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We know at present very little as to the extent of the Argentine forests, and still less as to the proportion in which the more valuable species are distributed ; but it is obvious that in these forests there exist important sources of wealth, which, however, must require good management for their future development. Many of the largest and most valuable trees belong to the family of Leguminosa, and may be found to rival in importance those of Guiana.
Speaking of the forests of the northern states, the late Professor Lorentz writes that they are exclusively confined to the eastern slopes of the mountains on which the winds from the Atlantic deposit their moisture, while the western slopes remain dry and bare of trees. He dwells on the need for an efficient forest law, as the result of the carelessness of the sparse population is that in the neighbourhood of inhabited places much valuable timber is ruthlessly destroyed. It may be feared that, under a constitution which, for such purposes, leaves practical autonomy to fourteen different states, it may be very difficult to obtain the enactment of an efficient law, and still more difficult to secure its enforcement.
The chief architectural boast of Buenos Ayres is the Plaza Mayor, one side of which is occupied by the cathedral, a very large pile in the modern Spanish style, which is not likely to serve as a model for imitation. The day being a festa, there was a ceremony in the afternoon, which attracted a crowd of the female population. The great church was ablaze with thousands—literally thousands of wax candles, and the entire pavement was covered with
costly carpets of the most gaudy colours. The behaviour of the congregation did not convey to a stranger the impression of religious feeling. It is doubtful, however, to what extent we are right in applying in such matters the standard derived from a different race and different modes of feeling. A severer style of worship would have no attractions for a people who thirst for satisfaction to the eye and ear; and they would certainly not be the better, in their present condition of progress, if the scepticism of the age were to close this avenue of escape from the sordid cares of daily life.
On June 29, my second day at Buenos Ayres, I made a short excursion to the Boca, on the shore of the Rio de la Plata, only about three miles from the city. I had an illustration of the careless way in which, from want of sympathy or want of imagination, most people give directions to strangers. Being informed that the tramcars plying to La Boca were to be found in a certain street, I proceeded thither to look out for a vehicle going in the right direction. After a few minutes a vehicle appeared, coming from La Boca. After ten minutes more a second arrived from the same direction, and after ten minutes more a third, but not one in the opposite sense. At last I went into the shop of a German chemist near at hand, when the mystery was explained. The cars enter the town by one street, make a short circuit, and return by a different street.
The Boca does not offer much to interest a stranger. I could have fancied myself somewhere in the outskirts of Leghorn, so frequent were the familiar sounds
of the Italian tongue, save that in Italy it would be difficult to find a spot where the horizon is unbroken by a near hill, or by the distant outline of Alp or Apennine.
Having paid a short visit to Mr. Schnyder, the newly appointed Professor of Botany, I strolled through the adjoining fields with the hope of finding some remains of the autumnal vegetation. The low flat country is intersected by broad ditches, and much reminded me of Battersea fields as they existed half a century ago, when I first began to collect British plants. Seeing in a ditch the remains of a fine Sagittaria, I filled a bit of paper with the minute seeds, and from these has sprung a plant which has for several seasons been admired by the visitors to Kew Gardens. It is the Sagittaria Montevidensis, which is not uncommon in Argentaria and Uruguay, but, so far as I know, does not extend to Brazil-a singular fact, considering that the seeds must be readily transported by water-birds. In its native home it grows to a somewhat larger size than the European species, but is not very conspicuous. Cultivated at Kew, in a house kept at the mean temperature of about 78° Fahr., it has attained gigantic proportions, rising to a height of over six feet, and the petioles of the leaves attaining the thickness of a man's arm.
I had arranged to take my passage to Brazil in the steamer Neva, of the Royal Mail Company, and at this season I felt no regret at quitting this region of South America, which offers comparatively slight attractions to the tourist. I was led, however, from
all the information that I collected, to form a high estimate of the advantages that it offers to European settlers. At the present time the chief source of profit is from the rearing of cattle; but, though long neglected, agriculture promises to become the most important element of national prosperity. Until the middle of this century there were none but wooden ploughs of the type used by the aborigines, and corn was imported from abroad to feed the townspeople. There are now numerous agricultural colonies formed by foreign settlers, especially in the state of Santa Fé, and the results have been eminently successful. Large crops of grain, especially wheat, of excellent quality, are easily raised. The vine prospers, even as far south as Bahia Blanca, and in the northern states cotton, olives, tobacco, and other subtropical products appear to thrive. These agricultural colonies have been chiefly formed by Italian, Swiss, and German immigrants, and one of the most recent, composed of Welshmen, has been established so far south as the river Chubat in Patagonia. It may be feared that, owing to the deficient rainfall of that region, the prospects of the settlement are somewhat uncertain.
The Argentine Government has shown its wisdom in promoting immigration by the extraordinary liberality of the terms offered to agricultural settlers from Europe. With a territory as large as the whole of continental Europe, exclusive of Russia, and a population of scarcely two millions, immigration is the indispensable requisite for the development of resources that must render this one of the most important nations of the earth. The law, which, as I
EMIGRATION TO ARGENTARIA.
believe, is still in force, offers to settlers wishing to cultivate the national lands which are under the control of the Central Government the following terms :-An advance of the cost of the passage from a European port to Buenos Ayres, with conveyance from that city to the location selected ; a free gift of a hundred hectares (about 247 acres) to each of the first hundred families proceeding to a new settlement; an advance, not exceeding a thousand dollars per family, to meet expenses for food, stock, and outfit, repayable without interest in five years; the sale of additional Government land at two dollars per hectare, payable in ten annual instalments; and, finally, exemption from taxes for ten years.
To the class of settlers who hold themselves above farming work other careers are open. Many young Englishmen who enjoy life in the saddle have done well as managers of estancias, for the raising of horses and cattle. The chief advice to be given to those who have some capital at their disposal is not to purchase property until they have gained practical experience. The Argentines show a laudable anxiety for the spread of education, and there is a considerable demand for teachers and professors, which has been mainly supplied from Germany, many of the professors from that country being men who have established a merited reputation.
One of the attractions of this region for European settlers is the excellence of the climate. Though not quite so uniform as that of Chili, it is free from the extremes of temperature that prevail in the United States. In the low country the difference between