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HUNT'S

MERCHANTS MAGAZINE

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COMMERCIAL REVIEW.

FEBRUARY, 1852.

Art. 1.-FREE NAVIGATION OF THE RIVER PARANA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

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Although at the present day politics absorb our attention almost exclusively, yet we cannot refuse to collect and register with care all the facts and documents which may be of more or less intimate interest to the commercial and industrial classes of our country. It is with this view that we have read with the greatest attention, the deeply interesting paper of Mr. Herman Dwerhagen, (a South American, of German origin, under the modest title of An Essay upon the Topography of the Rivers Plata, Parana, Paraguay, Berm jo, and Pilcomaya.

The prevailing thought, in this essay, and which amongst others, shows the advanced ideas of the author, had previously found expression in several works devoted to this subject, and particularly in the interesting memoir of Senor Arenales, upon the colonization of the Gran Chaco by Europeans, and the navigation of the Bermejo. Yet though this is a subject not so immediately connected with ours as it may appear at the first glance, that luminous thought shines with fresh luster, now that steam navigation is on the eve of establishing its irresistible empire and its prolific influence in the magnificent valleys of the Rio de La Plata. Moreover, we shall be still further interested in this question of European emigration to the Plata, when, as we predict will be the case, American ships shall be required to carry the emigrants from France and Italy, which countries do not possess disposable vessels enough to satisfy the demand for them; and we shall be interested yet more when these emigrants, for the most part not belonging to the classes of the great consumers of Europe, will from their easily improvable circumstances in South America rapidly become consumers. They will then require and prefer cottons, calicoes, and agricultural implements and machines of American manufacture in preference to all others.

At the epoch when Arias and Cornejo studied the course of the famous River Bermejo—a river which will soon fix the attention of the commercial world—their labors could only be considered as belonging to the domain of descriptive geography. There are always some few who take an enthusiastic interest in such exploring expeditions, although political economy and commercial enterprise do not always immediately profit from discoveries of so evident a utility. But in our day, as soon as the possibility of navigating a great river is sufficiently demonstrated, the commercial wants of an industrious and moral people soon level all secondary difficulties, with an ease and rapidity in proportion with the pressure of modern industry.

It is presumed that no American of sound mind will now deny the possibility of carrying into execution the plans of civilization and colonization of which Mr. Dwerhagen has given us a sketch, for this would be to forget the astonishing tableau which their own country presents to the gaze of the whole world. True it is, that the consummation for which he so ardently longed has been hitherto checked by the state of anarchy and civil war in which the Atlantic Republics of South America have been so long engaged. But now that industry and Commerce are re-established upon a firmer basis, and broader principles than ever before—now that a general movement of civilization and progress has united all men in an understanding of their true interest; it is not too much to say that their governments will do likewise, and so conduct themselves as will redound to their honor and credit.

In the last news from the Rio de La Plata, and still more in our own intimate and personal knowledge of those countries, we find good reasons to believe that a complete and durable peace will continue throughout those nations most interested in the navigation of the Plata ; and that will more closely cement each year those friendly relations among themselves, which are, after all, the surest safeguards of the happiness and tranquillity of mankind.

Buenos-Aires and Monte-Video, it has been said, must always be rirals, because they will always have opposite interests. But we answer, po; because that idea was original with the government of General Rosas, and speaks of those times, now about to pass away, in which the word rivalry was synonymous with hatred and envy, and implied, in the mind of him who used it, a necessity for the complete slavery or extermination of his enemies. Their interests are not now hostile to the degree which some men imagine ; and each day they must become less so: for “ There is a good time coming" in the Rio de La Plata ; to day the sun shines there for all the world. Each independent state in those regions can now labor for its own aggrandizement, augmenting its riches or its happiness without injury to its neighbors, who can, in their turn, powerfully contribute to the general result -the prosperity of all. But if Buenos Aires, hitherto the only retrogade element in operation there, still chooses to cling to a system which cannot longer prevent the progress of her immediate neighbors

, she will be the victim of an immediate catastrophe. She will find herself cru-hed under the wheels of the chariot of civilization, which, like that of the rising sun, never stops in its onward career.

