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laid the foundation of a new future, which is thrown open to the peasants. We also entertain the firm hope that it will also nobly exert its ulterior efforts to carry out the new regulation by maintaining good order, in spirit of peace and benevolence, and that each proprietor will complete, within the limits of his property, the great civic act accomplished by the whole body, by organizing the existence of the peasants domiciliated on his estates, and of his domestics, under mutual advantageous conditions, thereby giving to the country population the example of a faithful and conscientious execution of the regulations of the State.
"The numerous examples of the generous solicitude of the proprietors for the welfare of their peasants, and of the gratitude of the latter for the benevolent solicitude of their lords, give us the hope that a mutual understanding will settle the majority of complications, in some cases inevitable, in the partial application of general rules to the different conditions under which isolated estates are placed; that in this manner the transition from the ancient order of things to the new will be facilitated; and that the future will strengthen definitively mutual confidence, a good understanding, and the unanimous impulsion towards public utility.
regulation, by means of loans or a transfer of debts encumbering
"We thus confidently rely upon the upright feeling of the nation.
To render the transactions between the proprietors and the peasants more easy, in virtue of which the latter may acquire in full property their close (homestead) and the land they occupy, the Government will advance assistance, according to a special
"When the first news of this great reform meditated by the Government became diffused among the rural populations, who were scarcely prepared for it, it gave rise, in some instances, to misunderstandings among individuals more intent upon liberty than mindful of the duties which it imposes. But, generally, the good sense of the country has not been wanting. It has not misunderstood either the inspirations of natural reason, which says that every man who accepts freely the benefits of society owes it in return the fulfilment of certain positive obligations; nor the teachings of the Christian law, which enjoins that every one be subject unto the higher powers' (St. Paul to the Romans, xiii. 1); and to render to all their dues,' and, above all, to whomsoever it belongs, tribute, custom, respect, and honour (Ibid., xiii. 7). It has understood that the proprietors would not be deprived of rights legally acquired, except for a fit and sufficient indemnity, or by a voluntary concession on their part; that it would be contrary to all equity to accept this enjoyment of the lands conceded by the proprietors without accepting also towards them equivalent charges.
"And now we hope with confidence that the freed serfs, in the presence of the new future which is opened before them, will appreciate and recognize the considerable sacrifices which the nobi
lity have made on their behalf. They will understand that the blessing of an existence supported upon the base of guaranteed property, as well as a greater liberty in the administration of their goods, entails upon them, with new duties towards society and themselves, the obligation of justifying the protecting designs of the law by a loyal and judicious use of the rights which are now accorded to them. For if men do not labour themselves to insure their own well-being under the shield of the laws, the best of those laws cannot guarantee it to them.
"It is only by assiduous la bour, a rational employment of their strength and their resources, a strict economy, and, above all, by an honest life, a life constantly inspired by the fear of the Lord, that they can arrive at prosperity and insure its develop
of presiding at its inauguration, will have to see that this work is accomplished with calmness and regularity, taking into account the requirements of the seasons, in order that the cultivator may not be drawn away from his agricultural labours. Let him apply himself with zeal to those labours, that he may be able to draw from an abundant granary the seed which he has to confide to that land which will be given him for permanent enjoyment, or which he has acquired for himself as his own property.
The authorities intrusted with the duty of preparing by preliminary measures the execution of the new organization, and
And now, pious and faithful people, make upon thy forehead the sacred sign of the cross, and join thy prayers to ours to call down the blessing of the Most High upon thy first free labours, the sure pledge of thy personal well-being and of the public prosperity.
"Given at St. Petersburg, the 19th day of February (March 3), of the year of Grace 1861, and the seventh of our reign. ALEXANDER."
MEXICO. Withdrawal of the British Legation from Mexico-Causes which led to this-Sir C. Wyke sent on a Special Mission to the Mexican Government-Deplorable State of the Country-Convention between Great Britain, France, and Spain, for a Military Expedition to Mexico-Arrival of the Spanish Squadron at Vera Cruz, and Surrender of the Town-Despatches of Earl Russell on the subject of the Internal Government of Mexico.
