit underwater, and had, under cover of the darkness, made his way to a distant part of the river, and there he had climbed out and escaped, his object being to get compensation for his widow and children. This theory spread, in spite{326} of its absurdity, for the simple folk recalled the case of a man who conspired to have his effigy burnt in a fire that took place in another part of the country, and whose supposed widow got insurance money, which the supposed victim and his fellow-conspirators shared among them. Other theories, no less ridiculous, were current, and the superstitions of the natives were aroused, when one of the night watchmen refused further duty at the tragic spot, alleging that he had seen the ghost of the diver emerge from the water and hover round the spot, and it was only when the body of the missing man floated to the surface of the reservoir, a fortnight later, that an end was put to the endless surmises and stupid conjectures that were the talk of the whole neighbourhood.{327}



FROM an obscure origin the habit of coffee-drinking has grown to be almost universal. That the natural home of the plant itself is Abyssinia or East Africa is generally known, but how its fruit came to be used in the making of a beverage is the subject of many legends. One ancient Mohammedan tradition tells how the superior of a monastery, observing that goats eating the coffee berries became very wakeful and lively at night, prepared a decoction of the berries, in order to keep his dervishes awake when the religious services at the mosque demanded their attention during the whole of the night. He proved the efficacy of the beverage, and recommended it to his co-religionists, who, on discovering that it was pleasant as well as useful, soon acquired the coffee habit, and frequently refreshed themselves throughout the day with the dark brown liquid.

So popular did coffee-drinking become amongst the faithful that one section endeavoured to put down the practice, which they looked upon as an evil. They alleged that it was an intoxicant, and as such was expressly forbidden by the Koran. Their religious zeal or bigotry was not, however, so powerful as the hold which the coffee bean had acquired over the people, and the custom of coffee-drinking, now time-honoured throughout the East, has spread, not only over the whole of Europe, but practically throughout the world.

The first coffee-house or café was established in Constantinople early in the sixteenth century, and its popularity was such as to arouse the hostility of the priesthood, who saw in the attractions of the café a serious menace to the attendances at the mosque. Thus that which according to legend had originated as an aid to worship, came to be regarded as an enemy to devotion, and a bitter feeling was aroused which persisted for many years.{328}

For a century the habit was almost exclusively practised by the Orientals, but in the middle of the seventeenth century it spread to France and England. In the year 1652 a coffee-house was opened in London, in St. Michael’s Alley, Cornhill, and was the forerunner of many rival establishments that quickly opened throughout the capital.

These houses came to be frequented more particularly by the political and literary circles of the day, and in the reign of Charles II a royal proclamation was issued against coffee-shops, alleging them to be the rendezvous of disaffected persons; but this was not such an effective check upon the spread of the habit as was the imposition of a heavy tax upon the article. It is remarkable that although coffee, tea, and cocoa were all introduced into Europe about the same time, the preference for tea in England has been as steady as the predilection for coffee in France.

Until the end of the seventeenth century the chief source of the coffee supply was Arabia, but in 1690 the plant was introduced into Java by the Dutch, who also placed one specimen in the Botanical Gardens at Amsterdam as a curiosity, from which plant seeds were afterwards planted in Dutch Guiana. Indeed, from this one plant at Amsterdam the coffee plantations of the New World may be said to have sprung. The islands of the Caribbean Sea were soon supplied with seeds, and plantations were laid out in many localities, which experience proved were the most favourable for the production of the best crops. It is uncertain how the coffee plant came to be introduced into Brazil. One story is that a runaway from Cayenne took a few seeds to Para or Maranhão, somewhere about the year 1761, and that some years later two or three plants were conveyed from there to the city of Rio de Janeiro, where they were cultivated in a private garden, probably by way of a novelty. Even at the beginning of the nineteenth century the cultivation of coffee was not looked upon by the Brazilians as deserving of any serious attention, and they had not much use themselves, except as medicine, for the beverage which to-day is hardly ever out of their mouths.

The State of São Paulo was the first to give serious attention to the cultivation of coffee, and as a result has reaped the reward of being the most prosperous State in the whole of Brazil. The interior of São Paulo (which lies between 20° and 25° S. latitude){329} possesses a rich and productive soil, with a climate whose temperature and rainfall are eminently suited for the cultivation of many kinds of agricultural produce, and it was in the Campuias district that coffee was first planted and developed on an extensive scale. From this district the cultivation has spread all over the State, until São Paulo is almost synonymous with the name of coffee. The rapid development of the industry has placed Brazil in the forefront of coffee-producing countries, and the annual output from its ports exceeds that of all other ports put together. To-day there are over 361.572.12 alqueires of land under coffee cultivation alone, whilst the prosperity of this industry has given an impetus to agriculture generally, and the growing of sugar, rice, maize, beans, tobacco, vine, and manioc, all engage the attention of farmers in the State.

[Image unavailable.]


A large number of “fazendas” or farms are in the hands of Brazilians themselves, and many more are worked and owned by persons of Italian, Portuguese, German, English, French, and{330} Spanish nationalities. These coffee fazendas are all very much alike, and the traveller through the country is quickly impressed by the high state of cultivation that this profitable industry has developed. No visitor to São Paulo should depart without seeing a fazenda, as the coffee plantation is called, and the hospitality and kindness of the Paulistas to strangers make a visit pleasurable as well as memorable.

The estate of Senhor Antonio Prado, a Brazilian gentleman who has done much for the beautifying of the capital, lies about 230 miles therefrom, and the journey by rail is through a country full of interest and beauty. The towns and villages that lie along the route are partially hidden by the dense foliage of the tropical vegetation that bespeaks the richness of the soil. The undulating hills through which the railway winds offer a change of view at every moment of the journey. The rich red earth accentuates and intensifies the green of the foliage, whilst the stain of it tinges everything it touches. The railway carriages, constructed on American models, are full of the fine red dust, and the passengers have a ruddy hue when they descend from a journey through the country. The whitewash of the buildings and cotton clothes of the peasants are all more or less tinted with the eternal red of the soil. The Prado fazenda, situated upon rising ground, is a low, one-story building encircled with verandahs. Brilliant-coloured flowers grow in front of it, luxurious creepers entwine themselves around the supports of its verandahs, and tall palms nod their heads above its roofs. The floors of broad, hard-wood planks are red with the stain of the all-pervading earth.

