WORK OF THE FIRST COUNCILS
We will sum up their most remarkable doings:
a) Strife for the soil:
Item 9) of the colonization contract, granted the settlers who inhabited the chosen area,, four leagues of the periphery for "communal benefit". This was not fulfilled, not even after the Law dated 31 st. of August ratifying 1866 that donation for the Commune's sake, with the adding that it could not be ever taken by any kind of authority, not going to private domain or to any society. Both promises were not fulfilled, until on 12 th. July, the Chambers annulled this law, granting to Esperanza Colony, instead, the fiscal territories attached to it on the West and North, destined by law to communal service. The proceeds on the sale of these lands destined exclusively to education and public works. The fraction donated was of 71 "concesiones" (33 ha.) each approximately, according to the title property, that is, the fourth part of what was established by contract. The municipal representative who could obtain this small fraction was Don Guillermo Lehmann.. The money received was destined to the building of the Municipal School Centre of the town, ( the present Escuela Normal) and the building of the Catholic church. But which was the consequence of the nonfulfilment by the government? When Esperanza was colonized, the settlers received a grant of land (33 hectares). The Swiss and German settlers, used to small plots of land (minifundia), thought it beyond their dreams. But short after their settlement, they understood they were mistake, since a concesion (33 ha. of land) Was not enough to outlive. Intensive tillage was not possible, but extensive. Besides, in 33 hectares, it was impossible to sow and rear the cattle which would give them the necessary milk to make cheeses and butter. With the foundation of new colonies in the surroundings, many emigrated because the distribution of the land was done on the basis of "four concesiones", which allowed them to strive and prosper. This was why Esperanza rural production got stuck, and with the passing of the years, it ranked in the last positions compared wirh that of other settlements of the area and of Castellanos Department. In these towns, agariculture had not only developed as regards the quality of seeds for the fine crop, but also in dairies, with were better installed and with selected cattle. It was not unusual to find small rural establishments where dairy cattle was reared and taken to the rural shows of the country. This was the first serious consequence, inflicted to the settlers by their lack of lands, not to mention other secondary effects like object poverty, complete absence of improvements, etc. Resuming the beginning, the Councillors strove for the recognition came, a quarter of a century later, and reduced in quality, it was worthless.
b) Religious Tolerance:
In fact, this is not an achievement of the Council, but a practice adopted by the settlers. In fact, we know that the First Council and the following ones, were made up of citizen of both christian creeds. If we look back at that time, we will be able to understand the significance of this, since the country was inhabited by catholic Spanish descendants. Instead, in Switzerland and in Germany, the Reformed Church had a stronger presence than the Catholic one; thus, the first settlers, used to live peacefully in their countries, brought this spirit of connivance with them here. This is the main reason for the pacific tolerance that made it possible to have representatives of the two in the communal government.
c) Primary Education:
Until 1890 the Communes and the provincial
government were in charge of primary education. We can read on the
Letter dated in 1872, item 5º Article 25º: The following
"Take care of the preservation of moral and good behaving,
to the fosterig and improvement of primary education, taking the
necessary steps for the establishment of primary and technical school
in the municipal contour, according to its resources, inspecting
them although schools are not under its inmediate dependence".
d) Other Actions:
One of the first resolutions was the
sanction of Police Regul of the Colon, date 20 th. February, where
article 5º prescribes: "Sundays and feast days will be
strictly observed and respected. Anybody who work on such days will
be punished with a fine of $ 4. If the case makes if necessary,
the legally qualified authority, in agreement with the religious
one, will authorize certain works, after the divine office "