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The Department would be pleased to receive a more complete report regarding the case and the action taken by you than that contained in your dispatch above referred to. I am, etc.,
Mr. llart to Mr. Ilay.
UNITED STATES LEGATION TO COLOMBIA,
Washington, June 10, 1902. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the Department's communication of May 31, 1902, in regard to the complaint of the Swiss citizen, Robert Beck, and inclosing copy of a memorandum left with the Secretary of State by the Swiss minister, in which the Government of the United States is asked to make representations to the Colombian Government in Beck's behalf, and in which the Department asks for a more complete report regarding the case and the action taken by me than that contained in my dispatch No. 573, of February 25, 1902.
There is little, if anything, to add to my No. 573, in which I had the honor to advise the Department that "I have done all I could to aid him (Beck) by the use of good offices, but it appears that my inability to accomplish the impossible has displeased him.”
The fact is that I have given to Beck all the assistance in the way of good offices that I could possibly have given to any American citizen, and I have been unable to secure the payment of his claim for the same reasons that have made it impossible to secure the payment of claims of citizens of the United States whose beasts have been expropriated as were the mules of the Swiss citizen, Robert Beck.
It is well to add that in the use of good offices it will be no more practicable to put an end to the expropriation of Mr. Beck's mules than it has been by like endeavor to put an end to the expropriation of mules and other property of citizens of the United States. I have, etc.,
CHAS. BURDETT HART.
Mr. Ilay to Mr. Beaupré.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, June 20, 1902. Sir:- Referring to the minister's unnumbered dispatch of the 10th instant, explaining his action in behalf of the Swiss citizen, Robert Beck, I inclose copy of the Department memoranduma of the same date in regard to the case, addressed to the Swiss legation at this capital. I am, etc.,
a Printeil, page 980.
DEATH OF PRESIDENT SANCLEMENTE.
Mr. Beaupré to Mr. Hay. No. 584.]
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
Bogotá, March 22, 1902. Sir: On Wednesday, March 19, 1902, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, Dr. Manuel Antonio Sanclemente, titular President of the Republic of Colombia, died at his residence in Villeta, after nearly a century of existence. He was 93 years old.
He was buried quietly at Villeta and with little ceremonial, as he had requested. In this city the Government caused a salute to be fired, and the usual symbols of public mourning to be assumed. The flags of the different foreign legations and consulates were unfurled at half-mast for three consecutive days.
Dr. Sanclemente's death was not a surprise, for it has been expected for a considerable time. His health had been failing rapidly, and for a month or more the end had seemed in sight.
In 1898 Dr. Sanclemente and Dr. José Manuel Marroquin were elected President and Vice-President, respectively, by the National party. The president took possession of his office, but it being speedily determined that he could not live in this climate, he did not remain in Bogotá more than a month, retiring to Anapoima, after obtaining leave of absence from the Senate. His physicians publicly declared at the time that he would never be able to return; and so it has been, he having continued to reside at Anapoima and latterly at Villeta. Notwithstanding his absence from the capital, Dr. Sanclemente continued to exercise the functions of his office until July 31, 1900, when VicePresident Marroquin, by a coup d'état, took possession of the Government and declared himself in the exercise of the executive power, and has so continued in possession to this date.
Dr. Sanclemente has long been a prominent figure in the affairs of Colombia. As a lawyer he was eminent, becoming a judge and then a magistrate of the supreme court. He was a member of the old provincial congresses, and afterwards a representative and a senator in the National Congress. He was active in polities, and was governor of the department before he was elected President.
While his death removes all question as to the legality of the Government, it will probably not have much effect on political conditions.
A. M. BEAUPRÉ.
Mr. Hay to Mr. Beaupré.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, April 28, 1902. Sir: In reply to your No. 584, of the 22d ultimo, I have to say that the Department has learned with great regret of the death of the late President of Colombia. I am, etc.,
REOPENING OF UNITED STATES MISSIONARY SCHOOLS AT BARRANQUILLA, BOGOTÁ, AND MEDELLIN, CLOSED BY COLOMBIAN AUTHORITIES.
Mr. Hay to Mr. Hart.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, March 26, 1902. Sir: I inclose copy of a letter from the board of foreign missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States protesting against the action of the governor of Barranquilla in closing a boys' school in that city conducted under the auspices of that board.
You will report what you have done and what can be done to secure to the missionaries sent by this board all the rights they may have under the treaties between the United States and Colombia. I am, etc.,
Mr. Fenn to Mr. Hay.
