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Mexico; West Indies; central and South America. page 2

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Peru, in her contest for freedom from Spain, was greatly aided by the illustrious British seaman Lord Cochrane (earl of Dundonald). The decisive land-battle of Ayacucho, fought on December 9th, 1824, ended in the capture of the Spanish viceroy and all his officers, and then the new republic plunged into a career of civil war and revolutions, war with Bolivia, and other troubles, ending for a time, in 1844, with the election of the brave, iron-souled Ramon Castilla as President. For ten years the country was at peace; then came further revolution, -and, in 1862, Castilla's final retirement from office. The financial condition of affairs was deplorable, and no efforts of Manuel Pardo, the best of modern Peruvian rulers, could restore the credit of the state. In 1879 arose the war with Chili, which state coveted the nitrate-beds on the coast, and disaster occurred by sea and land. One of the two Peruvian ironclads was wrecked; the other, under the heroic Admiral Grau, was captured in October, 1879, after a desperate fight against the two Chilian ironclads, of newer construction and more thickly armoured. The loss of the Huascar, the famous Peruvian vessel, was attended by the death of Grau and nearly all his officers. Victories on land brought the Chilians into Lima, the capital, and a spirit of vandalism was shown in the demolition of public works, the laying waste of private estates along the coast, and the destruction at Lima of the valuable public library. In the interior, General Caceres maintained a. firm resistance to the invaders, but his efforts were made. useless by the submission of other leaders, and before the Chilians left the country in 1884 Peru had to submit to terms involving the loss of her nitrate-province, Tarapaca. In June, 1886, the brave Caceres was elected President, and under him and his successors the country has been slowly recovering from the effects of past misfortunes.

The Argentine Republic, formerly known as the "United Provinces of the River de la Plata," came into existence, in its present form, in 1853 and 1860. The country was colonised by the Spaniards in 1535, when Buenos Ayres was founded, and it was for a long period regarded as a part of Peru. After ages of misrule from Madrid, and of sanguinary warfare with the natives, a new vice-royalty was established in 1776, with Buenos Ayres as the capital. In 1806 a British expedition occupied the town, but our forces, under General Beresford, were soon there besieged and forced to surrender to superior numbers. In 1807 an assault on Buenos Ayres by British forces utterly failed through the disgraceful incompetence of General Whitelock, afterwards "cashiered" by sentence of a court-martial, and this expedition ended in the withdrawal of all our troops from that part of South America. There can be little doubt that these successes over a formidable foe inspired the colonists in. their resolve to be free from Spain, then being attacked by Napoleon. In 1810 they revolted, founding a "provisional government," and so plunged into a war for independence which did not end in their favour until 1824. For half a century the country passed through the usual series of South American revolutions, varied by war, in alliance with Brazil, against Paraguay, from 1865 to 1870. For 20 years peace prevailed, but the credit of the country suffered from a military revolt in 1890. Under a generally stable system of rule, and a very liberal policy towards agricultural immigrants, the republic has lately made more rapid progress than any other on the South American continent.

Uruguay, now a republic under a constitution of 1830, was in early days of its colonisation a battle-ground between Spain and Portugal. In 1724 Montevideo was founded, by the governor of Buenos Ayres, in order to strengthen Spanish hold upon the country. This town, in 1807, was stormed by Whitelock's troops, but evacuated after the disastrous affair at Buenos Ayres. During the war of independence Brazil seized Montevideo and occupied the country, but a war carried on from 1825 till 1828, between Argentina, in alliance with the Uruguayans, and the Brazilian land and sea-forces, ended in the declaration of Uruguayan independence by the two other states. Then came trouble from a truculent personage, Juan Rosas, a native of Buenos Ayres, who was from 1835 to 1852 "Dictator" of that city and its province, and made himself infamous by the "reign of terror" which he maintained. When Uruguay became a place of refuge to large numbers of people fleeing from Rosas bloodthirsty rule, the tyrant invaded the country, in 1839, with a large force and suffered defeat. In 1843 another invasion, in greater strength, under General Oribe, a creature of Rosas, brought a long siege of Montevideo; the intervention, in 1845, of Great Britain and France; a two-years' blockade of Buenos Ayres; and, in 1849, a temporary triumph of Rosas in the conclusion of a treaty giving Buenos Ayres the control of all navigation on the Plate, Uruguay, and Parana rivers. This exclusive policy caused a revolt of several provinces against the tyrant, and in 1851, with aid from Brazil, Oribe was defeated in Uruguay, and his troops joined the successful Uruguayan leader. In February, 1852, Rosas was routed near Buenos Ayres and fled to England, where, after condemnation to death, in 1861, by the Argentine Congress, as a "professional-murderer and notorious robber," with ample proofs of his atrocious conduct, he died, in peaceful retirement, near Southampton, in 1877 We may note that during the eight-years' successful resistance of Montevideo against besiegers, the besieged had the valuable aid, both as a naval and military commander, of the renowned champion of freedom Giuseppe Garibaldi, at the head of an "Italian legion." The Uruguayans have, unhappily, not shown, themselves fit for the enjoyment of liberty. After the flight of Rosas in 1852, there were eight successive changes of government in as many years. In 1860 Brazil set up General Flores as president; from 1865 to 1870 the republic, allied with Brazil and Argentina, joined in the war against Paraguay; in 1868 Flores was assassinated. Then for 20 years the hapless republic was subject to the misrule of successive gangs of mere plunderers. The latest fact at our disposal concerning Uruguay is the assassination of President Borda on August 25th, 1897.

