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ducted. If ever a favorable time existed for the demand, on the part of an injured nation, of indemnity for past wrongs, from the aggressor, such was the present time. Impoverished and exhausted at home, by the wars which have desolated the Peninsula, with a foreign war, calling for infinitely more resources in men and money, than she can possibly command, this is the auspicious period for insisting upon justice at her hands, in a firm and decided tone. Time is precisely what Spain now most wants. Yet what were we told by the President, in his Message, at the commencement of Congress 2 That Spain had procrastinated, and we acquiesced in her procrastination. And the Secretary of State, in the late communication with Mr. Onis, after ably vindicating all our rights, tells the Spanish Minister, with a good deal of sang froid, that we had patiently waited thirteen years for a redress of our injuries, and that it required no great effort to wait longer | He would have abstained from thus exposing our intentions. Avoiding the use of the language of menace, he would have required, in temperate and decided terms, indemnity for all our wrongs; for the spoliations upon our commerce; for the interruption of the right of depot at New Orleans, guarantied by treaty ; for the insults repeatedly offered to our flag; for the Indian hostilities which she was bound to prevent; for the belligerent use made of her ports and territories by our enemy, during the late war—and the instantaneous liberation of the free citizens of the United States, now imprisoned in her jails. Contemporaneous with that demand, without waiting for her final answer, and with a view to the favorable operation on her councils, in regard to our own peculiar interests, as well as in justice to the cause itself, he would recognise any established government in Spanish America. He would have left Spain to draw her own inferences from these proceedings, as to the ultimate step which this country might adopt, if she longer withheld justice from us." And if she persevered in her iniquity, after we had conducted the negotiation in the manner he had endeavored to describe, he would then take up and decide the solemn question of peace or war, with the advantage of all the light shed upon it by subsequent events and the probable conduct of Europe. . Spain had undoubtedly given us abundant and just cause of war. . But, it was not every cause of war that should lead to war. War was one of those dreadful scourges that so shakes the foundations of society; overturns or changes the character of governments; interrupts or destroys the pursuits of private happiness; brings, in short, misery and wretchedness in so many forms; and at last is, in its issue, so doubtful and hazardous; that nothing but dire necessity can justify an apeal to arms. If we were to have war with Spain, e had however no hesitation in saying that no mode of bringing it about could be less fortunate than that of seizing, at this time, upon her adjoining province. There was a time, under other circumstances, when we might have occupied
our posture in the negotiation with Spain would have been totally different from what it is. But, we had permitted that time, not with his consent, to pass by unimproved. If we were to seize upon Florida, after a great change in those circumstances and after declaring our intention to acquiesce in the procrastination desired by Spain, in what light should we be viewed by foreign Powers, particularly Great Britain 7 W. have o been accused of inordinate ambition, and of seeking to aggrandize ourselves by an extension, on all sides, of our limits. Should we not, by such an act of violence, give color to the accusation ? No, Mr. Chairman, if we are to be
involved in war with Spain, let us have the
credit of disinterestedness; let us put her yet more in the wrong. Let us command the respect which is never withheld from those who act a noble and generous part. He hoped to communicate to the Committee the eonviction which he so strongly felt, that, adopting the amendment which he intended to propose, would not hazard, in the slightest degree, the peace of the country. But if that peace were to be endangered, he would infinitely rather it should be for our exerting the right, appertaining to every State, of acknowledging the independence of another State, than for the seizure of a province which sooner or later we must certainly acquire. Mr. CLAY proceeded. In contemplating the great struggle in which Spanish America is now engaged, our attention is first fixed by the immensity and character of the country which Spain seeks again to subjugate. Stretching on the