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certainly looked like a person who might be chosen by a nation for its magistrate; and no stranger could be surprised, at seeing such a man at its head. Though a native of this place, his father was a Swiss, who settled in this country as a merchant in early youth. His complexion is fair, with blue eyes; his countenance expressive of intelligence and humanity. He has the character of great application to business, and of that temperate energy, so essential in revolutionary times. Some, with no better opportunities of judging than myself, but possessing much deeper penetration into the secret workings of the human heart, could discover, that like Belial, all within was false and hollow; but I must honestly acknowledge, that for my part, I could not.
After the usual compliments, and some conversation on general topics, Mr. Rodney repeated, in substance, what he had said, with respect to the object of the mission, to the secretary the day before.
On this, the director replied to the commissioners, as follows: He declared, that for bis country, and for himself, he entertaind the highest sense of the honor conferred, by this friendly notice on the part of the government of the United States. “We have lung since been aware," said he, "that the most friendly feelings and wishes existed towards us, on the part of your country and government. We have ever re. garded your country with enthusiastic admiration. We appreciate fully, its high character for justice, disinterestedness and sincerity; and it is beyond the power of words to express, how gratifying to us all, is this proof of its good wishes. That there should exist a real and unfeigned friendship and sympathy
between us, is natural. We inhabit the same portion of the globe, our cause has been once yours, and we are in pursuit of the same objects, which you have so happily achieved.
"You will see many things amongst us, to excite your surprise. We are a people who are just begin. ning to be. We have had great difficulties to encounter, and have labored under extraordinary disadvantages. I feel confident, however, that when you come to be better acquainted with our country, you will find that the most ardent love of liberty, and independence, pervades every part of this community; that in pursuit of these great objects, we are all united; and that we are resolved to perish, sooner than surrender them. At the same time, we must confess with deep, regret, that dissentions still prevail between different sections of this republic, and which have unfortunately placed one of the most important portions of our country, in the hands of a stranger.
"With respect to the objects of the mission, I am anxious to meet the wishes of the commissioners in every particular. I hope all forms of diplomacy may be waived; that all communications may be held as between friends and brothers; that whenever it may suit the pleasure or convenience of the commissioners, they will address themselves personally to me, or to the secretary of state, who will always be found at leisure to attend to them."
Mr. Rodney having made a suitable reply to this address, of which I have given the substance, we took our leave.
In the course of the forenoon, a general Ascuenaga, and some other officers of distinction made their ap
pearance, for the purpose of returning our visit to the director, as I understand to be the custom on such occasions.* The general made a long harangue, which did not amount to much, and then took his leave. Shortly after, we were waited on by the city council, or cabildo, and a number of other gentlemen of distinction, and amongst them, a very sensible and intelligent man, Gascon, the secretary of the treasury. The conversation, of course, on these occasions, was very general. They were all, however, very complimen. tary to our country, while they spoke in a very humble manner of the state of things in their own.
In the evening, a guard of honor and a band of music, with the baron Ollenburg, a German officer, in the service of the republic, and some other officers, made their appearance in the patio. It was given to be understood, that they had come by the orders of the director. They were politely received by the commissioners, but it was suggested in a delicate manner, that the guard could not be accepted. Upon this, it withdrew, but the band continued playing for several hours, and during that time, the patio was crowded with ladies and gentlemen, and by a great many that could not with propriety be ranked under either of these denominations.
The dismissal of the guard was thought of sufficient importance to merit an explanation with the di. rector. Mr. Rodney, and Mr. Bland, accordingly called upon him the next morning for this purpose.
* I could not distinguish between officers of the regular forces, and those who were only of the civic militia; the latter being in the habit of wearing their uniforms much more commonly than is usual with us, which gives the community more of a military cast.
Mr. Rodney was going to state the circumstance, and the apology, when the director requested permission to anticipate what he was about to say. He said he was perfectly aware of the motives of the commissioners in declining to accept the guard. It was not offered under any idea that it was necessary for their safety, but that, according to the customs of the country, it was one of the modes of shewing respect to distinguished strangers; who were, however, perfectly at liberty to accept or not, according to their pleasure. He said, that in order to satisfy his fellow citizens, who were desirous that every attention should be paid to the commissioners, as well as for the purpose of gratifying his own feelings, he was anxious that no mark of respect should be omitted. He had discharged his duty, and satisfied the expectations of the public.
If I might venture a conjecture, this is one of the remnants of Spanish parade; and when the guard was offered, it was not expected to be accepted. There is scarcely a country in the world but ours, in which this practice of posting military guards for mere shew, does not prevail; and if we have seen here the footprints of liberty, it must be owned, that the foot-prints of despotism have not yet been worn out.