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carrý every thing before them? And, besides, the ex: pence! If Spanish America, for example, has 143 depu. ties in the Cortes, their salary alone, amounts to 1,706,000 dollars. And in case of a war, how are they to come? Perhaps, nothing was ever dreanit of, more extravagant, than this manner of governing two parts of one empire, with an ini mense ocean between. The American deputies were sensible of this fact, and they, consequently, protésted on behalf of their constituents.
"Offlittle,” says the editor of El Español, “ has the experience of the whole world, served in its formation. The same principles of liberty wrongly understood, which the French made fashionable, but of which, they are now ashamed, are what form the free or liberal part of the Spanish constitution. The same intolerance which oppressed Europe, four centuries ago, has therein dictated those articles, in which the enemies of excessive liberty, now glory. The royal power, is therein encuf bered with inconsistent chains; and there, religious ty ranny, still appears with the dagger in its hand. On one side, the fountain of the laws, is exposed to be troubled and soiled, by the multitude by which it is surrounded; and on the other, the people are deprived of a most sacred right-viz. that of a direct influence in the nomipation 'of their représentatives."* · § The late Cortes of Spain, have spent most of their "time, 'in'wandering in pursuit of visionary theories, as cid *the revolutionists of France. Instead of correcting abuses, by those safe and cautious'steps, which gradually introduce reform without ruin; 'which may fit 'society for that
betler state of things, and which, by not attempting impossibilities, may enlarge the circle of human happiness, they, equally, formed the mad project of throwing down every thing at once, trusting to their own judgment and experience, to replace it. Much, as 'had the Spanish governing system to reform, its defects were niore owing to the despotism of the ancient kings, and a want of a proper definition and security of the rights of the subjects; and certainly, its reconstruction was a difficult task, during a period of war and confusion, when every thing was in ferment. The greatest abuses, the most galling to the people and debilitating to the state, were in perfect contradiction to the ancient laws of the realm; and to their more immediate removal, the efforts of the government, ought to have been directed. A reform in Spanish America, was the most urgent of all the duties of the Cortes, for there still existed, whatever the most subtle tyranny could devise, to torment and oppress an unoffending peo.. ple. Circumstances imperiously demanded, that the new legislature should review the grounds on which the war had been commenced, and that on this point, they should adopt and pursue, with firm sincerity and good faith, a conduct friendly and impartial. The Spanish Americans, had a right to demand and receive, a reparation consonant to the injuries they had so long sustained ; and the fram ternal voice of the Cortes, ought to have resounded to the furthest shores of Columbia, and their accents ought not to have been equivocal. They ought to have been pure, sincere, and just, and as emanating from the hearts of una biassed patriots. The more they were blended with feelings of affection and sensibility, the more effect they would have produced in the quarter to which they were
directed; and the more interest they would have excited in those, who, for the first time, beard the voice of reason and justice. The situation of Spanish America, and the outrages there committing, opened a wide and interesting field for deliberation, as involving some of the choicest interests of their common country, on which it was im. possible to decide well, without unprejudiced coolness, ; They ought to have left the helm, to the guidance of reason and disinterested philanthropy.
Every people have a right to be well governed, they have also, defined interests as well as rights; and it is the sacred duty of the general legislature to whom they belong, to attend to these points. The imagination, when warmed by discontent, often bestows on a good which is withheld, advantages much greater than the reality would justify, or reason warrant; but certainly in the preten-, sions of the Spanish Americans, there was nothing that amounted to more, than the just feelings of human nature. Their repeated applications to the legislature at home, for redress and reform, had been treated with neglect and disdain; till at last, reason and experience forbade them, to continue their confidence. Long after the invasion of the French, the American bosom still glowed with ardent : affection; every section was interested for Ferdinand, and every inhabitant was indignant at the treachery he had experienced. All, beheld the political birth of Spain, with a sincere gladness; they thought their own, was equally at hand. But, still, they beheld their old systems ; continue, and their old privations and restraints, were still the same. They still beheld themselves governed by an arbitrary chief, whose powers were not only deemed contrary to the common principles of liberty, but had be
come an engine of oppression, alike galling and vexatious. They appeal, and are treated with disdain. In the bold: and determined language of freemen, they manifest their wrongs, and seek that legal and consistent remedy within ... their reach, and war is declared against them. The Cortes of Spain assemble, under professions which revived their hopes, and again their great and pressing claims, are treated with contempt. They arm in their own defence, and are condemned as rebels, and even the animated man- ! ner in which they repel aggressions, furnishes additional motives to Spain, to perpetuate the horrors into which she had inconsiderately rushed. Influenced by vindictive passions, the agents of Spain, recur rather to artifice and force, than to the guidance of reason; and their hostility was consequently exerted in a cruel and insidious policy, which unfeelingly doomed individuals to chains, and involved them in ruin, without having any tendency to effect any national object. They only sought to indulge a malignant and unprofitable revenge, till at last, every remnant of affection, was torn asunder.
The Cortes calmly beheld this storm, which had lọng been gathering, burst upon them with a fury which spread desolation wherever it reached; and they heard of scenes of the greatest misery and suffering, without being moved. They looked, with cold composure, on a war, which took its origin in nothing less than a flagrant violation of the most sacred rights, and even in an infringe.. ment of national justice. Not once, was a cordial disposition manifested, to enquire into, or strike at the root of these evils, or to establish, why they ought to continue. Error is the portion of humanity, the Spanish Americans might have erred; if so, their error ought to have been
made manifest, before they were wantonly butchered. The shocking barbarities committed, added motives of resentment and humanity to those of national interest, and were the Cortes alone deaf to these calls ? I, again, leave the impartial of the whole world, to judge of those horrors which must follow the licentiousness of a soldiery, spread through a rich and feeble country; and I again ask them, whether that profusion of blood and treasure, must not be condemned as idle and useless, when expended for an object, that could be attained, in a more safe and humane manner? It was not a cruel and destructive war, that could put an end to those political divisions, which, besides poisoning the source of human felicity, annibilate those sweet affections which attach members of one common country to the other; and which, bringing debility to the state, plant the most deadly hate, where nature, and a similarity of language, origin, and early habits, had sown the seeds of harmony. This was not the way to revive those natural sympathies, nor was this a plan, likely to enkindle any latent spark of attachment, that might linger in the bosoms of those, who so lately prided themselves on belonging to Spain.
The contest of Spain with her ultramarine provinces, certainly exhibits one of those singular cases of popular delusion, which infecting first the national legislature, afterwards spreading through many blasses of the community, and gaining strength by its extravagance, points out the fatal consequences, which follow a deviation from those sure and moral principles of rectitude and mode ration, which ought to actuate us in our conduct to fellow-beings. Influenced by the contagion of party feeling, the war in Spanish America, took that colouring at