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Santo Domingo by Otto Schoenrich

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chairs to church. Women are much more in evidence than men, and the
Dominican woman is not different from her sisters in other countries,
for a new hat or dress is apt to awaken in her an irresistible
yearning to go to church. Young men are fond of attending, too, but it
is to be feared that in many cases their object is to see the young
ladies rather than to hear the sermon.

The custom of celebrating the saint's day instead of the birthday is
followed, so that birthdays pass unperceived while the day dedicated
in the calendar of the Catholic Church to the saint whose name a
person bears, is the day which he celebrates and on which he receives
the felicitations of his friends.

Christmas tide is not a time when presents are exchanged, and
Christmas trees are not found, save rarely and where the foreign
influence is strong. There is no lack of celebration, however. On
Christmas Eve the churches are crowded and there are banquets and
dances going on everywhere. In the cities the small boys amuse
themselves by setting off fireworks. During the Christmas week dances
are frequent, and in the country they continue sometimes for days to
the lugubrious accompaniment of accordions and large drums. December
the twenty-eighth, Holy Innocents' day, is All Fools' day, instead of
April the first, it being argued that just as the innocents of Herod's
day were made to suffer, so the innocents of this age should be
persecuted. Many are the pranks perpetrated and the small boy is in
his glory. On New Year's Eve many families receive their friends;
there is generally some large ball, and the new year is ushered in
with fireworks and other noises.

The great day of the year for the children is the sixth of January,
the feast of Epiphany, or Three Kings' Day, as it is called in Santo
Domingo. Just as the three wise men from the East brought presents to
the infant Christ in ages past, so they now make the rounds and leave
presents for deserving children, thus taking the place of our Santa
Claus. The receptacles they choose for the good things they deliver
are either the children's slippers or shoes, or boxes made ready by
the little ones. For weeks before the anxiously awaited day, letters
are written to the Kings, explaining what gifts would be acceptable,
and are given to the parents who undertake to deliver them. The
children are careful to facilitate the display of the Kings'
generosity by placing their shoes or boxes in conspicuous places and
filling the boxes with grass, so that the horses of the Kings can eat.
Their thoughtfulness is rewarded, for on the following morning the
visit of the Kings is attested by indubitable evidence, as there is an
abundance of toys and sweets and the grass is often quite strewn
about. Excited little ones are sure they heard the pawing of the
horses on the balcony. The Kings usually show a magnanimous disregard
of past offenses, but occasionally they leave a letter of advice or
warning, and they have even been known to place a switch in the box of
a particularly bad boy.

Easter is celebrated with great solemnity. In order to provide
opportunity for observing all the ceremonies prescribed by the church,
they are so arranged that the ceremonies corresponding to the
commemoration of the death of Christ are begun on Thursday at noon and
the celebration of the resurrection on Saturday at noon, and this is
the order of dates accepted by the people in general. On Thursday and
Friday soldiers form a guard of honor before the churches, and up to
Easter of 1906 there was a strict prohibition of any vehicle going
through the streets between Thursday noon and Saturday noon. Not a
wheel was permitted to turn in this period, giving rise to much
inconvenience and discomfort. Since 1906 a more liberal view has
prevailed. At this time as on certain other church festivals, solemn
religious processions wind through the streets.

The church has charge of several small hospitals and orphan asylums. A
few schools in the Republic are also under its auspices, but in
general religious education is much neglected.

Although the Catholic religion is the state religion and is professed
by so large a majority of the population, the influence of the church
in the government is no more than in many countries where no such
circumstances prevail. Discipline in the priesthood is limited almost
entirely to ecclesiastical matters and priests otherwise speak and act
for themselves. They frequently participate in politics and are often
to be met in municipal councils and in Congress, and in such cases
their acts indicate that they sit, not as priests representing the
church, but entirely as individuals representing the constituency from
which they were elected. Father Meriño, who later became archbishop,
was elected president and served out his term. President Morales had
been a priest, but had abandoned the priesthood when he was elected to
Congress. The present head of the church, Archbishop Nouel, has also
been president, under a temporary compromise.

Another peculiarity of Dominican Catholicism is its tolerant attitude
towards freemasonry. It is not unusual for persons who are recognized
as fervent Catholics to be at the same time enthusiastic masons.
There are instances even of devout families, where one of the sons
belongs to the priesthood and the other sons and the father are
zealous masons, but where all live under the same roof in absolute
concord. The first lodges were founded in 1858 and there are lodges to
be found to-day in all the principal cities. Several of them have
their own buildings, that at Santiago being especially worthy of
remark. They have done excellent work in behalf of charity and
education. The lodges of Santo Domingo City, Santiago, La Vega and
Moca maintain free public schools, and the lodge of Puerto Plata a
hospital. The lodges of oddfellows in the Republic have done similar
good work.

The absence of religious fanaticism is further exemplified by the
tolerance accorded other religious sects. These, it is true, are but
slimly represented. Of the Jewish faith there are probably not two
dozen persons in the Republic. The Protestants are almost entirely
negroes from the British and former Danish islands and other
foreigners, and descendants of the American negroes settled in Santo
Domingo. For these the Wesleyan Methodist Church of England maintains
a flourishing mission with chapels in Puerto Plata, Samana, and
Sanchez and a small branch in Santo Domingo City. The principal chapel
is in Puerto Plata, which is also the residence of the minister in
charge of the mission. The African Methodist Church also has small
stations at Samana and San Pedro de Macoris, though the word "African"
does not tend to make the church popular in Santo Domingo. There is
further an almost abandoned Baptist mission in Puerto Plata and Monte
Cristi. In all these churches, services are generally carried on in
the English language alone. In San Francisco de Macoris, Protestant
services are conducted in Spanish by devotees who do not seem to be
ordained by any particular sect.

CHAPTER XIII

EDUCATION AND LITERATURE

Education in Spanish times.--Work of Hostos.--School
organization.--Professional institute.--Primary and secondary
education.--Literacy.--Libraries.--Newspapers.--Literature.--Fine Arts.

As in other Spanish colonies, it was not the policy of the Spanish
government in Santo Domingo to foster popular education. Learning was
confined to the clergy and the aristocracy and was imparted only by
servants of the church. As early as 1538, the Dominican friars
obtained a papal bull for the establishment of a university, and in
1558 the institution known as the University of St. Thomas of Aquino
was inaugurated by them in Santo Domingo City, with faculties of
medicine, philosophy, theology and law, the principal branch being
theology. This university acquired considerable celebrity, but
practically disappeared during the colony's decline, being revived by
royal decree of May 26, 1747, which gave it the title of Royal and
Pontifical University of Santo Domingo. The cession of the island to
France and the wars which followed weakened the famous institution,
which was definitely closed by the Haitians when they assumed control
of the government. The Haitian occupation and the civil disorders of
the first forty years of the Republic were not propitious for the
spreading of education. Beyond a theological seminary founded in 1848,
there were only a few humble public and private schools, leading a
precarious existence. An eminent Porto Rican educator, Eugenio M. de
Hostos, was responsible for the intellectual renaissance of Santo
Domingo. This remarkable man was one of those talented dreamers
produced by Latin-America, a lover of the abstract ideal in
government, philosophy and pedagogy, erudite, eloquent, with an
enthusiasm which fired his pupils and hearers. Early in life he
conceived the idea which he preached unceasingly: that of a
Confederated West Indian Republic, in which the principal states were
to be Cuba, Santo Domingo and Porto Rico. Inspired by the Cuban war of
independence of 1868 to 1878, he wrote and spoke throughout Spanish
America in behalf of the union of the Spanish speaking peoples of the
West Indies, the first step to that end to be the independence of
Cuba. In 1880 he arrived for the third time in Santo Domingo, where he
was then less known than in South America. Having obtained from the
government a commission to found normal schools in the Republic, he
was appointed director of the normal school of Santo Domingo City. He
came as the right man at the right time. His teachings touched a
responsive chord in the hearts of the Dominicans; his unsparing
condemnation of old pedagogical methods and eager advocacy of new ones
gave rise to discussions which awakened a general interest in
education and letters; and his aggressive enthusiasm smote the rock
which held Dominican literature bound. A prominent Dominican
historian, Americo Lugo, says: "I believe that what may be called
national literature does not begin until after the arrival in the
Republic of the eminent educator Eugenio M. de Hostos."

Hostos labored in Santo Domingo for eight years, during which time he
had as pupils many who have since become prominent in the councils of
the Republic. The baneful policies of Heureaux forced his departure,
and he settled in Chile with his family, being appointed professor of
constitutional law at the National University. Upon the conclusion of
the Spanish-American war, when it became apparent that Porto Rico
would be American and his ideal of an Antillan Confederation
definitely shattered, he journeyed to Washington to labor in behalf of
Porto Rico, returning later to his native island in the hope of
uniting the Porto Ricans in a demand for autonomy. There political
passion ran high, and Hostos, disappointed, went back to Santo
Domingo, where his entry was almost triumphal. He again assumed charge
of public education though the civil disorders filled him with
sadness. In 1903 he died in Santo Domingo, but the seed he sowed lives
and flourishes and his memory is revered by Dominicans.

In 1884 a general school law was passed, repeatedly modified since,
according to which primary instruction is a charge upon the
municipality, while the cost of secondary instruction is to be
defrayed by the state. Supreme inspection over educational matters was
given to the Minister of Justice and Public Instruction, who was
assisted by a superior board of education with school inspectors in
the various provinces. There were further special boards of education
in each province, presided over by the governor, and school boards in
the communes which are not capitals of provinces and in the cantons.
Owing to the difficulty of finding competent personnel, the inspection
of the educational institutions has generally been perfunctory and the
teachers have done pretty much as they pleased. Unfortunately the
financial limitations of the country have not permitted the
development of the schools in the measure desired. Since the middle of
1917 numerous changes in the school system and curriculum have been
decreed by the Department of Public Instruction and the system is
undergoing a general reorganization.

In 1882 a "Professional Institute" was founded, the name of which was
in 1914 changed to "University of Santo Domingo," and it is now called
the Central University of Santo Domingo. It occupies the same building
in the capital, adjoining the church of St. Dominic, where the old
university was located. It confers degrees in five branches: law,
medicine, pharmacy, dental surgery and mathematics and surveying.
Practically all the lawyers of the Republic have graduated from this
school. Most of the native pharmacists, also, have studied here. With
reference to instruction in medicine and surgery, and in dentistry,
the institution is handicapped by the lack of a suitable hospital and
clinic. As a result those who wish to adopt any of these professions
pursue their studies abroad, if possible, and all the best known
physicians are graduates of foreign universities. The entire annual
appropriation for the University is only about $24,000. A similar
institution, on a smaller scale, is the Professional Institute of
Santiago, founded in 1916. In several cities there are high schools
called normal schools, and other institutions called superior schools,
and the capital has an academy of drawing, painting and sculpture.

With the exception of a few private schools, primary education is in
the hands of the municipalities, which are assisted by small
subventions from the national government. In the municipalities there
is more enthusiasm for education than in Congress, if we judge from
the figures presented by the budgets. Every little town takes pride in
making its budget for education as large as possible, year after year.
The total amount spent for educational purposes, however, including
salaries, rent, supplies, subventions and teachers' pensions, is only
in the neighborhood of $500,000, contributed about in equal shares by
the state and the municipalities.

The total number of scholars enrolled is only about 20,000. The
schools are generally located in rented houses, there being no
buildings erected expressly for school purposes. Their equipment is as
a rule deficient. The teaching force is handicapped by lack of
facilities and training. The salaries of the elementary teachers are
very small, and while some municipalities are prompt in their
payments, others lag far behind, and the Spanish saying "as hungry as
a schoolmaster" has not lost all its meaning.

