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Dollars. For Repairs and Careening to be performed in the Dock-yards, on the Vessels in the preceding Estimate.....
160,481 For an increase of one third of the estimated Small Craft,
should it be necessary to maintain it for 6 months, and for
Estimate for present War Establishment....
Bogota, February 7, 1827.
REPORT of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, to the Congress of Colombia.—21st March, 1827.
(Translation.) GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE AND OF THE CHAMBER OF REPRESEN.
TATIVES, I am about to fulfil the duty which devolves upon me, of making known to Congress the present state of the various branches of the Department for Foreign Affairs. I shall afterwards take a view of the situation in which they stood when the existing Constitution was published, so that the progress which the exterior relations of Colombia have made, the prejudice which they may have suffered, as well as the manner in which the Laws have been executed, may be made known.
I shall not touch upon those points which the Vice-President of the Republick has so ably described in his Message to Congress, but shall limit myself to those which have not been noticed by Government, and will point out some for amendment.
Notwithstanding the good intelligence, perfect friendship, and harmony, which exist between Colombia and the other American States, there are matters still pending with some of them which it has not been possible to settle. With the Republick of Peru it is requisite to settle definitively, by Treaty, the limits of the two Territories. Although the most earnest desire actuates both parties to conclude the discussion respecting the Provinces of Jaen de Bracamoros and Maimas, so that those States may be governed respectively, according to the uti possidetis of 1810; nevertheless the causes still exist which have protracted the negotiation. The Government of Peru assumes a right over Jaen and Maimas, and, in consequence of the difficulty of deciding the question at present, that of Colombia has limited itself to the making suitable remonstrances, through the medium of its Chargé d'Affaires at Lima.
The Envoy of Colombia to the Republick of Central America was to have negotiated the settlement of the Limits between the two States: but the Executive, having been informed of the difficulties which presented themselves, and that it would be no easy matter at this time to overcome them, thought proper to defer the Negotiation to a more convenient moment, and forwarded an instruction to their Plenipotentiary directing him to return. The Ratifications of the Treaty of Union, League, and Confederation, between Colombia and Central America had been already exchanged, our Minister entrusted with this Negotiation having verified the same. But that Government having altered, in the Act of Ratification, the meaning of the 5th Article, which treats of the settlement of the limits, by describing them as the natural limits; as well as the 17th Article, which elected the American Assembly as the Judge, Arbitrator and Conciliator, of the Disputes and differences between the Confederate States, which general stipulation was restricted by the Republick of Central America; these alterations will prevent the exact observance of the Treaty. I shall present to Congress a Copy of the said Ratification, for its consideration.
The Ratifications of the Treaty of Union, League, and Confederation, which Colombia concluded with Chili in 1822, and which was ratified with the previous approval of Congress, have not yet been exchanged. It appears that that Republick has been peculiarly and difficultly circumstanced, which may have prevented the Ratification of the said Treaty. It is to be hoped, however, that its Ministers will be present at the American Assembly, which is to continue its Sittings at Tacubaya in Mexico, where the difficulties may be removed which exist in Chili with respect to that Treaty.
Colombia has no particular interest to discuss, nor any matter pending, with the Republick of The United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, nor with Bolivia. The former has appointed a Plenipotentiary to the American Assembly, and the latter it is expected will do the
The Auxiliary Division of Colombian Troops, which Congress allowed to reside for some time in Bolivia, is still stationed there. According to the Gazettes, it has now formed for itself a Constitution, and has elected a Native of Colombia for its President, wbich will tend to strengthen the relations subsisting between that State and this Republick. A Constitution has been likewise sanctioned by the Congress of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, and it is to be hoped that its Fundamental Laws will put an end to the divisions which have existed between some of its Provinces, which would undoubtedly contribute to promote the interests, as well as the general cause, of America.
The Republick continues to receive from the Government of the United Mexican States, sincere proofs of a cordial friendship. The Executive, on its part, endeavours to cultivate this feeling, and to preserve the closest union with those States, fully persuaded that it must
conduce to their mutual felicity, and promote that of all Spanish America.
But nothing can so powerfully contribute to this great object as the American Assembly, which has held its first Sittings at Panama. Plenipotentiaries from each of the Republicks of Colombia, Central America, Peru, and the United Mexican States, assembled in that City. The Assembly was installed on the 22d of June last; and the Conferences, which were carrried on with the greatest frankness and cordiality, were terminated, on the 15th July following, by the signature of several Treaties: viz. a Treaty of perpetual Union, League, and Confederation, between the concurring States, to which the remaining States of South America may adhere; a Convention which regulates the contingent which each of the Confederates must contribute for their common defence; an Agreement as to the mode of employing and directing the contingents; A Convention which appoints an Annual Meeting of the Assembly in time of War; and various Declarations, comprehending the Treaties which Colombia had previously concluded with the Governments of the Republicks represented at the Congress of Panamà. I shall have the honour of presenting these Treaties to Congress, which cannot fail to have a very beneficial influence on the future destinies of the New States of America. A duly authorized Commissioner on the part of His Britannick Majesty was present at Panama, but did not take any part in the Conferences of the Assembly. A Confidential Agent from His Majesty the King of The Netherlands, was likewise resident in the same City, during the period of the Sittings. The Minister destined for the Assembly from The United States of the North, died unfortunately at Carthagena, on his way to Panama.
