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of the commissioners at Buenos Ayres, by the chief magistrate, was friendly and flattering. From every class, they met with a cordial welcome. The people, in general, appeared to be very much attached to the American character, and the government and citizens of the United States.
Should any thing further occur, it shall be made the subject of a future paper.
I have the honor to be,
With great respect,
Your most obedient servant, (Signed)
C. A. RODNEY.
Mr. Graham to the Secretary of State.
WASHINGTON, 5th Nov. 1818. SIR,
- Mr. Rodney having undertaken to draw up, for our joint signature, a report respecting the present situation of the country we recently visited under the orders of the president, and circumstances having prevented him from presenting it to me for perusal until his late arrival in this city, I was not aware until then, that I should have occasion to present to you my individual views on that subject. But on an attentive perusal of the paper he drew up, I found, that although there was not perhaps any important fact on which we essentially differed, yet that some were stated of which I was not aware; and that we had taken views which it might be difficult to combine during the short time then allowed to us, and of which it might be proper that you should be put in possession. Under these circumstances, I thought it better to submit to the disadvantage of hastily throwing my observations together, and of presenting them separately, than to ask him to derange the general tenor of his report by introducing them into it.
The arrival of Mr. Bland, who will necessarily make a separate report, will, I trust, reconcile the president to the course I have taken, as from a combined view of what we individually state, he may, perhaps, be better enabled to draw his own inferences as to the actual situation and future prospects of the coun
ficult to might be pristanc
try we visited, than from any just report in which we could all have agreed, as under ordinary circumstances, that must have been the result of a compromise of opinions, and would probably have excluded some facts, or some views, which, one or the ' other of us, will, in the mode now adopted, present to you.
In my particular situation, however, I thought it less necessary to go into detail, as I knew that the report of Mr. Rodney would furnish information on points which I omit.
With great respect,
I have the honor to be, sir,
The country formerly known as the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, extending from the north western sources of the river La Plata to the southern cape of America, and from the confines of Brazil and the ocean, to the ridge of the Andes, may be considered as that which is called “The United Provinces of South America.”
Under the royal government, it was divided into the intendencies, or provinces, of Buenos Ayres, Paraguay, Cordova, Salta, Potosi, Plata, Cochabamba, La Paz, and Puno. Subsequently to the revolution, in the year 1814, another division was made; and from the provinces of Cordova, Salta, and Buenos Ayres, were taken those of Cuyo or Mendoza, Tucuman, Corrientes, Entre Rios, and the Banda Oriental. The others, it is believed, retained their former boundaries, and, with the exception of Paraguay, are generally called “Upper Peru.”
This widely extended country embraces almost every variety of climate and soil, and is capable of almost every variety of production. A large part of it, however, particularly on the west side of the river La Plata, and southerly towards cape Horn, is deficient in wood, even for fuel; and in water, that which is found is generally brackish.
Although three centuries have passed by since the Spaniards made their first settlement in this country, and some considerable towns and cities have grown in it; yet its general improvement
and population have by no means kept pace with them, for the lower provinces have been almost entirely abandoned to the immense herds of cattle which graze on their plains, and require only the partial care of a comparatively few herdsmen; and the inhabitants of Upper Peru have been engaged more generally in the business of mining than was favorable to improvement or population. Certain small districts, having peculiar advantages, are said to be well cultivated, and very productive: but agriculture has, in general, been very much neglected. It is, in a great degree, confined to the vicinity of the towns and cities, and may be said to limit its supplies to their demands. This state of things, combined with the regulations of the former government, the influence of climate, and the force of example, has stamped the character of indolence upon that class of society usually considered as the laboring class. The same causes have not operated, at least, not with the same force, upon the other inhabitants of the country; hence, they are more industrious, and more active. Their manners are social, friendly, and polite. In native talents they are said to be inferior to no people, and they have given proofs that they are capable of great and persevering efforts; that they are ardently attached to their country, and warmly enlisted in the cause of its independence.