The “fazendiero” lives well, and his table groans under a plentiful variety of meat, vegetables, rice, bread, and sweetmeats, to which visitors and friends from neighbouring plantations are welcomed round the board. From the verandahs the view is extensive, a waving sea of green, except when the bloom is on the coffee plant, when the white flakes of colour suggest fallen snow, very refreshing to the eye in the intense heat.

A ride through the coffee trees on this estate could be extended for many miles, but the lanes and vistas are all very much alike, appealing most strongly to the sense of distance and extent.

Beyond the region planted lies the wild forest, thick woods almost impenetrable, save where patches of land, full of gaunt, half-burnt stumps, betoken clearings in process of being turned{331} into plantations—a preparation that takes no little time and much labour.

[Image unavailable.]


The formation of a plantation occupies four years before the trees bear fruit. The trees are raised from seed in the nurseries, and the young shrubs planted out in regular rows from eight to nine feet apart, the work being carried out by colonies of settlers who are of many nationalities. These colonies are scattered up and down the estate, and are housed in rows of neat dwellings, with tiled roofs and whitewashed walls. They form tiny villages, each with its own type of inhabitants, its own manners and{332} customs according to the nationality of the settlers. As a rule, a family have a certain number of trees to look after, and their work of weeding, tending, and picking is confined to one portion of the estate, upon which there are 2,300,000 trees, varying from thirteen to thirty-three years of age. The work is divided amongst eight colonies, comprising 360 families, in all about 2800 souls—Italian, Swiss, Spanish, Austrian, Portuguese, Brazilians, and about sixty Japanese. The trees are planted in squares of about 5000 trees, and a man and his wife can look after about 4000 trees. The picking of the berries commences in the month of May, and goes on till October, whilst from October to May the work of cleaning the grounds of weeds is in full swing. Harrows, drawn by mules and horses, are employed upon the broader passages between the trees, but for the narrower divisions the hoe is used. The long avenues stretch out in all directions, lanes of red earth five and six miles long in straight, unbroken lines from eight to twenty feet high on either side. These trees are always green, and four times in the season beautiful pure white flowers burst forth to relieve the monotony of colour. The first flowers appear in July, and last for eight days, leaving behind a small growing berry to develop and ripen. There are three other flowering periods until the end of October, and the fruit or berries formed from the flowers are in progressive stages of ripening during the picking season. Thus there is a continual flowering and picking of the coffee during the same months, and the pickers have to take care that they only pull the ripened berries. This, however, is not difficult, as the young and newly formed berries have a firmer attachment to the trees than the older and ripened fruit. The crop of berries plucked at the beginning of the season in May are black, being the fruit of the first flowers of the preceding year. Red berries are the fruit of the second flowers, and green berries of the third. The proper time for pulling is when the green berries of the previous years are full. The hand is drawn along the branch, which is thus stripped of all but the young berries of the current year. Then the pulled berries are taken in carts drawn by mules or oxen to the “lavadors” or washing tanks.

There are several kinds of coffee cultivated upon this estate, a practice quite common among the fazendieros of São Paulo. One variety, the “Bourbon,” is an early and regular producer,{333} and for this reason is largely cultivated, since the fever of production seized the planters, in consequence of the rise in the price of coffee. This variety does not grow very high nor bear large-sized beans. Its life is shorter than many other varieties, it is sensitive and delicate, its branches lacking in flexibility, and it does not yield very large quantities of fruit. But against all these disadvantages, the planters set the fact that it can be grown rapidly, bringing a quick return to the owner.

[Image unavailable.]


The common or native coffee tree has, however, most to commend it. It is strong, hardy, and well acclimatised, and has a long life, while its beans are large, and sell for the highest prices{334} upon the market. Long experience has determined that it is the plant best adapted for the climate, and its flexible branches render the operation of gathering a simple one, which does not render the tree liable to damage. Its only drawback is the irregularity of its crop, which is good and poor in alternating years.

All the older plantations are stocked with this variety, and there is no doubt that, in spite of other considerations, it is destined to remain when the “Bourbon” variety shall have disappeared.

The “Bomcatu” or “Amarello” is a variety very similar to the common coffee, but has yellow berries, whilst the “Murta” is another variety which is very little grown, having too great an abundance of foliage at the expense of the fruit.

At the “terrains” the gathered coffee is sorted by an ingenious process.

The berries, black, red, and green all mixed together, are put into a tank of water, and the black berries being the lightest, float to the surface, and are run off along a cemented channel to a large concreted terrace, where they are spread out to dry in the sun.

The red and green berries left behind are floated down another cemented channel to a machine which detaches the outer skins of the red berries, leaving the beans, which are now separated from the green berries, still intact, by a process of sifting in revolving perforated drums. These beans are now spread out upon the terrain, as are also the green berries, to be sun-dried in their turn.

The time occupied in the drying process depends, of course, upon the sun, the black fruit generally drying in from eight to ten days. The beans of the red fruit, known as washed coffee, take time to colour, and after three or four days are banked up, and covered from the rain, until they assume the washed coffee colour. The green berries, in their turn, take longer, generally about twenty days.

When thoroughly dried, the berries and beans alike pass into a series of chambers called the Machina de Beneficiar Café, where, by means of elaborate machinery, the berries are decorticated and the beans sorted in their various sizes. The husks and also the thin skins of the beans which are removed by winnowing are blown through a long tube to a heap outside, and preserved{335} as manure, to be sprinkled between the trees and ploughed into the ground.

The beans, sorted into qualities of size and shape, are placed in sacks and sent by railway (which comes right alongside the Machina) down to Santos, the greatest shipping port for this product in the whole of Brazil.

The Martino Prado estate contributes about sixty thousand bags a year towards the annual output of over ten million bags which are exported from the State of São Paulo.

As the productive life of a coffee tree may be estimated at about forty years its cultivation is attended with much profit, and a law has been enacted by the State to prevent too many estates being brought into existence. Planting to replace dead or unfruitful trees is in no way restricted, the aim being to keep the production of the commodity from getting out of hand and to prevent the world’s markets being flooded with more coffee than is ordinarily consumed.