If the amounts expended for education are not large, it is due to lack
of money and not to lack of realization of the advantages of learning.
The interest manifested in education and the eagerness of parents to
furnish their children as much schooling as possible, are among the
most hopeful signs for the future. In the towns and villages where the
schools are located, most children learn at least to read and write,
but out in the country illiteracy and ignorance reign supreme. In the
absence of statistics it is not possible to determine the proportion
of illiterates; there is no doubt, however, that it is very large, and
I have heard it estimated at all the way from seventy to ninety per
cent of the population over ten years of age.

Some of the best schools are private institutions, one of the best
known being the institute for girls and young ladies, founded by Santo
Domingo's foremost woman poet, Salomé Ureña de Henriquez. It is the
custom also for well-to-do families to send their children abroad for
study and to travel themselves, and the Dominicans are not few who,
besides their native Spanish, speak other languages, acquired abroad.
Within the country, too, there is a predilection among the upper class
for the study of foreign tongues, and many learn English and French in
the family circle or by association with persons speaking these
languages.

As a result of the educational limitations, the population of the
country may be divided into three groups: first, a number of persons,
small in comparison with the whole number of inhabitants, who compare
in culture, education and accomplishments with members of the best
society in any country; second, a much larger group of persons who
possess knowledge more or less rudimentary; and third, the great
majority of the inhabitants, who are unlettered and unlearned.

One obstacle to the spread of information is the lack of public
libraries. There is a public library in Puerto Plata, and various
clubs in the larger towns have libraries, for their members or the
public, but they are all very small and limited. The newspapers,
therefore, furnish the only source of reading for the majority.
Practically all the papers are published in the cities of Santo
Domingo, Santiago and Puerto Plata, and all are of modest dimensions.
Many newspapers have been founded in the Republic and after leading an
ephemeral existence have succumbed, some because their editors were
persuaded by threats or rewards on the part of the government to cease
publication, and the greater portion because of financial
embarrassment. Notwithstanding the constitutional precept guaranteeing
free speech, editors of the opposition have generally found it more
healthy to withdraw to the neighboring countries and conduct their
campaigns at long range. On the other hand, it must be said that
several governments have honestly endeavored to allow the press full
liberty, but that the privilege has always been abused. The principal
daily newspaper of the Republic, and the one having the largest
circulation is the "Listin Diario" of Santo Domingo. It is a four-page
sheet and its daily edition is about 10,000 copies. It is the only
paper having a cable service, and it receives its cablegrams from the
French cable company, whose line crosses the island. It is also one of
the oldest of the existing newspapers, having been founded in 1889,
and maintained itself by constantly observing a prudent attitude. In
the capital there also appear the "Gaceta Oficial," in which the laws
and governmental decisions and announcements are published; the
"Boletín Municipal," containing municipal announcements; several
reviews whose character is indicated by their title: "Revista Médica,"
"Revista de Agricultura," "Revista Judicial," "Boletín Masónico"; two
small humorous papers; two commercial sheets; an illustrated paper,
"Blanco y Negro," and a well-known literary monthly, "Cuna de América"
(Cradle of America). Santiago also boasts a daily paper, "El Diario,"
as also several smaller papers and literary periodicals. In Puerto
Plata "El Porvenir," the oldest of existing Dominican newspapers, is
published, as well as three less important sheets.

Especially interesting among these publications are the "Cuna de
América" and others devoted to belles-lettres. They constitute a
reflection of current Dominican literature, being given over to poems,
lyric compositions, biographic, historical, philosophic and other
articles, and extracts from new plays and books. In these periodicals
most of the poems which have brought fame to Santo Domingo
have appeared.

Before the intellectual awakening incident to the labors of Hostos the
number of Dominican writers was small. Little was done in colonial
times. In the turbulent period following the cessation of Spanish
sovereignty at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the situation
of the country was not favorable for the cultivation of the muses, but
scions of the families who then emigrated have made their names
immortal in the literature of Cuba and other neighboring countries.
Juan Pablo Duarte, the liberator, Antonio Delmonte y Tejada, the
historian, and a small group of others who flourished shortly before
or at the time of the establishment of the Republic, may be said to
initiate the literature of the country, but their fame is mostly
local. The first generation of Dominican citizens furnished a somewhat
larger proportion of literary men, among whom may be mentioned the
venerable Emiliano Tejera, the late Archbishop Fernando A. de Meriño,
Francisco X. Amiama, Francisco Gregorio Billini, Mariano A. Cestero,
the historian Jose G. Garcia and the novelist Manuel de J. Galvan,
though it is significant that the best productions of some of these
appeared after 1880. It is since that year that literature has really
flourished. So fecund have Dominican writers been, and so excellent
their productions, that Santo Domingo occupies a proud place in the
beautiful field of Latin-American literature, where only a few years
ago it was practically unknown. There is an abundance of poets,
essayists, historians and novelists worthy of mention, and an attempt
to single out a few might lead to unjust distinctions. A number of the
best writers are women, and all prominent newspaper men are also
distinguished in literature.

In poetry, especially lyric poetry, the Dominican writers excel. They
show great depth of feeling and a full command of the sonorous
Castilian tongue. A favorite theme is, of course, the old story which
is ever new. The civil wars have inspired many pathetic compositions,
and poems like Salomé Ureña's apostrophe to the ruins of colonial
times, Bienvenido S. Nouel's elegy on the ruins left by the late
revolutions, and Enrique Henriquez' "Miserere!", gems of verse, are
veritable cries of anguish at the desolation wrought by fratricidal
strife. Perhaps it is the poets' sorrow at the misfortunes of their
country which is the cause of the note of sadness so often to be
remarked in Dominican writings. Some writers are classed as poets
though they have versified little or not at all; of these Tulio M.
Cestero, one of the most popular of the younger writers, is an
example, it being said of him that "he writes his poetry in prose."

The love of poetry is by no means confined to persons of higher
education, but is general throughout the country. It has been said
that if there were one engineer in Santo Domingo for every hundred
poets, there would be fewer mudholes in the roads. The productions of
some poetasters are characterized by an abundance of rare adjectives,
which are introduced as well to give an impression of depth of thought
as to advertise the author's erudition. However, there are so many
good poets that forgiveness is readily extended to the others.

The national song of Santo Domingo, an ode to liberty, was written by
a school teacher, Emilio Prud'homme. The music was composed by José
Reyes, who died several years ago, and is agreeable and almost
majestic. Reyes occupies probably the most prominent place among
Dominican composers. Others have also obtained prominence, and their
number is constantly increasing; among them special mention may be
made of José de J. Ravelo, one of the younger men whose work has
attracted attention and gives promise of even better things.

In painting and sculpture several Dominicans have attained prominence
of late fears. The principal artists are Arturo Grullon, a prominent
oculist; Luis Desangles; and Miss Adriana Billini, whose paintings
have received prizes in Paris, Porto Rico and Havana respectively.
Desangles painted the picture "Caonabo," which hangs in the session
hall of the City Council of Puerto Plata and shows the Indian chief in
chains. The sculptors are few, and their fame so far is only local,
The foremost is Abelardo Rodriguez U., a photographer of the capital,
who is something of an artistic genius. His photographs can compete in
artistic merit with the best produced anywhere, and he is also a
painter of no small merit. His best known sculpture is the figure of a
dying guerilla soldier, significantly entitled, "Uno de tantos"--"One
of so many."

Powerful assistance has been given to education and artistic
development by various clubs and literary associations, especially
women's clubs, throughout the country. Though at times eclipsed by
revolutionary turmoil, their work has continued undaunted and has had
gratifying results. The educational plane attained by Santo Domingo in
spite of all obstacles, and the general recognition of the supreme
importance of public instruction, justify confident predictions of
advance in the future.

CHAPTER XIV

MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATION

Railroads.--Samana-Santiago Railroad.--Central Dominican
Railway.--Roads.--Mode of Traveling.--Inns.--Principal highways.
--Steamer lines.--Postal facilities.--Telegraph and telephone lines.

A potent cause of the undeveloped state of Santo Domingo's agriculture
has been the absence of transportation facilities, which has likewise
been a cause and an effect of the internal disturbances. There are but
two public railroads in the Republic, both in the Cibao region, with
an aggregate length of 144 miles. The highways are generally little
more than trails, difficult and dangerous even in dry weather, and
almost impassable in the rainy season. It is therefore not surprising
that the northern and southern sections of the Republic should have
developed almost as different countries and that large areas in the
interior should be practically uninhabited.

The importance and possibilities of railroad lines have been
recognized and numerous concessions for railroad construction have
been sought and granted; but the concessionnaires have, as a rule,
either been impecunious, entering the field only with speculative
intentions, or have been frightened off by the internal disturbances,
and in either case the concession has been permitted to lapse.

The oldest of the two railroads now in operation is the road known as
the Samana-Santiago Railroad--something of a misnomer, as the road
neither reaches Samana, on the one side, nor Santiago on the other,
but extends from Sanchez, at the head of Samana Bay, to La Vega, a
distance of 62 miles in the interior, with a branch to San Francisco
de Macoris, 7 miles, and another branch to Salcedo, 11 miles, and
Moca, 7 miles, or a total length of 87 miles. Prior to its
construction, the products of the eastern portion of the Royal Plain
had been floated on lighters or light draft boats down the Yuna River
and across Samana Bay to Samana, where they were transshipped to
ocean-going vessels. The value of a railroad in this region early
became apparent, and a concession granted in 1881 was acquired by
Alexander Baird, a wealthy Scotchman, who constructed the road. Under
the concession the Dominican government granted the right to build and
operate a railroad from Samana to Santiago, to construct wharves on
Samana Bay and collect wharf dues, and to enjoy certain tax exemptions
and other privileges.

The Gran Estero, the large swamp just west of Sanchez, proved much
more difficult to cross than the engineers had calculated. It
swallowed up tons of rock and thousands of pounds sterling. Further
disappointment arose when public lands promised by the government
failed to materialize. The enthusiasm of the promoters cooled and the
construction work on the railroad ceased when La Vega was reached. To
the east of Sanchez the road was continued along the Samana peninsula
to Point Santa Capuza, but this position was abandoned and the
terminus was established at Sanchez. The road from Sanchez to La Vega
was opened to traffic in 1886.

The important city of San Francisco de Macoris lay seven miles to the
north of the line of the Samana-Santiago railroad and in 1892 a
concession was granted to a prominent Dominican for the building of a
connecting road. It was constructed with Dominican capital from La
Gina to San Francisco de Macoris, and is leased to the Samana-Santiago
Road and operated as a branch of this road.

In 1907 the Samana-Santiago Railroad waived its right to the
percentage of import duties collected at Sanchez, in consideration of
a payment made by the government, and agreed to construct a branch
line to Salcedo and later continue it to Moca. A line from Las
Cabullas, on the main road, to Salcedo was promptly built and opened
to traffic, but the Moca extension was delayed by civil disturbances
and not completed until 1917.

The gauge of the Samana-Santiago road is 1.10 meters, about three feet
six inches. It rises very gradually from sea-level at Sanchez to the
altitude of La Vega and Moca, about 400 feet. The engineering problems
attending its construction and preservation have been those connected
with the crossing of the Gran Estero swamp, and the bridging of
numerous small tributaries of the Yuna River, which from modest
brooklets in the dry season swell to turbulent torrents in rainy
weather. The bridge across the Camu River near La Vega has been washed
away repeatedly and further trouble has been caused by the river
changing its course.

The journey from Sanchez to La Vega, including the side trip to San
Francisco de Macoris, consumes five and a half hours. After leaving
Sanchez the end of the Samana range is soon reached and for miles the
train travels across a mangrove swamp, where the bushy vegetation is
exceedingly dense and the roadbed is covered with grass. Forests
follow, the trees of which are encumbered with great hanging vines. As
soon as a higher level is reached, clearings become frequent. At the
stations along the route the entire population of the small towns
seems to turn out to await the train's arrival. At two larger places,
Villa Rivas and Pimentel, the train makes lengthier stops. The houses
all along are similar, one story wooden buildings, generally
whitewashed and roofed with tiles, corrugated zinc or palm thatch. La
Gina is the beginning of the branch line which extends through
monotonous woodland to San Francisco de Macoris. On the main line,
after passing La Gina, there are numerous cacao plantations, and near
La Vega the muddy Cotui road emerges from the woods and follows the
railroad. About eight miles from La Vega is the station of Las
Cabullas, the starting point of the branch to Salcedo and Moca.

