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a better instrument, with no body under the auspices of one of the present to direct and employ him? most powerful monarchs of Europe If Bolivar or Sucre should attempt in alliance with his Catholic majes. to establish a military despotism, ty. The king had, at that time, would it be in the name of the le. one or two considerable armies in gitimate king, and under the royal America, ready to lend their aid in Spanish flag? These suppositions, promoting the intended object.like that of an actual military con. Here was a case, if ever there was quest of the country, are obviously or will be one, in which something not merely improbable, but chime. might be expected from the effect rical, and full of inherent contra of internal divisions, and from the dictions. The time to take advan. adhesion of leading characters. tage of internal dissentions, if ever, What happened? Did Pueyrredon, was the time when they might have under all these favourable circum. been expected to occur; when they stances, succeed in bringing back to did in fact occur ; and when the its allegiance the colony under his king had his armies in the country, government ? I have already stated ready to back a discontented leader. that he did not carry with him a If nothing could be done under all single man. He could not stay in these favourable circumstances, it is his country. He was crushed at vain to expect a better result at once to the earth by the execration present, when every circumstance and contempt of the whole Ameriis of an adverse character.
can continent; and, in order to Finally, such is the strength of escape an ignominious death, was public opinion prevailing through compelled to hide himself in some out the colonies in favour of inde. obscure corner, where he has since pendence, that nothing would be died of chagrin and shame. Such really effected, even by successful is the history of the only considera. attempts to create internal divi. ble apostate that has yet been sions, and to gain over the popular gained from the cause of indepenleaders. This is evidently shown dence in America. It proves that by the fate of Pueyrredon, to which whatever may be the merits of the I have already alluded. Here was contest, there is a force of public a person holding the supreme exe. Ewntiment arrayed in support of this cutive power in one ofthe new states, cause, too strong to be resisted by enjoying a high reputation, and ap. any individual, however eminent; parently possessing great influence, that nothing can be hoped by Spain who consented to employ it in en. from the effect of internal dissen. deavouring to bring about a union tions in the colonies ; and that no of the colony, under his govern. means, excepting that of actual ment, with the mother country, in physical force, will ever bring them, the most plausible way in which it or any part of them, again under could be done. This colony was the dominion of his Catholic ma. precisely the one in which political jesty. The impossibility of em. dissentions had prevailed to the ploying this means with success has greatest extent, having assumed, already been shown, and is under. for a long period, the shape of ac. stood to be felt by his majesty's tual civil war. The negotiation government. presented an additional probability. It has sometimes been said, low. of success, from being carried on ever, that Spain might reasonably
be encouraged in the hope of re. upon the government of Bonaparte? covering her ancient colonies, by It was no other than the direct in. the great and sudden revolutions terest they had in overthrowing that have occurred in Europe in our that government, on account of the own time. The late king of France, inconvenience, more or less oppres. after being deprived of his heredi. sive, which they all suffered from tary rights and dominions for twen. its continuance. Have they all or ty-five years, finally succeeded in any of them any such motive for obtaining possession of them. Why opposing, at present, the inde. may not the king of Spain, in like pendence of the Spanish colonies ? manner, recover his American pos. It is evident that their direct intersessions, although he should have est, as far as they have any in the lost them for an equal length of affair, is on the other side ; and time? It is understood that this that the independence of America, argument from analogy is consi. instead of being an inconvenience dered by some persons of great re. to them, is rather advantageous than spectability as the principal one that otherwise, as it affords them a can be urged in favour of the con greater freedom of intercourse with tinuance of the war, and it may these vast and wealthy regions than therefore be proper to give it some they would enjoy under any colo. attention.
nial system, however liberal. Their The conquest of the colonies interest, therefore, would naturally must be effected, if at all, by the lead them, considered merely as aid of means ; and the example of neutral powers, to take part with the king of France is applicable, in the Americans, rather than with the the present instance, only as far Spanish government. Such of them as the same means which were em. as possessed extensive and valuable ployed to place him on the throne, colonies might be supposed, per are now at the disposal of the king haps, to sympathize with Spain in of Spain for the purpose of recover this contest, either because these ing his lost possessions in America. colonies had actually thrown off What were these means, and how their allegiance, or might be ex. far can they probably be employed, pected to do so; and these, if any, at present, by the Spanish goveru. are the powers which would have ment?
an interest in assisting his Catholic The revolution in the govern. Majesty, or in wishing, at least, for inent of France, of which the return his success. What then has been of Lewis XVIII. was the natural the policy of the powers thus situa. consequence, was accomplished by ted ? France and Portugal have the military force of other Euro. just acknowledged the indepen. pean powers, at a time when the dence of their ancient transatlantic king had not a soldier in the field dominions. England and Holland, in his own immediate service. Is the only nations now possessing it probable that there will be now colonies of consequence, have ac. or ever a similar alliance of these knowledged the independence of powers, for the purpose of restoring South America. It so happens, to the king his ancient dominions therefore, that the four powers, in America ? What was the motive which have or had colonies, are pre. which induced all the sovereigns of cisely those which have given the Europe to unite in a joint attack most unequivocal proof, that it is
not their intention to deviate from clude peace at once? Peace is, of the line of neutrality, by engaging itself, and in all cases, the greatest in the war on the side of Spain. If of blessings, and an almost indis. such be the policy of these nations, pensable condition of all public and which alone had some little indirect private prosperity. The advan. interest in common with that of his tages, direct and indirect, that Catholic Majesty, what can be ex. would accrue to Spain from making pected from the rest, which have peace at present with the colonies, all a pretty strong interest on the are, in the opinion of the govern. other side? There is evidently no ment which I have the honour to probability that they will enter into represent, of even more than ordi. a great European alliance for the nary value. I fear that I shall exreduction of America, like that haust your excellency's patience ; which was employed for the over- but being charged by my govern. throw of Bonaparte ; nor is it be ment with the expression of their lieved that his majesty's govern. convictions and wishes upon a subment expect any such co-operation ject of such vast magnitude, I should or assistance. It is, therefore, not have reason to reproach myself if in their power to take advantage of the effect of their intercession were the same means which were used diminished, and the war protracted, by the king of France, to obtain by the omission of any topic that possession of his hereditary domi. would be likely to have weight with nions; and his example has, of his Catholic Majesty. Allow me, course, no application to the pre. then, my lord duke, to request your sent circumstances of his Catholic attention a little longer, and to state Majesty.
to you, very concisely, as they apI fear that I may have taxed pear to the government of the somewhat too severely the atten. United States, the important bene. tion of your excellency, by the fits which would result to Spain length to which these considerations from the restoration of peace, and have been already drawn out ; but the establishment of friendly rela. it is difficult to touch, however con. tions with her ancient colonies. cisely, upon the several leading The immediate inconveniences points of so great a question, with. suffered by Spain from the continu. out entering into a pretty extensive ance of the war are far from being course of remarks. If the above inconsiderable, and the cessation statement of the grounds upon which of them would constitute, of itself, a the government of the United States very serious advantage. These in. have formed their opinion in regard conveniences are principally the to this question, be at all correct, heavy expense necessary to keep it follows conclusively, that there is up military and naval establish. no chance of recovering the colo. ments adequate to the defence of nies, either by actual military force, the West India islands, and the al. by the effect of internal dissentions, most entire destruction of the comor by the aid of foreign powers. merce of Spain, by the armed ves. The object of the war is, therefore, sels and privateers of the new unattainable. What remains, then, American states. It is understood but to escape, as soon as possible, that the whole revenue which from its inconveniences, and to con- would accrue from the islands is,
at present, absorbed by the charges constitute an adequate compensa. of securing them against the danger tion for sacrifices of such vast im. of an attack. When to this great portance ? expense is added that of fitting out, In addition to these great mis. occasionally, at home, expeditions chiefs, which are actually suffered, intended for their defence, it is clear and which would be removed by that the burthen must be considera. the termination of the war, there is ble, especially in the present em. another, perhaps still more serious, barrassed state of the finances. impending in immediate prospect, The restoration of peace would re- which, in the opinion of the governmove this evil at once, and would, ment of the United States, nothing also, give new life to the Spanish but a speedy restoration of peace commerce, which is now almost can avert-I mean the loss of the destroyed by the American priva. islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. teers. These enterprising naviga- These possessions are, for all pur. tors not only cover the waters of poses of revenuc, already in a great the Gulf of Mexico, and of the pas