Pacific Ocean from about the 40th degree of north latitude, to about the 55th degree of south latitude, and extending from the mouth of the Rio del Norte (exclusive of East Florida) around the Gulf of Mexico, and along the South Atlantic to near Cape Horn, it is about 5,000 miles in length, and in some places near three thousand in breadth. Within this vast region, we behold the most sublime and interesting objects of creation; the lostiest mountains, the most majestic rivers in the world; the richest mines of the precious metals; and the choicest productions of the earth. We behold there a spectacle still more interesting and sublime—the glorious spectacle of eighteen millions of j. struggling to burst their chains and to be free. When we take a little nearer and more detailed view, we perceive that nature has, as it were, ordained that this people and this country shall ultimately constitute several different nations. Leaving the United States on the north, we come to New Spain, or the Vice Royalty of Mexico on the south; passing by Guatemala, we reach the Vice Royalty of New Grenada, the late Captain Generalship of Venezuela, and Guyana, lying on the east side of the Andes. Stepping over the Brazils, we arrive at the United Provinces of La Plata, and, crossing the Andes, we find Chili on their west side, and further north, the Vice Royalty of Lima or Peru. Each of these several parts is sufficient in itself, in point of limits, to constitute a powerful State, and, in
East Florida, with safety: had we then taken it, I point of population, that which has the smaliest
contains enough to maake it respectable. Throughout all the extent of that great portion of the world, which he had attempted thus hastily to describe, the spirit of revolt against the dominion of Spain had manifested itself. The revolution had been attended with various degrees of success in the several parts of Spanish America. In some it had been already crowned, as he would endeavor to show, with complete success, and in all he was persuaded that independence had struck such deep root as that the power of Spain could never eradicate it. What were the causes of this great movement? Three hundred years ago, upon the ruins of the thrones of Montezuma and the Incas of Peru, Spain erected the most stupendous system of colonial despotism that the world has ever seen—the most rigorous, the most exclusive. The great principle and object of this system has been to render one of the largest portions of the world exclusively subservient, in all its faculties, to the interests of an inconsiderable spot in Europe. To effectuate this aim of her policy, she locked Spanish America up from the rest of the world, and prohibited, under the severest penalties, any foreigner from entering any part of it. To keep the natives themselves ignorant of each other, and of the strength and resources of the several parts of her American possessions, she next prohibited the inhabitants of one Vice Royalty or Government from visiting those of another; so, that the inhabitants of Mexico, for example, were not allowed to enter the Vice Royalty of New Grenada. The agriculture of those vast regions was so regulated and restrained as to prevent all collision with the interests of the agriculture of the Peninsula. Where, nature, by the character and composition of the soil, had commanded, the abominable system of Spain has forbidden the growth of certain articles. Thus, the olive and the vine, to which Spanish America is so well adapted, are prohibited wherever their culture could interfere with the olive and the vine of the Peninsula. The commerce of the country, in the direction and objects of the exports and imports, is also subjected to the narrow and selfish views of Spain, and fettered by the odious spirit of monopoly existing in Cadiz. She has sought, by scattering discord among the several castes of her American population, and by a debasing course of education, to perpetuate her oppression. Whatever concerns public law, or the science of government, all writers upon political economy, or that tend to give vigor, and freedom, and expansion to the intellect, are prohibited. Gentlemen would be astonished by the long list of distinguished authors, whom she proscribes, to be found in Depon's and other works. A main feature in her policy is that which constantly elevates the European and depresses the American character. Out of upwards of 750 Viceroys and Captains General, whom she has appointed since the conquest of America, about eighteen only have been from the body of the Annerican population. On all occasions she seeks to raise and promote her European subjects, and to degrade and humiliate the Creoles. Wher.
