18921015 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/9z39-6b17


No 9                                    Buenos Aires      15th Oct.     1892


My dear Mother,

The Columbus centenary is over & the new President is in, for both of which consummations it behoves us to be devoutly thankful. For a month past the papers have been full of Columbus, & Caravels, & Cadiz, & Centennaries, & other big Cs, until America is sighing & groaning “What have I done that I should have been discovered?”

Also until the change of Presidents was effected everything was in suspense. If a man wanted to buy five thousand pounds worth of goods or to invest in a new hat the advice of the croakers was “Wait till after the 12th October” – “There will be a revolution” – “A military conspiracy in La Plata” – “A split in the ranks of the Acuerdistas” – “Saenz Peña refuses at the last moment to accept” – and so on.[1] Now that is all over & there is a sigh of relief all round.

Perhaps the most widely interesting feature in connection with the Columbus fêtes was the issue of two commemorative postage stamps. They were for inland postage only, – values two & five cents – a pretty design with the Caravel under full sail – & were sold only on the 12th October. The total issue of 400.000 was exhausted in a few hours.

On October 12, 1892, Argentina issued a two-stamp set depicting the caravels of Christopher Columbus – the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. This is the 5 cent one.
On October 12, 1892, Argentina issued a two-stamp set depicting the caravels of Christopher Columbus – the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. This is the five-cent one.

I enclose, for Julie’s collection, an envelope with both these stamps, which he must preserve as a relic or a family heirloom.

Already at daylight of the eventful morning a large crowd had collected at the Post office. At 8 o’clock the sale began. A small door was opened, 30 or 40 people were allowed in, & the door was forcibly shut again by the officials aided by policemen. As soon as the first batch was served it was escorted out at another door, & another lot of 30 or 40 was admitted. The crush outside was something fearful. Several mounted policemen tried to keep the crowd back & the street clear. Scarcely a whole hat got through the narrow entrance. One man left half his coat behind & scarcely anyone escaped without some injury to his clothes.

Julian was in the crowd for two hours; twice he was pushed back just as he got to the steps; the third time he got in but a youth in front of him was lifted off his feet & went backwards over Julian’s head – by the pressure of the crowd. This youth was so irritated at being thus forcibly ejected from his hard-gained position of advantage, that he gave the disappearing Julian a most vicious pinch – in the most pinchable part of his body. Julian could only get 10 two cent & 5 five cent stamps. He returned to the office his collar bent over, his cuffs ruffled, his face black, & his hair down over his face, bathed in perspiration. He dropped into a chair & gasped for something to drink, & as soon as he had recovered a little he had to go home, & take a bath.

I hear these stamps are now being sold, used, at 6/- or 8/- each. In a short time they will be very valuable. Julie shd keep them on the envelope, which bears the postmark & the date.

I hope to have letters from you to-day. The Pacific mail is in. Just now recvd. yours of 12th Sept. I am glad you have good news from the Pater from Moscow. I hope soon to hear that he is safe at home again, with a good business done.

Mail closes early today.

Best love to all



Weather perfect.     Warm & bright – not too hot.      I have an invite to go yachting to-morrow, & there is no business “on” to prevent my accepting.

  1. The Acuerdistas (= The Agreementists). In 1892, close to the end of the mandate as President of the Nation of Dr. Carlos Pellegrini, partisan disputes and the failure of an option presented by the National Civic Union, elections were held to succeed him and the victory went to the "agreementist" formula represented by the partnership of Luís Sáenz Peña and José Evaristo Uriburu, who assumed power on October 12, 1892: https://elarcondelahistoria.com/la-revolucion-radical-de-1893-30071893/


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John McCaldin Loewenthal: Letters Home from a Victorian Commercial Traveller, 1889 - 1895 Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Fink, Robert Boyd, Sarah Watkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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