' To the House of Representatives of the United States:
In transmitting to the House of Representatives the documents
called for by the resolution of that House, of the 30th January, 1 con
sider it my duty to invite the attention of Congress to a very impor
tant subject, and to communicate the sentiments of the Executive on
it, that, should Congress entertain similar sentiments, there may be
such co-operation between the two departments of the government as
their respective rights and duties may require.
The revolutionary movement in the Spanish provinces in this hemi
sphere attracted the attention and excited the sympathy of our fellow-
citizens from its commencement. This feeling was natural and ho
norable to them, from causes which need not be communicated to you.
It has been gratifying to all to see the general acquiescence which
has been manifested in the policy which the constituted authorities
liave deemed it proper to pursue in regard to this contest. As soon
as the movement assumed such a steady arid consistent form as to
make the success of the provinces probable, the rights to which they
were entitled by the law of nations, as equal parties to a civil war,
were extended to them. Each party was permitted to enter our ports
with its public and private ships, and to take from them every article
which was the subject of commerce with other nations. Our citizens,
also, bave carried on commerce with both parties, and the govern
ment has protected it, with each, in articles not contraband of war.
through the whole of this contest the United States have remained
icutral, and have fulfilled with the utmost impartiality all the obli
gations incident to that character.
This contest has now reached such a stage, and been attended with
such decisive success on the part of the provinces, that it merits the
nost profound consideration whether their right to the rank of inde
pendent nations, with all the advantages incidentto it, in their inter
course with the United States, is riot complete. Buenos Ayres as-
'imed that rank by a formal declaration in 1816, and has enjoyed it
ince 1810, free from invasion by the parent country. The provinces
omposing the Republic of Colombia, after having separately declar-
their independence, were united by a fundamental law of the 1 7th
December, 1819. A strong Spanish force occupied, at that time,
ertam parts of the territory within their limits, and waged a clestruc-
ive war. That force has since been repeatedly defeated, and the'
vhote of it either made prisoners or dt^troved. or expelled from the
country, with the exception of an inconsiderable portion only, which
js blockaded in two fortresses. The provinces on the Pacific have
likewise been very successful. Chili declared independence in 1818,
and has since enjoyed it undisturbed; and of late, by the assistance of
Chili and Buenos Ayres, the revolution has extended to Peru. Of the
movement in Mexico our information is less authentic, but it is, ne
vertheless, distinctly understood, that the new government hasdecar-
ed its independence, and that there is now no opposition to it there,
nor a force to make any. For the last three years the government of
Spain has not sent a single corps of troops to any part of that country;
nor is there any reason to believe it will send any in future. Thus,
it is manifest, that all those provinces are not only in the full enjoy
ment of their independence, but, considering the state of the war and
other circumstances, that there is not the most remote prospect of their
being deprived of -it.
When the result of such a contest is manifestly settled, the new
governments have a claim to recognition by other powers, which
ought not to be resisted. Civil wars too often excite feelings which
the parties cannot control. The opinion entertained by other pow
ers as to the result, may assuage those feelings and promote an ac
commodation between them useful and honorable to both. The de
lay which has been observed in making a decision on this important
subject, will, it is presumed, have afforded an unequivocal proof to
Spain, as it must have done to other powers, of the high respect en
tertained by the United States for her rights, and of their determina
tion not to interfere with them. The provinces belonging to this he
misphere are our neighbors, and have, successively, as each portion of
the country acquired its independence, pressed their recognition by
an appeal to facts not to be contested, and which they thought gave
them a just title to it. To motives of interest this government has
invariably disclaimed all pretension, being resolved to take no part
in the controversy, or other measure in regard to it, which should not
merit the sanction of the civilized world. To other claims a just
sensibility has been always felt, and frankly acknowledged, but they
in themselves could never become an adequate cause of action. It
was incumbent on this government to look to every important fact
and circumstance on which a sound opinion could be formed, which
has been done. When we regard, then, the great length of time which
this war has been prosecuted, the complete success which has attended
it in favor of the provinces, the present condition of the parties, and
the utter inability of Spain to produce any change in it, we are com
pelled to conclude that its fate is settled, and that the provinces which
have declared their independence, and are in the enjoy ment of it,
ought to be recognized.
Of the views of the Spanish government on this subject, no particu
lar information has been recently received. It may be presumed
that the successful progress of the revolution, through such a long
series of years, gaining strength, and extending annually in every di
rection, and embracing, by the late important events, with little ex-
[ 90 ]
ueption, all the dominions of Spain south of the United States, on
his continent, placing thereby the complete sovereignty over the
,vhole in the hands of the people, will reconcile the parent country to
an accommodation with them, on the basis of their unqualified inde
pendence. Nor has any authentic information, been recently received
of the disposition of other powers respecting it. A sincere desire has
Deen cherished to act in concert with them in the proposed recogni-
ion, of which several were sometime past duly apprized, but it was
understood that they were not prepared for it. The immense space
Between those powers, even those which border on the Atlantic, and
these provinces, makes the movement an affair of less interest and
excitement to them, than to us. It is probable, therefore, that they
'iave been Jess attentive to its progress than we have been. It may
>e presumed, however, that the late events will dispel all doubt of
In proposing this measure, it is not contemplated to change there
by, in the slightest manner, our friendly relations with eithe** of the
parties, but to observe, in all respects, as heretofore, should the war
je continued, the most perfect neutrality between them. Of this
i'iendly disposition, an assurance will be given to the government of
Spain, to whom it is presumed it will be, as it ought to be, satisfacto
ry. The measure is proposed, under a thorough conviction that it is
in strict accord with the law of nations; that it is just and right as
to the parties; and that the United States owe it to their station and
haracter in the world, as well as to their essential interests, to
tdopt it. Should Congress concur in the view herein presented,
hey will doubtless see the propriety of making the necessary appro
priations for carrying it into effect.
WASHINGTON-, March 8,
DEPARTMENT or STATE,
Washington, 7th March, 1822.
The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution
of the House of Representatives of the 30th of January last, request
ing the President of the United States to lay before that House such
communications as might be in the possession of the Executive from
the agents of the United States with the governments south of the
United States, which have declared their independence: and the com
munications from the agents of such governments in the United
States, with the Secretary of State, as tend to shew the political con
dition of their governments, and the state ol the war between them
and Spain, as it might be consistent with the public interest to com
municate; has the honor of submitting to the President the papers
required by that resolution.
The communications from the agents of the United States are only
those most recently received, and exhibiting their views of the actual
condition of the several South American revolutionary governments.
No communication has yet been received from Mr. Prevost since his
arrival at Lima.
There has been hitherto no agent of the United States in Mexico;
but among the papers herewith submitted, is a letter recently receiv
ed from a citizen of the United States, who has been some years re
siding there, containing the best information in possession of the
government, concerning the late revolution in that country; and
specially of the character embraced by the resolution of the House,
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS,
Of the United States.
LIST OF PAPERS
Jlccompanyw * the report of the Secretary of State to the President,
7th March) 1822, in relation to South American uffairs.
The Secretary of State to John M. Forbes,
Mr Forbes to the Secretary of State, [extracts.]
Same to same, [extract.]
Same to same, [extracts.]
Same to Mr. Rivadavia,
Mr. Rivadavia to Mr. Forbes,
Minute of a conference with Mr. Rivadavia,
Mr. Rivadavia to Mr. Forbes,
Mr. Forbes to the Secretary of State, [extracts.]
Same to same, [extract.]
Same to same, [extracts.]
Mr. Prevost to the Secretary of State, [extract.]
Same to Mr. Joaquin Echeveria, [copy.]
General O'Higgins to Mr. Prevost, do.
Mr. Hogan to the Secretary of State, [extract.]
Act of Independence of Peru, [translation.]
Mr. Brent to the Secretary of State,
Mr. Torres to same, [translation.]
Fundamental law of Congress of Venezuela, do.
Credential letter to Mr. Torres, [translation.]
Mr. Torres to the Secretary of State, do.
Same to same, do.
Same to same, do.
Secretary of State to Mr. Torres,
James Smith Wilcocks to the Secretary of State,
5th July 1820,
2d Sept. 1821.
8th Nov. *.
17th Dec. 1819.
30th Nov. 1821.
2d Jan. 1822.
25th Oct. 1821.
Treaties concluded in the city of Cordova, on the 24th"}
of August, 1821, between O'Donoju and Iturbide. [
Decree of the Regency of Mexico.
Manifesto to the people of Mexico.
From the Secretary of State to Mr. John M. Forbes, at JWw fork.
DEPAUTMENT OF STATE, 5th July, 1820.
SIR: The certificate from this Department, which has been made
out and transmitted to you, constitutes you agent for commerce and
seamen, for either of the provinces of Buenos Ay res or of Chi^, in
whichsoever of them Mr. J. B. Provost shall not be. He is at this
time at Buenos Ayres; but having at one period intimated to the
President a preference to return to Chili, where he s6me time re
sided, it is thought due to him to leave the selection of his residence,
after your arrival at Buenos Ayres, to himself. Should he deter
mine to continue there, you will proceed, either by land over the An
des, or in the frigate Constellation, round Cape Horn to Valparaiso,
and take up your residence there, or at St. Jago de Chili, which is
understood to be the seat of the revolutionary government of that
province. If he should prefer to return thither, you will remain at
The commercial intercourse between the United States and those
tountries, though not very considerable, is deserving of particular
attention. Whatever accurate information you can obtain, relating
to it, as well as to the commerce of those countries with other na
tions, and to their internal trade, will be particularly acceptable; the
condition of our seamen there will also deserve your notice. The
performance of these duties will involve also the political relations
between those countries and the United States, in the progress of
their revolution, Buenos Ayres and Chili have to the extent of their
powers, and indeed, far beyond their natural means, combined mar-
intime operations with those of their war by land. Having no ships
or seamen of their own, they have countenanced and encouraged fo
reigners to enter their service, without always considering how far is
might affect either the rights or the duties of the nations to which
those foreigners belonged. The privateers, which, with the com
missions, and under the flag of Buenos Ayres, have committed so
many and such atrocious acts of piracy, were all either fitted out,
manned, and officered by foreigners at Buenos Ayres, or even in for
eign countries, not excepting our own, to which blank commissions
both for the ships and officers have been sent. In the instructions
to the late Commodore Perry, which his lamented decease pre vented
from being executed by him, and a copy of which is now furnished
to you, certain articles in the Buenos Ayrean privateering ordinance
were pointed out, particularly liable to the production of these abuses,
and which, being contrary to the established usages among civilized
nations, it was hoped would have been revoked, or made to disappear
from their otherwise unexceptionable, code. These instructiens were
10 * [ 90 ]
renewed to Commodore Morris, but the time of his stay at Buenos
Ay res was so short, and he was there at a moment of so great a
change in the ruling power of the state, that, although he communi
cated to the then existing director, the substance of the representa
tions which Commodore Perry had been instructed to make, we know
not that it was attended with any favourable result. You will con
sider the parts of Commodore Perry's instructions, which may be
still applicable on your arrival in South America, as directed to your
self; and should you proceed to Chili, will execute them there, n*
communication upon the subject having yet been made there. Among
the inconveniences consequent upon this system of carrying on mari
time warfare by means of foreigners, has been occasionally, and to a
considerable extent, the enticement of seamen belonging to merchant
vessels in the ports of Buenos Ayres and Chili, from their engage
ments; to enlist them in privateers or public armed vessels of those
countries. In attending to the numerous trials and convictions for
piracy, which have recently afflicted our country, and cast an unusual
gloom over our annals, you will remark that a great proportion of
the guilty persons have been seamen thus engaged foreigners at
Buenos Ayres, or enlisted in our own ports, in violation of onr laws.
Whether at Buenos Ayres or in Chili, you will use every exertion in
your power, consistent with the respect and conciliatory deport
ment to be constantly observed towards the existing public authori
ties, to protect the seamen of the United States from all such enlist
ments, and the owners and masters of the merchant vessels from time
to time arriving there, from the loss of their men by such means.
The Commercial Digest of the Laws of foreign countries with
which the United States are in relation, a copy of which has beea
furnished you, may suggest to you the nature of part of the informa
tion which is desirable from South America-
Political information will be equally acceptable; the more particu
lar and correct the information of this nature which you can obtain,
the more acceptable it will prove. Beside the struggle in South
America for independence, against which Spain is the only opposite
party, internal feuds and civil wars have peculiarly marked every
step of the revolutions in progress upon that theatre. As an agent
and citizen of the United States, the first advice I shall give you.
is, to observe and report with all the vigilance and discernment
and penetration and fidelity to your own country, that you possess,
the movements of all parties, but to make yourself a partisan to none.
From the documents lately received here, it is apparent, that a ne
gotiation has been some time on foot between the late government of
Buenos Ayres and France. It is well known that a negotiation of
much longer standing has existed between the same government and
Portugal; nor has Mr. Rivadavia been residing two or three years
to no purpose in England. To ascertain the real movements of all
these parties, a neutral position, a neutral heart, and an observing
mind, are indispensable; in recommending it to your attention, 1
would add the caution, neither to take upon trust what any mar
shall tell you, without asking yourself what it is his interest or wish
that you should believe, nor to give more weight to conjectures, than
the circumstances under which they are formed will warrant.
By the latest accounts that we have received, the government, the
yeongress, and the constitution, of the provinces of La Plata were
overthrown; the province of Buenos Ay res stood alone, with Don
Manuel de Sarratea, as governor, at its head; they were in negotia
tion with General Artigas, of the Oriental Banda, and with Gene
ral Ramirez, commander of the Monteneros; in what those negotia
tions will result, we are to learn hereafter, and what their effect will
be upon the relations of all, with the Portuguese at Montevideo, is
yet to be seen. Should you remain at Buenos Ayres, we shall ex
pect full communications from you as frequently as opportunities for
transmitting them may occur.
I am, &c.
JOHN QTIINCY ADAMS,
JOHN M. FORBES, Esq.
JBxtract of a letter from John M. Forbes, Esq. agent of the United States
at Buenos Jly res, to the Secretary of State, dated 2d September, 1821.
" 1 shall confine myself to a general summary of leading events
since my last. The first in order of date, is the total defeat of the
party of Ramirez, by a wing of the united armies of Santa Fe and
Cordova, under Don Francisco de Bedoya, substitute governor of
Cordova The action was fought at Francisco, on the Rio Seco, on
the 10th of July, and the news was most joyfully received here on the
21st of the same month.
" I have great pleasure in announcing to you a new organization
of this government, which promises great solidity and character, and
from whose exertions the most important reforms are daily taking
place. The Departments of State and Treasury were, until the 18th
of July last, united in one person, Don Juan Manuel de Luca; the
junta then decreed that these departments should be separated, and
the Governor called to the first, Don Bernadino Rivadavia, with the
title of Minister of the Government and of Foreign Relations. Mr.
Luca remained charged with the Department of Treasury until the
first August, when he offered his resignation, which was accepted,
and a complimentary decree of the 8th August published with accept
ance of the Governor. Don Manuel Jose Garcia, many years diplo
matic agent of the director at Rio Janeiro, since has been appointed to
that office. These two gentlemen, Rivadavia and Garcia, both pos
sess a great share of public confidence; have both acquired experience
in public affairs by long residences near foreign courts, and they
both seem animated by a zealous desire to establish order in the various
branches of the administration, and economy in the public expendi
ture. This spirit of reform, which was the great cause of the over-
12 [ 90 ]
throw of Saratea, by exciting the discontent and violent opposition
of military men, now fornishes also a hope to the partizans of Pur-
reydon, who are raising great cla.nor against the new ministers, and
working diligently to regain their influence. In short, the present
moment seems to be the crisis of a struggle between public virtue and
corruption, between a new born impulse of public opinion growing in
the liberty of the press with that of parliamentary debate, and the
rotten legacy of the vice royalty, the deleterious influence of military
patronage. It is a struggle* on the event of which hangs the future,
liberty and welfare of this province. May Heaven smile on the
future efforts of virtue and patriotism!
" Another very important event has occurred since my last report.
The annexation of the Banda Oriental to the kingdom of Brazils,
and the recognition of the independence of th^se provinces by His
Most Faithful Majesty King John. These measures were simulta
neous and correlative. On the 28th July, Don Juan Manuel de Fi
guieredo presented himself to this government with the character of
consul of Portugal and Brazils, and with a letter of credence from
the Brazilian Secretary of State, acknowledging the independence
of these provinces, and expressing a hope that these provinces would
acknowledge any and a!! governments of fact which should be ad
mitted and obeyed by the people of any neighboring provinces.
This government received Mr. de Figuieredo with great courtesy,
and passed over in silence the recognition with its implied condition.
The whole business, on both sides, appears to me to be quite theatri
cal. Mr. Figuieredo, a conspicuous actor'in the first scene, has re
tired suddenly from all political agencies, and from this life! On the
moYning of the 2ist August, being apparently in perfect health, and
whilst walking in his saloon, waiting for his breakfast, he fell down
instantly dead! By order of government his body was opened by a
surgeon, in presence of some distinguished law officers, and his sto
mach and bowels found to be in a healthful state, whence it results
that he died of apoplexy. Soon after Mr. Rivadavia's coming into
the ministry, to wit, on the 5th August, I was promised a long con
ference with him on all the objects of my agency, but as he came to
me in company of Mr. Luca, I could only hold some desultory con
versation touching cursorily on some topics. Mr. R. then promised
me for the next Thursday a particular audience, but I am sorry to
say that the fulfilment of this promise has been delayed from week to
week to this hour.
44 1 yesterday saw Mr. Rivadavia for a few minutes, and again re
ceived an apology for his delay of the long promised conference. I
took occasion to say that f was aware of his unceasing occupation
in the arduous place he held, and must conform to his convenience,
but that there was one subject on which I had been instructed to com
municate the views of my government, and which, by the informa
tion daily received, became most imperiously pressing, as interesting
to the character of this government, which I knew he had so much
at heart. I then stated that, by late advices from the West Indies,
[ 90 ] 13
the horrors of piracy, which had so justly excited universal indigna
tion, were daily increasing, as well hy the numbers of the vessels
as by their strength of armament, and the boldness of their nefari
ous enterprizes; that, recently, a vessel fitted out here under the
name of the Confederation had changed her name and her comman
der, and was captured under the commission of Artigas by a French
frigate and carried into Martinique, from whence the captain and
a number of the crew, being stamen of the United States, had
been sent to Philadelphia in a French armed brig for trial: that all
these vessels were notoriously furnished with several different com
missions, and according to the privateering regulations of this pro
vince, they were to be deemed pirates; that one of them had recently
fired on a government brig of France, arid killed the commander;
that I was instructed by my government to make the strongest re
monstrances on this subject. To all these observations, Mr. Riva-
da\ ia replied that this evil would no longer exist; that there would
soon be given an order recalling all privateers; that he was fully con
vinced that the most important object with this government is to ac
quire the good will and friendship of all other governments, and that
he was determined to make every sacrifice to attain this great end.
He said that governments seated in perfect peace and security rea
soned calmly on these subjects, but that this country had experienced
so many difficulties in its struggle for independence that the govern
ment had been compelled to adopt the strongest measures against the
Spanish commerce, but, said he, " this is now all finished."
** At the moment I am writing, a salvo of artillery and the most
extravagant demonstrations of joy through the streets, announce the
capture of Lima by San Martin's besieging army. If this uews be
true, it puts the seal to the independence of South America. The
Spanish royalty, driven from its last hope in these provinces, and
enlightened by a Representative Government, will, I think, within
six months, acknowledge their independence."
Extract of a letter from John M. Forbes, Esq. Agent of the United
States at Buenos Ayres 9 to the Secretary of State, dated llth Sep
" Enclosed I transmit an important state paper published here, a
manifest of the Governor and his Secretary, on the project present
ed to the honorable Junta in relation to the Congress now assembled
at Cordova, together with the project submitted, which, as will be
seen, is intended to lay the foundation for future federation. Messrs.
