Gambar halaman

required more than in others. "Give me a place to stand upon," said one of the ancients, "and I will move the world." In Bolivia this point is the president for life. Upon him depends all the regularity of our system, without on that account his possessing any active interference. He has been deprived of his head that his intentions may not excite alarm, and his hands have been tied that he may injure no one.

The President of Bolivia possesses some of the powers given to the executive in the United States, but under restrictions favourable to the people. His continuance in power is the same as that of the President of Hayti. I have taken for Bolivia the executive of the most democratic republic in the world.

The island of Hayti (you will forgive me thus digressing from my subject) was in a continual state of disturbance; after having tried an emperor, a king, a republic, all known forms of government, and others beside, she was forced to have recourse to the illustrious Petion for her salvation. They placed their confidence in him, and the destiny of Hayti was no longer subject to vacillation. On Petion being chosen president for life, with power to choose his successor, neither the death of this great man, nor the succession of the new president, have caused the least commotion in the state; every thing has gone on under the distinguished Boyer with the tranquillity of a legitimate monarchy;

A triumphal proof that a president for life, with the power of naming his successor, is the most admirable feature in the reublican system.

The President of Bolivia will be less dangerous than that of Hayti, the mode of succession being more secure for the welfare of the state. Besides, the President of Bolivia is deprived of all influence : he neither appoints the magistracy, nor the judges, nor to ecclesiastical offices, however subordinate they may be. This deprivation of power has never yet taken place in any well-constituted Government; it adds obstacle to obstacle in the way of the authority of a chief, who will always find the whole people under the influence of those who exercise the most important functions in society. The priesthood has the control over the consciences of the citizens, the judges over their property, their honour, and their life, and the magistracy over the public acts of the nation. Being indebted to the people for their dignity, their glory, and their fortune, the President cannot hope to engage them in his ambitious designs. If to this consideration we add that which arises from the constant opposition a democratic Government meets with at every step of its administration, it appears not unreasonable to suppose that the usurpation of the rights of the people is less likely to occur in this Government than in any other.

[blocks in formation]

zens. The Custom-house offi-
cers and the soldiery, the only
agents of this Ministry, are not, in-
deed, the most likely to engage
-popular favour on their side; their
influence, therefore, will be noth-

The Vice-President is the ma-
gistrate most fettered by restraints
that ever held command; he obeys
conjointly the Legislature and the
Executive of a Republican Gov-
ernment. From the former he
receives laws; from the latter or-
ders; and between these two bar-
riers he has to proceed in a path
beset with difficulties and sur-
rounded by precipices. Notwith-

possesses influence, it is far from
aspiring to dominion, satisfied with
its own preservation. Without
this assistance, tyranny can never
be permanent; and if some am-
bitious characters exert them-
seves to raise empires, the ex-
ample of Dessalines, Christophe,
and Iturbide tells them what awaits
them. There is no power so diffi-
cult to maintain as that of a new
dynasty. Buonaparte, the con-
queror of all that opposed him,
was not able to overturn this rule,
stronger even than empires. And
if the great Napolean was not able
to hold up against the league of
republicans and aristrocrats, who
could found monarchies in Ame-standing these inconveniences, to
rica, on a soil illuminated with the
brilliant flame of liberty, which
consumes the materials of which
those royal scaffolds are to be
constructed? No, legislators, do
not fear pretenders of the Crown;
it would be on their heads like the
sword hanging over Dionysius.
Those founders of modern dynas-
ties, who are blind enough to con-
struct thrones on the ruins of liber-
ty, will raise tombs to their ashes,
which will inform future genera-
tions how they preferred their in-
sane ambition to liberty and glory.

The constitutional authority of the President of Bolivia is the most restricted of any that is known; he only names those employed in the departments of finance, of peace and war; he commands the army. This is the extent of his powers.

