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will have any just right to be offended with this. Our own practice as well as the practice of every other country, considers the existence of a government, de facto, as sufficient for all purposes of official communications. We never hesitated to establish relations with the revolutionary governments of France, neither did any of the European powers. In the great commonwealth of nations, each one has a right to choose the government or governments, with which to establish such relations; other nations have no more right to take offence at this, than one citizen has with another for the choice of his associate. The recognition of the republic of La Plata, does not imply that we must make war against Spain, or aid the republic in case it should be invaded. It is not inconsistent with the strictest neutrality; most certainly it is no act of hostility. There is not the least danger that Spain will seriously consider it a cause of war; she may bluster, but she holds too deep a stake, to think of striking the first blow; as long as she possesses colonies in America, if there is ever a war between us, it must commence on our side.
It is, as respects ourselves, that we should have any hesitation in acknowledging the independence of La Plata, and not because we should infringe any rights of Spain. There is nothing in the laws of nations to forbid it; and she can lay but poor claim to our friendship. The question we should ask in this affair, are these: are the republics just mentioned, of such a character as that we should let ourselves down by a treaty of amity with them? What is the extent of their territory, the number of their population, the nature of their governments? Are they capable of defending themselves? Is Spain in possession of any part of their territory? These, and other questions, might be put to satisfy ourselves, before we venture to take them by the hands as friends.
This course will be found to accord perfectly with our principles and practice. What, for instance, was our conduct to Spain herself? Where there happens to be at the same time, in the same empire, two or more governments, we may treat with all, or any one, or none; but this is a matter which concerns only ourselves. To treat with all would subject us to great inconvenience, to treat with any one would have the appearance of partiality; for our own sake, thereasserted. It does not follow that we should send or receive a minister; consuls or consul generals might be sent and received.
fore, the best course would be to acknowledge none of them. Thus, when the whole Spanish monarchy was actually split into three parts, king Joseph on the throne, the cortez endeavoring to expel him, and the colonies setting up for themselves, our government declined acknowledging any of these parties. When the cortez prevailed, we received the minister of Ferdinand, and acknowledged the government, de facto; but we declined receiving the minister of the colonies for two reasons; first, because the contest was not yet properly at an end, therefore from motives of prudence, we could not think of forming a compact which might prove to be ineffectual; secondly, because the existing governments might not have been of such respectability as that we could place ourselves on a footing with them, consistently with the respect due to ourselves. But when these causes ceased, the reason for our not establishing relations would cease also, if we should regard them as not disreputable to us. The different provinces of South America have not made a common cause, and from their distance, it is impossible they could act together. Mexico, Grenada, Venezuela, La Plata, Chili, have all declared themselves, in the most formal manner, separate and independent governments; should any of them, therefore, succeed in expelling the Spanish authorities, and in establishing governments, de facto, in pursuance of our own practice and principles, we may venture to establish relations with them, provided we are satisfied that there is a sufficient character and stability to justify us in doing so consistently with prudence.
A revolted province notoriously incapable of maintaining itself, ought not to be treated with, but an independent nation notorivusly capable of maintaining itself, ought to be respected. Yet we have a right to receive and hear the mission even of a revolted province, without violating the laws of nations. What more common than for the revolted subjects, or the deposed prince of one pation, to fly to another and to be openly and publickly received? Who ever heard of a sovereign forbidding all nations from holding any intercourse with his revolted subjects, on pain of violating the laws of nations? The strictest neutrality is not violated by affording shelter and protection, much less by the exchange of civilities, or the establishment of official relations, for the convenience of commercial intercourse. Is all intercourse or relation for. bidden, or some particular kind only: For instance, no one erer VOL. I.
thought that the mere trading with a revolted colony, or province, was an offence; or that this would be good cause of capture; and if it be lawful to trade, is it not lawful to establish such understanding with the temporary, or local authorities, as may be necessary for the regulation of such trader May we not have resident agents for this purpose? May we not receive theirs in turn, and may we not, if we think it adviseable, enter into verbal or written stipulations to regulate this intercourse? Whether such agents should be called consuls, or ministers, or commissioners; whether they enter into stipulations or treaties of amity and commerce or not, is of no iinportance.
