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of the Spanish ships-of-war, the "Covadanga," off the port of Papudo, on the 26th November, 1865.
By a treaty of alliance, Perú takes sides with Chili in the war with Spain, which was solemnly declared in Lima on the 15th January last. Ecuador followed on the 30th of January, and it is expected that Bolivia, New Granada and Venezuela will come forward to support the old and glorious brotherhood of the South American Republics.
This struggle cannot last long, as Spain has no power to carry it on, and all the nations of Europe are opposed to her shameful depredations upon the prosperous republics of South America.
The Republic of Chili is governed under the rule of a very strong political constitution, framed through the influence of the famous Portales, or at least of his party, and which was sanctioned on the 25th May, 1833. It is, consequently, the oldest constitution of America, after that of the United States, and it is must be acknowledged that its age is its principal title to respect.
The form of government is republican, representative and electoral, all citizens possessing certain political qualifications being electors and eligible. Most of the German emigrants, settled in the south of Chili, have a right to vote, and have taken a lively part in the politics of the country.
The three political branches of a representative government, the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, are clearly defined by the Constitution.
The President, or chief of the executive, is elected for five years, and is eligible for a second term, but not for a third, until a period of five years has elapsed. He is assisted by a Council of State, composed of thirteen persons, all of his own choosing, and removable at his will. There are four cabinet ministers, viz.-of foreign and home affairs, of finance, of war and marine, of justice, religion and education. They are responsible for every official act, and cannot leave the country for six months after the expiration of their term of public service. No order or document from the president is legal without the countersignature of the minister to whose department it belongs. The Legislature is composed of a Senate of twenty mem
bers, elected for nine years, one-third of whom go out of office every three years, and a House of Deputies, consisting of one for every twenty thousand inhabitants, elected for three years. Government officers may be members of either branch of the legislature, and still hold their offices. They may, and often do, also, represent more than one constituency.
The judiciary consists of primary courts, three courts of appeal, and a supreme court. The judges of the higher courts are appointed for life, or rather during good behavior, and can only be removed by impeachment.
The Government of Chili has acquired great credit for the management of her relations with foreign powers.This peculiar trait has been ascribed to the natural discreet and quiet character of the people, and in some measure to the interference and wisdom of the celebrated Venezuelan savant, Don Andres Bello, undoubtedly the most famous Spanish writer on international law, and chief clerk for many years of the foreign department.
During the last forty-seven years, Chili has ratified not less than twenty treaties with foreign nations. The following table shows the names and the date of those conventions:
Treaties between the Republic of Chili and the Argentine Confederation,
Between Chili and Bolivia,
Feb. 5, 1819
Oct. 7, 1845
June 28, 1856
THE PUBLIC REVENUE.
The public revenue of Chili is comparatively small, taking into consideration the extent, wealth and population of the country. But the reason of this is highly creditable to the country, as there is not on the surface of the globe a people less taxed than that of Chili. If thẹ taxes were only half of those established in the United States, or a third of those of England, the actual revenue of Chili would be almost double that now collected. Indeed, there is in Chili, properly speaking, but one general tax, and that is paid directly by the foreign commerce-the Custom House duties, which constitute two-thirds of the public revenue. The other third is derived principally from two branches-the tobacco monopoly, which produces a million; and a light, although unequal tax on real estate, which yields a little more than half a million. Urban real estate and capital are not taxed at all in Chili; and, owing to this unequal distribution of charges, there exists a strong movement to establish a single direct tax, taking as a basis the capital or the revenue.
The amount of the public revenue in 1863, including all its branches, is shown in the following table:
The increase of the public revenue during the last forty years is demonstrated in the following proportion:
The revenue of the Custom Houses, which at the time of the breaking out of the Revolution of Independence, gave only a monthly yield of $12,000, is exhibited in its uninterrupted increase by the following data:
Another of the sources of the public treasury is the Post Office. At the end of the last century, there were only three weekly services throughout the country, as there existed only a few passable roads. The postage on letters, too, was very heavy (25 cents for a common twocent letter), and consequently the communication was very limited. But lately (1853), the new Americna system of cheap postage has been adopted, with considerable. profit to the Department and great benefit to the people. În 1853, the number of letters received was 195,351, and the year after, when the reform was put in execution, it was nearly doubled-306,569 being the number of letters delivered and received in 1854.
The increase of the Post Office revenue since 1833 is shown in the following table:
There are now more than one hundred and fifty general, and local post-office stations throughout the country, and
theservice, except in the further provinces, is, in most cases, daily. The vast extent of coast navigation in Chili affords peculiar facilities for frequent communication between its several provinces and cities. Copiapó, the northernmost extremity of the Republic, is only 30 hours' steaming from Valparaiso, and Chiloé, the southern extremity, only double that time.
The foreign debt at the end of 1865 was $10,678,500, $3,575,000 of which was an old English loan of 1822, at 3 and 6 per cent., and $7,193,500, the loan of 1858, at 4 per cent. But as the value of the railroad between Valparaiso and Santiago, and the shares held by the government in other railroads is represented by the amount of $15,778,108, itmay be said that Chili has no foreign debt, or, at least, that she can pay it at any moment and be free of all obligation to foreign capital.
The commerce of Chili with foreign nations, particularly with England, is very large. It is represented, indeed, as among the first commercial nations of the world. The natural productions are fitted for a fitted for a wide exportation; the wealth of the inhabitants permits them to invest large sums in foreign and luxurious importations, and the fact of Valparaiso, the principal port of Chili, being a kind of depot for merchandise which comes around the Horn for the supply of the south of Bolivia (via Cobija) and the north-west provinces of the Argentine Republic through the several passes of the Andes-accounts for the prodigious commercial transactions that take place there yearly. The liberality of the commercial laws conduce greatly to this result.
The amount of exportations from the country during the last four years (1861-'64) amounts to the extraordinary sum of $89,705,771, and the importations to $73,257,851, making a round sum of $162,963,622, according to the following statistics: