English translation: A valuable portrait of New York’s Spanish colony written in 1884 by the distinguished writer and inventor from Galicia, Ramón Verea

We shall close this cursory review by looking at [New York’s] Spanish colony, in which we include all those who speak Castilian.

It seems to us that the Spaniard that arrives here is quickly infected by “the work vice”, a malady that does not afflict him so strongly in his native climate. We are proud to say, without being blinded by the pride of our “raza”, that the Spanish colony here could serve as an example to any other. Whether we look at the young man who spends his days seated at a table manufacturing cigars, or at the businessman who receives and dispatches cargo ships, we will find such a love of work, and such distilled honesty, it is enough to make anyone feel proud. The cigar worker, for example, who elsewhere is regarded as a professional loafer and wise-cracker, here can be compared with the most honorable worker of any nationality. And it is that honesty and that love of work which explains why so many men, who just a few years ago were mere workers or employees, have ended up owning large factories or commercial houses. Of all the businessmen of our race that are here, only a few arrived with great wealth; most of them can say that they owe their entire success to themselves, that the credit they have acquired in this vast market is a result of their honest dealings in all transactions. A Spanish business going bankrupt is as rare as a family being abandoned.

In addition to the many prestigious factories and business houses in all branches, the Spanish colony boasts all sorts of establishments. There are political and industrial newspapers, such as Las Novedades, which publishes both a daily and a weekly edition; we have three hotels, El Español, El Recreo and EL Imperial, as well as many boarding houses; there are several benevolent and mutual aid societies, pharmacies, shoestores, haberdasheries, etc. If those of the Spanish race were as fond of protecting each other as the French and Germans are, we would be in a better position with regards to the other foreign colonies. Our most grave defect is disunity. We applaud what is foreign and we criticize what is ours. Good Lord, how we criticize! We’re not like the artist who examines a work to find its merits and its faults; we’re more like the forensic doctor who performs an autopsy on the cadaver of a beautiful woman, to show us all the repugnant things on the inside. It is true that we try to elevate to the high heavens our great men; but while they live, we do everything we can to bring them down. And what we do with the great men, we do with the small ones too. Perhaps we’re jealous?

Since this illness is in the blood, it would be difficult to cure it with ink. Our advise to anyone who thinks he or she is valuable: Die! The medicine might seem bitter, but so far no one has put it in sugarcoated pills…