18931109 See an image of this letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/vvpd-rh90


Montevideo             9th Nov.      1893


My dear Mother,

For the last few days I have been here, on the “other” side of the “River”. Business is not brilliant here either, but at all events it is a little better than in Buenos Aires, & it is a relief to be able to send even a few small orders.  I wrote you by “Thames” 26th ult. Before leaving B. Aires I got your letter of 2nd Oct. Julian went to the Camp for a week.[1] His neuralgia was bad again. I do not see so much of him now that he lives in Belgrano but we usually meet once or twice a day. Josephy will be there for a few weeks more.[2]

Very sorry to hear of James Black’s serious accident.[3] How is he now?

This place is full of Argentine political refugees; – Radicals who sided with the Revolution & who now deem it prudent to take a little change of air. One of the leaders is Dr Ayerza, a lawyer, whom I have the honour of knowing.[4] Y’day he raised his hat to me, bestowed on me the sweetest of smiles, & made kind enquiries as to my health. I forthwith became a convert to Radical (want of) Principles.

But this is not my only acquaintance of standing. To-day I was greeted politely by a real live Belgian Count, a former travelling companion. To be sure his standing is only about four feet six, but he makes up in distinction what he lacks in height.

The “Tagus” passes homeward to-morrow. I shall try to find time to go on board to pass the time of day to Bertie.[5] It was only y’day I heard he was still on the old ship. I thought he was to be transferred to one of the new ones.

The weather all last week has been perfect. Spring & Autumn are the two delightful seasons in the Plate.[6] Clear skies & summer warmth tempered by light breezes. I do no care much for Montevideo for I know scarcely anyone here, & life is very quiet, but the town, though smaller than B. Aires, is brighter, cleaner, & more imposing. The broad well-paved streets & the many stone houses give an air of solidity & respectability to the place, beside which B. Aires seems shoddy.

On Sunday young Thomsen drove me to his Father’s country-house – the “Chacra”, & I stayed overnight.[7] For this part of the world it is a beautiful property, – not the house, but the grounds which are wooded with firs, oaks, eucalyptus, palms & many other trees.

In Rio the revolution continues. It will cost the country a mint of money. In spite of the sanguinary reports the bloodshed will, I fancy, not be found to be in proportion to the expenditure of powder & shot.  There is a reluctance on both sides to kill, partly owing to an appreciation of the fratricidal nature of the struggle, I suppose, & partly to the fear of consequences to each should the other side ultimately triumph.

I have a good deal to do for tomorrow’s mail, which means writing for some hours this evg. after dinner. I do not at all fancy it, but once I settle down to it & get over my first feeling of sleepiness it usually goes all right. This morning I was up at six. Now the warm mornings have come it is much easier to rise.

Best love,



  1. Julian Weinberg (see Index to People). The “Camp” = “the countryside” = the “bush” in Australia.
  2. Albert Josephy (b 18th January 1859 Mecklenburg-Schwerin). Connected to Moore & Weinberg. See Index to People.
  3. James Black who got married in NY in Jan 1891 – probably related to the Black “heiresses” across the way.
  4. Francisco Ayerza (b 1860 Buenos Aires, d 1901 Argentina) was a photographer and founding member of the Argentine Photographic Society. He studied jurisprudence without this preventing him from participating in politics, since he not only intervened in the Revolution of 1890 but also held, although for a short time, a seat in the Chamber of Deputies. https://second.wiki/wiki/francisco_ayerza#Enlaces_externos
  5. Herbert Weinberg – working as ship’s engineer. See Index to People.
  6. The River Plate (“Rio de la Plata” Spanish for “river of silver”) is formed by the confluence of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers near Buenos Aires. It lies both in Argentina (to the South) and Uruguay (to the North).
  7. Likely Alfred Thomas Thomsen (b 1873 Montevideo), the son of Alfred Thomsen (b 1843 Germany) and Helena Tomkinson (daughter of Thomas Tomkinson 1804-1879). Thomas Tomkinson was involved in many aspects of trade and finance development in the River Plate area.


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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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