ever in America her sway extends, everything seems to pine and wither beneath its baneful influence. . The richest regions of the earth; man, his happiness and his education; all the fine fac. ulties of his soul, are regulated, and modified, and moulded, to suit the execrable purposes of an inexorable despotism. Such is a brief and imperfect picture of the state of things in Spanish America in 1808, when the famous transactions of Bayonne occurred. The King of Spain and the Indies (for Spanish America had always constituted an integral part of the Spanish empire) abdicated his throne and became a voluntary captive. Even at this day, one does not know whether he should most condemn the baseness and perfidy of the one party, or despise the meanness and imbecility of the other. If the obligation of obedience and allegiance existed on the part of the colonies to the King of Spain, it was founded on the duty of protection which he owed them. By disqualifying himself from the performance of this duty, they became released from that obligation. The monarchy was dissolved, and each integral part had a right to seek its own happiness by the institution of any new government adapted to its wants. Joseph Bonaparte, the successor de facto of Ferdinand, recognised this right on the part of the colonies, and recommended them to establish their independence. Thus, upon the ground of strict right; upon the footing of a mere legal question, governed by forensic rules, the colonies, being absolved by the acts of the parent country from the duty of subjection to it, had an indisputable right to set up for themselves. But Mr. C. took a broader and bolder position. He maintained that an oppressed people were authorized, whenever they could, to rise and break their fetters. This was the great principle of the English Revolution. It was the great principle of our own. Wattel, if authority were wanting, expressly supports this right." We must pass sentence of condemnation upon the founders of our liberty—say that they were rebels, traitors, and that we are at this moment legislating without competent powers, before we could condemn the cause of Spanish America. Our Revolution was mainly directed against the mere theory of tyranny. We had suffered comparatively but little; we had, in some respects, been kindly treated; but our intrepid and intelligent fathers saw, in the usurpation of the power to levy an inconsiderable tax, the long train of oppressive acts that was to follow. They rose; they breasted the storm; they conquered our freedom. Spanish America, for centuries, has been doomed to the practical effects of an odious tyranny. If we were justified, she is more than justified. Mr. C. said he was no propagandist. He would not seek to force upon other nations our principles and our liberty, if they did not want them. He would not disturb the repose even of a detestable despotism. But if an abused and oppressed people willed their sreedom; if they sought to establish it; if, in truth, they had established it, we had a right, as a sovereign Power, to
H. of R. Spanish American Provinces. MARch, 1818.
notice the fact, and to act as circumstances and our interest required. He would say, in the language of the venerated Father of His Country: of Born in a land of liberty, my anxious recollec‘tions, my sympathetic feelings, and my best ‘wishes, are irresistibly excited, whensoever, in “any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl ‘the banners of freedom.” For his own part, Mr. C. said, that whenever he thought of Spanish America, the image irresistibly forced itself upon his mind of an elder brother, whose education had been neglected, whose person had been abused and maltreated, and who had been disinherited by the unkindness of an unnatural parent. And when he contemplated the glorious struggle which that country was now making, he thought he beheld that brother rising, by the power and energy of his fine native genius, to the manly rank which nature and nature's God intended for him. If Spanish America were entitled to success from the justness of her cause, we had no less reason to wish that success from the horrible character which the royal arms have given to the war. More atrocities than those which had been perpetrated during its existence were not to be found even in the annals of Spain herself. And history, reserving some of her blackest pages for the name of Morillo, is prepared to place him along side of his great prototype, the infamous desolator of the Netherlands. He who has looked into the history of the conduct of this war, is constantly shocked at the revolting scenes which it portrays; at the refusal, on the part of the commanders of the royal forces, to treat, on any terms, with the other side; at the denial of quarters; at the butchery, in cold blood, of prisoners; at the violation of flags, in some cases, after being received with religious ceremonies; at the instigation of slaves to rise against their owners; and at acts of wanton and useless barbarity. Neither the weakness of the other sex, nor the imbecility of old age, nor the innocence of infants, nor the reverence due to the sacerdotal character, can stay the arm of royal vengeance. On this subject he begged leave to trouble the Committee with reading a few passages from a most authentic document, the manifesto of the Congress of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, published in October last. This was a paper of the highest authority; it was an appeal to the whole world; it asserted facts of notoriety in the face of the whole world. It was not to be credited that the Congress would come forward with a statement which was not true, when the means, if it were false, of exposing their fabrications, must be so abundant, and so easy to command. It was a document, in short, that stood upon the same footing of authority with our own papers, promulged during the Revolution by our ongress. He would add, that many of the facts which it affirmed, were corroborated by most re* Washington's answer to the French Minister's address, on his presenting the colors of France, in
spectable historical testimony, which was in his own possession.