The BOARD OF FOREIGN MISSIONS OF THE
New York, March 19, 1902. My Dear Sir: I have the honor to present for your consideration inclosed documents as follows: A letter dated February 10, 1902, from the Rev. Walter Scott Lee, a member of the Barranquilla station of the Colombia mission of the Presbyterian board of foreign missions in the United States; another letter from the Rev. W. S. Lee, dated February 17; a letter of February 5, 1902, from the United States consul, George W. Colvig, to the Hon. Joaquin F. Velez, governor of the department of Bolivar, and the governor's reply of February 11; a letter of January 11, 1902, from Jose Joaquin Casas to the governor at Barranquilla, and his reply of January 30.
It is possible that the matter referred to in these letters may have already been brought to your attention by the United States consul, Mr. Colvig, but as it has been the desire of our missionaries in Barranquilla that the matter should receive as speedy adjustment as possible, I venture to send these documents to you in the hope that it may be possible for the State Department to take such steps, or to advise such steps on our part, as may effect a relief of the present embarrassing conditions. Thus far our station at Bogotá has not been unpleasantly affected by the action of the Colombian Government decreeing the closing of all schools without special permit from the local authorities. The trouble at Barranquilla has, I think, been precipitated by the action of the Rev. W. S. Lee in endeavoring to secure from the business men of Barranquilla contributions toward a fund for a new building in connection with the boys' school. He has secured for this purpose contributions from those interested in the school, amounting to somewhat more than $800 gold.
On learning of this movement, the Catholics of the city published an alarm, entitled "Awake, Catholics,” a copy of which I will inclose you herewith. The governor of the city, being evidently a strong Roman Catholic, apparently saw his opportunity in the edict issued by the Central Government, and determined to close the school for which those funds had been asked. You will note, from his own statement of the reasong for his action, that the chief of these reasons is a religious one. It is quite possible that according to the constitution of the Republic of Colombia he has a legal right to base his action on such grounds, but whether or not it is necessary that American citizens laboring in that country for the education and general enlightenment of its people should submit to restrictions based on religious grounds, isa question wbich our board desires to propose to you.
The constitution of the Colombian Republic, adopted in 1886, contains contradictory statements with reference to this matter, article 38 reading as follows:
• The Roman Catholic Apostolic religion is that of the nation. The public authorities shall protect it and cause it to be respected as the essential element of social order. It is understocd that the Catholic Church is not and shall not be official, and it shall preserve its independence.”
Article 39: No one shall be molested on account of his religious opinions, nor compelled by the authorities to profess beliefs or to observe practices contrary to his conscience."
Article 40: “The exercise of all worship that may not be contrary to Christian morals, or to the laws, is permitted. Acts contrary to Christian morals or subversive of public order, which may be occasioned under the pretext of worship, shall be judged by the common law.”
The treaty between the United States and New Granada, now Colombia, stipulates that “the citizens of the United States residing in the territory of the Republic of New Granada, shall enjoy the most perfect and entire security of conscience, without being annoyed, prevented, or disturbed on account of their religious beliefs."
With reference to the contention of the Government that Mr. Lee, the member of our mission in charge of the boys' school, had been offensive in his remarks as to what the Colombian Government would be compelled to do, you will note Mr. Lee's own answer, in which he flatly denies having taken any such attitude. Mr. Lee is a very enthusiastic and energetic man, but we regard him also as a man of good judgment and discretion.
Should the State Department desire any further information with reference to the institution most immediately concerned, or with reference to any other matter pertaining to this question, I shall esteem 'it a privilege to forward such information upon receipt of your request.
Hoping for your kindly consideration of this matter, which concerns so vitally our work in the entire Republic of Colombia, in which we have three mission stations, I am, etc.,
COURTENAY H. FENN.
P. S.-It is possible that the first thought with reference to this matter which the State Department would naturally embody in its answer would be, that the proper course for the matter to take would be through the United States minister to Colombia, the Hon. Charles Burdett Hart, at Bogotií. I would say that the reason why we have not waited for such a course of procedure was because of the excessively disturbed political conditions at present existing in the Republic of Colombia, which have rendered communication between Bogotá and Barranquilla extremely difficult and uncertain. It might be a matter of some months before the documents relating to the case could be brought before the minister in Bogotá. If, therefore, it is possible to secure the initiation of some measure of relief ihrough the State Department at Washington it will greatly rejoice us.
COURTENAY II. FENN.
Mr. Lee to Mr. Pimn.
