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Confederation, concluded in that Capital on the 15th of March, 1825, he has performed that duty; but the alterations made by the Government of Central America, in one of the Articles, will impede the exact observance of the Treaty.
The President of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, has also received the Chargé d'Affaires of the Republick, with the forms which practice and custom require. The Executive has taken no official notice of the nature and state of the question which has arisen between that Government and the Emperor of Brazil. The Government of Colombia is extremely afflicted at the circumstance of the Argentine soil being again stained with blood, in consequence of the War declared by the Cabinet of Janeiro, and it has taken the most lively interest in the affairs of the Republick, with a view to the cessation of hostilities, and the peaceable settlement of the existing differences. The mission of Colonel Palacios to His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil, in quality of Minister Extraordinary, is one of the steps which the Executive has taken with a view to Peace, and it affords a proof, at the same time, of our desire to maintain the best harmony and friendship with Brazil.
The Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation, with Great Britain, was ratificd in London on the 7th of November, 1825, without alteration; and care has been since taken that the conditions of it should be fulfilled with the greatest fidelity ; such conduct being the source of confidence between Governments and Nations. In fulfilment of the Treaty concluded with the United States of North America, I have issued a Decree, giving to the Citizens of the said States equal commercial privileges and exemptions with those granted by the Re. publick to the Subjects of His Britannick Majesty. I fear that the state of agitation which the events of Venezuela have produced, may have given rise to the violation of some Articles of these and of other existing Treaties. The Executive is not, however, as yet informed of the facts; but I can assert, that, impressed with the purest good faith, and the most lively desire for the welfare of Allied, Friendly, and Neutral Nations, no effort will be neglected for repairing any such violation.
The Government of His Most Christian Majesty has appointed, through the medium of a Subaltern Authority, a superior commercial Agent to superintend the interests of France in the Republick. The Executive has observed that the form of making this Appointment is not such as is recognized by the Law of Nations; and bad it not been for that circumstance, the Government of Colombia would have granted its exequatur, and have been happy to enter into communication with a Person of such distinguished qualities as M. Martigny. Nevertheless, the Government, being desirous of proving to France and to His Most Christian Majesty, its anxiety to establish and maintain relations of Peace and Friendship, has permitted the Agent to super
intend French Commerce, upon the terms, and according to the manner, in which, under similar circumstances, permission had been previously given to the English and Dutch commercial Agents. The Executive, therefore, confidently hopes that the French Government, far from delaying the recognition of the Independence of Colombia, will avail itself of the present favourable opportunity of encouraging the industry of its People, by entering into relations with the Republick. The Colombian Flay now waves in the Ports of France, in consequence of the Regulations adopted by the Government of that Country.
I must allude particularly to the Negociation, by virtue of which we have seen independence secured to a neighbouring Island, for which it had combated with glory and perseverance. Hayti has obtained Peace from Charles X., and has received it with joy, because it was the commencement of renewed friendship with its Mother Country. The Government of Colombia has participated in the happiness that has fallen to its lot, and, independently of its being gratified at the sight of a People enjoying rational liberty, it feels peculiar gratification in what Hayti has accomplished.
The endeavours, which we have made with so much anxiety, to establish relations with the Apostolick See, have not succeeded. The Minister of the Republick has returned from Florence to Rome, but his prospects do not appear to have improved. By this time, his Letters of Leave have been delivered, conformably to the last Regulations decreed by the Liberator President.
I have already observed to the Congress, that the political convulsions in Valencia, in the Department of Venezuela, have checked the progress of the Constitutional system, under the shade of which the Republick enjoyed tranquillity until that ominous day.
