15th August 1833

Patagones to Buenos Ayres
General Rosas sent a message, that he should be glad to see me, before I started, by this means I lost a day, but subsequently his acquaintance was of the greatest utility.

General Rosas is a man of an extraordinary character; he has at present a most predominant influence in this country & probably may end by being its ruler. — He is said to be owner of 74 square leagues of country & has about three hundred thousand cattle. — His Estancias are admirably managed, & are far more productive of corn than any others in the country. He first gained his celebrity by his laws for his own Estancia & by disciplining several hundred workmen or Peons, so as to resist all the attacks of the Indians. — He is moreover a perfect Gaucho: — his feats of horsemanship are very notorious; he will fall from a doorway upon an unbroken colt as it rushes out of the Corral, & will defy the worst efforts of the animal. He wears the Gaucho dress & is said to have called upon Lord Ponsonby in it; apologising by saying at the same time he thought the costume of the country, the proper & therefore most respectful dress. — By these means he has obtained an unbounded popularity in the Camp, and in consequence despotic powers. — A man a short time since murdered another; being arrested [&] questioned, he answered, "the man spoke disrespectfully of General Rosas & I killed him"; in one weeks time the murderer was at liberty. — In conversation he is enthusiastic, sensible & very grave. — His gravity is carried to a high pitch. I heard one of his mad buffoons (for he keeps two like the Barons of old) relate the following anecdote. I wanted very much to hear a piece of music, so I went to the General two or three times to ask him, he said to me, "go about your business for I am engaged". — "I went again"; "he said, If you come again I will punish you". — A fifth time I asked him & he laughed. — I rushed out of the tent, but it was too late; he ordered two soldiers to catch & stake me. I begged by all the Saints in Heaven he would let me off; but it would not do. — When the General laughs he never spares mad man or sound man."- The poor flighty gentleman looked quite dolorous at the very recollection of the Staking. — This is a very severe punishment; four posts are driven into the ground, & the man is extended by his arms & legs horizontally, & there left to hang stretch for several hours, — the idea is evidently taken from the usual method of drying hides.

My interview passed away without a smile & I obtained what I wanted, a passport and order for the government post horses, & this he gave me in the most obliging and ready manner. — When General Rosas, some months since, left B Ayres with his army, he struck in a direct line across the unknown country, & in his march left at wide intervals a posta of 5 men with a small troop of horses, so as to be able to send expresses to the Capital. — By these I travelled to Bahia Bianca & ultimately to Buenos Ayres. — I was altogether pleased with my interview with the terrible General. He is worth seeing, as being decidedly the most prominent character in S. America.

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