Are there any of the American republics with which we can with safety enter into official relations, or form treaties of amity and commercet The United Provinces of La Plata are undoubtedly such. For seven years they have had complete and undisturbed possession of their country-no attempt has been made, or is likely to be made, to subdue them; and after this lapse of time, if Spain were to attempt it, she could be considered in no other light than that of an invader. We look only to the government de facto; the maxim of Spain, once a colony always a colony, is one which she must settle with the colonies as well as she can; for us it is enough that there is in La Plata a complete expulsion of the Spanish authorities, and an existing government. It will not be pretended by the most extravagant advocates of Spain, that because she has revolted colonies elsewhere, which she is trying to subdues that those which she is too weak to attempt, ought to be regarded as connected with the rest. According to this reasoning, while Spain continues to hold a single inch of land in America, the colonies must still be considered in a state of revolt.
Consistently, therefore, with the strictest neutrality, we may acknowledge La Plata, at least, as an independent state. By this simple act we will ensure to ourselves the lasting friendship of all the patriots of South America, whose feelings must be in unison with their brethren of La Plata. It will inspire confidence in all who are engaged in the contest, it will animate every patriot with a new zeal, it will bestow a respectability upon the cause, in their own eyes, which will cheerfully unite all hearts in support of their independence. Such was the feeling which the recognition of our independence produced. As the natural head of America, it will
instantly increase our importance in the eyes of the world. Spain may be induced at last to put a stop to the horrid effusion of human blood, and renounce an undertaking in which she never can prevail. An understanding with the patriot governments of South America, will also enable us to make such arrangements, as may put a stop to many practices and abuses, in which our character as a nation is deeply interested.*
I have thus, sir, taken a rapid glance at a subject, highly important to the present and future interests of this country. In common with my fellow-citizens, I give my warmest wishes for the success of the patriot cause, but at the same time, value too highly the real happiness of my country, to put it to hazard by rash and inconsiderate measures. Scarcely any period of our history ever called for a more wise and deliberate judgment and enlightened foresight, that the one now fast approaching. Happily for us there prevails at this juncture, a degree of harmony among our citizens on political subjects, much greater than at any period since the establishment of our constitution, and we have a WISE AND
It was given to our immortal Washington to achieve the independence of one half of America, and I most sincerely hope, it may be yours to acknowledge the independence of the other.
UPRIGHT STATESMAN AT THE HELM.
DIRECTED TO ALL NATIONS, By the General Constituent Congress of the United Provinces of
Rio de la Plata. Honorable fame is the jewel which mortals prize above existence itself, and which it is their duty to defend above every earthly good however great and valuable. The government of Spain has charged the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, before the nations of the world, with perfidy and rebellion, and has denounced as perfidious and rebellious, the memorable declaration of independence of the 9th of July, 1816, by the national congress of Tucuman; imputing to them ideas of anarchy, and intentions to introduce seditious principles into other nations, at the very moment of soliciting their friendship, and the recognition of this memorable act, in order to be ranked among them. The first among the most sacred duties
* The practice of fitting out vessels in our ports was here alluded to.
of the national congress is to do away so foul an imputation, and to justify the cause of their country, by publishing to the world the motives, and the cruelties which impelled to the declaration of independence. This is not a submission which concedes to any one, the right to dispose of a condition purchased by America with torrents of blood, and every species of sacrifice and endurance. It is a duty of imperious obligation which it owes to its wounded honor, and to the respect due to other nations.
We shall waive all discussion with respect to the right of con. quest, papal grants, and other titles by which the Spaniards have supported their authority: it is unnecessary for us to recur to principles which may give rise to theoretic disputes, or to questions which have found advocates. We appeal to facts, which form a lamentable contrast between the sufferings endured by us, and the tyranny of the Spaniards. We shall expose to view the frightful abyss, into which these provinces were about to be precipitated had not the wall of their emancipation been interposed. We shall give reasons, the soundness of which no rational being can question, unless it be his aim to persuade a nation to renounce for ever all idea of felicity, and adopt for its system, ruin, opprobrium, and shameful acquiescence. We shall exhibit this picture to the world, that no one may contemplate it, without being deeply affec. ted with the same feelings that belong to ourselves,
From the moment the Spaniards took possession of these countries, they thought only of securing their power of exterminating, and degrading. Their systems of devastation were immediately set on foot, and were continued without intermission for three hundred years. They began by assassinating the incas of Peru, and they afterwards practised the same upon the other chiefs who fell into their power. The inhabitants of the country, attempting to repel these ferocious invaders, became victims to fire and sword, by reason of the inferiority of their arms; while their cities and villages were consigned to the flames, every where applied without pity or discrimination.
The Spaniards then placed a barrier to the increase of the population of the country; they prohibited by vigorous laws the entrance of strangers into it, and in latter times they opened it to the immoral, and to convicts cast out of the peninsula. Neither the vast but beautiful deserts, formed here by exterminating the natives; nor