Page images

of the Peruvian army and revolutionary fleet. I beg to add that the Express of to-day makes a very singular mistake in declaring that the new Government of Perú comes back on a Spanish platform, when the very reverse is the fact, as the revolution sprang out of the infamous conduct of the last government of Ex-Gen. Pezet, a traitor, like Santana and Almonte, to the noble cause of America.

The asking of explanations from our government by Pareja, was in itself an act of insult on the part of the agent of Spain, as we were the party offended. But the Chilian Government, giving a proof of its prudence and forbearance, gave the explanations required, to such an extent that the claimant declared himself in a public dispatch, and in benalf of his government, entirely satisfied.

That event took place in May last, and both the country and the government had entirely forgotten the past question, when suddenly, on the morning of the 12th of September, a small steamer chartered by our Minister in Lima, cast her anchor in Valparaiso, bearing extraordinary news. The Government of Spain had declared insufficient the satisfaction accepted as fully satisfactory by her public representative had recalled him in disgrace, and ordered Pareja (the secret abettor of the plot,) to go with the whole of his fleet to impose upon us the shame of humiliating our honor and our flag to the guns of his ships. This course was made yet more insolent, as we know that Pareja and half a dozen intriguing and lawless men surrounding him, had been the active agents for obtaining from the Spanish Government the authorization of their villainous attack upon on Chili. Pareja was so proud with his old frigates, and particularly as we had none at that time, that he wrote to his beloved Queen that in less than a quarter of an hour he would settle the difficulty with little Chili.

But the poor old Admiral was miserably mistaken. At the very moment of his appearance in the bay of Valparaiso, the country-as a single thought, as a single soul, as a single arm-roused itself to the support of the government, and offered life and property to maintain its honor, so infamously and cowardly assailed. Consequently, the very day that Pareja declared the blockade, and took violent possession of a few of our merchant ships, who had not yet changed their flags, both Houses

of Congress met spontaneously on the 24th of September. War was declared immediately against Spain by the unanimous vote of all present; the government was authorized to raise a loan of $20,000,000; to call to arms whatever troops deemed necessary; to increase, or, more properly speaking, create a navy by all means available, and carry immediate and active hostilities against the insolent invaders.

And now, gentlemen, I ask you candidly and honestly, would you, could you, as members of an independent and free country, have done otherwise? [Cries of no, no.]


So the war with Spain is one of honor for us, as it is a ridiculous and purposeless ostentation of power and pride on the part of Spain. The English people, excited undoubtedly by their great interest in the Pacific, have understood nevertheless the real position, the origin, and the consequences of this singular and almost enigmatical case, and have severely condemned Spain. It is for you now to give utterance to your opinion, and support it in the interest of your ideas and of the old principles of your glorious republic.

But allow me to say, before I close these last observations, that although we regret, as a civilized country, this war having originated in such extravagant pretexts, we are not in the least afraid of it. Far from that. We have a history and glorious forefathers who taught us how to fight and how to conquer. [Applause.] We have a respectable and respected position among the nations of the world, and that respect is not commanded by armies or fleets, but by our institutions, our credit as a commercial country, and our wealth, superior to many of the old monarchies of Europe, and certainly to that of marauding and bankrupt Spain. And then, gentlemen, war with all its horrors and its calamities, possesses great advantages for new countries. We have nothing to loose by the hate of Spain, and something to gain by it. We are not indebted to Spain in Chili for a single man of enterprise, for a single cent of capital, for any importation of industry. England appears in our commercial section, as I have already stated, as importer in the proportion of 43 per cent. France 20 per cent., Germany 9 per cent.,

the United States 5 per cent., Peru and Brazil 3 per cent.; but Spain for nothing at all! (Laughter.) There are, too, in Chili, at present, seven hundred Spaniards in all, but all belonging to the classes of little traders; none to the liberal or even most humble professions.

And I may be allowed to repeat, without paying attention to local considerations, new-born countries require to be at once known in the great fair of the world. You were once only a small nation, and had not a defender among the great peoples of the globe, until you, young and inexperienced, but full of daring with the righteousness of your cause, went to war with England in 1812. You came great and powerful out of that struggle, and so we expect to come out of ours, against our fastdecaying mother country. And mind it, gentlemen, we are ready to go to that war at our own risk, with our own blood, with our own money, without asking any other nation's material help or entangling alliances. What we want is merely justice, the full appreciation of our dignity and of our rights, so that it may not be said that we entered into this war through contemptible notions of pride and vanity, but for the sake of our present existence, our future destinies as a nation, commanding the respect and the sympathies of the civilized world.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, there remains for me only the pleasant duty of offering you my most sincere and earnest thanks for the kindness shown to me on this occasion, and I do so with a grateful heart. (Long applause.)

