A WORD AGAINST PA.RA.GUAY'S ENEMIES.
Afortnight since we said a few words in favour of the little country of South America which is now engaged in an unequal warfare with powers whose dominions extend over more than two-thirds of the whole South American con- tinent, so as to claim at least a suspension of English judgment against her. We must now say a few words of unfortunately a more invidious nature, with a view to impugning somewhat the testimony of Paraguay's enemies. Two of these only need be noticed,—the Argentines and Brazil,—since Flores, the chief of Uruguay, must be deemed a mere Brazilian puppet. The former have certainly our beat, wishes for their future development in the path on which they have entered of late years. We believe the Argentine Republic has prospects almost illimitable before it; that it stands at this moment in many respects at .the head of South American civilization ; we are not disinalined to think that President Mitre is what his admirers claim him to be—the foremost statesman of South America. But Argentine civilization grows small by degrees and beautifully less as it recedes from the coast, till in Entre Rios and Corrientes (as Mr. Mansfield's account suffices to show) it is in all essentials—order, industry, energy, and self-reliance,—far below Paraguayan. Nor must we forget in the Argentine character the existence of an element of quite peculiar savagery. Commercially the Argentines have been hitherto literally a nation of butchers, and what is more, the only habitual horse-butchers in the world. The ragged Bedouin mounted on his faithful mare, appears to us morally a civilized being compared with the Gaucho, slaughtering his mares or selling them to slaughter without mercy for the sake of their hides. Accordingly the ferocity of warfare among the Argentines has remained un- matched in the troubled annals of modern South America, and from it has sprung the model savage of the continent— Roses, whose ex-lieutenant and final conqueror Urquiza is often said to be not many degrees gentler than the Gaucho monster himself. Observe that the Gaucho, valiant against cattle and mares, is often an arrant poltroon against the Indians. Alone with Mexico among the Spanish American republics, the Argentine Confederacy saw, at all events till quite of late years, the wild Indian actually encroaching upon the white man's settlements, and though the progress of European colonization is now beating back the savage again on many points, there is still a large portion of the frontier on which he is a daily terror to the Argentine, whilst the Para- guayan agriculturist or yerba-gatherer sleeps in peace. Mean- while, swelled with pride at the rapid progress of his city, the Porteno disdainfully ignores almost the very existence of Paraguay.
We home now to Brazil. It is the fashion to speak with respect, almost with admiration, of Brazil. There is some- thing certainly which strikes the imagination to see, stretch- ing over nearly half the map of South America, a single vast empire, whose extreme dimensions in length and breadth exceed two thousand miles each way; to be told that whilst revolutions convulse perpetually all the surrounding repub- lics, Brazil enjoys the quasi-European blessings of a fixed hereditary succession, a landed aristocracy, and all the splendour of a monarchical government. But have we ever asked ourselves the question why it is that every successive West Indian or Pacific mail tells us so much about these South American or Central American Republics, so little about Brazil,—that a microscopic State, which would be lost in a corner of a Brazilian province, occupies as large, and often a larger, space in the world's news than the huge empire near at hand ? May it not be really because the small republic, with its frequent revolutions, its half-bred chiefs, is yet, in proportion to its bulk at least, of more value to the world than the colossus? That this is no mere hypothesis,—that the Portuguese American empire is sub- stantially, in spite of all its outward show of majesty, behind these troubled, troublesome South American republics, which no politician can speak of without a sneer, a few facts we think will suffice to show. Population first.