CIVIL WAR IN AMERICA.-Causes which led to the Secession of the South-Mr. Crittenden's Proposal for a Compromise-South Carolina declares her Independence-Seizure of the United States ArsenalsMessage of President Buchanan to Congress-Firing of the First Shot-Population according to the Census-Fort Sumpter and its Garrison-Mr. Cobb elected President of the Confederate CongressMr. Jefferson Davis elected President of the Confederate States-His Address-Inaugural Address of President Lincoln-Attack upon, and Surrender of, Fort Sumpter-Proclamations of President Lincoln and President Davis-Opposition of Maryland to the March of Federal Troops through its Territory-Message of President Davis to the Confederate Congress-Active measures taken by the Contending Parties -Kentucky declares for Neutrality—Resolution of the South not to allow Cotton to be Exported from the Northern Ports-Proclamations of the Queen of Great Britain and Emperor of the French enforcing Neutrality-Position of the Federal Army-Question of Runaway
LONG series of injuries to British subjects and property in Mexico, for which no redress could be obtained, notwithstanding repeated promises from the Government to that effect, led to the withdrawal of the British Legation from the city of Mexico. A civil war had been raging there, for three years, carried on by Generals Zuloaya and Miramon, against the Constitutional Government, at the head of which was President Juarez; and this
was made the excuse for not complying with the demands from time to time made by the British Government to obtain satisfaction for the wrongs of which its subjects settled there had to complain. The withdrawal of the Legation "was," to use the words of Earl Russell, "forced upon Her Majesty's Government by continual disregard of the rights of British subjects, and of the obligations of international engagements, which rendered it
impossible for Her Majesty's Government to hold relations with the constituted authorities." In 1842, Mr. Pakenham, the British Minister at Mexico, concluded a convention with the Mexican Government for the payment of certain recognized claims, by virtue of which a fixed proportion of the entire customs revenue was mortgaged as a security for payment. No money, however, was forthcoming, and, in November, 1852, another arrangement, called a sub-convention, was made by Mr. Doyle with the Mexican Government, by which an additional assignment of the custom-house revenue was set aside to liquidate the British claims. A further convention was afterwards concluded, by which it was stipulated that 25 per cent. of the customs receipts at Vera Cruz and Tampico should be assigned to British bondholders. Great difficulties, however, arose in carrying out these conventions, and only a part of the mortgaged revenues was paid over by the Mexican Government, while outrages of the most flagrant kind, both to person and property, in the case of British subjects, continued to take place. Amongst other acts of lawless violence, a large sum of money belonging to British bondholders, which had been deposited in the house of the British Legation, was stolen, and a convoy of specie, part of which was destined to the payment of our demands, was, on its way to the coast, attacked and robbed. For both these acts we demanded reparation. In the month of April, this year, Sir C. Lennox Wyke was sent by Earl Russell as a special envoy to Mexico, to re
present the claims of the British Government, and he was to signify that the re-establishment of diplomatic intercourse between the two countries was to depend upon the acknowledgment, by the Mexican Government, of its liability for the claims of British subjects "who, either in their persons or in their property for a long series of years, could be proved to have suffered wrong at the hands of successive Governments in Mexico."
Sir C. Wyke was instructed to demand, "in the first instance, of the Government of Mexico, that in the ports of Vera Cruz and Tampico, commissioners shall be placed, who shall be named by the British Government, for the purpose of appropriating to the Powers having conventions with Mexico the assignments which those conventions prescribe, which shall be paid out of the receipts of the maritime custom-houses of the Republic; including, in the sums to be paid to the British Government, the amount of the conducta robbery and the money stolen from the British Legation."
He was also to require that the commissioners should have the power of reducing by one-half, or in any less proportion, the duties then levied at those ports; and if these terms were not complied with, he was to leave Mexico with all the members of the Mission.
It would be tedious anà uninteresting to detail the attempts made by Sir C. Wyke to obtain the redress which it was the object of his mission to require. It will be sufficient to state that all his efforts were abortive, and we found ourselves compelled to
resort to sterner means of compulsion. On his arrival in Mexico, Sir C. Wyke addressed a despatch to Earl Russell, which is worth quoting in extenso, as it gives a lively picture of the disorganized state of that country. He said :
"It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to give your Lordship a correct idea of the present state of affairs in this unfortunate country, so utterly incomprehensible is the conduct of the Government which at present presides over its destinies.
"Animated by a blind hatred towards the Church Party, the present Government has only thought of destroying and dissipating the immense property formerly belonging to the clergy, without, however, at the same time taking advantage of the wealth thus placed at their disposal to liquidate the many obligations which at present weigh them down and cripple their resources.
"The Church property has generally been supposed to be worth between 60,000,000 and 80,000,000 Spanish dollars, the whole of which appears to have been frittered away without the Government having anything to show for it. A considerable amount has, doubtless, been spent in repaying advances at exorbitant interest, made to the Liberal Party when they were fighting their way to power; but still enough ought to have remained, after satisfying their creditors, to have left them very well off, and in a better position as to their pecuniary resources than that held by any other Government.
"Since their Declaration of
Independence, according to a decree issued by them some time ago, anybody denouncing Church property has the right to purchase it on the following terms; -60 per cent. of the value of such houses or lands are to be paid in bonds of the Internal Debt (which bonds are in reality only worth 6 per cent.), and the remaining 40 per cent. in 'pagarés,' or promises to' pay hard cash, at 60, and even 80 months' sight. These 'pagarès,' of course, were subsequently discounted at an enormous sacrifice, as the Government was pressed for money, and willing to pay any nominal value to obtain it without delay. In this way 27,000,000 dollars' worth of Church property has been squandered in this city alone, and the Government, now without a sixpence, is endeavouring to raise a loan of 1,000,000 dollars to pay their current expenses.
"The Church Party, although beaten, are not yet subdued, and several of their chiefs are within six leagues of the capital, at the head of forces varying from 4000 to 6000 men. The notorious Marquez is one of these, and he has lately defeated several bodies of Government troops sent against him.
"The religious feelings of a fanatic population have been shocked by the destruction of churches and convents all over the country, and the disbanded monks and friars, wandering about amongst the people, fan the flame of discontent, which is kept alive by the women, who, as a body, are all in favour of the Church.
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