17th November 1833

Montevideo to the River Uruguay
We crossed the Rozario which was deep & rapid, & passing the village of Colla, arrived at mid-day at Colonia del Sacramiento. The distance is twenty leagues, through a fine grass country, but which is poorly stocked with cattle or inhabitants. I was invited to sleep at Colonia & to accompany on the following day a gentleman to his Estancia, where there were some rocks of recent Limestone. The town is built on a stony promontory something in the same manner as M: Video: it is strongly fortified, but both fortifications & town suffered much from the Brazilian war. It is very ancient, & from the irregularity of the streets & the surrounding groves of old Orange trees & peaches had a pretty appearance. The church is a curious ruin; it was used as a powder magazine & was struck by lightning in one of the ten thousand storms of the Rio Plata. Two thirds of the building was blown away to the very foundation, & the rest stands a shattered & curious monument of the united powers of lightning and gunpowder. In the evening I wandered about the half demolished walls of the town. It was the chief seat of the Brazilian war; a war most injurious to this country, not so much in its immediate effects, as in being the origin of a multitude of Generals, & all other grades of officers. More generals are numbered but not paid in the united provinces of La Plata than in Great Britain. These gentlemen have learned to like power & do not object to a little skirmishing. Hence arises a constant temptation to fresh revolutions, which in proportion as they are easily effected, so are they easily overturned. But I noticed here & in other places a very general interest in the ensuing election for the President; & this appears a good sign for the stability of this little country. The inhabitants do not require much education in their representatives; I heard some men discussing the merits of those for Colonia; "that although they were not men of business, they could all sign their names". With this every reasonable man was satisfied.

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