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and proclaim his dissent, yet it was well known, that others harmonised with his views, and were restrained from speaking boldly by the judicious consideration, that in a case of this nature an apparent unanimity in the national counsels was paramount to the declaration of a private sentiment. But the time has come when the most skeptical are obliged to lay aside their doubts; South America is free; her independence is as completely established as was that of our own states at any time between the declaration of independence and the establishment of peace.
It will be a marvel in the eyes of future ages, that in these United States a suspicion should have lurked in any mind as to the result of the contest. It will hardly be believed, that a short half century could have obliterated from our thoughts the grievances which we suffered, the wrongs of which we complained, and the fixed, unyielding resolution with which we determined to resist them. But if we had injuries to avenge, and wrongs to redress, what shall we say of the colonies at the south? What shall we say of sixteen millions of people, who suffered under a burden of oppression, which had for three centuries crushed their ancestors into the earth, and compared with which, the evils we were so loud to deprecate, and so prompt to remedy, would hardly be felt as an inconvenience? The tyranny of Spain over her colonies has been one of the most hateful, the most indefensible, whether on the ground of right or expediency, which the world has ever witnessed. But the measure of iniquity became full, and the shackles of slavery were to be broken in pieces. The example of other nations, the progress of knowledge, and the growth of intellectual and physical strength, silently pointed to the hour of successful resistance.
In the present state of things there is not the remotest prospect, that the South American colonies will ever again be subjected to the dominion of Old Spain, nor indeed to any European power. Ferdinand, it is true, since his ignoble restoration, has made a feeble and humiliating appeal to his 'dear and intimate allies,' imploring their assistance in bringing back the wayward colonies to their former allegiance, and all out of the purest affection for his beloved subjects in the other hemisphere, whom he 'beholds with grief' driven by their own follies to the brink of a most dangerous precipice.'
In addition to these generous motives of paternal solicitude, he affirms that the inhabitants of the South American provinces cannot be happy, unless they live in brotherly connexion with those who civilised those countries.' And farthermore the document states, that 'his Majesty, confiding in the sentiments of his allies, hopes that they will assist him in accomplishing the worthy object of upholding the principles of order and legitimacy, the subversion of which, once commenced in America, would presently communicate to Europe.' Such is a specimen of the message, which Ferdinand taught his minister, Count Ofalia, to send to his European allies on the 26th of December, 1823. This last head of the appeal was no doubt intended to operate with the greatest weight; and it can hardly be thought wonderful, that Ferdinand should imagine these motives irresistible on those dear allies,' who had so lately ravaged his own dominions, under pretence of establishing order and legitimacy,' and teaching the deluded Spaniards how to love their king and be happy.
But it does not appear, that the sovereigns of Europe are prepared to revive the spirit of Peter the Hermit, or to go back at one leap to the fanaticism of the eleventh century, and make a crusade against the South American states, even for the attainment of so worthy a purpose as setting up the standard of legitimacy in these remote regions, and quickening the love of the people towards his Catholic Majesty at Madrid. The English government has taken a noble and determined stand in regard to this subject, and one which must effectually restrain the ambition of the allied powers, however aspiring and restless, from any attempts to extend the influence of their conspiracy beyond the domains of their own continent. In the whole history of diplomacy there is nothing more honorable to the rulers of a nation, than the frank, bold, and decided tone of Mr Canning's official conference with the French ambassador, Prince de Polignac, and of his letter to Sir William A'Court, English ambassador at Madrid, in reply to Count Ofalia's communication. The British minister, after having expressed himself thoroughly convinced, that the old system can never again be restored in the colonies, declares that in case of any attempt on the part of Spain to revive the obsolete interdiction of intercourse
with countries over which she had no longer any absolute dominion; or, in that of the employment of foreign assistance to establish her dominion in those countries by force of arms, the recognition of such new states by his Majesty would be decided and immediate.' And the Prince de Polignac himself affirmed, on the part of France, that his government believed it to be utterly hopeless to reduce Spanish America to the state of its former relation to Spain,' and that she abjured, in any case, any design of acting against the colonies. by force of arms.' These declarations are explicit and without reserve, and taken in connexion with the lofty ground assumed by the cabinet of the United States, and applauded by the unanimous voice of the nation, they put the question of South American emancipation completely and forever at