But if Buenos-Ayres, taught by the sail experience of the past-if this once happy city grown prematurely old from the sighs of despair, and the groans which ihe iron heel of tyranny has not been able to suppress—w.ll change her system of ruin and desolation into a system of peaceful and social organization—if she will firinly resolve to assist her neighbors in the march of progress, for which God has placed min upon the earth that he may increase and multiply-then the elements of order, of peace, and of prosperity, will le complete in this beautiful portion of the New World. But,

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whether she does or not, the other nations of these magnificent valleys, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Corrientes, Entre Rios, and the Banda-Oriental, will go on without her. They will draw to themselves all the peace-loving citizens, and all prosperity will belong to them, leaving their sister to suffer what is perhaps à just retribution, under the unopposed will of the wild nomad of the Pampas. Yes, though Rosas remain in his quinta of San Palermo—though he cast his glance over his butcher shambles of Santos Lugares, his wings are clipped for ever; beyond that, their fatal shadow can extend no more.

Sceptics may rest satisfied that there is nothing utopian in these anticipations. They are logically founded upon the truth, that the narrow and egotistical policy of tyrants, cannot restrain a generous enthusiasm, when combined with patriotic courage in the procurement of our natural rightslife, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These countries of which we write are about to advance, in proportion as European emigration sends phalanx after phalanx of the army of industry to conquer these hospitable lands; for each arrival will but increase the security of traffic-harmonize the more discordant interests, and allure the hearts of men to a love for the beautiful paths of peace. It is on account of these effects that the country to which Providence directs the step of the emigrant, ought to esteem itself happy to possess him.

Until now, the Banda-Oriental of the Uruguay has perfectly comprehended the justness of those principles which are found sufficiently developed in the luminous works of the modern publicists. She has always attracted to herself a large European emigration, and we do not believe that she will ever have occasion to repeat her foresight. May those of her neighbors who are still plunged in the darkness of the middle ages profit by her example !

For ourselves, who, without being optimists, have full faith in the happy future of those regions, we shall, as we have ever done, seize every opportunity which presents itself to reconcile people's minds in them to the ideas of order and peace. And that others may do the same

-that they may at least think kindly and give us their sympathies, if naught else, it has appeared to us proper to place before them the probable future destinies of tł ose countries, such as it is found pencilled in the conscientious labor of Mr. Dwerbagen, of which we give a free translation, accompanied by some notes of our own : ESSAY UPON THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE RIVERS PLATA, PARANA, PARAGUAY, BERMEJO, AND

PILOOMAYO, TO SERVE AS A MEMOIR FOR THEIR NAVIGATION. The majestic flood of the Plata will be the origin and motive power of a fraternal and durable league between the Argentine and Bolivian Republics. Its navigation extends from its mouth, in 350 south latitude, to the junction of the Jauru with the Paraguay, in 16° 20' south latitude, thus giving us the enormous distance of 19° of latitude, which can be navigated without any obstacle. This fact is incontestible, inasmuch as history teaches us that as early as in 1557, Rufeo de Chaves, at the head of 220 warriors, ascended the Paraguay to the Jauru, in the necessary vessels, which generally, at this period, were brigs of considerable draft of water.

The provinces of the Republic of Bolivia which are the most interested in the free navigation of the Paraguay, the principal tributary of the Parana, are those of Moxos, Chiquitos, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

These extended provinces, the most fertile of Bolivia, and which contain more than two-thirds, or nearly 43,000 leagues square of this republic, furnish at this moment almost nothing in comparison with that which they would produce, if they could find an opening for their productions. The principal are : sugar, rice, coffee, indigo, cocoa, cotton, (that of Moxos is one of the best qualities known,) different grains, drugs of many species and much value; among others, quinine, dye woods, tobacco, rum, cabinet and building woods of the best quality, hides, furs, &c. All these articles cannot be transported across the Cordilleras to the Pacific voast, for the simple reason that the expense of transport would exceed their value at the place of embarkation. a

These provinces are decidedly the richest and the most fertile of Bolivia ; and to prove this assertion, we need only to recollect that the Jesuits gave them a special preference, and that they have besides the immense advantage of being peopled, in great part, by very intelligent, and naturally industrious Indians, who, though their present oecupations are not in truth very productive, would soon change them for the eultivation of cocoa, sugar, coffee, rice, &c., from the moment in which these productions would have a market. In their own interest they would see themselves forced to give the preference to this branch of industry, at least for a certain time, by the introduction of manufactured articles, cheaper and better adapted to their wants, than those which they now make for themselves.