You are aware that the Chamber of Representatives received with attention the complaints of the Local Authorities of Caraccas, against certain irregularities which the General Commandant, Jose Antonio Paez, had committed, in execution of the Decree for enlisting the Militia ; and that the Executive had, a year before, warned him to execute that Decree with discretion and prudence, and to avoid giving any ground for offence, or for any commotion, which might render it necessary to resort to arms, or to inflict severe punishments. Whether the Chamber shall see fit to justify the acts of which the Municipality of Caraccas complains, or whether an exalted zeal for the preservation of the guarantees of Citizens, may induce it to take such steps as are calculated to prevent irregularities of a similar kind; one thing is certain, that it was resolved to accuse the General-Commandant before the Senate, and that the accusation having, in fact, been passed, the Senate found it expedient to receive it. This accusation, however much it might offend the self-love of the accused, inspired some of the People with the strongest hopes of stability and harmony, although it produced, in certain Towns, disorder and division.
The Decree of the Senate, and of the Executive Power, published in fulfilment of Article 100, of the Constitution, was disobeyed. Ge. neral Paez was not only retained in his command by a resolution of the Municipality of Valencia, but that of Caraccas invested him with a superior authority unknown to our Political System. This proceeding gave origin to many others, all hostile, to the union proclaimed by the Fundamental Law, to the Constitution, and to the Government; and, on the 7th November, a popular Assembly in Caraccas decreed the Independence of that Country. The Department of Venezuela, the Province of Apure, one of the Districts of Barinas, and, recently, Margarita, adhered to the Decrees of Valencia, through the medium of their Municipalities; and, in fact, separated themselves from the sway of the National Government. The Executive had sufficient reason for believing, that neither the wishes of the Venezuelan People, nor those of the whole Army, had concurred in spontaneously approving the abovementioned acts, and this was declared in the Decree of the 8th of July, and in the Manifesto published by my orders. This opinion bas been confirmed by the conduct of the Battalion of Apure, and all its Officers, and that of Puerto-Cabello, both of which renounced obedience to General Paez. The conviction that the People of Venezuela were not guilty, the horror with which they contemplated a war between Colombians, the approaching arrival of the Liberator, and the hope that the force of opinion would restore order, joined to other considerations of not less weight, induced me to think it advisable to labour to produce the happy effect, which you will find set forth in the Documents which will be laid before you; taking for my guide the Constitution, and for my support the Xational opinion. They alone would, doubtless, have been sufficient to smother discord, and to re-establish the empire of the Law, if the Enemies of peace, timid, weak, or ambitious, had not introduced popular Juntas, and if the Authorities had displayed that firmness which was due to the honour and welfare of the Country. In Maracaibo a popalar Meeting, which is permitted by no Law, demanded the convocation of the Grand Convention, before the period appointed by Article 191 of our Code; and other Municipalities of the Province adhered to that demand. In Guayaquil, Quito, and Cuenca, the Juntas deliberated with the same feelings, but, a few days after, those same popular Juntas proclaimed the Dictatorship, and the Bolivian Code, trampling, by such measures, on our own Constitution. Carthagena, Panama, and Maracaibo again assembled their popular Meetings, and declared the neces. sity of investing the Liberator with unlimited power. Cumana and Barcelona, in like manner, solicited, by similar Meetings, the convocation of the National Convention, and thereby completed the picture, of the commotions, errors, and infractions, of the Law, which had been begun in Valencia. These proceedings were taking place at a moment, when the Spaniards were hovering off our Coasts on the side of the Atlantick, with a considerable squadron--when the friendly Powers in Madrid were endeavouring to prevail on the Spanish Government to grant Peace to America—when Publick Credit was threatened with the most utter ruin—when the very Earth was shaking, and afflicting the Inhabitants of the interior. I leave it to you to consider, what must, in such a state of things, have been the anxiety of the Executive, at finding itself involved in such serious difficulties, and surrounded by so many obstacles, in its endeavours to preserve the internal order of the Republick under the ægis of the Constitution. Fortunately, the cause of Liberty and of Law, was not abandoned in the dissident Provinces, nor even in the very Cities whch had issued illegal Proclamations; and the Executive Authority found support wherever there was a judicious Colombian and true Patriot. What words are capable of sufficiently applauding the fidelity, firmness, and attachment to the Political Laws, of the People and Authorities of the Provinces of Bogota, Antioquia, Neyva, Marquita; Tunja, Socorro, Pamplona, Casanare, Guayana, Mompos, Merida, Popayan, Buenaventura, Pasto, Choco, and Barinas-or the exem·plary conduct of General Bermudez, and the prudence of Generals Urdaneta and Guerrero, and of other illustrious Chiefs, who do honour to the Liberating Army of Colombia ? The Executive Power cannot sufficiently describe what is due to those Provinces, and to their Civil and Military Authorities, by the Country. History and posterity will do them justice. In the mean time I recommend them to the Representatives of the Nation in the most earnest manner.