Affording, as it does, the outlet for the products of the eastern
portion of the Cibao, the Samana-Santiago railroad transports the
greater part of the cacao exported from the country. It has been the
most important factor in the development of the Royal Plain, but owing
to the country's internal troubles was run at a loss for years. It is
well managed and of late years has made handsome profits.

The name of the other Dominican railroad is also misleading, it being
called the Central Dominican Railway, though only extending from
Puerto Plata, on the north coast, to Santiago de los Caballeros, a
distance of 41 miles, with an extension to Moca, 16 miles, a total of
57 miles. Its name is due to the fact, that it was considered the
first section of a road which was ultimately to connect Puerto Plata
and Santo Domingo City. The need for such a road had been and is still
urgently felt, and the construction of no portion was more imperative
than that between Santiago and the coast. The mountain roads in this
section were indescribably bad; a trip from Santiago to Puerto Plata
meant at least two days of dangerous riding; and all merchandise to
and from Santiago had to be transported on mule-back. President
Heureaux therefore considered himself fortunate when the Dominican
government was able, in 1890, in connection with a bond issue, to make
contracts with the banking firm of Westendorp & Co., of Amsterdam, for
the construction of the section of the railroad from Puerto Plata to
Santiago. Belgian money was furnished and Belgian engineers made the
plans. The road was given a gauge of only two feet six inches, and the
short-sightedness is inconceivable which permitted the adoption on
this road of a gauge different from that of the Samana-Santiago
Railroad, when the two were expected to join in Santiago. Ultimately
the gauge of the Central Dominican Railway will have to be widened,
but the change will cost a considerable sum and require a complete
renovation of the rolling stock. In view of the steepness of the
slopes to be surmounted, the plans contemplated the construction, on
several portions of the road, of a rack-line or cremaillère, a third
track provided with cogs, between the other two, and the use of
special mountain-climbing locomotives having a cogwheel by means of
which the ascent was to be accomplished and the descent regulated. The
Belgian engineers built the road from Puerto Plata as far as
Bajabonico, a distance of about eleven miles.

At this stage the financial difficulties of the Dominican government
induced the Belgians to sell their rights to American interests, which
formed the San Domingo Improvement Company to take them over. American
engineers accordingly finished the road to Santiago. The rack-rail
feature being undesirable, plans were made for the construction of the
road as an adhesion road. No further rack-rail was built and one of
the portions constructed was converted, but two short stretches of
rack-rail remained near Puerto Plata, one of one mile and another of
three miles. The Central Dominican Railway Company was incorporated
for the operation of the road.

During the controversy later carried on between the Dominican
government and the San Domingo Improvement Company the Company
contended that the road had cost in the neighborhood of $3,000,000, or
about $600,000 in excess of the sums realized by the sale of the bonds
assigned by the government to defray the cost of construction. The
dispute found its settlement in the protocol of January 31, 1903, by
which the Dominican government agreed to purchase all the holdings of
the Improvement Company. In the negotiations of which this convention
was an incident, the value of the railroad was generally estimated at
$1,500,000. Upon the delivery by the Dominican government of the cash
and bonds agreed upon by the settlement of 1907 as the price of the
Improvement Company's interests, the Company, in February, 1908,
turned over the railroad to the government. It has since been operated
by the Dominican government with satisfactory results, though it has
suffered serious injury from revolutions. The insurgents destroyed
bridges and the rack-rail; the latter has not been replaced, and the
four and ten per cent grades are now laboriously overcome by means of
Shay geared engines. Surveys show that the troublesome grades can be
avoided by the construction of curves which will increase the length
of the road by not more than three or four miles.

Owing to the mountainous character of the country traversed, the
scenery on this road is splendid. The speed attained by the trains
would not alarm a nervous wreck, for though the length of the road is
about 41 miles, the ascent from Puerto Plata to Santiago takes almost
six hours and the return trip from Santiago five, in which the slow
engines, the steep grades, the former rack-road section and the
numerous long stops have equal shares of responsibility. The roadbed
is very rough and the passengers are considerably shaken up, but the
memory of what used to be helps to mitigate the discomfort. On one of
my trips over the road, when a fellow-passenger made a remark about
the severe jolting that almost shook us off our seats, an elderly
Dominican gentleman observed: "My friend, you evidently never took a
trip from Santiago to Puerto Plata before the railroad was built.
Compared with travel then, this mode of conveyance is like being
carried in angels' arms." As on the Samana-Santiago Road, the regular
trains are mixed trains, that is, a freight and passenger together,
usually looking like a freight train with a small passenger car
attached. Except in unusually dull periods there is one daily train
each way. The city of Santiago is about 600 feet above the level of
the sea; from here the course is over a rich plain among tobacco farms
and meadows full of cattle, for a distance of about twelve miles,
until the foothills are reached and the ascent of the coast range is
begun. Higher and higher along the mountainside, through country
wilder and wilder, the train winds its way to the highest point of the
road, 1580 feet above sea-level and 20 miles from Santiago, where a
short tunnel pierces the mountain. The mountain pass at this point is
1720 feet above sea-level and is the lowest one in twenty miles. At
the station on the other side of the mountain a fifteen minute stop is
made for lunch. Then begins a rapid descent along a deep valley, on
the wooded slopes of which little houses peer out between the trees.
The town of Altamira, on a knob in the middle of the valley, is
passed, and further down, near Bajabonico, a small sugar plantation.
Another ascent, on which is the old rack-road section, is now
reached; a powerful mountain engine is placed before the train and
slowly works its way up. From the top of the ridge the scene is
magnificent. Below, in the far distance, Puerto Plata is seen, a
miniature city with tiny bright-colored houses, nestling at the foot
of the great verdure-covered cone, Mt. Isabel de Torres; before it
lies its almost circular harbor with what look like toy ships riding
at anchor; the foam of the breakers on the reefs at the harbor
entrance gleams in the sunlight; and beyond, in vast immensity extends
the blue expanse of the ocean. On the final descent quicker time is
made than anywhere else on the road.

The extension of the Central Dominican Railroad from Santiago to Moca
was built and is operated by the Dominican government. In 1894 a
franchise was granted the San Domingo Improvement Company for the Moca
road, and grading was done for several miles outside of Santiago, but
the financial troubles of the Dominican government suspended the work.
When better times came, the government in 1906 began to build the road
from Santiago to Moca with current revenues, and it was opened to
traffic in 1910. At Moca this road is met by the extension of the
Samana-Santiago Railroad from Salcedo, so that it is possible to
travel by rail through the fertile Cibao from Sanchez to Puerto Plata,
though the difference in gauge requires a change of cars at Moca.

A railroad between the Cibao and Santo Domingo City has long been
contemplated. Government engineers a few years ago surveyed a route
from Santo Domingo City to La Gina, on the Samana-Santiago Railroad,
passing through Cotui. The route is 80 miles long, and the estimated
cost is about $2,325,000. Such a through railroad would open up great
tracts now isolated, afford an easy means of communication between
the north and south, and be of inestimable advantage to the Republic.
It is the most urgent and important public work under consideration in
the country.

Another road which has long been projected and which the Dominican
government in 1906 determined to have constructed with current
revenues, is one in the east, from Seibo, on the plains in the
interior, to the port of La Romana in the southern coast. This region,
excellently adapted for cacao raising and sugar planting, has been
kept secluded by bad roads. After several thousand dollars had been
spent in surveys and a little grading, the work was stopped by lack of
funds and the government decided that the expense of construction and
the undeveloped character of the country counselled an abandonment of
the project for the moment. If the railroad is finally built, it will
probably be from Seibo to San Pedro de Macoris and not to La Romana.

Even in the immediate vicinity of Santo Domingo City most roads are in
such bad condition that during the rainy season villages only a few
miles away cannot be reached except by floundering through the mud for
many hours, and even during the dry season, with all conditions
favorable, it requires two days hard riding to reach the city of Azua,
80 miles to the west. A railroad from the capital to Azua has
therefore been proposed repeatedly, and in 1901 a concession was
granted for the first section thereof, from Santo Domingo to San
Cristobal, a distance of 16 miles, with the right of extension. The
revolution of the spring of 1903 interrupted the construction of this
road, but a little work was done in 1906 under a new contract, which
has since been declared lapsed.

Private plantation railroads are to be found on several sugar
plantations near La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris, Santo Domingo City
and Azua, and on the United Fruit Company's plantation near Puerto
Plata. They aggregate about 225 miles in length and are used
exclusively for the purposes of the respective estates, except one
which carries passengers between the town of Azua and its port on
steamer days.

In several of the larger cities carriages and light automobiles can be
hired at a reasonable figure, and furnish the principal means of
communication within the city and to other places as far as the roads
will permit. Between Monte Cristi and La Vega there is a regular
automobile service, as also between Santo Domingo City and nearby
towns. In only one place is there a car line--in Monte Cristi, where a
small car runs--if that term can be applied to its motion--between the
town and the harbor, a little more than a mile away. The cars, each
drawn by a meek little mule, remind one of matchboxes on wheels; they
are open on all sides and contain simply two benches, back to back,
which will hold a maximum of three passengers each. In Santo Domingo
City there was a horse car line for almost twenty years, running out
as far as Fort San Geronimo, about three miles; but in March, 1903,
while the city was under siege during a revolution, the car barns were
destroyed by fire and with them the entire rolling stock, the car
axles being taken for barricades. In 1915 the government granted
several franchises for electric car lines, one for Santo Domingo City,
with the right to extend as far as Bani; another for Santiago, with
the right of extension to Janico; and a third for Macoris, with the
right of extension to Seibo, but no work has been done on
these projects.

On certain parts of the country roads there is communication by oxcart
during the dry season, and in the arid region such communication is
possible almost all the year round. On the Samana peninsula and in
other mountain districts, merchandise is occasionally transported in
Indian fashion, on two poles tied to a horse and trailing on the
ground behind. In general, however, recourse must be had for
transportation purposes to the faithful horse and the patient donkey.
In the northern part of the Republic the ox is often used as a beast
of burden and sometimes for riding, furnishing an odd spectacle. The
ox is guided by a string tied to a ring in his nose, but neither the
configuration of his back nor his gait are to be recommended for
comfortable rides.

Most of the roads of Santo Domingo can be called roads only by
courtesy. They are generally little more than trails of greater or
less width. The larger receipts enjoyed by the government since the
customs collections were taken over by Americans in 1905, have caused
a little improvement. Thus, a first-class macadam road has been
constructed from Santo Domingo City to San Cristobal, a distance of
sixteen miles; the old trail from Santo Domingo to San Pedro de
Macoris has become available for automobiles; and the royal road in
the Cibao from La Vega through Moca and Santiago to Monte Cristi, a
distance of about 100 miles, formerly a horror, has been converted
into a fair dirt road. The amount of work to be done appears all the
more appalling when it is considered that in the small island of
Jamaica, less than one-fourth the size of the Dominican Republic,
there are 1000 miles of fine roads. The American authorities in the
island are giving considerable attention to the improvement of the
principal highways around and between the more important cities, and
valuable work is being done. By an executive order of November 23,
1917, the military governor appropriated $650,000, to be expended on
portions of a trunk road which is ultimately to connect Santo Domingo,
La Vega, Moca, Santiago and Monte Cristi.

The majority of the roads and trails have scarcely been touched since
their course was fixed, centuries ago. Occasionally the abutting
property owners or an energetic communal chief cut away encroaching
vegetation or drained an unusually bad bog or threw dirt from the
sides of the road to the middle in order to raise it above water level
in the wet season, but such instances of civic thoughtfulness have
been only too infrequent.