Paraguay was first settled by the Spaniards in 1535, as a province of the Peru vice-royalty, and the city of Asuncion was founded. Events for a long time took the usual course: warfare with the natives; Spanish misrule; the misconduct of profligate and cruel adventurers from Spain nullifying the efforts of the able and devoted Jesuit missionaries for the conversion of the natives. In 1608 the home-government allowed power to pass into the hands of the Jesuits, and under their sole control, for a century and a half, of the civil and religious administration, with the exclusion of all other Europeans, the colony made -rapid progress in Christianity and civilisation. In 1758 that excellent system of rule was overthrown by the Brazilians and Spaniards; the Jesuits were expelled, and Spanish viceroys were again in power with the usual results. In 1810 a revolt quickly, made the country independent of Spain, and in 1815 a remarkable man, Dr. Francia, a law-professor who had a high reputation for skill, honesty, and strength of character, became "Dictator," wielding supreme power until his death in 1840. His autocratic rule was greatly admired by Thomas Carlyle and other advocates of the "mailed fist" style of government, and it must be allowed that in Paraguay, under a rigid system which precluded all intercourse, commercial or political, with other countries, the condition of affairs rapidly improved in the spread of agriculture and education, and in the equitable administration of the courts of law A brief period of disorder was followed by the appointment, in 1844 of Francia's nephew, Lopez, as autocratic president, under a new constitution. The country was then thrown open to foreigners and foreign trade. On Lopez's death in 1862 he was succeeded by his son, an enlightened ruler, who was killed in battle in 1870, at the close of Paraguay's disastrous war against the combined forces of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. At the end of that struggle the unhappy country was almost stripped of male adults, and the population declined from over 1,250,000 in 1857 to far less than 250,000 in 1873, nearly half being women and only about one-eighth men. A new constitution was proclaimed in 1870 with a Congress of two Houses, both elected directly by the people, and a four-years President, aided by a Cabinet of five responsible ministers. The country has now recovered a balance of the sexes in the population, and with the aid of immigration from Europe has made considerable progress.

Chile (Chili) is now the most prosperous, powerful, and enlightened of the South American republics. Partly annexed by the Spaniards from Peru in 1540, with the foundation of the capital, Santiago, the country remained under Spanish colonial rule until revolt in 1810, the war lasting until the time of peace and independence in 1826. In that struggle a very distinguished part was played by the great British warrior and seaman Lord Cochrane, who took the command of the patriots' fleet in 1818. In 1819, at the head of but 300 men, he stormed the 15 strong forts of Valdivia. In the following year, in one of the most brilliant minor naval actions of modern history, he "cut out" with his boats the fine Spanish 40-gun frigate Esmeralda from under the guns of Callao Castle, and under his command the flag of Chile became respected from Panama to Cape Horn. An unsettled period followed the establishment of Chilian freedom, but for nearly 50 years there has been a settled government, with two Chambers and a President, the only interruption of internal peace occurring in 1891, when an ambitious President, Balmaceda, backed by the army, tried to usurp dictatorial power. The fleet supported Congress and the constitution, and the "Congressists," with a new military force trained by an able officer who had been on the Prussian "general staff," routed the "Balmacedists" near Valparaiso in two battles and drove the usurper to suicide. War with Spain occurred in 1865, the chief incidents being the blockade of the coast by a Spanish fleet and a bombardment of Valparaiso in 1876. The results of the successful warfare with Peru and Bolivia have been above given.