In the midst of this deluge of calamities, in which the fidelity of the before-mentioned Provinces saved the ark of our rights, the Iris of salvation, the Liberator, President of the Republick, appeared, whose presence all desired—the innocent and guilty, the just and the unjust. The Liberator closed the wounds of Guayaquil on the 12th of September, and, in bis passage to this Capital, ordered the re-esta. blishment of the legal Government, which had been subverted in the Departments of the South, rejecting, in a manner worthy of the first Citizen of Colombia, the Dictatorship, which, without power or right, certain popular Juntas had conferred upon him. On the 14th of November, he arrived in this City, and departed for Venezuela on the 25th, having established, in the course of the two days, during which only he would exercise the Government, various economical regulations, and issued the Decree of the 23d of November, which I venture to call immortal, because, having therein declared that he took upon himself the exercise of Extraordinary Powers, which, in cases like the present, is permitted by Article 128 of the Constitution ;-that he was desirous of preserving our Political Code, until the Nation should, by legitimate means, reform itself;—and that the Laws were to remain in their former vigour, in every thing in which the exercise of those extraordinary powers were not requisite ;-I think that the National honour and glory of General Bolivar are for ever established.
You will excuse me, if I decline entering into an examination of the causes of the commotion in Venezuela, and the other Political disturbances which have afflicted us. Their Authors mention several, and have not hesitated to attribute many of them to me. You, who join to a correct and sound judgment, a knowledge of the good and evil experienced by our Constituents, can enter into an examination of them, and apply some remedy, capable not only of assuaging the anguish at present suffered by the Body Politic, but of guarding against any return of similar misfortunes. I, joining in the views of the Liberator President, take the liberty to request three things of the Representatives of Colombia, for the publick good: first, that Congress do not deceive itself, by imagining that the wishes expressed by some few Men, actuated by discontent or fear, are the sentiments really entertained by the People at large; secondly, that Congress look with an eye of pardon and indulgence upon those who have gone astray: and, lastly, that it frame clear, decisive, and just Laws, to prevent, in future, the recurrence of events so fatal as the past. With respect to myself, I entreat-and I do it as earnestly as I should beg for life—that the Congress will be pleased to take into consideration the accusations which the discontented hare brought against the Executive Power; to examine them with impartiality, and to let all the rigour of the Law fall upon me. For any wilful faults, in which malice and perversity can have had part, I neither ask nor seek indulgence. Should the Congress overlook political crimes, committed by the first Authorities of the Nation, it would be as culpable as those who trample under foot the social compact.
In opposition to this mournful picture, I will place the progress which has been made in the education of Youth, the means for which are to be still further extended, according to the organic Law, and the plan of publick instruction, which are confided, by a special Decree, to the Execative Power. The primary Schools, on the Lancasterian system, bare been increased--the Colleges and Schools have been improved and the central University of Bogota, together with the National Academy, have lately come into operation. The administration of Justice may have been improved, by the extension of the authority of the greater District Judges to the Courts of the Departments; as, by the suits being more expediously concluded, the costs are diminished, and a great check is established, over the Tribunals charged with the administration of the Laws, in different Districts; but the internal disquiet of the Republick, which extended its malignant influence over every thing, has occasioned the suppression of the Courts of Guayaquil and Zulia. The same cause has produced fear and distrust in those who contracted to colonise the uncultivated Lands; the consequence of which is that, although the 1,000,000 fanegadas of land appointed by Congress had been distributed, I have been under the necessity of resuming them, in conformity with the contracts. The reduction and civilization of the Aborigines have been retarded, as they are objects which would lead to