Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

sent to Panamá, by those governments which had agreed to join in the confederacy, suggesting that they ought not, out of courtesy to the delinquents, to delay any longer to profit by the advantages, which it was confidently believed would be derived from such a convention. The governments of Colombia and Mexico promptly acceded to this request of the Liberator of Peru, and two delegates from each of these countries proceeded to the place of destination. It is presumed, also, that the republic of Guatamala will join the confederacy at the outset, and send its representatives.

The preliminary steps of the Congress are indicated by Santander, Vice President of Colombia, in his reply to Bolivar's circular. It is there proposed, that the governments of Colombia and Peru should authorise their plenipotentiaries, as soon as they arrive at Panamá, to enter into a direct correspondence with the other republics, acquainting them that conferences had commenced, and renewing the invitation for each to send representatives. That these same plenipotentiaries should have power to select such a place, as they should think proper, in the Isthmus of Panamá, for their preparatory conferences. And, again, that whenever delegates from Mexico, Guatamala, Colombia, and Peru, or from any three of these republics, should be convened, they should have power to install the assembly of confederate delegates, and proceed to the business for which they were convened. It is moreover stated, in the letters of the President of Mexico, and the Vice President of Colombia, that each of these govemments, through their ministers plenipotentiary in Washington, had invited the government of the United States to take part in the deliberations at Panamá.

Such is a very brief history of the origin of this assembly; future events must unfold the character and extent of its doings. Meantime we hasten to a few observations on its proposed objects, as far as these can be understood, from the hitherto imperfect expositions of the parties themselves, and from the political condition and interests of the several republics. The pamphlet, whose title is prefixed to this article, and which was published at Lima within the last twelve months, affords some hints on this subject ; and although it bears marks of haste, and is crude in composition, it is on the whole drawn up with a good deal of ability, and

manifests in the writer a deep knowledge of South American politics. It comes out as the posthumous work of Monteagudo, and this may be the true story of its origin, although the testimony in the preface is no more, than the assertion of an anonymous writer. It is a point of no consequence, however, who was the author of the pamphlet, as it treats of topics in no degree affected by the authority, from which the discussion of their merits proceeds. The name of Monteagudo is sufficiently notorious in the recent history of South American affairs, particularly in Chile and Peru. He raised himself from obscurity by the force of his talents, and his address, and acted a most conspicuous part in the strange drama of San Martin's political career.

In Peru he was entrusted with almost absolute power by San Martin, but he used it for purposes, which have been condemned in the severest terms by those, who prosess to be acquainted with his conduct. At all events, the people became so much exasperated with his proceedings, that he was compelled by their united clamors to leave the government, while San Martin was yet in Peru. From that time he lived as a private citizen till last January, when he was assassinated in the streets of Lima.

Here we will dismiss the supposed author of the pamphlet, and turn to the hints it contains on the Congress of Panamá. Three great points are said to claim the devoted and united attention of all the republics, and these are independence, peace, and security. To establish independence, preserve peace, and form a system of mutual guaranties, are objects equally essential to the prosperity, and even existence, of all the new governments, and such as can only be attained, in the most effectual manner, by a Congress, in which each shall be represented, and which shall proffer reciprocal support, fix the rules of national intercourse, and reconcile national dissensions. In his circular to the republics, Bolivar describes the Congress as a body, which may act as a council to us in our distresses, as a rallying point in our common danger, as a faithful interpreter of our public treaties when difficulties occur, and, in fine, as a mediator in all our differences.' This summary embraces all that can be desired from a confederacy, and it only remains to inquire what are the details, and whether they are practicable.

The thing of primary and vital importance to the South American Republics is their independence, and in this each one of them has an equal concern. Without independence, in short, they could not exist, and no sacrifices can be too great, no precaution superfluous, which shall have a tendency to establish this on an unshaken foundation. Where a common enemy is to be feared, whose designs are equally hostile to each republic, common prudence would dictate, that the best pledge of security would be in the united wisdom, resources, and strength of the whole. The only possible mode of effecting this union, of applying these resources, is by a Congress of delegates from the respective governments, authorised to concert proper measures, and to become responsible for supplying such a portion of the means for carrying them into operation, as may fall to the lot of each, or as exigences may require. All the reasons might here be adduced in favor of a general Congress, which were so powerfully urged by Jay and Hamilton in the Federalist, when they insisted on a union of our States, as the best security against foreign invasion. If you would preserve peace, let it be seen, that you are prepared to meet, and have power to resist, an enemy.

