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". The same concept is repeated in article 43º of the Letter sanctioned on 5 th. of November 1883 and in article 44º of the Letter of the letter dated 27 th. of November 1884. These provisions were changed in the Organic Law of 1890, where article 24º, item 15, reads: "Take care of the preservation of moral and good behaving, to the fostering and improvement of public instruction, destining to the annual budget from 10 to 20 % of its income for the provincial school found, in agreement with the prescription of the Constitution". A change can be seen here as regards primary school: the tutelary authority of the Town Hall vanishes away. Our Councils had a deep concern for children´s education, and did the most they could for that. So much so that, before the opening of Normal School, they had talks about the creation of a Graduated School of Elementary and Superior Education as a second step in the prosecution of their objetives. We could not include in this brief summary all that concerns this topic. But we should know that the Council, from the very beginning, set itself as its task, to get teachers for the children.
1) 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 "
2) They set the weekly rest, and although its origin is strictly religious, settlers were acquainted with the new ideas which pervaded the XIX century. The Provincial executive removed this acquisition when it sanctioned the Regulation. Another important resolution, it is the election of the Virgin Child as patroness of the Colony. On 25th. December, 1863 session, the Council, following the minutes, passed the following: "In Esperanza,on 25 th. December, the Municipal Council, met extraordinarily under the Presidence of Mr. Eduardo Mahieu, Registrar, Messrs. C. Henry, Santiago Weidmann, Pedro Trombert, Wendel Gietz, Juan Jacob, Basilio Berraz, Francisco Schürrer. Gustavo Pérret, Secretary, Rafael Pezzini, parish priest were present, being absent Messrs.: C. Nussbaum and L. Van Strate, the latter being not in the Colony. Mr. President announced the Council that it had been summoned to proclaim the Patroness of the Colony, since the Archbishop wanted to bless the church and confirm the children. The Colony should be under patronage of a saint, the Municipal Council, being gathered today, names, by secret vote, to the Holy Virgin on her bithday, celebrated on 8 th. September. Thus, this day will be recognized as patronal feast of the Colony, and this will be notified to the people. This minute has been signed during the session, Mr. President and the parish priest, on 25 th. December, 1863. E. Mahieu, Fray Rafael Pezzini. Antonio G. Perret.. We feel almost tempted to affirm that this is the only case in the country, and its election was not arbitrary. In fact, the Holy Scripture says, referring to the birth of María, that the earth rejoyced with her birth.It was Mary the hope of the christian world, as it was the Colony newly founded; hoope of a new world of work and welfare.