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Spain on this momentous subject! Spain, of all governments most celebrated for delays, for never ending correspondences and for diplomatic lethargy! This power, expected to yield to the impatience and eagerness of the aspiring states of the new world, to renounce, in a cession of the Cortes, an allegiance she had held for three centuries! The kingdom of the Indies abandoned in a single importation of deputies! "The Spaniards of both hemispheres," says the King in his speech," ought to be persuaded there is nothing he desires so much as their liberty, founded in the integrity of the monarchy and in the observance of the constitution."
The time had now arrived, when this government determined to recognise some of the new states in South America. This memorable disposition was communicated to Congress in a message, March 8th, 1822. From a report of the House of Representatives, made on the subject of this communication, we shall, before reciting the resolutions, extract one or two passages.
"That the provinces of Buenos Ayres after having, from the year 1810, proceeded in their revolutionary movements without any obstacle from the government of Spain, formally declared their independence of that government in 1816. After various intestine commotions and external collisions, those provinces now enjoy domestic tranquillity and a good understanding with all their neighbours, and actually exercise, without opposition from within, or the fear of annoyance from without, all the attributes of sovereignty.
The provinces of Venezuela and New Granada, after having separately declared their independence, sustained, for a period of
"ART. 13. The rest of the countries of America comprised in the other sections shall contribute to the peninsula in the manner, that shall be hereafter fixed upon, and according to their circumstances.
“ ART. 14. New Spain takes upon herself the payment of all the public debt, contracted in her territory by order of her agents in her name and by her authority, the lands, revenues and other property of the state, of whatever nature, without prejudice to what has been agreed upon in the 11th article, shall be made over to her to serve as an bypothecation of what has been stipulated in said article."
more than ten years, a desolating war against the armies of Spain, and having severally attained, by their triumph over those armies, the object for which they contended, united themselves on the 19th of December 1819, in one nation, under the title of The Republic of Colombia.'
"The Republic of Colombia has now a well organized government, instituted by the free will of its citizens, and exercises all the functions of sovereignty, fearless alike of internal and foreign enemies. The small remnant of the numerous armies, commissioned to preserve the supremacy of the parent state, is now blockaded in two fortresses, where it is innoxious, and where, deprived, as it is, of all hope of succour, it must soon surrender at discretion; when this event shall have occurred, there will not remain a vestige of foreign power in all that republic, containing between three and four millions of inhabitants.
"The province of Chili, since it declared its independence in the year 1818, has been in the constant and unmolested enjoyment of the sovereignty, which it then assumed.
"The province of Peru, situated like Chili beyond the Andes, and bordering on the Pacific Ocean, was, for a long time, deterred from making any effectual effort for independence by the presence of an imposing military force, which Spain had kept up in that country. It was not, therefore, until the 12th of June of the last year, that its capital, the city of Lima, capitulated to an army, chiefly composed of troops from Buenos Ayres and Chili, under the command of General San Martin. The greatest part of the royal troops, which escaped on that occasion, retreated to the mountains, but soon left them to return to the coast, there to join the royal garrison in the fortress of Callao. The surrender of that fortress soon after to the Americans, may be regarded as the termination of the war in that quarter.
"The revolution in Mexico has been, somewhat, different in its character and progress, from the revolutions in other Spanish American provinces, and its result, in respect to the organization of its internal government has, also, not been precisely the same. Independence, however, has been as emphatically declared and as practically established since the 24th of August last by the Mexican Empire,' as ever it has been by the republics of the South ; and her geographical situation, her population and her resources,
eminently qualify her to maintain the independence she has thus declared and now actually enjoys."
"Who is the rightful sovereign of a country, is not an enquiry permitted to foreign nations, to whom it is competent only to treat with the powers that be.'
"There is no difference of opinion on this point among the writers on public law and no diversity with respect to it in the practice of civilized nations. It is not necessary here to cite authority for a doctrine familiar to all, who have paid the slightest attention to the subject, nor to go back for its practical illustration to the civil wars between the houses of York and Lancaster. Have we not, indeed, within the brief period of our own remembrance, beheld governments vary their forms and change their rulers, according to the prevailing power or passion of the moment, and doing so in virtue of the principle now in question, without materially and lastingly affecting their relations with other governments? Have we not seen the emperors and kings of yesterday receive on the thrones of exiled sovereigns, who claimed the right to reign there, the friendly embassies of other powers, with whom those exiled sovereigns had sought an asylum, and have we not seen today those emperors and kings thus courted and recognised yesterday, reft of their sceptres, and, from a mere change of circumstances, not of right, treated as usurpers by their successors, who, in their turn, have been acknowledged and caressed by the same foreign powers?
