« PreviousContinue »
"ARTICLE 1. In accordance with the provisions of article 23 of the national constitution, a state of siege is hereby declared in the capital of the Republic.
“ART. 2. Let this decreo be duly reported to the national Congress.
Article 23 of the constitution decrees :
“In case of internal commotion or of foreign attack which may endanger the exercise of the constitution, or of the authority created by it, the province or territory in which the commotion exists shall be declared in a state of siege, all constitutional guaranties being suspended; but during this suspension the President of the Republic shall not condemn or inflict punishinent on his own responsibility. His power in such case shall be limited in regard to persons to arresting them or sending them from one part of the country to another, should such persons not decide to leave Argentine territory.”
(Inclosure 2 in No. 100.-From the Buenos Ayres Standard of February 21, 1891.)
Attempt to assassinate Gen. Roca.
A8 Gen. Roca was returning from a cabinet council in the Government house in his carriage with Mr. Gregorio Soler on Thursday evening a revolver was fired into the carriage from behind, and the ball, piercing the cushions, just grazed his spine. The news spread quickly through the city. The full particulars are as follows:
Three days ago President Pellegrini received an anonymous letter warning him that attempts would be made on his life, on Gen. Roca's, and on Gen. Levalle's, as these three gentlemen were considered to be the cause of the difficulties of the situation. Gen. Roca likewise received similar anonymous warnings. At the same time the presence of suspicious groups of men in front of the Government house and in Adrogue, where tho President resides, was observed, and this was one of the reasons of the extraordinary military precautions taken within the last few days.
On Thursday a cabinet council was held in the Government house on the question of the London negotiations. The council lasted till half-past 5, when Gen. Roca imparted some orders in the home office, and, accompanied by his friend, Don Gregorio Soler, took his carriage, which was waiting for him outside the terrace of the Government house. The carriages drove down Calle 25 de Mayo, and on passing Calle Cangallo Mr. Soler turned round to the general and said, "I think I heard the report of a revolver.” The general heard nothing, but soon after stopped the driver and said to Mr. Soler, “I feel I am wonnıed.” They got out of the carriage and found there was a great commotion in the street; policemen whistling, people running about in every direction, calling out “Assassin!” and soldiers from the Government house mingling with the crowd. In a moment the general understood that an attempt had been made on his lite, and seeing two men holding a boy a little distance off, he rushed in that direction. He asked the boy who had told him to commit the crime, but the boy could not speak with fright. The criminal was handed to a policeman and conducted to the police station of the first section, where he was identified.
His name is Tomas Sambrice, an Argentine by birth, but of Italian extraction. He is 12 years of age. He declared that he was out of employment, and, being convinced that Gen. Roca was the cause of the ruin of the country, he had decided to kill him. He told his brothers and some comrades of his intention, and had practiced at target shooting in Palermo. On Monday last he followed the general with the intention of killing him, but seeing him accompanied by an officer he desisted from his intention and decided to await a more favorable opportunity. The boy seems to be a very intelligent lad and does not look over 12 years of age. The officer with Gen. Roca remarked that the boy had followed the carriage. On Thursday young Sambrice took up his position in Calle 25 de Mayo, at the corner of Cangello. He was observed with one hand inside his coat and shivering violently from time to time. Suddenly the carriage appeared. The boy was so completely taken by surprise that he hesitated, and
the carriage dashed past. He then rushed after the carriage and fired, the bullet piercing the hood and cushions and grazing the general's back, leaving the black mark of a bruise. The general felt great pain, but the injury is very slight.
President Pellegrini, happening to hear of the attempt on Gen. Roca's lifo, did not take the train to Adrogue, but went straight to the police station, whore ho personally questioned the youthful criminal. In the course of his cross-examination the boy stated that three nights ago he wrote to Dr. Alem, announcing his intention of killing Gen. Roca, but as Dr. Alem is in the habit of receiving such missives every day, he attached no importance to the letter. The police have arrested the parents of the criminal, his brothers and comrades.
Mr. Pitkin to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES, Buenos Ayres, February 26, 1891. (Received April 3.) SIR: I'have the honor to report that on the night of the 14th instant I received from the foreign office an answer, herewith transmitted in copy and translation, to the protest made against partial and oppressive levies by recent Argentine enactments upon foreign life-insurance coinpanies, which protest, relating to companies resident in the United States and by branch here, Mr. Secretary Fishback made on the 10th ultimo and I renewed on the 30th ultimo, five days after my return from the United States. Twenty days having then elapsed without an expression upon the question from the foreign office, I conceived it to be proper to discharge the Department's cabled instruction of the 5th ultimo in more extended terms, a copy whereof accompanied dispatch No. 94. It will be seen by the inclosures that the minister of foreign affairs commended recourse by said companies to the federal supreme court of the Republic as the only authority competent to consider the alleged grievance, and declared a discussion of the question to be inefficacious and unnecessary prior to a determination by that tribunal. The term “ reglamentar” in the common legislative instruction to the President, "El poder ejectivo reglamentara esta ley," so often seems to import more, or to be more elastic, than our own term “execute,” that I indulged a hope that, by reason of the protest, the laws in question might receive a more favorable interpretation. A copy of an executive decree of the 24th instant, herewith inclosed, will show that the 7 per cent tax on profits and 1 per cent on premiums received at this federal capital, are not to be imposed in the execution of the recent provisions.
