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the cigar factory; the debt of $10,000 and interest to the government, and the balance of over $6,000 due on it after applying all these values, we might open our eyes sufficiently wide at Mr. Hopkins' first estimate of damages.
In his despatch of August 30, 1854, to Mr. Marcy, he says : “ But should the extraordinary avarice of this old man Lopez be made to pay two or three hundred thousand dollars for our reclamations and expenses, &c., all would go well for years to come.”
And to fortify this exagerated suggestion he speaks in the same despatch of “the millions locked up in the customhouse.”
But this was only the begining. In the short space of three days the claim had grown to double its original meas
On the 2d of September he says: "The delay of a year before these things can be arranged, the entire ruin of our commercial operations in Paraguay, the expenditure per last balance sheet of $116,000, the destruction of our credit, and that of my personal, official, and mercantile character, under the continued calumnies of the government press here-the loss which will accrue to us, when at this moment in full and successful operation (!) after many disasters—all will not be satisfied, principal and interest, by the payment of a less reclamation than $400,000.”
This is pretty rapid vegetation. But when we consider, that besides all the conjectural profits, and everything else, principal and interest, for the company, there is included a liberal compensation for the loss of "my personal, official, and mercantile character," it seems extremely moderate when compared with the next stage of expansion. In the short space of three months, on the 15th day of January, 1855, the company addressed President Pierce, and claimed, exclusive of Mr. Hopkins' “personal, official, and mercantile character," the enormous sum of $935,000.
Nothing daunted by Mr. Marcy's cool and rather cutting reply, we find them moving forward among imaginary millions, until, in the letter to Mr. Bowlin, (which shows very “serious objections to any commission,”) in October, 1858, they actually declare that the value of these exclusive privileges alone is not less than five million dollars !
This exceeds the marvelousness of the fable of the bean stalk of Jack the Giant Killer!
But at the same time, in a letter marked "private and confidential,” they tell Mr. Bowlin, that if the thing can be settled without any difficulty, they will be satisfied with five hundred thousand dollars; that is, ten per cent. upon the value of their patents, or (viewed from the other end) one hundred times the value fixed by Mr. Ferguson upon their movable property at San Antonio, or more than one hundred times the whole value of all their property, real and personal, as ascertained by judicial proceedings, and applied to the partial payment of their debt to the Republic.
Upon the whole case, it is confidently submitted that no award whatever can be made in favor of the claimants.
The unfortunate occurrence with the Water Witch, settled so amicably and so honorably for both governments, being adroitly connected with this case by those whose interests required it, gave to it a color and an importance which it would never otherwise have obtained. The government of the United States did no more than was its duty in requiring that a claim solemnly made by respectable citizens, and supported by a show of evidence, should be attended to and settled as justice might require. The patriotism of the administration, and its vigilance to protect its citizens, have been made manifest in this as in other instances. Its resolution that right shall prevail, has been exhibited in the selection, to sit in judgment here, of an eminent citizea, who will pardon me for saying, even in his presence, that all his countrymen, of all parties, have ever confided in his conscientious love of justice, and his enlightened ability; while his colleague enjoys an equally elevated character in the country of his birth and allegiance.
To a tribunal so constituted, I submit, with confidence, the cause of my illustrious client.
J. MANDEVILLE CARLISLE,
Counsel for Paraguay.
The United States and Paraguay Navigation Company had been organized, by an association of enterprising citizens of Rhode Island, in the Fall of 1852, and chartered by the Legislature of that State in June, 1853. The capital was one hundred thousand dollars, with liberty to increase it to a million, for the general purposes of trade.
Mr. E. A. Hopkins, who had been mainly instrumental in getting up the company, became its general agent for the transaction of its business south of the equator, with a salary of two thousand dollars per annum, and by the same contract entitled to five per centum on its profits, until his share of the profits should reach thirty thousand dollars, when he was to be paid ten thousand dollars in cash, and the other twenty thousand dollars in stock of the company at par. He had been likewise appointed the Consul of the United States for Paraguay.
