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Across the Pampas and Among the Andes 1

    Abstract

    THE interest attaching to the confederation of South American provinces known as the Argentine Republic more than justifies Prof. R. Crawford in the publication of an account of his journeys across the Pampas and the Andes. Some fourteen years ago the Government of the Province of Buenos Ayres, foreseeing the vast importance of a line of railway which would connect the two oceans, entered into an agreement with the firm of Waring Brothers of London to send out a staff of engineers to explore and survey a route for a proposed Transandine railroad. Prof. R. Crawford was given the command, and, with his colleagues, left Liverpool in March 1871 for Monte Video, which was reached after a voyage of a month's duration. On landing, it was soon ascertained that matters were in desperate plight at Buenos Ayres. The frightful epidemic of yellow fever was still raging, the local Government had proclaimed public holidays and itself migrated to a distance from the doomed city, business of all sorts was suspended, and silence reigned in the streets. Under these circumstances, but for the pluck and energy of Prof. Crawford, the scheme for the survey across the Pampas would have come to an untimely end (that from the Chili side had commenced towards the end of April 1871); but he determined it should proceed, and never let the local authorities have any rest until all preliminaries were settled. In the meanwhile the enforced sojourn at Monte Video was not over pleasant. The city was in a state of siege, and it was not for some time after the arrival of the party that a temporary peace was patched up. Weary of the forced delay, Prof. Crawford and some members of his party visited Concordia and made a survey for the Salto Grande Canal. They passed, in their voyage up the Plate, Buenos Ayres, looking in the distance bright and pleasant, though death was stalking through it. In steaming up the Uruguay they saw Liebig's famed extract-of-beef factory at Fray Bentos, and McCall's vast establishment at Pay-sandu. In an account of a short excursion made from Concordia, we find the following interesting anecdote about the black vulture (Cathartes atratus) of La Plata; perhaps the coolness of the vulture's behaviour is fully equalled by the coolness of the driver in appropriating the stray horse:—

    References

    1. 1

      "Across the Pampas and the Andes." By Robert Crawford, M.A. With a Map and Illustrations. (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1884.)

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