Rivadavia and Garcia are pressing with great vigour their system of
reform, and, by a strong blow at the root, have violently shaken the
branches of the tree of corruption. Consternation has been spread
through the ranks of smugglers, by the arrest and close imprison
ment, the day before yesterday, of Don Fernando Catderon, first In-
14 [ 99 ]
liberal salary, lias notoriously patronized the unblushing atrocities
of the giant smugglers, who have totally dilapidated the revenues of
the country tor years past The leading man, accustomed to ask
and obtain every thing of the government, yesterday solicited of the
governor a mitigation of the imprisonment of Mr. Calderon, and
perhaps his discharge on bail. The governor consulted Mr. Riva-
davia on the expediency of listening to the call of mercy. The lat
ter replied, very respectfully, to the governor, that he certainly had
the power and the responsibility of any measures he might adopt,
but that if his Excellency yielded to the solicitations in question, he
(Mr. R.) must decline any further service as Secretary. This firm
ness prevailed. The truth is, Mr. Rivadavia, being the father of the
incipient system of order and virtue, from his growing influence has
become indispensable to the accomplishment of the, views now cher
ished by the public opinion. If this system should prevail, the im
mediate effect of it will be, the prevalence of civil over military in
Extract of a letter From John M. Forbes, Jlgent of the United States
at Buenos Jlyres, to the Secretary of State, dated 2,%th September,
" I have a dispatch from Judge Prevost, containing the Gazettes
from Lima, published since the revolution there, which I shall
forward by the first direct opportunity. The night before the last,
(26th instant) the Governor (Rodrigues) received an official despatch
jfrom General San Martin, confirming the previous news of the sur
render of Lima to the liberating army, and accompanied by Gazettes
giving the details of that important event. Yesterday morning this
great event was announced to this city by salvos of artillery from the
fort and national vessels, which were repeated at noon, and at sun
set. At five o'clock in the afternoon, the governor, attended by his
ministers, and all the public functionaries, went to the Cathedral to
attend a te deurn, and in the evening the city was brilliantly illumina
ted; other public festivities are said to be contemplated, among which
a ball by the Chilian minister at the Theatre, and another by the
government, are spoken of. In fact this event is generally considered
as a finishing blow in the contest for independence. Enclosed, is a
paper just published here, containing a familiar letter from San Mar
tin, (addressed I presume to his father-in-law, Mr, Escalada,) signed
Pepe, which is the famiiiar abbreviation of Joseph; also, various pub
lic documents relating to the taking possession of Lima, a correspon
dence between San Martin and the Arch Bishop of Lima, the declara
tion of the Cabildo, Ace. By these public papers, it appears that San
Martin has added to his fame by the moderation and respect for
public opinion which he has manifested on this great occasion. Eve
ry thing here breathes joy and the brightest hope of the perfection
[ 90 1 15
of their political happiness. The Congress at Cordova is now en
tirely lost in the contemplation of a grand Congress, which it is said
will be agreed on hy the three great Republics of Peru, Chili, and
La Plata. Perhaps the sister Colombia may be invited to this family
** Enclosed, I send you copies of my letter to Mr. Rivadavia, on the
subject of privateering, or rather of piracy, dated 14th September,
eopyof that minister's reply, under 15th September, and of a minute
of a conference I had with him on the 17th of same month. Enclosed
is also minute of a previous conference with said minister, on the 5th
"Among the important events which have occurred on this side of
the mountains, I must not omit to notice the total destruction of the
party of Jose Miguel Carrera, and the public execution of that ac
tive, intelligent, and extraordinary man. Enclosed I herewith trans
mit two bulletins published here concerning this event. By the first
it will appear, that a Colonel Don Manuel Arias had organized a
revolution in Carrera's band, which he communicated to the Gover
nor of Mendoza, on the condition of saving his own life and those of
some of his adherents. By the second, entitled ** Detail of the de
struction of Carrera," it will be seen that Carrera's party was to
tally defeated by the Mendozinos on the 31st August, and that, ou
the 4th of this month, Carrera was shot on the public square at Men
doza; he died with the most heroic courage, asking for only favor of
his conquerors, that he might be buried in the same grave with his
two brothers, who were shot in the same city on a former occasion;
it would be well for humanity if the story of this event stopped here;
but, I again have to state another act of savage ferocity: the mur
dered body of this brave and distinguished man was shockingly mu
tilated, his head was cut off and exposed in the square of Mendoza;
his right arm was sent to the Governor of Cordova, and his left to
the Punta Sari Luis. When these particulars were known here, they
excited a sentiment of horror; and it has even been said, that if this
victim of the ferocity of their half savage brethren at Mendoza had
been sent to this place, even his life would have been probably spared.
"Carrera, by his great personal resources, had proved the most dan
gerous enemy of the present state of things in these Provinces, and
had San Martin failed in Peru, and Carrera had survived that fai
lure, he would have menaced the tranquillity of Chili; thus his death
is a great event for the present rulers here, although the manner of
it may be very revolting to their more civilized breasts."
" October I, 1821.
" Since writing the foregoing, there has been a further publication
of papers connected with the occupation of Lima, containing certain
proclamations of Generals San Martin and Arenales; this publica
tion I herewith enclose. The new ministers have very judiciously
availed themselves of the present moment to propose to the Junta a
general amnesty, and that all those who have been exiled far dift'ur-
16 [ 90 "1
ences of political opinion, should be recalled to the bosom of their
country; this proposition, so worthy the high-minded cause of the
present ministry, and so well calculated to conciliate all parties, is
to he discussed this evening at the Junta. I shall attend the debate,
seats being assigned to the foreign agents. Among the events tend
ing to consolidate the moral and physical force of these provinces, it
is said, that a revolution has taken place in the Entre Rios, against
the brother of the slain Ramirez. At the head of this revolution is
a Mr. Mansilla, of whose rank and history I am ignorant. The flo
tilla of this province is co -ope rating, and further assistance has been
asked of Lopez, the Governor of Santa Fe. The trade of the Baxa-
da has been opened in consequence of this revolution. I just now met
Mr. Rivadavia in the street, and took the occasion to remind him of
the decree w-hich he had promised to send me on the subject of pri
vateering: he said, it depended only on him to reduce it to writing,
which he had not yet had time to do; he has given me reason to hope
that he will call on me to-morrow; but the Herculean labor of cleans
ing the Augean stables so entirely occupies him, day and night, I
sometimes fear he will be quite exhausted before he can accomplish it.'*
Copy of a letter from John M. Forbes, Esq. United States 9 agent at
BUMIOS Jiyres 9 to Mr. Hividavia, Minister of Foreign Relations.
1 4th September, 1821.
SIR: Although I have been more than ten months in this city, I
have never until now found a moment, when, under all circumstances,
I deemed it expedient to lay before this government the sentiments
and views of that of the United States, in relation fcf many interest
ing subjects as contained in the instructions I received on my depar
ture from Washington. On the recent organization of the government,
I intimated to you the desire to hold a full and frank conference;
which you had the goodness to promise me at the commencement of
the past month, but which has been unavoidably delayed by your
more pressing occupations.
Appreciating as 1 do the great and efficient efforts now making by
you in the cause of your country, I should most willingly continue to
wait your convenience for the proposed conference, were I not impell
ed by recent information, to press on the early attention of this go
vernment one of the subjects on which I am instructed by that of the
United States; I mean those indiscriminate violences which are daily
committed on the ocean agairtt the peaceful commerce of unoffending
nations, under the various flags of the South American proviwces.
It is now a long time since those violences have called forth th
most [>ointed reprobation of many governments in Kurope and of that
of the United States. Several governments have made active efforts
C 90 ] 17
to repress them by force. These efforts have been unavailing these
" Can add colors to the chainelion,
" Change shapes with Proteus for advantage "
There is nothing fixed, but the blackness of their purpose and the
boldness of their atrocities. They are furnished with various com
missions, and navigated by crews of men, without country, without
morality, and without other ties than those of crime and plunder.
By the privateering regulations of Buenos Ayrcs, a privateer owned
here, or commissioned by this government, who shall be furnished
with a commission from any other prince or republic, even if allied
with this, " shall be adjudged a good prize, and her captain or com
mander punished as pirates." It is therefore under the sanction of
its own laws, that I presume to call the early and efficacious inter-
. vention of this government to vindicate those violated laws. But, sir,
it is, above all, from a full faith in those sentiments of honor, that
love of order and justice which so eminently distinguish every step of
the present administration, that I derive the strongest hope that this
call will not be disregarded. The public gazettes recently received
from the United States contain several well authenticated statements
of new outrages committed by tiles* 1 freebooters, whose numbers are
multiplied, and the boldness of their wicked enterprizes increased,
by their impunity. I will not swell this written communication by
any extracts from the information received; but hope that at an early
day, it will be convenient for you to admit me to a personal conference,
when I shall happy to communicate with you, in that spirit of frank
ness, which is the best pledge of friendship, as well the facts in rny
possession, as the feelings of the government of the United States on
this highly interesting and important subject.
I avail myself with pleasure of this occasion to renew to you, Mr,
Minister, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration and
JOHN M. FORBES.
To the Hon. Mr. RIVADAVIA,
Minister of Foreign Relations, Buenos Ayres.
Mr. Ri-vadavia to Mr. Forbes.
1 5 th September, 1821.
The Minister of Government and Foreign Relations has had the
honor of receiving the official note from the agent of the United States
under yesterday's date, and he considers it as his particular duty to
make an acknowledgment of the honorable distinction the said agent
shews towards him. With respect to the principal affair therein con-
18 [ 90 ]
taincd, lie can only repeat what he had the satisfaction to make him
acquainted with in his last interview; which was, that the govern
ment had adopted every measure in its power to suppress the evils
committed by privateers of this country towards the commerce of
neutral nations from the abuse of their commissions. Nevertheless,
the Minister of Government and Foreign Relations, feeling desirous
of contributing towards the completion of these measures, as far as
they are capable of being made perfect, he will be happy to receive
any further explanation on this subject that the agent of the United
States may think proper to give him. For which purpose it will be
taken as an honor, if the agent would take the trouble to call on the
minister at his house on Monday morning of the 17th inst. at eleven
The minister of government and foreign relations expresses his
thanks to the agent fur the distinction he confers upon him, and begs
to return it by the assurances of his consideration and respect.
To JOHN- M. FORBES, Esq.
Agent of the United Mates o/JV. A.
Extract of a minute of a conference with Mr. Rivaddvia, Minister of
Monday, 1 7 th Sep tember, 1821.
I received this morning at ten o'clock, by the hands of one of the
clerk's of the Department, an answer from the Minister of State to
my letter of the 14th instant, containing an invitation to a conference
at 11 o'clock at his house. Although the notice was too short to ad
mit of any preparation, I gladly accepted the invitation, taking with
me my instructions, including those intended for the late Commodore
Perry. I found the minister, Mr. Rivadavia, quite alone, and was,
as always, well received. I commenced my conversation by very
sincere assurances of the enthusiasm I felt in the present march of
events, and compliments to the minister on his zealous efforts for the
establishment of order in the administration, and the formation of a
sound public opinion in the country. I then observed, that not hav
ing had time to prepare extracts I had brought my instructions in
Kctenso, and would ask permission, in frankness and friendship, to
read certain parts of them in the original language in which they
were written, which I was aware was well understood by him. I
t!;en read the assurances of the good will of the United States towards
these provinces, and the interest they had constantly felt in the suc
cess of their efforts for independence; I continued through the history
of our diplomatic correspondence and measures in relation to the
South American affairs, to all which the minister listened with much
attention and apparent approbation. When I communicated to him
the fact, that the United States government had proposed to those of
I 90 ] 19
France and England to acknowledge, in concert with them, the In
dependence of tiueuos Ay res; in reply to my question, he confessed
his previous ignorance* of that fact. I then continued the forcible ex
positions in the instructions to Commodore Perry, of the evils and
horrors of the system of piracy as practised by vessels carrying va
rious colors of the South American provinces, and stated to him
that the United States would not acknowledge as legal any commis
sion granted in blank; which, he said, was perfectly just, and con
tinued by saying, that he was fully sensible of all the injury which
had been done to the cause and character of these provinces, and de
precated as much as any one the atrocities which had been commit
ted on neutral commerce; that the government had determined on an
entire change of system, and that, probably, this day a decree would
be drawn up revoking all privateer commissions, and ordering them
all to return within a given period. But this decree would be com
municated to me, when it would be seen if any thing more efficacious
remained to be done within the scope of the government's authority.
I observed that the decision of the government was in perfect unison
\vith the whole system now going into operation, eminently wise and
politic, and would have a most important influence on the opinion of
other nations in regard to this country; that, as nothing had so much
operated to damp the enthusiasm of my countrymen in favor of South
American liberty as the enormities committed under the Patriot flags,
so nothing would so effectually tend to reanimate their good wishes
as the suppression of those crying abuses. I stated to the minister
the measures adopted by Congress to repress the predatory system,
and particularly the act of 20th of April, 1815, of v Inch he requested
and 1 promised a copy. I next read from the instruction of 1 2th Ju
ly, 1820, the remarks on the subject of commercial preferences, and
the magnanimous feeling with which the government of the United
States disclaimed any wish to barter an acknowledgment of the in
dependence of these provinces for any exclusive advantages in their
commerce; at the same time their firm reliance that no such exclusive
privileges would be granted to other nations to the prejudice of the
United States. On this Mr. Rivadavia assured me that it was the
firm determination of this government to grant no exclusive privi
leges of commerce to any nation whatever, and that I might commu
nicate this decision to my government with an assurance that the
most complete reliance might be placed on it. The minister pro
ceeded, that his most decided opinion was, that no measure what
ever ought to be taken to solicit an acknowledgment of the in-,
dependence of these provinces by any government; he expressed
himself in flattering terms of his good will towards me personally ;
and added, that it would be an abuse of the confidence I had evinced
towards him, if he w r ere to engage me to make any representations to
my government tending to that end; and that he was much less dis
posed to take any such measure towards any government of Europe.
That such proceeding must operate, if unsuccessful, to the humilia
tion of the provinces; and, if successful, to mislead the people by per-
20 [ 90 ]
stiading them that such recognition was all sufficient to the poli
tical existence and happiness; that, in his opinion, the most effica
cious system would be to establish order and wise institutions of go
vernment throughout the provinces, and to shew themselves worthy of
thcv " ; ternity of other nations, when it would be voluntarily offered;
thai /ich voluntary recognition, in every point of view, would he
much more beneficial than that protection which should result from a
compromise of honour or interest; that he had told his countrymen,
de haute voix, his sentiments on the important topic of self-govern
ment ; that much was to be done, but that he hoped to see the suc
cessful progress of a sound system of domestic and foreign policy.
Our conference lasted, with a short interruption, nearly two hours;
and we separated with assurances of mutual satisfaction.
An exact minute, taken immediately after the conference.
J. M. FORBES.
BUENOS AYRES, 22d September, 1821.
SIR: Enclosed I have the honor to transmit a correct copy of the
act of Congress, passed on the 20th April, 1818, for the punishment
of certain crimes against the United States, to which act reference
was had in the conference to which you did me the honor to admit
me on Monday, 17th instant.
I pray you, Mr. Minister, to accept the renewed assurances of my
highest consideration and respect. J. M. FORBES.
To the Hon. B. RIVADAVIA, Minister, $-c.
Mr. Rivada-via to Mr. Forbes.
BUENOS AYRES, 6th October, 1821.
The minister of government and foreign relations, in consequence
of the offer made, has the honor to transmit to the agent of the United
States a copy of the decree which has just been issued by the De
partment of War and Marine, concerning privateering.
The minister salutes the agent with his most distinguished consi
DEPARTMENT or WAR.
BUENOS AYRES, 6th October, 1821.
Among the resourscs which the unfortunate rights of war have
[ 90 ] 21
rendered lawful, and its object necessary, is privateering. The wars
of the independence of the provinces of Holland, and of the United
Statrs of North America, have proved that this kind of warfare is
thr most advantageous for a country which prepares to defend its
independence against a more ancient and remote country that lias
governed it. It is impossible to prevent or repress all the abuses
which may result from privateering. The government which finds
itself under the painful necessity of authorizing, and even of encou
raging it, has only two ways of lessening its illegal consequences,
and in so far has only two obligations in this respect. The first is,
to dictate such rules, and take such precautions and guarantees, as
may correct abuses, not suffering them to pass unpunished. In this
respect, the government of these provinces has fulfilled its duty, and
the regulation of privateers proves it. The other obligation is, to
put an end to this kind of warfare, either when it shall be no longer
necessary to tfoe object which induced it, or when the effect which it
produces no longer equals the risks and inconvenience which result
from it. The government considers these two cases as having taken
place, and in virtue thereof, it has agreed, and now decrees, the fol
1. In future, no commission of privateering whatever shall be
granted without a previous solemn publication, expressing the cause
which obliges the government to have recourse to this measure.
2. Every individual who possesses any commissions, and shall be
now in the territory of this province, shall be obliged to present it to
the minister of marine, within fifteen days from the date of this de
3. Those individuals who hold privateer commissions, and are in
countries situated on the other side of the equinoctial line, or on the
coast of the Pacific, shall be held to present the said commissions at
the ministry of marine within the term of eight months.
4. The sureties given shall answer for the fulfilment of the fore
5. Every commander of a vessel, armed as a privateer in virtue of
a commission of any one of the governments, which have commanded
in this capital, on sight of this decree, shall cease to cruize, and
shall put into port to disarm and return his commission.
6. Every one who shall contravene the preceding article will in
cur the pains of piracy.
7. Every vessel which, after the term of eight months from the
date of this decree, shall continue to cruise under the authority of a
commission of the government of this country, shall be treated as a
8. The minister of war and marine is charged with the execution
of this decree. MARTIN RODRIGUEZ,
Minister of War and Marine.
FRANCISCO DE IA CRUZ.
22 [ 90 ]
Copy of a letter from John M. Forbes 9 Esq. Agent of the United States
at Buenos Ayres, to the Secretary of State, dated 8th October, 1821.
SIR: The detention of the vessel, by which I had prepared to send
the foregoing despatch, furnishes an opportunity to communicate a
translation of the promised decree, for suppressing privateering.
It has not yet heen published here, but will undoubtedly appear in
the first official register, which will perhaps be printed to-morrow or
the next day. I hope that the terms of it will prove satisfactory to
the government of the United States. Although the right is reser
ved of resorting again to this kind of warfare, yet I hope that the
restrictions under which it will be renewed will be more efficient to
guard against those ahuses which have heretofore been so justly and
extensively complained of.
By the schooner Essex to sail to-morrow for Providence, I shall
have the honor to transmit duplicates, together with Jildge Prevost's
despatch, mentioned in the foregoing.
I am, &c.
JOHN M. FORBES.
October l\th, 1821.
P. S. By this vessel, the Essex, via Providence, I send Judge Pre
vost's despatch, and a large file of newspapers. The decree against
privateering was published yesterday in the " Registro OffidaL"
Hon. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS,
Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Extracts of 'a letter from J. M. Forbes, Esq. to the Secretary of State,
dated at Buenos Jiyres, October 26, 1821.
" I have previously reported the total destruction of the parties of
Ramirez and Carrera, together with the death of those chiefs, the bar
barous mutilation of their bodies, &c. By these events the influence
of this Province over the others is much increased, and by the wise
course of the present administration, the moral force of a sound and
exemplary political deportment will be added to the success of their
arms, and I hope that the day is not far distant, when all the jarring
jealousies which have hitherto so perniciously counteracted the pro
gress of civil liberty will be put to silence, and the wise men of every
section of this country, will be brought to a cordial co-operation to at
tain the high objects of their political destiny. But much, very much,
remains to ho done before the general union of the great sections of
this almost boundless country in any one system of government
can be effected."
" In the mean time, Rivadavia and Garcia, firm as they are en
lightened and patriotic, are pursuing "the even tenor of their
[ 90 ] 23
way." They Uave added public credit to the other sinews of war
which this province before possessed, by repaying with great punctuali
ty in gold several loans, (a thing without example in the history of this
revolution;) they enjoy now to so great a degree the confidence of the
community, that I believe they could borrow, to any reasonable
amount, for an immediate exigency. It is said, also, that an entirely
new systeai of finance is agreed on, and will appear in a few days.