It was in 1906-1907 that the danger of over-production first attracted the serious attention of the “faziendieros,” who became alarmed at the prospect of a great lowering of prices. The season’s yield had been a record one, and threatened to cause a fall in price that meant ruin to many of the planters, and a serious crisis to the State of São Paulo, whose capital and resources were largely bound up in coffee culture. The Government had, in 1900, placed an almost prohibitive tax upon the creation of new plantations in order to check production and save the existing faziendieros from financial catastrophe, but were again faced with a perplexing situation, which resulted in the scheme of artificially upholding the price of coffee. With the assistance of the neighbouring States of Rio de Janeiro and Minas-Geraes, the São Paulo Government bought up the necessary number of sacks to relieve the market, and by preserving the balance between supply and demand kept the price at a figure remunerative to the planters. The credit to purchase the overplus was effected by the three States already named, and was guaranteed by an extra tax of one shilling and eightpence upon each sack of coffee exported from Santos or Rio. By means of loans from foreign banks the Governments were able to purchase and keep out of the market eight million sacks of coffee already stored in different parts of the world, and as coffee improves by age, the surplus{336} thus bought up is being gradually disposed of at an enhanced price. This operation has been the subject of much controversy, many economists looking upon it as initiating a dangerous policy, whilst others claim that it has been amply justified by the good results that have followed to the State.

There can be no doubt that had the exceptional yield of 1906-1907 reached the market, a fall in prices, disastrous alike to the planters and to the State, would have resulted. The smaller crops of the succeeding years have favoured the release of the stored surplus without any lowering of prices, and the bold experiment has so far been successful.

[Image unavailable.]


A succession of large crops, both in Brazil and other producing countries of the world, would mean real disaster to São Paulo, but experience goes to show that irregular crops are the general rule, and that full years are inevitably followed by lean ones.{337}

The only developments that the State of São Paulo has had to watch carefully are the increasing outputs of newer plantations in Mexico, the West Indies, and the northern republics of South America, all of which are gradually increasing the area under coffee cultivation. São Paulo alone could produce all the coffee necessary to meet the world’s demand, were all her available land allowed to be placed under cultivation, so that the policy of restriction is almost forced upon her. The rapid development of this State is one of the outstanding features of South America, and is all the more remarkable when one considers the comparatively short time that has elapsed since its staple industry was first commenced.{338}


The Forest

AN excursion through the unexplored bush in South America is no light undertaking, and after a few hours employed in making his way through primeval forest the traveller obtains a fair idea of some of the terrible ordeals which had to be passed through by the early Spanish invaders and buccaneering marauders. Besides being hampered by heavy armour and accoutrements, they were dependent for food on the wild animals they killed or the roots and fruits they discovered, unless by chance they encountered natives from whom they could obtain frugal supplies. The uncertainty of obtaining subsistence, the dangers which lay in wait for them from the poisoned arrows of the natives, and the risks they ran of losing their way, all added to the perils of their expeditions. For in most favourable circumstances a journey over hills clad with the densest vegetation, and across streams and rivers inhabited by obnoxious reptiles, is distinctly trying. At the invitation of a friend I started out to visit a camp occupied by himself and his fellow-surveyors situated on the hills lying to the west side of the Chagres River. I prepared for this journey in a costume which in my ignorance I thought suitable for the occasion, including heavy boots and leggings, and a complete change of clothing in case of emergencies. At the headquarters in the town from which we started it was politely pointed out to me that I evidently did not understand the sort of country we were to travel through, and if the rig-out I had assumed was the best my wardrobe could furnish, my companion would endeavour to supply me with a more suitable equipment. He produced a pair of breeches which no self-respecting tramp would have rescued from a dust-bin, the remainder of a shirt upon which moths had made many a hearty meal, a thick pair of stockings that would have gladdened the heart of an Arctic{339} explorer, a pair of boots such as are affected by those who go down into the bowels of the earth in sewers, and a hat so thickly coated with mud and clay that it might easily have been mistaken for a crude specimen of pottery. The fact that the breeches and shirt had been made originally for a smaller man detracted somewhat from their comfort, although the figure presented when arrayed in the garments would have aroused the envy of a professional tramp. When we were well into the forest the suitableness of this attire became apparent, and I owed a debt of gratitude to my considerate companion for having saved a respectable portion of my wardrobe from utter destruction. A change of clothing was tied up in a piece of stout waterproof material and consigned to the charge of one of the negroes who were to accompany us, and so, armed with a long pole, we started. The party consisted of my companion and myself, three negroes, and two half-bred Indians, who carried between them fresh supplies and provisions for the camp. The first part of the way lay through an old track, and offered no difficulty. After traversing a distance of about a mile we came to a muddy river, on the banks of which stood a small Indian village, composed of rude huts and shacks. The human beings who inhabited these patched-up, nondescript dwellings were about as mixed in breed as their houses in construction, and as indolent and dirty as their domiciles were foul and evil-smelling. We were detained for some time while search was being made for the boatman whose services were required to paddle us to the other side, and as we stood looking across the swiftly flowing, muddy river, I had an opportunity of becoming more closely acquainted with the camp-followers who accompanied us. A tall, middle-aged negro, called Harvey, who with difficulty was balancing a bundle upon his head, made himself conspicuous by his never-ceasing chatter. No threats from my companion served to stop his garrulity, which was explained by the fact that he had not recovered from the festivities of the previous day, the anniversary of his King’s birthday. Like a true Britisher, this Jamaican had indulged in royal toasts until he had almost assumed a regal demeanour of independence; and when he was told that he was drunk he denied it in so lofty a manner that it only confirmed the correctness of our diagnosis. “Harvey,” said my companion sternly, “don’t you know what the Bible says will happen to{340} men who take too much strong drink?” “Don’t kere what the Bible say ’bout strong drink, cap’n, but I should like fin’ out what it say ’bout dem dam Indians what ain’t to be found when dey’re wanted, keeping English and American gentlemen waitin’ about in de burnin’ sun, ’bout near as hot as de hell fire he sure to go to.”

“Shut up, Harvey, and don’t talk so much.”