[Mr. C. here read the following passages from the manifesto:]
“Memory shudders at the recital of the horrors that were then committed by Goyeneche, in Cochabamba. Would to heaven it were possible to blot from remembrance the name of that ungrateful and blood-thirsty American ; who, on the day of his entry, ordered the virtuous Governor and Intendant, Antesana, to be shot; who, beholding from the balcony of his house that infamous murder, cried out with a ferocious voice to the soldiers, that they must not fire at the head, because he wanted it to be affixed to a pole; and who, after the head was taken off, ordered the cold corpse to be dragged through the streets; and, by a barbarous decree, placed the lives and fortunes of the citizens at the mercy of his unbridled soldiery, leaving them to exercise their licentious and brutal sway during several days! But those blind and cruelly capricious men (the Spaniards) rejected the mediation of England, and despatched rigorous orders to all the Generals to aggravate the war, and to punish us with more severity. The scaffolds were everywhere multiplied, and invention was racked to devise means for spreading murder, distress, and consternation.
“Thenceforth they made all possible efforts to spread division among us, to incite us to mutual extermination; they have slandered us with the most atrocious calumnies, accusing us of plotting the destruction of our holy religion, the abolition of all morality, and of introducing licentiousness of manners. They wage a religious war against us, contriving a thousand artifices to disturb and alarm the consciences of the people, making the Spanish bishops issue decrees of ecclesiastical condemnation, public excommunications, and disseminating, through the medium of some ignorant confessor, fanatical doctrines in the tribunal of penitence. By means of these religious discords they have divided families against themselves; they have caused disaffection between parents and children; they have dissolved the tender ties which unite husband and wife; they have spread rancor and implacable hatred between brothers, most endeared, and they have presumed to throw all nature into discord.
“They have adopted the system of murdering men indiscriminately to diminish our numbers; and, on their entry into towns, they have swept off all, even the market people, leading them to the open squares, and there shooting them one by one. The cities of Chuquisaca and Cochabamba have more than once been the theatres of these horrid slaughters.
“They have intermixed with their troops soldiers of ours whom they had taken prisoners, carrying away the officers in chains to garrisons where it is impossi. ble to preserve health for a year; they have left others to die in their prisons of hunger and misery, and others they have forced to hard labor, on the public works. They have exultingly put to death our bearers of flags of truce, and have been guilty of the blackest atrocities to our chiefs, after they had surrendered, as well as to other principal characters, in disregard of the humanity with which we treated prisoners; as a proof of it witness the deputy Mutes of Potosi, the Captain Gen. eral Pumacagua, General Augulo, and his brother Commandant Munecas, and other Partisan chiefs, who were shot in cold blood, after having been prisoners for several days.
“They took a brutal pleasure in cropping the ears of the natives of the town of Willegrande, and sending a basket full of them as presents to the headquarters. They afterwards burnt that town, and set fire to thirty other populous towns of Peru, and worse than the worst of savages, shutting the inhabitants up in the houses, before setting them on fire, that they might be burnt alive. “They have not only been cruel and unsparing in their mode of murder, but they have been void of all morality and public decency, causing aged ecclesiastics and women to be lashed to a gun and publicly flogged, with the abomination of first having them stripped, and their nakedness exposed to shame, in the presence of their troops. “They established an inquisitorial system in all these punishments; they have seized on peaceable inhabitants, and transported them across the sea to be adjudged for suspected crimes, and they have put a great number of citizens to death everywhere without accusation or the form of a trial. “They have invented a crime of unexampled horror, in poisoning our water and provisions, when they were conquered by General Pineto at La Paz, and in return for the kindness with which he treated them, after they had surrendered at discretion, they had the barbarity to blow up the headquarters, under which they had constructed a mine, and prepared a train beforehand. “He has branded us with the stigma of rebels the moment he returned to Madrid; he refused to listen to our complaints, or to receive our supplications; and as an act of extreme favor, he offered us a pardon. He confirmed the Viceroys, Governors, and Generals, whom he found actually glutted with carnage; he declared us guilty of a high misdemeanor, for having dared to frame a constitution for our own government, free from the control of a deified, absolute, and tyrannical Power, under which we had groaned three centuries—a measure that could be offensive only to a Prince, an enemy to justice and beneficence, and consequently unworthy to rule over us. “He then undertook, with the aid of his Ministers, to equip large military armaments to be directed against us. He has caused numerous armies to be sent out to consummate the work of devastation, fire, and plunder. “He has sent his Generals, with certain decrees of pardon, which they publish to deceive the ignorant, and induce them to facilitate, their entrance into towns; whilst, at the same time, he has given them other secret instructions, authorizing them, as soon as they should get possession of a place, to hang, burn, confiscate, and sack; to encourage private assassinations, and to commit every species of injury in their power against the deluded beings who had confided in his pretended pardon. It is in the name of Ferdinand of Bourbon, that the heads of patriot officers, prisoners, are fixed up in the highways, that they beat and stoned to death a commandant of light troops, and that, after having killed Colonel Camugo, in the same manner, by the hands of the indecent Centeno, they cut off his head, and sent it as a present to General Pezuela, telling him it was a miracle of the Virgin of the Carmelites.”
