to Mr. Bayard.
Buenos Ayres , July 25, 1888. (Received October 1.)
Sir: The immigration to these shores still progresses with marvelous volume. It is becoming a great question, both for Europe and the United States, for the former, on account of the diminution of its most industrious and valued producing class, and for the United States, because it is the inauguration of a formidable competition in grain production, the chief factor of its most radical industry.
There is now no room for doubts that the Argentine nation will, very soon, in every way, both in commerce and the cultivation of the soil, outstrip all countries on this continent south of the United States. This is not guess-work but a fact, apparent to all who come here and take the pains to weigh carefully productive and commercial conditions.
The strong commercial nations of Europe have covetous eyes on this magnificent and vigorous young country. The great fleets of steamships which England, Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium are sending into River Plate harbors, tell the story. Russia and Austria-Hungary also are making active preparations to join in the contest. The United States alone stands off and does nothing. Its ships are scarcely known here. It certainly has the largest and best variety of raw material, the best modeled machinery and most advanced skilled labor of all the nations on the globe, and yet it stands still and looks on indifferently at the inferior European handicraft constantly appropriating its models and placing its fabrics on the market falsely called United States manufactures, thus at the same time diverting its natural trade and leeching its good name.
We want American ships here, displaying the American flag, as a guaranty that they bring American goods for the Argentine market. Then the counterfeiters will be constrained to stand on their own merits and they will go down in the presence, of such competition. The question of our commercial prosperity in this great field is now exactly what it will be a hundred years hence—wholly dependent on our own [Page 14] exertions. Without a steady, reliable mail service, we can not maintain trade, and trade without our own ships is an impossibility. American ships will solve the whole difficulty, and it is the only solution of it.
I have, etc.,