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THE COMMISSIONERS VISITED BY THE PRINCIPAL INHABITANTS
CELEBRATION OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF CHILI-THE BULL
FIGHTS AND THEATRE.
After an ineffectual search of several days for a furnished house, where the mission might be accommodated, our consul, Mr. Halsey, had politely made an offer of his, wbich was large and commodious. It was accepted, though not without reluctance, from an unwillingness to put him to inconvenience. Several houses had been previously examined, but were not found suited to our purpose, not to speak of the extravagant demands of the owners. Some of the
gen. tlemen who had taken lodgings, were glad to change their situations, in order to avoid being teazed to death by a certain race, not to be named in good housewifery. The brick floors of the chambers are supposed to favor the multiplication of these tormentors. For my part, I had been fortunate enough to procure VOL. II.
a furnished room, for twelve dollars per month, in the house of a decent elderly widow; it was situated in the patio, a beautiful aromatic shrub on one side of the door, and a jessamine on the other, and the neatness and cleanliness wbich prevailed every where, could not be surpassed. I found my situation so comfortable, that I was unwilling to change it, even after the commissioners bad been fixed in their new establishment. Donna Marcella was, besides, an acquaintance of some importance; she knew every one in the city, was shrewd and intelligent, and far from being inclined to hide her light under a bushel. Her house was much frequented by the middle class of people, and even occasionally by those of the bigber ranks, if there can properly be said to be any distinction; for the equality prevailing in this respect, is much greater than in the United States; the transition is very sudden, from the respectable part of the community to the lowest grades; the difference can scarcely be considered as founded on the difference of occupations, and not always on purity of character, and correctness of deportment.
After the formalities and ceremonies of our reception by the authorities of the state and city, we had next to go through the duty of receiving and returning visits, which was attended with no small consumption of time. The proportion of the military and clergy among our visitors, led us to form rather an unfavora. ble opinion of their influence in society. In our cities, on occasions like the present, the most prominent persons, after those in public life, would be of the professions, the clergymen, lawyers and physicians, gentlemen in easy circumstances, and merchants of standing.
But some allowance was to be made, for the warlike attitude this city bas so long maintained, and the tendency of arms to arrogate all public attention and importance. I afterwards found, also, that many of the military figurantes, were something like Dr. Ollapod, of the corps of the Galen's head, not soldiers by profession, but probably not wanting in courage to face an invading enemy. In the short and superficial conversations which usually took place, much information could not be gleaned; they generally turned upon the political events of the country. They uniformly spoke with great humility of their political transactions, but dwelt with satisfaction on their efforts in war, and expressed no doubt or apprehension of their ultimate success. They lamented the want of general information, and in speaking of the Spanish misgovernment, the neglect of education and morals, was always the most prominent theme. The frequent changes and revolutions amongst them; the dissentions between different provinces, when a concentration of all their strength was necessary, and the instability of the government hitherto, were spoken of with evident regret. They contrasted these evils with the Elysian fields, which their imaginations represented to them in the United States; the country where factions and dissentions are unknown; where unity of sentiment and brotherly love every where prevail. This language could only be considered complimentary, for some of them, I found, were not ignorant of our "faults on both sides," although they had never read Mr. Carey's Olive Branch. * We could do no less than
I presented a copy of this excellent work to a member of the Congress, Mr. Villegas, an eminent lawyer.
compliment them in turn, and speak in high terms of the proofs they had given of national spirit.
Among our most distinguished visitors, were Al. varez and Rondeau, the former a young man of twentyeight or thirty, of fine appearance and elegant manners. He appeared to be extremely desirous of cultivating our acquaintance: his conversation was interesting and intelligent. He had been in the army from his youth; he is a native of Arequipa in Peru, and has several brothers at this time in the Spanish servicesuch is the nature of civil war. He is married to a niece of general Belgrano, a very superior woman, both in point of personal beauty and accomplishments; he possesses an elevation and manliness of character, that would do honor to any country. Rondeau, is a small man, but of a firm and manly carriage, apparently about fifty years of age. He was one of the prisoners taken by the British on their first invasion 'of this country, and carried to England, whence he found his way to Spain, and served some time in the war of the Peninsula, but returned to Buenos Ayres, like other Americans, when his country required his services. He has taken a distinguished part in the revolution, was several times entrusted with the siege of Monte Video, and had brought it nearly to a close, when superseded by Alvear. He gained two victories over the Spaniards in Peru, but lost the battle of Sipe-sipe in November, 1815, though not through deficiency of skill and prudence; which was admitted by bis opponent, the Spanish general, Pezuela. He was, however, recalled from the command, and his popularity was for a time obscured. He has an amiable family, but like most of the distinguished officers in