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of the year the gold premium was as follows:-On January 1, 225; March 1, 260; April 1, 267; May 1, 256; June 1, 311; July 1, 248; August 1, 307; September 1, 294; October 1, 331; November 1, 294; December 1, 276; and December 19, 286.
When General Roca retired from power in 1886 the financial condition of the Argentine Republic was as follows:-Currency $70,000,000, debt $117,200,000, revenue (gold) $37,200,000. The value of the currency dollar was 80 cents (gold). In August 1890, when Celman was overthrown, the currency was $200,000,000, debt $355,800,000, revenue (gold) $29,200,000. The value of the proper dollar was 40 cents (gold). In November 1891, currency was $300,000,000, debt $475,000,000, revenue (gold) $22,500,000. Value of paper dollar 27 cents (gold).
To assist the Jews compelled to leave Russia, Baron Hirsch started a colony in the Argentine Republic. An association was formed, which he endowed with a capital of 2,000,000l., and 1,300 square leagues of land in the Chaco were purchased at 2001. per square league, to provide a settlement for one of the colonies of outcast Hebrews.
Brazil. The new Republic of Brazil did not attain the quiet enjoyed under the Empire, and experienced the usual fate so common to South American Republics. On November 3, President da Fonseca (who had been formally elected head of the Government, February 25) dissolved the Congress, and ordered a new election of representatives. A conflict had arisen between the President and Congress, and fearing that Marshal da Fonseca would proclaim himself dictator, the Legislature passed a law determining the process by which a President could be impeached. Fonseca vetoed the measure, but his veto was overruled by Congress. The President thereupon dissolved the Congress, and a state of siege for two months was declared in Rio de Janeiro. Riots occurred there, and many persons were killed. The Congress charged the President with the unwarrantable assumption of sovereign power, while the President accused the Chambers of passing laws contrary to Republican ideas. This was the re-establishment of a dictatorship, and in justification of his arbitrary act, the President addressed a manifesto to the nation. At first it was thought that the army and navy would support Fonseca, but in that he was disappointed. The State of Rio Grande de Sul refused to accept the situation, and appealed to arms for the settlement of the dispute; and nearly half of the army stationed in that State, both regiments and garrisons, revolted. On November 23 the navy broke out in open revolt, and demanded the resignation of the MarshalPresident, who, finding resistance useless, was forced to comply with the wishes of the insurgents. Vice-President Floriano Peixoto then assumed the reins of Government, and a new Cabinet was appointed. Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alvez, an eloquent speaker, and one of the ablest financiers in Brazil,
was made Minister of Finance. Marshal da Fonseca, besides abdicating the Presidency, resigned his command in the army. President Peixoto declared Fonseca's act in dissolving Congress null and void, and summoned that body to meet December 8, while Marshal da Fonseca attempted to justify his coup d'état in a long manifesto, in which he charged the representatives in Congress with incompetency, and defended his usurpation as necessary to the public safety.
Railway concessions were granted by the Government for numerous new lines of roads. In October a Bill was passed reorganising the federal offices, under the departments of Finance, Justice and Interior, Industry, Means of Communication and Public Works, Foreign Affairs, War, and Navy. A decree was issued November 7 providing for the lease of the State railways for not less than thirty-three years. The most important of the ten Government railways is the Central, which is 535 miles long, and is the only one that pays a dividend.
Dom Pedro, the ex-Emperor of Brazil, died at Paris on December 2, aged 66 years. His attachment to his country was unimpaired by the harsh treatment he had received from his late subjects, and a general feeling of grief and regret was expressed in Brazil, while they remembered too late his many private and public virtues.
Chili. The conflict between President Balmaceda and Congress ripened into revolution. On January 1, the Opposition members of the Senate and House of Deputies met, and signed an Act declaring that the President was unworthy of his post, and that he was no longer head of the State nor President of the Republic, as he had violated the Constitution. On January 7 the navy declared in favour of the Legislature, and against Balmaceda. The President denounced the navy as traitors, abolished all the laws of the country, declared himself Dictator, and proclaimed martial law. It was a reign of terror. The Opposition recruited an army in the Island of Santa Maria under General Urrutia and Commander Canto. On February 14 a severe fight took place with the Government troops in Iquique, and the Congressional army took possession of Pisagua.
In April, President Balmaceda, at the opening of the newlyelected Congress, delivered a long message, denouncing the navy for attempting to subvert the Government. The contest continued, and April 7, Arica, in the province of Tarapaca, was taken by the revolutionists. Some naval fights occurred later, and the ironclad Blanco Encalada was blown up by the Dictator's torpedo cruisers. Finally, on August 21, General Canto landed at Concon, ten miles north of Valparaiso. Balmaceda's forces attacked immediately and were routed, losing 3,500 killed and wounded. The Congress army lost 600. On the 28th a decisive battle was fought at Placilla, near Valparaiso. The Dictator had 12,000 troops, and the opposing army 10,000. Balmaceda's
forces were completely routed after five hours' hard fighting, with a loss of 1,500 men. Santiago formally surrendered, and the triumph of the Congress party was complete. A Junta, headed by Señor Jorge Montt, took charge of affairs at Valparaiso August 30. Balmaceda, who had taken refuge at the Argentine Legation in Santiago, was not able to make his escape, and to avoid capture, trial, and punishment, committed suicide, September 20, by shooting himself. On the 19th November Admiral Jorge Montt was chosen by the Electoral College, at Santiago, President of Chili, and on December 26 he was installed with great ceremony and general rejoicings.
Paraguay.—A financial panic occurred at Asuncion June 2, when gold rose to a premium unprecedented, being quoted at 660. It was due to the reckless management of the Government, and to the influence of the depression in Argentina and Montevideo. The revenue, which in 1889 was over four millions of dollars, fell away in 1890 to $1,736,103.