By this tariff, as it has been represented 10 me, the duties, with a very
few exceptions, will be ad valorem, and will vary from five to fifteen
per cent. Every possible measure is taken to prevent smuggling,
and public opinion and morality are cherished by the government.
If, therefore, Buenos Ayres, in all the darkness of her most gloomy
period, public sentiment paralyzed by deadly dissensions, and public
resources completely dilapidated, has been able to struggle success
fully against the machinations of the other provinces, it is not too
rash to expect that when she fights with a two fold armament of rea
son and force, seconded by a vigorous public credit, the v ictory must
eventually be hers. The most deplorable result, however, of these
continued agitations, is the necessity of continuing an onerous milita
"The most alarming state of agitation prevails in the neighbour
ing kingdom of Brazil. It was some days since confidently report
ed, otrthe authority of Captain McLean, of the British government
brig Braver, in six days from Rio to Monte Video, that Prince Don
Pedro, was to have been crowned king of Brazil, on the 13th of the
present month. Subsequent accounts contradict this fact, and it is
now no longer believed. It is, however, well known that the pub
lic mind there, is in a most feverish state, and should civil war burst
forth, it would be the signal of the emancipation of a numberless
horde of slaves, and the most horrid scenes of blood and devastation
would overwhelm that kingdori, and eventually threaten these pro
vinces, where it would find easy victims in the scanty white popula
tion here. The progress of this all-destroying flame could only be
arrested by the Indians, and, in such a conflict, this delightful country
would be totallv lost to civilization."
Mr. Forbes to the Secretary of State. Extract.
BUENOS AYRES, 8th Mv. 1821*
" Since my last respects, we have received news from Lima and
Chili, by which it appears that the royalist army, which had evacua
ted Lima on 6th July, under La Serna, had returned on the 22d Au-
fust under command of Canterac La Serna remaining sick at
auja; the strength of the returning army was between three and
four thousand men; the official accounts say, that they avoided an
engagement with San Martin, bat I have seen several private let^
24 [ 90 ]
ters, and one i'roni a citizen of the United States, who was two days
in San Martin's camp, in view of the royalist troops, and who states
that San Martin's force was much superior, and extremely anxious to
give hattle; but that San Martin retired, and permitted the unmo
lested march of the royalists into Callao. The motive of such a pro
ceeding is generally deemed strange and incomprehensible; but it
occurs to me, that San Martin being sure of eventually forcing the
garrison of Callao, augmented as it is, to a capitulation, prefers to
continue his influence by protracting the military conflict, until the
civil organization of this new-born republic shall be completed, ra
ther than to put down the remnant of royal troops, and leave the
country to the agonies of conflicting factions; or, in a few words, to
make himself at his own choice, King, Dictator, or Director; he has
at present taken the head of the civil and military power with the
title of Protector. All accounts agree in the enthusiasm for inde
pendence prevailing in Lima. On the late return of the royalist
troops, it became necessary to imprison twelve hundred old Spa
niards, as 'tis said, to preserve them from the popular fury. I have
conversed on these events, with several gentlemen well acquainted
with Peru and Lima, and particularly with a sensible friar native,
and until recently resident at Lima, who agrees in the general
opinion, that the return of the troops to Callao is a most fortunate
event, inasmuch as it places the termination of the war in the hands
of San Martin; whereas, had La Serna kept the country, and in
creased his forces, he might have continued the war for a very Jong
time. I send enclosed a bulletin issued on the subject, by which you
will be able to see and appreciate events in their detail.
" Of this province I have only to say, that there are still active,
but occult efforts making to overturn the present administration, and
bring the Puyrredon party into power."
Extracts of a letter from John M. Forbes, Esq. Agent of the Uni
ted States at Buenos Jlyres, to the Secretary of tate, dated 13th
<* Since my last, we have the important news of the surrender of
Callao; I send enclosed the Bulletin published here, by which you
will see the particulars of the capitulation. Private letters state
that Canter ac's army was much harassed on its retreat, arid were
still pursued. Jt is said that eight hundred of his army had joined
that of San Martin. It was thought that there would not remain five
hundred men to join La tierna. I have seen a private letter which
states that when the report reached Lima of Cantarac's approach,
funds to the amount of live or six hundred thousand dollars were
embarked on board the ships at L'Ancon. Lord Cochrane had been
for some time making every exeriori to procure money to pay off the
crews of his ships, but without effect.
[ 90 J 25
On hearing that this amount was on board the different
transports, he repaired to Ancon with theO'Higgins and Esmeralda,
and forcibly took possession of the whole sum, in defiance of the
strong representations of the general, and immediately paid the ar
rearage due to his men. Report snys, that he has not dared to put
his -foot on shore since he took this violent measure.
November \6th, 1821.
The " Registro Official" No. 13, published yesterday, contains
the resolution of the honorable Junta on the subject of general am
nesty, and oblivion of political acts and opinions, together with a de
cree of the governor, by which all those who have been exiled under
the special powers vested in the Executive by tiie decree of 6th Oc-
totyer, 1820, and all who have voluntarily absented themselves to
avoid the evils of political agitation, may forthwith return without
passports: only nine persons are excepted from this amnesty, and
they are not named.
It is said that an officer has, arrived here sent by the governor of
Tucuman, charged to solicit military aid to deliver that province
and its vicinity of the presence of the royalist troops, and at the
same time to declare a perfect coincidence of opinion with that put
forth by this government on the subject of the confederation. Every
thing continues to go on well here. Enclosed! send a printed paper,
entitled "-Dictamen de un Jlrribeno," (which means citizen of the
interior provinces.) It goes to maintain the inexpediency of a con
federation at present, which is the ground taken by this province."
Extract of a letter from Mr. Prevost* agent of the United States, in
< outk America, to the ecretary of *'tate, dated
" ST. JAGO DE CHILI, June 30, 1821.
" In my last, I mentioned the departure of Lord Cochrarie from
Huacho, with 600 troops, for the purpose of landing them some
where to the southward of the capital, so as to intercept the supplies
from that quarter. It is now ascertained, that his lordship has di
rected this force" to a different point, with objects distinct from those
contemplated by the General. After proceeding to Pisco and pillag
ing that place, he went to Arica, where there was a -considerable
quantity of merchandise in deposite for the market of Lima, took
possession of the town at the point of the bayonet, and as much of
the moveable property as he could grasp. It is the third, or fourth
time, different sections of the coast have been thus distressed by a
mode of warfare injurious to the cause, always at variance with that
strictly enjoined and as rigidly adhered to by the General. In addi
tion to which, he has lately committed outrages upon the British
flag, by impressing seamen, and by detaining the vessels from which
they were taken, in order to use them as transports. These acts, of
26 [ 90 ]
course, are disavowed by the government, but it has given rise to a
correspondence which threatened a serious result. Among other
subjects, that of the blockade was introduced, the one insisting upon
its nullity in toto, if contemplated to embrace any portion of the
coast not covered by an actual force; the other denying the conse
quence, and maintaining the sufficiency of the force. Although this
government might have sustained the position assumed, by recurring
. to British practice, yet, in their situation, it was neither prudent or jus
tifiable to assume any equivocal grounds, particularly on such a sub
ject; and 1 thought it proper-, therefore, to present a note to the Se
cretary of State, asking the truth of the case, and stating specifical
ly the principle to be recognized. No. 1 is a copy of mine, and No.
2, of that of the Director, written in our language and in his own
hand writing. I had hoped the correspondence, but the delays are
such here in all the public offices, that I cannot avail myself of them
for this opportunity; it is not now, however, important, except for the
greater satisfaction of the President, inasmuch, as an order has
been issued in conformity with his note, and conveyed to Sir Tho
mas Hardy, who acquiesced in its propriety. There have been up
wards of a dozen English merchantmen under capture, some of which
have already been condemned.
" Nothing has reached us from the army later than the 4th of May.
when San Martin had resumed his former station at Ancon, with
in a few leagues of the capital. It is feared here, that the absence
of Lord Cochraneon the expedition I have already referred to, may
retard the views of the General, if not wholly defeat the object of
his approach. Bolivar has sent a considerable force to Guayaquil,
seven hundred of which have already landed at the place, from
whence they are to march for the Congress of Quito."
Mr. Prevost to Mr. Joaquin de Echeveria, Secretary of State of the
Republic oj Chili.
ST. JAGO DE CHILI, ISthJune, 1821.
SIR: I understand that there is a letter in town from Sir Thomas
Hardy, addressed to the British merchants of this place, in which it
is stated, that this government considers the whole coast of Peru,,
south of the capital, as under blockade, although there is no force
stationed before any one port, except that of Callao. This informa
tion is so much at variance with the impressions I have uniformly
received, during my residence here, that I must believe some mistake
has arisen either with my informant, or with the British admiral.
Will you therefore allow me, Sir. to ask from you the fact on this
subject? It is a question of great moment; one of peculiar interest
in the United States, since our last contest with Great Britain, and
erne upon which 1 am anxious that there should exist no difference of
[ 90 1 27
opinion. The principle, upon whicb the right of exclusion from any
specific port is founded, is the temporary sovereignty acquired by the
presence of the force of one belligerent, competent, as to the other, to
control the mouth of such port, or harbor. Hence, it is obvious, that,
to the legal exercise of the rights growing out of the blockade, the
force must be permanent in its station.
There will offer a conveyance to the United States, in a few days,
of which I could wish to avail myself, as well to satisfy the President
of the strict adherence to principles maintained by his Excellency the
Supreme Director, as to defeat the effect of rumors that must have a
pernicious tendency at home.
J. B. PREVOST,
The Hon, JOAQUIN DE ECIIEVERIA,
8'ry of Mate of the Republic of Chili,
General O'Higgins to Mr. Prevost.
June 23, 1821.
MY DEAR SIR: I am very much obliged to you for the indication
-which favors me with your note of this day. You might be sure of
my resolution about the necessity of an actual force to be stationed
at the sight of the ports that are to constitute the blockade. This
very moment I am answering sir Thomas Hardy about this point,
declaring that must be considered as such to the ports from Pisco to
Ancon, and orders will be despatched to the vice admiral, lord Coch-
rane, and general San Martin, by the first safe conduct.
By next Tuesday's post to Valparaiso, will be sent to you, by the
Minister of State, all what has occurred about the mattery mean
while I remain vours most sincerely.
Extract of a letter from Mr. Hogan, commercial agent of the United
States at Valparaiso, to the Secretary of State 9 dated 18th August,
"I have now the honor to inform you that, on the 13th instant,
a despatch vessel arrived here from Callao, which place she left on
the 23d ult. with advices to this government, of the surrender of Lima
to General San Martin, and of the inhabitants having sworn to the
independence of the place. On the 12th July, the Spanish troops
proceeded to the mountains with their General, who first placed a
garrison of two thousand men in Callao, which place had not sur
rendered when the despatch came away, but could not be expected to
hold out, as there was not more than a week's provision in the for
tress, which was to be attacked by land and by sea from the squad
28 [ 90 ]
ron. The sufferings of the people in Lima tor want of bread -stuffs
and other foot! had been great; but there is no public gazette issued
explanatory of the proceedings, and that private letters are short and
unsatisfactory, it is impossible to say to what extent they had carried
their attachment to royalty, or, rather, their opposition to being con
quered by the forces of Chili, which they had even treated -and con
sidered as an inferior people, not entitled to the enjoyment of equal
rights with themselves. To expect them to submit tamely to the dic
tation of this slip of country is, I believe, more than will be realized,
although there can never be any doubt of the country of South Ame
rica facing the Pacific ocean being forever tree from the government
of old Spain.
" An additional export duty of 15 per cent, is laid by this govern
ment upon all articles shipped from this port for Lima; many vessels
are in port ready to depart as soon as permitted. The Constellation
was at Callao, and may (by report only) be expected here soon.
*' Mr. Prevost is expected from Santiago, to embark by the first
vessel from Lima. I send this letter in duplicate by two ships bound
this day to London, in the hope that either may be put on board of
some vessel bound to the United States. I have also written to Mr.
Rush by them, requesting he may communicate the information by
the earliest opportunity.
" Soon after my arrival here I wrote to Captain Ridgely, request
ing he would use his endeavors to inform you, by way of Panama, of
the fall of that important section of South America, which I doubt
not will be the first communication you will receive."
ACT OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF PERU.
IN THE ROYAL CITY OF PERU,
15th July, 1821.
The Senors who compose it having yesterday assembled in the most
excellent Senate, with the most excellent and most illustrious Senor
the Archbishop of this Holy Metropolitan Church, the prelates of the
religious convents, titulars of Castile, and various neighbors of this
capital, for the purpose of fulfilling what had been provided in the offi
cial letter of the most excellent senor the general in chief of the
liberator army of Peru, D Jose de San Martin, the contents of
which were read; and persuaded thereof, reduced to what per
sons of known probity, learning, and patriotism, who inhabit this
capital, would express, if the general opinion for independence had
been resolved on, which vote would serve as a guide to the said gene
ral for proceeding to take the oath: All the sefiors agreeing for them
selves, and satisfied of the opinion of the inhabitants of the capital,
[ 90 ] 29
said, that the general will was decided for the independence of Peru
of the Spanish dominion, and of any other foreign dominion whatever,
and that they would proceed to its sanction by means of the corres
ponding oath; it was compared with a certified copy of this act to the
same most excellent Senor, and tiie Sefiors signed it'.
THE COUNT OF SAN 1SIDRO.
BARTOLOME, Archbishop of Lima.
FRANCISCO DE ZARA TE.
FRAN CISCO XAVIER DEECHAGNEv
MANUEL DE ARIAS.
The Count DE LA VIGA DEL REN.
FR. GEROMMO CAVERO.
JOSE IGNACLO PALACIOS.
ANTONIO PADILLA, Syndic, Proc. gen.
Mr. Brent 9 Charge des Affaires of the United States at Madrid, to the
Secretary of State.
M AD RID , 1 Oth July, 1821,
SIR: The late session of the Cortes had far advanced when most of
the Deputies from Mexico arrived. They had been detained two months
at Vera Cruz by the commander of the frigate Pronta, and were at
last obliged to make the best of their way to Spain in foreign vessels,
running every risk, and incurring great expense. They had not
been long in Madrid when they began to press their claims, and on
the 3d of May, count Tore-no, one of the most distinguished mem
bers of the Cortes of Old Spain, a friend, as is supposed, to their
cause, made a motion in the Cortes, that a special committee be ap
pointed, composed of deputies of Ultramar and Kurope, to consider
of, and propose, conjointly with the Executive, such measures as
they should deem most proper " to terminate the dissentions prevail
ing in the various parts of America.'' This motion was agreed to,
and the committee appointed.
While this committee were engaged in their important duties, the
news was received, about the beginning of June, of the insurrection
of Iturbide, and the form of government proposed by him to be adopt
ed, copy of which I transmit, (marked A,) and, in consequence of
a resolution offered by an American deputy, the ministers appeared,
on the 4th June, before the Cortes to give an account of the occur
rences that had taken place in New Spain. The American deputies
availed themselves of this occasion to shew to the Cortes, and Execu
tive, the impracticability of the provinces of America being governed
as those of the Peninsula, according to the provisions of the constitu
tion, on account of their great distance Iron* the Metropolis; proved
the necessity of adopting prompt and eiiicacious measures, and press-
30 [ 90 ]
cd the government and committee to come to an early decision; They
then moved that the government should he requested to direct, with
out delay, the Vice Roy of Mexico to inform Iturhide that the Cortes
were occupied in projecting a plan of government for America, and
propose a suspension of hostilities until the resolution should he final
ly made by the Cortes and Executive. It was stated that, should
this step he taken, they were perfectly convinced that Iturbide, and
those under his standard, would suspend hostilities the moment they
knew that the deputies of New Spain had arrived at the capital m
time to he ahle to make the " just reclamations of those Spaniards."
This was not agreed to. A resolution was then offered and adopted,
Directing' that the minister of Ultramar, "in consideration of the
state of New Spain, should propose the measures he might think pro
per, whilst the Cortes were occupied in taking radical ones for its
The committee labored with great assiduity, and had various con
ferences with the ministers, who, at first, coincided in the opinions
advanced, and in the arrangement proposed by it to be adopted in
regard to Spanish America, and which would have been satisfactory
to the American deputies. When, however, it wa's laid before the
king, he was strenuously opposed to it, on the ground, as lie inform
ed them, that the arrangement contemplated would be a violation of
the constitution; that the public opinion was not prepared for it; that
it was against the interest, both of the Peninsula and America; and
finally, he spoke of the .opposition that might be made to it by foreign
powers, since they had not been consulted. In consequence of this,
the accord between the ministers and committee ceased; and, as ac
cording to the resolutions of count Toreno, which gave rise to the
appointment of the committee, it being unauthorized without the con
currence of the Executive to offer any plan, none was proposed to
the Cortes. The committee made their report to the Cortes on the
24th June, (copy marked B.) and state that the government, not be
lieving that the moment had arrived of convenience and necessity
for the. adoption of certain measures, they can do nothing more than
excite the zeal of the ministers, to the end that the wished-for moment
may be accelerated, and recommend that the Executive should be
pressed " to present to their deliberations, with the greatest despatch,
the fundamental measures they may think proper, as well for the just
and complete pacification of the revolted provinces of America, as to
secure to all of them the enjoyment of a firm and solid happiness."
The disappointment aiid vexation of the American deputies at this
result, was proportionate to the flattering hopes that had been excited
by the unanimity of sentiment that prevailed at the first conferences
of the ministers and committee. They then determined to present,
themselves, a plan to the Cortes, having the object in view, and the
propositions (copy marked B) were made on the 25th June; which,
in substance, are the same as those that had at first met the approba
tion of the ministers.
[ 90 ] 31
These propositions are, that there shall he three divisions made of
America. In each a cortes, having the powers delegated by the
constitution to the general cortes, with the exception of the 2d, 3d,4th
5th and 6th powers; that part of the seventh relative to the sanction of
treaties, and the second part of the 27th power. In each division, a
delegate appointed by the king, from among the persons most distin
guished for their high qualifications, not excluding members of the
royal family, removeable at his will, who shall exercise, in the name
ef the king, the executive power, to be inviolable with respect to the
American cories, and only responsible to the king and general cortes.
In each four ministers: of the interior, of finance, of grace and jus
tice, and of war and marine. In each a supreme tribunal of justice,
and a council of state. The commerce between the peninsula and
America, to be considered as from one province to another. And the
inhabitants of the latter to have equal eligibility with those of the
former to all public employments.
New Spain binds herself to pay 200 millions of reals in six years,
and contribute annually 40 millions of reals to the support of the
navy. The other parts of America to contribute in the manner that
shall be subsequently arranged. New Spain will also pay all the
debt contracted within its territory, and all public property to be
long to it, On the sitting of the 25th June, two of the deputies of
fered an amendment to the 5th article, having for object to prevent
the appointment of delegates being conferred on any of the royal fa
These propositions were preceded by an expose read in the cortes,
a copy of which I transmit herewith. In it they state that "they de
sire the constitution which ought to make them happy* hut which,
in the actual state of things, they consider to be a beautiful theory,
that can only be reduced to practice in the peninsula The Ameri
cans are freemen, are Spaniards have the same rights as the penin
sulars. They are acquainted with, and have sufficient virtue to sup
The measures recommended by the committee to request the go
vernment to present a plan at an early period has been acted upon,
as you will perceive by the king's speech, in which he says that his
government, "urged by the cortes to propose the measures they may
think proper for their welfare, on a consideration of the state of those
countries, will do so immediately, and with all possible generosity."
These will, without doubt, be proposed on the meeting of the cortes
extraordinary, which the speech of the president of the cortes to the
king will have shewn you is to take place. It is supposed that its
convocation will not be delayed longer than the first of October, if
You will perceive that the deputies do not demand an acknow
ledgment of independence, and pretend not even to aspire to it; and
they have declared in the cortes, on the 4th June, that if the revolu
tionists desire independence, it is because means have not been de-
32 [ 90 ]
vised that should make the welfare of those provinces compatible
with their union with the peninsula.