“What God give me tongue for, eh, massa, and what have I brains for if not to use?” he asked plaintively. At last the missing boatman put in an appearance, and we gingerly entered the long dug-out, which was very leaky, and about one-third full of water, and pushed off for the opposite bank. The Indian, who seated himself in either the bow or stern, I fail to remember which, both ends seeming so exactly alike, skilfully propelled the long, wobbly craft to the other side, and we climbed up the steep, muddy bank, aided by the long lianas which hung down from tall trees towering overhead. We were soaking wet, as it had been necessary to sit down in the canoe to prevent overbalancing it; but after a little experience of the trail we had now got to, I realised that to be wet through was a normal condition to be in when travelling through the bush. The first mile or so we kept by the bank of the river along a trail which had been cleared by the ever useful machete. This trail was narrow, and necessitated our walking in Indian file, and for a part of the way I found myself in front of the loquacious Harvey, who, slightly sobered by the recent exertion of climbing up the bank with his load, continued babbling about Biblical subjects with ludicrous effect. His mind was greatly exercised in trying to recollect what really was the punishment to be meted out to rum-drinkers, and also as to what the sin could be which admitted of no possible forgiveness. It was marvellous how he managed to keep jabbering with his tongue while occupied with balancing the great bundle on his head and evading the pitfalls which beset his feet. When at last the trail led into the gloomy forest, it was a welcome escape from the heat and glare of the sun, the fierce rays of which had been pouring down upon us for over two hours. Charles Kingsley says that the first feeling he had on entering the primeval forest was one of helplessness, confusion, awe, and all but terror. Most of these feelings did come over me in the course of the journey, but the first emotion{341}

[Image unavailable.]


was one of thankfulness for the deep shade. It is difficult to convey any idea of the luxuriant growth we were now amongst. Trees of all shapes and colours in profusion rose around us with a superabundant wealth of foliage so dense that it was impossible to find one’s way without a compass or a guide, and even the trail itself could only be traced by experts. Tall trees with parasitical creepers inextricably confused reaching upwards in long curving lines bewildered the eye. Fan-shaped palms, giant tree ferns and sword-like cactus that would make a small fortune for a florist at home grew all around. Strings of wire-like stems lay across the path, and it required no small skill and the utmost watchfulness to avoid being tripped up at every turn, and when we stumbled and put out our hands to keep from falling they met with prickly stems that stabbed like needles. Creepers twirled around and in and out, crossing and recrossing one another, defying all efforts to trace them to their source, bewildering as a ship’s rigging in a storm all broken and loose and entangled past hope of straightening out. Sedgy swamps, with long, sharp blades of leaves and fallen trees, often blocked the path, while the light grew dimmer and dimmer the further we penetrated into the forest fastnesses. At times we thought we must have left the trail, so overgrown and dense it had become, and even the guides who were supposed to know it were often puzzled, and frequently the machete had to be resorted to in removing the vegetation that had grown since the last traveller had passed that way. It is splendid exercise walking or pushing{342} your way through a jungle, for the exertion the arms are called upon to put forth is nearly equal to that which the legs have to perform. Loops and festoons threatened to lasso and hang us at times, and whilst our eyes were engaged in watching for the dangers threatening us above our feet would be caught in some vegetable snare which the genii of the forest had spread for the intruder man. Orchids grew high up out of reach, and everywhere exquisite and grotesque forms presented themselves. Tiny humming-birds flitted past us, flashes of iridescent colour, and giant butterflies hovered over flowers as brilliant as themselves. Weird sounds from unseen monkeys, parrots, and toucans, high, piercing notes of birds, and the hum of innumerable insects confused the ears, as did the strange forms the eyes. We passed many trees of enormous girth, the lower portions of their trunks buttressed like Gothic cathedrals, and contrasting strangely with the tall, slender proportions of others, that seemed like long lengths of water-pipes set on end, through which a chimney-sweeper’s broom had been pushed, the brush protruding at the top. Often we came to streams, across which a few thin trees had been thrown to form a primitive bridge, and the passage of these with boots thick with slippery clay was quite an acrobatic feat, very much like walking the greasy pole. Sometimes long poles were stuck into the mud at the bottom of the river to assist the traveller across, but only occasionally did we meet with this luxury, and when the sticks we carried proved too short to reach the bottom we used them as a tight-rope walker does his balancing pole. Once I fell, but the water only came up to my waist, so that I waded to the opposite bank and climbed out. But the wading was not easy, for the bottom of the stream was thickly padded with fallen leaves, which formed a pulpy mass of decaying vegetation and prevented a firm foothold. We could not help admiring the way the half-sober Harvey crossed these bridges, his large feet turned out, his arms outstretched with pole in one hand and machete in the other, and the huge bundle cleverly balanced on his head. His performance would have evoked loud applause from the critical audience of a modern variety show, but we refrained from applauding lest we should swell his thick head. After stumbling, hot, damp, and perspiring, along the greasy track, stepping through muddy pools and morasses and wading through streams for hours, we came to a large clearing{343} in the forest that had been made by the surveying party. It was the last camp they had occupied before proceeding to that which we were on our way to visit. We sat down in the shelter of one of the huts and rested. This was the first opportunity we had had of a seat, for in the forest there are no grassy spots or convenient bowers for the weary traveller to stretch himself and rest. Even when a fallen tree appears to offer a seat, sharp, prickly thorns or venomous insects prevent advantage being taken of it. Looking round at the now deserted camp, we were much impressed by the ingenuity displayed by its builders, for in the midst of the dense forest a circle about 300 feet in diameter had been cleared. Huge trees had been felled, the thick undergrowth cut down and burned, and from the smaller trees the huts or houses of the camp had been constructed. No nails had been used, the uprights and horizontals of the buildings being bound together by long withes. The roofs were neatly thatched with palm leaves, and gave shelter from the burning sun and heavy rains. Tables, benches, and beds were all constructed out of thin trees tied together, and supported on shorter lengths stuck into the ground. These were erected inside the huts, which were about thirty feet long by six feet wide, and open at the ends and sides. A large tree had been left as it fell, dividing the camp into two parts, that for the native attendants being much larger than the one reserved for the surveyors who employed them. My companion had been away at the time this camp was abandoned, and was now on his way to rejoin his companions in the new camp, about six miles distant in the forest. The men who accompanied us all belonged to the new camp, and had only left it a few days before to fetch provisions, supplies, newspapers, periodicals, and letters from the nearest railway station. After a short rest we started off again on a newer and more difficult trail, and as little or no traffic had passed over it, the utmost vigilance was needed on the part of the guides to detect the signs which marked it. The bearers were further laden with three surveying rods, which had been left at the old camp for them to bring along on their return. As the way became more difficult, frequent digressions were made into the bush, with the assistance of machetes, and often a halt was called and consultations held as to whether we were on the trail or not. Darkness was quickly falling, and we realised that it{344} threatened to become a serious matter should we fail to reach the camp before the light completely faded. Harvey and one of the Indians lagged far behind, and the three men who were with us displayed an anxiety I was quick to notice and to share. The trail was lost! We plunged into the thick vegetation, cutting our way with an energy born of fear, till floundering up to the waists in a deep morass, we were forced to retrace our steps. We now realised the awe that the forest can inspire, for in the darkness which had suddenly descended it was impossible to see, and the imagination conjured up snakes and odious things in close proximity. To add to the horror of it all, my companion pointed out that we should have to climb a tree and wait till morning. My tired limbs ached in anticipation of the further effort required of them. My feet were sore and heavy, and the cool night air made my flesh creep under damp, clinging garments, and I felt ready to sink down and let events take their course, without attempting to battle any more against circumstances. We shouted, in hopes that our voices might reach the camp and bring assistance, shouted all together, until our faces must have been as black as the darkness that surrounded us. The negroes and Indians were in dreadful apprehension, their imaginations conjuring up demons of the wood and “duppies” in every moving branch. Strange, uncanny noises added to the unpleasantness of the situation, and when I ventured to quote to my companion, “There is a pleasure in the pathless wood,” he retorted, “It must have retired for the night, as we can’t find it. Still, it’s very gratifying to know it is around somewhere.” I paid no attention, but continued, “There is a rapture by the lonely shore.” He admitted that might be true, for, as he said, you knew where you were. “There is society where none intrude,” I added. But by this time my companion had no proper appreciation of Childe Harold’s meditations, and implored me to help him in roaring, instead of wasting my breath on stuff like poetry. At last we heard a faint “Halloo,” which came from the opposite direction to that which we had been attempting to take, and we made a fresh united effort to raise a loud yell. The inhabitants of the forest, monkeys, parrots, and strange, unknown animals, wondering doubtless what all the shouting was about, started jabbering, screaming, and growling, as if to drown our cries. We had been standing with water reaching to our knees, overcome{345} with an acute sense of helplessness and afraid to venture in any direction. The answering shouts from the camp grew louder, and we knew that help was at hand; and when at last lights appeared, and, guided by our shouts, approached us, we experienced a feeling of intense relief. We made our way towards the lights, and found they were carried by a party of men from the camp, who conducted us to the not far-distant trail, and after about a half-hour’s walk we arrived at the camp we had been seeking. A hearty welcome from “the boys,” who had grown anxious at our non-appearance, and a meal consisting of hot coffee, biscuits, Boston beans, and jam was quickly set before us in one of the huts. In the dim light of the oil lamp we did ample justice to this simple fare, for we were as hungry as we were tired. At one end of the long hut six bunks had been placed, and already some of the party had turned in for the night, under the mosquito bars with which each was provided. It was only when I tried to remove my soaking boots and raiment that I realised that the bundle containing my dry clothing was in charge of Harvey, who was far behind us in the bush. Guns were fired off to direct him and his companion to the camp, but after waiting for a couple of hours we gave up expecting their arrival until morning. I was rigged out in sleeping clothes that were fairly dry, and turned in under a mosquito bar tired out in body, but awake in mind. We talked together for some hours, and speculated as to how poor Harvey and the Indian would be feeling, and how they would spend the night. Doubtless Harvey would recall our conversation of the morning, and would be thinking that the retribution and punishment which we had told him overtake drunkards had caught him up. One thing was quite certain, both he and his companions would be almost scared to death by fear of evil spirits or “duppies,” which are reported amongst the natives to inhabit the forest. All the strange noises that they hear are put down as emanating from the mysterious being who presides over the spirits that they believe infest the gloomy recesses of the woods. Confused notions prevail among the Indians and negroes, in spite of their outward adherence to the Christian faith, for they still retain a strong though disguised belief in the superstitions of their ancestors.