The administration is entirely given to the Ministry, who are responsible to the censors, and subject to the jealous vigilance of all the members of the Legislature, the magistrates, judges, and citi

govern thus is preferable to abso-
lute power. These constitutional
barriers strengthen his political
conscience, and afford him well-
grounded hopes of meeting with
a light to guide him among the
rocks by which he is surrounded ;
they act as a support against the
assaults of our passions in concert
with the self-interest of others.

In the Government of the Uni-
ted States it has been latterly the
practice to choose the Prime
Ministér to succeed the President.
Nothing is so judicious in a Re-
public as this; it has the advan-
tage of placing at the head of the
administration a person expe-
rienced in the affairs of Govern-
ment. When he enters upon the
exercise of his functions, he goes
prepared, and carries with him
the breeze of popularity and a
practical knowledge of business.
I have taken advantage of this
idea, and I have established it as
a law.

The President of the Republic
appoints the Vice-President, that

[ocr errors]

he may govern the state, and succeed him in the command. By this means the period of elections is avoided, which is productive of that great scourge to republicsanarchy, the luxury of tyranny, and the most dreadful as well as most immediate danger, which threatens popular Governments. By this means also this dreadful crisis passes over in Republics the same as in legitimate monarchies.

The Vice-President must be a man of consummate integrity; for if the first magistrate does not select an upright citizen, he must fear him as his most dangerous enemy, and be in constant suspicion of his ambitious designs. The Vice-President must endeavour to deserve by his services that confidence which is necessary to enable him to carry into effect the duties of his high office, and to hope to obtain his great reward from the nation-the supreme command. The Legislative Body and the people will exact capacity and talents from this magistrate; and will require his blind obedience to the laws of liberty.

Hereditary succession is what principally tends to perpetuate monarchical institutions, and makes them so general throughout the world; how much more advantageous is the order of succession I have proposed for the Vice-President! If the heirs of princes were chosen for their merits, and not by chance; and instead of remaining in inactivity and ignorance, they were placed at the head of the administration; they would doubtless become more enlightened monarchs, and would be the delight of their subjects. Yes, legislators, those monarchical in

stitutions which govern the world, found their claims to approbation on the order of hereditary succession, which makes them stable, and on union, which makes them strong. For this it is, that although a sovereign prince is a spoiled child, shut up in his palace, educated by flattery, and a victim to his passions; this prince, whom I will venture to call the laughingstock of mankind, governs a portion of his fellow-creatures, because he preserves order in the state of things, and subordination among his subjects by the immutability of his power and the steadiness of his policy. Consider, legislators, that these great advantages are united in a President for life and an hereditary Vice-President.

The Judicial Power which I propose is most completely independent; no where is it so much so. The people present the candidates, and the Legislature chooses those who are to fill the seat of justice. Unless the judges derive their origin from the people, it is impossible to preserve in all its purity this safeguard to the rights of individuals. These rights it is, legislators, which constitute liberty, equality, security, all the guarantees of social life. The truly free constitution is written in the civil and criminal codes; and the tyranny most to be dreaded is that exercised by the tribunals in the name of the laws. Generally the Executive is but the depositary of the common weal; but the tribunals are the arbitrators of what is our own, of the property of individuals. The judicial power is the measure of the prosperity or misery of the people; and if there be liberty, if there be justice in the

Republic, it is distributed by it. The political organization, provided the civil be perfect, is sometimes of little consequence; let the laws be religiously fulfilled; let them be as inexorable as fate. According to the opinions of the day, we of course have prohibited the rack and extorted confessions; we have also cut off the prolongation of law-suits in the intricate labyrinth of appeals.

standing, we may have both one and the other. A corps of Custom-house officers, under military discipline, is in every respect preferable to simple Custom-house officers; this service is more immoral than superfluous; it is, therefore, the interest of the Republic to guard its frontiers with troops of the line, and with troops of Custom-house officers against the machinations of fraud.

I have proposed that the constitution of Bolivia should be reformed at certain periods, according to the movements of the intellectual world. The steps to be followed in the introduction of reforms have been laid down as I have thought most advisable.

