« PreviousContinue »
in one single group, in one single family, in one single home-the Doctrine of Monroe-America for the Americans! (Enthusiastic and prolonged applause. Long live Chile and America.)
Dr Pablo Arosemena was next called for, who made a few pertinent remarks in the same strain, which were interrupted by frequent applause. The meeting then adjourned until the commission shall again convoke it for their report.
B. VICUÑA MACKENNA,
To the Editor of "La Epoca," of Madrid,
UPON THE REAL CAUSES AND MOTIVES OF
THE WAR BETWEEN CHILI AND SPAIN.
"On board the steamer Pacific, in the latitude of Panamá, November 4, 1865.
"MY DEAR SIR-It would hardly be possible for you to comprehend the sudden and deplorable war which has sprung up between Chili and Spain if a frank voice from these far-distant zones were not to explain to your just mind and enlightened patriotism so unexpected and extraordinary an event. However, not because unknown and humble do I refrain from assuring you that that voice is the voice of an honest man, and a sincere friend of the Spanish people, in the midst of whom I was so fortunate as to pass some of the happiest days of my life. The manner in which I am going to have the honor of addressing you will be the strongest proof of the noble motives which prompt me to write to you these few words, which, although hurriedly written, refer to the gravest affair with which true Spaniards and true Americans can occupy themselves to-day.
"After forty years of peace and independence, South America had become thoroughly reconciled to the old mother country. Chili had signed a treaty of peace with her, and that country-model of loyalty, prudence, and energy-offered to Spaniards the most unlimited and cordial hospitality. You may assure yourself, beyond a doubt, that there is not a single Spaniard settled in Chili who may not have made a fortune more or less considerable,
and there is not a single one who may not have Chilian children. I do not purpose to cite special cases. Inform yourself of any honest Spaniard whatever who may have visited our shores, and if that man does not wilfully distort the truth, I am not afraid for a single moment of being falsified. On the contrary, Chili, on account of her mild climate, her productions similar to those of the Peninsula, the serious character of her people, her traditions of order and respect for the laws, had become the favorite resort of those who came from Spain to these regions in search of a home and a new country.
"How is it, then, that all this has disappeared in an instant, and, according to the latest dates (Oct. 17), Admiral Pareja should be in Valparaiso, threatening that rich and splendid city, and that there should be collected in Santiago, under the vigilance of the police, all the Spaniards, to serve as hostages for the consequences of an attack, otherwise unpunished, against her defenceless people.
"It is that which the Lima periodical I have the honor to enclose will explain to you, in the article entitled "Fortnightly Review," and which I will try to make clearer in a few words.
"Since the announcement of the coming of Admiral Pinzon, there has been in Chili and in Perú a vague rumor of alarm. The aggressive tendencies of Marshal O'Donnell were well known, and the annexation of Santo Domingo -the first threat against American nationalities-was recent. The personal conduct of the Admiral, and the arrival of Commissary Mazarredo converted that rumor into a suspicion. The military occupation of the Chinchas, and the famous declaration of recovery, unfortunately gave cause for those doubts and fears, and converted theni into an international scandal.
"The aggression of Admiral Pinzon was against Perú, but Chili could not be indifferent. Her geographical and commercial position, her history, her security, were all involved in that question. Picture to yourself Portugal invaded by France, declaring the right of conquest, or any other offense aginast her nationality. Could the Government of Spain, without being guilty of treason and mibecility, remain indifferent, simply because the attack was not directed against her own territory?
"A better comparison can not be made, for it was exactly what took place. You know that, in 1820, San Martin had come from Chili to liberate Perú, because the independence of that country was the complement of ours. You also know that, in 1830, another Chilian army defeated General Santa Cruz, President of Bolivia, who annexed Perú to that country, and that, also, because the safety of Perú was our own safety.
"But how did Chili manifest her adhesion to the cause of Perú ? That is the only question to be solved, because in it are found all the claims which have given rise to the war. The people, by acts purely evidences of sympathy and enthusiasm; the Government, by no act which was not in entire conformity with the law of nations. I know how much has been falsely attributed to the country and to the Government in this matter, but the notes of our Chancery and the Tavira-Covarrubias settlement, are ample proofs of what I assert. I will make yet another observation. When the war in Mexico commenced against the Emperor of the French, collections of money were nade throughout the country, and large sums were sent to President Juarez, to enable him to maintain the independence of the country against the French invaders. Could a case be shown of more evident hostility against France ? What was the satisfaction demanded by the powerful and susceptible Government of Napoleon III.? None whatever. And that because the governments of Europe, in spite of the dense cloud of error and calumny which darkens our republics in their eyes, understand that we are subject to the same impressions, the same alarms, the same sympathies which are felt by the people whom they govern, and consequently subject to the same duties and the same obligations. And in this light permit me to ask you, would Russia have declared war or demanded satisfaction for the public manifestations, the contributions of money, the popular processions, the simultaneous and persistent attacks of the Press in France and Spain in favor of unfortunate Poland? Why, then, should the popular sympathy of Chili for a brother and neighboring country, violently assault. ed and offended in her honor and the principle of independence which was common to us, be looked upon in any other light? You should judge the affairs of America as the affairs of all civilized countries ought to be judged;
then, and only then, will you enter the regions of reason, of mutual advantages, of civilization itself.
"But it has been said that there was a real insult to the Spanish flag, and that the name of Isabel II. was dragged through the mire of defamation; and these two imputations have been made a question of honor-an immediate and sufficient cause of war. It may be just for me to assure you, on the faith of a man of honor and truth, that the first assertion is entirely false. I was a present witness of the event of the 1st of May, 1864, and there was not even the slightest affront to a flag then still friendly, and which was placed, as usual, on a staff so elevated, that no one could have touched it, though desirous of doing so.
"With regard to the second charge, I must acknowledge that there were mean and cowardly acts on the part of an obscure paper, gotten up for speculation upon the scandal of an exceptional situation. But did not the Government protest against this journal, offering to try it according to the laws? Did not society protest and condemn it to scorn? What more could one wish that it should have done? And in Spain itself have not journals of high grade been published, offensive to the throne as the El Guirrigai y El Tio Camorra, among others? What wonder, then, that the San Martin should come to light in an aggrieved and justly-distrustful country? And the Punch of London, and the Charivari of Paris, do they not publish pictures and articles highly offensive to the dignity of the Spanish monarchs? And will Spain, because of that, demand satisfaction with the mouth of the cannon, and declare war against those countries?
"In reality, there has been no offense against Spanish honor which should give occasion for war, still less justify it. If the Spaniards have always been treated with cordiality and kindness; if they have all found fortunes, family, and social considerations like the native sons of the country, and with even a preference over strangers of other nationalities; if in forty years of peace, there has never been a single mutual quarrel between the two countriesno shadow-not a single diplomatic rupture whatever; if the treaty of peace in force for more than twenty years has never been violated; if many of the highest employees of the Government, in the Republic, and even in her Con