It is not necessary for me to enter into a detail of the causes which led to the revolution in 1810. The most immediate, perhaps, are to be found in the incidents connected with the two invasions of the country by the British, in the years 1805 and 1806, and in the subsequent events in Spain, as they have had a direct tendency to show these people their own strength and the incapacity of Spain to give them protection, or enforce obedience. The groundwork was, however, laid in the jealous and oppressive system adopted at a more early period by the kings of Spain, whose policy it seemed to be, to keep within as narrow limits as circumstances would permit, the intelligence, wealth, and population of that part of America subject to their dominion, as the surest means of preserving an empire, which they considered the great source of their wealth and power.
The revolution having been auspiciously commenced in the city of Buenos Ayres, was warmly and zealously supported by the great mass of the people descended from the Spaniards; but the native Spaniards, as well those domesticated in the country, as
those in the service of the king, were almost all opposed to it, particularly at the time, and under the circumstances it took place. Dissentions were the immediate result, and their long standing jealousy and distrust of each other, have, by subsequent events, been 'heightened into Geadly hostility, which time alone can wear, away. These dissentions have been considered as one of the causes that produced those which subsequently took place amongst the patriots themselves, and which have been most serious obstacles to the progress of the revolution. Other obstacles, however, have been presented by the royal government in Peru, which has hitherto not only been able to maintain itself there, but has found means, by enlisting the native Peruvians into its service, to send, at different times, considerable armies into the upper provinces on the La Plata, where the war has been carried on from the commencement of the revolution to the present day, with various success; the great extent and peculiar character of the country, and the want of resources having prevented either party from making a blow, decisive of the contest. When we came away, the advantage in that quarter was on the side of the Spaniards, as they were in possession of the provinces of Upper Peru, which had, to a certain degree at least, joined in the revolution, and some of which are represented in the congress. Every where else, they have been obliged to yield up the government, and abandon the country, or submit to the ruling power. The peculiar situation of Monte Video, on the east side of the river La Plata, open to the sea, and strongly fortified, enabled the Spanish naval and military forces, at an early period in the revolution, to make a stand there; they were ultimately obliged to surrender it, not, however, until long protracted, and perhaps illy directed efforts on the part of the assailants, had given rise to many jarring incidents between those who came from the opposite shores of the rivers, probably the effect, in part at least, of ancient jealousies, kept alive by the individual interests of particular leaders; these have been followed by events calculated to produce a still greater alienation; and although several attempts have been made to bring about a union, they have hitherto been unsuccessful. The provinces of the Banda Oriental, and the Entre Rios, on the eastern side of the river, under the direction of general Artigas, are now at war with those on the western side, under the government of the congress at Buenos Ayres.
This war has originated from a combination of causes, in which both parties have, perhaps, something to complain of, and something to blame themselves for.
General Artigas and his followers profess a belief, that it is the intention of the government of Buenos Ayres to put them down, and oblige them to submit to such arrangements as will deprive them of the privileges of self-government, to which they claim to have a right. They say, however, that they are willing to unite with the people on the western side of the river; but not in such a way as will subject them to what they call the tyranny of the city of Buenos Ayres. On the other hand, it is stated that this is merely a pretext; that the real object of general Artigas, and of some of his principal officers, is to prevent a union on any terms, and to preserve the power they have acquired, by giving an erroneous excitement to the people who follow them. That it is wished and intended to place these provinces on a footing with the others. That the respectable portion of their inhabitants are aware of this fact, and anxious for a union, but are prevented from openly expressing their sentiments, from a fear of general Artigas, whose power is uncontrolled by law or justice, and hence the propriety and necessity of aiding them to resist it. Armies have accordingly been marched, within the present year, into these provinces; but they were not joined by a number of the inhabitants, and were defeated with great loss.
This war is evidently a source of great injury and regret, and at the same time of extraordinary irritation to both parties; for independently of other causes of recrimination, each accuses the other of having brought about that state of things, which threatens to place a most important and valuable portion of their country in the hands of a foreign power, who has invaded it with a regular and well appointed army, and is gradually taking possession of commanding points, from which it may be difficult for their united force hereafter to dislodge them. That they will unite, is, I think, to be calculated on, unless some event, disastrous to the cause of the revolution itself takes place; for their mutual interest requires a union. But more of moderation and discretion, may be necessary to bring it about, than is at this time to be expected, from the irritated feelings of some of the principal personages on both sides.
The city of Santa Fee, and a small district of country around