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united with the Mother Country. Neither the dissensions in Europe, nor the War of the Succession, produced a desire to disturb the publick tranquillity, or to effect a separation; neither was the glorious War of Independence a sufficient motive for it: on the contrary, they succoured us with their treasures, and be it said, to the honour and glory of America, that the principle of her Revolt had a noble origin, similar to that which impelled Spain to defend herself against a hostile irruption. When Andalusia was invaded in 1810, the greater part of our Provinces was occupied by the Enemy; our Government dispersed, and our Armies nearly annihilated; the destiny of Spain was considered as decided, and her ruin inevitable. It would, indeed, have been difficult to imagine that, from an insulated extremity of the Peninsula, the Nation would rise again, not only Independent, but regenerated and free. The Americans, mistrustful of their Chiefs, feared, that, being Europeans they would desire to follow the destiny of Spain, whatever it might be; they, therefore, resolved not to submit to a Foreign yoke, and preferred separating from the Peninsula, to the indignity of obeying an unjust Invader. This was the noble principle of the commotions in America, and if any one of her Chiefs had motives less pure, he was obliged to dissemble, and cover them with the pretext of so just and dignified a Cause.
The Spanish arms, in conjunction with their Allies, having beaten and harassed the Enemy in every direction, obliged him to evacuate the Peninsula. Such a happy state of affairs induced the expectation of a speedy reconciliation with the revolted Provinces of America; but all the hopes of those who loved their Country were dispelled, by the fatal Decree of the 4th of May, and the atrocious system which followed. The War continued to rage in various Parts, and the passions, irritated to the highest degree, left but little prospect of a conclusion to such a destructive Quarrel. Nevertheless, New Spain, or, more correctly, all Spanish North America, being almost entirely quelled at that epoch, a stop was put to the devastating warfare in that Quarter; and a great part of Peru remained united to Spain; as did also Cuba and the other Islands. Thus, while Terra Firma, Buenos Ayres, and Chili, presented the spectacle of Spanish and American blood spilled by the very hands whose interest it was to preserve them, the most important Part of Spanish America was free from so many calamities. But such a tranquillity will not suffice; though it should extend throughout America, and be durable, it is not enough to satisfy the lovers of humanity. America must fix her happiness on a more stable basis, which, instead of prejudicing it, may contribute to that of Europe. The Spanish Cortes, soaring above the prejudices of some, and the passions of others, must take such wise Measures as shall entitle them to be considered worthy Rivals of the former Cortes who, upon a rock, and under the Enemy's cannon, dictated Laws, at this day respected and obeyed by so many and such distant Provinces.
The Committee, persuaded of this truth, discussed, in various Conferences, the questions which appeared to it most proper to produce the great end to which we all aspire; it examined them conjointly with His Majesty's Ministers, who at first entirely concurred with the opinions that generally prevailed. Peculiar circumstances have since induced them, in some measure, to suspend their judgment, under the impression that publick opinion is not yet prepared for a definitive resolution. In this dilemma, the Committee can propose nothing to the Cortes; because, as it appertains to the Government to decide the question of fact, that is, the convenience and necessity of adopting certain Measures, and the Government not thinking that the moment has yet arrived, the Committee must confine itself to the recommending to the Ministers, that they accelerate the wished-for moment. Justice calls aloud for this; the precarious and uncertain destiny of so many European-Spaniards established in those Regions, the Americans likewise, and the different Tribes who have sustained, by force of arms, the Cause of the Mother Country; in short, the true felicity of America and the Peninsula; call aloud for it. The happiness of America consists in a solid peace, the guarantee of its future prosperity; that of Spain, in not meeting with impediments at every moment, and in not having its attention drawn off from its deliberations, in framing the Measures which the sad condition of such distant Provinces requires. The knowledge of the Age, and an enlightened policy, should guide the Government in so new and glorious a resolution.
