18900609 See an image of the original letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/m261-k557


Letter written on 3 sheets, 1st and 3rd headed paper:


1st sheet:



Casilla del Correo No. 137(further illegible)

Para Telegrammes


3rd sheet:





Address Telegrams,





No 10,                       Buenos Aires,….9th June…………..de 189 0


My dear Mother,

For the last three days I have been in Rosario de Santa Fé, the saintly Apostolic-Roman-Catholic name – Rosary of the Holy Faith – of the capital of the Province of Santa Fé, the second department, in importance, of the Argentine Republic. We left Buenos Ayres (Roesli[2] & I) by the mid-day train, & arrived at Rosario towards eight. The country we passed through is perfectly flat, the immense plains stretching as far as the eye can reach, like a calm sea; in fact towards the horizon, especially in the dusk of the evening (poetic “gloaming”) they faded into a grey-blue (Alsatian-mountain) colour that made me think the Atlantic or the Rio de la Plata must be there, until I remembered that both were in a quite opposite direction. Coming from the northern hemisphere one is confused as to the points of the compass by the sun being due north, instead of due south, at noon. Scarcely a tree is to be seen, the only vegetation being a kind of coarse grass, & in the swampy places a low rush or cane with tangled roots. Only a small part of the land is cultivated, & as it is now mid-winter here the crops are gathered in & only the dry maize-stalks are left. These were being burned right & left as we passed, & in the evening the bright lines of flame on all sides had a striking effect. Immense herds of cattle & sheep (flocks of sheep I suppose I should say) were grazing on the plains. We saw numbers of wild-duck, partridge, snipe & other birds, & in the distance I think I saw, but I am not sure of it, some ostriches.

Rosario itself is a new & uninteresting town with ill-paved perfectly straight streets, crossing each other at right angles & dividing the town into regular blocks, as at Buenos Ayres. The River Paraná, which, with the other inflowing rivers, forms at its estuary the Rio de la Plata, is here 32 miles wide, & large steamers come up to Rosario.[3]

One of my fellow passengers on the “Coleridge” was a Miss Morley whose brother is in the London Bank at Rosario. I made the acquaintance of the latter, a very nice fellow, when he came to meet his sister on her arrival. I saw him again at Rosario & we lunched together & on Sunday afternoon he took me for a row in a light pleasure-boat to an island about a mile out in the River. I enjoyed the exercise & the outing very much, as also the tea we had at his house on our return.

I came back to Buenos Ayres by the night train & had a bunk in a sleeping car; it was very cold & I did not sleep very well, though I had my rug. I am going to make up for it tonight & to that effect I shall not write any more now. Though there is no frost at nights the thermometer must go down to almost freezing point, & there is no comfortable fire in my room, – not even a grate to make one in; so the warmest & snuggest place is bed.

Besides the only thing else of interest that I have to mention is that I went to the Senate some days ago & heard the finance minister, Mr Uriburro, make a remarkable speech about some secret issues of National Bank-notes which have created considerable alarm among the public. The news of today is that this minister being unable to carry out his reforms as he wished, has sent in his resignation, with the immediate result of sending up the gold-premium 25 points at one jump, & spreading consternation among commercial circles. We shall see what tomorrow will bring forth.

Best love to all.




  1. See Index to People. Meili & Roesli are listed as “commission merchants” in Buenos Aires in the International Bureau of the American Republics Argentina Handbook of 1894: "Manufacture of bags and sacks. This industry, owing largely to the spread of agriculture, has increased to such an extent that from 30,000 to 50,000 of sacks are now sold annually (according to the year and the crops) in the country. The five principal factories are capable of producing more than 100,000 sacks. The importation of manufactured sacks is thus rendered impossible. The five factories are as follows [in order of output]: La Primitiva, G. A. Sere & Co, Meili & Roesli, O. Nordtmeyer & Co., Salina & Co."
  2. Eugen Roesli-Bidermann (see Index to People)
  3. The Paraná River (Spanish: Río Paraná, Portuguese: Rio Paraná, Guarani: Ysyry Parana) is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina for some 4,880 kilometres (3,030 mi). It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language and means "like the sea" (that is, "as big as the sea"). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paran%C3%A1_River


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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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