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thod of culture, I was informed by reputable persons, that the average crop of wheat is not less than fifty bushels per acre, in good seasons.
On the subject of religion, especially, the change in the public mind, has been very great. The catholic faith is established, as that of the state; but there are many advocates, both in conversation and in writing, of universal toleration. Some members of congress, are said to be strongly in favor it; but the ignorant and superstitious part of the people, together with the regular clergy, would not be satisfied with such a measure, while the liberality prevailing among the better informed classes, is such, as to secure à virtual toleration for the present. Besides, from the circumstance of there being no sects in the country, such a provision may wait the progress of liberality in public opinion. In fact, the human mind has been set free, on all matters of a general abstract nature, although the liberty of the press is circumscribed, in some degree, with respect to strictures on public measures and men, and the established religion; but there is neither inquisition nor previous license. They acknowledge the pope as a spiritual head merely, and do not think him entitled to any authority to interfere in their temporal concerns. His bull in favor of the king of Spain, against the colonists, which may be almost regarded as an excommunication, produced little or no sensation.
The number of monks and nuns, never were very great in Buenos Ayres, when compared with other portions of the Spanish dominions. They have diminished since the revolution. There was at one time, a positive law passed, forbidding any one to become a monk or a nun; but they were obliged to repeal it, and it was afterwards passed with some modifications. The restrictions substituted, aided by public opinion, have nearly produced the desired effect. Few of the youth of the country, apply themselves to the study of theology, since other occupations much more tempting to their ambition, have been opened to their choice. Formerly, the priesthood was the chief aim of young men of the best families, who were desirous of distinction; as in fact, it constituted almost the only profession to which those who had received a liberal education, could devote themselves;. which will readily account for the circumstance, of so many of the secular clergy directing their attention, at present, exclusively to politics. The regular clergy, who are permitted by the nature of their profession, to take part in
the business of the world, or to hold secular offices, are many of them Europeans; but those of them who are natives, take the same lively interest in passing events, with the other classes of the community. . .
They have gone cautiously to work in reforms, in the different branches of their municipal laws, and the administration of them. The number of offices has been considerably diminished, and responsibility rendered more direct and severe. The judiciary system has undergone many improvements, and nearly all the leading features of the law, which did not harmonise with the principles of free government, have been expunged, though some of the former evils still remain. The barbarous impositions on the aborigines, have been abolished. The odious alcavalla, and other obnoxious taxes, modified, so as no longer to be vexatious; slavery and the slave trade, forbidden in future; and all titles of nobility prohibited, under the pain of the loss of citizenship. The law of primogentiture, is also expunged from their system. In the provisional statute, as has been stated, nearly all the principles of free representative government are recognised, accompanied it is true, with certain drawbacks, for which they plead the necessity of the times, but which, they profess their intention to do away, on the final settlement of the government; a consummation anxiously desired by all classes of inhabitants. The example of France, has warned them not to attempt too much at first; they have followed the plan of the United States, in the introduction of gradual reforms, instead of resorting to violent and sudden innovations and revolutions.
Next to the establishment of their independence by arms, the education of their youth appears to be the subject of the most anxious interest. They complain, that every possible impediment was thrown in the way of education, previous to the revolution; that so far from fostering public institutions for this purpose, several schools were actually prohibiłed in the capital, and the young men were not without restraint, permitted to go abroad for their education. There was a college at Cordova, at which those des. tined for the bar, or the priesthood, completed their studies, upon the ancient monkish principles. Another called San Carlos, (now the Union of the South) had been opened at Buenos Ayres, but was afterwards converted into barracks for soldiers. It is an immense building, more extensive, perhaps, than any which has been
dedicated to learning in this country; and it has lately been fitted up at very great expense. The school was to have opened in May or June, on a more modern and liberal plan of discipline and instruction. The library of the state, is kept in an adjoining building; it occupies a suit of six rooms, and contains near twenty thousand volumes, the greater part rare and valuable. It is formed out of the library of the Jesuits, the books collected in the different monasteries, donations from individuals, and an annual appropriation by the government, and contains works on all subjects, and in all the languages of the polished nations of Europe. A very valuable addition has been lately made, of several thousand volumes, brought to Buenos Ayres by Mr. Bonpland, the companion of the celebrated Humboldt.