Harvey and his comrade had been perforce left in their distress, as it would have been impossible to persuade or force any of{346} their companions to go in search of them. None of the camp, Indian or negro, would venture after nightfall into the eerie caverns of the bush. Before sleep came to me the rain fell with great violence, making a sound like waves lashing upon rocks during a storm, and innumerable sand-flies found their way under the mosquito curtain, and settled down to torment my aching limbs. The “pesky” sand-fly, small and insignificant, can inflict more suffering upon the human race than many another insect fifty times its size. The sensation of myriads of these small flies hovering around my feet felt at first as if innumerable particles of gritty dust had got between the sheets, and I paid little heed to them; but after about an hour of their attention I was fully convinced of my mistake, and realised that the sand-flies had discovered a new feeding-ground.

Some years ago, when on board a steamer which had run ashore on the Tampico River, in Mexico, I had experiences of what these small pests were capable of accomplishing. On that occasion a companion and myself had been so severely bitten about the ankles, wrists, and face that any casual observer would have avoided contact with us for fear of taking smallpox. Dreading a further experience of these insects, I covered up my face with a handkerchief, and mumbled to myself the poet’s plea:

“I crave but this: That from the different kinds
Of insects cursing night and day
(The entomologist claims that he finds
Five hundred thousand so they say),
“Thou wilt at once destroy, annihilate,
Permit no longer to exist—
Efface, cut off, rub out, obliterate
The pesky sandfly from the list!”

At last half-stifled I fell into a disturbed slumber, from which, very early in the morning, I was awakened by the screams of the birds, monkeys, and parrots all round, and on looking out of the hut the strange beauty of the scene made me eager to get up and go outside to take ample stock of the camp and surroundings. The heavy morning mists hung all around, imparting a soft, mysterious aspect to the forest. It was as if an elusive veil of finest silver gauze had been spread from tree to tree by hidden fairy fingers. The smoke ascending from the camp fires seemed almost solid against the pearly background of the{347}

[Image unavailable.]


woods, and so unreal did it all appear that one expected every moment it would fade away, as dreams do. And so it did, for as the sun rose higher the mists melted and disappeared, and the strange outlines and varied forms of trees and creeping vines stood plainly forth. We went down to a stream that ran near the camp and bathed in water that was warm but still refreshing. On our return we found the men whose huts were about forty yards away from ours busy preparing and eating their morning meal, sharpening machetes, spreading out damp clothes to dry, mending and patching garments that seemed unworthy of attention, drying, or trying to dry, great hobnailed boots by placing them over fires that shot up threatening flames around them. One man was at a biscuit tin filled with water, rinsing and beating a mud-stained shirt, in the vain endeavour to cleanse it from the all-pervading dirt; while near him another hacked with a machete at a pair of heavy top boots, removing great slices of half-dried mud at every blow. But all of them abruptly ceased from their occupations when Harvey and his comrade came shouting gleefully into the clearing. They were sorry-looking wrecks, mud-stained and dishevelled, with their clothes hanging about them in tatters. All the camp crowded round them, and I was rather relieved to find that Harvey had not abandoned the great bundle which contained, amongst other things, my clothes; and while he untied the parcel we questioned him about his experiences in the bush. He was quite sober now,{348} but although he had regained some of his natural obsequious manner, he was inclined to be a trifle boastful after the night’s exploit. “What man dat say dere be ‘duppies’ in the wood?” he asked vehemently. “Dat man he lie, for dere don’t be no ‘duppies,’ no, not one at all, in de whole bush. Dere don’t be nothin’ ’cept them monkeys, tigers, snakes, and other tings.” “But you were a little frightened, Harvey, weren’t you?” I inquired.

“No, massa, not a bit frightened, not a bit. Sebastian, he war kin’ o’ skeered, so I made him light a fire to keep away dem tiger cats, and made him keep awake, to see if any ob dem ‘duppies’ was about. But dere don’t be no ‘duppies,’ not a ting in de bush at all to be skeered of.”

In consideration for the trials the two men had passed through, they were permitted to take a day off work and recover from the fright they had undoubtedly received; and, if I am not mistaken, Harvey had suffered more alarm than his dull and less imaginative companion. After this interlude the day’s work began in real earnest, each surveyor taking with him an escort of five or six labourers, to cut their way in different directions, measuring levels and distances, and surveying the contour of the country. The troches which they cut into the bush form long, straight tunnels, but the progress they make is slow. Each day the distance from the camp cut in this manner is increased, and parties have a two hours’ walk through the troches before they arrive at the point they had reached the previous day. The levels and the land surveyed during the morning are carefully recorded and marked on the large charts upon the return to camp. Thus day after day knowledge is gained of a country hitherto untrodden by human footsteps. The party that I was visiting had been engaged upon this work for over six months, and one of their number had never once during all that period left the bush. Magazines, newspapers, and letters arrived at camp once a week, but visitors never came, and mine was the first strange face he had seen for half a year. He was a quiet cultured, well-educated youth, energetic, and in love with his work, well content to be gaining an experience in his profession denied to those less venturous and plodding than himself. On my return journey from the camp I was guided by a small Indian boy, strong, fleet of foot, who although encumbered{349} with my baggage yet raced along the trail with such rapidity that I was in danger of losing sight of him. After a mile or two I wished to call a halt, but was unsuccessful in making him understand my wishes, so I was forced to keep up with him as best I could, and wait until we arrived at the deserted camp before taking a rest. When we arrived I sat again in the shelter afforded by the now abandoned hut, and rested for an hour or more, marvelling at the wonder all around me. Confused masses of shrubs and plants met my gaze, which would have been greeted with enthusiastic admiration if seen in English hot-houses. Wild bananas grew in large clumps, their long leaves torn by the wind, their stems covered with climbing ferns. Bamboos sixty or seventy feet high swayed in the faintest breeze and creaked in every joint.

The richest woodland in northern latitudes is tame compared with the tropical forest. During the midday heat the leaves where the sun beats on them became lax and drooping and languishing for the rain to come and cheer them. While I sat there under the shade of the rude cabin the heat and tension became almost insupportable, and languor and sleepiness fell upon me. As the sun blazed down upon the clearing myriads of humming, buzzing insects filled the air. The white rolling clouds which passed overhead were quickly changing to a leaden hue, and darkness, intensified by contrast with the brilliant light it superseded, covered the scene. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled, and deafened with its noise. A mighty wind arose and swayed the tall trees all around, the rustling of whose million leaves added to the roaring sound that made my head grow dizzy. Then the rain came. Nothing can compare with the storm that burst. Even the thickly padded roof of palm leaves above my head was not impervious to the deluge, and very soon I was wet with the great splashes that came bursting through. So violent was its descent, that upon reaching the earth the water rebounded in all directions, so that even had the roof proved water-tight, sufficient water found entrance upwards to swamp the hut. The storm ceased as suddenly as it had come, the black clouds dissipated and passed away, then the serene, deep blue sky again looked down upon the glistening landscape. Before leaving the clearing I strolled around, and one giant tree of enormous girth attracted my attention. The buttresses at{350} its base made by the roots rising out of the ground formed huge stalls that would have accommodated six good-sized ponies. Its age, not easily determined, must have been great, and it had seen thousands of storms like the one that had just passed over it. It was long past its early youth when Europeans first landed on these shores. The ancients supposed that trees were all immortal, and modern botanists have proved that many are almost indestructible, and may have witnessed the struggles of the earliest man. At last we started off to complete the journey home. When we arrived at the bank of the river we were fortunate in discovering a canoe moored to a branch. I felt a little reluctant to trust myself to the skill of the mere boy who accompanied me, but there was no help for it, so seating myself at one end of the narrow craft I awaited anxiously our arrival on the opposite bank. In spite of his diminutive proportions, however, the urchin was quite an adept with the paddle, and accomplished the journey against a swiftly flowing stream in a manner that showed he was accustomed to the navigation of the river. After we landed the journey was comparatively easy, but I was glad when we arrived at the headquarters house from which I had started. Finding my way along the railway track past houses inhabited by workers on the line, I arrived at the village and railway station, whence I got a train that carried me back to comparative civilisation.{351}


A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y.

