« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
ces has continued to harass the Government in an unspeakable degree. The moral force of the laws, and of the government, being relaxed, and all those relating to taxes being hated, the Treasury receives no money, whilst the Executive receive daily demands from the army, from creditors, and from the whole Administration. The hopes that were formed that the new system of finance, adopted at the last Congress, would have augmented the produce of the revenue, at least till it equalled the public expences, have been wrecked in the political storms of which I have informed you. As soon as a city conceives itself justified in rising and declaring that the constitution, the laws, or the administration, are prejudicial to the common good, every tax-payer sees the opportunity of strengthening the inclination he has to infringe the laws which regulate the public revenue. You, yourselves, will see and examine the provisional regulations (which have been made in virtue of the powers given by the 128th article of the Code,) the documents relating to which will be presented to you. To urge Congress upon the attention and preference which ought to be given to the National Finance, is to repeat a truth sufficiently notorious, the experience of which has already cost us much. Money, as you have heard from another authority, is to the body politic what blood is to the natural body; without it the State cannot exist, and to form a National Treasury, it is necessary that the citizens should contribute a part of their means. The direction of public credit has been opportunely
placed, but whilst the law which founds the foreign and domestic debt, as well as the continual zeal of the Committee in the discharge of their duties, have imparted buoyancy to the national spirit, and created hopes in our creditors, the commotions which the political system has undergone, have impeded the operation of the law, and it has not had that exact observance which it would have had in peaceful times, under the sway of the Constitution. Thus it is, that not having been able to satisfy the interest of the foreign debt due in July and November last year, the public credit, has suffered a decline of very great extent. The revenue from the Post-office and the Mint, has increased, and promises further considerable improvement, which is much owing to the intelligence, zeal, and activity of their directors. I have ordered all the documents and papers to be collected relative to the loan of 1824, which will show the manifest utility of that transaction
the amount remitted to the Republic-its distribution-and the application of the funds reserved in London, according to the contract-in order that the general account may be made out in the clearest and most intelligible manner, and that it may be presented to you for the information of the nation. Notwithstanding the declarations and decrees published by the last Congress, ignorance and perversity have joined to annoy the Government, on account of this transaction. The ignorant think, that after having, for more than two years, employed the funds derived from the loan, in various heavy expenses, which
have been printed, and of which the Congress is cognizant, that the Treasury is still full of money, which may be continually withdrawn to defray the national expenditure, and thus avoid the imposition of taxes. The perverse, turning their eyes from the accounts presented to the public, and from the laws which have appropriated to different services the proceeds of that loan, invent charges and raise doubts, which they continually repeat, always casting blame on the Government. It is necessary that the Congress should take this into its serious consideration, and, by its deliberations, it may, in some measure, restrain the excess of the passion for calumniating the Government, which is now more than ever heated by the commotions in Venezuela. Peru has not been able to satisfy any part of the debt it has contracted with us; but if the performance corresponds to the promises made by the Government of that country relative to this affair, I trust that the payments made will cover the interests of the foreign debt for two years, and that the Colombian people will receive that relief from the money which still remains due, on account of the loan of twenty millions of dollars, and which the failure of the house of Goldschmidt has hitherto prevented us receiving. The state of peace in the interior, with regard to the common enemy, has not required any military operations; thus it is that the army had no other occupation than guarding the frontier departments, and concluding the pacification of Pasto. Ready to defend the independence of the country, with
the heroism which fifteen years of war has witnessed, the Government and the Republic have rested in security, amidst the hostile preparations with which the enemy's Government menaced them. In the internal disturbances, a great part of the army has obeyed the law, which prohibits it being a deliberative body-has showed itself a worthy defender of the national liberties and the Constitution-has supported the measures of Government, and reanimated the hopes and confidence of the citizens. This conduct will for ever preserve the honour and glory of the liberating army of Colombia, without a stain. A body of Colombian troops remains in Peru; the rest of the army has passed into Bolivia, by virtue of a decree of the last Congress. Both bodies act with the honour and discipline so fitting in a republican army. I request, for the fourth time, that the Congress will pass a law, settling the mode in which invalid soldiers should be allowed to retire from the service, the pension they shall enjoy, and the other privileges to which, in strict justice, they are entitled. In like manner, I request them to pass a law, appointing some relief to the families of those who may have died, or who may die, fighting, or in any manner losing life for their country. The naval force is receiving such increase as the state of our public finances will allow, in order to enable it to put to sea, and join the Mexican squadron, and act in conjunction with it, agreeably to the Convention agreed upon between this Government and that of the Mexi can Republic. Our efforts were
tardy in equipping the squadron assembled at Carthagena, for it was neither possible quickly to collect the crews, or provide the pecuniary means necessary for that purpose; but, at length, we shall enjoy the interesting object proposed by the Convention to which I have alluded. To the interruption which these preparations have suffered by the abovementioned causes, as well as by a failure in the fulfilment of a contract made for transport vessels, ought to be added, the resolution adopted by the Libertador President, in his decree of the 24th November, which will likewise be laid before you for your consideration. The education of youth in the nautical schools continues to receive every possible attention; the Directors and Masters have well fulfilled their duty, and not disappointed the confidence of the Government and the public. This, Senores, is the state of the Administration in the calamitous year of 1826. The Secretaries of State will unfold, in their respective memorials, the objects of their negotiations in such a way, as to give the Congress all the information which is to be acquired only by experience in the practice of Gov