The commissioners of Bolivar, who are still here, on the contrary,
insist u]H>n the acknowledgment of their independence as the hasis of
any arrangement with Spain. Nothing has been concluded between
them and this government, and all negotiation is suspended.
It is diiiicuit to conjecture what will he the determination of the
cortes and the executive on this great and interesting question, when
A\e consider on the one hand that they cannot be wholly blind to the
just claims, the strength, and resources of America and view, on the
other, the prejudices and iliiherality that still exist in a high de
gree in the executive, and a great portion of the member's of the
cortes, and the observation in the king's speech, "that the Spaniards
of both hemispheres ought to be persuaded there is nothing he desires
so much as their felicity, -founded in the integrity of the monarchy,
and in the observance of the constitution."
As far as I have been able to -form an opinion, it is, that the fo
reign powers during the agitation of the American question, have
endeavoured to pi-event any arrangement between the parties.
On the 9th instant 1 received a note from Mr. Ilavcnga, one of the
commissioners of Bolivar, requesting an interview with me, (copy
marked D) to which 3 immediately replied, (cony marked E,) stating
that L would receive him that very evening.
In this interview he spoke of his mission to Spain; he said, that
when he left Colombia, he had no idea of meeting with the least ob
stacle; he had calculated to a certainty that his object would imme
diately be accomplished. He spoke of the ignorance of this country
of the real state of Spanish America of their illiberality and their
prejudices with warmth, and particularly so of the expression of the
king, in his speech respecting Spanish America. He calculated, he
said, upon the friendship of the United States, to promote the inde
pendence of the Republic of Colombia; he had a full conviction that
he roii Id rely upon it, Mr. Monroe, when Secretary of State, had
informed him that all the ministers of. the United States in Europe,
had instructions to advance the acknowledgment of their indepen
dence by foreign powers,
1 sympathized with him in the unpleasant situation in which he
was placed, and feared that the sentiment in Spain was not as favor
able as could be desired. He was perfectly justified, 1 said, in -'e-
lying upon the good dispositions of the United States. It was their
interest and their sincere wish, that the acknowledgment of the in
dependence of Spanish America should he accelerated. The United
States had not only been imu-e forward than any other power, in pub
lishing to the world their \\lshcs with respect to her, but had accompa
nied them with actions, which certainly afforded the best proof of their
sincerity, and among them I, adverted to the iuosnagr of thePresident to
the Congress of the United St f it< j s, at liie cifinnviicerneut of its last
session in which, alluding to the proposed' n< between the late
colonies and Spain, the basis of which, if entered upon, would be the ac-
[ 90 ] 33
knowlcdgment of their independence; he says, " to promote that
result by friendly counsels, including Spain herself, has been the uni
form policy of the government of the United States."
The friendship of the United States, he said, was very grateful to
the Republic of Colombia, and he hoped and expected, that, at the
commencement of the next meeting of Congress, the acknowledg
ment of its independence would be decided upon; the moment had ar
rived when all the powers of the world would see the propriety of it.
He calculated that the United States would be the first to take this
step; hoped to see a confederacy of Republics throughout North arid
South America, united by the strongest ties of friendship and inter
est; and he trusted that I would use my exertions to promote the ob
ject he so much desired.
I heartily concurred with him in the hope, that all governments would
resolve to adopt a measure so conformable to justice, joined with him
in the agreeable anticipations of the progress of free principles of go
vernment, of theintimat^nion arid brilliant prospects of the states of
our new r world. 1 presumed, I said, it was not necessary to bring to
his mind, the high interest felt by the United States in their welfare
an interest in which 1 deeply participated, and desired, as much as h
possibly could, the happiness of our Spanish American brethren.
What would be the determination of the United States, at the period
of the commencement of Congress, it was impossible for nae to foresee;
whether they would consider it a seasonable moment for doing that
which was so much desired, was a point I could not resolve.
In this interview, Mr. Ravenga confirmed to me what I had pre
viously learned, that his instructions do not authorize any terms
short of the acknowledgment of independence. I observed to him
that 1 presumed no arrangement would be made under them that
might have an injurious bearing on the commercial interests ot the
United States. To this his reply was, that none would be entered
into by the Republic of Colombia, with Spain, that would not be per
I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
THOMAS L. L. BRENT.
ARTICLE 1. The religion of New Spain is, and shall be, the Ro
man Catholic Apostolical, without tolerating any other.
2. New Spain is independent of Old Spain, and of every other
power, even on our continent.
3d. Its government shall be a moderate monarchy, according to a
Constitution peculiarly adapted for the empire.
4. Ferdinand the VII. shall be emperor; and if he do not come in
person to Mexico to make oath before the Cortes, within tho time pre
scribed by them, the most serene infants Don Carlos, Don Francisco
34 I 90 ]
de Paula, the aroh-dukc Charles, or some other branch of the reigning
family, shall be appointed in his place by the Congress.
5. Until the meeting of the Cortes, there shall be a junta which
shall have their union for its object, and the compliance with this
plan in its whole extent.
6. Said junta, which shall be styled governmental, must be compos
ed of the deputies mentioned in the official letter of the vice-roy.
7. Until Ferdinand VIFs arrival in Mexico, and his taking the
oath, the junta will govern in the name of his majesty, in virtue of
the oath of fidelity taken by the nation; but until his majesty hath
sworn, any orders lie may give shall be suspended.
8. If Ferdinand VII. should not deign to come to Mexico, the
junta or regency shall govern in the name of the nation, until it be
resolved who shall be crowned emperor.
9. This government shall be sustained by the army of the three
guarantees, of which mention shall be made hereafter.
10. The Cortes shall resolve whether jjjte junta shall continue,
or a regency substituted in its place, until the arrival of the person
who is to be crowned.
11. The Cortes shall immediately establish the constitution of the
12. All the inhabitants of New Spain, without distinction of Afri
cans, Europeans, or Indians, are citizens of this monarchy, with
eligibility to all employments, according to their virtues or merits.
13. The person of every citizen and his property shall be respected
and protected by the government.
14. The clergy, secular, and regular, shall preserve all its privi
leges and pre-eminences.
15. The junta shall take care that every branch of the state remain
without any alteration, and all the officers, political, ecclesiastical,
civil, and military, on the same footing as at present. They alone
shall be removed who decline entering into this plan, substituting
in their place those persons who are most distinguished for their vir
tue and merit.
16. A protecting army shall be formed, under the title of the three
guarantees,because it takes under its protection: 1st. The preservation
of the Catholic religion, co-operating, with all its efforts, that there
may not be a mixture of any other sect, and attacking all the enemies
who may injure it. 2d. The independence under the system already ma
nifested. Sd.The intimate union of Americans and Europeans,guaran-
tying such fundamental bases of the felicity of New Spain, each indi
vidual, from first to last, will prefer sacrificing his life than permit
the infraction of any of them.
17. The troops of the army shall observe the most strict discipline,
according to their regulations, and the chiefs and officers shall re
main on the same standing as at present, that is, in their respective
classes, with eligibility to such public employments as are vacant, or
vacate in consequence of those who may not wish to follow their
[ 90 ] S5
career, or any other cause, and those which may be considered as ne
cessary or convenient.
18. The troops of said army shall be considered as of the line.
19. In the same light shall be considered those who may after
wards adopt this plan. Those who do not defer it, those of the for
mer system of independence, who shall immediately join said army,
and the countrymen who may desire t& enlist, elial! be considered as
troops of national militia, and the form of each, for the interior and
exterior security of the empire, shall be dictated by the cortes.
20. The employments shall be conceded to true merit, in virtue of
references to the chiefs, and in the name of the nation.
21. While the cortes are assembling, the proceedings against crimi
nals shall be according to the Spanish constitution.
22. For conspiring against the independence criminals shall be
imprisoned until the cortes decide the greatest punishment, next to
'* lesa Majestad Divina."
23. A strict watch shall be kept over those who may attempt to
create disunion, and they shall be reputed conspirators against the
24. As the cortes which are about to be installed are to be constitu
ent, it is necessary that the deputies should receive sufficient powers to
that effect, and consequently the electors ought to be informed that
their representatives are to be for the congress of Mexico, and not
of Madrid. The junta will prescribe just rules for the elections, and
will fix the necessary time for them and the opening of the congress.
Since the elections cannot take place in March, the term shall be
shortened as much as possible.
IGUALA, 24 th February.
The special committee, appointed to propose to the Cortes what it
judges most conducive to put a stop in the most effectual manner to the
disputes and dissensions which unfortunately prevail in the provinces
of America, is duly penetrated with the importance of the charge,
and desirous of corresponding to the confidence with which the Cortes
has honored it. Few questions of such magnitude can be present
ed to the deliberations of a legislative assembly and to the resolves
of a government, as that which, at present, occupies the attention
of the Spanish Cortes. On their resolution, and the wisdom of their
measures, depend the greatest events; perhaps the tranquillity of
America, and the rapid civilization of the whole world. Spain seems
destined to give the world, from time to time, striking examples of
grandeur, by turns heroical, or singularly foriginal The remote
seas and regions discovered by her sons since the time of Columbus
in the 15th and 16th centuries; the renowned valour and martial
deeds, which border on the fabulous, of Cortes, Balboa, and Pizarrro
86 [ 90 ]
did uot suffice to their glory; nor that Sebastian del Cano, in his ship
Victory, styled the competitor of the sun, should he the first to sail
round the globe; to complete its measure, they added the arts, civil
ization, and the religion of their fathers; those vast regions partici
pated of the benefits enjoyed in Europe, and the discoverers did not
delay in making extensive to them the advantages derived from their
own country. With what enthusiasm arid pleasure (as we are assu
red by Iiica Gacilaso) they assembled to enjoy in reciprocal union,
and to spread, by their care and attention, over the whole country,
the first productions of Europe, The laws relative to India are an
eternal monument of the desire which always animated the Spanish
government that America should be treated with the same care and
equality as the other provinces of Europe; they state that its natives
shall be treated, favored, and defended, as the other subjects of the
peninsula. From such just and prudent policy resulted the advanta
ges which afterwards were derived. Cities were erected which, for
their population, beauty, and extension, rivalled the principal in Eu
rope; their products served to augment the traffic and commerce of the
whole world. The sons of America, with their talents and wisdom,
enlightened the country of Manco Capac, and Montezuma, and, not
satisfied with spreading their knowledge over their native land, they
have come to Europe to co-operate in the amelioration and prosper
ity of the Spains, it being conspicuous that many estimable deputies
from thence, in the anterior and present Cortes, have taken an active
and very principal part in the most important decisions. Such are
the fruits which have been collected from the civilization and culture
which Spain has succeeded in diffusing beyond the Atlantic, and
from them is most evident the injustice and levity with which foreign
writers have spoken of Spanish domineering in those regions. The
disorders and injustice that there has been there have not arisen from
the laws, nor from the interests, nor from the ambition, of the metro
polis, but from the men, the prejudices of the age, from the evils un
der which Spain herself groaned, and from the distance which al
ways rendered null the responsibility of the governors. But, in
spite of this, America continued faithful, and closely united with the
mother country. The dissensions in Europe, the war of the succes
sion, produced no desire to disturb interior tranquillity, or to effect a
separation, neither was the glorious war for independence a sufficient
motive;.-they succored us with their treasures, and it has been said, in
honor and to the glory of America, that the principle of her revolt
had a noble origin, similar to what impelled Spain to defend herself
against a hostile irruption. When Andalusia was invaded in 1810,
the greater part of our provinces was occupied by the enemy; our
government dispersed, and our armies nearly annihilated; the destiny
of Spain was considered as decided, and her ruin inevitable. It
would, indeed, have been difficult to imagine that, from an insulated
extremity of the peninsula, the nation would rise again, not only in
dependent, but regenerated and free. The Americans, mistrustful
of their chiefs, feared, that, being Europeans, they would desire to
[ 90 ] 37
follow the destiny of Spain whatever it might be; they, therefore,
resolved not to submit to a foreign yoke, and preferred separat
ing from the peninsula to the indignity of obeying an unjust inva
der. This was the noble principle of the commotions in America,
and if any of her chiefs had motives less pure, he was obliged to
dissemble, and cover them with the pretext of so just a cause.
The Spanish arms, in conjunction with their allies, having beat
and harassed the enemy in every direction, obliged him to evacuate
the Peninsula. Such a happy state of affairs announced a speedy
reconciliation with the revolted provinces of America; but all the
hopes of those who loved their country were dispelled by the fatal
decree of the 4th of May, and the execrable system which followed.
The war continued to rage in many parts, and the passions, irritated to
the highest degree, left hut little prospect of a conclusion to such a de
structive quarrel. Nevertheless, New Spain, or, more correctly, all
Spanish North America, almost entiVely quelled at that epoch, put a
stop to this devastating warfare. A great part of Peru had constantly
remained united to Spain; as also, Cuba and the other islands Thus,
while Terra Firma, Buenos Ayrcs, and Chili, presented the spectacle
of Spanish and American blood spilled by the same hands whose inter
est it was to preserve it, the most important part of Spanish America
was free from so much desolation. But this tranquillity does not suf
fice; though it should extend all over America, and he more durable, it
is not sufficient to satisfy the lovers of humanity. America must fix her
happiness on a more stable basis, which, instead of prejudicing, may
add, to that of Europe. The Cortes, soaring above the prejudices of
some, and the passions of others, must take such wise measures as shall
entitle them to be considered worthy rivals of those Cortes who, upon
a rock, and under the enemy's cannon, dictated laws at this day re
spected and obeyed by so many and such distant provinces. The com
mittee, fully persuaded of this, discussed, in various conferences, the
questions which appeared to it most proper to produce the great end
to which we all aspire; it examined them conjointly with his Majes
ty's ministers, who at first entirely concurred with the opinions that
were generally adopted. Peculiar circumstances have since obliged
them, in some measure, to suspend their judgment, under the impres
sion that the public opinion is not yet prepared for a definitive reso
lution. In this dilemma, the committee can propose nothing to the
Cortes; because, as it appertains to the government to decide the
question of fact, that is, the convenience and necessity of adopting
certain measures, and government not thinking the moment has yet
arrived, the committee must confine itself to excite the zeal of the
ministers, that they may accelerate the wished-for moment. Justice
calls aloud for this; the precarious and uncertain destiny of so many
Europeans, Spaniards established in those regions, the Americans
likewise, the different tribes who have sustained, by force of arms, the
cause of the metropolis; in fine, the true felicity of America and the
peninsula, call aloud for it. The happiness of America consists in a
solid peace, .guarantee of its future prosperity; that of Spain, in
not meeting impediments at every moment, and not having its atten-
38 [ 90 ]
tion drawn off from its deliberations to make the provisions which
such distant provinces require. The knowledge of the century, and
an enlightened policy, must guide the government in so new and glo
rious a resolution. The committee, possessed with the grandeur of
the subject, and convinced that its decision may have some influence
in the destiny of the universe, is desirous of communicating to all
Spaniards its intimate conviction, that they, on their part, may con
tribute to the happy termination of such an undertaking. Spain
would derive advantages that, otherwise, she will not realise; and
the ties of relationship and religion, united to commercial relations,
and those which are 'derived from free institutions, would be the
most certain pledge of our harmony and close union. The commit
tee, therefore, notable of itself to determine on any thing, must con
fine itself to proposing that the zealf the government be excited, so
that it may present to the deliberations of the Cortes, without delay,
the fundamental measures it may think proper* as well for the speedy
and complete pacification of the revolted provinces of America, as to
secure to them the fruition of a firm and solid felicity.
ARTICLE 1. There shall be three sections of Cortes in America;
one in the north and two in the south. The first shall be composed
of the deputies of all New Spain, including the internal provinces
of Guatemela: the two other sections shall comprehend the one,
New Grenada and the provinces of Terra Firm a; the other Peru,
Buenos Ay res, and Chili.
2. These sections sjiall unite at the time appointed by the constitu
tion for the ordinary Cortes, governing themselves, in every respect,
according to the rules prescribed for these; and they shall have in
their territory the same legal representation and powers, excepting
the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, which are reserved for the
general Cortes; the part of the 7th, relative to approving offensive
an'J defensive treaties; and the second part of the 2Sd.
S. The capitals where these sections shall, for the present, unite,
are the following: The section of New Spain in Mexico; that of
New Grenada and Terra Firma in Santa Fe; and that of Peru, Bue
nos Ayres, and Chili, in Lima. If the sections, with the consent
of the Executive power of those countries, should think proper to
change the seat of government, they may select whatever place may
appear best suited to their purpose.
4. There shall be in each of these divisions a delegation, to exer
cise, in the name of the King, the Executive authority.
5. These delegations shall each be composed of one person, named
by the will of his Majesty, selected from amongst men of the most
transcendant talents, without excluding the members of the Royal
Family. This delegate shall be removable at the pleasure of -Jjjs
[ 90 ] 39
Majesty: he shall be inviolable in regard to the sections of Cortes of
those countries, and shall only be responsible for his conduct to his
Majesty and the general Cortes. The ministers of this deS^a-
tiou shall be responsible to the respective sections of the Cortes ac
cording to the constitution.
6. There shall be four departments: of the interior, of finance, of
justice, of war and marine; some of which may be united, according
as it may be judged convenient, in virtue of a law.
7. There shall be three sections of the supreme tribunals of jus
tice, composed of a President, eight Ministers, and an Attorney Ge
8. There shall be tliree sections of the Council of State, each com
posed of seven individuals, but the legislative sections may at plea
sure reduce their number to five.
9. The commerce between the Peninsula and America shall be
considered as interior from one province of the monarchy to another;
and consequently, the Spaniards of both hemispheres shall enjoy in
them the same advantages as their respective natives.
10. They shall likewise reciprocally enjoy the same civil rights
I and equal eligibility to employments and public offices as their re
11. New Spain and the other countries, comprehended in the ter
ritory of their legislative section, oblige themselves to deliver to the
peninsula, the sum of two hundred millions of reals, in the space of
#ix years, which shall commence on the 1st of January, 1823, in or
der to contribute to the payment of the foreign debt, hypothecating
the revenue of the state, and the lands that appertain, or may here
after appertain to it, in the above mentioned New Spain and indi
The said two hundred million of reals shall be paid by instalments.
The first at the commencement of January, 1823, and thus, succes
sively, in six posterior years, until its final liquidation, which will
take place on the 1st January, 1828, so that thirty millions may be
paid during each of the first four years, and forty during the two last*
The term of these instalments may be curtailed, with the approba-"
fcion of the legislative section that shall be established in New Spain.
12. New Spain and the other territories comprehended in her le
gislative section, likewise bind themselves to contribute to the navy
expenses of the peninsula, with forty millions of reals annually. The
payment of this sum shall commence from the time when the legisla
tive section shall first assemble, and shall be delivered at farthest at
the expiration of a year from that period: this sum shall be augment
ed when the circumstances of New Spain shall permit, and delivered,
along with the other, specified In the preceding article, in some one
of the ports belonging to New Spain in the Gulf of Mexico.
13. The rest of the countries of America, comprised in the other
sections, shall contribute to the peninsula, in the manner that shall
be hereafter fixed upon, ami according to their circumstances.
40 [ 90 ]
14. New Spain takes upon herself the payment of all the puhlic
debt contracted in her territory, by order of her agents in her name
and by her authority; the lands, revenues, and other property of the
state, of whatever nature, without prejudice to what has been agreed
upon in the llth article, shall be made over to her, to serve as an
hypothecation of what has been stipulated in said article.
15. The deputies of the respective sections* at the time of taking
the oath to observe, and cause to be observed, the constitution of the
Spanish monarchy, shall add that of complying with and causing
this law to be executed.
Jose R. Ravenga, one of the Plenipotentiaries of Colombia, near his
Catholic Majesty, has the honor to present his respects to Thomas
Bront, Esq. Charge d' Affaires of the United States of North Ameri
ca, and requests that he will be pleased to name an hour at which he
tan have a personal interview with him.
