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be completed to Bahia Blanca, thus affording through that wide and excellent harbor a new European outlet to the products of all that vast region of country.


Indeed, the valley of the Rio Negro, which extends to the sources of that stream in the Andes, seems admirably adapted for agricultural purposes, and especially for wheat and wine, shipments of which already reach the market of Buenos Ayres. It is the silver link or channel, with a desert on each side, which is one day destined to connect the Atlantic Ocean with the still more remote regions, so rich in pasturages and so delicious in climate, which lie under the shelter of the Andes, and which, with its fresh-water lakes like seas, its verdure-clad valleys, and its magnificent forests, President Roca in his recent message to the Argentine Congress calls not inaptly "the Switzerland of America." I may add that the Government is still busy making an inventory of all these vast regions, some of them as large as kingdoms, and Colonel Olascoaga, chief of the military topographical department, is now exploring the regions comprehended between the Limay and Nanquen Rivers, while several surveying parties are at work at different places in his wake.


An expedition under the command of Lieutenant Bové, a French scientist, which left here after the settlement of the Chilian boundary question for a scientific exploration of Terra del Fuego, has just returned to this port. Owing to a great deal of unfavorable weather, their vessel not being very seaworthy, he did not accomplish all that he hoped to, but the expedition has obtained some interesting information in regard to the resources, capabilities, and people of that almost, unknown region, which, together with full descriptions of the flora and the fauna, will shortly be published by the Argentine Republic. It is stated that while a large part of the country belonging to that region is rocky and mountainous, there are other portions well watered and well wooded and abounding in grass; suitable, indeed, in spite of its rugged climate, for settlement and colonization. Lieutenant Bové corrects the prevalent impression in regard to the inhabitants that they are cruel, revengeful, and aggressive. He says that while their condition is sufficiently miserable, he found them kind, docile, and willing to be of assistance to him, and most anxious for the settlement of the country. A missionary station there, under the auspices of Bishop Sterling, of the Falkland Islands, is in a flourishing condition, and he says is doing a good work in domesticating the rude inhabitants and teaching them the ways of civilized life.


It is not improbable that Chili, which now has the half ownership of that region, and already possesses a flourishing settlement at Sandy Point, which can be used as a base of operations, will speedily make an advance movement in the colonization of both shores of the Straits of Magellan, and establish what it has so long been anxious to obtain, a

foothold on the Atlantic side of South America. More may therefore be expected from Chili than from the Argentine Republic in the opening up to commerce of the southern limits of this continent, since the Argentine Republic already has more and better territory in a more salubrious climate than it will be able to people, at the present rate of increase, in the next hundred years.


Indeed, after all the efforts which this country has for a number of years been making in that behalf, European immigration, in search of new homes, does not seem to take kindly to the Argentine Republic. Notwithstanding its ambition to divide with the United States the honor of being an asylum for the toiling millions of the Old World who are striving to better their conditions, and in spite of the inducements in the way of flattering promises which have been held out by its agents to the overcrowded centers of population of Europe, the great bulk of the exodus still finds its way to the shores of North America, only a few thousands, mostly from Italy, annually reaching the Argentine Republic; and there has been, in many cases, so much dissatisfaction manifested by even these arrivals that immigration to this country is becoming more and more timid. During last year the total amount of immigrants arriving in this country was only 32,817. These figures are not flattering, though most of these immigrants were farmers or mechanics, provided with money enough to make a start in their new homes. It is very evident that with the counter-attractions which the great western plains of the United States hold out to the people of the Old World, the Argentine Republic must offer special inducements in the reduction of passage rates, and especially by the enactment of liberal homestead and pre-emption laws by which all shall be enabled to obtain lands on easy terms and reasonable conditions, or this element of increasing wealth and power will continue to prefer the hospitality which assured peace and prosperity offers without solicitation to all who choose to come and make their homes with us. If the Argentine Republic would offer its public lands for sale in small subdivisions, and leave the selection of locality to the immigrant himself, instead of settling him on a particular spot without any option on his part, there would be far more hope of filling up the unoccupied pampas with a thrifty population than there is at present. As yet, however, the Government has made no adequate surveys of its public lands and has no satisfactory laws for their subdivision and sale or pre-emption. The President throws the blame of this upon the national Congress, which, in spite of his anxiety to place the lands in the territories of the Pampa, Patagonia, Gran Chaco, and Misiones upon the market, has thus far persistently failed to take any action in the matter. The policy of the Argentines, however, seems to be to have the landed property of the nation held in large bodies. They seem to be possessed of the idea that the pampas are only fit for grazing purposes; and thus all the most desirable lands fall into the hands of wealthy estancieros, who hold them for their families, or they are bought up in immense tracts by speculators, who will not sell except on terms beyond the reach of small farmers, who would cultivate them and extract from them a return a hundred-fold greater than they can ever produce as mere pasture lands. The only places where agricultural pursuits are at all flourishing are among the foreigners located in the provinces of Santa Fé and Entre

Rios; and it is only so because the lands there have been purchased from the provincial authorities, by whom, before sale, they were divided up into small farms or chacras, thus giving each new-comer a chance to obtain a home for himself and family.


