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As you are already acquainted with the solicitude of Colombia, permit me, Sir, to add, that it is of the greatest importance to my Government to know the determination of The United States in regard to it. I repeat, &c.
The Hon. J. Q. Adams.
(19.)-Fundamental Law of the Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, for the Union of the Republicks of New Granada and Venezuela, under the title of the Republick of Colombia. Angostura, 17th December, 1819. (Translation.)
FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF THE REPUBLICK OF COLOMBIA. THE Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, to whose authority the People of New Granada, lately emancipated by the arms of the Republick, have voluntarily submitted: considering
1. That by uniting the Provinces of Venezuela and New Granada in one Republick, they will have the means of attaining the highest degree of power and prosperity;
2. That if they should remain in separate Republicks, however great the bonds that might unite them, yet, far from benefiting by so many advantages, with difficulty would they consolidate their Sovereignty, and cause it to be respected;
3. That these truths, clearly perceived by every Man of sound understanding and genuine patriotism, had excited the Governments of both Republicks to agree to their Confederation, which the vicissitudes of War have hitherto prevented:
From these considerations of necessity and reciprocal interest, and in conformity with the Report of the Select Committee of the Deputies from New Granada and Venezuela, in the name and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, has decreed, and does decree, the following Fundamental Law of the Republiek of Colombia.
ART. I. The Republicks of Venezuela and New Granada shall be, from the present day, united, under the glorious Title of the Republick of Colombia.
II. Its Territory shall be those comprehended in the former Captaingeneralship of Venezuela, and the Vice-royalty of the New Kingdom of Granada, embracing an extent of 115,000 square leagues, whereof the exact Boundaries shall be fixed at a more seasonable opportunity. III. The Debts contracted by the two Republieks, separately, are acknowledged in solidum, by this Law, as a National Debt of Colombia, for the discharge of which, the goods and property of the State are pledged, and the most productive branches of the Revenue shall be destined.
IV. The Executive Power of the Republick shall be exercised by a President, and in his absence by a Vice-President, both to be appointed pro tempore by the present Congress.
V. The Republick of Colombia shall be divided into 3 great Departments; viz. Venezuela, Quito, and Cundinamarca, which latter shall comprehend the Provinces of New Granada, whereof the name shall be henceforward suppressed. The Capitals of these Departments shall be the Cities of Caracas, Quito, and Bogota, the addition of Santa Fé being discontinued.
VI. Each Department shall have a Superior Administration, and a Chief Magistrate, to be appointed for the present by this Congress, with the title of Vice-President.
VII. A new City, bearing the name of the Liberator, Bolivar, shall be the Capital of the Republick of Colombia. The plan and site thereof shall be determined by the first General Congress, upon the principle of making it suitable to the wants and conveniences of the 3 Departments, and proportioned to the grandeur for which this rich Country is destined by Nature.
VIII. The General Congress of Colombia shall assemble on the 1st day of January, 1821, in the Town of Rosario de Cucuta, which in every respect is considered the most suitable Place. The convocation shall be made by the President of the Republick, on the 1st January, 1820, who shall also communicate the plan for the Elections, to be devised by a Select Committee, and approved by the present Congress.
IX. The Constitution of the Republick of Colombia shall be formed by the General Congress, to whom shall be presented a Project of one already decreed; which, together with the Laws enacted by this Congress, shall be immediately carried into execution, by way of experiment.
X. The Arms and Flag for Colombia shall be decreed by the General Congress. In the mean time, those of Venezuela shall be employed, as being best known.
XI. The present Congress shall be dissolved on the 15th January, 1820, in order that the new Elections may take place for the General Congress of Colombia.
XII. A Commission of 6 Members, with a President, invested with special powers, to be decreed, shall exercise the functions of Congress during the recess.
XIII. The Republick of Colombia shall be solemnly proclaimed in the Towns and to the Armies, with publick feasts and rejoicings, to take place in this Capital, on the 25th December, instant, to commemorate the nativity of the Saviour of Mankind, under Whose protection the State has been regenerated by this re-union.
XIV. The Anniversary of this political regeneration shall be perpetually celebrated by a National Feast, where virtue and talents, as formerly at Olympia, shall be distinguished and rewarded.
The present Fundamental Law of the Republick of Colombia shall be promulgated in the Towns and to the Armies, inserted in the
Publick Journals, and deposited in the Archives of the Cabildos, Municipalities, and Corporations, whether Ecclesiastical or Secular.
Given at the Palace of the Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, in the City of St. Thomas of Angostura, on the 17th day of December, A.D. 1819, and in the 9th Year of our Independence.
FRANCISCO ANTONIO ZEA, President of Congress.
JUAN GERMAN ROSCIO,
LUIS THOMAS PERAZA,
DIEGO DE VALLENILLA, Deputy Secretary.
JOSE THOMAS MACHADO,
Palace of the Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, at Angostura, the 17th December, 1819-9th.
THE Sovereign Congress decrees, that the present Fundamental Law of the Republick of Colombia, shall be communicated to the Supreme Executive Power, by a Deputation, for its publication and execution.
FRANCISCO ANTONIO ZEA, President of Congress. Diego de VallENILLA, Deputy Secretary.
Palace of the Government, at Angostura, the 17th Dec. 1819-9th. ORDERED to be printed, proclaimed, executed, and sealed with the Seal of the State. SIMON BOLIVAR.