Besides the university of Cordova, at which there are about one hundred and fifty students, there are public schools in all the principal towns, supported hy their respective corporations. In Buenos Ayres, besides an academy, in which are taught the higher branches, and the college before mentioned, there are eight public schools; for whose support, the corporation contributes about seven thousand dollars annually; and, according to the returns of last year, the number of scholars amounted to eight hundred and sixtyfour. There are five other schools, exclusively for the benefit of the poor, and under the charge of the different monasteries; these are supplied with books and stationary at the public expense. There are also parish schools in the country, for the support of which, a portion of the tithes has been lately set apart. It is rare to meet with a boy, ten or twelve years of age, in the city of Buenos Ayres, who cannot read and write. Besides the scholars thus instructed, many have private tutors. In addition to all this, I must not omit to mention the military academies supported by gow vernment at Buenos Ayres and Tucuman, at which there are a considerable number of cadets.
There are no prohibited books of any kind; all are permitted to circulate freely, or to be openly sold in the book stores; among them is the New Testament in Spanish. This alone, is a prodigious step towards the emancipation of their minds from prejudices. There are several book stores, whose profits have rapidly increased; a proof that the number of readers has augmented in the same proportion. There had been a large importation of English books, a language becoming daily more familiar to them. Eight years VOL. I.
ago, the mechanic art of printing was scarcely known in Buenos Ayres: at present, there are three printing offices, one of them is very extensive, containing four presses. The price of printing is, notwithstanding, at least three times higher than in the United States: but as there is no trade, or intercourse with Spain, all school books used in the country, some of them original, are published at Buenos Ayres; the business is, therefore, profitable, and rapidly extending. There are many political essays, which, instead of being inserted in the newspapers, are published in loose sheets: there are also original pamphlets, as well as republications of foreign works. The constitution of the United States, and of the different states, together with a very good history of our country, and many of our most important state papers, are widely circulated. The work of Dean Funes, the venerable historian of the country, comprised in three large octavo volumes, considering the infancy of the typographic art in this part of the world, may be regarded as an undertaking of some magnitude.
There are three weekly journals, or newspapers, published in the city, which have an extensive circulation through the United Provinces. They all advocate the principles of liberty and republican forms of government, as none other would suit the public taste. The year before last, it is true, one of the papers ventured to advocate the restoration of the Incas of Peru, with a limited monarchy, but it was badly received. No proposition for the restoration of hereditary power of any kind, as far as I could learn, will be seriously listened to for a moment, by the people. Even the ordinary language has changed. They speak of “the state,"
the people,” “the public,” “the country;" and use other terms, as in the United States, implying the interest that each man takes in what appertains to the community. The first principle constantly inculcated is, “that all power rightfully emanates from the people.” This, and similar dogmas, form a part of the education of children, taught at the same time with their catechism. It is natural, that the passion for free government, should be continually increasing. A fact may be mentioned to shew the solid advancement they have made, which is, that the number of votes taken at their elections, increases every year. In becoming habituated to this peaceful and
orderly mode of exercising their right of choosing those who are · to be invested with authority, the tumultuous and irregular re
moval, by a kind of general oratory or acelamations of those who have been chosen, will gradually cease.
Rather than disturb the order of society, they will endure with patience, until the time arrives, for effecting a regular and constitutional change. Since the election of the present director, none of these tumults, before so frequent, have occurred. These tumults have seldom been attended with bloodshed; yet they produce great confusion and disorder, and give rise to habits of insubordination, at the same time that they are ruinous to the character of a nation.
The viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, differed from the rest in one important particular. It contained no nobility, or if any, very few. This may be regarded as a favorable circumstance in their society. Another favorable feature, very necessary to the successful administration of their affairs, is the conduct of many individuals who have filled the highest office of state, in descending from that dignified situation to inferior posts, and discharging their duties with alacrity. Thus we behold general A. Balcarce, who was formerly director, acting, as second in command to colonel San Martin; colonel Alvarez, also a director at one period, now serving in the staff, under the chief of that department; general Azcuenega and general Rondeau, once elected to the chair of state, is at present employed in a minor office. There are others. who have occupied the same elevated post, who have, retired to the station of private citizens.
The general capacities of the United Provinces for national de fence, are, also, important in many respects. The nature, and ex. tent of the country, afford the inhabitants numerous advantages. over an invading army. The ease with which their herds of cattle. may be driven to distant places, beyond the reach of an enemy, and, the rapid movements the troops of the country can make, from the ample supply of horses and mules, are circumstances of great consequence in a military view. Even the towns not fortified, from the manner in which they are built, and from the construction of their houses, furnish powerful means of defence, as the British : army, under general Whitelock, experienced in their attack on Buenos Ayres.
I am sensible that, in the course of these statements and re.. marks, some inaccuracies, and errors must have occurred, but they have been unintentional. I have only to add, that the reception