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their constitution, when a change in the state of manners may require it.* It is a frequent complaint in the newspapers, that the people will not attend the elections, and the increase in the number of votes, is mentioned with great exultation.

The new government immediately took measures to convene a NATIONAL CONGRESS, which would fairly represent the whole body of the people, and to do away every idea of capitalism, it was appointed to meet at Tucuman, twelve hundred miles in the interior.t Great expectations were fromed of this assembly, which was considered by many as their last hope, for the fall of the republic seemed to approach its crisis. Its situation was truly deplorable. The defeat of Rondeau at Sipe-Sipe, towards the close of 1814, was as calamitous, as the battle of Cannæ to Rome. Chili bad fallen a victim to the dissentions of two great families, and was in the possession of the Spaniards, who were in consequence enabled to throw reinforcements into Peru, and at the same time compel Buenos Ayres to form an army at the foot of the Andes, under the command of San Martin, to prevent an attack from that quarter. The Spaniards, it is true, had been dislodged from Monte Video, but the revolt of Artigas, which threatened to draw after it some of the other provinces, was even more vexatious and distract

* I observe in a Buenos Ayres paper, a long quotation from judge Marshall's Life of Washington, enumerating the difficulties we had to contend with in the establishment of our constitution.

+ Two petitions signed by upwards of two hundred citizens of Buenos Ayres, were presented to the municipality, praying that the city might be stripped of the honor of being the capital, as a mode of quietting the discontents of the provinces.

ing. Ferdinand, now restored to the throne, was preparing a powerful expedition, as was supposed for the purpose of crushing them at a single blow, at a moment when the success of his armies in Peru and Chili, and the internal dissentions completely seconded his views. It is in times like these, that nations turn their eyes upon their ablest men, and for a while lay aside their petty jealousies and distrusts. The resignation of Alvares had been followed by the election of Balcarce, who soon resigned also. The general government possessed neither power, strength, nor influence. The belt of their union had been unbuckled,

“While bloody treason flourished over them.” In the language of the manifesto of Pueyrredon, "anarchy bad lighted up an universal conflagration.” The NATIONAL CONGRESS at last assembled, towards the close of 1815. Pueyrredon, who had been called from his retirement, was soon after elected by an unanimous vote, SUPREME DIRECTOR; certainly no unequivocal testimony in his favor. He immediately visited the armies of San Martin and Belgrano, and on bis return to Tucuman, proposed the declaration of independence, which was finally passed on the 9th of July, 1816. The incidents of the revolution since that period, are familiar to the generality of readers; I shall, therefore, pursue them nó farther, than to observe, that it was in a short time proved by experience, that the distance from the city of Buenos Ayres, occasioned great obstacles in the management of affairs; it was, therefore, determined to remove the congress to that place.

CHAPTER VI.

MISCELLANEOUS

OBSERVATIONS ON THE POLICE, STATE OF SOCI

ÉTY, AND MANNERS.

I was much gratified with a visit to the cabildo, or town house, in company with Mr. Frias, the secretary of the municipality. I was struck with the number of offices, the appearance of clerks, papers, and the crowd of people attending on business. All the details of the police are here attended to, and justice administered. I have seen nothing like it, except the City Hall of New York. The chamber of appeals was not in session; Mr. Frias promised to give me notice when this should be the case, in order that an opportunity might be afforded me, of forming some idea of their courts of justice. He showed me the appartment appropriated to the sessions of the cabil. do, or city council, which is handsomely fitted up, and ornamented with two splendid trophies, in gilt frames, each about four feet by three; one of them was presented by the city of Oruro, in Peru, to the city of Buenos Ayres, in testimony of the gallant repulse of the British. It represented the arms of Spain embossed in gold, and several emblematic figures. The other was a singular piece of workmanship in gold and silver, presented by the ladies of Tucuman and Salta, to general Belgrano, to show their gratitude for the two important victories achieved by him at those

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places. It was overloaded with emblematic figures, with inscriptions and devises; a silver river was represented winding through a field of gold, and towards its head a variety of figures, emblematic of the provinces of Peru.* I had not time to examine minutely a piece of workmanship, which required as much study, as the shield of Achilles. Belgrano had presented it to the city.

I shall take this opportunity to say something of the municipal regulations. The Spanish usages are still retained with but few alterations; for in the minor departments of the government, things pursue pretty much the old train, notwithstanding the revolution; with this difference, that a desire has universally manifested itself, to establish by fixed rules, what was before a matter of routine; and in doing this, some changes would of course be made.f The duties of the cabildo, and the various offices of the police, have been reduced to writing, and printed in a pamphlet. It is divided into nineteen chapters, each containing a number of articles. The cabildo is com. posed of thirteen persons, annually elected, accord. ing to the mode pointed out in the provisional statute. The governor intendant presides, and in his absence the alcalde de primer voto. The duty of the officer last named, as well as that of the other alcalde, is specified by the ordinance of 1812, regulating the administration of justice. He has jurisdiction in suits

* The Argentine republic is the name which they assume in their songs and orations.

† They have a naval code, a military code, and a judiciary code; but these are little better than a few printed rules.

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for the recovery of small debts, not exceeding fifty dollars, with an appeal to the chamber of appeals, which is the court of final resort. There are also alcaldes de barrio, (arrondisement) who are particularly entrusted with the peace of the city, and are bound to go the rounds, to see that there be no disturbance. The alcalde de primer voto, has a criminal jurisdiction, similar to that of the mayor of our cities; the alcalde ordinario is but little more than a justice of the peace; as also the alcaldes de hermandad, who are the subordinate magistrates of the country places, and possess a jurisdiction, in many respects similar to that'of our justices. In the trial of civil and criminal causes, the first alcalde is assisted by an assessor, as he is called, who must be a lawyer, and who is appointed by the cabildo, and commissioned by the supreme director. Two bailiffs are appointed by the cabildo. T'he two alcaldes are annually elected, and on going out of office, must leave an exact account of the causes decided by them, for the information of their successors; that is, as we should say, must keep a docket. All officers, without exception, are subject to residencia, (which is no longer a matter of form) and must undergo the strictest scrutiny, before they can be employed in any other stations. The alcalde ordinario takes the place of the alcalde de primer voto, on his death or resignation. He is also the judge of probates, but cannot act without the assistance of an assessor, and an officer denominated defensor de los minores, the protector of minors.

The fiel executer, (faithful executor) superintends the markets, weights and measures, the repairs of streets and highways, imposes and receives the fines,

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VOL. II.

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