Слике страница
PDF
ePub

to the subject by members of Congress, during the heated and agitating discussions of the session, it is to be hoped that the 7th census will be free from that imputation of error to which its predecessor, in its estimate of the products of the several states, was confessedly exposed; and that the progress of the several states in all the modes that denote civilization, will be placed on evidence beyond cavil or dispute. The numbers within the present limits of the United States, on the 1st of June, 1850, will probably fall little short of twenty-three and a-half millions, showing about a sixfold increase in sixty years.

MEXICO, &c. An extra session of the Mexican Congress was held on the 1st of July, when President Herrera laid before them the state of public affairs. He presents a favourable view of their finances: the receipts from the 1st of July, 1848, to the 31st of May, 1849—that is, for eleven months-exceed those of the preceding years, $5,239,729; from which he is led to expect that the national income will soon equal its expenditure. He estimates the whole public debt at 100 millions of dollars, when the arrangements now in a train of negotiation with the creditors shall be concluded. Among other legislative measures recommended, are a system of differential duties for the encouragement of Mexican navigation, the consideration of the government monopoly of tobacco, the organization of the National Guards, and a reorganization of the territories of the republic, especially of New or Lower California.

The financial arrangements, to which the President adverted, were with the English creditors. It was agreed between them and the Mexican government that the interest on their debt should be reduced from 5 per cent., as first stipulated, to 31 per cent., from July 1st, 1846, until 1859, when a new rate shall take place, more or less favourable, according to the condition of the Mexican treasury at that time. Mexico further agrees to pay, on account of interest, $1,500,000 out of each of the three instalments yet due from the United States by the treaty of Guadalupe, and that it will give up to its English creditors the export duties on the precious metals in all the ports of the republic. This convention met with warm opposition in the Senate, and was followed by the resignation of M. Aranguiz, the Minister who negotiated it.

The active politicians are said to be ranged under four parties: ultra democrats, moderates, monarchists, and Santa Annaites, who are said to be as much imbittered against each other as two parties, comprehending a whole community, commonly are.

The State of Chihuahua, annoyed by the unceasing incursions of the neighbouring Indians, seems to have thought any remedy justifiable under the circumstances, and offered a reward of $200 for every Indian killed, or made prisoner. The neighbouring State of Durango was not slow to follow this example of barbarity. It is said that a ranger from Texas, at the head of twenty-five men, Texans and Mexicans, soon entitled himself to between two and three thousand dollars of these wages of blood. As these acts of Chihuahua and Durango were pronounced by the Mexican Congress to be unconstitutional, it is to be hoped that they have been revoked.

Some explanation was given in the Mexican Congress of the charge of selling in Havana the Indians who had been captured in Yucatan. The Governor of Yucatan denies the fact of sale; but he admits that the people of Yucatan, when the alternative was presented to them, of murdering their prisoners, or of transporting them, had chosen the latter. They were, therefore, sent to the government of Cuba, which contracted to support them, and pay them a reasonable price for their labour.

The province of Yucatan seems to be in nearly as wretched a condition as ever. The sum of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars, were furnished them by Mexico without terminating the war, and they are clamorous for further assistance, which, however, the general government of Mexico seems little able to afford.

The insurgents of Sierra Madre are still unsubdued; but according to the official reports, they are more and more closely pressed by the government troops, under Bustamente. The Congress has given a proof of its love of economy in reducing the President's salary from thirty-six thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars.

VENEZUELA. The civil contests which have so long distracted Venezuela, seem at length to have terminated; and General Paez, after frequent changes of fortune, or rather of prospect, finds himself in a more hopeless condition, and his rival, Monagas, more firmly established in power than ever. In June last, the odium which General Monagas had excited, having urged some six or eight men to attack the presidential mansion, he made this attack a pretext for assuming the authority of a dictator. His acts drove the people of Coro to insurrection, and, on the 28th of June, they drove the garrison there quartered out of the city. The whole province followed its example, and General Paez, then at Curaçoa, was pressingly invited to put himself at the head of the insurgents. He lost no time in complying with their request, and on the 3d of July he made a triumphal entry into Coro, where he was hailed as “the father of his country.”. He was soon joined by some of Mo

* Two celebrated Mexicans have died lately- Mariano Paredes, the former President of the Republic, and General Urrea, the guerilla chiestain. The first died at the city of Mexico of the effects of inebriation, and the other at Durango, of cholera.

nagas' former adherents, and in two days he wrote to his friends in Curaçoa that he had nothing further to desire. “From all quarters,” he says, “we see gathering around us those bands of patriots that are about to restore liberty to their country. I have more volunteers than I can arm, and their enthusiasm is beyond description.” He issued a proclamation to the people, in which he made a most fervid appeal to their patriotism, their love of liberty, and their resentment against the tyranny they had experienced. Monagas, on the other hand, had the command of neither men nor money-nay, was so destitute that he could not fit out two schooners then lying at Porto Cabello. His overthrow was regarded as a thing settled; yet in a few weeks he managed to place himself at the head of a force, which the various accounts state from 2000 to 5000 men, and Paez soon found himself compelled to yield once more to his fortunate rival. His surrender is thus noticed in the orders of the day of General Silva:

“ To-day, at 11 o'clock this morning, the factious. Jose Antonio Paez has surrendered at discretion, with all his forces, to the invincible troops of the government. Beaten in two rencontres, and surrounded on all sides in a little valley, he has comprehended his weakness and his temerity; he has, therefore, submitted to the clemency of the government, on conditions which do honour to the principles we profess."