During the rainy season travel becomes troublesome on all roads and
impossible on many. On the unimproved highways deep, dangerous bogs
form in every depression, containing either liquid mud where the horse
is almost forced to swim, or soft tough clay, where the horse's feet
are imprisoned and the animal in its desperate efforts to jerk itself
free indulges in contortions anything but pleasant for the rider. The
horses and cargo animals ever treading in each other's footsteps,
cause the earth to wear away in furrows across the road, which fill
with water and with mud of all colors and conditions of toughness.
With few interruptions the monotonous splash, splash, splash of
horses' feet constantly accompanies the traveler. The first ten
minutes of such a journey on slippery ground make the trip appear an
adventure, the next ten an experience, but after that the expedition
becomes exceedingly wearisome. In the dry season all moisture
disappears and the ridges between the mud trenches become hard as
brick. The efforts of travelers to avoid bad places by going around
them has caused the roads to become very wide in places--the width
varying from one to over a hundred feet. At times, in grassy or stony
stretches, the road disappears entirely, and the traveler's best guide
is the telegraph wire, where there is one. Again it passes through
thorny woods with overhanging branches which continually threaten to
unhorse the rider. Thus it winds along, through forests and plains,
over fallen logs and trees, beside precipices, down steep banks,
across rapid streams. A trip into the interior in Santo Domingo
requires a good horse, a strong constitution and a large supply
of patience.

In rainy weather the traveled roads are even worse than the
unfrequented ones, for the ground is rendered more miry, and the bogs
are more frequent. On a highroad near La Vega I arrived at a mudhole
where an old man was being rescued by a passer-by from drowning in the
liquid mud; I snapped a photograph of the scene when he was still
knee-deep. Near the city of Moca there is a slope where many a horse
has fallen and thrown its rider on the slippery loam. A friend of mine
who for safety's sake alighted from his horse to walk to the other
side of the gully, had his foot so tightly lodged in the pasty mud
that, in his straining to withdraw it, the foot slipped out of the
shoe, which remained as firmly imbedded as before. His posture and
predicament were naturally a good deal more amusing for his companions
than for himself. Yet some of these roads in dry weather are excellent
dirt roads. On a road in the Cibao I made a trip of fifteen miles in
the rainy season in five hours of hard riding and arrived with an
exhausted horse; six months later when the road was dry I made the
same journey comfortably in an hour and a half. On the first of these
occasions--it was in the course of a vacation trip for the purpose of
studying the country--I happened upon two other travelers and together
we floundered for many weary miles through black mud varying from the
consistency of soup to that of pudding. The road was indescribably
bad, and riders and horses were covered with mire and thoroughly
fatigued. That evening at the inn, through the open door between our
rooms, I heard my traveling companions discussing me. One of them
asked: "What is his object in coming here?" The other answered: "He
says he is traveling for pleasure." "Then," responded the first
solemnly, "he is either lying or he is insane."

The streams must usually be crossed either by fording or by ferry, and
not infrequently the horse must swim part of the distance across.
Outside the railroad bridges, there are scarcely half a dozen bridges
which deserve the name in the Dominican Republic. A good bridge has
recently been constructed over the Jaina River on the San Cristobal
road, and another was completed in May, 1917, across the Ozama River
at Santo Domingo City, in place of one destroyed by a freshet some
years ago. Bridges, where there are any, are generally rude logs laid
across brooks.

When journeying overland it is advisable to take advantage as much as
possible of moonlight nights. It is best to rise at two or three
o'clock in the morning, ride until about eleven o'clock, then rest for
about three hours while the sun is highest, and then continue till
evening. Riding at night, however, exposes one to the danger of making
too intimate an acquaintance with some mudhole or some low hanging
bough or telegraph wire, but these risks can be avoided by vigilance.
The hours of dawn are the coolest of the twenty-four, and more
distance can be covered with less fatigue than later in the day.

If the traveler takes the precaution to furnish himself with canned
food before starting on a journey inland, he will not regret his
foresight. Inns do not exist out in the country. In the larger cities,
indeed, there are hotels, but all are modest establishments. Perhaps
the most pretentious is the French Hotel in Santo Domingo City. In
hotels which are located in important seaports or railroad termini and
are frequented by travelers, the meals and accommodations are fair. In
other localities the food is almost inedible to an unaccustomed
palate, and the sleeping accommodations are primitive cots. Even in
important towns like Moca and Azua I found the inns kept by poor
mulatto women, widows with families, having one room for travelers,
divided from the family apartment by a thin partition, through which
all the proceedings on the other side could be followed throughout
the night.

The difficulty of land transportation explains why, with the exception
of three cities in the Cibao, all important towns are located on the
seacoast. It also makes plain why water transportation is preferred to
travel by land, and the inhabitants of the north and south await the
bi-weekly steamer rather than make the trip overland, which in the
most favorable cases will take about three days. The roads and trails
are used for travel locally or when boat connections are not
convenient or feasible, and for mail transportation. The following are
the principal highways:

1. Road from Santo Domingo to the Cibao, by way of Bonao. There are
three roads from Santo Domingo City to the Cibao, the most westerly
one being the Bonao trail, the most easterly one the Sillon de la
Viuda and the middle one the Gallinas trail. The Bonao road leaves
Santo Domingo by way of Duar Avenue and San Carlos and ascends gently
in a northwesterly direction through slightly rolling land to the
Santa Rosa plain, which it traverses. As far as Los Alcarrizos it has
been improved, but further on it is merely a dirt road without
drainage and becomes one long slough in rainy weather. On the Jobo
savanna the road divides; the eastern branch runs along a range of
hills and the western branch over to the Jaina River, where it passes
the site of the old mining town of Buenaventura, of which only a few
vestiges of walls remain. Whichever of the two branches the traveler
takes, he will be sorry he did not choose the other, for they are
equally bad. The branches meet on the plain of Las Nasas, from where
the highway continues through wooded lands and natural meadows,
crossing the Jaina River three times and the Guananitos River nine
times. The soil is a rich, soft loam, pure vegetable detritus, and the
frequent rains and the absence of drainage make this part of the road
very difficult at all seasons. After crossing a stretch of beautiful
savanna, known as Sabana del Puerto, the ascent of a range of the
central mountain system begins. The road makes many windings along the
mountain side until the heights of Laguneta are attained. The high
hill of Piedra Blanca must be crossed and a number of small streams
forded before Bonao is reached. From Bonao to La Vega the road is of
the same general character. There are many miry places, many ascents
and descents and many difficult river passes, the Yuna River, near
Bonao, being crossed by ferry. On some of the steep descents the
horses and mules accustomed to the road put their four feet together
and slide, while the unaccustomed traveler feels his hair standing on
end. The distance from Santo Domingo City to Bonao is about 65 miles;
from Bonao to La Vega some 30 miles.

This seems to have been an ancient Indian trail between Santo Domingo
and the Cibao. Bartholomew Columbus, under orders from his brother,
founded both Buenaventura and Bonao in 1496 as military posts, as
part of the chain of forts stretching across the island. The decay of
these towns when the mines were abandoned, the miry soil and the many
crossings of streams all caused travel to be diverted to the road of
the Sillon de la Viuda. The Bonao road, being the most direct route to
La Vega, has been designated by the military government for
improvement as a trunk road.

2. Road from Santo Domingo to the Cibao by way of the pass of the
Sillon de la Viuda, or Widow's Chair. While the Widow's Chair road is
about twenty miles longer than the Bonao road, it is preferable since
on the whole it lies over firmer ground. It leads due north from Santo
Domingo City and after four miles the Isabela River is crossed by
ferry near its confluence with the Ozama. A steep ascent follows and
the road runs through wooded land until the town of Mella is reached.
Small forests and wide savannas follow each other in rapid succession;
the Ozama River is forded and a stretch of swampy soil with bad bogs
is encountered. A fine piece of prairie land known as the Luisa
savanna is crossed, more natural meadows follow and the ascent of the
central mountain range begins. The road becomes so steep that the
rider can scarcely keep his seat on his horse. From the summit, the
Widow's Pass, which is almost 2000 feet above the level of the sea, a
sublime view of mountains, valleys and plains is obtained. The pass
itself is a narrow rocky defile where a score of men might hold an
army at bay. It is said that there are lower passes in the vicinity by
utilizing which the steep grade might be avoided, but the fact could
be ascertained only by a more thorough exploration than has yet been
made. On the north the road descends through heavy timber, with many
miry places. Savannas separated by small forests are then crossed and
the little town of Cevicos is reached, the halfway place between Santo
Domingo and La Vega. Eighteen miles further on, separated from Cevicos
by a hard road crossed by numerous deep gullies, sleeps the ancient
town of Cotui. The Yuna River near Cotui must be crossed in canoes.
Then follows a road thirty-five miles long to La Vega, which in the
rainy season is little more than mud and water, but leads through a
beautiful wooded country. It is better to take the road from Cotui to
La Gina, or that to Pimentel, on the Samana-Santiago Railroad and
complete the journey by rail, for though the character of these trails
is similar to the La Vega trail, they are only about fifteen
miles long.

3. Road from Santo Domingo to the Cibao by way of the Gallinas Pass.
This is also an ancient trail which formerly passed through the town
of Yamasá, but was diverted to shorten the distance to the Cibao.
Leaving Santo Domingo the same route is followed as in going to the
Widow's Pass, as far as Mella, where the road branches off to the
left. Small grassy plains and rolling wooded lands are traversed, as
is also the wide prairie known as the Maricao savanna. Several streams
are forded, among them the upper Ozama, and the country continues of
the same general character until the huts on the old cattle ranch of
la Guazuma, formerly Las Gallinas, are sighted. Here the road slopes
upward as far as the foot of the Demajagua mountain, when a long
tedious ascent to the pass begins, followed by a rough ride through
the mountains. The long descent toward Cotui is broken by numerous
water-courses. No less than eleven smaller streams are forded, and
there are three crossings of the Chacuey River, before the road
leading to Cotui from Cevicos and the Widow's Pass is attained near
the former town. By this road it is about 65 miles from Santo Domingo
to Cotui.

The three passes described are the only ones suitable, so far as
known, for communication between the capital and the Cibao. There are,
indeed, lower and more convenient passes farther to the east, but the
roads emerge near Samana Bay, too far from the Royal Plain to be
available. The middle route of the three, that by way of the Gallinas
Pass, is followed by the telegraph line and used by the post. It has
been preferred by travelers for it is considered the shortest road to
the Cibao and its highest point is reported to be only about 1200 feet
above sea-level.

4. Road from Santo Domingo to Sabana la Mar. Since the southeastern
part of the Dominican Republic consists of great plains, the roads in
this region are all perfectly level and less difficult than those of
the mountains, but they are little more than trails and the wide
savannas make traveling monotonous. The road which turns northeast
from Santo Domingo on the left side of the Ozama passes the sugar
estates there situated, continues by a wide path through a lightly
wooded country to the town of Guerra and shortly thereafter enters
upon the Guabatico prairie, which it crosses in its entire width of
over twenty miles. The ascent to the first pass, that of the
Castellanos mountain, then begins. The descent is as easy as the
ascent, a valley is crossed in which the headwaters of the Macoris
River are forded, and then follows a long ascent to the second pass.
From the foot of the mountain to El Valle and Sabana la Mar the
country is wooded and the road level and wide, but so miry as to be
practically impassable during the entire rainy season. The distance
from Santo Domingo to Sabana la Mar is something over sixty miles.

5. Road from Santo Domingo to Higuey. This road is the same as the
Sabana la Mar road as far as Guerra, then traverses small forests and
grassy plains to Seibo, passing through the important towns of Los
Llanos and Hato Mayor. The greater part of the last 36 miles of the
road, from Seibo to Higuey, runs over the foothills of the central
mountain range. The entire length of the road is about 110 miles.

