18th November 1833

Montevideo to the River Uruguay
Rode with my host to his Estancia at the Arroyo de St Juan. In the evening we took a circuit round the estate; it contained two square leagues & a half and was situated in what is called a rincon; that is one side is fronted by the Plata, & the two others are guarded by impassable brooks. There is an excellent port for little vessels, & an abundance of small wood, which is valuable as supplying fuel to Buenos Ayres. I was curious to know the value of so complete an Estancia; at present there are 3000 cattle & it would well support three or four times the number, there are 800 mares, 150 broken horses, 600 sheep; plenty of water & limestone; a rough house, excellent corrals, & a peach orchard. For all this he has been offered 2000£ only wants 500£ additional, and probably would sell it for less. The chief trouble with an Estancia is driving all the cattle twice a week to a central spot, in order to make them tame & to count them. This latter would be thought a difficult operation, when there are ten or fifteen thousand head together; it is managed on the principle that the cattle invariably divide themselves into little troops from forty to an hundred. Each troop is recognised by a few peculiarly marked animals, & its number is known: thus one being lost out of ten thousand is perceived from the absence from one of the tropillas. During a stormy night the cattle all mingle together; but the next morning all the Tropillas separate as before.

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