Furthermore, I am advised by the manager of the Equitable Life Insurance Company, Mr. T. T. Watson, that it has been invited, by the assent of the minister of finance, to file an application to be admitted to the same footing as native companies when it shall invest $100,000 in the Republic and constitute a local board. This application has been exhibited to me, and is frained under direction of the Equitable management in expectation of an early and favorable administrative decree thereon. Recourse to the federal supreme court will probably be wholly unnecessary in order that the companies may reopen their doors here. The Equitable manager expresses much satisfaction with results, which he ascribes largely to the protest made. I have, etc.,
JOHN R. G. PITKIN.
(Inclosure 1 in No. 102.- Translation.)
Señor Costa to Mr. Pitkin.
Buenos Ayres, February 13, 1891. MR. MINISTER: The note dated January 30 last has been received, wherein the minister renows the protest framod in bis absence by the secretary of the legation, Mr. Fishback, by reason of the laws originated in the National Congress imposing certain duties on life-insurance companies established in the United States with branches existing in Argentino territory. The minister states that these insurance companies have established their agencies in the Republic under the declarations of the constitution, wherein its article 16 states that equality is the basis of taxation and of public charges, and article 20 assures strangers all the civil rights of its citizens, freedom in pursuits, and immunity from forced contributions. Moreover, the minister considers that the taxes in question are in contravention of articlé 9 of the treaty of July 27, 1853, in force between the respective Governments, by which it is arranged that “in whatever relates to the acquiring and disposing of property of every sort and denomination in any manner whatsoever, as also in the administration of justice, the citizens of the two contracting parties should reciprocally enjoy the same privileges, liberties, and rights as native citizens, and they shall not be charged in any of those respects with any higher imposts or duties than those which are paid or may be paid by native citizens, submitting, of course, to the local laws and regulations of each country respectively."
By reason of the foregoing the minister considers that the taxes in question are not in consonance, either with the cited treaty or with the constitutional pledges of equality, and renows the protest made by Mr. Fishback. If the minister will permit me, it does not enter the discussion whether the laws of Congress were or were not accommodated to the constitutional principles which are lodged in the organic letter, still less whether the taxes which have been thought convenient to enact are just or excessive.
It is an incontrovertible principle that the entire nation is the sole and exclusivo interpreter of its internal laws, and to establish taxes upon existing property in its territory Congress has done no other thing than to exercise a right inherent in the sovereignty of the State. And no one more than the North American Congress has given unimpeachable evidence of the amplitude of this right, establishing duties which are calculated to disturb secular pursuits. The protest of the minister could be admitted and examined only under the point of view of existing treaties.
By chance, however, our constitution, after the example of that of the United States, removes this discussion from the restraint of the public powers. The federal supreme court, among ourselves as in the American Union, is the authority charged to determine whether a law is contrary to existing treaties, in the constitution or in the laws of Congress.
Whether, then, the taxes to which the minister refers contravene the declarations and premises of the constitution or the stipulations of treaty, the American insurance companies should repair to the federal supreme court, persuaded that in that tribunal they will meet the justice to which they assert a right. While this high and supreme body has not pronounced its definitive opinion, I permit myself to say to your excellency that all discussion is futile and unnecessary. Having thus answered the communication of the minister, it is pleasing to present to him the expression of my much distinguished consideration.
(Inclosure 2 in No. 102. From the Buenos Ayres Standard, February 25, 1891.)?
Decree of the President.
“ARTICLE 1. The tax of 7 per cent on the policies of insurance companies, established by article 6 of law 2714, shall be understood as a special form of collecting from said companies the tax to the same amount imposed by article 5 of the same law on all joint-stock companies, and, consequently, insurance companies, whether joint stock or not, are not included in the provisions of article 5.
Art. 2. The tax of 7 per cent on the policies of insurance companies imposed by article 6 of the law is virtually the increase of 1 per cent in the tax established by article 27 of the general stamp law voted for 1890, and which remains in force for the present year; conseqnently the said 1 per cent shall be considered suppressed from the moment that the 7 per cent tax comes into force.