6. Road from Santo Domingo to Azua. On this ancient road more military
expeditions have marched and fought than on any other in the island of
Santo Domingo. Spanish, British, French, Haitian, Dominican and
American forces have tramped on its dusty course. The road runs west
from Santo Domingo City parallel with the seashore. Near the city it
is a perfectly level boulevard bordered by pretty cottages. About
three miles from the town the small fortress of San Geronimo is
passed, a romantic structure, built by the early Spaniards as an
outpost against piratical invasions. Seven miles further on is the
collection of huts constituting the town of Jaina on the river of the
same name. A fine new bridge spans the river and the road continues
through luxuriant tropical vegetation. The little town of Nigua, with
an old chapel perched high on a hill, is reached, and here the road
divides, the left branch continuing near the seashore, while the right
branch turns inland to San Cristobal. The former pursues its way over
land generally level though with occasional steep hills and cut by
frequent brooks, skirts the ocean beach for a short distance, crosses
the turbulent Nizao River by a long and dangerous ford and enters the
arid country. The other branch extends to the grass-grown town of San
Cristobal, where the macadam road from Santo Domingo ends. Continuing,
the road traverses a fertile country by way of the town of Yaguate,
crosses the broad bed of the Nizao River, which changes its channels
with dangerous frequency, threads a way through monotonous woods and
joins the other road near Paya. But a few miles further on is the
clean little town of Bani. From here two roads lead to Azua. The
inland road leads through the pass of Las Carreras,--where Santana on
April 21, 1849, assured the independence of Santo Domingo by his
victory over the Haitian forces--and finally joins the coast road. The
road of the seacoast, which, though longer, is preferable by reason of
being more level, leaves Bani through a weird country, where giant
cactus is the only vegetation produced by the rocky soil. After
crossing a stretch of grass-grown tableland it descends to the waters
of Ocoa Bay and continues literally through the surf. Several hours of
travel through a dreary forest of cactus and thorny brush then follow
before Azua is reached.

7. Cibao Valley Road. The road, or combination of roads, from Samana
Bay to Monte Cristi, lies in level country. The urgency for the
improvement of the eastern portion has been less since the
establishment of the railroad from Sanchez to La Vega, and the trail
from near the mouth of the Yuna River to San Francisco de Macoris,
with the branches from there to Moca and La Vega, is now important
only locally. The two roads between La Vega and Santiago, however, in
the heart of the Royal Plain, are the most important and most heavily
traveled highways in the Republic. They run through the most fertile
section of the island, are quite level, and available for carts and
automobiles, but in the rainy season they become very muddy. The
direct road from La Vega to Santiago is about twenty-seven miles long
and lies to the south of the famous Santo Cerro. The other road is
about six miles longer and passes through the important city of Moca.
After leaving La Vega and crossing the yellow Camu, the latter road
skirts the northern slope of the Santo Cerro and the traveler who
can, deserts it temporarily to climb the rocky height and regale
himself with a view of the most magnificent valley of the West Indies.
Upon passing the second brook after leaving the foot of the Santo
Cerro the road traverses historic ground, for here stood the important
city of La Concepción, or old La Vega. The distance from La Vega to
Moca is about fifteen miles and from here two roads lead on to
Santiago, both about eighteen miles long and both lined with fine
cacao plantations, but one turning a little to the south while the
other approaches the foothills and leads through the smiling town of
Tamboril. From Santiago on there are two roads, one to the north and
the other to the south of the Yaque River. They lie through a dry
country where cactus is the favorite product of the soil. The road
along the northern bank of the Yaque is the better of the two, since
the roadbed is good and there are few rivers to cross. It is the
highway between Santiago and Monte Cristi, a distance of sixty-seven
miles, and passes through the inland town of Guayubin. The southern
road crosses numerous streams which flow down from the Cordillera to
join the Yaque, turns southwesterly at Guayubin and continues to
Dajabon and on into the borders of Haiti.

The above are the highways of most traffic. There is further a main
road or rather trail westward from Azua along Lake Enriquillo and
leading on to Port-au-Prince; another from Azua northwesterly through
the fertile valley of San Juan, also leading into Haiti; and two
perilous trails branching off from the latter road and running through
remote mountain regions to Santiago and La Vega. There is no direct
communication in Dominican territory between the northwestern and
southwestern portions of the Republic, and it is necessary either to
make a long detour or to pass through Haitian territory. Less
important local trails, more or less difficult of travel, are to be
found in all inhabited portions of the country.

In order to avoid the troubles of land travel, recourse is had,
whenever possible, to water transportation. The foreign steamship
lines afford considerable relief in this respect, for they generally
stop at more than one port of the Republic. In normal times there are
four foreign steamer lines with passenger service to Dominican
ports, namely:

The Clyde line, with bi-weekly sailings between New York and Santo
Domingo, stopping at Monte Cristi, Puerto Plata, Samana, Sanchez,
Macoris and Santo Domingo City, and Azua.

The Cuban "Herrera Line," with a tri-weekly steamer service between
ports of Cuba and Porto Rico, calling at Santo Domingo City
and Macoris.

The "Compagnie Générale Transatlantique," two routes of which touch in
the Republic. A monthly steamer between French and Haitian ports calls
at Puerto Plata, and returning also at Sanchez, in the Dominican
Republic, and then makes calls in Porto Rico and St. Thomas. A smaller
steamer plying once a month between Haitian ports and Guadeloupe and
Martinique calls at Santiago de Cuba, Santo Domingo City, Porto Rican
ports and St. Thomas. The steamers on these routes, though not
uncomfortable, are venerable hulks which have seen long service in
different parts of the world.

The Hamburg-American Line, a monthly steamer of which called regularly
at Santo Domingo City and also at other points in the Republic when
cargo conditions were favorable, and connected with other ports in the
Antilles and with vessels from Europe. Other steamers of this line
called at the northern ports to take cargo to Europe.

There is further a fruit line between Boston and Puerto Plata and
sugar steamers between New York and Macoris during the cane grinding
season, but they carry no passengers. How far the interests of Spain
and Santo Domingo have diverged is indicated by the fact that not one
of the Spanish transatlantic liners which run to Porto Rico, Cuba,
Central and South America, touches in Santo Domingo.

A steamer of the Bull line runs between ports in Santo Domingo and
Porto Rico and there is also a coast line under Dominican registry,
which extends to Porto Rico, but the steamers of which do not
distinguish themselves for comfort. Thus there is at present frequent
steamer service between Santo Domingo and Porto Rico, but little
communication with Haiti and Cuba.

Most of the steamer lines touching in the Republic carry mails. Santo
Domingo is a member of the International Postal Union and its post
offices offer the usual facilities, except that there is no money
order system. More than three-quarters of the incoming foreign mail
comes from the United States, including Porto Rico, and over one-half
the outgoing foreign mail is directed to this country. The American
authorities are engaged in a thorough re-organization of the Dominican
postal service.

In connection with the post offices the government operates a
telegraph and telephone system. The government lines connect all the
more important points in the country. Constructed without plan or
method and insufficiently cared for, these lines are all in poor
condition and badly in need of repair or reconstruction. The charges
are high and the service poor. The government also has a wireless
telegraph station at Santo Domingo City and another at Macoris.

The French Submarine Telegraph Co. affords Santo Domingo cable
connection with the rest of the world. Its cable touches at Puerto
Plata and Santo Domingo City, crossing the Republic by means of a land
line which is also open to local messages. The interruptions of
communication over this land line in the various revolutions have
given rise to numerous damage claims on the part of the Company.

There are also telephone lines on the Samana-Santiago Railroad and on
the Central Dominican Railroad operated in connection with the
respective roads. Local public telephone systems are in operation in
Santo Domingo City and San Pedro de Macoris, and there are private
telephone lines between the principal cities and plantations in
their vicinity.

CHAPTER XV

COMMERCE

Exports and imports.--Foreign trade.--Trade with the United States.--
Ports of entry.--Wharf concessions.--Domestic trade.--Business
houses.--Banks.--Manufactures.

The fact that Dominican commerce has more than trebled in twelve years
demonstrates the epoch-making character of the fiscal convention with
the United States. The trade figures since 1905 are as follows:

GROWTH OF DOMINICAN TRADE
(All figures are in American currency)

Imports Exports Total

1905 $ 2,736,828 $ 6,896,098 $ 9,632,926
1906 4,065,437 6,536,378 10,601,915
1907 4,948,961 7,628,356 12,577,317
1908 4,767,775 9,396,487 14,164,262
1909 4,425,913 8,113,690 12,539,603
1910 6,257,691 10,849,623 17,107,314
1911 6,949,662 10,995,546 17,945,208
1913 8,217,898 12,385,248 20,603,146
1913 9,272,278 10,469,947 19,742,225
1914 6,729,007 10,588,787 17,317,794
1915 9,118,514 15,209,061 24,327,575
1916 11,664,430 21,527,873 33,192,303

The increase in 1916 over 1915 was almost as much as the entire trade
of the country in 1905. The temporary setback of 1909 was caused by
the partial failure of the cacao crop and the paralyzation of
commerce in anticipation of lower tariff rates. That of 1914 was due
to the European war and a domestic revolution. Santo Domingo has,
however, repeatedly presented the anomalous spectacle of showing
enormous trade figures in the midst of warfare, as for example, in
1912. The advance in commerce has been especially marked since the
presence of the American troops assured peaceful conditions.

Not a year has passed since 1904 without a large balance of trade in
favor of Santo Domingo. While the greater part of this is represented
by huge sugar profits which have gone to foreign investors, a
considerable portion remained in the country. The great increase in
wealth since 1904 is apparent to anyone who knew the country at
that time.

The imports cover the wide range to be expected in a nonmanufacturing,
agricultural country in the tropics. The principal imports in
1916 were:

Cotton goods $1,721,534
Iron and steel manufactures, including sugar machinery 1,562,367
Rice 1,080,068
Wheat flour 621,900
Provisions, meat and dairy products 530,195
Oils 545,284
Bagging and other manufactures of vegetable fiber 508,644
Vehicles and boats 408,832
Manufactures of leather 385,518
Wood and manufactures of wood 317,421
Codfish and other preserved fish and fish products 309,204
Chemicals, drugs and dyes 293,072
Soap, and ingredients for the manufacture of soap 233,991
Paper and manufactures of paper 171,706
Beer 168,901
Agricultural implements 121,830

The United States furnished practically all the flour and other
breadstuffs, oils, lumber, agricultural implements and leather
articles and most of the cotton goods, hardware, machinery, fish, meat
and dairy products. Before the European war all the rice was bought in
Germany, as well as a considerable portion of the fish, beer, meat and
dairy products. At present the rice is brought from the United States
and England. The other imports from England are almost entirely cotton
goods and bagging, with some iron and steel manufactures.

In the chapter on the flora of the country, statistics are given with
reference to the exports of the country, which are, as there pointed
out, principally: sugar, cacao, tobacco, coffee, bananas, beeswax and
honey, hides, cotton, hardwoods and dyewoods.