House of the Marquis of Mos, Street of the Infantas.
July 9th, 1821.
Thomas L. L. Brent, Charge d' Affaires of the United States, kisses
the hand of Senor Don Jose R. Ravenga, Plenipotentiary of Colom
bia, and will be happy, to receive him at his house at six o'clock this
Madrid, 9th July, 1821.
Manuel Torres, Agent and Charge des Affaires of the Republic of Co
lombia, in the United States, to John Quincy Mams, Esq. Secretary
WASHINGTON, February 20, 1821.
SIR: The Republics of Venezuela and New Grenada, which, after
a devastating war of more than ten years, have victoriously achiev
ed the independence which they had declared since the year 1811,
were united by virtue of a fundamental law of the sovereign Congress
of Venezuela, of the 17th December, 1819, with the glorious title
[ 90 ] 41
f the Republic of Colombia, under which it has taken its rank
among other independent nations,
In consequence, 1 have received the, order of my government to
communicate to you, sir, this resolution worthy of Colombia, and to
accompany it \vith the subjoined authenticated copy of the said fun
damental law, in order that you may be pleased to lay it before the
President of the United States.
I have also the honor to present to you, sir, the credentials of my
public character, and a drawing of the national standard, which will
henceforth distinguish Colombia among other sovereign and indepen
Although the foundation of the Republic of these United States
would completely justify the right of Colombia, yet, with respect to
the custom which has been introduced among nations, the causes
which have rendered this measure indispensable, have been explained
in the Declaration of Independence of Venezuela, of the 5th July,
1811, a copy of which Don Telesforo de Urea, then agent extraor
dinary of that Republic, transmitted to your predecessor. .on the 6tli
of November, of the same year: the other declaration of Venezuela,
of the 2d November, 1818, and the manifesto of the President of the
sovereign Congress of Colombia, of the 26th of August last, copies
of which I sent you with my official letter of the 15th of last Decem
ber, likewise mention them.
The conduct of Colombia being thus in all respects justified, no
doubt my government will be recognized by that of the United
States, as a free and independent nation, a sister Republic, situated
likewise in the same hemisphere: It is also hoped, that to the recog
nition of the independence of Colombia on the part of the United
States, treaties of commerce and navigation will be added, founded
upon the bases of reciprocal utility and perfect equality, as the most
fficacious means of strengthening and increasing the relations of
amity between the two. Republics.
As you are already acquainted with the solicitude of Colombia,
permit me, sir, to add that it is of the greatest importance to my
government to know the determination of the United States in re
gard to it.
I repeat, sir, the homage of the sentiments of high respect and
distinguished consideration, with which I have the honor to remain,
Sir, your most obedient humble servant,
42 [ 90 ]
Fundamental law of the sovereign Congress of Venezuela, of the \7th
of Decembe^, 18 19, for the union of the Republics of New Grenada
and Venezuela, under the title of the Republic of Colombia.
THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF THE REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA.
The sovereign Congress of Venezuela, to whose authority the
people of New Grenada, lately emancipated hy the arms of the Repub
lic, have voluntarily submitted, considering
1. That by uniting the provinces of Venezuela and New Grenada
in one republic, they will have the means of attaining the highest de
gree of power and prosperity.
2. That if they should remain in separate republics, however great
the bonds that might unite them, yet, far from benefiting by so ma
ny advantages, with difficulty would they consolidate their sovereign
ty, and cause it to be respected.
3. That these truths, clearly perceived by every man of sound un
derstanding and genuine patriotism, had excited the governments of
both republics to agree to their confederation, which the vicissitudes
of war have heretofore prevented.
From these considerations of necessity and reciprocal interest, and
in conformity with the report of the select committee of the deputies
from New Grenada and Venezuela, in the name and under the au
spices of the Supreme Being, has decreed, and does decree, the follow
ing fundamental law for the Republic of Colombia:
ARTICLE 1. The Republics of Venezuela and New Grenada shall
be, from the present day, united, under the glorious title of the Re
public of Colombia.
. Its territory shall be those comprehended in the former captain
generalship of Venezuela, and the vice-royalty of the new kingdom
of Grenada, embracing an extent of one hundred and fifteen thousand
square leagues, whereof the exact boundaries shall be fixed at a
more seasonable opportunity.
3. The debts contracted by the two republics, separately, are ac
knowledged in solidum, by this law, as a national debt of Colombia,
for the discharge of which, the goods and property of the state are
pledged, and the most productive of the revenue shall be destined.
4. The executive power of the republic shall be exercised by a
President, and in his absence by a Vice President, both to be appoint
ed pro tern pore by the present Congress.
5. The Republic of Colombia shall be divided into three great de
partments, Venezuela, Quito, and Cundinamarca, which shall com
prehend the provinces of New Grenada, whereof the name shall be
henceforward suppressed. The capitals of these departments shall
be the cities of Caracas, Quito, and Bogota, the addition of Santa Fe
6. Each department shall have a superior administration, and
chief magistrate, to be appointed for the present by this Congress,
with the title of Vice President.
7. A now city, bearing the name of the liberator, Bolivar, shall be
[ 90 ] 43
the capital of the Republic of Colombia. The plan and site thereof
shall be determined by the first general Congress, upon the princi
ple of making it suitable for the conveniences of the three depart-'
ments, and proportioned to the grandeur for which this rich country
is destined by nature.
8. The General Congress of Colombia shall assemble on the 1st
day of January, 1821, .in the town of Rosario de Cucuta, which in
every respect is considered the most suitable place. The convoca
tion shall be made by the President of the republic, on the 1st Janu
ary, 1 820, who shall also communicate the plan for the elections, to be
devised by a select committee, and approved by the present Congress.
9. The constitution of the Republic of Colombia shall be formed
by the General Congress, to whom shall be presented the project of
one already decreed; together with the laws enacted by this Congress,
to be immediately carried into execution, by way of experiment.
10. The arms and flag for Colombia shall be decreed by the Gen
eral Congress. In the mean time, those of Venezuela shall be em
ployed, as they are known.
11. The present Congress shall dissolve on the 15th January,
1820, in order that the new elections may take place for the General
Congress of Colombia.
12. A commission of six members, with a president, invested with
special powers, to be decreed, shall occupy the place of Congress dur
ing its recess.
13. The Republic of Colombia shall be solemnly proclaimed to
the citizens and the armies, with public feasts and rejoicings, to take
place in this capital, on the 25th December, instant, commemorating
the nativity of the Saviour of mankind, under whose protection the
state has been regenerated by this re-union.
14. The anniversary of this political regeneration shall be per
petually celebrated by a national feast, where virtue and talents, as
formerly at Olympia, shall be distinguished and rewarded.
The present fundamental law for the Republic of Colombia shall
be promulgated in the settlements and armies, inserted in the public
journals, and deposited in the archives of the cabildos, municipali
ties, and corporations, whether ecclesiastical or secular.
Given at the palace of the Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, in the
city of St. Thomas of Angostura, on the 17th day of December,
A. D. 1819, and in the ninth year of our Independence.
Francisco Antonio Zea, President of Congress.
Juan German Roscio, Diego Bantista Urbaneja,
Manuel Sedeno, Juan Vincerite Cardoso,
Juan Martinez, Ignacio Mufioz,
Jose Espana, Onofre Basaio,
Luis Thomas Peraza, Domingo Alzurn,
Antonio M. Briceno, Jose Thomas Machad,
Eusebio Afanador, Ramon Garcia Cadrz.
Diego de Vallenilla, Deputy /Secretary.
44 [ 90 ]
Palace of the Sovereign Congress of Venezuela, at Angostura, the
17th December, 1819 ninth.
The Sovereign Congress decrees, that the present fundamental law
for the Republic of Colombia, shall be communicated to the Supreme
Executive power, by a deputation for its publication and execution.
FRANCISCO ANTONIO ZEA,
President of Congress,
DIEGO DE VALLENIIXA, Deputy Secretary.
Jfalace of the Government, at Angostura, the 17 th Dec. 1819 ninth.
Ordered to be printed, proclaimed, executed, and sealed with the
seal of the state.
By his Excellency, the President of the Republic,
DIEGO B. URBANEJA, Minister of the Interior and of Justice.
A true copy Washington, 20th Feb. 1821. (llth.)
REPUBLIC OF COLOMBIA.
Juan German Roscio, Vice President of the Department of Ven
ezuela, and charged with the government of the Republic, on account
of the absence of the President oh the campaign, and of the Vice
President on commission.
Whereas, it is important to the prosperity of Colombia, and to the
dignity of that station to which it has been elevated, to establish di
plomatic intercourse with other nations, and to make treaties which
may confirm its friendship with them, regulate its commerce, and
Srotect mutual interests: and this government being desirous of
rawing more close the relations and bonds of union and good cor
respondence which already happily exist with that of the United
States; therefore, I have nominated, arid, by these presents, do appoint
arid authorize Manuel Torres, Esq. that in the rank arid with the
character of Agent and Charge des Affaires of the Republic of Colom
bia, he present himself and treat with the said United States, and,
Conformably to the instructions which have been given him, to pro
mote the interests and advantage of Colombia, by reconciling them
with those of said states, upon the principles of * the most intimate,
frank, and sincere friendship.
[ 90 ] 45
Given at the Palace of Government at Angostura; signed by my
hand, sealed with the provisional seal of the Republic, and counter
signed by the Secretary of State and Foreign Relations, the 15th of
JUAN G. ROSCIO.
By his Excellency the Vice President of Venezuela, charged with
the government of Colombia.
JOSEPH R. RAVENGA,
The Minister of State and Foreign Relations.
Don Manuel Torres to the Secretary of State.
PHILADELPHIA, November 30, 1821.
SIR: Since I had the honor of addressing to you my official note of
the 20th of February last, requesting the President of the United
States the formal acknowledgment of the independence of the Repub
lic of Colombia, as a free, sovereign, and independent state, new suc
cesses have taken place, which, at the same time that they remove
any well-founded obstacle which might at that time have been in the
way of the government of the United States to prevent their acced
ing to the wish of that Republic, render now the said measure more
urgent, and I might say indispensable, in consequence of the recent
events in Peru and New Spain, and the conduct of the Spanish go
vernment towards America, always unjust and always capricious.
In compliance with the orders which I have received from the mi
nister of foreign relations, of date the 3d of August, in' Cucuta, I
hasten to communicate to you, sir, what has occurred in Colombia
since the recommencement of hostilities with Spain, and to inform
you of the real actual state of the Republic, that you may be pleased
to lay it before the President of the United States.
In conformity with the fundamental law of. the irth of December,
1819, the solemn act of the installation of the General Congress of
the Republic of Colombia, composed of representatives named by the
people of the nineteen free provinces of New Grenada and Venezuela,
took place on the 6th of May last, in the city of Rosario, of Cucuta,
as is shewn by the oilicial document, No. 1, which I have the honor
to enclose to you.
The General Congress being installed, one of the first measures
which called the attention of the legislative body, was the great ques
tion of the fundamental law, and, after long and elaborate debate?,
in which each member expressed his opinion with the greatest free
dom, the union of New Grenada and Venezuela into one body as a
nation, under the express agreement of a popular representative go
vernment, divided into Legislative, Executive, and Judicial, autho
rities, was adopted and sanctioned by a plurality of votes; and, also,
46 [ 90 ]
the (Jj vision of the territory of the Republic into departments or ciu-
cies, according to the evidence in No. 2.
The document numbered 3, is the manifesto which, on the sixth of
June, the President of Congress addressed to the people arid armies
of the Republic, notifying them of so important a measure; and No.
4 contains the fundamental law.
Whilst the Congress was engaged with patriotic spirit in discuss
ing and making laws conducive to the correct administration of jus
tice, to the regulation and management of the revenues, and to the
promotion of public instruction, in all the provinces and places of the
state, the attention of the liberator President was engaged in con
ducting an active war against the enemy, to expel them entirely from
the territory of the Republic. The arms of Colombia experienced
once more the aid of a beneficent providence, and they accomplished,
at one blow, the entire destruction of the Spanish power in Vene
zuela, in the memorable battle of Carabobo, on the 24th of June.
The enemy lost their park of artillery, their baggage, their all, in
their very entrenchments, and of more than six thousand men who
were assembled at that military point, scarcely could a *mall number
escape, who were able to retire within the walls of Porto Cabello.
The formidable fortress of Carthagena, and that of Cumana, also
fell successively, so that Porto Cabello, in Venezuela, and the isth
mus of Panama, in New Grenada, are the only two points which the
Spaniards, for the moment, occupy in all the vast territory of Colom
bia; and, probably, before the termination of the present year, both
will be incorporated with the Republic.
Although the isthmus of Panama, from its scanty population, its
absolute want of agriculture, and its situation, can contribute little or
nothing to the increase or facility of the interior or exterior commerce
of the new Republic, still its occupation is of great importance to Co
lombia, under the view of its own future security, and that of the rest
of America; and from the great facility which the river Chagrez af
fords for the commerce of Peru, and that of the provinces of New
Spain, which lie along the Pacific, since the distances, the dangers,
and expenses of a navigation by Cape Horn, are considerably dimi
But it was not enough for the Liberator President to annihilate the
formidable legions with which the Spaniards oppressed the country,
it was also necessary to preserve good understanding and harmony
among the inhabitants of Colombia, arid to maintain among foreign
naU'?5is the respect and reputation of the authorities of the Republic,
\vhich the agents of Ferdinand the Seventh have constantly defamed,
by circulating, through the medium of the press, the most infamous
falsehoods against them. He had no other means of realizing his ob
ject but exposing to the impartial world the perfidious conduct which
the Peninsular government had incessantly observed towards the
Americans; and, to the incontrovertible manner in which he did so, bv
/he proclamation which he addressed to the Spaniards on the 23th of
April, from the city of Barinas, is partly due the success of the repub
lican arms in Colombia and in Peru.
[ 90 1 47
The inhabitants of Colombia, after eleven years of a war, as un
just as cruel and destructive, guided by the genius of their liberator
president, have achieved the liberty and independence of their coun
try without the least foreign aid; have given themselves a popular
and representative government, and a constitution well calculated to
preserve the principles of liberty and equality and to promote the ge
With respect to the ability and capacity of Colombia to maintain
its independence, no well-founded doubt can arise upon that point, if
we consider on one hand the great population of the republic, which
exceeds 3,600,000 souk, tiie extent of its territory, its natural and
artificial resources, and its situation; and, on the other, the great mi
litary talent displayed by its generals and officers, and the discipline
and valor manifested by its troops on all occasions, but particularly
in the celebrated battles ofBoyacaawl Carabobo, in the capture of
St. Martha, defended by seventeen exterior batteries, all taken by
assault, and the reduction of the fortresses of Carthagena and Cu-
Some idea may be also formed of the degree of splendor, power,
and future prosperity, of the new republic, by considering it placed
in the centre of the universe, with an extent of coast of twelve hun
dred miles on the Atlantic, from the Orinoco to the isthmus of Da-
rien, and of seven hundred miles on the Pacific ocean, from Panama
tofiahiade Tumbez; and exempt, at all seasons, from any of those
dreadful hurricanes which cause such disasters in the Antilles, in the
Gulf of Mexico, and in other places.
The great canals which are formed by the river Orinoco and its
tributary streams, the Sulia, with the lake of Maracaybo, the Mag-
dalena, the Cauca, and the Atrato, which all empty into the Atlantic,
render Colombia the most favored part of the universe for interior
navigation; and, by a union of aJl climates, unites, also, in great
abundance, the productions of the three kingdoms of nature.
Agriculture is farther advanced in Colombia than in any other
part of continental America, formerly Spanish, and its products of
exportation, which consist chiefly of cocoa, coffee, indigo, tobacco of
Barinas, and some cotton, are of a quality superior to those of other
countries, except the cotton. With respect to the precious metals,
Colombia is interior neither to Mexico nor Peru, with the advantage
that their discovery is more easy and less expensive. She also
unites, by prolonged canals, two oceans which nature had separat
ed; and by her proximity to the United States and to Europe, ap
pears to have been destined, by the Author of Nature, as the centre
and the empire of the human family.
Under these auspices it was, that the new republic took her rank
among othef fr^e, sovereign, and independent nations, and that I had
the honor, in my note to you, sir, of the C 20th of February last, to
solicit the recognition of her independence, on, the part of the Presi
dent of the United States; which request I repeat anew in this.
48 [ 90 ]
The glory and the satisfaction of being the first to recognize the
independence of a new republic in the south of this continent belongs,
in all respects and considerations, to the government of the United
States; and this recognition would be, after all, but a measure, which
the humanity, the justice, and the convenience and interest of this
Reduced, as Spain is, to an absolute inability to continue the war,
her pride wishes an opening, perhaps, to meet with a pretext for
making her peace with the Americans, and nothing would better an
swer her purpose, than the recognition of the independence of Co
lombia by the Federal government*
On the other hand, if the war between Spain and Colombia must
continue, the law of neutrality of the United States would operate
with equality with respect to both belligerents, which was not and
cannot be the case, whilst this government does not recognize the
independence of the new republic. Lastly, between the United
States and Colombia, there can never exist a competition or rival-
ship in agriculture, commerce, and navigation, because, Colombia
has no mercantile navy, nor can she form one for many years, and
the products of exportation of her agriculture are entirely different
from those which are cultivated in the United States. She wants
annually twenty thousand barrels of flour, and other provisions from
these States, for which she pays in coffee, indigo, hides in the hair,
and in money, according as the intercourse between the two countries
is favorable to the agriculture of both.
The political events of Peru and Mexico render the recognition of
the independence of Colombia, urgent, on account of the great confi
dence with which this act would inspire those nations, to establish
popular representative governments. AJ1 South America formerly
Spanish, is emancipated, that is, upwards of eleven millions of souls;
this has given a new importance to the New World, and now they
are no more afraid of the machinations of the Holy Alliance to keep
America dependent upon Europe, and to prevent the establishment of
The present political state of New Spain requires the most earnest
attention of the government of the United States; there has occurred a
project, long since formed, to establish a monarchy in Mexico, on
purpose to favor the views of the Holy Alliance in the New World ;
this is a new reason which ought to determine the President of the
United States no longer to delay a measure, which will naturally es
tablish an American alliance, capable of counteracting the projects of
the European powers, and of protecting our republican institutions.
My government has entire confidence in the prudence of the President,
in his disposition to favor the cause of the liberty and of the indepen
dence of South America, and his great experience in the management
of public business.
Confined, for about three months past, to my bed or my chamber,
by a grievous indisposition, which still gives me very few moments
[ 90 ] 49
of repose, it has not been in ray power to address this communication
to you sooner.
I have the honor to remain, with the highest respect and distin
guished consideration, sir, your most obedient humble servant,
Don Manuel Torres to the Secretary of State.
PHILADELPHIA, 30th Dec. 1821.
SIR: The General Congress of the Republic of Colombia, in the
session of the 6th of September, appointed the Liberator and Captain
General, Simon Bolivar, President of the State, and General Fran
cisco de Paula Santander, Vice President, for the constitutional term
of four years; and on the 3d of October they took possession of their
respective magistracies, after having taken the oath prescribed by
The functions of the Executive power devolved, from the 10th of
said October, on the Vice President of the State, agreeably to the
losiii article of the Constitution, in consequence of the Liberator
President having taken the command of the armies of the Republic.
The Supreme Government has fixed its residence in the city of Bo
gota, in virtue of a decree of the General Congress, of the 8th of the
saujvi October; and, by another decree of the Liberator President, of
the 7th, the Seilor Pedro Gual has been appointed Secretary of State
and Foreign Relations of the government of Colombia.
I communicate this to you, sir, that you may be pleased to commu
nicate it to the President of the United States.
I renew to you, sir, the sentiments of respect and distinguished
consideration with which I have the honor to remain, &c.
Don Manuel Torres to the Secretary of State.
PHILADELPHIA, 2d January, 1822.
