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of the great captain, laid out with manly word the programme of an assembly of representatives of the Governments of this portion of America.
“An offensive and defensive alliance against any European nation was sought, and the object of the Congress of Panama was to provide for this which was deemed a necessity; but on this occasion the eagle of the Orinoco did not meet with the success it did at the “embrace” of Guayaquil, when it hurled the Spanish lion from the Andes to the other side of the seas, and which, on that solemn occasion, was inspired by sentiments of sublime patriotism, picturing in its mind, perchance, the field of Ayacucho, where the last cannon's roar proclaimed to the world that the Republics destined to be the pride of the Latin race were free and independent.
“Before this time, gentlemen, San Martin had foretold also, in the presence of eternal snows and upholding the strong arm of O'Higgins, that the freedom of Chile would be secured at Chacabuco, crossing with his cannon the most towering and inaccessible peaks, once more to carry out the compact of Chileans and Argentines, who, conquerors in Maipu, carried triumphant the flags of the two nations even unto the uttermost limits of America.
“Besides that of Panama, other attempts were made in the same direction. It was the embryonic period of the people who had just freed themselves. At times they lost faith in the future, and, believing themselves threatened by enemies from beyond seas, they saw their strength weakened by the disorder incident to the struggle, and which greatly increased when the common enemy had once been conquered.
“Those perils have passed, and the South American nations abide in the midst of the peace and progress with which they will dismiss the nineteenth century, to become great and powerful in the twentieth, which, as has been said, will be the century of America.
“With abiding faith in the great destinies awaiting each one of the South American nations, all enjoying close relations with the Old World, as defined by their laws, all bound to make right prevail, and with elements of inexhaustible wealth, each country is the architect of its own fortune, but united all in the interest of the future of South America, whose sons desire that it shall always be said of the States forming it: ‘All for each, and each for all.'
“Gentlemen, the greatness of the countries of this part of the continent, their power as autonomic entities, depends to-day upon peace, upon liberty, and upon the development of their own elements, strengthened by others, which upon joining shall commingle to form an harmonious whole, which, without losing sight of its origin, which we should never deny, for it honors us, shall
present extensive horizons to labor and to collective and individual action under the law.
“Alliances against the nations of the old continent had their day and their reason during the struggle for independence, and even after that, when Europe could be ruled by one will, or when the policy of its Governments savored of the adventurous or was inspired by dreams of conquest.
“To-day there exists in America on the north a great nation, and on the south budding States, which occupy a distinguished station among civilized countries, and, what is more, so as to entirely eradicate the fears of the days, we have tightened the ties that bind us to Europe by daily increasing commerce, by the immigration we are receiving, and which has commenced to blot out our deserts, and finally by the mutual respect we command, she as well as us, so that we may consider ourselves already as indispensable factors in the advancements of the world.
“We have not, then, to extend the battle lines, as in the heroic periods of our history, but we do have to recognize each other as brothers, as before, and to seek in the inspirations of patriotism, in the invocation of the spirits of our illustrious dead, and even in our own advantages, the means which shall forever prevent bloody conflicts, which would paralyze the great future reserved for us.
Honorable plenipotentiaries, when the minutes of your sessions shall be read, the importance of your work, the science and experience revealed by the international adjustments by you arrived at known, your governments and the jurists of Europe and America, who await them with all the interest aroused by a body of eminent men such as you form, shall have passed upon them, the International South American Congress will be ever remembered with gratitude by the countries whose interests it has more closely served, and with respect by men of science, just as the indisputable merit of other efforts in the same direction, among which shines the congress of jurists, held in Lima few
years since, on the initiative of the Government of Peru, should be held in remembrance and recognized. There should be recognized also the intelligent and patriotic coöperation in this congress of the Governments of Paraguay and Bolivia, worthily represented by their plenipotentiaries.
“It will always be said that on the banks of the Plata, in the capital of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which merited from the world the name of the New Troy, was held the first International South American Congress on the initiative of the two nations bathed by the great river; that there were prescribed the rules which shall forever prevent the conflict of the laws of seven sovereign States, realizing what to many was a dream, and which up to the present time has been an impossibility for countries occupying a high station among nations.
“Countries recently come into being, which struggled half a century to con
stitute themselves, each having passed through critical periods in the various epochs of their national history, and republics or monarchs, direct your gaze to-day over the vast continent, and you will discover only the footprints of the endeavors of peoples and governments to reach a proud station among nations, be it in the field of free institutions or in that of material advancement wherein all struggle by means of labor.
“ Thus, in the matter of institutions, not long ago we witnessed the solemn spectacle of the abolition of slavery in Brazil, a grand event the whole world has applauded, a magnificent action, which, once more revealing the manly character of a monarch worthy of the nation he rules, reveals also the just and humanitarian heart beating within the bosom of the Emperor Pedro II, initiator of the idea realized to the honor of his name and in the midst of the enthusiasm of the people whose destinies he rules.
“The Montevidean Congress is, gentlemen, another happy and beneficial event, in that we are seen united, the countries bound together by solemn compacts which record the most liberal principles of the science of law. Every one knows that with a union of the people the union of the governments is the most logical of consequences.
“Honorable Plenipotentiaries: Upon declaring, in the name of my Government, that your sessions are closed, I must say to you, as a proof of the esteem your labors have merited, that the first act of the Most Excellent the President of the Argentine Republic, upon reassuming the administration of the nation, will be to approve the eight treaties you have negotiated, so as to transmit them to the honorable congress with the special recommendation which so useful and important international acts merit.
“And now, gentlemen, I beg that you will rise to give thanks to Providence for the favors bestowed upon you during your labors, and as a mark of respectful consideration to the Oriental Republic and its Government, which has shown and shows us such cordial and never-to-be-forgotten hospitality, and whose distinguished roll in the International South American Congress will ever be a seal of honor which shall occupy a leading place in the pages of its history."
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