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Catching horses

Trade of Monte Video

Monte Video was formerly a place of great trade, but has lately declined very much and now dollars are scarce where Doubloons formerly abounded. This was the great bone of contention between Brazil and Buenos Ayres, and the end of the inglorious contest was the declaration of its independence, and the decline of its prosperity. The Exports and Imports are the same as at Buen: Ayres – but that river state has completely carried away the palm of success, from the abundance of superiority of their cattle.

Excellent Mode of Catching Horses at Monte Video

Horses too are abundant and afford the pleasure of exercise at a cheap rate, and this leads me to tell you that even I, who you know was no horseman ventured to mount a nag, and steer for the country. With this view I and a companion went to a horse repository and engaged two horses from among an immense number. I of course requested to be supplied with a quiet steady gentle beast. As all the animals were ranging about in an open yard at perfect liberty, it was necessary to employ some mode of catching them – and to this mode called lassoing I have already alluded, promising some account of it. The groom, having singled out the proper horse, took a long rope with a wide noose at one end of it, and then approaching cautiously, and holding the lasso coiled up in his hand, he began to whirl it round with great rapidity as you would a sling, and altho’ at first motion the horse took alarm & fled, he threw the lasso with such dexterity that the loop passed over the horses head, while he had hold of the other. No sooner was the noose fairly on than the animal set off at full gallop, followed by the groom who prudently kept the lasso slack, or otherwise he himself would have overturned & [been] dragged along. By little & little – by tightening and slackening – the horse was gradually brought near a stout wooden post, round which the rope was passed as a purchase, & in this manner he was easily secured. The whole process was managed with great skill – such as can only be acquired by constant practice. Having secured our horses & being supplied with an English saddle & the small narrow stirrups of the country off we set, not without many misgivings on my part, as to the final result of our Journey. The nature of the ground in the immediate neighbourhood of the Town being hilly uneven & full of deep ruts and holes obliged us to observe a sober pace, and in so far it was well for me, as I could then manage to keep my seat. This lucky circumstance did not favour me long as we soon came upon a tolerably level road, I was afraid to gallop lest I should be thrown & endured much from the confounded canter of my beast. I dare say I cut but a miserable figure in the eyes of the Gauchos or country people, all of whom have been accustomed from their earliest years to trot – to canter – to gallop, especially if you know that the last time I was on horseback was when I was thrown on Portabello sands from off poor Frank’s Hills poney, in the days of our boyhood. I determined however not to let the thought of this disturb my jaunt, and after a little practice I managed pretty well in my own opinion. We passed about 2 or 3 miles out a neat village, with houses of one storey & flat roofs. I do not recollect the name of it. Many of the houses were marked with a cross above the door, which I was told was always done, when the master of the family died. Passing this village we saw a pretty extensive tract of country, but poor, miserable & barren. Houses were to be seen here and there, with small encloses but the whole presented rather a dreary aspect.

During our ride we fell in with great numbers of Gauchos, on horseback and always at a hard gallop, as if themselves & horses were part & parcel of one body. They were dressed in long loose cloaks, with wide trowsers underneath and invariably of the brightest & gaudiest colours, as I have [found] always to be the case among ignorant people & savages. We saw likewise several women well dressed in the country fashion and all of them seated like the men. This practice is however never adopted when they go into the Town, as it is not etiquette, but that I am told that as soon as they reach the country, they prefer this plan & adopt it.

In three or four hours we returned from our ride and restored our nags to the place where we found them, not more to their than to my own satisfaction, as I was heartily fatigued by my novel exercise, and glad that I had escaped all broken bones.

Wednesday 9th March – to day we had expected to receive our Mail at 2 P.M. and had no desire to remain at our present anchorage any longer. Unfortunately for us H.M. Packet Frolic, Lt. Green, [5] arrived here early this morning and proved to be the cause of our detention for eight days longer. For Before our departure from Buenos Ayres, our Commander had received a written order from Mr. Woodbine Parish our Consul there, requiring him, if either the Frolic had already reached Monte Video, or should come while we were there, to remain until he should receive additional dispatches from him for our Government. But if either of those circumstances should not happen – our Commander was after his usual detention of 48 hours to set sail for Rio. This further time therefore I spent chiefly on shore, and do not recollect any thing farther to mem down respecting the Mount as the place is familiarly called.

During this time I received much attention from Mr. Constant, a young English Surgeon here – was introduced to several of his Spanish relations, who all said that themselves and houses were at my disposal, the polite form of complimentary Spaniards – and one afternoon got a horse & accompanied him to see several of his patients in the country. All his practice lies among the Natives & as he has proved himself to be a very clever Surgeon, he is much employed.

Wednesday 16 March – after our involuntary detention of eight days, we bid a final adieu to Monte Video at 2 P.M. with light favourable breezes.

Thursday 17 – fine weather and favourable winds.

Friday 18th – very fine weather & favourable breeze.

Saturday 19th – fair wind and pleasant weather.

Sunday 20th – foul wind and squally weather.

Monday 21st – foul wind and fine weather.

Tuesday 22d - foul wind and fine weather.

Wednesday 23d – this morning wind fair – pleas.t  W.r

Thursday 24th – fine weather. Wind fresh & nearly fair.

Friday 26th – morning cloudy but pleasant. Afternoon fine – fresh and favourable breezes.

Saturday 26th – fine weather – nearly a calm all day – fresh and favourable breezes in the Afternoon.

Sunday 27th – extremely variable weather – wind variable. In sight of land early this morning. At night close to the entrance of Rio Harbour.