The Committee, impressed with the importance of the subject, and convinced that its decision may have some influence in the destiny of the Universe, is desirous of communicating to all Spaniards this, its firm conviction, in order that they, on their part, may contribute to the happy termination of such an undertaking. Spain would derive advantages that, she cannot otherwise expect; and the ties of relationship and religion, of commercial relations, and those which are derived from free Institutions, would be the most certain pledge of our harmony and close union. The Committee, being unable therefore, to come to any determination, must confine itself to proposing, that the zeal of the Government be excited, so that it may present to the deliberation of the Cortes, without delay, the Fundamental Measures which it may think proper, as well for the just and complete Pacification of the revolted Provinces of America, as for securing to them a firm and solid felicity.
(Inclosure C.)-Propositions of the Cortes of Spain to the Spanish American Deputies.-Madrid, 24th June, 1821.
ART. 1. There shall be 3 Sections of Cortes in America; one in the North and two in the South. The first shall be composed of the Deputies of all New Spain, including the interior Provinces and Guatemala: the 2 Sections of South America shall comprehend;-one of
them, the New Kingdom of Granada and the Provinces of Terra Firma; and the other, Peru, Buenos Ayres, and Chili.
II. These Sections shall assemble at the time appointed by the Constitution for the meeting of the Ordinary Cortes, governing themselves, in every respect, according to the rules prescribed for the latter; and they shall have within their Territory the same legal representation and the same powers, excepting the 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, and 6th, which are reserved for the General Cortes, that part of the 7th, relative to the approval of Treaties of Offensive Alliance, and the second part of the 22d power.
III. The Capitals where these Sections shall, for the present, assemble, shall be the following: the Section of New Spain in Mexico; that of the New Kingdom of Granada and Terra Firma in Santa Fé; and that of Peru, Buenos Ayres, and Chili, in Lima. If, however, the Sections, with consent of the Executive Power of those Countries, should think proper to change the Seat of Government, they may select whatever Place may appear best suited to their purpose.
IV. There shall be in each of these Divisions a Delegate, who shall exercise, in the name of the King, the Executive Power.
V. These Delegates shall respectively consist of a Person, freely named by His Majesty, and selected from amongst Men of the most distinguished talents, without exclusion of the Members of the Royal Family. These Delegates shall be removable at the pleasure of His Majesty they shall be inviolable with regard to the Sections of Cortes of the respective Countries, and shall only be responsible for their conduct to His Majesty and the General Cortes. The Ministers of these Delegates shall be responsible to the respective Sections of the Cortes, according to the Constitution.
VI. There shall be 4 Departments of Government: viz. of the Interior, of Finance, of Grace and Justice, and of War and Marine; some of which may be united, according as it may be judged convenient, in virtue of a Law.
VII. There shall be 3 Sections of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, composed of a President, 8 Members, and a Fiscal:
VIII. There shall be 3 Sections of the Council of State, each composed of 7 Individuals, but the Legislative Sections may at pleasure reduce their number to 5.
IX. The Commerce between the Peninsula and the Americas shall be considered as internal from one Province of the Monarchy to another; and, consequently, the Spaniards of both Hemispheres shall reciprocally enjoy in them the same advantages as their respective Natives. X. They shall likewise reciprocally enjoy in them the same civil rights and be equally eligible to Publick Offices and Employments as their respective Natives.
XI. New Spain and the other Countries, comprehended in the Territory of their Legislative Section, oblige themselves to deliver to the
Peninsula, the sum of 200,000,000 of reals, within the space of 6 Years, which shall commence on the 1st of January, 1823, in order to contribute to the payment of the Foreign Debt; the Revenue of the State, and the Lands now appertaining, or which may hereafter appertain thereto, in the above mentioned New Spain and indicated Territory, being hypothecated for that purpose.
The said 200,000,000 of reals shall be paid by instalments. The first on the 1st of January, 1823, and thence, successively, in the 6 following Years, until its final liquidation, which shall take place on the 1st January, 1828; so that 30,000,000 shall be paid during each of the first 4 years, and 40,000,000 during each of the 2 last. The term of these instalments may be curtailed, with the approbation of the Legislative Section that shall be established in New Spain.