By his Excellency, the President of the Republick,
DIEGO B. URBANEJA, Minister of the Interior and of Justice.
(20.)-Credentials of M. Torres as Colombian Agent and Chargé d'Affaires.-(Translation.)
Angostura, 15th May, 1820.
JUAN GERMAN Roscio, Vice-President of the Department of Venezuela, and charged with the Government of the Republick, on account of the absence of the President on the Campaign, and of the VicePresident on Commission.
Whereas, it is important to the prosperity of Colombia, and to the dignity of that station to which it has been elevated, to establish diplomatick intercourse with other Nations, and to make Treaties which may confirm its friendship with them, regulate its commerce, and protect mutual interests: and this Government being desirous of drawing more close the relations and bonds of union and good correspondence
which already happily exist with that of The United States; therefore, I have nominated, and, by these presents, do appoint and authorize Manuel Torres, Esq. that, in the rank and with the character of Agent and Chargé d'Affaires of the Republick of Colombia, he present himself and treat with the said United States, and, conformably to the Instructions which have been given him, to promote the interests and advantage of Colombia, by reconciling them with those of the said States, upon the principle of the most intimate, frank, and sincere friendship.
Given at the Palace of Government at Angostura; signed by my hand, sealed with the Provisional Seal of the Republick, and countersigned by the Secretary of State and Foreign Relations, the 15th of May, 1820. JUAN G. ROSCIO. By his Excellency the Vice-President of Venezuela, charged with the government of Colombia. JOSEPH R. RAVENGA, The Minister of State and Foreign Relations.
(21.)-Don Manuel Torres to the Secretary of State.-(Translation.) SIR, Philadelphia, 30th November, 1821.
SINCE I had the honour of addressing to you my Official Note of the 20th of February last, requesting of the President of The United States the formal acknowledgment of the Independence of the Republick of Colombia, as a free, sovereign, and Independent State, new successes have taken place, which, at the same time that they remove any well-founded obstacle which might at that time have been in the way of the Government of The United States to prevent their acceding to the wish of that Republick, render now the said measure more urgent, and I might say indispensable, in consequence of the recent events in Peru and New Spain, and the conduct of the Spanish Government towards America, always unjust and always capricious.
In compliance with the Orders which I have received from the Minister of Foreign Relations, of date the 3d of August, in Cucuta, I hasten to communicate to you, Sir, what has occurred in Colombia since the recommencement of hostilities with Spain, and to inform you of the real actual state of the Republick, that you may be pleased to lay it before the President of The United States.
In conformity with the Fundamental Law of the 17th of December, 1819, the solemn Act of the Installation of the General Congress of the Republick of Colombia, composed of Representatives named by the People of the 19 Free Provinces of New Granada and Venezuela, took place on the 6th of May last, in the City of Rosario of Cuenta, as is shewn by the Official Document, No. 1, which I have the honour to inclose to you.
The General Congress being installed, one of the first measures which engaged the attention of the Legislative Body, was the great ques
tion of the Fundamental Law, and, after long and elaborate debates, in which each Member expressed his opinion with the greatest freedom, the Union of New Granada and Venezuela into one body as a Nation, under the express agreement of a popular Representative Government, divided into Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Authorities, was adopted and sanctioned by a plurality of Votes; and, also, the division of the Territory of the Republick into Departments or Circles, according to the evidence in No. 2.
The Document, numbered 3, is the Manifesto which, on the 6th of June, the President of Congress addressed to the People and Armies of the Republick, notifying them of so important a measure; and No. 4 contains the Fundamental Law.
Whilst the Congress was engaged with patriotick spirit in discussing and making Laws, conducive to the correct administration of Justice, to the regulation and management of the Revenues, and to the promotion of publick instruction, in all the Provinces and Places of the State, the attention of the Liberator, President, was engaged in conducting an active War against the Enemy, to expel them entirely from the Territory of the Republick. The Arms of Colombia experienced once more the aid of a beneficent Providence, and they accomplished, at one blow, the entire destruction of the Spanish power in Venezuela, in the memorable battle of Carabobo, on the 24th of June.
The Enemy lost their park of artillery, their baggage, their all, in their very entrenchments; and of more than 6,000 Men who were assembled at that military point, scarcely could a small number escape, who were able to retire within the Walls of Porto Cabello.
The formidable Fortress of Carthagena, and that of Cumana, also fell successively, so that Porto Cabello, in Venezuela, and the Isthmus of Panama, in New Granada, are the only two points which the Spaniards, for the moment, occupy in all the vast territory of Colombia; and, probably, before the termination of the present year, both will be incorporated with the Republick.
Although the Isthmus of Panama, from its scanty population, its absolute want of agriculture, and its situation, can contribute little or nothing to the increase or facility of the interior or exterior commerce of the new Republick, still its occupation is of great importance to Colombia, with a view to its own future security, and that of the rest of America, and to the great facility which the River Chagres affords to the commerce with Peru, and with the Provinces of New Spain which lie along the Pacific, since the distances, the dangers, and expenses of a navigation by Cape Horn, are thereby considerably diminished.
But it was not enough for the Liberator, President, to annihilate the formidable Legions with which the Spaniards oppressed the Country; it was also necessary to preserve a good understanding and harmony