After the lecture, Mr. E. George Squier moved a vote of thanks to the lecturer, in a few complimentary remarks, which motion was seconded by Mr. James S. Mackie in a brief but happy speech, and carried with signal enthusiasm.

Among several judgments registered by the daily papers of New York upon the present lecture, we consider it becoming to our purpose to reprint the following leading article of the Evening Post of December the 12th, and which relates to the commerce between Chili and the United States:

Señor McKenna, special agent of the Chilian government in this country, gave a few days ago an excellent account of his country, in which he related much that was new to his hearers and to the general public, and which is at the same time of great interest and importance to Americans.

After pointing out the fact that Chili has distinct natural boundaries in the Andes, the Pacific Ocean, the great desert of Atacama, and the savage plains of Patagonia; and that it possesses a homogeneous population, a various but temperate climate, an immense coast line containing hundreds of ports and bays, which make access to the interior easy, a fertile agricultural region, which enables the nation to export breadstuffs, and mineral resources so rich that, besides coal, silver and gold, half the copper produced in the whole world, annually, is mined in Chili. Mr. McKenna described the social and political condition of his country. Chili has two millions of people, who form a republic, in which a president is elected every five years, while the popular branch of the Congress is chosen every three years, and the Senate for seven years. Taxation is trifling, the custom duties are light, and imposed only on articles of luxury; one-tenth of the whole revenue of the state is devoted to public instruction; and in 1862 there were nine hundred and thirty-three free schools in the country, besides a university at Santiago, the most important in South America, and colleges in the different provinces.

Finally, lands are cheap, the climate is fine, the naturai products various, the feeling towards foreigners very liberal, the undeveloped wealth immense, the railroads of the country so extended that Chili is excelled in this regard only by the United States, England, France and Germany, and the people are very favorably predisposed towards the United States.

Yet with this country, whose people are so friendly to us, whose institutions are so similar to ours, who seem to be progressing in the same direction with ourselves, and who feel themselves to have the same interests with us, our comercial intercourse is so ridiculously small that Americans will blush when the figures are told. M. McKenna said:

The value of goods imported into Chili in 1864, according to official statistics, was $18,867,363; and would any of you believe that in this commerce, of which you

might have as good a share as any other nation, while England is represented by forty-three per cent, the enterprising, the prosperous and active people of the United States, with their enormous and crowded and countless manufactures, stand only in the proportion of five per cent ? But that is a fact, according to late official returns, and I may add, as far as my personal knowledge goes, that there exists in Valparaiso, among hundreds of large European houses of commerce, only three American firms.'

England has forty-three per cent of the trade with Chili, France has twenty per cent, Germany without a fleet, and with only a few ports, has yet nine per cent, the United States, with California and Oregon lying on the same ocean, has got only five per cent, but little more than Brazil, which has three per cent.

But if our commerce with Chili is small, it is no greater with others of the South American republics. We seem to have neglected those states, whose prosperity and progress nevertheless are of great importance to us. Under the rule of the slave-lords, our attitude towards them was made purposely hostile; the slave-holders did not care for legitimate commerce; they thought only of filbustering expeditions, of snatching the land of our neighbor republics to devote it to slavery. But with the new spirit which animates our policy, our intercourse with other American, republics should largely increase, our relations must become more intimate, and we shall no doubt presently recognise our duty towards them, to guard them, by our alliance, from such wanton attacks as that of Spain upon Chili, and that of France against Mexico.

True statesmanship would bind together all the republics of America in a common brotherhood; thus only can our example have its proper influence upon our neighbors, and thus only can those weaker states be saved from the attacks of despotic European powers-attacks which are as much directed against us as against our neighbors, for they arise out of hostility to the republican institutions of which we are the upholders, Mexico no sooner begins to show signs of the triumph of order, intelligence, and constitutional forms, than Napoleon makes war on the republic, forcibly sets up a despotic emperor in place of the constitutional government, involves the Mexican people in financial ruin, interrupts industry, vastly increases the national debt, re

« PreviousContinue »