"Even when civil war breaks the bonds of society and of government, or, at least, suspends their force and effect, it gives birth in the nation to two independent parties, who regard each other as enemies and acknowledge no common judge.' It is of necessity, therefore, that these two parties should be considered by foreign states as two distinct and independent nations. To consider or treat them otherwise would be to interfere in their domestic concerns, to deny them the right to manage their own affairs in their own way, and to violate the essential attributes of their respective sovereignty. For a nation to be entitled to respect in foreign states, to the enjoyment of these attributes, and to figure directly in the great political society, it is sufficient that it is really sovereign and independent, that it governs itself by its own authority and laws. The people of Spanish America do notoriously so
govern themselves, and the right of the United States to recognise the governments, which they have instituted, is incontestable. A doubt of the expediency of such a recognition can be suggested only by the apprehension, that it may injuriously affect our peaceful and friendly relations with the nations of the other hemisphere ?
"No nation in Europe, excepting Spain herself, has, hitherto, opposed force to the independence of South America. Some of those nations have not only constantly maintained commercial and friendly intercourse with them in every stage of the revolution, but indirectly and efficiently, though not avowedly, aided them in the prosecution of their great object. To these the acknowledgment by the United States of the attainment of that object must be satisfactory.
"To the other nations of Europe, who have regarded the events occurring in Spanish America, not only without interference, but with apparent indifference, such an acknowledgment ought not to be offensive.
"The nations, who have thus, respectively, favoured or never opposed the Spanish American people during their active struggle for independence, cannot, it is believed, regard with dissatisfaction the formal recognition of that independence by a nation, which, while that struggle lasted, has religiously observed towards both the conflicting parties all the duties of neutrality. Your committee are, therefore, of opinion, that we have a right on this occasion confidently to expect, from what these nations have done or forborne to do, during the various fortunes of the civil war, which has terminated, that they will frankly approve the course of policy, which the United States may now think proper to adopt in relation to the successful party in that war. It surely cannot be reasonably apprehended, that nations, who have thus been the tranquil spectators, the apparent well wishers, if not the efficient supporters of this party, and who have not made the faintest attempt to arrest its progress, or to prevent its success, should be displeased with a third power, for merely recognising the governments, which, owing to that success, have thus been vitally permitted or impliedly approved in acquiring the undisputed and exclusive control of the countries in which they are established."
"Resolved, That the House of Representatives concur in the
opinion expressed by the President in his message of the 8th of March 1822, that the American provinces of Spain which have declared their independence and are in the enjoyment of it, ought to be recognised by the United States as independent nations.
"Resolved, That the committee of ways and means be instructed to report a bill, appropriating a sum, not exceeding one hundred thousand dollars, to enable the President to give due effect to such recognition."
On the 4th of May 1822, an act of Congress made an appropriation of 100,000 dollars" for such missions to the independent nations on the American continent as the President of the United States might deem proper." In pursuance of this authority, ministers plenipotentiary were successively appointed to Colombia (R. C. Anderson, Jun., of Kentucky, 1824), to Buenos Ayres (C. A. Rodney, of New Jersey, 1824), to Chili (H. Allen, of Vermont, 1824), to Mexico (Joel Poinsett, of South Carolina, 1826). In 1825 J. M. Forbes succeeded Mr. Rodney at Buenos Ayres as a chargé. We shall take this opportunity, also, to state that in 1824, Jose Manuel Zazoza was accredited a minister from Mexico, Jose Maria Salazar a minister plenipotentiary from Colombia, and in 1825, Antonio Jose Canas envoy and minister from Guatimala.
We are not so much struck with the length of time this revolution lasted, as with the little stability and firmness, with which it proceeded. Whether foreign nations find it for their interest to recognise a new state a lustre sooner or later, does not much signify. Old nations admit new members into the great family with jealousy. The recognition by this country was the first, but it was delayed, till not a shadow of hope for the restoration of Spanish dominion remained. The last strand had fairly parted, and it had fully ceased to be matter of doubt, whether injury was done to Spain. It is, also, evident that the success of the revolution was little retarded, or obstructed by the power of the mother country. If it did not sweep on with an easy, strong and rapid course, it is to be principally, perhaps solely, attributed to domestic and internal difficulties and obstacles.