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whether a proposition to send deputies would be favourably received. But in the autumn of 1825, it was renewed with more ceremony, and some tolerable degree of consistency and uniformity were given to the details by the South American ministers at Washington, though, in every stage of its progress, this Congress (so far, at least, as the United States were concerned) has been attended with the great disadvantage of not being recommended by any precise objects, or set of subjects, well sketched and defined for discussion or deliberation. But in these particulars we shall leave the reader to judge for himself, first presenting him with an extract from a letter of November 1825 of Mr. Salazar, the Colombian minister.
"The undersigned has, also, been instructed to suggest some subjects, that will form useful matter of discussion in the Congress. These subjects constitute two classes. 1. Matters peculiarly and conclusively concerning the belligerents. 2. Matters between the belligerents and neutrals.
"As the United States will not take part in the discussion of subjects of the first description, we will confine ourselves to the latter.
"At Panama the best and most opportune occasion is offered to the United States to fix some principles of international law, the unsettled state of which has caused much evil to humanity. It belongs to each of the concurring parties to propose their views, but the voice of the United States will be heard with the respect and deference, which its early labours, in a work of such importance, will merit.
"The manner in which all colonization of European powers on the American continent shall be resisted, and their interference in the present contest between Spain and her former colonies prevented, are other points of great interest. Were it proper an eventual alliance in case these events should occur, which is within the range of possibilities, and the treaty, (of which no use should be made until the casus fœderis should happen) to remain secret, or, if this should seem premature, a convention so anticipated, would afford different means to secure the same end, of preventing foreign influence. This is a matter of immediate utility to the
American states that are at war with Spain, and is in accordance with the repeated declarations and protests of the cabinet at Washington. The conferences, held on this subject, being confidential, would increase mutual friendship and promote the respective interests of the parties.
"The consideration of the means to be adopted for the entire abolition of the African slave trade is a subject, sacred to humanity and interesting to the policy of the American states."
Mr. Obregon, the Mexican minister, in a letter of November 3d, repeats the same intimation :
"The government of the subscriber never supposed or desired that the United States of America would take part in the Congress, about to be held, in other matters than those, which from their nature and importance the late administration pointed out and characterised, as being of general interest to the continent, for which reason, one of the subjects, which will occupy the attention of the Congress, will be the resistance or opposition to the interference of any neutral nation in the question and war of independence between the new powers of the continent and Spain.
"The government of the undersigned apprehends, that as the powers of America are of accord as to resistance, it behoves them to discuss the means of giving to that resistance all possible force, that the evil may be met, if it cannot be avoided, and the only means of accomplishing this object is by a previous concert as to the mode, in which each of them shall lend its cooperation, for, otherwise, resistance would operate but partially, and in a manner much less certain and effective.
"The opposition to colonization in America by the European powers will be another of the questions, which may be discussed, and which is in like predicament with the foregoing.
"After these two principal subjects, the representatives of the United States of America may be occupied upon others, to which the existence of the new states may give rise, and which it is not easy to point out or enumerate: for which the government of the United States of Mexico will give instructions and ample powers to its commissioners, and it trusts, that those from the other powers may bear the same.
"To which end and in compliance with the tenor of the conver
sations held by the honourable Secretary of State, the underwritten minister plenipotentiary invites this government to send representatives to the Congress of Panama with authorities, as aforesaid, and with express instructions in their credentials upon the two principal questions, in which step he is, likewise, joined by the minister of Colombia and with which he trusts he has fulfilled all that was stipulated to this end."
The letter of Mr. Canas, envoy from the Federation of Central America, is more general:
"The government of Central America, which I have the honour to represent, as early as the year 1821, was sensible of the importance to the independent nations of this continent of a general Congress of their representatives at some central point, which might consider upon and adopt the best plan for defending the states of the new world from foreign aggression, and by treaties of alliance, commerce and friendship, raise them to that elevation of wealth and power, which from their resources they may attain. It also acknowledged that as Europe had formed a continental system, and held a Congress, whenever questions, affecting its interests, were to be discussed, America should form a system for itself and assemble by its representatives in Cortes, whenever circumstances of necessity and great importance should demand it.”"I am anxious, therefore, to know if this Republic, which has ever shown itself the generous friend of the new American states, is disposed to send its envoys to the general Congress, the object of which is to preserve and confirm the absolute independence of these Republics, and to promote the general good, and which will not require that the representatives of the United States should in the least compromit their present neutrality, harmony and good intelligence with other nations."