Owing to its geographical position the United States naturally has the
greater part of Dominican trade, but since the European war set the
commerce of the world awry that proportion has grown until in 1916 the
imports from the United States, including Porto Rico, were 90.4 per
cent of the total and the exports to the United States and Porto Rico
were 82.8 per cent of the total, though the latter figure varies
somewhat from final destination, as much of the sugar and cacao is
shipped subject to order. Before the European war something more than
one-half of the trade of Santo Domingo was with the United States,
one-fifth with Germany, and the remainder with France, England and
other countries. The countries of origin of imports and destination of
exports of the Dominican Republic in the year 1916, as compared with
the list for 1913, the last preceding normal year, are here shown:

DOMINICAN TRADE BY COUNTRIES

IMPORTS
1913 1916

Value Percentage Value Percentage
of whole of whole

Cuba $ 7,352 .08 $ 136,587 1.17
France 274,318 2.96 152,358 1.30
Germany 1,677,833 18.10 ---- ----
Italy 173,105 1.87 63,450 .54
Porto Rico 62,900 .67 378,219 3.24
Spain 210,781 2.27 151,451 1.30
United Kingdom 730,191 7.88 481,305 4.13
United States 5,769,061 62.22 10,162,698 87.13
Other Countries 366,737 3.95 138,362 1.19

Total $ 9,272,278 100.00 $11,664,430 100.00

EXPORTS

Cuba $ 27,536 .26 $ 19,447 .09
France 887,907 8.48 287,799 1.34
Germany 2,068,384 19.76 ---- ----
Italy 20,430 .19 2,496 .01
Porto Rico 28,994 .28 425,483 1.98
United Kingdom 241,810 2.31 105,107 .49
United States 5,600,768 53.49 17,412,088 80.88
Other Countries 1,594,118 15.23 3,275,543 15.21

Total $10,469,947 100.00 $21,527,873 100.00

Very interesting statistics with reference to all these matters are
published annually in the report of the general receiver of Dominican
customs. Since the establishment of the receivership full and accurate
trade statistics have become available for the first time in the
history of the Republic. Before 1891 no statistics at all were kept.
During the nineties there was an attempt at compilation, but the
corruption in the custom-houses was so notorious that the figures
cannot be regarded as reliable. For the disturbed years immediately
following the death of Heureaux the data are incomplete and uncertain.

The question of shipping has been a serious problem confronting
Dominican commerce since the beginning of the European war. Freight
rates are rising to almost prohibitive figures, which have their
effect in an enormous increase in the cost of living, Santo Domingo
has as much reason as the rest of the world to desire an early
cessation of the world calamity.

After the war the old trade rivalry will be revived, but American
commerce with the Republic should easily retain its lead, if properly
cultivated. The observations so frequently made with reference to the
extension of American trade with South America also hold good in the
case of Santo Domingo. American merchants should send as
representatives cultured men who speak Spanish; they should provide
catalogs in good Spanish with accurate descriptions of the articles
offered; they should fill orders as received, without substituting
other articles; they should pack their shipments very carefully and
with a view to local transportation conditions. The success of the
Germans in building up their Dominican trade was due in large measure
to the polish and fluent Spanish of their representatives, to their
thorough study of local conditions, and to their favorable terms
of payment.

American commerce with Santo Domingo would be further stimulated and
strengthened by a tariff reciprocity agreement similar to the customs
convention between the United States and Cuba. The mutual advantages
of such an agreement would be enormous and the development of Santo
Domingo would be effectively promoted. Closer relations would also be
fostered by a postal convention applying the domestic rates of postage
to all mail between the two countries, a good beginning having been
made by a recent arrangement applying the domestic postage rate to
letters between the United States and the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has twelve ports of entry, but nine-tenths of
the foreign commerce goes through the ports of Macoris, Santo Domingo,
Sanchez and Puerto Plata. The first two supply the import and export
requirements of the southern portion of the Republic, the other two
those of the Cibao. The other eight custom-houses exist for local
convenience and for the prevention of smuggling. This is especially
true of the three along the Haitian frontier. In former years there
was considerable smuggling across the border, as the import duties on
certain articles in Haiti are much lower than in the Dominican
Republic. Although the profitable smuggling business demoralized trade
in those regions, the government did not interfere with it owing to
the difficulty of policing the wild and sparsely populated border
district. The American general receiver determined that the back door
should be guarded as well as the front entrance, and formed a frontier
guard which stopped contraband traffic, though at a heavy cost, for
two brave American officials have been killed and three wounded by
smugglers and outlaws, while fourteen Dominican guardsmen and
inspectors have been killed and twenty-three wounded. The expense of
the three frontier custom-houses is greater than the revenue they
produce, but entries in Azua, Monte Cristi and Puerto Plata increased
significantly after the frontier guard began its patrolling.
Incidentally the guard has helped to keep the boundary line in place.

In the seaports most of the loading and unloading is done by lighters,
the wharves generally being small affairs. Only in Puerto Plata (where
extensive harbor improvements are now under way), Macoris and Santo
Domingo can larger vessels approach the wharves. All the wharves were
built under concessions from the government, which, in the
impossibility to provide them itself on account of its perpetual lack
of funds, was obliged to procure their construction by granting the
right to collect a specified wharf tax, more or less onerous, for a
period of years. The Santo Domingo City wharf concession provided that
everything exported from and imported into this city or any other
coast point in the province must pay the tax, whether the wharf was
used or not. The Samana wharf concession; as amended, gave the right
to collect certain high wharf taxes for fifty years, from 1875 to
1925, in return for the building of a diminutive dock. One of the
important objects accomplished through the 1907 bond issue was the
redemption by the government of the monopolistic wharf concessions.

A peculiar feature of the country's domestic trade is that almost
fifty per cent of it is in the hands of Syrians. These people are
found in a number of the West India Islands, but nowhere have they
gained such a foothold as in Santo Domingo. They appeared in the
nineties, and for a number of years confined their activities to
peddling goods about the country, both men and women traveling around
with great bundles of merchandise which they spread out wherever they
met prospective purchasers. Their next step was to establish retail
stores and crowd the native Dominican storekeeper out, and of late
years they have opened large business houses. They are not regarded
as a desirable element, as they do not amalgamate or mingle with the
Dominican population, but seem possessed of the single idea to make a
fortune and return with it to their country.

Such part of the retail trade as is not controlled by Syrians, is
mostly in the hands of Dominicans. The stores are generally small,
with a limited stock of goods; they have no show-windows, but are
arranged on the style of bazars. Fixed prices are rare and most sales
become negotiations with the polite shopkeeper. In the country it is
customary for the storekeeper to make advances of merchandise to the
smaller farmers until crop time; they then pay him in cacao, coffee,
tobacco or other farm products, which he remits to the seaport to the
wholesale merchant with whom he deals.

The larger business houses are in a majority of cases owned by
foreigners, principally of Italian, German, Spanish, American and
Cuban citizenship, and now also including numerous Syrian firms. A
majority of those classed as Americans are natives of Porto Rico. A
number of these merchants arrived in Santo Domingo as poor men and by
hard work and shrewd investment built up respectable firms. They
carefully preserved their foreign nationality as a valuable asset
which protected them from undue interference on the part of the
government. One of the most prominent and successful merchants of
Santo Domingo was the late J.B. Vicini, an Italian who came to the
country penniless, but with his energy and sagacity amassed the
largest fortune of the island. His business is now managed by
his sons.

The larger merchants combine a banking business with their export and
import business. The foremost of these private bankers of late years
was Santiago Michelena, a Porto Rican. Less than ten years ago there
was not a single bank in the Republic, but there are now three well
equipped banking institutions, all of them with their local
headquarters in the capital. One of these is the International Banking
Corporation, which is connected with the National City Bank of New
York; it entered the Dominican Republic in April, 1917, by taking over
Michelena's banking business. It has a branch in Macoris and Puerto
Plata and agencies and correspondents throughout the country. Another
bank is the Royal Bank of Canada, which does a flourishing business in
a number of the West India Islands; it has branches in five cities of
the Dominican Republic. The third bank is the Banco Nacional de Santo
Domingo, incorporated by Americans under the Dominican banking law of
1909, with a capital of $500,000. Although it has several branches,
its business is not so active as that of the other banks, since it has
lent most of its capital to the government. Under the banking law this
institution has the right to issue bank notes, but it has not
attempted to use the privilege.

Slowly the establishment of small factories has proceeded, for the
partial provision of local needs. The principal cities have ice
plants, of which some are subject to annoying interruptions. In the
Cibao there are several sawmills. Further there are, in the larger
cities, small establishments for the manufacture of cigars,
cigarettes, matches, rum, straw hats, shoes, chocolate, soap and a few
other articles. These are financed by Dominican capital and are not
able to supply the local demand. In Santo Domingo City are the remains
of a costly brewery erected by Americans with a view to supplying the
West Indies; it was ruined, so local reports say, by bad management
and has been idle for fifteen years. If the amount of soap used by a
people is really an index of its degree of civilization, then the
Dominicans can claim to be far advanced, for the consumption of soap
manufactured in the country and imported, is very considerable. The
government has encouraged manufacturing enterprises and repeatedly
granted concessions exempting their machinery and raw material from
import duties for specified periods. The number of manufacturing
plants will doubtless increase, but agriculture is bound to remain the
mainstay of the country.

CHAPTER XVI

CITIES AND TOWNS

General condition of municipalities.--Santo Domingo City; ruins,
churches, streets, popular legends.--Other towns of Santo Domingo
Province.--San Pedro de Macoris.--Seibo.--Samana and Sanchez.
--Pacificador Province.--Concepción de La Vega.--Moca.--Santiago
de los Caballeros.--Puerto Plata.--Monte Cristi.--Azua.--Barahona.

Compared with cities in the United States a majority of Dominican
towns are hoary with age. The capital city and a number of others were
founded more than a century before Virginia was settled, and had begun
to decline almost a hundred years before the Pilgrims landed on
Plymouth Rock. Yet such have been the vicissitudes of the country that
only one city, the capital, shows signs of its antiquity; the others
from their appearance might be taken to be but a few decades old, and
with the exception of two or three ancient churches in the interior
none of the older buildings of these towns have survived the ravages
of time, wars and earthquakes. The modern appearance of most cities is
heightened by the fact that frame structures predominate, and outside
of Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Vega and Puerto Plata stone houses are
infrequent.

The impoverishment of the country by periodic revolutions has had its
effect on the municipalities and prevented their proper development.
In no city are all municipal needs and services properly attended to,
and in most towns they are all badly neglected. Sanitary inspection is
nowhere given due attention; sewers are practically unknown; but two
cities, Puerto Plata and Santiago, have a general system of
waterworks, the others being dependent on water drawn from cisterns or
wells, or carried from rivers or springs; in all but five or six
little attention is paid to the condition of the streets. Only
Santiago, Puerto Plata and Santo Domingo have electric light, but that
of Santo Domingo is very deficient. Little by little conditions are
improving and especially the larger municipalities are endeavoring to
improve their streets and provide a water supply.

To the smallness of the urban centers their lack of municipal
conveniences is partly to be attributed. The Dominican towns are all
built on the same general plan as other Spanish cities, being
constructed around a central plaza on which the church and government
building are located.

The principal cities are the capitals of the twelve provinces, and the
city of Sanchez. A brief description of these cities follows, with a
reference to the other more important towns and villages of
each province.

PROVINCE OF SANTO DOMINGO

_Santo Domingo de Guzmán_, the capital of the Republic and of the
province of the same name, is the oldest city founded by Europeans in
the new world, the first city, Isabela, having disappeared a few years
after settlement. It was founded by Bartholomew Columbus in 1496 on
the east bank of the Ozama River as the capital of the colony, but the
small houses constituting the town having been destroyed by a
hurricane in 1502 it was transferred to the west bank of the river by
order of Governor Ovando. It grew rapidly in population and wealth
until it merited the eulogies of Oviedo who wrote to Charles V in 1525
that he did not hesitate to assure that there was not in Spain a city
he would prefer whether on account of advantageous and agreeable
location, beauty and arrangement of squares and streets or charms of
the surrounding country, adding that "their Highnesses oftentimes
lodged in palaces which have neither the conveniences, the ample size
nor the wealth of some of those in Santo Domingo." By the middle of
the sixteenth century the city had passed the zenith of its glory, and
its capture by Drake in 1586 and the destruction of the houses about
the main plaza was a severe blow. The decline continued rapidly,
although in 1655 the city was still strong enough to repel an invasion
by Admiral William Penn. In 1684 and 1691 it was visited by
destructive earthquakes and in 1700 it was full of ruins among which
grew great trees. The lowest ebb was reached about 1737 when the
population had fallen to 500 "and," writes Father Valverde, "more than
half the buildings of the capital were entirely ruined, and of those
still standing two-thirds were uninhabitable or closed and the other
third was more than enough for the population. There were houses and
lands whose owners were unknown, and of which people took advantage as
belonging to the first one who might occupy them, either because there
was entire lack of heirs of the owners or because they had emigrated
elsewhere." In a few years, however, the tide of fortune turned and
the city's rise was as rapid as its decline had been long, until by
about the year 1790 it had quite recovered its ancient glory. Another
reverse was quick in coming, for the cession to France in 1795 and the
revolt of the negroes in French Saint-Domingue drove away the best
inhabitants. In 1801 Toussaint l'Ouverture took possession of the city
and in 1805 it was successfully held by the French against the siege
of the negro emperor Dessalines. This siege was the beginning of a
series lasting for a century. In 1809 after a desperate struggle the
city was recaptured for Spain by the Dominicans, but from 1822 to 1844
it was in the hands of the Haitians, and abandoned by all the whites
who could flee. Since the declaration of Dominican independence in
1844 almost every revolution has involved a siege of the capital.
Within the last twenty-five years the city has made rapid strides
forward and spread far beyond the old city walls.