SIR: In the official note which I addressed to you, on the 20th of
February of the last year, soliciting the recognition of the Republic
of Colombia, on the part of the President of the United States, I re
presented how important it was to my government to know the de-
termination of the United States respecting the said demand.
In that which I had the honor to transmit to you, dated the 30th
of November last, I repeated the substance of that of the 20th of
February, and I suggested some additional powerful reasons which
urgently required the positive knowledge of the decision of the Pro-
5(5 [ 90 ]
sident of the United States in regard to a question of so much impor
tance; to my government in the present circumstances, for the regu
lation of its political and commercial relations with other nations.
I ought not to conceal, Sir, my pain in being compelled to distract
your attention by requesting, once more, an answer to my former
notes. This course, under all circumstances an indispensable duty
of my station, has been rendered the more urgent by the negotiations
of peace between Colombia and Spain, having lost all their impor
tance, in consequence of the Peninsular government tenaciously per
sisting in its extravagant and unjust pretensions, at the very time of
its most absolute incapacity and impotence to invade the territory of
the Republic, or to prevent the prosperity which its inhabitants now
begin to enjoy; a blessing of the independence which they have gain
ed by their arms, and of the liberty which their constitution secures
The present state of my health does not yet permit me to visit the
capital; but I shall do so as soon as I can undertake the journey
Be pleased, Sir, to accept the homage of the sentiments of esteem,
and distinguished consideration, with which I have the honor tobe,&c.
Secretary of State to Don Manuel Torres.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, ISth January 9 1822.
SIR: In reference to your letters of the 30th of November last, and
the I 2d of this month, I have the honor of informing you, that the sub
ject to which they relate, is under the consideration of the President
of the United States, whose definitive decision concerning it shall,
when taken, be forthwith communicated to you. In the mean time,
should you receive advices of the surrender of Porto Cavello, and the
Isthmus of Panama, 1 have to request you would favor me with the
information of those events as early as may suit your convenience.
I pray you, sir, to accept the assurance of my distinguished con
sideration. JOHN QUIJNCY ADAMS.
To the Secretary of State of the United States of America.
MEXICO, 2 5th October, 1821.
SIR: The love of my country, the spring of every noble and gene
rous action, induces me to communicate to you, for the information
of the President, and for the benefit that may result to the govern
ment and citizens of the United States, the following circumstantial
and exact account of the happy revolution that has lately occurred
in this kingdom of New Spain, which, by the blessing of God, the
intrepidity, talents, and exertions, of its patriotic chief, General Don
Augustin Iturbide, the enlightened policy of its mother country, and
the liberal and philanthropic ideas of its late Captain General Don
Juan O'Donoju, has ended in its complete and entire emancipation.
That you may have a clear and distinct view of the subject, be
fully impressed with the justice of the cause of this hitherto afflicted
and oppressed people, and have also a general idea of the face of the
country, its inhabitants, productions, &c. it may not be improper to
state, that, since its conquest, which, if my memory serves me, was in
the year 1521, it has been governed by sixty -two viceroys, and in
numerable commandant generals, governors, and superintendents of
provinces, who, according to general tradition, have been, with very
few exceptions, as many merciless and mercenary tyrants, the rapa
city and unfeeling barbarity of which nothing could have withstood
for sucli a length of time; but a land enriched by the beautiful hand
of nature to a most extraordinary degree, and a people born and
brought up, until of late, in all the intolerance of superstition and
ignorance, and accustomed from its earliest infancy to the innumera
ble, and I may say almost incredible impositions, of both church and
Few foreigners have, perhaps, had an opportunity of seeing as
much of the kingdom as myself, having travelled on horseback from
the port of Guaymas, on the gulf of California, to almost every part
of Sonora, and afterwards through the provinces and superinten
dences of New Biscay, New Galicia, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro,
and Mexico, to this city; a distance at least of 700 leagues, passing
through all the principal cities, visiting the most celebrated mines,
and conversing familiarly with all classes of people.
The provinces of Puebla, Mexico, Merhoacan, San Luis Potosi,
and Guanajuate, may be termed the central ones, and of those I have
seen, the best watered, most fertile, most productive, and most inha
bited; those that border on the gulf of Mexico are Merida de Yuca
tan, Oaxaca, Vera Cruz, New Santandero, and Texas; the second,
from all accounts, beautiful in the extreme; and the third and last
very fertile, but almost entirely uncultivated: those on th* Pacific
ocean and gulf of California, New Galicia, Sinaloa and Sonora, fer
tile in parts, but wry scant of water, and the extensive internal ones
of New Leon, New Biscay, and New Mexico, that reaches to the la
titude of 42 N. which have for the most part the same defect, and
which may be called a general one throughout the kingdom, there
being in most parts but little rain, and in no part excepting Texas,
what we would call rivers; where there is an abundance of water,
however, the country is wonderfully fertile, producing in many parts
two and three crops a year, and yielding each time four and five hun
dred for one, with the singular advantage of a diversity of tempera-
52 [ 90 ]
ture within very short distances, produced by the greater or less ele
vation of the lands, the centre of the kingdom being from eight to
twelve thousand feet above the level of the sea, so that it is not un
common to see in the same market, all the fruits, grains, and other
productions, of temperate, hot, and cold climates, as is the case in
this, and most of the principal cities.
Before the insurrection of the year 1810, the kingdom contained
six millions of inhabitants, and it is worthy of remark, that Provi
dence has been no less lavish in the distribution of her gifts as re
spects mankind, than in the fertility and production of the earth; the
natives of this country, not excepting even the Indians, being endow
ed with a quickness of perception and ability to acquire and make
themselves masters of the arts and sciences, that is very notable, and
far exceeds that of the inhabitants of Old Spain, and, perhaps, many
other countries. At the abovementioned period, the kingdom may he
said to have been at its acme of prosperity; the royal revenue exceed
ing twenty millions of dollars, and the money coined at the mint of
this city, upwards of twenty-eight millions annually; it has, however,
ever since been on the decline, in consequence of the devastations com
mitted by both parties in the long and cruel war carried on between
the Europeans and Americans, so that the population cannot now be
computed at more than four millions; the revenue at more than half
of what it was, and the money coined yearly, at from five to eight mil
lions; this year it will probably not exceed four.
I have been informed that a very correct history of this insurrection
up to the unfortunate expedition of General Miria, has been written
by a Mr. Robinson, and published in Philadelphia; it is useless, there
fore, to say more on the ^subject than that its commencement was
undoubtedly caused by the abuses daily committed in all branches of
the government in this kingdom, by the disorder in which Spain was
thrown in consequence of the invasion of the French, and by the im
prudent measures adopted in this city, one of which was the arrest of
the viceroy Iturigaray, and many of its principal American inhabi
tants: it is also worthy of remark, that, in proportion as it was pro
longed, the evils encreased, and its symptoms became more malignant;
the various incidents of the struggle, imbruing its character with blood,
produced other passions, and among them those of rancor and hatred,
which, irritated and inflamed by the inconsideration, imprudence,
and want of policy, on both sides, divided the kingdom into two par
ties, the Europeans and Americans, whose respective opinions formed
essentially the war that destroyed both.
Among those that contributed most to quell the insurrection, was
the before mentioned General Don Augustin Iturbide, then colonel of
the regiment of Celaya, and native of the city of Valladolid, in the
province of Mechoacan; born of European parents, and animated by
a mistaken zeal, he was induced to embrace the royal cause, and,
with a fervor and impetuosity peculiar to his character, committed
many arbitrary and violent acts, that, in a great degree, tarnished
what would otherwise have been deemed brilliant achievements, and
[ 90 1 53
over which it is necessary to draw a veil, his subsequent conduct hav
ing entirely effaced them from the memory even of those most aggriev
ed. Indeed, it would appear that a sense of the injustice he had com
mitted, an innate conviction of the impropriety of adhering to the
party he had espoused, and a remorse of conscience, were the princi
pal causes of the change in his political sentiments; for we see him all
at once assume a different character, and at a moment when his sove
reign had heaped upon him innumerable honors.
The impossibility of re-establishing peace and quietness in the
kingdom by the force of arms, was fully ascertained during the vice-
royalty of the Captain Generals Venegas and Calleja, of whom it
may be said that they rather dispersed than conquered the Americans,
the country being in a complete state of revolt, and full of chieftains
that commanded from three to six hundred, and even a thousand men
each, and hands of robbers that infested the highways in September,
1816, when the viceroy Apodaca arrived. To this disinterested,
good, and virtuous man, is due the pacification of the kingdom; his
penetration, skill, and humanity, having suggested to him the pro
priety of layin - aside the arms that had hitherto been in use, and of
winning tbe affections of the people by means of persuasion, pardons,
and premiums, who without general officers, money, or any imme
diate expectation of establishing the liberty of their country, and
weary of the wandering and wretched life they had so long endured,
embraced readily the opportunity that presented of returning to the
bosom of their families. No sooner was the plan adopted than its
wisdom became palpable; entire towns and districts yielding to the
solicitations of the agents appointed by the government for carrying
it into execution, so that at the end of two years all was tranquillity.,
and you could travel in every direction without escort of arms, ex
cept that of Acapulco, between which and this city the chieftains
Guerrero, Asensio, and a Colonel Bradburn, of Virginia, that came
with General Mina, with about fifteen hundred men, had taken re
fuge, and fortified an almost inaccessible mountain, from whence they
made predatory excursions. To reduce these to obedience was the
ultimate object and wish of the government, and, with this view Gene
ral Yturbide was invested with the important military command of
the department of the south, that contained about three thousand vete
ran troops, and had its head-quarters in the town of Yguala, distant
about thirty leagues from this city, on the direct road to Acapuko.
It is proper to mention here, that a few months previous to his nomi
nation, news had been received of the regeneration of Old Spain, and
of the establishment of -the constitution in that country, a circum
stance that created great alarm in this among the clergy and friars:
the lower class of people were also taught to believe that the planting
of it here would be attended with the entire destruction of their long
established forms of religion.
The Viceroy, Apodaca, who was now graced with the title of
" Conde del Venadito," was also opposed to the new system, and
discovered so much reluctance in the change of his measures, that
54 [ 90 ]
lus unwillingness and tardy mode of proceeding became evident to
all, and gave occasion to many just and violent complaints that were
made by its admirers, who publicly accused bim of its infraction,
white the American writers, taking advantage of the liberty of the
press, and confused and unsettled state of the public opinion, called
aloud for independence as the only certain remedy for the numerous
evils that surrounded them.
The crisis was too important and obvious to escape the penetration
of our hero Yturbide, who was also instigated to an immediate exe
cution of the plan he had in consequence formed of liberating his coun
try forever from its thraldom, by the mutiny of several of the officers
of the regiment of the "Four Military Orders," that had before given
many unequivocal proofs of disaffection and insubordination, which
was supposed to extend to the soldiers of that corps, and by the depar
ture of a convoy for Acapulco, with near a million of dollars, that
was intended to be embarked in a ship bound to Manilla, that he re
solved on detaining. He immediately, therefore, concerted his mea
sures with the clergy and friars, and, with the specious pretext of up
holding them in their privileges and immunities, secured their favor
and protection. He also communicated his design to such of the go-
\ernors of the provinces as he thought likely to aid him in the exe
cution of it, and, on his arrival in Yguala, persuaded a great part of
the troops under his command to join him in the undertaking, in the
belief that the government secretly favored it, a circumstance that
they at first readily gave credit to from their knowledge of the anti-
constitutional sentiments of its leading members, but in which they
were soon after undeceived, and, in consequence, not more than a
thousand remained faithful of those' that espoused his party. The
<lesign was also made known to Guerrero, Asensiu, and Bradburn,
who pledged themselves to support him in the enterprise, and, thus
prepared, he openly declared the independence of the kingdom, swear
ing it in the most solemn manner at the head of his army, in the said
town of Yguala, on the 24th day of February last, seizing, at the
same time, and appropriating to the use of the nation, the treasure
destined for the Manilla ship.
His next step was to form a plan for the installation of the new
government, a copy of which I enclose, and to give to his army the
style and title of the "Army of the three Guarantees," from the pro
tection it was to afford to the Catholic religion, to the independence of
the kingdom, and to the indissoluble union between the Europeans
and Americans. A copy of the plan was immediately sent by him to
the Viceroy, with a letter, stating all that had passed, explaining his
motives for having formed and adopted the new system, inviting him
and the government to aid and assist in its establishment, and, final
ly, naming the said Viceroy, the " Condede Cortina," arid the Pre
sident of the Royal Audience, the members that were to compose the
regency, reserving to himself the command that he had assumed of
the national army.
The Viceroy, had he been left to himself, would, I believe, have
[ 90 ] 55
assented to the proposal, from the vehement desire he has ever mani
fested to avoid the effusion of blood, and the miseries concomitant to
a renewal of the war, as well as from the conviction that the plan
and policy adopted by Yturbide could not fail to gain him innumera
ble friends, arsd to enable him, finally, to accomplish his views. It
was necessary , however, to call to his counsel the members of the
various tribunals of which the government was composed, as well as
the principal military officers, all of whom, counting on the versatility
that had been conspicuous in the American character up to that pe
riod, resolved, unanimously, to maintain the then existing govern
ment, in the belief that the few troops that had adhered to Iturbide,
would leave him the instant the Royal army should approach Yguala.
The old favorite system of blood and murder was also upheld, bat
to this the Viceroy would not consent, and an amnesty was offered to
all, not excepting Iturbide. The Field Marshal Linan was na i*'d
commander in chief, and a numerous staff and army was committed
to his charge. He was, however, so slow in his motions, that a de
tachment of troops, sent by Iturbide, had taken possession of the town
and castle of Acapulco, and he himself, with the remainder, were on
march in the direction of Valladolid, before the army of Linan moved
from its cantonment in the neighborhood of this city.
The cry of independence was no sooner raised in Yguala than it
spread in all parts, and an army was formed in the prov inces of Puebla
and Vera Cruz, by the Colonels Herj'era, Bravo, and Santana, that
took possession of the cities of Orizaba, Cordova, and Jalapa, which
was a most important conquest, the two former being the depots of the
I government tobacco, of which a prodigious quantity fell into the hands
i of the Independents, with a large sum in specie; circumstances that
were attended with the double advantage of being a powerful succor
to them, and an i-reparable loss to the government, who counted on
the remission to, and sale of, the tobacco in Mexico, as its principal
means of supporting the war.
In this state of things, it was resolved to divide the government
army into three divisions; one of which, under the command of Col.
M argues, was to retake Acapulco; another, commanded by Colonet
Hebia, to march against the cities of Orizaba, Cordova, and Jalapa;
and the third to return for the defence of this capital, on the suppo
sition that Iturbide might suddenly change his route and take the
city by surprize. It, however, soon appeared that his intention was
very different, and that his object was to pass Valladolid and unite
with a Col. Bustamente, of San Luis Potosi, who had risen at this
critical period, and proceeded against the city of Guanajuato with a
considerable pai t of his regiment of dragoons, declaring independence
in all the cities and towns in the Bajio, the inhabitants of which re
ceived him with open arms. On arriving at Guanajuato, it also sur
rendered to him, and, as he was joined by the garrisons of the several
places he passed through. Iturbide, on meeting him, found himself af
the head of an army of five thousand men, including the divisions of
Col. Barragan, and Major Parres, that left Valladolid with what
56 [ 90 ]
troops they could seduce, as soon as they knew of his intention to
pass that way. With this respectable force it was determined to
attack that city, which was the best fortified of any in the kingdom,
and had a garrison of seventeen hundred men. It however made no
defence, and its commandant, Col. Quintanar, and all but about 600
of the troops, went over to Iturbide.
At Guanajuato, which is one of the richest minerals in the king
dom, a mint was established, that proved afterwards very servicea
ble to the Independents, and injurious to the royal party, the silver
from all the neighboring mines taking the direction of that city, in
stead of Mexico.
Acaptilco remained but a short time in possession of the Inde
pendents, the castle having capitulated before the arrival of the divi
sion of Colonel Margues, to two Spanish frigates that accidentally
arrived there from Panama. San Juan del Rio, a fortified town be
tween this city and Quiritaro, was next invested; the siege, however,
lasted but a few days, the greater part of the garrison, being Ameri
cans, deserted, and joined the Independents, obliging the few that
remained to capitulate.
The division of Col. Hebia that had marched, as before stated,
against the cities of Orizaba, Cordova, and Jalapa, surprised Col.
Bravo, with about fifteen hundred Independents, in the town of Te-
peaca, about nine leagues from Puebla, who, unprepared for action,
retired with his troops to a large convent of the order of San Fran
cisco, that was constructed by Hernan Cortez, soon after the con
quest, in the form of a fortress, to serve as a place of refuge for him
and his followers, in the event of any sudden emergency. Hebia had
with him his own regiment of " Castile," and other European troops,
that equalled in number those of Bravo; a field piece was, however,
necessary to make a breach in the wall of the convent, and to obtain
this, he sent immediately to Puebla, asking, at the same time, for a
reinforcement of five hundred men, that the success of the action
might be placed beyond all doubt. Bravo, suspectin<^nis intention,
resolved on a sortie, with the determination to cut his way and es
cape, as Iturbide had given positive orders to all his officers to avoid
the effusion of blood, and to act solely on the defensive, from the
double motive of conciliating the enemy and avoiding the butchery of
his countrymen; sensible where one European should be killed four
or five Americans would fall, the number of the latter in the king's
service exceeding greatly that of the former. In the first and second
attempts he made, he was unsuccessful; the third, however, proved
more fortunate, and he got off with the loss of fifty or sixty men,
killing as many of those that were opposed to him.
This was the first action that had occurred, and the result proved
highly important to the Independent cause; the gallant conduct of
their troops, inspiring an universal confidence, animating their com
panions in arms throughout the kingdom to a singular and unexpect
ed degree, and demonstrating to the political and military officers of
the government of Mexico, that they had to contend with a brave and
[ 90 ] 57
Disappointed and chagrined at the result of the action, and unde
ceived as to the sort of troops he had to deal with, Hebia proceeded
on his march to Cordova, where he was killed in the first assault,
arid his army obliged to retire from the siege by Colonel Herrera,
and the valiant troops that defended the city. While these scenes of
glory were achieving in the provinces of Pucbla and Vera Cruz, the
siege of the city of Queretaro, one of the most beautiful in the king
dom, andjthc third in rank, as respects size, opulence, and commerce,
was pushed with much vigor by Iturbide in person. Its garrison
was composed of nine hundred Europeans, drafted from various re
giments, and about six hundred Americans, all under the command of
Brigadier General Loaces, a native of the kingdom of Peru, colonel
of the regiment of Zaragoza, and a brave and experienced officer.
He had determined to make a vigorous arid desperate defence, and as
the fate of the kingdom depended in a great measure on that of this
city, the government resolved to abandon that of San Luis Potosi,
and to succor Queretaro with the European regiment of Zamorathat
was stationed there. The order to this effect was no sooner des
patched, than Iturbide knew of it, and concerted measures to sur
prize the troops on their march, which were so well executed, that
they found themselves surrounded when they least expected it, by a
body of three times their number, and compelled to surrender at dis
cretion. This happy occurrence for the Independents was a death
blow to the government, who found itself at once deprived of the
important capital and province of San Luis Potosi, that were imme
diately occupied by the Independents, and without the means of con
tributing to the relief of Queretaro, which capitulated shortly after,
the American part of the garrison joining Iturbide, as usual, and the
Europeans going on parole to Celaya, until such time as they could
be transported to the Havanna. These troops, to their eternal dis
grace, proposed afterwards to their colonel to rise and march to
Mexico; but he, like a man of honor, sent the letter to Iturbide, who
immediately ordered them to be disarmed and dispersed.
The next action of any importance was in the neighborhood of
Toluca, 14 leagues from the city, between the regiment of Fernan
do 7th, commanded by Colonel Castillo, and a body of the Indepen
dents of an equal number, under the orders of Colonel Filisola,
which was indecisive, both parties claiming the victory, after an
obstinate battle in which more than two hundred were left dead on
the field, and the Independents in possession of two cannon that their
opponents were obliged to abandon.