XII. New Spain and the other Territories comprehended in the Legislative Section thereof, likewise bind themselves to contribute to the Naval Expenses of the Peninsula, the sum of 40,000,000 of reals, Annually. The payment of this sum shall commence from the time when the Legislative Section shall first assemble, and shall be delivered at farthest at the expiration of a Year from that period: this sum shall be augmented as soon as the circumstances of New Spain shall permit, and, together with the sums mentioned in the preceding Article, shall be placed at the disposal of the Peninsula, in one of the Ports of New Spain in the Gulf of Mexico.
XIII. The other Countries of America, comprised in the other 2 Legislative Sections, shall contribute towards the Peninsula, in the manner that shall be hereafter fixed upon, and according to their circumstances. XIV. New Spain takes upon itself the payment of all the Publick Debt contracted within its Territory, by its Government, or Agents duly authorized in its name; the Lands, Revenues, and other Property of the State, of whatever nature, without prejudice to the XIth Article, shall serve as an hypothecation of what has been stipulated in the said Article.
XV. The Deputies of the respective Sections, at the time of taking the Oath to observe, and cause to be observed, the Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, shall also engage to comply with this Law, and to cause it to be executed.
(Inclosure D.) Mr. Ravenga to Mr. Brent.-(Translation.)
House of the Marquis of Mos, Street of the Infantas, July 9th, 1821. JOSE R. RAVENGA, one of the Plenipotentiaries of Colombia, near His Catholick Majesty, has the honour to present his respects to Thomas Brent, Esq. Chargé d'Affaires of the United States of North America, and requests that he will be pleased to name an hour at which he can have a personal interview with him. Thomas Brent, Esq.
(Inclosure E.)-Mr. Brent to Mr. Ravenga. Madrid, 9th July, 1821. THOMAS L. L. BRENT, Chargé d'Affaires of The United States, kisses the hand of Senor Don Jose R. Ravenga, Plenipotentiary of Colombia, and will be happy to receive him at his house at 6 o'clock this evening, Don Jose R. Ravenga.
(18.)-Don Manuel Torres to the Secretary of State.-(Translation) SIR, Washington, 20th February 1821. THE Republicks of Venezuela and New Grenada, which, after a devastating War of more than 10 Years, have victoriously achieved the Independence which they had declared since the year 1811, were united by virtue of a Fundamental Law of the Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, of the 17th December, 1819, with the glorious Title of the Republick of Colombia, under which it has taken its rank among other Independent Nations.
In consequence, I have received the order of my Government to communicate to you, Sir, this resolution worthy of Colombia, and to accompany it with the subjoined authenticated Copy of the said Fundamental Law, in order that you may be pleased to lay it before the President of The United States.
I have also the honour to present to you, Sir, the Credentials of my Publick Character, and a Drawing of the National Standard, which will henceforth distinguish Colombia among other Sovereign and Independent States.
Although the foundation of the Republick of these United States would completely justify the right of Colombia, yet, with respect to the custom which has been introduced among Nations, the causes which have rendered this measure indispensable, have been explained in the Declaration of Independence of Venezuela, of the 5th July, 1811, a Copy of which Don Telesforo de Orea, then Agent Extraordinary of that Republick, transmitted to your Predecessor, on the 6th of November, of the same Year; the other Declaration of Venezuela, of the 2d November, 1818, and the Manifesto of the President of the Sovereign Congress of Colombia, of the 26th of August last, Copies of which I sent you with my Official Letter of the 15th of last December, likewise mention them.
The conduct of Colombia being thus in all respects justified, no doubt my Government will be recognized by that of The United States, as a Free and Independent Nation, a Sister Republick, situated likewise in the same Hemisphere. It is also hoped, that to the Recognition of the Independence of Colombia on the part of The United States, Treaties of Commerce and Navigation will be added, founded upon the bases of reciprocal utility and perfect equality, as the most efficacious means of strengthening and increasing the relations of amity between the two Republicks.