—M. Elisee Reclus, in one of his interesting articles on South America in the Revue des Deux Mendes, estimates the Spanish American population at 25,000,000, increasing with extraordinary rapidity ; that of Brazil at 8,000,000, of whom more than 500,000 were wild Indians' though the area of Brazil must be quite equivalent to that of the Spanish American republics collectively. And though we cannot by any statistics available to us approximate to the former amount without including Mexico, we find nevertheless in recorded figures a clear balance of about four millions in favour of the despised republics' industry. Who thinks well of Peru? Yet M. Reclus shows us (article of June 15, 1862) that one single Peruvian valley, at the head waters of the Amazons, supplied in 1858 7-11ths in value of the products raised for expor- tation by its whole course of 3,200 miles almost all within Brazilian territory, the Peruvian staple being, moreover, a manufactured article (Panama hats), the Brazilian one a raw product (cocoa). The foreign trade of Brazil is almost entirely in foreign hands ; she has no commercial navy to speak or; her native artizans are as one to five foreigners; she has to buy the very necessaries of life' to the amount of one quarter of the total value of her exports, from abroad, from the United States, England, and Uruguay. Slavery has wasted and is wasting vast tracts of her fertile soil ; famine in some has sent within the last few years her slave population begging on the highways. Her vaunted tranquillity is in reality broken from time to time by tremendous revolts of whole provinces,
north and south, of which Europe learns next to nothing until many years after some temporary resident, like Mr. Bates, tells the story ; whilst on the border line of Brazaiate occupation in the interior there are constantly occurring un- noticed expeditions against and conflicts with the Indiana which, did they happen in San Salvador or Nicaragua,. would be duly recorded to the world. In no country has. the Indian been more brutally oppressed. Thanks to this oppression, to slavery, to the jealous seclusion of Brazilian women still prevailing in the interior, the las morality common throughout South America hardens here too often into the most brutal debauchery at the expense of the subject races, or in some of the sea-ports at least sinks into a. hideous vice, almost unknown elsewhere on the continent.
In short, we verily believe this vast majestic Brazilian Empire to be in one word the greatest sham yet remaining in the world, since Russia (which it much resembles in many respects) has begun to awake to reality under its present. monarch. We once heard a young Brazilian, after descanting on the delights of Paris, which he had lately quitted, announce- his intention of returning in the diplomatic line, which, said. he, would be much better than going thither, as he had done,. at his own cost, parceque I' on s'amuse, et is Gouvernement pale. We strongly suspect that this feeling, expressed quite seriously, typifies the habitual spirit of the Brazilian Administration, and that a conviction of the fact, such as we have found) invariably in all who know the country, affords the best ex- planation of the bullying tone which every successive Foreign. Secretary invariably falls into in addressing a Brazilian Minister. In speaking thus we do not wish to deny the good. intentions of the present Emperor, nor the existence in Brazil. of many generous-minded men, nor in its population of many healthy and promising elements. But with a population ,so- scanty, the empire is really too large for politicaL unity,. and especially for centralization such as is attempted to be practised. Hence a wonderful show of outward civilization, enlightenment, refinement, with sheer barbarism. close at hand; abundance of excellent laws, seldom enforced except in trifles; and to sum up all in one instance, mentioned. by the late Mr. Mansfield, penalties against cruelty to animals inflicted whilst murder goes unpunished. There is in short a. Brazilian administration, and a Portuguese American or Bra- zilian population, scattered somewhat thickly along the sea- board, and for some way up the course of the rivers, thinly over other districts, and owning the land through its magnates for some considerable distance into the interior. But there is. no Brazilian nation co-extensive, or which seems likely to become co-extensive, with the enormous territory of the empire. The great bulk of the interior is little more than a. fertile solitude, much of it absolutely unexplored, much held by independent tribes of Indians. There is no homogeneous- ness of population, and any one who will take the trouble to- ned two or three works applying to different portions of the country,—say Mr. Bates's charming volume on the region of the Amazons, the articles of M. d'Assier in the Revue des De= Mcmdes on the middle region, the mining, and slave districts, and M. Elis6e Reclus' accounts in the same periodical of Rio- Grande and the German colonies in the South,—will see that under the name of Brazil they really speak of quite different. countries. Has this clay-footed colossus any real claim on our sympathies, as compared with little Paraguay ?