Obrázky stránek

ment to pay interest semi-annually; and this being assumed, that there are to be semi-annual rests, and the interest compounded, as against the Republic of Paraguay.

Proofs will be offered of the importations actually made by the company, and of their value and disposition. It will also be shown in evidence that a sum of $10,000 was loaned to Mr. Hopkins, for the use of the company, by the govern. ment of Paraguay, to relieve them from pressing wants and embarrassments

, in the very beginning of the enterprise, which sum, with interest, remains unpaid, except so far as the value of property abandoned by the company (of which a strict account will be produced) may be applicable thereto. The “lands” which figure so largely in the complaints of the company, will be shown to have been procured upon a void title, for the price of seventy or eighty dollars; the "cigar factory" to have been likewise of insignificant value. The saw-mill, however it may have been estimated as a "potentiality of wealth," in fact never paid its own expenses. In short, whatever reports or representations may have been made to the gentlemen who were induced by Mr. Hopkins to enter into this speculation, the whole affair was a mere bubble, which never could have resulted, even in the hands of the most judicious and skillful agent, in the realization of the enormous products which this honorable commission is invoked, by the opening statement, to consider as certain fruits wrested by a wrongdoer from the actual grasp of the claimants.

Upon this subject of amounts, it may be remarked that the paragraph with which the opening statement concludes, may well excite surprise in those who have perused the several memorials presented to the government of the United States by these claimants, and which exhibit the truly tropical luxuriance with which their pretensions have grown. To say that the company have always, and in every form, maintained that their claim exceeded a million dollars, appears, in view of these documents, to be an inadvertence. Certain it is, whether by authority of the President or not, that a proposition was made, through General Urquiza, (who in communicating it, tendered a loan from his government to that of Paraguay,) to settle the demand for the sum of $500,000. This proposition was declined, but was followed by the offer from President Lopez of a much smaller sum, (probably about half that amount,) which offer was made from motives which concerned the tranquility of the Republic, and from a desire to prove to the United States his determination to preserve, by all reasonable sacrifices, a friendly intercourse with this government and people. But the matter having now taken the public and solemn form of a convention between two nations, these offers of compromise on either side are as if they had never been. It has now become a question of strict right, to be determined with judicial certainty.

All which is respectfully submitted,

J. MANDEVILLE CARLISLE, Counsel and Agent for the Republic of Paraguay.

WASHINGTON, June 27, 1860.



This is a case of wrong and injury done by the government of Paraguay to citizens of the United States. It is only in cases of wrong that this government will interpose. In other cases, its good offices are sometimes employed, but it never makes a demand, or employs force, unless a wrong has been done. This is its settled policy.

In this case, the wrong is beyond question. It appearg from the memorials of the company, from the recorded judg. ments of the Department of State under two administrations, from the messages of the President, from the solemn action of both branches of Congress, and from the treaty itself, which assumes the wrong, and constitutes a commission to assess the damages.

It is a peculiarity of this commission that it is formed with reference to a single case and for a single purpose. Ordina. rily, a claims commission is authorized to consider and determine all such claims of a certain character as may have been presented within a given time. In such cases, the treaty assumes only certain general facts, such as the previous existence of a war, the appropriation of a sum of money, or some general principle of liability. Neither of these assumptions would be inquired into by a commission. In this case, the whole subject matter of the negotiation which led to the treaty having been a single claim, it was easy to make the convention definite, and to confine the duties of the commission to a single point. This has been done. The treaty assumes the wrong committed, and the liability of Paraguay,

and only authorizes the commissioners to assess the amount of damages. It is a simple question of, how much?

If there was any ambiguity in the convention on this point, it could not fail to be removed by a reference to the proceed. ings which led to the convention.

The first application of the company to their government was dated January 15, 1855, and requested that “such measures may be taken as to me [the President] may seem meet and proper, to demand of the government of Paraguay, and enforce the payment, as indemnity for our losses and the destruction of our business in that country, the sum of $935,000."

The statement of Mr. Gallup (see his letter to Mr. Bradley, of July 8, 1855) shows that Mr. Marcy, the Secretary of State, although at first somewhat prejudiced against it, (the claim,] at the last interview I had with him, expressed him. self satisfied that a great outrage had been committed upon our citizens by the President of the Republic of Paraguay, and that he should make a demand upon his government for indemnity.”

The records of the department show that this assurance was complied with. On the 18th of July, 1856, Mr. Marcy writes to Mr. Peden, American Minister at Buenos Ayres, as follows:

A company of American citizens, called the United States and Paraguay Navigation Company,' was established in the manufacturing business within the territory of Paraguay, with the full consent of the government of that country. A misunderstanding unfortunately arose between that government and the United States consul, Mr. Hopkins, who was the agent of the company. The authorities of Paraguay not only broke up the company, but seized its property. The conduct of Paraguay appears to have been not only unjust and oppressive, but to have produced the loss of a large amount of property. Mr. Fitzpatrick will be instructed to present to the Paraguayan government a claim for the damages sustained by its unjustifiable proceedings towards the company. Should there be, as there probably will, a difference of opinion as to the character and amount of indemnity to which the company is entitled, (not as to the liability, be it observed, but as to the indemnity,] Mr. Fitzpatrick will be instructed to investigate the transaction, and report thereon to the government.”

Accordingly, on the 5th of August, 1856, Mr. Marcy writes to Mr. Fitzpatrick as follows:

“No doubt is entertained that injustice was done to the company, and that under the condition of things in Paraguay, the government of that country is accountable therefor. You will accordingly, at a proper time, and in a proper manner, make known the views of this government on the subject. Before adverting to it, however, it is deemed advisable that you should propose an exchange of the ratifications of the treaty with Paraguay, which was concluded on the 4th of March, 1853."

Whatever prejudices Governor Marcy may have had in the beginning, against Mr. Hopkins, or the claim of the company, he had reached the conclusion, it will be seen, at this time, that, beyond any doubt, “injustice was done to the company, and that, under the condition of things in Paraguay, the government of that country is accountable therefor." This was the deliberate judgment of Governor Marcy, and was made the basis of his official action.

It was a judgment found, moreover, not upon ex parte statements of the company, but in full view of the statements, also, of Paraguay, and with the correspondence of Mr. Falcon, on the files of the department.

The mission of Mr. Fitzpatrick was a complete failure. He was so rudely treated on the subject of the treaty, and his

request was so surnmarily refused, that he seems to have thought it useless to attempt any other business. The clairn of the company was not mentioned, and when he was satis. fied that President Lopez would not consent to exchange the ratifications of the treaty, he at once withdrew.

It now became necessary for the Government of the United States to resort to more decisive measures in respect to Paraguay. Without any good reason on earth, the business of the company had been broken up, its property seized, and its servants insulted; a peaceful surveying vessel had been fired upon, and an American citizen had been killed ; a treaty solemnly made had been refused to be exchanged upon the most frivolous pretext, and our agents, who were sent out in a spirit of moderation to adjust the existing difficulties, had been received with rudeness, and refused any satisfaction whatever. It was quite time that President Lopez should be made to feel his true position.

« PředchozíPokračovat »