The same sentiments were reiterated in the most unequivocal manner, in a debate which occurred in the House of Lords, March 16th, on the Marquis of Lansdown's motion to recognise the independence of the South American republics. The mover maintained, that as these states were de facto independent, they ought to be recognised as such by all regular governments, whose duty and interest it was to establish a commercial and friendly intercourse with them. Lord Liverpool in reply was opposed to a formal recognition, chiefly on prudential grounds, although he agreed in the fullest terms, that the states were de facto independent; and he went farther and affirmed, that England had virtually and practically acknowledged their independence, by sending consuls into each republic, and forming substantial commercial relations. He moreover added, that he held as chimerical and absurd, the notion that Spain, in her present condition, or any condition perhaps which she ever filled, if she could be replaced in it, could have any means, by her own power and of herself, to conquer any part of those provinces.' It is no easy matter to come at once to the point of Lord Liverpool's speech, for he most clearly argues one way and decides another. He proves the South American states to be in
*See the Documents presented to both Houses of Parliament in March, 1824, containing a Memorandum of a conference between the Prince de Polignac and Mr Canning, October 9, 1823; Count Ofalia's circular, dated December 26, 1823; and Mr Canning's letter in reply, dated January 30, 1824,
VOL. XIX.-NO. 44,
reality independent, and that they have been practically acknowledged by the British government, yet he is opposed to an open recognition, for the main reason, as far as we can learn, that he wishes to do it in a handsome and liberal way,' and the time for doing it after this manner has not yet come. He speaks throughout, however, in an elevated and manly tone, and the following remark will indicate, with sufficient plainness, his views of the sinister schemes of legitimacy, in contemplating an interference with South American affairs. 'We have shown,' says he, affection and good will to the colonies, we have shown that we are determined they shall not be trampled upon by alliances or confederacies, whatever their names or however formidable.' With this spirit in the British government, and with the perfectly sympathising feeling in the United States, the rising republics of the south have nothing to fear from the enthroned despotisms of Europe, which, however haughty, blood thirsty, and grasping, are not yet so blind to their own interest as to hazard the expense and disgrace of a defeated enterprise, in pursuit of so chimerical a project, as that of awakening a love for kings, and building up the decayed fabric of legitimacy at the foot of the Andes, and on the shores of the Pacific.
We do not suppose, that harmonious and well adjusted governments are to spring up at once from the soil of the South American republics. It would be more than a miracle if they should. How is it to be expected, that systems established on just and liberal principles, calculated to reconcile and unite discordant interests, and to remove evils deep rooted and of long growth, can be suddenly understood and put in practice by a people so much degraded, and so ill instructed, either by precept or example, in the forms of good government, as were the inhabitants of the South American provinces under the Spanish domination? It was a just remark of the wise and brave Bolivar, in his memorable address to the Congress of Venezuela, that the people of America, bound with the triple yoke of ignorance, tyranny, and vice, could not acquire either knowledge, power, or virtue.' He exhibits with much candor and sagacity the political condition of the republics, shows in what manner they differ from any other countries, where new modes of government have been instituted, and seems convinced, that the first attempts can be
little more than experiments, whose success must remain doubtful till they have been thoroughly tried. He had the good fortune, however, in connexion with his able compatriots, to form a constitution for Colombia, which has thus far answered exceedingly well the ends of such an instrument, and to all appearance has settled the government on an immoveable and permanent basis. Of neither of the other republics can this be said in the same extent; and we have no doubt, that in the most of them the waves of popular commotion must yet run high, and the miseries of civil dissensions be severely felt, before the powerful will learn to govern, or the weak to be governed, the wise to lead, or the simple to follow.
The revolution was not the explosion of a moment; it was a spontaneous effort on the part of the colonies, which would not have been long deferred had the condition of Old Spain been ever so prosperous; it has not been the consequence of a sudden excitement, a partial intrigue, or any foreign or adventitious causes; its source lies deeper, and may be found in the gradual development of principles, which must always become active in the progress of society, and which in the present age cannot be checked, even under circumstances so humbling as were those of the South American colonists. They are principles deeply settled in the human heart, and which make every mind conscious of its right to freedom and selfgovernment, and to the power of controlling its own destiny; they are the principles of justice and truth, and will be triumphant. The elements of disorder will at length purify themselves; every day will impress a lesson of experience; the light of knowledge will shine brighter and brighter; the example of other countries will hold out practical instruction; and the intercourse with foreigners, necessarily promoted by a free trade with all the world; these means, and others of a corresponding nature, will in due time prepare all the republics of South America for instituting such forms of government, as will secure to the inhabitants rational liberty, peace, prosperity, and happiness. That they have existed so long, and risen above a state of absolute anarchy, is proof sufficient that the spirit of a salutary, improving change is at work among them.
We are told of the royalist party in some of the provinces, but in truth there is no such party, which makes any figure