Mr. Hopkins had resided many years in that country. His favorable accounts of the valley of the La Plata, of the fertility of its soil, its salubrious climate, the absence of industry and enterprise among its citizens, their total igno rance of the mechanical arts, commerce and agricultural pursuits, presented to his associates a field for enterprise that promised, in their estimation, unbounded wealth, such as had never been realized, except by British merchants in the East Indies.
Paraguay was selected as the chief theatre of their operations; but the contract with Mr. Hopkins constituted him their agent for all parts “south of the equator,” indicating a more extended field.
For thirty years the government of that country, nominally a Republic, had been, under the control of Doctor Francia, an absolute despotism. His policy had excluded foreigners, and prohibited all intercourse with foreign nations; had paralyzed the industry of the country, and rendered its population entirely subservient to his will.
Upon his death, which occurred nearly twenty years ago, Carlos Antonio Lopez had been selected as his successor, under a modified government, and with the title of President. He had the sagacity to see the evil influences experienced by the people from the policy adopted by the Dictator, and patriotism enough to seek a remedy. He encouraged the arts and industry by the most liberal patent laws, securing rights for inventions, improvements, and the introduction of new and useful machines, thereby promoting agricultura) and mechanical industry; and still more, by opening to commerce the great rivers Parana and Paraguay, which nearly surround the country. In the efforts to improve the condition of the citizens, long accustomed to oppression and injustice, he could not fail to perceive that such a change in their condition, to be permanently beneficial, must necessarily be gradual.
He found the Republic surrounded by States, constantly in agitation, at war with each other and among themselves; all was anarchy and disorder. Under such circumstances, it was no easy task to establish order and peace, and to promote industry and the arts among his own people. It could only be accomplished by a firmness, vigor and energy in his administration which would be regarded in other countries (more enlightened, and more accustomed to self-government) as tyrannical and oppressive. It could scarcely be expected that the ideas of rights of person and property, of political and civil liberty, and the administration of justice, as understood and practiced in the States of this Union, could be at once introduced and put into successful operation in the infancy of a Republic like Paraguay.
That a more rapid advancement of industry and civilization has been attained under his administration, is generally conceded. Proceeding in this spirit, he seems to have hailed with alacrity the prospect of friendly relations with the United States.
Captain Page, in his narrative of the scientific expedition under his command, says, that the government extended to him "a series of national courtesies," which commanded his respect. “Indeed, (he says,) government hospitalities represent a characteristic of the Paraguayans. A more generous,
single-hearted people it is impossible to find, and they have ' a native tact which rarely offends even the conventional
ideas of those who have associated more with the outer world."
The kindest treatment was extended to him and his officers until the rupture with Hopkins. Upon the arrival of Consul Hopkins and his employés, which took place in the fall of 1853, they were received with the utmost cordiality, and every possible aid generously extended to them. The soldiers of the Republic were turned out of a barrack for their accommodation, without any compensation for its use. Aid was cheerfully given to Mr. Hopkins for the selection of suitable sites for the works he contemplated. Laborers were selected and ordered into his service, for a very moderate compensation; and when President Lopez found the company embarrassed with disasters, and with the debts they had contracted, he liberally and generously extended to them an accommodation of ten thousand dollars for two years, from the treasury.
Stronger evidence of a desire to cultivate the good will of the company, and to secure the confidence and respect of the citizens of the United States, could not have been given, than was exhibited in the conduct of President Lopez, and the citizens generally, in courtesies and favors freely and cheerfully extended to Captain Page, his officers and men, and to the agent and servants of the United States and Paraguay Navigation Company.
Many of these acts, so beneficial to these claimants, were of a nature peculiar to a goverment of strong powers, and a people unaccustomed to question their extent, and without which the establishment could not have been put in operation. Mr. Hopkins, in his letter to Governor Marcy, of 22d August, 1854, says, “I knew well enough its [the government's] arbitrary character, and believed the people to be unfit to govern themselves."
Mr. Hopkins, then, with a full knowledge of the institutions and laws, the customs and habits of the people, voluntarily selected for himself and employés that country as a residence and place of business. Thus, they became entitled, as citizens of the United States resident in Paraguay, to all the immunities, rights, and privileges granted to the people of that State by their laws, and made themselves equally liable with them to the penalties and punishments imposed