Uruguay.-Emigration was steadily increasing, and in April and May the proportion of departures to arrivals was nearly three to one. Some 60 per cent. of those leaving were Italians unable to find work in the country.
Dr. Ellauri sailed for England June 12, on a financial mission, one of his objects being to arrange for amortisation by purchase of the bonds of the Uruguay public debt, instead of by drawings at par. The Government was in financial straits, and therefore another conversion of the Uruguayan debt was proposed to Congress by message from the President, providing for the payment of 4 per cent. on the consolidated debt-viz. 3 per cent. for interest, and per cent. for amortisation. Much dissatisfaction was expressed by bondholders with the proposed reduction. Forty-five per cent. of the Customs revenue was promised for the service of the debt, and it was a choice between this adjustment and a suspension of payment altogether. At the close of the year there was still uncertainty concerning the whole scheme of readjustment.
Venezuela. A settlement of the long-standing boundary dispute with British Guiana was attempted by the intervention of the United States Government, which was not grateful to the British Government. The unsettled relations with Venezuela were proving injurious to British commerce. British exports to Venezuela amount to more than a million sterling yearly. The dispute respecting the boundary can only be settled by arbitration, to which the British Government does not consent. The Venezuelans assert that the real frontier between their country and the British colony of Guiana is marked by the Essequibo river. Great Britain took the colony from the Dutch, and claims that Guiana extends to the west of that river. American trade with Venezuela was increasing, and amounted for the last fiscal year to 10 millions of dollars. This was partly due to the boun
dary dispute and partly to difficulties with the Central Railway of Venezuela, and the La Guayra Harbour Improvement Company-both British enterprises. The people have been jaded with incessant revolution for the last thirty years, and have lately been enjoying a prosperity unusual to South American Republics. How long it will last is rather doubtful.
THE question of confederation has occupied a prominent place among the colonists of Australasia during the year 1891. A Convention to decide on the outline of a Federal scheme, to which all the colonies sent representatives, irrespective of local party divisions, met at Sydney on March 2, under the presidency of Sir Henry Parkes, the veteran Prime Minister of New South Wales. The proceedings were on the whole worthy of the momentous occasion, the delegates being impressed by a full sense of the gravity of their duties, and exhibiting in their deliberations, not less than in the results to which they reached, a spirit of loyalty to the Empire, and of regard for the future of Imperial Unity, which is full of happy augury for the ultimate success of the movement. On the main point, namely, as to the desirability of some form of political union, there seems to have been little or no difference among the colonial delegates. Nor is it open to doubt that a general belief existed that the Federal Union would be accomplished, at least, of all the Australian colonies proper at some date not distant. After a debate extending over five weeks, during which the utmost liberty of discussion was claimed and permitted, the delegates agreed to the draft scheme of a Federal Constitution, to be submitted hereafter to the Legislatures of the various colonies. The leading features of that constitution, in which the delegates were practically unanimous, include a Federal Parliament with two Houses, in which the Council or Upper House is to consist of two representatives of each colony, of equal rank and power, irrespective of local differences of size, importance, or population, with a Lower House of Representatives elected on a popular basis. The Upper House, which is thus modelled on the principle of the American Senate, is restricted to functions analogous to those discharged by the Legislative Councils in the several colonies. It will have no power over the public purse, all money bills being exclusively originated and passed within the popular Assembly. The general prerogatives of the Federal Parliament were left, perhaps wisely, loosely defined; but while the fullest liberty is to be granted to each individual constituent State within its juris
diction to legislate on domestic matters, no questions of justice, of defence, and of the relations with the outside world have been assigned to the Federal Legislature.
On a point which seems to have divided the delegates more than any other, namely, the question whether a final right of appeal in law to the Imperial Privy Council at home shall be reserved to her Majesty's subjects in Australia, there seems to have been no definite resolution, but it is probable that, in accordance with the general sentiment among the people of Australia, this point will be ultimately decided in accordance with the sounder belief that the appeal to the Imperial Council gives up no colonial right while retaining a universal and inalienable British privilege. On the burning question of inter-colonial trade, on which it seemed probable that differences would arise owing to the conflict between the nicely balanced parties of Free Trade and Protection, a general agreement has been arrived at which, while it promises internal peace, portends future trouble between Federal Australia and Great Britain. Whatever may be the measure of Protection which may be adopted at the seaports against outside nations, the colonies, as represented at the Sydney Convention, determined, for the present, that there should be Free Trade between themselves. On this question it is evident that much of the apparent unanimity is due to the many difficulties arising from the internal dissensions and local jealousies. Some of the delegates did not scruple to affirm that they valued Protection more than Federation, while others look to a Federal Parliament as a refuge against high Customs duties. In order to come to any agreement upon a Federal scheme, it was almost necessary that this question of what principle of trade shall be adopted by the Federated Colonies should be deferred for future settlement; and it is precisely here where is to be looked for the great obstacle to the practical adoption of Confederation by the various colonies, whose tariffs at present are widely divergent and often in conflict.
The name finally adopted by the delegates for their Federal scheme was "The Commonwealth of Australasia." This has already been subject to somewhat severe criticism as being too fanciful a denomination and scarcely expressive of the predominant feeling which was supposed to characterise the movement of loyalty to the Imperial connection. Already by one of the principal colonies-Victoria-the name has been rejected, and it is probable that some less high-sounding and more distinctive appellation will be chosen to denominate Federal Australia. The scheme, as adopted by the Sydney Convention, will have to be entrusted to the various Legislatures for confirmation; and it may be that the influences which have so happily guided the decisions of the Federal delegates hitherto will be less active in the future. In any case, no scheme of Australian Confederation can take such shape as that it can be presented for confirmation