At this period, General Negrete, commander of the troops in the
province of Guadalaxara, rose with the whole of his army, obliged
the Commandant General Don Jose de la Cruz, to fly from the capi^
tal of that name, where, and in all other parts of the province, in
dependence \vas sworn; the commerce of the port of San Bias was
also declared free to all nations. Cruz took the road leading to the
internal provinces, with the intention, it was said, of uniting with
Brigadier Don Joaquin Arredondo, commandant general of the east-
58 [' 90 ]
ern provinces, of raising an army in union with linn, and of return
ing, cither to reconquer his own province, or to the aid of that of
Mexico. Arredondo had, however, already caused independence to
be sworn throughout his district, and on hearing this, Cruz made a
halt in the city of Zacatecas, but, being pursued by Negrete, fled to
Durango, the capital of the province of New Biscay, carrying with
him a large sum in specie, that he found in the treasury at Zacate
cas, \vhicli city soon after surrendered to a detachment that was sent
against it by the commandant of San Luis Potosi.
On the death of Hebia, the command of the regiment of Castile
devolved on Lieut. Colonel Luna, who on the fall of Queretaro was
ordered to return to Mexico hy forced marches, in the expectation
that Yturbide would now attack the capital; similar orders were also
sent to Colonel M argues, in whose division was a principal part of
the insubordinate regiment of the "four military orders." The male
inhabitants of Mexico, from the age of 16 to 50, were also ordered to
enrol themselves in the miiitia, without exception or distinction of
persons, and every possible precaution taken to prevent a surprize,
and maintain the city until such time as an answer should be receiv
ed to dispatches that had been sent to Spain, or troops should arrive
that were expected from the Havanna.
All this, however, was not sufficient to allay the rancor that a
certain part of the community had conceived against the Vice Roy,
nor to convince them of his upright intentions, or extinguish the sparks
of insubordination I have already hinted at in some of the European
troops, which, from the first, was more immediately directed at his per
son than at the government. A report was therefore industriously cir
culated that he was in secret correspondence with Iturbide, and that
there was no real intention to defend the city, notwithstanding the
preparations that were ostensibly making for its protection: the whole
a prelude to the scandalous revolution of the 5th of July, which had
for its object the arrest of that most excellent man, and, without
'doubt was accomplished by dint of money paid by the merchants to the
oiliccrs that took par-tin the affray, who had the temerity to secure
the persons of theirjcolonels, and other principal military men opposed
to their project, to assault the palace and make a prisoner of the Vice
Roy, and afterwards the audacity to place against its gates, and the
corners of the principal streets, for the information of the public,
who were HO many witnesses of their atrocity, a paper, setting forth
that he had of his own accord, and at the respectful petition of the
officers of the European regiments, delivered the political and mili
tary command of the kingdom to Field Marshal Don Francisco No
vella, the person they had pitched upon as the leader of the faction.
This gentleman had under his command the various corps of artil
lery and engineers that existed in the kingdom; and as his education
and occupation until now had been altogether confined to that line,
you will readily imagine him entirely unfit for the discharge of the
arduous and complicated duties of Vice Roy of these extensive pro
[ 90 ] 59
Indeed, he himself was sensible of his incompetence, and very
prudently declined the offer; as unsuitable, however, as he was, there
was no other person they could avail themselves of that was less so.
and the same necessity that compelled them to name him, obliged him
to accept the appointment. From a government constituted by the
insubordination of a few soldiers that had the vanity to compare
their iniquitous conduct with the noble enthusiasm of the .Spanish
nation, which, tired of obeying tyrants that abused the goodness of
their monarch, rose in amass to recover the rights of which they had
unjustly been deprived, no good was to be expected, and we see it
employed from its very commencement in destroying the constitution
al regimen, of which it did not leave a vestige, and in substituting the
most arbitrary and tyrannical system that it is possible to imagine, all of
whichwas fomented and sanctioned by a body that Novella had crea
ted with the denomination of the " Junta Consultiva," composed of a
few individuals who had contributed with their money to place the
power in his hands, \vere furious at seeing approah the expiratjon of
their authority, and with sentiments diametrically opposed to the sys
tem of liberality and philanthropy at present predominant.
At the time these scenes of horror were transacting in the capital,
and to which I myself had like to have been a victim, notwithstand
ing the great prudence I observed in my deportment, a bloody occur
rence took place in Vera Cruz, in consequence of the storm of that
city by a party of troops commanded by an inconsiderate but brave
young officer, named Santana, who scaled the walls and got complete
possession of the town, but was afterwards obliged to retire with
great loss, his soldiers having abandoned their arms with a view to
plunder, and the inhabitants setting upon them when in that defence
The city of Puebla delos Angeles, the largest in the kingdom ex
cept Mexico, next attracted the attention of General Iturbide, in
front of which was a large army of independents, composed of the divi
sions of the Conde de la Cadena, Herrera, Bravo, Filisola, and others,
that only awaited the orders of their general to make the attack, and to
prevent which and the loss of many valuable lives, he went in person,
preferring in all cases the plan he had from the4irst adopted of redu
cing his enemies by means of persuasion and negotiation rather than
by force of arms. The fate of Puebla was all-important to the go
vernment in the critical situation in which it found itself, being one of
the chain of fortified towns that connect Mexico with Vera Cruz, to
which port it had resolved to retire with the European part of the
army and inhabitants, in the event of not being able to sustain itself
in the capital. Puebla was, therefore, well garrisoned, served with
an excellent park of artillery, and defended with many cannon of a
large calibre, so that its commander in chief, Brigadier Don Ciriaco
Llano, the Marquis de Vivanco, and other experienced officers sta
tioned there, had, until the last, sanguine hopes of being able to de
fend it. Iturbide, however, called to his assistance a part of the ar-
60 C 90 3
my be had left in Queretaro, and surrounded the city with so many
troops that resistance would have been nothing short of an act of
madness; it therefore capitulated.
On the surrender of Puebla, the army of Iturbide, which had now
augmented to the number of about eighteen thousand, and which was
composed entirely of veteran troops that had been disciplined in the
King's service, and had gone over to him clandestinely, or joined
him on the fall of the various cities he had conquered, received orders
to march in separate columns to different towns in the neighbourhood
of Mexico, with the intention of manifesting to the government of
that city the folly of any further resistance. It was, however, en
tirely in vain that the general had adopted this prudent measure, in
vain that one or two praiseworthy citizens had ventured to reason
on the subject with Sen. Novella, and in vain that he was assured he
could not rely on more than one third part of the troops that compos
ed the garrison; war! war! was the cry of him and his junta con-
sultiya, and the motto they wore on their hats and that was worn by
all tneir officers and troops was " Vivir y morir feiles y utiles."
Iturbide, after having rested a few days in Puebla, and partaken
of the effusion of gratitude manifested towards him by the good
people of that city, was on the point of leaving it, with the intention of
fixing his head quarters near the town of Chalco, and directing from
thence the attack that was to have been made on Mexico, when he
received a letter from Lieutenant General Don Juan O'Donoju,
who had recently arrived at Vera Cruz, informing him that he had
been named by the King of Spain Captain General and Political
Chief of the Kingdom, and had accepted the appointment at the so
licitation of his friends, the Representatives of America in the Cortes
of Spain, that he had risked his health and life, and sacrificed his
convenience, at a period when he intended to retire from the public
service, without any other desire than that of acquiring the love arid
esteem of the people of New Spain, and without other sentiments than
those of tranquillizing the disastrous inquietude that reigned in the
Kingdom; not by consolidating or perpetuating the despotism that
existed, or prolonging the colonial dependence, nor falling into the
errors or imitating the defects of many of his predecessors, in sup
porting a system of government, the tyranny and injustice of which
arose from the barbarity of the age in which it was established, but
by reforming the ideas of the misled, calming the passions of the
exasperated, and pointing out to the people generally the mode of ob
taining with security, and without the horrible sacrifice they were
making, the happiness which the illustration of the era in which they
lived, had induced them to seek after, arid which no rational person
could disapprove; he also required Iturbide to appoint a place at
which they could have an interview, and realize the sincere and ar
dent desire he had to prevent the evils and misfortunes inseparable to
a state of hostility, until such time as the treaty they might conclude,
founded on the basis of the plan published in Yguafa, should be rati
fied by the King and Cortes'.
[ 90 ] 61
"What a blow was this to the existing government of Mexico, and
to those that preceded it since the year 1810; what a contrast to their
iniquitous and shameful mode of proceeding! The wise and beneficent
O'Uonoju, reading the public papers of the Independents, applaud
ing the enterprize of their hero Iturbide, confirming his ideas, com
mending his virtues, and desiring his friendship, as he does in the
conclusion of his letter: while the intrusive Novella and his Junta
Consultiva, in imitation of their barbarous predecessors Vanegas and
Calleja, were persecuting with unrelenting fury, and almost to death
itself, those that communicated with the Independents, or in whose
possession should be found any of their seditious writings; proscribing
the chiefs of the revolution, and heaping upon them every species of
reproach and ignominy!
But the scene had changed, the star of liberty that rose in our own
country had happily spread its influence in the more eastern and west
ern hemispheres, and displayed to the world the criminal conduct of
the Caligulas and Neros that had for such a length of time dishonor
ed Spain and abused human nature.
This letter of O'Donojti, with another that he wrote to Sor. Novel
la, were sent by Iturbide to the Mexican government, accompanied
with a proposal for the suspension of arms until such times as the defi
nitive treaty should be signed in Cordova, the city named by Iturbide
as the point of conference. Novella would, however, hear to nothing
of the sort, and the letters were declared spurious, notwithstanding
that Sor. Alcocer, a venerable curate of this city, who had been inti
mately acquainted with O'Donoju in Spain, proved to the junta the
identity of the signatures, by shewing others that he had in his pos
session; which contumacy on the part of Novella, exasperated Itur
bide so much that tie set off for Cordova, leaving orders with his
generals for the immediate occupation of the towns of Tacuba, Tacu-
baya, Azcapuzalco, and Guadalupe, neither of which were distant
more than half a league from Mexico, and all of them in possession
of the .European troops.
This was an unexpected circumstance to Novella and the junta,
who had the folly and vanity to suppose they could frighten the Inde
pendents from the execution of their plan by means of the silly pro
clamations they almost daily issued, in which they affected to despise
their number, challenged them openly to commence the attack, and
declared the generals Luaces and Llano traitors to their king and
country for having surrendered the cities of Queretaro and Puebla.
The heroes of Tepeaca, Cordova, and Toluca, were, however, not so
easily scared, and a column of fifteen hundred men sent by Colonel
Bustamante against Azcapuzalco, presented to the inhabitants of
Mexico the sight of a most bloody and desperate action, that took
place between them and an equal number of the regiments of Castile
and Military Orders that composed the garrison of Azcapuzalco, the
result of which was at least six hundred killed and wounded, and
the abandonment of the town by the Europeans: a few days after an
attempt was made to dislodge the Europeans that were stationed IR
62 [ 90 ]
Guadalupe, by means of cannon placed on a neighbouring hill, and
\vhile this operation was carrying on by a part of the Independents,
and others were taking possession of Tacuba and Tacubaya, from both
of which towns the Europeans had retired, an aid de camp arrived with
a copy of the treaty of Cordova, concluded between General O'Do-
ju and Iturbide, arid an order from the former to Sor. Novella, com
manding him to obey him as captain general of the kingdom, to cause
him to be recognized as such by the troops, to cease all hostilities
from the instant he should receive the order, and to adopt measures
for the evacuation of the city. This peremptory mandate on one
side, and the near approach of the Independents on the other, plac
ed Novella, the junta, and their European troops, in an awkward
predicament, inasmuch as if they obeyed the order, they would be
subject to arrest and trial for the scandalous imprisonment of the
late viceroy, and if they refused compliance, to be treated as rebels
against the king's authority; their object therefore, was to shelter
themselves from the punishment they had justly deserved in the best
manner they could. And, with this view, although they were per
fectly convinced of the presence of O'Donoju in the kingdom, and of
the reality of the treaty signed in Cordova* they nevertheless affected
to doubt the truth of one and the other, alleging that all might be
a stratagem of Iturbide, and on this frivolous pretext refused to eva
cuate the city. On the deposition of the Conde del Venadito, the
Junta Provincial, Ayuntamunto, and other bodies corporate, hesi
tated to acknowledge the authority of Novella, but were obliged to
do so eventually, from the fear of the bayonets he had at his command.
Now, however, that they were surrounded by the independents and
backed by O'Donoju, they openly protested againt his proceedings,
and, in consequence, he was obliged to ask for an armistice, and
compelled to send one of the junta consultiva to Puebla to ascertain,
as he said, the identity of the captain general. This envoy, who had
hitherto been one of the most strenuous supporters of the measures of
Novella, and one of the most active members of the junta, received
such a fright from the lecture O'Donoju gave him, that he imme
diately returned, explained folly to Novella all that had passed, and
forever afterwards ceased to meddle in the matters at issue. Novella
was also inclined to succumb, and would have renounced his employ,
had it not been for fear of the troops, he having lost all authority,
and they having usurped the command, so that the city was in the
utmost anarchy and confusion, and dreading at every instant a gene
ral massacre and pillage, with which it had been threatened daily for
near a month, and which would most assuredly have succeeded, had
it not been for the proximity and number of the independent army,
that cut off all possibility of escape for the European troops, whose
idea was to commit all sorts of enormity, rob what they could, and
take the road for Vera Cruz.
Things had got to that pass, that it was impossible to confide in a
servant, and dangerous to do so to a friend, every thing like social
intercourse was at an end, those that could with any sort of conve-
[ 90 ] 63
uience leave tfae city fled, and those that were obliged to remain,
sought security in their houses, so that, in this once populous metro
polis, there was scarce a soul to he seen. In this state of things the
generals O'Donoju and Iturbide, arrived at Tacuhaya, and the for
mer had an interview with Sor. Novella, in the course of which lie-
gave him to understand the impropriety of his conduct in resisting
the legitimate authority as long as he did, the impossibility of de
fending the city, and the certainty of the massacre of the Europeans,
should it be taken by assault; remonstrated with him respecting the
insubordination of the troops, pointed out to him the illegality of their
conduct, and enjoined him to prevent the effusion of blood, by exer
cising the little influence he had with the subaltern otticers and sol
diers, in the understanding that he would not take upon him to scru
tinize their conduct in the arrest of the late vice roy, but leave them
to exculpate themselves in the best^way they could on arriving in
Spain. The following day news was received of the surrender of the
city Durango, and General Cruz, to General Negrete, after an ob
stinate resistance, in the course of which many lives were lost, and
the declaration of independence in the western internal provinces,
under the command of field marshal Alexo Garcia Conde, so that if
the soldiers of Novella had before any hope, it now entirely disap
peared, and, in order to avoid a disgraceful capitulation, were
obliged to acknowledge the supremacy of general O'Donoju, obey
his orders by evacuating the city and march to that of Toluca, there
to wait until it was convenient for them to embark.
To complete the independence of the kingdom there was now want
ing the declaration of the province of Merida de Yucatan, which fol
lowed almost immediately the surrender of Acapulco, the castle of
Perote and Vera Cruz, the two former of which capitulated soon af
ter, and the latter has without doubt ere this followed their example,
advice having been received yesterday by the government that it was
on the eve of surrendering. The province of Guatemala, which has
always been a separate vice royalty from that of Mexico, was also
sensible of the general impulse, and desirous of becoming an inte
gral part of the Mexican empire, has likewise sworn independence,
which, without doubt, will extend to its neighboring provinces, Hon
duras, Nicaragua, Costa Pica and Veragua, so that we may from
this instant consider North America, with the exception of Canada,
as divided into two grand and important commonwealths, that may,
with the aid of those that are forming in South America, be able, in
the course of time, to give the law to the opposite continent.
I am very far from believing myself possessed of the qualities ne
cessary to treat with the energy and exactness that it merits, a subject
of the importance of that on which I have ventured to write, and cer
tainly should not have had the temerity to have touched upon it, had
it not been for the particular situation in which I found myself, an
eye witness of all that passed, and from the conviction I have ever
been under, that each individual is bound to contribute towards the
good of his country to the utmost of his ability, be it great or small:
6>4 [ 90 ]
With this view, therefore, I shall, now that I have finished my narra
tive, take the liberty to add a few remarks, and to say in the first
place, that the revolution which I have attempted to describe, is not
one of those that have been accomplished by means of unbridled pas
sions, cruelty, rancour, or revenge, but, on the contrary, has, from its
commencement, been accompanied with brotherly love, patriotism,
disinterestedness, truth and good faith, so that the more I reflect on its
origin and progress, the more is my admiration excited, and the more
am I tempted to exclaim, that America has produced two of the
greatest heroes that ever existed, Washington and Iturbide. Secondly,
that the new government is established on a sure and solid founda
tion, the people being highly delighted with it, and the subordinate
chiefs, officers and soldiers, having one and all implicitly followed
the example of moderation set them by then magnanimous leader,
who, to obviate strife, envy, and emulation, has absolutely refused
the crown, and insisted that the emperor shall come from Spain, as
he first proposed in the town of Yguala. Indeed, the plan there pub
lished has been adhered to, with the most religious scrupulosity, ex
cept the slight variations made in it by the treaty of Cordova at the
suggestion of general O'Donoju, and the empire is in consequence
governed by a regency of five of its most distinguished and enlight
ened statesmen, who have elected general Iturbide President, and
appointed him commander in chief of the land and sea forces, and
by a convention, of thirty-six of the principal personages in the em
pire, as respects talents, rank, and riches. The independence is to
be sworn in this city on the 27th inst. and the Cortes are to meet on
the 24th of February next, the anniversary of the declaration iu
Yguala. In the mean time, the convention will be employed in enact
ing the most salutary decrees, and among those already passed is
one declaring the commerce of this empire free to all nations; anoth
er, doing away all the arbitrary taxes, impositions, and excises, im
posed by the former government; a third, reducing the duties from
sixteen to six per cent; a fourth, for the encouragement of the Mi
ners, relinquishing to them the quota of silver formerly paid to the
King, with other imposts that amounted to seventeen per cent, so
that many poor minerals that could not be worked before, can now"
be used to advantage; and a fifth, recognizing and making the new
government responsible for the debt contracted by the old one, of
thirty-six millions of dollars.
That there is a strong bias in the minds of the people of this coun
try in favor of the government and citizens of the United States in
preference to all other nations, is beyond a doubt; and that the con
vention, of which four-fifths are native Americans, and the regency
which is composed entirely of them, are actuated with the same sen
timents, is also certain. On this subject I have had various conferen
ces with the leading members of the administration, whose senti
ments will be fully explained to you shortly by Don Juan Manuel
de Elizalda, the minister plenipotentiary that is already named, and
now preparing to go to Washington, where I have do doubt he will
[ 90 ] 65
lie received and acknowledged as the representative of a free and in
dependent nation, the Mexican empire being so at this time to all
intents and purposes, in the first place, by the unanimous wish and
consent, power and authority, of its inhabitants, and, secondly, by the
treaty signed at Cordova, between the generals O*Donoju and Itur
bide, the deputed agents of Spain and this empire.
Your most obedient humble servant,
JAMES SMITH WILCOCKS,
Treaties concluded in the city of Cordova, on the 24th instant, be*-
tween the Senors D. Juan O'Donoju, Lieutenant Ge^.e- ai of the ar
mies of Spain, and D. Augustin de Iturbide, first chief of the Imperial
Mexican Army of theThree Guarantees.