These are the general subjects of deliberation, as mentioned in the letters of the Mexican and South American envoys. In the outset of the exposition, we aim at nothing more than to connect, by an occasional sentence, the various paragraphs, which, for the benefit of the reader, (in order that he may have the facts put in an authentic form into his hands) we have recited from different public documents.
Between the years 1822 and 1825 the Republic of Co
lombia formed treaties of alliance, defensive and offensive, with the governments of Peru, Chili, the Federation of Central America and the Mexican states. The terms of the alliance and the object of the Congress of Panama are stated in the following articles :
"The Republic of Colombia and the State of Chili are united, bound and confederated, in peace and war, to maintain by their influence and forces by sea and land-as far as circumstances permit -their independence of the Spanish nation and of any other foreign domination whatsoever". "these two states 'contract a league
of close alliance for the common defence-for the security of their independence and liberty, for their reciprocal and general good and for their internal tranquillity, obliging themselves to succour each other, and to repel, in common, every attack or invasion, which may, in any manner, threaten their political existence.'
"As soon as this great and important object has been attained, a general assembly of American states shall be convened, (at Panama, as subsequently stated) composed of their plenipotentiaries, with the charge of cementing, in the most solid and stable manner, the intimate relations, which ought to exist between all and every one of them, and which may serve as a council in the great conflict, as a rallying point in the common dangers, as a faithful interpreter of the public treaties, when difficulties occur, and as an umpire and conciliator in their disputes and difficulties."
These several sets of extracts will, we imagine, leave no doubt of the intention of the South American states in proposing this meeting. The formal invitation, already quoted, given by the ministers of the new Republics, was accepted in the autumn of the same year, as will appear by an extract of a letter, dated Nov. 30, 1825, of the Secretary of State:
"When, at your instance, during the last spring I had the honour of receiving you at the department of state, and conferring with you verbally, in regard to the proposed Congress, and to the friendly wish entertained by your government, that ours should be represented at it, I stated to you, by the direction of the President, that it appeared to him necessary, before the assembling of such a Congress, to settle between the different powers to be represent
ed, several preliminary points, such as the subjects, to which the attention of the Congress should be directed, the substance and the form of the powers to be given to the respective representatives, and the mode of organizing the Congress, and that, if these points should be satisfactorily arranged, the President would be disposed to accept, in behalf of the United States, the invitation, with which you are provisionally charged.
"In your note there is not recognised so exact a compliance with the conditions, on which the President expressed his willingness, that the United States should be represented at Panama, as could have been desired. It would have been, perhaps, better if there had been a full understanding between all the American powers, who may assemble by their representatives, of the precise questions, on which they are to deliberate, and that some other matters, respecting the powers of the deputies, and the organization of the Congress, should have been distinctly arranged, prior to the opening of its deliberations. But as the want of the adjustment of these preliminaries, if it should occasion any inconvenience, could be only productive of some delay, the President has determined at once to manifest the sensibility of the United States to whatever concerns the prosperity of the American hemisphere, and to the friendly motives, which have actuated your government in transmitting the invitation, which you have communicated.
"He has therefore resolved, should the Senate of the United States, now expected to assemble in a few days, give their advice and consent, to send commissioners to the Congress at Panama. Whilst they will not be authorized to enter upon any deliberations, or to concur in any acts, inconsistent with the present neutral position of the United States and its obligations, they will be fully empowered and instructed upon all questions, likely to arise in the Congress, on subjects, in which the nations of America have a common interest."
We have placed a single paragraph of this extract in italics, in order to show, that the disadvantage, to which we have alluded, of an absence of precise information in regard to the subjects to be discussed, together with the powers of the deputies, was, also, seriously felt by the government.. In the following December a nomination, accompanied by a formal message, was made to the Senate, of Richard C. An