In the establishment of the independence of Spanish America, the United States have the deepest interest. He had no hesitation in asserting his firm belief, that there was no question, in
the foreign policy of this country, which had ever arisen, or which he could conceive as ever occurring, in the decision of which we had so much at stake. This interest concerned our politics, our commerce, our navigation. There could not be a doubt that Spanish America, once independent, whatever might be the form of the governments established in its several parts, those governments would be animated by an American feeling, and guided by an American policy. They would obey the laws of the system of the New World, of which they would compose a part, in contradistinction to that of Europe. Without the influence of that vortex in Europe, the balance of power between its several parts, the preservation of which had so often drenched Europe in blood, America is sufficiently remote to contemplate the new wars which are to afflict that quarter of the globe, as a calm, if not a cold and indifferent, spectator. In relation to those wars, the several parts of America will generally stand neutral. And as, during the period when they rage, it would be important that a liberal system of neutrality should be adopted and observed, all America will be interested in maintaining and enforcing such, a system. The independence, then, of Spanish America is an interest of pri. mary consideration. Next to that, and highly important in itself, was the consideration of the nature of their governments. That was a question, however, for themselves. They would, no doubt, adopt those kinds of governments which were best suited to their condition, best calculated for their happiness. Anxious as he was that they should be free governments, we had no right to prescribe, for them. They were, and ought to be, the sole judges for themselves. He was of: inclined to believe that they would in most, if not all, parts of their country, establish free governments. We were their great example. Of us they constantly spoke as of brothers, having a similar origin. They adopted our principles, copied our institutions, and, in some instances, employed the very language and sentiments of our revolutionary papers. [Here, Mr. C. read the following passage from the same manifesto before cited :] “Having, then, been thus impelled by the Spaniards and their King, we have calculated all the consequences, and have constituted ourselves independent, prepared to exercise the right of nature to defend ourselves against the ravages of tyranny, at the risk of our honor, our lives, and fortune. . We have sworn to the only King we acknowledge, the Supreme Judge of the World, that we will not abandon the cause of justice; that we will not suffer the country which he has given us to be buried in ruins, and inundated with blood, by the hands of the executioner,” &c.
But it is sometimes said that they are too ignorant and too superstitious to admit of the existence of free government. This charge of ignorance is often urged by persons themselves actually ignorant of the real condition of that people. He denied the alleged fact of ignorance; he denied the inference from that fact, if it were true, that they wanted capacity for free govern