The South Americans would not seem longer to have grounds for fear, that any further attacks will be made on them by a foreign foe, yet they are doubtless wise to keep on the side of caution. The arm of Old Spain is paralysed, not more in the new world, than in the old. The brilliant victory of Ayacucho severed the last thread of her dominion on the western continent, and wrested from her hand forever the sceptre of power, which she first acquired by bloodshed and treachery, and which for three centuries she has wielded only as an instrument of oppression. The last remnants of her prostrated forces are now collected at San Juan de Ulloa, a small island on the coast of Mexico; at the castle of Callao, the port of Lima, under the semibarbarous Rodil; and at Chiloé, in the southern borders of Chile. In these retreats their insignificance protects them, and from these they would soon be driven, were it possible for them to gain such accessions of strength, as to make them otherwise than insignificant.

In this state of things it is manifest, that all actual danger from Old Spain has ceased, and as far as that humbled nation is concerned, the independence of the new world is secured. But the South Americans say, and perhaps justly, that her pride is not subdued, although her physical force is crushed, and that the spirit of revenge is stified, not quenched, but slumbers to burst forth with increased fury, should her strength be revived. She will set up pretensions, and call them rights, and fortify them with records, decrees, and traditions, till the series terminates in the famous bull of Pope Alexander the Sixth, making over to Ferdinand and Isabella all the western world beyond a certain line, drawn from pole to pole through such points, as his Holiness was pleased to designate. The obstinacy, that has struggled for several years in a contest, whicb all the world has seen must end, as it has done, in defeat and disgrace to Spain, is too blind to see the reality at first, and too inveterate to be reclaimed by reason, justice, or common prudence. It will seize the first opportunity to renew its rashness, which accident or the progress of events may throw in its way, and which shall communicate the faintest gleam of life to a lingering hope.

Moreover, the Holy Alliance exhibits an aspect, which the South Americans are disposed to contemplate with much suspicion. Not that this formidable combination has anything in America, which can rightfully claim its attention, but the melancholy examples of Naples and Spain prove abundantly, that it is ready to meddle where it has no rights, nor proper interests. These kind hearted sovereigns, by their own professions, carried war and death into the Peninsula to make the people happy, and teach thein how to manage their own affairs. Who knows how soon the same tender concern may be extended to America ? And when this fit of sympathy shall once have taken as deep hold, as it did in the cases of Naples and Spain, why should it not be expected to see the bayonets of their Imperial, Most Catholic, and Most Christian Majesties, teaching the same lessons of happiness and self government to the Mexicans and Colombians, as they have before done with such triuinphant success to the Neapolitans and Spaniards ? The Holy Alliance exists as a whole, and in its parts, on a name, a shadow, the shadow of legitimacy, and when the people shall see wbat a vain, empty thing it is, the bubble will burst, the charm will be dissolved, and the airy fabric will fall. To keep the peoVOL. XXII.-NO. 50.

22

ple in ignorance, therefore, and to suppress by collusion or force the first germs of intelligence and liberty wherever they appear, are among the most essential maxims of this political compact. Nothing but the want of adequate power, and the doubtful nature of the undertaking, would prevent these maxims being applied in America, with as much energy as in Europe. And although nothing can seriously be apprehended, it is prudent, to say the least, that the republics of the new world should be on their guard.

Then, again, there is the new empire of Brazil, bordering by a line of immense length on Colombia, Peru, and Buenos Ayres. It does not yet appear, in what direction this sprig from a royal stock will shoot. The names of emperor, crown, and sceptre, have no charms for American ears, and if the things, as well as the names, are to put forth the same virtues here, that they have done in the old world, it is safe to say, that American ground cannot long be a quiet depository for such symbols of ancient darkness and domination. It is true, that Don Pedro the First has thus far shown a spirit of accommodation to circumstances, which augurs not badly. We are even told of the independence of Brazil, and a constitution, and these under an emperor! It will puzzle a republican of the United States to understand a combination of ideas so incongruous. If Don Pedro would become a president, and declare the Brazilians independent not only of Portugal, but of all hereditary forced dominion, whether from abroad or at home, and then give them a constitution recognising an equality of rights, and liberty to choose their own mode of being governed, he might talk in earnest of the independence of Brazil. But till this be done, there never will be any permanently good understanding between that country, and the neighboring states. Jealousies will arise, aggressions be committed, and wars break out. The idle dream of legitimacy will play at times in bis Brazilian Majesty's imagination, and the great champions of this phantom in Europe will have succors for an oppressed brother, which may be contributed indirectly, if not directly, to such an extent, as to render him a troublesome neighbor to the adjoining republics. In their relations with Brazil, these governments have a common interest, and such relations may properly be discussed by a general Congress.

« PředchozíPokračovat »