To the stranger Santo Domingo is by far the most interesting city of
the Republic, on account of its stirring history and its venerable
monuments of the past. Unfortunately the relics of the early days have
met with scant respect from later generations, and ruins which would
be the pride of other cities have been wantonly demolished. The
Haitian governors gloried in this kind of vandalism, using the old
churches as quarries and destroying the coats of arms of famous
families which were cut in stone on the facades of their former houses
and in their chapels in the cathedral. One which they left, on a house
on Mercedes street, adjoining the government building, was obliterated
in 1907 by the erection of a balcony. Since the declaration of
independence ignorance and negligence have been responsible for much
damage and the few administrations which took an interest in the old
monuments needed all their money for military purposes. Ancient
bastions have been needlessly razed, inscriptions effaced and no steps
taken for the preservation of such memorials as remained. In 1883 a
concession for the improvement of Santo Domingo harbor even provided
that the concessionnaire might tear down the ruins belonging to the
state and use the material for filling purposes; happily he was able
to carry out but little of this part of the contract. The great
majority of the brick and stone structures of Santo Domingo are
ancient houses and convents preserved or rebuilt with more or less
alteration. In some cases behind walls and doorways of great age are
little huts of the poor. Though many signs of the past have thus
disappeared, many still remain. It is to be hoped that the American
authorities in Santo Domingo will be less indifferent to the
preservation of ancient monuments than has been the case in other West
Indian countries.

The most interesting ancient building is the massive ruin known as the
"House of the Admiral" or "House of Columbus," which even now, after
centuries of neglect and decay, gives eloquent testimony of former
greatness. It was built soon after 1509 by Diego Columbus, the son of
the great navigator, on a height overlooking the Ozama River. Here
Diego Columbus governed with regal splendor and here most of his
children were born. It was the home of his widow, Maria de Toledo,
until her death in 1549. Here also their son Louis Columbus lived for
many years and embarked on two of his mad marriages. Another son,
Cristobal, who was in the government employ in Santo Domingo, also
seems to have lived in this house, after Louis went to Spain in 1551.
On Cristobal's death in 1571 and that of Louis in 1572, it passed to
Cristobal's son Diego. From the date of this Diego's death in 1578,
when the direct male line of the Discoverer's descendants became
extinct, the history of the house becomes obscure: it was sequestered
by court decree in the course of the long inheritance litigation
between the members of the Columbus family and appears to have been
awarded in 1583 to the Admiral of Aragon, son of a sister of Louis and
Cristobal, and in 1605 to Nuño de Portugal, grandson of another
sister; the former may have sojourned there temporarily, but it is
doubtful whether the latter or any of his descendants ever visited
Santo Domingo. There is reason to believe that it was occupied for a
time by the family of Luis de Avila, judge of Santo Domingo City, who
was married to a daughter of Cristobal and whose children were still
living in the colony at the end of the sixteenth century. When in 1790
a descendant of this Avila was at length awarded the last vestiges of
the Columbus honors, no attention seems to have been given to this
house, which was then as complete a ruin as at present, though it was
in better condition and the arcade supporting the front porch was
still extant.

The edifice is built of stone blocks; porches supported by graceful
arches were once an attractive feature; the windows and principal
doorways were embellished with handsome arabesques; and Oviedo and
other chroniclers dwell at length on the magnificence of the interior.
They especially refer to the beauty and value of a sculpture showing
the arms of Castile, located in the great reception hall behind the
viceroy's throne. At the present time the building is reduced to a
mere shell, roofless and windowless; in a part of its interior there
is a little palm thatch shelter for stabling horses; while the court
yard and terrace reek with offal from dirty cabins round about.

At the foot of the house of Columbus is part of the old city wall
erected in 1537 and of which numerous portions remain intact, though
all traces of the moat have disappeared. The old city was in the form
of a trapezium occupying an area of a caballeria or about 200 acres,
and the wall on the north side, provided with numerous redoubts and
watch towers, was much the longest, the western wall being the
shortest. Santo Domingo is one of the cities of the Spanish main which
lay claim to the story that when the accounts for the city's walls
were laid before the king of Spain, he went, to the window and gazed
at the horizon, saying he was "looking for the reflection of those
walls, for they must be built of gold, they cost so much." Judging by
the relative size of the walls, the story should rather be awarded to
Cartagena, in Colombia, or possibly to another city, but Santo
Domingo's walls are massive enough to have justified the Spanish king
in squinting at the horizon, at least. The ancient gates which were
formerly closed from sunset to sunrise, still remain, but no longer
afford the only means of ingress and egress as breaches have been made
in the walls at most street terminations. The most famous of the old
gates is the "Puerta del Conde," "Gate of the Count," so called
because it was constructed by the Count of Peñalva, Governor of Santo
Domingo, about 1655, though the bastion through which it leads is as
old as the city wall. It was here that the cry of independence was
raised on February 27, 1844, and it is therefore regarded as the
cradle of Dominican independence and its official name is "Bulwark of
the twenty-seventh of February." Another important gate is the "Gate
of San Diego," also called "Gate of the Admiral," near the ruins of
Diego Columbus' house and affording communication with the wharves on
the Ozama River. It is one of the original three gates of the city. Up
the river, near the lumber market, is a very old ceiba tree to which
it is claimed Columbus once tied up his vessel. Still further up the
river is a spring the enclosure about which is said to have been built
by Diego Columbus.

"La Fuerza," the fort and barracks, is situated at the southeast
corner of the city. According to an inscription over the gate it was
built in the year 1783. Within its enclosure on a bluff at the place
where the Ozama empties into the sea, rises the ancient citadel, the
"Torre del Homenaje," "Tower of Homage" the enormously thick walls of
which were erected not later than 1504. There are many who affirm that
it was built before 1500, although the town was then situated on the
other side of the river, and a cell with a small barred window is
pointed out as the cell in which Bobadilla imprisoned Columbus before
sending him to Spain in chains. Others claim that recently-discovered
old foundation-walls on the east side of the river were the
foundations of the building in which Columbus was confined. "In that
case," Dominican wags observe, "the Tower of Homage is the place where
he would have been confined if it had then been erected." In any event
the tower and the terraces below it are the oldest fortifications
constructed by white men in America. Cortez and Pizarro, Velazquez,
Ponce de Leon, Narvaez and many others passed out of the Ozama River
under the shadow of this building, full of hope for the future. Within
its somber walls have been immured many an Indian chief in the time of
the conquest and many a revolutionist in later days. The tower proper
has been for years a political prison, while around the courtyard at
its base on the riverside, is the common jail.

The churches form an important connecting link between old and new
Santo Domingo. Of these the most beautiful and imposing is the
cathedral, built in what may be called Ibero-Romanesque style. As
early as 1506 Ferdinand and Isabella ordered its erection, in 1512 a
grant of revenue was made and two years later the work of construction
was begun. In one of the chapels is a large rough-hewn mahogany cross
on which is painted the legend: "This is the first sign planted in the
center of this field to mark the beginning of this magnificent temple
in the year MDXIV." The work progressed slowly; an inscription in the
doorway leading to the plaza states that the church was completed to
that point in 1527 and another inscription in the old choir, torn down
in 1877, stated that the building was finished in 1540. It is probable
that the original plans called for an even loftier building. One of
the towers first projected was begun, but it was never concluded and
the belfry is still a temporary one. Of late years there have been
attempts to provide for the completion of this tower by popular
subscription. The building has been damaged repeatedly by earthquakes
and the repairs made have changed its original outer appearance on the
plaza side. In its roof there is still lodged a cannon-ball fired into
the city by a Spanish battery during the siege of 1809.

In the interior, great pillars of a soft dark-red tint support the
high groined arches and the effect is severe and impressive. The altar
at the head of the nave is beautifully inlaid with wrought silver and
is surmounted by the coat of arms of Spain placed there by order of
Charles V, a relic of Spanish days which was hidden away while the
Haitians were in possession of the city. On the altar platform a
marble slab indicates the place where the bones of Columbus were found
in 1877, another slab the former location of the remains taken to Cuba
in 1795 as the remains of Columbus, and still another the resting
place of Louis Columbus, the grandson of the Discoverer. At the end of
the nave, near the entrance door, is the airy marble monument beneath
which is guarded the casket that contains the remains of the
Discoverer of America.

The cathedral like the other churches is made more interesting by the
ancient epitaphs on slabs in the pavement and walls, marking the
burial places of persons famous in the history of the island. In one
of the lateral chapels, which belonged to the Bastidas family, the
resting place of Bishop Bastidas, who in the early days was bishop in
Venezuela, Porto Rico and Santo Domingo, is marked by a large marble
recumbant figure of a bishop and the chapel is therefore known as "the
chapel of the stone bishop." Nearby is the tomb of his father, that
Rodrigo de Bastidas who was imprisoned by Bobadilla, and an epitaph
full of abbreviations which reads:

"Here lies the very magnificent Sir Don Rodrigo de Bastidas, first
Adelantado and Governor and Captain-General of Santa Marta, who in the
year 1502 discovered Terra-firma by order of the Catholic Sovereigns
from Cape Vela to Darien: he died March 28, 1527."

Close by is another epitaph:

"Here lies the virtuous, Christian and religious lady Doña Isabel
Rodrigo de Romera, native of the noble town of Carmona, who was wife
of the Adelantado Don Rodrigo de Bastidas and mother of the most
reverend Bishop of San Juan, Don Rodrigo de Bastidas. She died
September 15, 1533. May she rest in peace."

And in Latin:

"I believe that my Redeemer lived and that on the judgment day I shall
be resurrected."

In another chapel is a slab ten feet long with an elaborate coat of
arms, surmounted by a helmet with flowing plumes, and having an
inscription reading:

"Here lies the magnificent knight Diego Caballero, councilor of this
Island of Española, first secretary of the first Royal Audiencia which
the Catholic Sovereigns established in these Indies. He died January
22, 1553." Surrounding this inscription is another:

"Likewise lies here the generous lady Isabel Bacan, his good wife: she
died in the year 1551."

Above is a verse stating that he flourished with the strength given
him by God, and on an adjoining stone are the words;

"I have ended my cares. Hope and fortune, remain and seek others to
mock."

On another tombstone is the inscription:

"This tomb belongs to Don Francisco de Almansa, canon of this holy
principal church and commissioner of the Holy Inquisition, and to
his heirs."

There are many other interesting inscriptions. In one of the chapels
is an artistic gem, a well preserved picture of Our Lady of Antigua,
presented by Ferdinand and Isabella who are represented in an attitude
of devotion at the foot of the Virgin. It is probably by Antonio del
Rincon, their court painter. Other very old and obscure paintings in
the church are ascribed to Velazquez or Murillo. Another chapel,
adorned with the Dominican coat of arms in marble relief, is the
resting place of Dominican celebrities.