Subsequent accounts say that Paez and his son are in a state of abject poverty and dependence, and Monagas is in the exercise of despotic power.

GUATEMALA.. In Guatemala there has been, in the present year, another revolutionary change; and Carrera, who last year found himself compelled by the popular discontents, especially among the mountaineers, to resign his office of President, has lately returned from his exile in Mexico, and re-established himself in power in the province of Los Altos. His success has induced the administration of Martinez to temporize so far as to revoke the decree of banishment against Carrera, and to ratify the acts of his self-assumed power. It remains to be seen whether he has the means, as he no doubt has the will, of completely superseding Martinez, and of reinstating himself in the presidential authority.

Soon after Martinez became President, the difference between the government of Guatemala and M. de Challaye, the French minister, was amicably adjusted, and he continued in Guatemala as French Consul.

The increased importance of an easy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and probably some other considerations of national policy, seem likely to give an interest and consequence to a

VOL. III.-SEPT., 1849. 2

part of Central America that has been hitherto deemed the most insignificant. Among the several modes of connecting the two oceans, that by Lake Nicaragua has been regarded by many as the most eligible. The State of Nicaragua, a few months since, granted to the New York and New Orleans Steam Navigation Company, through its two agents Clapp and Brown, the right of making a communication between the oceans by Lake Nicaragua and the river St. John. The exclusive right, however, to the navigation of this river is officially denied by Mr. Barclay, the British Consul at New York, to belong to the state of Nicaragua, who affirms that thirty miles of it, below the lake Nicaragua, belongs to the kingdom of Mosquito, and that that kingdom is under the protection of the British government. As the state of Nicaragua will be disposed to sustain her grant, and the government of the United States is bound to protect the interests of its citizens, the right of navigation in question is likely to undergo a close investigation, in which the right of Musquito to separate from the rest of Central America, and its erection into a monarchy, marked, as they are said to have been, by very singular circumstances, may be involved in the discussion.

HAYTI. • In Hayti, the President Soulouque has assumed the state and dignity of emperor. On the 23d of August, an address was circulated in the capital, demanding of the Chamber of Representatives and Senators the title of emperor for Faustin Soulouque. On the 24th, those bodies acted upon the wish of the people thus expressed, and passed a decree conferring on the president the title of Emperor of Hayti. Accordingly, on Sunday, the 26th of August, the imperial crown was placed upon his head by the president of the Senate, and a chain of gold about the neck of the Empress, when the populace shouted Vive l'Empereur. He afterwards issued his royal proclamation, and created dukes, barons, &c.; and it is reported that he is preparing another expedition against St. Domingo. Whether his sable majesty will experience, with his new honours, a change of fortune in war, is to be seen.

• ARGENTINE REPUBLIC. In the Argentine Republic, several of the petty States of the confederation seem to be in a state of intestine disorder and revolution. The reconciliation of General Rosas with the French and English governments, seems, from the address of the legislature of Buenos Ayres to him, to be far from cordial as yet. Both governments are complained of for their intervention in favour of Montevideo; and Great Britain, though commended for separating herself from France, is charged with unjustly taking possession of the Falkland Islands, after having relinquished them to Spain, and with having made a settlement on the Straits of Magellan. Even an offensive expression of Lord Palmerston's against the republics of South America, as to their English debts, is indignantly noticed.

FRANCE.

The powers of the Constituent National Assembly expired on the 24th of May, at midnight, and on the following day those of the newly elected Legislative Assembly commenced. It was understood to be composed of Legitimists, Orleanists, and Bonapartists, altogether amounting to nearly two-thirds of the legislature; of red republicans and socialists, amounting to about 240 members, and of a small number of moderate republicans, not exceeding some sixty or seventy members. On all questions looking to the restoration of the monarchy, the last named party were expected to unite with the monarchists and on the wild theories lately put forth concerning property and the rights of labour, to concur with the socialists.

After the election of the members present was duly verified, the Assembly proceeded to the election of a President, when M. Dupin received 336 votes; M. Ledru Rollin, 182; and M. Lamoriciere, 76. In the composition of the cabinet, of which M. Odillon Barrot was placed at the head, it was thought prudent to comprehend friends to the legitimists, the constitutional monarchists, and the moderates. One more homogeneous in sentiment could not be relied upon to support the measures of the executive.

On the 6th of June, the President, in an official message, made that communication to the Assembly on the affairs of the republic, which the constitution requires. The message was almost as long as that of an American president or governor, and descended to a minuteness of detail without example in similar state papers in Europe. In some general preliminary remarks on the past difficulties and future hopes of the country, he states his own purpose to be “to defend society, so audaciously assailed; to secure a wise, great and honourable republic; to protect family religion and property; to promote all possible improvement and economy; to protect the press against caprice and licentiousness; to lessen the abuses of centralization; to efface the marks of civil discord; and, finally, to adopt a policy in foreign relations, equally free from arrogance and weakness. He then proceeds to detail the condition of France under seven different topics:

1. Finances. The public debt, he said, bad been increased in 1848, by an annual charge of 56' millions of francs; and the extraordinary expenses in 1848, caused by the revolution of February, amounted to 265 millions. With all the aid afforded by the tax of 45 per cent., and

« ПретходнаНастави »