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than their wars with the Incas, and with Montezuma. This nation, wbich was then numerous, was reduced at the close of the 14th century, to about four hundred men; they are united to Artigas. The gauchos differ from them in this, that they cannot be said to belong to any distinct clan, or tribe, possessing few common ties, their principal bond of union being their similarity of habits, their predisposition to an unrestrained roving life," and their attachment to a leader who happens to suit them. It is also to be understood, that there are amongst these people a blue, and a. better blue; that is, some difference of grade in point of respectability and intelligence, among the individual gauchos, as well as among their chiefs. In general descriptions, such exceptions are always to be understood; indeed, it is always difficult to avoid the danger of raising the cbaracter too high, or of sinking it too low.
Before I bid adieu to Monte Video, I shall make a few general remarks on the Banda Oriental, and the province of Entre Rios. In order to convey a more distinct idea to my countrymen, I have compared the former to the Mississippi territory; the river Uruguay, which separates it from the latter, is of greater magnitude than the Ohio; it is little short of fifteen hundred or two thousand miles in length; and, although interrupted by a cataract, and a number of rapids, it affords an extensive navigation. The Entre Rios, (so called from its lying between the rivers Uruguay and Parana,) is about four hundred miles in length, by one hundred in breadth. The greater part of it is well supplied with wood and water, but is, in general, level. About the twenty-sixth degree of south latitude, the two rivers approach very near each other, and then separate. The Entre Rios is yet but little known, the only settlements of any consequence, are on the banks of the Parana; the principal settlements are Corrientos, at the junction of this river and the Paraguay, and the Baxada de Santa Fee, opposite to the city of Santa Fee.* There a number of half Indian and Spanish villages along the river, but the whole of the population does not exceed ten or twelve thousand. The town of Corrientos, has remained quiet and undisturbed since the revolution; it has its cabildo and subordinate magistrates, free from the control either of Paraguay or Buenos Ayres, and is sufficiently remote from Artigas to be out of his reach. Situated at the entrance into Paraguay, it is the mart of the little trade that is still permitted on the Parana. The matte, sugar, cotton, tobacco, &c. of Paraguay, find the way here, but in very small quantities, and European goods are introduced by the same channel. The Entre Rios could furnish Buenos Ayres with a sufficient supply of wood for all uses, provided the navigation were free and uninterrupted. The interior country, which is level, is but thinly inhabited, even by Indians.f The Guaranys, the most numerous, are distributed into small bands, without any connection, and being unwarlike, hide themselves in the recesses of the woods, or have been induced to
* This confluence is said to be the most magnificent in the world. Azara says, the Parana discharges a quantity of water equal to ten of the greatest rivers in Europe.
† The Indians who chiefly infest the Parana, above Santa Fee, are those who inhabit the Grav Chace, on the south side of the Paraguay
come within the pale of civilization. The Charuas, and some of the smaller tribes leagued with them, are the most formidable. Their combined numbers probably, is less than a thousand, exclusive of the Guaranys, from the Parana to the Portuguese frontier. North of the Entre Rios, comes the celebrated province of Paraguay, containing nearly the same number of square miles as the Banda Oriental. It is bounded on the north by Brazil, and on the other sides by the rivers Paraguay and Parana.
It has been mentioned that the warlike character of the Indians, north of the Parana, especially in the Banda Oriental, opposed great obstacles to the settlement of the country. The city of Monte Video was not founded until the year 1724, and it was even many years afterwards, that the Charuas were so far kept in check as to enable the Spaniards to establish estancias. Instead of directing their attention to raising grain, for which the country is well adapted, vast tracts of land were granted for grazing estates, where cattle were permitted to multiply to such a degree, that they could no longer be kept in a domesticated state; but when the trade was opened in 1798, so many were slaughtered on account of their bides, and they diminished so rapidly, that fears began to be en- tertained lest they should be exterminated. Measures were taken to prevent the decrease, by restricting the number to be killed. Before the revolution, the number of estancias was estimated at one hundred and twenty, and the cattle at about half a million, which was a great diminution. To every five thousand head, six or seven peons, and a hundred horses, at least, were necessary, to take care of them, to drive them into in.
, closures, and give them salt occasionally; by this means preventing them from running wild. There were besides, on each estancia, a number of tame cattle, who were greatly superior to the others. A judicious writer observes, that the same space of ground would support at least twice as many of them as of the half wild cattle, owing to their not being subject to continual frights, or destroying so much herbage by trampling it down, as is the case with immense herds moving together. The owner of the estate seldom resided on it; the management of it was entrusted to an overseer, or capitace, with the requisite number of peons. A very important reflection has often occurred to me, in looking at the population of this country; it is the indifferent character of the yeomanry; in this respect, the population is vastly inferior to that of the towns.
By the treaty of 1750, the seven missions established by the Jesuits, towards the head of the Uruguay, were ceded to the Portuguese, but the Indians refused to come under their dominion. The Jesuits have been charged with countenancing the resistance made by them, and on this chiefly rests the accusations of ambitious designs against them. The Indians were, however compelled to yield, and a line of posts was established, as well as a considerable tract of country declared neutral. The Spanish government prohibited any trade with the neighboring provinces, but without effect; great numbers of cattle were driven into the province of Rio Grande, and thence to Rio Janeiro, besides a vast number of horses and mules.* The Portuguese were in the habit of making excursions
* Estimated at fifty thousand annually.
into the Banda Oriental, and robbing the estancias; to repress this practice, is said to have been one of the purposes for which the Spanish government established the provincial corps spoken of. It is generally admitted, that the number of cattle is at present diminishing. There is every reason to believe, that the estancias have been entirely neglected, if not ruined. The peons have had other employments; vast numbers of cattle have no doubt been slaughtered, in the general anarchy and disorganization. The Portuguese would succeed more effectually in their plan of conquest, by destroying the herds, than by making war upon the gauchos; but the country is of too great extent for this.
PASSAGE FROM MONTE VIDEO TO BUENOS AYRES-DESCRIPTION OF
BUENOS AYRES-INTERVIEW WITH THE SUPREME DIRECTOR.
CONSIDERABLE difficulties were experienced in procuring a vessel at Monte Video to carry the mission to its place of destination. Several small vessels were examined, and found unsuited to the purpose; the idea of chartering a vessel at this place was therefore given up, and it was perceived too late, that an error had been committed in not stopping for this purpose at St. Catherines. Some trade is carried on with Buenos Ayres, but of very little moment; two or three small sloops suffice for the purpose. Both American and English ships coming to this river, at present, are ex.