In the two provinces named above agricultural pursuits are gradually obtaining an important development, quite rivaling that of stock-raising, especially along the navigable rivers and lines of railway and in the vicinity of large towns. As there are no statistics of production, it is impossible to reach the amount of cereals and breadstuffs now produced in this Republic. Indeed, owing to the uncertainty of the crops, from drought and locusts, the amount harvested one year furnishes no criterion to judge or estimate that of the next. For instance, the crops for the year 1879 were splendid and the yield was something marvelous, while those for 1880 were almost failure, and those for 1881 were hardly an average. It is something to say, however, that in all the leading articles of agricultural production the Argentine Republic now more than produces enough to supply the home consumption, with more or less of surplus for export.

The following table, which I have compiled from official sources, will show the amount of the exports of farm produce for the last seven years:

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I may add that the crops of 1882 were better than a fair average, and that thus far during the year there has been quite an active movement in their export. Owing to the continued high price of breadstuffs in the United States, which for months has made their shipment to Europe impossible, there has been and still exists a steady demand on this country for all it can furnish. Indian corn has especially been sought for, and the quantity which has thus far gone forward during the present season amounts to about 1,250,000 bushels. Some of this was even reported to have been shipped to fill orders in the United States, but of course that could not have been the case. The above figures show that the shipments of wheat during 1881 were very limited, and during the present season they appear to have been only a very small surplus. There is a steady demand in Rio Janeiro for all the baled hay that can be shipped. The cultivation of flax has heretofore been very limited, and was raised only for the seed. Owing to the demand and good prices abroad, quite an interest has lately been manifested in its production, and for the present year an unusually large breadth has been sown. That our commercial men in the United

States may be fully advised in regard to ruling prices, I give the following price current for the 22d of September, 1882, to wit:

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The "fanega" is a measure equal to 103 kilograms. An “arroba” is equal to 25 Spanish pounds Nine "arrobas" in weight are received as equal to one "fanega" in measure. A "fanega" of corn on the cob is double one that is shelled.


The sugar industry of the country, which has been so successfully established in the province of Tucuman, is yearly assuming larger proportions, and is now proving to be equally successful in the provinces of Santiago del Estero and Corrientes, and also in the territory of the Gran Chaco. During the past year the cost of the improved machinery which has been put up in Tucuman alone is stated to be $1,541,000. The sugars now produced are of most excellent body and quite supply the demand of the upper interior for the low grades, and even find a ready sale in Buenos Ayres. It will only be a few years, with the pres ent extension of this industry, before the amount produced will be sufficient for the consumption of the whole country. What is greatly needed, however, and must sooner or later be established, is a sugar refinery to produce the finer grades. An establishment of this kind in Rosario would undoubtedly prove a good investment.


The wine production of the Cuyo provinces continues to be regarded with great favor, and promises, so soon as the extension of the present lines of railway can furnish cheaper transportation, to become one of the most important industries of the future. The show of these wines at the recent continental exposition in this city attracted great attention from foreign connoisseurs visiting here, and in the essentials of body, grapiness, and bouquet were pronounced to be far superior to the miserable stuff that is imported for this market under the names of French and Spanish wines. There is a ready demand in this city for all that is sent here.


I have nothing new to communicate in regard to the mining interests of the country. While occasionally some startling announcement is made about new discoveries of great yield, the fact is still very apparent that there is yet an exceedingly limited production of the precious metals. During 1881 not an ounce of native gold was exported, and the total amount of auriferous mineral shipped abroad only amounted to $25,435. The exports of silver were $8,028, of copper $9,067; figures sufficiently small to throw discredit upon all present mining operations, in spite of the immense quantities of mining machin ery which continues to be sent up into the provinces.


The petroleum deposits of the provinces of Jujuy and Mendoza, a special report of which I recently made to the Department, are just now attracting some attention. From more recent explorations made by Dr. Luis Brackenbusch, professor in the University of Cordova, it ap pears that the petroleum deposits of Jujuy are not confined to a single lake, as at first supposed, but that they underlie pretty much the entire province, as also that of Salta, which adjoins it. I have before me a map which has been prepared by Dr. Brackenbusch, according to which the whole of that upper country abounds in petroleum. Messrs. Altgelt & Mendez, of this city, have obtained a concession for working the petroleum springs of Salta, and they promise to make it an important enterprise. It is for seventeen years, the first two to be occupied in preliminary works and explorations, and the first four without any taxation, the Salta government promising the parties every possible support. Mr. Altgelt informs me that it is their intention to procure the services of an experienced petroleum mining engineer from the United States, and as the oil in excellent quality and unlimited quantity is there, there would seem to be little doubt as to the ultimate result. The region of the concession is in the most accessible parts of the province, on both sides of the railway now in course of construction to Salta, the capital town, and also on the rivers Vermijo, Las Piedras, San Francisco, and others.


As I predicted in former reports, the magnificent woods of the Upper Paraná River, and especially of the Gran Chaco, are beginning to attract purchasers from abroad, who, from practical tests, do not hesitate to say that for polish and grain and most exquisite color there is none superior to it in the world. During the last year the custom-house value of the exports of these woods was $274,834. This, however, does not represent their true value, which must have been at least ten times greater. Most of these shipments went to Belgium and France for the manufacture of fine furniture and cabinet-ware. The exports of these woods must gradually increase, and as the wealth of the timber in the Gran Chaco is almost beyond computation, it must in time, if properly cared for by the Government, become a source of considerable revenue to the nation. The Government is now engaged in a scientific survey of this almost unknown region. One expedition, under the charge of the territorial secretary, has recently published an interesting report of the country south of the Vermijo River. Lieutenant-Colonel Solá, of the army, is now at the head of an expedition, exploring between Formosa

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