The great invention of the immortal American, Robert Fulton, promises and assures to us, before long, this happy revolution, and this new branch of Commerce. With this powerful auxiliary we shall give an entirely different aspect, and an incredible activity to the Commerce of all the republics of the Rio de La Plata.

Look at the difference which exists between those countries and the United States of the North. When that government bought Louisiana from France in 1804, only a sparse and feeble population existed upon the banks of the Mississippi and its tributaries. It was not untił six years after, that steamboats began to be introduced. Until then it had been considered as an impossibility to ascend those rivers with heavily laden boats, on account of the extreme rapidity of the current. But steam soon gave life to agriculture and to Commerce, and from that moment provoked an extraordinary emigration from the Atlantic States, that is to say, from the East to the West—in such manner that in the space of twenty years, not only a considerable number of cities, but even entire states were founded upon the rivers of the West.

But in the regions of the Plata there is no necessity, as there was in the North, to wait for the country to be peopled ; and still less need to abandon the fate of our Commerce to the slow and costly manner of ascending our rivers, which we now use. For on the one hand, the country where these rivers flow is already peopled by civilized, laborious men; and on the other steamboats of the most improved construction may be procured, with which we can navigate from one extremity to the other with certainty and speed, wbilst sailing vessels remain tied to a tree, waiting until it pleases San Antonio to send them a favorable wind. The author of this memoir bas proved this himself, by remaining fifteen days in the same place without being able to advance a single furlong.

In the present state of things, the provinces of Moxos, Chiquitos, and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, do not bring any Commercial revenue to the Republic of Bolivia ; and it is probable that the little Commerce which they make

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passes through the hands of the Brazilians of Matto Grosso. But Commerce once opened with the Rio de La Plata, and the Government of Bolivia having established convenient ports upon the river Paraguay, the inhabitants of those provinces would soon frequent such of these ports as would appear the most advantageous to their interests; for Commerce is like water, it always looks for its level, and finds its way naturally to those places where it will prosper.

The direct Commerce which Bolivia would establish with the Atlantic seaboard, would make it one of the richest countries in the world, even independently of its wonderful mines, and such branches of Commerce as it bas possessed for some time upon the Pacific coast.

At present, the port called Lamar, formerly Cobija, occupies the whole attention of the Bolivian government, which totally neglects the fate, the interests and the prosperity of more than two-thirds of its territory, save that it has published a decree offering a reward of $20,000 to the first steamboat wbich shall arrive upon her frontier from the Atlantic ocean. Nevertheless, it is incontestible that these two-thirds ought to produce a revenue much superior to that of the other third, and will do so, when once its agriculture and Commerce, finding an outlet to the river Paraguay, shall favor without restriction, the increase of the population.

Bolivia feels both the need and the desire of augmenting her population ; but it is felt that this can only come by the steam navigation of her rivers, because from the moment when the hundred mouths of fame shall have proclaimed abroad an easy access to the important provinces under consideration, the attention of foreigners will be drawn towards them.

By the aid of steam a European could debark at Monte-Video, and continue his voyage to Bolivia without the least fatigue, and at trifling expense ; whilst in going directly from Europe or the United States to Cobija, by Cape Horn or the isthmus of Panama, he would expend double the money, without counting the fatigues and risks to which he would be exposed besides.

With a steamboat, and when the captains shall have become familiar with the navigation of the river, the trip from Monte-Video, or Buenos Aires, to the mouth of the Jauru, in 16° 20' south latitude, could be made in eight days, taking for comparison an equal distance upon the Mississippi. As for the return voyage, down stream, it could of course be made in much less time.

Where is the man, then, who would shrink from undertaking such a voyage, when he could find aboard of a boat, perhaps, even greater comforts than in his own kouse? The Bolivians themselves would, many of them, accompany their productions to the Atlantic seaboard, and, after effecting their sales, return again with such an assortment of goods as might please

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their fancy.

What we have already said of the consequences of the free bavigation of Paranà and the Paraguay, is equally applicable to the great and deep Pilcomayo, which is navigable to within a short distance of Chuquisaca. By means of this famous river whieh flows through lands of an astonishing fertility, we could also receive coffee, sugar, cotton, rice, and tobacco, in fine, the chief productions of both Indies—that is to say, all that nature, aided by the hand of man, is capable of producing between the tropics.

European emigration, which must seek a home in these agricultural regions, will soon attract the attention of the Indians, who are a quiet and

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