S&SWM PR papers L255 & L277


Santa Catalina | Canada de Gomez | Rosario* | South America | October 19th **

Dear Papa

I have now been a month in this country so I can tell pretty well if I shall like it.

The camps are very big some 12 leagues up & others five & four. This is a very small one, only a league & a half so of course there is not as much work in job yet as the big places, but we get plenty to do what with parting cattle for vetting five to the old camp grass carpentry work, blacksmiths, pruning peach trees etc. We get up at sunrise & have coffee & breakfast at 12 o clock, dinner at seven & bed at nine.

Marryat says it wld [would] be better if I intended to stay in the country to buy a comp up north in the grasslands, at once, as land is going up in value every year it wld be of no good buying less than three leagues up as I shld be like Marryat in with a league [2 word illegible] & not able to getting more & the land round here has risen tremendously in value since the proposed railway. it will cut this camp at the corner. Marryat will have a station on his land. he will then be able to get his maize & other stuff to Rosario in a very short time, at present he has to cart them with oxen forty five miles it takes about a week for them to get there & back. Everybody wishes to buy camps, nobody will sell round here, except for very large prices The camps here will eventually have fine stock & the northern camps will have the halfbred cattle.

Land in the grasslands is selling at about 2000£ a sq. league, if a railway is made through it, it will probably go up to 4000£ a sq. league.

Men have made money just buying the land & having managers they given them 100£ a year, the owner visits his camp once a year. Of course that is a wretched way of doing it. I of course wld have to work the land myself. its very beautiful scenery in the Chaco well watered & wooded unlike here, which can't boast of a [word illegible] tree except clos & the horses where they have been plentiful [word illegible] its not quite so flat as round Winnipeg, but its quite as dreary.

I am learning the language as quick as I can. I read a little when I get time I ought to know it in a year. Without a perfect knowledge of the language nothing can be done I cant visit the Chaco or go anywhere alone. Did Mama tell you the best way of letting me have my allowance viz. through the River English River Plate Bank in London, who has a branch in Rosario. Marryat has his money sent by the same bank. I have bought a couple of good horses & want to busy some more & get up a troup or heard I can easily sell them if I want to clear out.

I can get you native carpets and saddles very peculiar things, these saddles they wld be a great acquisition to the Rushmore Museum & cost about 20 dollars. There are several cloths belonging to the saddles

yrs affect'nate son
Douglas Fox Pitt



at F Marryat G | Santa Catalina | Canada de Gomez | Rosario* | South America | Dec. 27th /86

Dear Papa

Mr Marryat has just told me yr. future intentions with regard to my settling in this country. He seems rather anxious that information of that kind shd come [words illegible] from a comparative stranger, but I suppose you did tell him yr, intentions respecting me. Well to come to the point. He told me you cld only advance me 1000£ after two years tuition here. In the first place I'm afraid I cld do very little in the way of buying land with that amount, land up in the Gran Chaco is selling at 1500£ a sq league, that is land where there is a probability of a railway being made. Of course I cld get land in the Chaco for a good deal less, but it wld be in some out of the way place where there is no chance of a railway coming for at least 50 years, then you must bear in mind that the land you buy in the Chaco, is in its rough prairie state with no fending of any kind. Now fencing in a camp of [word illegible]] one square league wld come to a lot of money - as it costs about 3/6 per 6 or 7 yds. that wld make [insert] the fencing [end insert] a camp of one sq league come to about 500£. That alone raises the capital requirement to about 2000£. Then there is the stocking which of course wld be done by degrees. Cattle cost about fr 8 to 12 dollars or 24 st 1.16

Then there are machines, as ploughs, mowers, rakes, etc I shld have to plough for lucerne to fatten cattle on in the winter or for sale although one cld sell cows in [words illegible] to butchers to fatten, but one wld naturally get a better price for fat cattle. therefore it is an advantage to have some lucerne. Mowers wld be required for cutting the hay, as it is necessary to have some hay in the winter. I shd also require bullock carts and harness for carting goods to market. Building again is very expensive in this country. The bricks are made from mud in the old fashioned style viz, treading it with horses, the difficulty expense lies in finding brickmakers & masons in out of the way parts like the Gran Chaco. Then there are wells to be made etc if I had a camp in the Chaco I shd have natural water but round here everybody has to make wells, which is to price various according to depth to water & width required. so I calculate that it wld cost to start a camp more or less 3500£ well the point of all this is, can you advance me that amount of money because if you can't it wld be useless to try & start a camp on my own [word illegible] [insert] with less [end insert] I have this on Marryats & several other mens authority, when I have consulted.

As for staying two years, it wld be [word illegible] waste of time, as I said in my other letter to you the only think [sic] I must learn to be able to start a camp at once is the language. no for the plain working of a camp, any fool can pick it up in a couple of months therefore the only thing that prevents me being fit to have a camp of my own is the language what I no doubt shall pick up in a year though its not a language but jumps down ones throat & it will require hard application on my part to pick it up in a year. another reason for not staying here longer than I can help is I dont care for the place. I don't mind Marryat but I can't stand his wife who says the camp wld be unbearable if there was no quarrelling I assure you [word illegible] she makes it very bearable as far as Tindall & I are concerned so much for that Tindall contemplates going home, he also can't stand the climate & I must say it is a very unpleasant one. The heat sometimes is quite tropical

yrs affect son
Douglas Fox Pitt

* Rosario is in Argentina

** ?Michael Thompson has pencilled in to top of letter that this must be 1886, presumably because the second letter is obviously a reply to a reply

It is curious that Pitt-Rivers 'wasted' the opportunity ot acquire Argentinian objects whilst his son was there, but there is only one object that might have come from him, and none that are formally attributed.

Transcribed by AP May 2011 as part of the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project.

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