The Assembly resolved to remove to the town of Tacubaya, near the City of Mexico; in virtue of the power with which it was invested to change its residence, and for reasons which the Executive has approved of, under the explanations given by our Plenipotentiaries. One of the Plenipotentiaries from Colombia, One from Central America, One from Peru, and the two from Mexico; and also, it is supposed, the Chevalier Van Veir, Commissioner from His Majesty the King of The Netherlands repaired to Tacubaya. Señor Dawkins, the Commissioner from His Britannick Majesty, returned to England, and it is not known whether he will visit Mexico.
Hopes are entertained that, at the second Meeting of the Assembly, the Ministers of the Northern United States, of the Rio de la Plata, Bolivia, and Brazil, will attend, as has been announced by their Governments. Such a numerous Assembly from the American States will be a truly grand event; and the Confederation of the New Republicks formed in America, formerly Spanish, will thereby acquire greater stability; establishing upon a durable basis their general interests, and more especially their independence.
The Communications maintained between Colombia and The United
States of North America, are sincere and friendly; their Ships are at present excluded from a direct Commerce with the Ports of Jamaica, and of other English Colonies. This is a favourable opportunity to extend the Commercial Relations, with reciprocal advantage, between the Citizens of Colombia and those of The United States, should Congress encourage the Commerce in the products of the said States with Jamaica, through the medium of the Colombian Ports of the Atlantic. Some of the latter being advantageously situated, this might be easily effected, were the Legislative Body, by a Decree, to remove the obstacles which stand in the way of such an intercourse.
The Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary appointed by the Executive for Brazil, has followed that of The United States to Rio de Janeiro. Besides the other important objects of his Mission, he is, by every possible means, to employ his good offices, to promote a cessation of hostilities between His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil and the Republick of The United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata. The Government of Colombia takes the most lively interest in the re-establishment of Peace, and it will spare no effort to accomplish so important an object. It is officially known that His Majesty the Emperor has named an Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Government of Colombia : this will not fail to contribute to the establishment of friendly relations between the Republick and the Empire, which, being neighbouring States, it is of the utmost importance to them that they should preserve the most perfect harmony with each other.
Oar relations with His Britannick Majesty's Government continue to improve on both sides. The English Government has sent Troops to Portugal to maintain the Constitution of that Kingdom; which has been attacked by Portuguese Emigrants, to whom it is said the Spanish Authorities have given protection.
Should His Catholick Majesty continue to assist those who have taken arms against the Portuguese Constitution, either openly or secretly, it would appear that War is inevitable. There are hopes that, if it be eventually declared, it will not extend to other Powers than those of Portugal and Spain, England being only an Auxiliary of the former. The War may then contribute to the consolidation of the Independence of Colombia, by augmenting the difficulties of Spain, and thereby preventing her from invading us.
The Executive has not neglected to promote a friendly intercourse with the Government of His Most Christian Majesty, by all the means in its power. It hopes that its efforts have not proved ineffectual, and that they will eventually be crowned with success. About the middle of last year, Señor Buchet de Martigny was appointed Superior Agent for French Commerce at Bogota, by the Admiral of Martinique, in virtue of Orders from his Government, which empowered him also to
appoint Inferior Agents in the Ports of Colombia. Although his Commission has emanated from a Subaltern Authority, and that it could not receive the usual Exequatur, Señor de Martigoy has been allowed to superintend and promote French Commerce, by addressing his reclamations to the Government of Colombia, and by other means compatible with his mission, as, under similar circumstances, was permitted to the English and Dutch Commercial Agents. Señor Martigny has, more recently, been appointed Inspector of French Commerce at Bogota and its Dependencies, by Letters Patent, emanating from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of His Most Christian Majesty. This proceeding of the French Government, after having admitted the Colombian Flag in its Ports, manifests that it seeks and is preparing for an intercourse with that of Colombia. There are still, however, some informalities in the Appointment of Señor Martigny, and his character is not sufficiently defined, conformably to the usual custom of Nations. He will, nevertheless, receive from the Colombian Government all the requisite assistance, in cases which may require it, in order to superintend and promote French Commerce. The Executive considers that this first step of His Most Christian Majesty, although informal, must lead to others more decisive, which have probably been delayed, owing to the political circumstances of the moment. Meanwhile it is to be hoped, that experience will demonstrate how much it will benefit both Nations, to establish a mutual intercourse, and to promote the commerce and industry of their Inhabitants.
The Government of His Majesty the King of The Netherlands, who had before evinced a disposition to encourage an intercourse between Colombia and the different Possessions subject to him, has just sent a Consul-General and a Vice-Consul, to reside in the Capital of the Republick, and has appointed a Consul for La Guayra. They have obtained the corresponding Exequaturs, and their residence in Colombia will not fail to contribute to extend to the friendly and commercial relations of the two countries. These will be further extended by the circumstance of Curaçoa having been declared a free Port.
The King of Spain obstinately persists in refusing Peace to the New States. Deaf to the Representations of the friendly Powers of Spain and America, he refuses to attend to any propositions which have not for their basis the submission of his former Colonies. The Executive Power has not omitted any exertion compatible with its dignity, to bring the Government of His Catholick Majesty to incline to a more friendly arrangement, and to the recognition of our independence of Spain, so as to put an end to the War. It appears that no efforts nor interest which can be exerted in favour of Peace, will have any influence, at present, with the Cabinet of Madrid. Under such circumstances it only remains to Colombia, and the other confederated American Republicks, to put an end to the War, as soon as possible, by resisting Spain with