This would be the place to present you with a parallel of the Republic of Colombia, in the year, 1821, when I took charge of the Administration, and in 1826, when my functions terminate and it would seem the more necessary, as you are about to commence yours in the midst of profound affliction, at observing the state of agitation in which we are involved, and perhaps prejudiced at the accusations brought against me by the
discontented. But I leave to sound and impartial public opinion, the strict examination of the good and evil that I may, of my free will, have caused the nation, during the five years and three months that I have occupied the post I am about to resign. It is publicly known that I was called to the Government without any wish of my own, and when my inexperience was known to all. My constant attention to the difficult duties of my office have been seen. It is equally well known, that, instead of taking direction and command, all that I did was to execute the fundamental laws enjoined by the constitutionthat I have not only filled the of fice of executor of the law, but frequently that of legislator by delegation of Congress-that I have been constantly obedient to the written will of the people, have never swerved from the Republican principles, and have used, with prudence, the extraordinary powers confided to me-in one word, Colombia must acknowledge that no citizen has feared the power placed in my hands, for none have I deprived of his liberty or property, and the Republic has enjoyed its full freedom. I cannot express all the bitter feelings of my heart at seeing Colombia divided, and falling from the eminent station which she had taken in the moral and political world. My blood would be too small a sacrifice to see it again in the same flourishing state to which it had reached be fore April 30. You, who have the power of legislating, and the opinion of your constituents, are called upon to wipe away the tears of your country, to heal its wounds, to re-establish national concord, and to preserve the honour, glory,
ments, and left it depopulated, without roads, and in a state of nature--if I had found it recognized by all the nations, or at least by some of them, and left it without foreign relations, and treated as a rebel country-if I had found it allied with the other American States, and left it at war with them
and reputation of the Republic. Without that, and the confidence that you will efficaciously co-operate with the Libertador Presisident, in objects so interesting, our grief would have no end, and the name of Colombia, which has been our best title to the estimation and admiration of the civilized world, would become a memo- if all those States had been inde rial of our shame and degradation. With respect to myself, I have nothing to regret, but that I did not separate myself from the Administration in the last Session of Congress, as I had intended to do, and that I concurred with the Legislative Body, in burthening the nation with the debt of twenty millions of dollars incurred by the last loan, to which we have been driven by circumstances, so imperious and urgent, that it was impossible to be avoided. But I be lieve I have done nothing which can dishonour me in the eyes of an impartial world. If I had found the Republic, in 1821, free from the common enemy, and now left it occupied in part, or entirely, by him-if I had found it, after the establishment of the Constitution, and the spread of love and respect for the laws, and left it in anarchy, without more law than the caprice of the magistrates might choose to administer-if 1 had found it full of schools and colleges, and fully enlightened, and left it plunged in ignorance, with every establishment of learning destroyed-if I had found it regenerated, and free from vulgar prejudices, and left it in the most abased state of blindness and torpor-if I had found it fully peopled, traversed by excellent roads, with steamboats and charitable establish
pendent from the year 1821, so as to render it unnecessary to extend a friendly and generous hand to them, and now I left some of them sighing in slavery by the fault of my government-if the public revenue had been perfectly organized, and had always produced sufficient to defray the public expenses, and now I found it ruined by my interference-if, instead of the foreign and domestic debt created by eleven years of war, which I received instead of a Treasury, I had found the Republic without obligations of any sort, and now left it compromised and overwhelmed with the weight of an immense debt, wasting in decay, and by inequitable enterprises-then, and then only, I should have to seek an asylum, wherein to hide my shame, and my heart would fail me in imploring the pardon of my fellow citizens. But, thanks to the Providence which has watched over the destinies of Colombia, the Republic in 1826 differs much from what it was in 1821, and, without attributing to myself the merit of that difference, I may console myself with the reflection that in filling the first post in Colombia, I have not been an obstacle to the accomplishment of so much good. This consolation-the having avoided a civil war in the present
MESSAGE OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT
Chamber of Representatives, The fifth session of the Congress of the Republic was to have E been opened on the second day of January, of this present year, and on that same day I was to have ceased my functions as Vice-President of Colombia: the law had regulated the one and the other. For that reason I had prepared and printed the ordinary Message of the Executive Power previous to the 2d of January. Very peculiar circumstances, which did not come within the sphere of my control, interfered to prevent the assembling of the legislative body with the weight of all good patriots, until now, when, fortunately, the nation is worthily and constitutionally represented in this Congress.
Great and important are the objects which you have to investigate; great and well-founded are the hopes of our constituents and those of the Government.
In the Message of the 2d Jan.
I communicated information respecting the state of the Republic in all its branches. I have now to inform you of the events that have occurred since that time.
My continuance in the exercise of the Government, has depended on two causes-first, because the Libertador, the President, thought it expedient in the agitated state of the Republic, to suspend the law which fixed the cessation of the functions of President and VicePresident, to twelve o'clock of the second day of January, in the last year of the Constitutional period; and my heart counselled me not to oppose, under circumstances of so much difficulty, the arrangements of the Libertador; and secondly, because my continuance was the least illegal act that I could commit during the past crisis, after the doubts that had been admitted by the Libertador, respecting the duration of his authority. respecting this transaction will be subinitted to Congress.
My first care on this occasion, has been to watch over the public tranquillity, to support the power of the laws, to assist in the measures adopted by the Libertador for the re-establishment of that order which has been deranged in some of the towns of the North, and to provide for the assembling of the present Congress. The extraordinary powers with which I was invested have been so sparingly exercised that I am well assured the tremendous authority I held has scarcely been felt in Colombia. Our relations with foreign powers have continued to extend. A Consul-General and a ViceConsul have been duly nominated