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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the fiftieth Congress, 1888-'90

Chili [Chile],   pp. 172-198 PDF (10.6 MB)

Page 193

at Corral, besides one hundred and fifty head of Argentine cattle, which
had been fattened at Valdivia.
  In the silver and copper mines in the vicinity of Santiago, which I
have visited, the miner receives from $1 to $1.25 a day, but generally
earns more on piece-work; besides this he receives daily a ration of
beans or a pound of good bread, and all he can eat at mid-day of a stew
composed of cracked wheat, sun-dried beef (called charque), onions,
potatoes, and beans, and a pound of fresh beef or mutton three times a
week, and his lodging.
  Coal-miners earn from $1 to $1.50 a day, and "1putters" (those
bring the coal from the mines to the surface) from 80 cents to $1, house
free, and get one-third ton of coal each month, for which 50 cents is
ded acted from their pay.
  In Santiago a laborer receives 80 cents to 61 a day, and a brick-layer
and carpenter $2. Rents for working people are very low, as the build-
ings in which they live are of adobe, cheap and poor.
  Near Santiago a laborer on a hacienda receives 40 cents a day when
employed, a ration or pound of bread and beans, house rent free, and
an acre of ground for vegetables, but far from the cities he receives 10
cents less a day, but receives grass for two cows or two horses, as he
may prefer. When the "1 patron" has work they must give him the
preference. Farm labor is becoming-scarce in Chili and the pay is sure
to advance.
  The working people are hardy, nervous, and energetic. They are
  patient, tractable, and respectful, but not servile, and become attached
to their haciendas and patrons. As a rule they do not live long, and a
large percentage of their children die young.
   As to land, it is generally held in large tracts, except in the foreign
settlements of the South. A thousand acres is considered a small farm,
and 3,000 or 4,000 is an average, while many haciendas contain 10,000
or 12,000. .The church haciendas are, or were, very large, but fear for
the future security of possession has caused many of these to be divided
up and sold.
   All the principal families of Chili own, through inheritance or pur-
 chase, large haciendas, on which they reside about three months in the
 year, and from which they receive large incomes.
   Farming in Chili is the most certain and profitable business in it
 whiere irrigation is obtainable. The melting snows bring down from the
 Cordilleras a rich sediment, which manures the ground, constantly
 adding to its soil, and irrigates the growing crops.
   The grasses are natural, varied, and nutritious; also a white and yel-
low clover, alfalfa, sown on coarse, gravelly lands or in beds of dried-up
water-courses, is inexhaustible, and gives three heavy green crops a
year. Wild oats grow everywhere in Chili, and after a wet or snowy
winter on the Cordilleras the sides of these mountains are-covered.with
luxuriant crops of it, growing 8 or 10 feet high. I have a bundle of it
in my house brought from a place near 4,000 feet above the level of the
sea; it is 8 feet high; the grain, however, is very small.
   Wheat and barley are the two staple crops. Barley sells here from $3
to $4 the "fanega" of 155 pounds; wheat from $3.75 to $4 a "fanega"
of 160 pounds. Oxen are universally used for draught and bring, in fair
condition, from $50-to $60 each; when fattened for the butcher they
sell according to weight and condition. Large numbers of oxen are
brought from the Argentine when the snows melt in the summer, and
fattened here. Butchers' meat is not retailed by the pound as with us,
nor is it cutup in the same wayf; it is sold by the piece.
       II. Ex. 1, pt 1-13

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