Aborigines, 234, 236, 237, 238, 251, 294
Acla, 30, 32
Aconcagua, 177
Almagro, 140, 142, 161
Alonzo de Ojeda, 17, 18
Alpaca, the, 139
Amazon, the, 220, 298
Antofagasta, 157
Araucanians, 158, 161, 162, 163
Architecture (Peru), 151
Arequipa, 149, 151
Argentina, 167
Arica, 145
Armadillo, the, 183
Asuncion, 226, 231
Atahualpa, 128, 141, 142
Atrato, river, 72, 79, 80
Avenida, Beira-mar, 265, 266
”    Central (Rio), 266
”    de Mayo (Buenos Ayres), 168
Ayacusho (battle of), 153

Bahia, 295, 296
Bahia Blanca, 170, 171
Balboa, 57
Balbao, Vasco Nuñez de, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33
Balmaceda, José, 162, 164
Barranquilla, 124
Beira-mar, Avenida, 265, 266
Belgrano, General, 241
Bello Horizonte, 288, 290
Bird life on the plains, 195
Bogota, 117, 125
Boliche (native spirit), 183
Bolivar, Simon, 117, 144, 152, 240
Bolivia, 146, 152, 154, 155
Botanical Gardens (Rio), 276
Botofogo, 265, 266
Braganza, Duke of, 255
Branding stock, 190
Brazil, war with Paraguay, 245, 249, 350
Brazilians, 255, 257, 259, 268, 269, 270
Breaking-in horses, 188
Buccaneers, 34-47
Buenos Ayres, 167-170
Bulwer-Clayton Treaty, 76

Cabral, 252
Caliche deposits, 165
Callao, 131, 138
Camp, the, 180-196
Canal Commission, 62
”  Projects, 72-96
”  Zone, 50
Cape Frio, 253
Cartagena, 18, 40, 119, 125
Cattle Industry, 198
Chagres, 41, 45, 46
”    river, 55, 56, 86, 91, 338
Chamber of Deputies (Rio), 271
Children of the Sun,{352} 138
Chili, 145
Chilian army in Lima, 135
Chilian nitre, 164
Chilians, the, 157
Christobal, 50
Churches in Panama, 99-102
Coca, 146
Cocaine, 146
Cochrane, Lord Thomas, 162
Coelho, Goncalo, 265
Coffee, 327-337
Colombia, 117, 125
Colon, 48, 50, 52, 53, 63
Colon (Argentina), 201-209
Columbus, Christopher, 17, 48
Concordia, 210
Condor, the (of the Andes), 175
Conquest of Peru, 142
Coquimbo, 157
Conquistadores, 20, 22, 26, 32, 117, 128, 140-143
Copacabana (Rio), 276
Corcovada, 263
Cordillera, the, 175
Corrientes, 199, 216
Cortex, 72
Corumba, 220-222
Cruces, 42, 43, 45
Culebra cutting, 54, 57
”    slides at, 94
Cullen, Dr., 78
Curious burial customs, 105
Cuyaba, 220
Cuzco, 138, 140, 149-151

Davis, Admiral (report on Canal), 80
De Lesseps, 50, 80-84, 86-88
Deodoro, Marshal, 261, 279
Dias, Fernão, 292
Discovery of gold in Brazil, 292
Drake, Sir Francis, 120
Drysalting in Argentine, 204
Dutch in South America, 255-256
Dwellings, primitive, 22

Early Adventurers, 17-25
Ecuador, 127-130
Estancias, 173, 203
Excursions from Rio, 286

Fazendas, 329
Flat arch in Panama, 94, 101
Forest, a tropical, 338-350
Formosa, 224
Francia, Dr., 228, 240-243
French canal company, 83, 86, 90, 91
Frey Bentos, 200, 209
Frigorificos, 186, 200, 205
Frontin, Dr. Paul de, 274
Frozen meat trade, 204

Galisteo, 76
Galvao, 72
Gatun, 57
Gauchos, 180, 184-188
Germans in South America, 142, 156, 185, 251, 273, 286, 302
Gisborne, Lionel, 78
Gondra, President of Paraguay, 246
Goyaz, 220
Grand Chaco, 222
Great Central Railway, Brazil, 289, 294
Guano deposits, 138, 166
Guarani Indians, 192, 232, 234, 247
Guayaquil, 127

Hay-Herran, treaty, 93
Hides, 206
Horses (Argentine), 188, 206
Hospitals (Canal Zone), 53, 63
Huascar, 128, 141
Humboldt,{353} 166

Incas of Peru, 128, 134, 138, 139, 144, 161
Ipanema, 276
Isthmian Canal Commission, 91
Italians in Brazil, 251
Itamarity Palace, 272

Jara, Albino, President of Paraguay, 246
Jenkins’s ear (war of), 120
Jesuits in South America, 220, 234, 236, 242, 254, 302, 320
João IV, 255
João VI, 257, 276
Jockey Club, Buenos Ayres, 168, 170
José de Garay, 76
Journey across the Andes, 176, 177

Labour on the isthmus, 55, 60, 71
Lage, Antonio, 278, 282, 283
Lage Iramos, 295, 298
Lages River, 275
Lake Titicaca, 151, 156, 157
Land of Nitrates, 157-166
La Paz, 149, 156, 222
La Plata, 171, 172
Liebig Extract of Meat Co., 200-203, 209
Leme, 276
Leopoldina Railway, 286, 287
Light and Power Company, Rio, 275
”      ”      ”      São Paulo, 319
Lima, 131, 132, 134
Limon Bay, 51
Liot, Captain, R.N., report on Canal route, 75
Live Industry, a, 197, 207
Llama, the 139
Locusts in Paraguay, 243
Lopez, Carlos, 244
Lopez, Francesco, 229, 244, 245
Luque, 140
Lynch, Madame, 244

Magdalena, river, 124
Manzanilla, island, 48
Maranhão, revolt of, 255
Martinique, women of, 64-66
Maté, 186, 192-194
Matto Grosso, 220, 245
Melgarejo, President of Bolivia, 155, 156
Mendoza, 173-174
” wine of, 213
Mercedes, 216
Mihanovitch Steamship Company, 208
Minas Geraes, 288, 291
Miramar, 160
Missiones, 199
Misti, mountain, 151
Mitre, General Bartolomé, 197
Mollendo, 149, 150
Montevideo, 200, 209
Moreno, 129
Morgan, Henry, 36, 37, 45