H. of R. Spanish American Provinces. MARCH, 1818.
ment; and he refused his assent to the further conclusion, if the fact were true and the inference just, that we were to be indifferent to their fate. All the writers of the most established authority, Depons, Humboldt, and others, concur in assigning to the people of Spanish America, reat quickness, genius, and particular aptitude or the acquisition of the exact sciences, and others which they have been allowed to cultivate. In astronomy, geology, mineralogy, ehemistry, botany, &c., they are allowed to make distinguished roficiency. They justly boast of their Abzate, W. and Gama, and other illustrious contributors to science. They have nine Universities, and in the city of Mexico it is affirmed, by Humboldt, that there are more solid scientific establishments than in any city even of North America. He would refer to the message of the Supreme Director of La Plata, which he would hereafter have occasion to use for another purpose, as a model of fine composition of a State paper, challenging a comparison with any, the most celebrated that ever issued from the pens of Jefferson or Madison. Gentlemen would egregiously err if they formed their opinions of the }. moral condition of Spanish America, rom what it was under the debasing system of Spain. The eight years' revolution in which it has been engaged, has already produced a powerful effect. Education had been attended to, and genius developed. [Here Mr. C. read a passage from the Colonial Journal, published last Summer in Great Britain, where a disposition to exaggerate on that side of the question could hardly be supposed to exist.*] The fact was not, therefore, true, that the o: ignorance existed; but, if it did, he repeated that he'disputed the inference. It was the doctrine of thrones, that man was too ignorant to govern himself. Their partisans assert this incapacity in reference to all nations; if they cannot command universal assent to the proposition, it is then demanded as to particular nations; and our pride and our presumption too often make converts of us. Mr. C. contended that it was to arraign the dispositions of Providence himself, to suppose that he had created beings incapable of governing themselves, and to be trampled on by kings. He contended that self-government was the natural government of man, and he referred to the aborigines of our own land. If he were to speculate in hypotheses unfavorable to human liberty, his should be founded rather upon the vices, refinements, or density of
*“As soon as the project of revolution arose on the shores of La Plata, genius and talent exhibited their influence; the capacity of the people became manifest, and the means of acquiring knowledge was soon made the favorite pursuit of the youth. As far as the wants, or the inevitable interruption of affairs have allowed, everything has been done to disseminate useful information. The liberty of the press has indeed met with some occasional checks; but in Buenos Ayres alone as many periodical works weekly issue from the press as in Spain and Portugal put together.”
population. , Crowded together in compact masses, even if they were philosophers, the contagion of the passions is communicated and caught, and the effect too often, he admitted, was the overthrow of liberty. Dispersed over such an immense space as that on which the people of Spanish America were spread, their o: and he believed, also, their moral condition, both favored libertv. With regard to their superstition, he said, they worshipped the same God with us. Their prayers were offered up in their temples to the same Redeemer, whose intercession we expected to save us. All religions, united with Government, were more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from Government, were compatible with liberty. If the people of Spanish America had not already gone as far, in religious toleration, as we had, the difference in their condition from ours should not be forgotten. Everything was progressive. And in time he hoped to see them imitating, in this respect, our example. But grant that the people of Spanish America are ignorant and incompetent for free government, to whom is that ignorance to be ascribed ? Is it not to the execrable system of Spain, which she seeks again to establish and to perpetuate? So far from chilling our hearts, it ought to increase our solicitude for our unfortunate brethren. It ought to animate us to desire the redemption of the minds and the bodies of unborn millions from the brutifying effects of a system, whose tendency is to stifle the faculties of the soul, and to degrade man to the level of beasts. He would invoke the spirits of our departed fathers. , Was it for yourselves only that you nobly fought? No, no. It was the chains that were forging for your posterity that made you fly to arms, and, scattering the elements of those chains to the winds, you transmitted to us the rich inheritance of liberty. The exports of Spanish America (exclusive of the islands) are estimated, in the valuable little work of M. Torres, deserving to be better known, at about eighty-one millions of dollars. Of these more than three-fourths consist of the precious metals; the residue are cocoa, coffee, cochineal, sugar, and some other articles. No nation ever offered richer commodities in exchange. It was of no material consequence that we produced but little that Spanish America wanted. Commerce, as it actually exists, in the hands of maritime States, was no longer confined to a mere barter between any two States, of their respective pro ductions. It rendered tributary to its interests the commodities of all quarters of the world. So that a rich American cargo, or the contents of an American commercial warehouse, presented you with whatever was rare or valuable in every part of the globe. Commerce was not to be judged by its results in transactions with one nation only. Unfavorable balances existing with one State are made up by contrary balances with other States. And its true value should be tested by the totality of its operations. Our greatest trade—that with Great Britain—judged"by the amount of what we sold for her consumption,