Mr. Hanna to Mr. Bayard.

No. 204.]

Sir: I have the honor to report to the Department that by order of Dr. Costa, minister for foreign affairs, Mr. Aristides Almeida, chief of the bureau of statistics, has made a statement of the arrivals of immigrants to the Argentine Republic, from which it appears that in the thirty-two years from and including 1857 to and including 1888 no fewer than 1,374,797 immigrants abandoned Europe to start new homes in this country. This figure is more important when it is considered that the total population of the Argentine Republic is to-day calculated at 4,000,000 souls, and that the total immigration to all South America from Europe during the same time was 1,703,000.

The percentage of nationalities of the above total immigration to the Argentine Republic during the period stated was about as follows:

Per cent.
Italians 65.25
Spaniards 14.61
French 9.27
English 2.31
Swiss 1.82
Austrians 1.69
Germans 1.54
Belgians .78
Various 2.73

The tabulated statement of the movement of immigration for the year ending December 31, 1888, published by the same authority, shows that the arrivals during the past year amount to the number of 150,000, which promises to reach 370,000 in the ensuing year, if the arrivals continue on the same scale as during the month of January. On the 16th of this month 2,000 Irish immigrants landed, and 2,000 left Queenstown yesterday for this place. On the 22d, the German steamer Stassburg anchored with 1,500 Dutch and Frenchmen, and advices have been lately received announcing the departure of several thousand Belgians for this country.

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The National Government, aware of the great impropriety of sending out at one time so many poor emigrants, largely women and children, who can not even speak the language of the country, is taking steps to put a stop to its recurrence. Telegrams, I understand, will be sent by the minister for foreign affairs to the immigration agents of the Argentine Republic in England and Ireland, notifying them that the emigration must be limited to 200 per month.

The 2,000 immigrants just arrived here have been greatly embarrassed, and much suffering has ensued. This Government was not prepared to receive and appropriate them. They were thrown on public charity, and, though the response has been hearty and generous, it has been next to impossible to feed and house such a large sudden influx, in the absence of ample preparation beforehand.

And these people have been misled in the matter of public lands and the feasibility of getting homesteads. The public lands of this nation are about all absorbed. They are held by speculators in blocks of from 3 to 10, 10 to 50, and 50 to 100 leagues. There are men here who own from 100 to as high as 800 leagues of land. Now the Government is talking of buying back the lands it has practically given away, and of selling in small parcels of 120 acres to actual settlers, and though long time is to be given for payment, in the end, with the footings of speculation and the interest to be added, it will make dear land.

The only inducement proposed to these immigrants as yet is in the form of a contract offered them by a private land-owning corporation, under which they may obtain title to lands near Bahia Blanca by assuming an indebtedness of about $20 gold per acre, to be paid within twenty years in installments, with 9 per cent, interest on all deferred payments, the company agreeing to furnish seeds, tools, animals, etc., to the amount of $1,000, in the first year, at a like charge and provisions, etc., at a fixed price, with interest as above.

I am, etc.,

Bayless W. Hanna.