PART I. THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC
The country to which the author first went as a self-supporting missionary in the year 1889.
And Nature, the old nurse, took
The child upon her knee,
Saying, "Here is a story book
Thy Father hath written for thee."
"Come, wander with me," she said,
"Into regions yet untrod,
And read what is still unread
In the manuscripts of God."
And he wandered away and away
With Nature, the dear old nurse,
Who sung to him night and day
The rhymes of the universe.
THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC
The Argentine Republic has an area of one and a quarter million square miles. It is 2,600 miles from north to south, and 500 miles at its widest part. It is twelve times the size of Great Britain. Although the population of the country is about seven millions, only one per cent, of its cultivable area is now occupied, yet Argentina has an incomparable climate.
It is essentially a cattle country. She is said to surpass any other nation in her numbers of live stock. The Bovril Co. alone kills 100,000 a year. On its broad plains there are estandas, or cattle ranches, of fifty and one hundred thousand acres in extent, and on these cattle, horses and sheep are herded in millions. Argentina has over twenty-nine million cattle, seventy-seven million sheep, seven and a half million horses, five and a half million mules, a quarter-million of donkeys, and nearly three million swine and three million goats. Four billion dollars of British capital are invested in the country.
Argentina has sixteen thousand miles of railway. This has been comparatively cheap to build. On the flat prairie lands the rails are laid, and there is a length of one hundred and seventy-five miles without a single curve.
Three hundred and fifty thousand square miles of this prairie is specially adapted to the growing of grain. In 1908-9 the yield of wheat was 4,920,000 tons. Argentina has exported over three million tons of wheat, over three million tons of corn, and one million tons of linseed, in one year, while "her flour mills can turn out 700,000 tons of flour a year." [Footnote: Hirst's Argentina, 1910.]
"It is a delight often met with there to look on a field of twenty square miles, with the golden ears standing even and close together, and not a weed nor a stump of a tree nor a stone as big as a man's fist to be seen or found in the whole area."
"To plant and harvest this immense yield the tillers of the ground bought nine million dollars of farm implements in 1908. Argentina's record in material progress rivals Japan's. Argentina astonished the world by conducting, in 1906, a trade valued at five hundred and sixty million dollars, buying and selling more in the markets of foreign nations than Japan, with a population of forty millions, and China, with three hundred millions." [Footnote: John Barrett, in Munsey's Magazine]
To this Land of Promise there is a large immigration. Nearly three hundred thousand have entered in one single year. About two hundred thousand have been going to Buenos Ayres, the capital, alone, but in 1908 nearly five hundred thousand landed there. [Footnote: "Despite the Government's efforts, emigration from Spain to South America takes alarming proportions. In some districts the men of the working classes have departed in a body. In certain villages in the neighborhood of Cadiz there arc whole streets of deserted houses."- Spanish Press.] In Belgium 220 people are crowded into the territory occupied by one person in Argentina, so yet there is room. Albert Hale says: "It is undeniable that Argentina can give lodgment to 100,000,000 people, and can furnish nourishment, at a remarkably cheap rate, for as many more, when her whole area is utilized."
Argentina's schools and universities are the best in the Spanish-speaking world. In Buenos Ayres you will find some of the finest school buildings in the world, while 4,000 students attend one university.
Buenos Ayres, founded in 1580, is to-day the largest city in the world south of the equator, and is "one of the richest and most beautiful places of the world." The broad prairies around the city have made the people "the richest on earth."
Kev. John F. Thompson, for forty-five years a resident of that country, summarizes its characteristics in the following paragraph: "Argentina is a land of plenty; plenty of room and plenty of food. If the actual population were divided into families of ten persons, each would have a farm of eight square miles, with ten horses, fifty- four cows, and one hundred and eighty-six sheep, and after they had eaten their fill of bread they would have half a ton of wheat and corn to sell or send to the hungry nations."