The oldest Christian church in the new world was that of San Nicolas,
founded by Governor Nicolas de Ovando in 1502. It was suffered to go
to ruin, then restored and used as a military hospital and then again
abandoned to decay until, overgrown with weeds and almost roofless, it
was latterly used by a blacksmith as his workshop. The suggestion was
frequently made that it be converted into a museum of Dominican
antiquities, but the matter was neglected too long and in 1909 the
historic building was condemned and the front portion demolished, but
the groined arch over the presbytery remains.

The most picturesque ruin of the city is that of the church of San
Francisco, erected by the Franciscan monks about 1504 at the most
conspicuous point in the city, and which is now, after the destruction
of San Nicolas church, the oldest church ruin in America. It was the
largest church in old Santo Domingo. Here were deposited and probably
still rest, the remains of Bartholomew Columbus, the brother of the
Discoverer. The church and convent, like several other churches of the
city, were badly damaged by the earthquake of 1751 but were rebuilt
better than before. When the Haitians came the church was abandoned;
in 1824 it was assigned to the negro immigrants from the United States
as a Methodist church, but it was allowed to go to complete ruin and
much of its masonry was utilized by the Haitian rulers. A small part
of the monastery has been rebuilt for use as an asylum for the insane.
The Franciscan community was one of the wealthiest of the city, and
fronting on the city's principal market still stands a large house
formerly belonging to it and known as the "Casa del Cordón," "House of
the Cord," because of a Franciscan's girdle hewn in stone over the
doorway. Tradition says that Diego Columbus resided here while his
palace was under construction.

The other larger churches have all been restored and among them may be
mentioned the church of St. Dominic or Santo Domingo founded in 1507,
with massive walls and arches. It contains numerous tombs belonging to
families that flourished in the island in the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, but most of the inscriptions are rudely carved.
A slab in one of the chapels shows a coat of arms with thirteen stars;
there is no inscription further than a short Latin quotation from the
26th psalm, but the stone is supposed to date from the latter part of
the sixteenth century and to mark the grave of Lope de Bardeci, the
founder of the chapel. Other churches are the lofty Mercedes church by
the side of the ruined monastery of the friars of Mercy; the church of
Regina Angelorum, the spacious building adjoining which, now used by
the courts of justice, was formerly a nunnery; that of St. Clara,
formerly a nunnery and rebuilt from ruin in 1885 by the sisters of
charity; the church of San Lazaro, at the leper asylum; the quaint old
church of Santa Barbara; and the chapel of San Miguel, founded about
1520 by Miguel de Pasamonte, the royal treasurer, an inveterate enemy
of the Columbus family. The old Jesuit church is used as a theater and
the former Jesuit convent is occupied by business houses and private
residences.

The main plaza of Santo Domingo is a pretty square planted with
flowers and shade trees. In the center stands a bronze statue of
Columbus who is represented with the flag of Spain taking possession
of Quisqueya for his sovereigns. At the foot of the pedestal is an
Indian writing thereon the words found engraved on the box that
contained what are believed to be Columbus' remains: "Ill'tre. y
Es'do. Varon D'n Cristoval Colon," "Illustrious and noble man Don
Cristopher Columbus." On the south side of the plaza is the cathedral,
on the west side the old city hall, recently renovated and provided
with an ugly tower, and on the east side the government building,
erected during the Haitian occupation with bricks from the San
Francisco and Santa Clara churches. Popular superstition therefore
regards this building as unlucky and points out that one of the Baez
brothers was killed in a revolution when the family resided here. The
edifice was for years occupied by all the government offices until
the renovation of the ancient palace of government. Adjoining is the
small building in which the Dominican Congress meets. It occupies a
site on which in the olden days stood a prison, the walls of which
still remain behind the Congress Hall. The spacious building known as
the old palace of government is one of the most ancient edifices in
the city. Its cornerstone was laid about 1504 by Ovando and it
contained the offices of the Spanish governors-general in colonial
times. Through neglect it was permitted to fall to ruin but since 1900
it has gradually been renovated. Nearby is a large sundial, erected
in 1753.

The old palace of government is on Colon street, which was in the
early days called "Calle de las Damas," "Street of the Ladies,"
because on it resided the ladies who came from Spain with the wife of
Diego Columbus. It is to be regretted that the old street names which
were pregnant with memories of the past have been so lightly changed.
At present most of the streets are named after events, battles or
persons prominent in the more recent history of the country.

The streets of the capital are not quite so narrow as those of Havana,
San Juan and other old Spanish cities. After years of neglect the
principal streets have at length been placed in excellent condition
and the steam roller has even invaded the side streets. The sidewalks
are generally narrow, being only about three feet in width, and as
municipal supervision over them has not been carefully exercised,
there are differences in grade along the sidewalks of certain streets
and in passing along it is necessary to go up and down steps. Along
the improved streets, however, new sidewalks and gutters have been
constructed. The style of architecture of the houses with their thick
walls and iron-barred windows makes the streets resemble those of
other Spanish-American cities. Among the finest buildings of the city
may be counted the palatial quarters of the young men's club "Casino
de la Juventud" and of the Union Club, of which the most prominent men
of the city, especially merchants, are members. Leading out of the
city are two boulevards along which are fine residences of wealthier
Dominicans.

A city of such history naturally abounds with popular legends. Stories
are current of a network of ancient subterranean passages which are
said to connect the principal churches and the fort, and knowledge of
the location of which has been lost because their entrances have
either been walled up or become obstructed by debris. Local historians
deride such tales, though admitting that underground passages may have
existed at isolated points. It is related that not many years ago a
woman was digging in her garden on a street which passes the ruins of
Mercedes convent, when the earth gave way and an aperture became
visible. Her husband investigated and found a subterranean passage
which led across the street: and directly under the convent ruins,
where it was choked up with stones and earth. Other stories refer to
deep, forgotten vaults said to exist under many buildings. Popular
rumor, morbid when dealing with President Heureaux, affirms that in
vaults under the ancient mansion which was converted into a palace for
him, the remains of some of his victims were found. In vaults and
dungeons under the barracks of La Fuerza the Spaniards in retiring
from the island at the close of the eighteenth century, secreted part
of their military supplies. Many years later an old man who had
assisted in walling up the stores revealed their existence to
President Baez and he, when besieged in Santo Domingo in 1857 brought
them out and utilized them against the revolutionists. The old
mortars and grenades were found in excellent condition and at first
caused a panic among the besiegers who thought the shells had fallen
from the sky.

The favorite stories are those relating to buried treasure. During the
vicissitudes through which the island has passed and especially during
the troublous period at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of
the nineteenth century many persons who left the country first
secreted their valuables in the belief that their absence would be
only temporary. They did not return, their property passed into other
hands and the treasure was forgotten. Occasionally, too, people buried
their money for safe-keeping and died without imparting the secret.
There have been authenticated cases of treasure-trove, especially in
the first half of the nineteenth century. The finds have almost always
been accidental, as when in hanging a hammock a nail gave way and
revealed a cavity, or in rebuilding a hidden orifice was disclosed. In
many popular stories a foreigner with a map plays a part. According to
one of these tales a stranger appeared some years ago near Mercedes
church taking measurements, so that the neighbors thought him insane.
He finally approached the owner of one of the houses and offered to
rent it. When his increased offers were refused he drew from his
pocket a paper which he said showed the location of a hidden treasure
and offered the houseowner a share if he were permitted to make the
search. The cupidity of the other was aroused and he would agree to
take nothing less than three-fourths of the whole, whereupon the
stranger in a rage lit a match and burnt the paper before the
horrified houseowner's eyes, exclaiming: "Now you will never find it."
For months afterwards the proprietor delved through the ground below
the house and perforated the walls in scores of places, but the
prediction of the stranger would probably have been verified had it
not been for an accident. Some four years later, after a heavy rain, a
woman of the neighborhood came to draw water from the cistern of this
particular house. As the rope stuck in the pulley she gave a tug,
slipped and fell into the cistern to her waist in water. Her screams
brought assistance and as she was drawn out it was noticed that in her
descent, she had loosened several bricks in the wall of the cistern.
An examination revealed an aperture large enough to hold a man, and
filled with plate, jewelry and coins.

In another story the stranger was more fortunate. He rented a small
house, also on Mercedes street, paying several months' rent in
advance. When after a few days the house was found closed it was
thought the stranger had taken a trip to the country, but when two and
three months passed and the tenant did not reappear, the proprietress
applied to the authorities. The door was forced open and in the middle
of the room a deep hole was found, at the bottom of which was an empty
strongbox, while smaller boxes and the pick and shovel used in the
excavation lay scattered around. On a table in the corner lay a
parchment with a map that showed the location of the strongbox.
Further investigation revealed that the stranger a week after his
disappearance took passage on a schooner for a foreign port.

The fortunate finders of such treasures have generally kept silence in
order to avoid the possibility of adverse claimants, and when
discovered would minimize the find. Popular rumor still designates
several houses as containing hidden treasures. One of them, situated
on Billini Plaza, near the cathedral, has all but been torn to pieces
by tenants in vain efforts to penetrate the secret. In other cases the
rumors are more vague. General Ferrand, the energetic French governor
of Santo Domingo, is reported to have buried the state treasure before
departing in 1808 on the disastrous expedition in which he lost his
life in Palo Hincado, and in more than one place excavations have been
made to seek it.

Outside the walls of the city is the cemetery, which is pretty and
clean and has many vaults and varicolored plants. The most conspicuous
objects are the crosses which surmount the graves and the iron fences
surrounding many lots, with a little lantern at each corner. The
lanterns are lighted up on All Soul's Day, when people flock to the
cemetery and decorate the graves of their departed friends with
wreaths and flowers.

An interesting monument of old Santo Domingo is the small fortress of
San Geronimo, which stands deserted on the ocean shore about three
miles from the city. It was built in the early days of Spanish
colonization as a protection against foes who might land up the coast
and is a good specimen of medieval military architecture, with its
walls of immense thickness, its watch towers, its deep moat and its
dark dungeons. In revolutions it was usually garrisoned and has been
taken and retaken unnumbered times, and in 1903 it was bombarded by a
Dominican cruiser.

In the midst of its monuments of the past Santo Domingo throbs with
the life of the present. Being one of the principal ports and the seat
of the government it is the busiest city of the Republic. Its docks,
markets and business streets are always congested with workers
and traders.

_San Carlos_ is a suburb of Santo Domingo City, adjoining the same on
the northwest, and since 1910 forming an integral part thereof. It
was founded towards the end of the seventeenth century by Canary
Islanders. Owing to its proximity to Santo Domingo and as part of the
town overlooks the capital, it has in all the sieges of Santo Domingo
been held by the besiegers and lost heavily. The fifteen days' siege
by the negro emperor Dessalines in 1805 caused serious damage; in the
siege of eight months in 1808 by Juan Sanchez Ramirez it was almost
entirely ruined; in the fifteen days' siege of 1849 by Santana it was
burned; in the nine months' siege of 1857 by Santana it was again
partially destroyed and since that time in every siege it has
sustained damage. In the two months' siege in the beginning of 1904
the church and other buildings were damaged by shells, and several
blocks of dwellings were burned to the ground. Yet the town has always
risen, phoenix-like, from its ashes. One of the points of interest is
an old public cistern of great size and depth. Near San Carlos is the
picturesque grotto of Santa Ana, said to have been an Indian
sanctuary.

On the Ozama River opposite the capital is _Villa Duarte_, formerly
called _Pajarito_. On an adjoining estate is the ruined chapel of
Rosario, believed to date from the first city of Santo Domingo and
which may have been the church where Bobadilla proclaimed his
authority over Columbus. Not far from the town is an interesting cave
with three crystal pools called Tres Ojos.

_San Cristobal_, about 16 miles to the west of the capital, had only a

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