National Library, Rio, 267
Negro labour, 60
Nelson, Horatio, 76
New Granada, 117
Newspaper offices, Rio, 267
Nicaragua, canal scheme, 76, 77, 92
Nictheroy (Rio), 265
Nitrates, 164
Novo Friburgo, 288

O’Higgins, 160, 162
Opera House (Rio), 267
Ouro Preto, 289
Ouvidor, Rua do (Rio),{354} 265-268

Palace of Fine Arts (Rio), 267
Palacete do Friburgo (Rio), 272
Panama, 17, 33, 40
” cemetery, 105
” churches, 99, 100, 101
” country life, 67
” founded, 97
” old, 107
” Plaza, 108
” Railroad, 49
” scandals, 50
” social functions in, 113, 116
Panamanians, 104, 150
Paraguay, 208, 226, 232, 240, 260
” river, 214, 219, 238, 241
Parahyba, river, 275
Parana, river, 200, 238, 300
Parnahyba Falls, 319
Paulistas, 254, 293
Paysandu, 209
Pearl Islands, 32
Pedrarias, 29, 140
Pedro I, 259
Penna, President of Brazil, 273
Penteado, Condé de, 310
Peoples of Brazil, 249
Pernambuco, 253, 296, 297
Peru, 136-147
Petropolis, 286
Piraguas, 124
Pirapora, 323
Pizarro, 20, 153, 161, 162
Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Ayres, 168
Politics in Colombia, 119
Poncho, the, 186
Portobello, 37, 38
Portuguese, 252, 254
” houses, 300
Posadas, 214
Prado, Antonio, 330
Puno, 151

Quito, 127

Railways of Peru, 144
Resources of Peru, 137
Revolutions in Colombia, 119
”        in Ecuador, 130
”        in Paraguay, 245
”        in Rio, 280-281
Rhea, the, 181, 182
Rio Branco, Baron de, 272
Rio de Janeiro, 254, 328
”      ” harbour, 263, 265
River Plate, 220
Rocafuerte, 129
Rogas, Liberado M., 247
Roosevelt, Theodore, 59, 95, 103
Rosario, 170, 171
Royal Mail Steam-Packet Company, 75, 295, 299
Rural Society, Argentina, 206

Saavedra, Angel, 72
Saladero, the, 186, 198, 199, 200
Salto, 210, 213
San Lorenzo, 40
San Martin, General, 128, 160, 177, 178, 212, 217
San Miguel, Gulf of, 28
Santa Cruz (Rio), 278
Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darien, 18
São Paulo, 254, 262, 267, 299-318
”  ” Early history, 302, 328
”  ” Light and Power Company, 319
São Paulo Railway, 317
”  ” Theatre, 309
Savana, river, 78
Selfridge, Commander, 79
Serra do Mar, 301
Sharp’s Map, 220
Shipbuilding in Brazil, 283
Slave Trade, 34, 251.
Swiss colony in Brazil, 288
Sun worshippers,{355} 139

Tacna, 145
Tarapaca, 145
Tehuantepec route, 76, 80
Temple of the Sun, 151
Tieté, river, 300, 322
Tijuca, 276
Ticlio, 144
Titicaca, lake, 151, 156, 157
Tobago, 59
Tortuga, 34, 35, 47
Tumbez, 138, 140
Trans-Andean Railway, 178

Uruguay, 199, 200, 208, 246

Valdivia, 162
Valparaiso, 157, 158
Venezuela, 117
Vernon, Admiral, 121
Vespucci, Amerigo, 253
Vianna, island, 278
Villetta, 224, 248
Vina do Mar, 160

Wentworth, General, 121
Wheelwright’s survey for Canal, 75

Yellow fever, 124
Yerba (maté), 186, 192, 193, 194, 232
Ypiranga, 306


A Page of Travel-Books

California: An Englishman’s Impression of the Golden State.

By A. T. Johnson. With many illustrations. Demy 8vo, cloth gilt, 10s. 6d. net.

Mr. Johnson declares that California is a land “where wealth accumulates and men decay.” He notes the Californian’s egoism and distrust, and, without dwelling on the history or politics of the State, gives a record of observations of the simple and everyday things of life in the Far West.

Everyman’s Eldorado—British South America.

By Edith A. Browne, Author of “Peeps at Greece and Spain,” etc. Fully illustrated. Demy 8vo, cloth gilt, 125. 6d. net.

British Guiana is an undeveloped country with a high commercial value and a delightful climate: a land where the holiday-maker can explore unbeaten tracks without discomfort and enjoy to the full the fascination of unique surroundings. Miss Edith A. Browne relates the history of the country, discusses its future, and in her charming style gives picturesque descriptions.

Half Hours in the Levant.

By Archibald B. Spens, Author of “Love’s Outlaws,” etc. With 32 illustrations. Crown 8vo, 1s. net.

Mr. Spens is a novelist of some repute, and this rambling and discursive book of travels in the Near East is enlivened by his “by the way” notes. He visited Algeria, Constantinople, Corsica, Crete, Naples, and many other places of interest. The book might be compared to Mark Twain’s “Innocents Abroad.”

The Lords of the Devil’s Paradise.

By G. Sidney Paternoster, Author of “The Hand of the Spoiler,” etc. With several illustrations. Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 5s. net.

This book tells the story of the Putumayo Rubber Atrocities in its entirety, putting the blame on the right shoulders and showing the steps which led to the exposure. Mr. Paternoster has been for twenty-two years connected with “Truth,” the paper which first published the terrible account, and his description is therefore authoritative. Several illustrations from photographs emphasize the truth of the story.

31 Essex Street, Strand, W.C.


[1] Ilex paraguayensis is the scientific name of the yerba shrub or tree. Amongst other varieties from which tea is obtained are the I. curitibensis, I. gigantea, I. ovalifolia, I. humboldtiana.

[2] Bartolomé Mitre was born in 1821, and was, after a military career, selected President in 1862. In 1865 he allied his country with Brazil in operations against Paraguay.

[3] One or two of the planters were notable exceptions to the general opposition to the liberation. Antonio du Silva Prado, a wealthy Paulista and the owner of hundreds of slaves, performed a noble act when he set all his negroes at liberty before the law was passed, and many planters in São Paulo followed his example by freeing their slaves forthwith.