BARRANQUILLA, February 10, 1902. My Dear Mr. FENN: In October the station gave me permission to try to raise some money here in Barranquilla to be used toward the construction of a boys' school building. As I have already told you, I was able to obtain a little more than $800 here. About two weeks after I had finished asking the business men of Barranquilla to contribute toward this fund the article “Awake, Catholics” was published in one of the leading papers of this city. As I have already sent you a copy of this article it will not be necessary to inclose it in this. Of course the article was meant as a direct insult to the foreign Protestants and the Jews who contributed, and they took it as such. When the Sisters of Charity and the priests went to ask for their regular Christmas offerings from the merchants, a number of merchants showed the solicitors the article and told them that as they, the merchants, were “heretics" that their money and gifts were "bad" also, and that, further, they would give what they meant to go for religious or charitable purposes to the representatives of their own “heretical faith” here in this city. We were in no way a party to this, and did not know of it until after it had taken place.
It is the common opinion that the decree which I inclose, dated at Bogotá, January 11, 1902, came from Bogotá, but was originated here as a measure of retaliation against us. I shall try to communicate with the missionaries at Bogotá to see if this is a fact. As is stated in the decree, we went to the governor of this department to
ask permission of him to open our schools. He answered us in the negative, giving the following reasons:
First. Because we are foreigners, and all foreigners are enemies of the Government, he could not grant us the permission.
Second. Because we are Protestants, and teach liberal and revolutionary ideas, he could not grant it.
Third. Because we are Protestants, and propagate a religion which is contrary to the religion of the country, he could not grant it.
We asked him then if we were to understand that the decree was made directly against us as foreigners and Protestants, and he answered frankly that it was. We also asked him if there were any other colleges open, to which he replied that he supposed not, as no other college had asked for permission to open. At the same time we knew that there were three girls' schools open and one boys' school. When we asked him if he had received any damaging reports of our schools, he replied that he was not compelled to answer such a question, and that it was sufficient for him to say that we were Protestants. He based his refusal on no facts, but rather on what he thought or on his opinion, as we are positive that he made no investigation what
He also said: "I would be an imbecile if I would not oppose this religion with all my power.” He also told us that we could appeal to higher powers if we wished to, but that he would fight us to the end. We then consulted our consul here, Mr. George W. Colvig, and he advised us as a preliminary measure that we should let him send a memorial to the governor, asking him to reconsider his decision. He also asked us for a set of all the text-books in use in our schools, so that he might offer them to the governor for examination.
We gladly submitted them. The inclosed memorial, dated February 5, was sent on Friday morning, February 7, but as yet the governor has sent no answer. We are certain, however, that if he answers at all, it will be to refuse us permission. Indeed, our consul is of that opinion so firmly that he advised me to write to you iminediately for advice as to how we are to proceed.
I quote a part of the treaty between the United States and Colombia, as New Granada, dated 1846, which is in force to-day:
"Art. XIII. Both contracting parties promise and engage formally to give their special protection to the persons and the property of the citizens of each other, of all occupations, who may be in the territories subject to the jurisdiction of one or the other, transient or dwelling therein, leaving open and free to them the tribunals of justice for their judicial recourse, on the same terms which are usual and customary with the natives or citizens of the country.
“ART. XIV. The citizens of the United States residing in the territories of the Republic of New Granada shall enjoy the most perfect and entire security of conscience, without being annoyed, prevented or disturbed on account of their religious belief. Neither shall they be annoyed, molested or disturbed in the proper exercise of their religion in private houses, or in the chapels or places of worship appointed for that purpose, provided that in so doing they observe the decorum due to divine worship and the respect due to the laws, usages, and customs of the country.
“Fourth. If any one or more of the citizens of either party shall infringe any of the articles of this treaty, such citizens shall be held personally responsible for the same, and the harmony and good correspondence between the nations shall not be interrupted thereby; each party engaging in no way to protect the offender, or sanction such violation.
“Fifth. If unfortunately any of the articles contained in this treaty should be violated or infringed in any way whatever, it is expressly stipulated that neither of the two contracting parties shall ordain or authorize any acts of reprisal, nor shall declare war against the other on complaint of injuries or damages, until the said party considering itself offended shall have laid before the other a statement of such injuries or damages, verified by competent proofs, demanding justice and satisfaction, and the same shall have been denied, in violation of the laws and of international right.”
The governor's three reasons for refusing us permission to open our schools clearly violate both Articles XIII and XIV of the treaty, and according to Article XXXV he personally is to be held responsible as to the permission, or refusal of permission, which power had been granted to him.
We must of a necessity make a protest against the refusal of the governor, and we write to you for advice as to how to act. Shall we protest in the name of the board, or in the name of the station, or in the names of the principals of the two schools, or by one single missionary? Shall we, or shall we not, make any claim for damages? It might make them act more carefully in the future and insure us against such annoyances as this; but, on the other hand, I think it is not the custom of the board to ask indemnity where no property is destroyed.