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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 natural 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 ninę 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 republios 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, reestablishes peonage, and overturns all that had been accomplished by the adherents of lawful liberty in Mexico in a quarter of a century. So Spain wantonly attacks Chili, puts the people of the republic to the expense of defending themselves, and thus retards the industrial development of that free nation. Thus, too, she intrigues in Peru, ostensibly to “revindicate” obsolete rights and claims, while her real object is to keep that growing republic in turmoil, to foster the spirit of factions, and to overturn and destroy the beneficial results of free government. It is alike our duty and our interest to put a stop to these invasions of America by European despots.”
ADDRESS DELIVERED IN PANAMA
On the origin and Character of the
WAR BETWEEN CHILI & SPAIN,
In acordance with the following Act, which we copy from the Mercantile Chronicle of Panama,
of December 12th, 1865.
In the city of Panama, on the 8th of November, 1865, a large number of Columbians, resident in this Capital, assembled in the porticos of the Cabildo House, for the purpose of taking into consideration the attitude which this country ought to assume in the contention which has arisen between Chili and Spain ; Señores Manuel Maria Diaz and Pablo Arosemena being named respectively President and Secretary of the meeting; and the former having stated in a fitting and well-applauded speech the object of the reunion, the latter made the following propositions, which were unanimously approved:
1st—The Republic of Chili, in the unjust war to which she has been provoked by the agents of Spain in the Pacific, deserves the sympathies and aid of republican America.
2d-Consequently, the persons who compose this meeting consider it an inevitable duty to aid the sacred cause of Chili by all the lawful means within their reach. 3rd-Let a commission of three persons be named, who shall take charge of setting forth the plan that ought to be adopted to secure so great an end.
By virtue of the will of the meeting, the President appointed Señores Gabriel Obarrio, Pablo Arosemena, and Mariano Arosemena to compose the said commission.
The President, on behalf of those assembled, then invited Señor Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, who was present, to address the meeting, to which that gentleman responded in tne following words, which we translate from the Spanish:
SR. VICUÑA MACKENNA, said : Gentlemen, although I am in this city nothing more than a simple citizen of the Republic of Chile, I cannot do less than rise to respond to the amiable invitation of the President of this noble and patriotic meeting, and offer you my profound gratitude for the manifestation you have made in behalf of my country. I cherish the deep conviction that the generous resolutions which you have adopted will resound as an echo of fraternity in the hearts of all my countrymen, who are also yours, because, gentlemen, if in the days of peace we have the right to call ourselves friends and natural allies, in the hour of danger we are nothing less than brothers. Your noble conduct is proving this. [Cries of Yes! Yes!) I did not wish, gentlemen, to pass beyond this simple expression of my personal gratitude towards you. It was my desire to assist at this splendid reunion in the character of a mere sojourner on the Isthmus, and though it be indeed true that I have been honored by my government with an important political commission, this does not give me diplomatic character to impart a determinate importance to my words. Nevertheless, on finding myself in the midst of you, and on listening to your ovations to my country, these two questions have occured to me, which I also address to you. Why does Spain make war on Chile ? Is this war against Chile only, or is it against all America ? Why does Spain make war against Chile ? Ah! You well know, gentlemen. Spain makes war against my country because she presented herself to sustain the honor and dignity of America, without any other advice, without