The independence of New upon Old Spain being declared, and it
Laving an army capable of supporting this declaration, the provinces
of the kingdom being subdued by it, the capital, where the legitimate
authority had been deposited, being besieged, and when there o*\ly
remained for the European government the fortresses of Vera Cmz
and Acapulco, dismantled and without the means of resisting a siege
well directed, and which would last some time Lieutenant Genes-al
D. Juan O'Donoju arrived at the first port with the character and au
thority of Captain General and superior political Chief of this king
dom, appointed by His Catholic Majesty, who, being desirous of
avoiding the evils which afflict the people in vicissitudes of this sort,
and trying to conciliate the interests of both Spains, invited the first
Chief of the Imperial Army, D. Augustin de Iturbide, to an interview,
in which they might discuss the great business of the independence,
by loosening without breaking the chains which united the two conti
nents. The interview took place in the city of Cordova, on the 24th
of August, 1821, and the first with the authority of his character, and
the latter with that of the Mexican Empire; after having conferred
at length on what was most proper for both nations, considering the
present situation and the last occurrences, agreed upon the following
articles, which they signed by duplicates, to give them all the force of
which documents of this sort are capable, each one keeping an origi
nal in his possession for the greater security and validity.
1. This America shall be recognized as a sovereign and indepen
dent nation, and shall in future be called the Mexican Empire.
2. The Government of the Empire shall be a constitutional limited
3. There shall be named to reign in the Mexican Empire (after the
oath which the 4th article of the plan points out) in the first place the
Senor D. Ferdinand VII. Catholic King of Spain, and upon his re
nunciation or non-admission, his brother, the most serene Senor Infant
D. Carlos; upon his renunciation or non-admission, the most serene
6 [ 90 ]
Senor Infant D. Francisco de Paula; upon his renunciation or noil-
admission the most serene Senor D. Carlos Luis, Infant of Spain, for
merly heir of Etruria, now of Lucca, and upon his renunciation or
hon-admission, he whom the Cortes of the Empire shall designate.
4. The Emperor shall fix his Court in Mexico, which shall be the
capital of the Empire,
5. Two Commissioners shall he appointed by His Excellency Gen
eral O'Donoju, who shall go to the Court of Spain to place in the Roy
al hands of Senor D. Ferdinand VII, a copy of this treaty, and the
exposition which shall accompany it for the service of His Majesty
first* whilst the Cortes of the Empire offer him the crown, with all
the formalities and guarantees, which a business of so much impor
tance demands; and intreat His Majesty that in the case of the 3d
article he deign to notify their Serene Highnesses the Infants men
tioned in same article in the order in which they are named; inter
posing his benign influence that one of those personages designated
from his august house may come to this Empire, inasmuch as the
prosperity of both nations is concerned in it; and for the satisfaction
which the Mexicans will receive in adding this to the other bonds of
friendship with which Spaniards can and desire to be united.
6. There shall be immediately appointed, according to the spirit
of the plan of Jguala, a Junta composed of the first men of the Em
pire for their virtues, for their stations, for their fortunes, authority
and judgment, of those who are designated by the general opinion,
the Dumber of whom may be very considerable, that the union of
lights may ensure the success of their determinations, which are eman
ations of the authority and powers which the following articles grant
7. The junta, of which the following article treats, shall be named
the provisional Junta of Government.
8. Lieutenant General D. Juan O'Donoju shall be one of the pro
visional Junta of the Government, in consideration of the conveni
ence of a person of his rank taking an active and immediate part in
the government, and from its heing indispensable to omit some of
those who were designated in the said plan in conformity with its
. 9. The provisional junta of government shall have a President ap*
pointed by itself, and whose election shall take place in one of its own
members or not, who shall have an absolute plurality of votes;
and if an election does not take effect at the first voting, they shall
proceed to a second scrutiny, beginning with the two \vho may have
together most votes.
10. The fii-st step of the provisional junta of government shall be,
to publish its installation, and the motives which unite it, with the
explanations which it may consider proper, to illustrate to thepeople
their interests, and the mode of proceeding in the election of Depu
ties to the Cortes, of which mention shall be made hereafter.
11. The provisional junta of government shall appoint, af f erthe
election of its President, a Regency composed of three persons, ei*
its<nvrt members or otherwise, in which shall he vested the
[ 90 ] 67
executive power, and which shall govern in the name of the monarch^
until he shall take the sceptre of the empire.
12. The provisional junta being installed, shall govern provision
ally according to the existing laws, in every thing not opposed to the
plan of Iguala, and until the Cortes form the Constitution of the
13. The Regency, immediately after being appointed, shall proceed
to the convocation of the Cortes, agreeable to the method which the
provisional Junta of Government may determine; in conformity to
the spirit of the 24th article of the said plan.
14. The executive power is vested in the Regency, the legislative
in the Cortes; but as it has happened for some time before that they
were united, that both may not again fall under one authority, the
Junta shall exercise the legislative power, first in the cases which may
occur, and which cannot await the meeting of the Cortes; and then
shall proceed in accordance with the Regency: secondly, to serve as}
an auxiliary and consultive body to the Regency in its determina
15. Every person who belongs to a society, the system of govern
ment being changed, or the country passing into the power of ano
ther Prince, remains in the state of natural liberty to transport him
self with his fortune, to what place he pleases, without there being
any right to deprive him of this liberty, (unless he shall have contract*
ed some debt with the society to which he belonged, by crime, or iu
other ways known to publicists:) in this case Europeans are admitted
into New Spain, and the Americans resident in the Peninsula; con
sequently, thty shall be free to remain, adopting this or that country!
or to demand their passports, which cannot be refused to them, for re*
moving from the realm in the time prefixed, bringing or carrying 1
with him their families and effects; but satisfying, at the departure of
the last, the established duties of exportation, or which may hereaf*
ter be established by competent authority.
16. The former alternative shall not have place with respect to
public officers or military men, who are notoriously disaffected to the
independence of Mexico; but these shall of necessity quit this empire
within the term which the Regency may prescribe, carrying away
their property, and paying the duties mentioned in the preceding ar^
17. The occupation of the capital by the troops of the peninsula^
being an obstacle to the realizing of this treaty, it becomes indispen-*
sable to overcome it; but, as the first chief of the imperial army,
uniting his sentiments to those of the Mexican nation, is desirous not
to take it by force, because there are abundant resources, notwith-*
standing the valor and constancy of the said peninsular troops, for-
the want of means and ability to support themselves against the sys^
tern adopted by the whole nation Don Juan O'Donoju offers to USQ
his authority, that the said troops may complete their
63 [ 90 T
without the effusion of blood, arid by an honorable capitulation,.
City of Cordova. 24th August, 1821.
AUGUSTIN DE ITURBIDE.
A faithful copy of the original.
A faithful copy of the original which remains in this commandan-
JOSE JOAQJJIN DE HfiRRERA,
As assistant Secretary,
DECREE OF THE REGENCY OF MEXICO.
The Regency of the Empire has been pleased to address to me the
The Regency of the Empire, provisional governor in absence of
the Emperor, to all who shall see or hear these presents: Know ye,
that the Sovereign Junta of provisional government has decreed as
" In consequence of the desire expressed in the official letter of the
23d of October last, by His Excellency D. Augustin de Iturbide,
that this sovereign Junta would be pleased to determine the powers
and duties belong! rig to him as Admiral Generalissimo, for the lauda
ble purpose of not exceeding in the former, nor coming short in the
latter, ms Majesty has thought fit to declare: That the prerogatives,
powers, and honors, designated in the fifteen following articles, be
long exclusively to him.
ART. 1. He shall have command of the forces by sea and land,
comprehending in his government the economical and administrative,
according to the laws; consequently, all propositions of office, in both
branches, shall pass through his hand, of officers and chiefs, from
those of brigadier, inclusive, downwards, in the land army, and the
equivalents in the other branches: He shall propose also for the go
vernments of garrisons, commanders of provinces, captains general,
and shall countersign the despatches of all these offices, receiving
them from the Emperor, and passing them to the Secretary of War,
for their progress.
ART. 2. He shall direct the instruction of military colleges, and of
corps of all the armories of the army and marine.
ART. 3. The inspection of the manufactures of gunpowder, arms,
munitions, and clothing, shall be his province, with every thing else
which relates to those branches. Also, he shall have charge of all
that relates to arsenals, artillerists, manufactures, &c. belonging to
ART. 4. He shall watch over the disbursement of the military
treasury for sea and land, and the just distribution of the funds des
tined for those branches.
ART. 5. He shall attend to the distribution and movements of the
land and sea forces, according to the orders of the Emperor which
he may receive for that purpose.
ART, 6. He shall be the protector of commerce, navigation, police,
and the works of the ports, as well as of the fortifications of the for
tresses of the empire, with the powers of admiral.
ART. 7. He shall grant passports and licences for navigation, ac
cording to the orders of the Emperor.
ART. 8. The Secretary of Despatch of War and Marine, and that
of the Treasury, in what concerns those branches, shall send to him
for his information the imperial orders which have been sent by the
ministers relative to them.
ART. 9. Preserving the etat major of the army, under the plan
which is approved, according to the proposition of the generalissimo
himself, he shall name two generals, who, as chiefs of it, may commu
nicate the orders which they give; and may also pursue, in their
name, the correspondence with the Secretaries of State, for facilitat
ing the expedition of business.
ART. 10. When the Etat Major of Marine is formed, he shall ap
point one of the generals mentioned in the former article, or shall ap
point a third, if the multiplicity of business require it, for the discharge
of the duties, and attaining the ends mentioned.
ART. 11. He shall have the title of highness; but in official letters
which may be addressed to him the aforesaid signature shall be omit
ted, to preserve this distinction for the Regency.
ART. 12. His guard shall be composed of two companies of infant
ry, with a banner, which shall present arms and beat a march. This
guard shall only do honors to the persons of the Imperial family.
ART. 13. When he goes out there shall go before four body guards,
and behind an escort of twenty men, commanded by their officer.
ART. 14. In the court and residence of the Emperor, the posts of
the place shall do him correspondent honors.
ART. 15. On his entrance to, and departure from, the fortresses
and garrisons, the troops shall be drawn up and the artillery shall sa
lute him with twenty-one guns, he having, in every thing, by sea and
land, supremfe military honors.
The Regency shall take the charge of disposing its execution, and
that it be printed, published and circulated.
Mexico, 14th November, 1821. First of the Independence of this
JOSE MIGUEL GUIRIDI Y ALCOZER, President.
ANTONIO DE GAMA Y CORDOVA, Vocal Sec'y.
JOSE RAPHAEL SUAREZ PEREDA, Vocal -ec'y.
JOSE MARIA DE ECHEVERS Y VALDIOIELSO,
To the REGENCY of the Empire*"
70 [ 90 ]
Therefore, we command all tribunals, justices, chiefs, governors,
and other authorities, as well civil as military and eccl \siastic, of
whatever class and dignity, that they keep, and cause keep, fulfil^
and execute, the present decree in all its parts. Ye shall attend to
its execution, and provide for its being printed, published, and circu
In Mexico, the 14th of November, 1821.
AUGUSTIN DE ITURBIDE, President.
MANUEL DE LA BARCENA.
MANUEL VELASQUEZ DE LEON.
ANTONIO, Bishop of Puebla.
A. D. JOSE DOMINGUEZ.
By order of the Regency of the Empire, I communicate this to you
for your information.
God preserve you many years.
Mexico , 1 5th November, 1821.
Manifesto of the Provisional Board of Government) to the People of the
After the long night of three ages, in which America has lain
plunged in darkness, the aurora of her felicity at last burst forth; that
day dawned for which she had sighed, and which she desires may be
perpetual. This consummation would never have been obtained, if it
had not been founded in justice, nor if justice herself were not to be
the base of the government which is to consolidate it. But the junta
has the satisfaction to announce, that both considerations are combin
ed in the emancipation which we have accomplished.
Nature has marked out the territories of nations by rivers, moun
tains, and other boundaries, which establish their limits. How ma-
Hy states are divided by the Po arid the Rhine, as the Alps and the Py
renees divide France from Italy and from Spain. From this last,
immense seas and a vast distance divide America; distances which
not only make them different as kingdoms, but establish them as be
longing to two different worlds. Policy must necessarily conform
to the order of nature, and as it would be monstrous to put in the
same space the contrary elements of fire and water, it is equally so,
to unite in one province, people who are distinct and distant, espe
cially if that difference and distance extend to the extremity of the
two worlds. Since then it embraces all the contrarieties which
climate can originate, two vast globes, and opposite movements,
cannot revolve without embarrassment upon one axis, but each re
quires its own; in the same manner, two empires of distinct and op
posite qualities, require two governments, without being susceptible
r>f facing united in one, which is never sufficient to govern both well.
If, occasionally, the order of nature is violated, in departing from
the boundaries she fixes, it must happen, as with fire enclosed in the
mines, that an explosion will finally take place. The two Spains,
old and new, or, which is the same thing, Castile and Mexico, which
have hitherto home those names, belong to distinct regions of the
earth, to different portions of the globe, to opposite zones of the
sphere; differences, which at once evince the justice of their separa
tion. If they have been united, as Esau and Jacob, in the womb of
Rebecca, atid have long remained so; this alone, giving to the latter
her growth, has rendered it necessary that they should separate, as
these twinsdid, first in the maternal bosom, and afterwards in their
The growth of nations constitutes, successively, their youth and
virility, ages which demand their separation. It is very natural
that when a nation lias arrived at these ages, she should refuse to de
pend upon one whose assistance she no longer needs, in order to
act for herself. If, even among brutes, the teats of the dam are for
saken by the offspring, which has now become capable of receiving
other aliment than milk; if the chick whose wings have grown, flies
alone, and no longer suffers itself to be conducted by the bird which
formerly transported it; if the pubescent virgin, consents to the nup
tials which compel her to abandon the paternal dwelling, in order
to form a new family; is it riot just that America, having acquired
the strength which justifies it, should emancipate herself?
It has been long since she arrived at her youth; but it has also been
long since assent was refused to her emancipation, for before that was
accomplished she had attained the age of virility, which justifies it
still more. The qualifications which demonstrate that age are to be
found in her both the moral ones of refinement and intelligence, and
the physical ones of arms and population. The increase of their
families alone prevented Abraham and Lot from dwelling in common,
and they took different routes in order to live separate.
Why then deny to America the justice which may assist her in
emancipating herself, supposing this to be her situation and circum
stances? Must she not listen to the voice of nature, which speaks to
her even through her insensible organs? May she not burst, like the
plant, the teguments which covered her when young? Must she be
forever in pupilage though at the age of puberty, and must she remain
a child of the family even when she is both able and willing to shake
off the paternal authority? But even this is not all: nature tells her
still more, especially through the organ of reason.
Whenever the bird can force the door of its cage, or any oth^r ani
mal break the ligaments which confine it, they do not hesitate a mo
ment in doing so, for reason teaches them to seek their own happi
ness. This is what justifies still more the independence of America.
She has been able to burst her fetters in order to acquire her liberty,
and to escape from the yoke which impeded her prosperity, and placed
her labor, industry, commerce, and all her movements, within such
bounds and restraints as might enfeeble them., in order to make pre-
72 [ 9Q ]
ponderant the importance of the mother country, or rather in order
that the sole and absolute power might be vested in the latter. Be
tween the power and performance in this rase, and with respect to
such high and interesting objects as are dictated by nature and de
monstrated by reason, there ought to be no space whatever, for they
immediately touch each other.
The provisional board of government installed for these purposes,
in consequence of their attainment, and the occupation of the capital,
has no other view than them. It has been assembled in order to found,
perfect, and perpetuate them. The fundamental principles of go
vernment which they have adopted, appertain to the first: the mode
of procedure upon which they have resolved, to the second: the ties
and ligaments which they have proposed to themselves, to the third:
and they expose it all to the people, in order that they mav judge of
the sincerity and propriety of their intentions and conduct.
The foundations should correspond t> tlie edifice, and are what give
it its principal strength. The principles of government which have
been adapted conformable to the plan of Igt4ala and the treaty of
Cordova, are those received by the most illustrious nations. A re
presentative in preference to an absolute government, a limited
monarchy, and a constitutional system with which \ve are already
acquainted, are the fundamental maxims, the angular stone of our
edifice. There is nothing to apprehend from the ideas opposed to
these, nor from those which will not bear the light of day. Those
which animate us are purely liberal. Until the meeting of the Cortes,
the Spanish constitution and laws will be observed, so far as they are
not inapplicable to the peculiar situation of the country.
The plan of operations or mode of proceeding of the junta, has been
to appoint a regency to exercise the executive power, reserving to
itself the legislative power, for such purposes as cannot be delayed
until the meeting of the Cortes, to whom this branch of the govern
ment appertains. Had the junta assumed this power in its whole
-extent, it would have usurped it from the people; but if it were not to
exercise it provisionally in cases of urgency, the government would
remain defective; the necessities of the moment could not be provided
for, nor the thousand junctures which may present themselves, be met.
To obviate both the one and the other, they have already prescrib
ed to themselves a rule, not to sanction any thing, even provisional
ly, unless its nature is such that it will not admit of being delayed
until the meeting of the Cortes, to whom every thing else is refer
red. The wisdom of their measures, which involves the perfection
of the liberty and happiness of the people, depends upon the choice
which they may make of proper representatives. The province of
this Board is to inform them on the subject, in order, that all pas
sions being laid aside, and intrigue and party spirit banished, they
may have no other end in view than the welfare of the country. For
this the Junta is now laboring, and to take such measures that the
Congress may be assembled in as short a time as possible.
[ 90 ] 73
In the mean time, the puhlic debt, so called, has been acknowledged,
and ordered to be paid as soon as affairs are in a condition to do soj
at the same time, a stop has been put to the arbitrary contributions
with which the inhabitants were oppressed, without any advantage
to the Treasury. The first fact is announced for the satisfaction of
the creditors, the second for that of the public, and both as an evi
dence of the proceedings of the government.
Would it were possible for the latter to pay another debt, much
greater, and of a superior kind, of which it confesses itself a debtor.
Such is that of the deserving army, which, animated by the purest
patriotism, and braving dangers and difficulties at the expense of in
expressible sacrifices, have consummated the arduous undertaking
"which Heaven was pleased to protect and crown with success. But
there is no tongue to express what it deserves, nor hand to remune
rate its services. Who is there competent to relate what all and
each of its individuals have performed; the actions which have sig
nalized many of the soldiers and chiefs, especially the first, who ani
mated the rest? What reward can we give them, or what can recom
pense their benefits? as Tobias the youth demanded of his father,
speaking of his benefactor. We have no other choice, inasmuch as
reward is impossible, but to manifest to them our gratitude; to which
nd many steps have been taken, and others will continue to be taken*
Finally, the bonds which the Junta has proposed to itself in order
insure and prolong our independence, are, besides the union of
e inhabitants of the empire, which constitutes one of the guarantees,
n alliance, federation, and commerce, with other nations. The
Spanish nation, to whom we owe our origin, and to whom we are at-
ached by the closest ties, ought to be the first and most privileged in
ur consideration. We do not content ourselves with the mere fa-
ily connection which results from calling one of their princes of the
>yal blood to our empire. We aspire to more; we desire to unite
urselves in a fraternity which may turn to the advantage of the
hole nation, and let it know that our political independence, to
hich we have been compelled by the causes set forth, does not loosen
ic bonds which unite us, nor cool our affections, which ought to be
ic more sincere, in order to destroy all resentment.
We desire, then, that our fraternity may be made known to the
hole world: that European Spaniards, in virtue of that title alone,
lay domiciliate themselves in our country, subjecting themselves to
,ts laws, and under the inspection of our government; that our ports
ay be opened to them for the purposes of trade in such a manner as
ay be arranged by our laws, and that a preference may be given to
em, as far as possible, above other nations; that there may be es-
blished between them and us, if practicable and agreeable to them,
good reciprocal understanding, regulated by definitive treaties;
id that in every thing there may appear the most cordial amity,
ith regard to foreign nations we shall preserve harmony with all,
ercial relations and others, as may be expedient.
The junta congratulates itself that the people of the empire will
perceive, in what has been set forth, at least their wishes for a suc
cessful result, which they expect from the patriotism arid intelligence
of the inhabitants, who may suggest to it whatever they deem condu
cive to a better government, which the junta will hold in due consi
ANTONIO, BISHOP or PUEBLA,
JUAN JOSE ESPINOSA DE xos MOIVTEROS, Vocal Secretary.
JOSE RAFAEL STTAREZ PEREDA, Focal Secretary.
MEXICO, 13th October, 1821.