29th December to 4th December 1833

During these few days I resided on shore; the cause of the ships delay being the charts not being completed. — During the last six months I have had a some opportunity of seeing a little of the character of the inhabitants of these provinces. — The Gauchos or country men are very superior to those who reside in the towns. — The gaucho is invariably most obliging, polite & hospitable. I have not met one instance of rudeness or inhospitality. He is modest both respecting himself & country, at the same time being a spirited bold fellow. — On the other hand there is much blood shed, & many robberies committed. — The constant presence of the knife is the chief cause of the former: it is lamentable to hear how many lives are lost in trifling quarrels; in fighting each party tries to mark the face of his adversary by slashing his nose or eye; deep & horrid looking scars often attest that one has been successful. — Robberies are a natural consequence of universal gambling, much drinking & extreme indolence. — At Mercedes I asked two men why they did not work:-one said that the days were too long; the other that he was too poor. The number of horses & profusion of food is the destruction of all industry. — Moreover there are so many feast days; then again nothing can succeed without it is begun when the moon is on the increase; —and from these two causes half the month must be lost. — Police & justice are quite inefficient, if a man commits a murder & should be taken, perhaps he may be imprisoned or even shot; but if he is rich & has friends he may rely on it nothing will happen. — It is curious that the most respectable people in the country will invariably assist a murderer to escape. — They seem to think that the individual sins against the government & not against the state. — A traveller has no other protection than his own arms; & the constant habit of carrying them chiefly prevents a more common occurrence of robberies. — The character of the higher & more educated classes who reside in the towns, is stained by many other crimes. — partaking in a lesser degree in the good parts of the Gaucho character; he is a profligate sensualist who laughs at all religion; he is open to the grossest corruption; his want of principle is entire. — An opportunity occurring not to cheat his friend would be an act of weakness; to tell the truth where a lie might be more serviceable, would be the simplicity of a child. — The term honor is not understood; neither it, nor any generous feeling, the remains of chivalry, have survived the long passage of the Atlantic. — If I had read these opinions a year ago, I should have accused myself of much illiberality: now I do not. — Every one, who has good opportunities of judging, thinks the same. In the Sala of B. Ayres I do not believe there are six men to whose honesty or principles you could trust. Every public officer is to be bribed; the head of the post office sells forged government francs: — the Governor and prime minister openly plunder the state. — Justice, where gold is in the case, is hardly expected. — I know a man (he had good cause) who went to the chief Justice & said "here are 200 dollars (sixpences) if you will arrest such a person illegally; my lawyer recommended me to take this step". The Chief Justice smiled acquisition [changed in margin to: acquiescence] & thanked him; before night the man was in prison. — With this utter want of principle in the leading men; with the country full of ill-paid, turbulent officers; they yet hope that a Democratic form of government will last. In my opinion before many years, they will be trembling under the iron hand of some Dictator. — I wish the country well enough to hope the period is not far distant. On first seeing the common society of the people, two or three things strike one as remarkable: the excellent taste of all the women in dress: the general good manners in all grades of life: —but chiefly the remarkable equality of all ranks.

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