We have already seen the discovery of Brazil by Pincon, one of the comrades of Columbus, at the close of the 15th century. In 1500 the country was claimed for Portugal by Cabral, and by the middle of the 16th century Jewish colonists, banished from Portugal, began to cultivate the sugar-cane, Bahia was founded in 1549, as the seat of government, by the first governor, De Sousa. The vast territory was neglected between 1580 and 1640, when Portugal was an appendage of Spain, and Bahia was taken,-in 1623, by a Dutch squadron. At various points the Hollanders held possession for many years, but their tyranny drove both the natives and Portuguese to revolt, and in 1654, when Portugal had again become independent, they were driven out or bought off, and Portugal was mistress of the country until it became independent, in 1822, under Dom Pedro I. as emperor. Rio de Janeiro, founded in 1567, became the capital before the middle of the 18th century. The prosperity of Brazil had rapidly grown through the discovery of gold in 1698 and of the valuable pure-water diamonds in 1728, and the opening-up of the interior under the vigorous administration of affairs, in Portugal and her colonies, from 1760 to 1777, by the marquis de Pombal. Cotton and tobacco, as well as the sugar-cane, had become very profitable articles of tillage, but prosperity was retarded by an exclusive colonial and commercial system involving monopolies and restrictions on cultivators, heavy taxation through extortionate "revenue-farmers," the corrupt and tardy administration of law, the deliberate maintenance of ignorance among the population, and all the evils due to political and religious bigotry and lack of "sweetness and light." When the royal family of Portugal took refuge in Brazil in 1808, a striking change occurred. The ports were thrown open to foreign trade; vexatious burdens on industry were removed; education was promoted; and new courts of law administered real justice. In 1840 Dom Pedro II., one of the most enlightened and cultured monarchs of modern times, assumed power as emperor, and the country enjoyed peace, with exceptions already noted, and general prosperity, under his rule. The war of 1864 to 1870 was very costly to Brazil in both money and men, but she gained greatly in reputation, and benefited both herself and other commercial nations in making the navigation of the La Plata river-system free and open. Slavery was abolished in 1888. In the following year the revolutionary spirit of South American politics, a power which seems incapable of being exorcised, caused a military revolt of obscure origin. The emperor bowed to the storm, and withdrew with his family to Europe, and a Brazilian republic was proclaimed as the "United States of Brazil," under General Fonseca as President. This proceeding was followed by a financial crisis; a quarrel of the President with the Congress; his attempt at usurpation of power, in the Balmaceda style, with the help of the troops; the restoration of the power of Congress, as in Chile, with the aid of the navy; the resignation of Fonseca; a naval revolt under his successor, suppressed in 1894; and the collapse, in August, 1895, of a rising in the south. The last countries remaining for notice on the continent are the Guianas, on the north-east coast.

The name "Guiana" takes us back to Elizabethan and early Stuart days of adventure, exploration, and rapine, when Englishmen, drawn by stories of boundless gold to be won, and by religious and national hostility, went forth to "harry" the foe's possessions on the "Spanish Main" and in adjacent regions. The Spaniards, about 1500, explored the coast, and European adventurers, of various nations, made attempts at settlement late in the 16th and early in the 17th centuries. It was to Guiana that Raleigh went in search of the fabled land "El Dorado," with its golden city of Manoa, in 1595, sailing up the Orinoco, viewing the splendid tropical vegetation, and bringing back some of the auriferous quartz-rock which is now, under proper treatment, making a good return to investors. Early in the 17th century the Dutch West India Company made a settlement at Berbice, and were followed, about 1650, by the English, who founded Paramaribo, now the capital of Dutch Guiana, on the river Surinam. The French had already a foothold in Cayenne, and established their present colony there in 1674. In 1667, under the Treaty of Breda, the English government ceded Surinam to Holland in exchange for New York (then "New Amsterdam"), and, with the exception of short periods in war-time between European Powers, the territory now forming British Guiana was in Dutch hands until our conquest in 1803. In Dutch times cotton was the chief object of tillage, but when the Southern States in America began to grow it largely, sugar became the substitute in British Guiana, which, in 1891, had nearly 70,000 acres, out of about 80,000 under tillage, in sugar-estates. In 1884 gold was found, and in the ii years from 1886 to 1897 the colony shipped to England gold worth over 3,000,000 pounds sterling. British Guiana has no history in the 19th century except a negro-insurrection in 1823 due to the tyrannical conduct of the governor, General Murray, backed by the slave-owners. Not a white man lost his life, but some hundreds of negroes were killed and wounded in action, or executed, or barbarously flogged, and an Independent missionary, John Smith, who had really exercised the best influence over the negroes, in the interests of peace and order, died in prison from ill-usage. This missionary-martyr, British in blood, judicially murdered, under martial law, by British "officers and gentlemen" who professed Christianity, was of great service, in his death, to the cause of slave-emancipation which finally prevailed in 1833. In Dutch Guiana slavery was abolished in 1863. French Guiana, or Cayenne, is noted for a deadly climate, and is now used, as a penal settlement, only for prisoners from Africa (Arabs and negroes) and Asia (Annamites). Slavery was abolished in 1848.

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Pictures for Mexico; West Indies; central and South America. page 2

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