measure lost ; the whole amount sage thence to Spain, but have of receipts drawn from them, be. lately ventured across the Atlantic, ing, as is understood, exhausted by and almost blockade, at the present the charges of their defence. The moment, the ports of the Peninsula continuance of the war for two or and the entrance of the Mediterra. three years longer, perhaps for one, nean. The coasting trade is near must, in all human probability, oc. ly at an end, and, as far as it is casion their complete alienation, in continued, must be carried on un. one form or another. Hostilities der convoy. It is true that the being now at an end on the conti. commerce of Spain, under the na. nent, and the new states being comtional flag, has not been, for some pelled, by the refusal of Spain, to years past, very considerable, but make peace, to keep up their milithe loss of the whole, or the greater tary and naval establishments, they part of it, such as it is, is still a must, of course, employ them upon serious inconvenience. The deso. some active service. The Spanish lation of the sea ports, and the fall. islands present the most natural ing off in the amount of the cus. and advantageous point for attack, toms, show but too clearly the ex. and will, of course, be attempted. tent of the evil. The duties paid Without intending to disparage the at Cadiz, which, as your excel. valour of his majesty's armies on lency did me the honour to inform this station, still less the talent and me the other day, were a hundred efficiency of the governor general, millions of reals before the com. an officer of whom the government mencement of the present troubles, of the United States have reason to are now, I understand, something speak in the highest terms of re. less than four. When the incon. spect and estimation, I may add, veniences of this war are thus that it can hardly be doubted, con. brought home to the resources of sidering the nature of the popula. the government, and to the daily tion of the islands, and their vicini. life of his majesty's subjects, is it ty to the continent, that an attack not time to consider whether it af. would result either in their imme. fords any advantages or hopes to diate conquest by the new states, or in a protracted civil war, which islands, would be a real benefit. would put an end, at once, to their The assurance of preserving Porto present prosperous condition, and Rico and Cuba would be another; would occasion, in like manner, but these negative advantages, their ultimate loss. It is believed, however considerable, are of small on the other hand, by the govern. importance, when compared with ment of the United States, that, by those of a positive kind, which this making peace now, his majesiy kingdom would derive from the might insure the possession of these conclusion of peace, and the estab. valuable colonies for a long and lishment of friendly relations with indefinite period of time to come. the colonies. Permit me, then, Under the system of free trade, sir, to enlarge a little upon this upon which they are now fortunate. topic, and after touching very ly governed, they have flourished briefly upon the present unfortunate almost beyond precedent. The position of Spain, to present to you inhabitants are prosperous and the more agreeable picture of her wealthy, and must, of course, be situation, as, in the opinion of the satisfied with their condition. Re government of the United States, lieved from the burthen incident to it might, and would be, under a the defence of the islands, they system of free intercourse with the would find their situation still far. ancient colonies, on a footing of ther improved. There is no rea. cquality and mutual independence. son to suppose that, under these The present distressed condition circumstances, any foreign power of Spain is a fact too notorious to would attempt to molest them, or to require proof, and too painful to be infringe upon the rights of his ma- dwelt upon without necessity. In jesty to their government; and, alluding to it, I shall quote the lan. without pretending to prophecy guage of a report made last year what may happen in the course of by the Treasurer General to the centuries, it is every way probable Minister of Finance. that, for as long a period, at least, “Spain," says this officer, “has as any political combinations, been the victim of political convul. formed at the present day, can be sions. It is extremely unpleasant expected to produce effects, these to me to be obliged to relate disa. islands would continue to acknow. greeable things, and to present un. ledge, quietly and cheerfully, the favourable pictures; but in the al. supremacy of Spain, and to consti. ternative of perhaps putting public tute, at once, a rich appendage to tranquillity to hazard, I should con. the Peninsula, and a convenient sider myself criminal, if any fears entrepot for the immense trade or privaie views made me conceal which, in time of peace, must ne. evils which require an immediate cessarily grow up between the mo. remedy, especially when, with all ther country and the colonies. my efforts, I am unable to stifle
Such would be the consequences the evils which are bursting forth resulting from the mere termina. in every quarter. The resources tion of the war; the removal of have diminished, and are daily di. the immediate evils occasioned by minishing. The great sums which it, such as the decline of commerce, used to be received from America, and the burthen of defending the and which in tranquiltimes, amount.