Mr. Blaine to Mr. Pitkin.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 30, 1891. SIR: I have received your No. 94, of the 5th ultimo, inclosing copy of your protest to the Argentine Government against the law discrimi. nating against foreign life-insurance companies in the Argentine Re. public.
Your very thorough presentation of the case is approved by the Department. I am, etc.,
JAMES G. BLAINE.
Mr. Pitkin to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Buenos Ayres, May 13, 1891. (Received June 27.) SIR: On the 9th instant the President opened the Argentine Congress with an address wherein occur several statements that challenge attention.
The President announces harmonious relations between the national and all the provincial governments, the appearance of no serious revolt since his accession to power last August, the concord of hostile parties, then in arms, the wholesome result of the amnesty by him declared on the 30th day of August, 1890, for all who had engaged in the four-day revolution at the close of the previous month; and that the one exceptional measure thus far adopted during his executive occupation was bis declaration on the 20th day of February last of a state of siege, which he deemed necessary by reason of public disquiets due to the financial prostration and to an assault upon the premier of the cabinet, and during which state he had recourse to no severer expedient than the suppression of several incendiary journals.
He states that Mexico and Venezuela have for the first time accredited plenipotentiaries to the Republic; that the question with Chile in respect of boundary awaits the termination of her civil war;
and that, in maintenance of neutrality, he answered the request of the Chilean minister that a Chilean corps d'armée be permitted to cross Argentine territory with an assent to such passage by private individuals but not by troops in marching order.
He derives comfortable assurance from Argentine trade returns for the year that show a notable decline in imports, whereof $34,035,342 was for railway material paid for by foreign capital, and a still larger increase in exports, parts of which were 305,904 tons of wheat and 274,691 tons of maize; from an arrest in the tide of immigration by reason of a cessation in assisted passages; from the return hence to Europe of thousands of people who proved comparatively useless in a new country; and from the progress begun in local industries.
He exposes the failure of all attempts to colonize national lands, pronounces against the enormous and wasteful land concessions during recent years to private speculators, and states that many of these grants, where the conditions have not been observed in the establishment of colonies, have already been declared forfeit to the extent of
30,000 square miles, and that he proposes to reclaim as a valuable asset much more of the national domain thus squandered.
He states that the total length of railway in actual traffic in March of the present year was 7,190 miles, representing an outlay of £60,000,000, and of new railway in actual traffic since January, 1890, 2,100 miles, an outlay of £13,000,000; that thirty lines are in process of construction or survey, with an aggregate length of 7,870 miles; that seventeen concessions of a total length of 4,770 miles have been canceled within a year for failure to comply with prescribed conditions; that many of the companies in traffic have caused heavy loss in products, by reason of inadequate rolling stock—a neglect which he claims (and has exercised) a right to correct in view of an annual payment by the Government of $4,500,000 gold in railway guaranties; that Congress should refuse further concessions till a proper railway system be devised for the whole Republic; and that the national railways, sold to meet the foreign debt, yield no profit and draw from the Government in guaranty payments almost as much as it previously paid for service in its loans.
He adverts to numerous retrenchments in the abandonment of important works, among others the Buenos Ayres port works upon which $16,481,419 gold have already been expended; presents a brief but interesting statement of the educational and naval interests, and reviews at considerable length the question of finance; declares the total Argentine debt to be about £61,000,000; estimates the foreign capital employed in the Republic at £100,000,000, to which the recent decline in securities has dealt a loss of £20,000,000; recites the monetary measures thus far adopted and why he was compelled to close the two banksthe National and Provincial—at this capital, by which within twelve months the Government has lost $97,000,000 in currency and £2,600,000 in gold; ascribes the existing demoralization largely to reckless loans and paper emissions by State banks and a speculative fever; animadverts upon the wasteful sale in the market of gold paid by guarantied banks in purchase of bonds and deposits in the National Bank to be applied, two years after such deposit, toward a reduction of the foreign debt; opposes further issues of paper; calls for a parliamentary commission to ascertain the true condition of the State banks which, when shown, will determine the measure of correction to be applied to these institutions, which he conceives should be retained, though under new restraints; and concludes that a silver standard affords a sound metallic basis, the exception in Europe thereto having no weight in this Re. public, and will be commended for local adoption by an executive bill to be transmitted to Congress. I have, etc.,
JOHN R. G. PITKIN.
Mr. Pitkin to Mr. Blaine.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Buenos Ayres, May 27, 1891. (Received July 6.) SIR: Touching an instruction (No. 96), under date of February 13, 1891, to investigate a complaint preferred by the marine underwriters of New York to the effect that heavy charges have been imposed upon vessels putting into this port in distress, and to seek a remedy under warrant of the facts, I have the honor to report that, promptly upon receipt of said instructions and after an oral conference at the foreign