The territory of the Republic is by Prefects, Governors, Corregidores, Judges of the Peace, and Alcaldes. My limits have not allowed me to enter into a detail of their organization and of the extent to be given to the jurisdiction of each; it is, however, my duty to present to the Congress The responsibility of persons in some regulations concerning the public situations is laid down in government of the departments the constitution of Bolivia in the and provinces. Bear in mind, le- most explicit terms. Without regislators, that nations are com- sponsibility, without restraint, the posed of cities and cottages; and State becomes a chaos. I venthat on the welfare of these de- ture to urge strongly the members pends the felicity of the State. of the Legislature to pass the You can never pay too much at- strictest and most definite laws tention to the good government of upon this important subject. Evethe departments. This point is of ry one talks about responsibility, the utmost importance in the sci- and there it ends. There is no ence of legislation; it is, notwith- responsibility, legislators: the standing, too much overlooked. magistrates, judges, and public The armed force has been di-officers abuse their authority, bevided into four parts-the troops of cause the agents of the Govern the line; the navy; the national ment are not under rigorous remilitia; and the military corps of straint, and the people, in the Custom-house officers. The duty mean time, are the victims. I of the troops of the line is to de- would recommend the passing of fend the frontier. God forbid a law which should direct every that they should turn their arms person employed under Governagainst their fellow-citizens! The ment to give annually an account national militia is sufficient to pre- of his conduct. serve internal tranquillity. Bolivia does not possess an extensive coast; a navy, therefore, would be useless; some day, notwith

The most complete guarantees have been established; civil liberty is the only true liberty; the rest are merely nominal, or have

but little influence on the condition of the people. Personal security, which is the object of man's entering into society, and from which the others emanate, has been guaranteed. With respect to that of property, it will depend upon the civil code, to the composition of which you ought immediately to dedicate your talents, for the benefit of your fellow citizens. I have preserved intact the law of laws, equality; without it, all our guarantees, all our rights are null. To it we must sacrifice every thing. At its shrine I have immolated the infamous laws of slavery. Legislators! Slavery is an infraction of every law. The law which recognized it would be most sacrilegious. What right can be alleged for its continuance? Look upon this crime in every point of view, and I am satisfied there is not one inhabitant of Bolivia so depraved as to pretend to justify this most scandalous violation of the dignity of man. One man to be owned by another! A man to become property! God's image put to the yoke like a beast! Tell me, where is to be found a defence of these usurpers of man? Guinea cannot furnish it, for Africa, laid waste by fratricide, only presents a field of crime. The

remains of those. African tribes having been transplanted here, what power can sanction the right of property over these victims! To transmit, to prolong, to eternalize this crime, mingled with torments, is an outrage revolting to our nature. To found a right to possession upon the most savage delinquency, could never be imagined without overturning every element of justice, without

the most determined perversion of every idea of our duties. No one can destroy the sacred doctrine of equality: and can slavery exist where equality is proclaimed? Such contradictions would be ta> ken as evidence of our want of sense, rather than of justice; we should be considered more as madmen than as robbers.

If there did not exist a Godi the protector of innocence and liberty, I would prefer the condition of the lion, ranging uncontrolled the desert and the forest, to that of a captive at the mercy of a mean tyrant, who, an accomplice of his crimes, will provoke the anger of Heaven: but no; God has destined man for freedom; he protects him, that he may exercise the heavenly gift of free will.


Simon Bolivar, Liberator of Colombia and Peru-Considering:

I. That it is my duty to return to Colombia when she recalls me;

II. And that I am authorized, by the decree of the Sovereign Congress of Peru, of the 10th February, 1825, to invest whomsoever I would, with the supreme command, in my absence;

I hereby order and proclaim:

I. That the Grand Marshal Don Andres Santa-Cruz and the Secretaries of State, succeed me for the time, in the full and supreme magistracies of the Republic;

II. That the Vice Presidency of the Executive Council, when it becomes necessary, shall be held by one of the members of the Council, chosen by lot;

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »