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The events in Panama being accomplished facts, there is, in my opinion, no other recourse left but to convene a national convention to be composed of the leading representatives of all the political parties in order to come to an agreement as to a modus vivendi and contrive to heal the wounds inflicted on the nation. In that laudable work we shall second the Government without vacillation and without distinction of opinions.
I beg to request your excellency, in a very special manner, to have this telegram brought to the knowledge of His Excellency the Vice-President of the Republic and the cabinet, for it conveys the general feelings of the people of Cauca. I am, your excellency's devoted friend and compatriot,
LEOPOLDO TRIANA C.,
General of Dirision. General Triana, author of the telegram to his excellency the minister of war, above quoted, is a native of Cauca, was chief of division of the Colombian army in that department, and is at present occupying the high position of president of the municipal council of Cali, its capital.
BARRANQUILLA, December 16, 1903. The DIRECTOR OF THE RIGOLETTO:
I have just received the following circular, marked“ urgent," from the civil and military governor of the department. It is as follows:
CARTAGENA, December 15, 1903. To all prefects and mayors:
I have received the following telegram from His Excellency the Vice-President of the Republic and his cabinet. This is as follows: Circular, official, dated Bogotá. To all governors: Competent citizens of various departments think that reforms must be introduced in our institutions which will tend to decentralize the public administration, and thereby develop the individual life of departments and of municipalities. It is their judgment that the integrity of the country can by this means be guaranteed and every motive for discord and lack of tranquillity be removed.
If such reforms are to follow the regular course provided by article 209 of the constitution, they can only be brought about by the vote of two legislatures, as provided therein.
The Government, always respectful and deferential to national opinion, is anxious to know the views of all Colombians with respect to such reforms and as to whether or not the country desires that they shall be introduced by some other method than that permitted by the constitution. To that end you are urgently requested to direct a communication to the different municipalities in your department, soliciting their opinion concerning the above points.
The vote of each municipality must be properly certified and sent as quickly as possible to the proper branch of each department, and by these immediately transmitted to the Government. God guard you.
José MANUEL MARROQUIN. (Here follows signatures of cabinet.)
The office enthusiastically participates in these ideas inspired for the country's good and for the tranquillity to you. The situation created by the pernicious example of Panama requires careful study and demands of Colombia's faithful sons that they shall forget past wrongs, errors, and unstableness, that they may enter the new pathway indicated, wherein lies the good and the upbuilding of our country.
for these reasons the determination taken by the national Government without reserve deserves the applause of all, since it points to the introductien of reforms in our institutions which will bring about the decentralization of the departments and municipalities and at the same time carry away all motives of discord and guarantee the integrity of the Republic.
The present is an hour calling for concord, patriotism, and for frank and full reconciliation. Colombia is now passing through an exceptional crisis, which can only safely be solved by the free and genuinely authentic force of public opinion. The imminent gravity of the problem of making the nation, now honeycombed with the dissensions of partisanship, into a stable, solid entity, capable of victoriously taking care of every eventuality of the future, is apparent.
These things counsel us to promptly remedy existing evils, but this will come too late if the reforms desired were to be introduced through the medium provided by article 210 of the constitution, which says: “This constitution may be amended by a legislative act, after discussion and approbation by Congress and by this being transmitted to the Executive power and with that approval returned to the next Congress, wherein it must be debated and approved by two-thirds of the votes of both Houses."
This office desires, therefore, that you will immediately proceed to make the above noble aspirations of the Executive power known to all citizens, making use of all the postal and telegraphic facilities of the nation to this end, and that you will cooperate actively with the municipalities and see that these without delay carry out the important mission thus confided to them on this solemn occasion by the national Government, by giving their conclusion with respect to the necessity and urgency of such reforms and as to whether they desire to have them introduced by methods different from those permitted by the constitution. I request you to immediately send the results to this office by special messenger.
José FRANCISCO INSINARES. (Here follow signatures of departmental cabinet.)
Here follow orders from prefect to all mayors of provinces to see that this order is carried out.)
Mr. Buchanan to Mr. Ilay.
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES
ON SPECIAL MISSION,
Panama, December 28, 1903. Sir: I beg to inclose herewith two copies of a pamphlet recently issued here and accredited by everyone with whom I have talked as an accurate story of the uprising here, to which I direct your attention. I believe it would be well to have parts of it translated and given to the press, since it tends to strongly show how long the separatist sentiment and the intention to bring it about bave lain dormant hereabout. * * * I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. I. BUCHANAN.
REPUBLIC OF PANAMA,
Panama, December 18, 1903. Mr. Ramon M. Valdés, Present:
The council (junta) of the provisional government of the Republic has received with great satisfaction the pamphlet you have been good enough to publish, concerning the history and causes justifying the secession movement effected November 3, last, which has resulted in the definite establishment of this Republic as a free and independent nation. I therefore take the liberty of manifesting to you the complete approval that such a historic work deserves because of its faithful exposition of the facts, the lofty sentiments which it contains, and the interesting data and official documents collected by you with such perseverance and skill. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
F. 0. DE LA ESPRIELLA.
THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA-ITS HISTORY, CAUSES, AND
There has been no lack nor will there by a lack of persons who will take upon themselves the task of maintaining that the Isthmus of Panama has been happy under the domination of the Government of Colombia; that the prevailing sentiments of the natives of this beautiful land, which serves as a bridge for the civilized world, have been and are of perpetual adhesion and of cordial gratitude to the Colombian nation for the great benefactions it has given us, in order to conclude with the demonstration that the secession movement, carried to such a successful termination on the 3d of the present month, is not the spontaneous outcome of the popular will, but a momentary aberration skillfully produced by a few bold speculators who sacrifice the purest ideals to the ungovernable desire of making or augmenting their fortunes out of the construction of an interoceanic canal.
Others, or perhaps the same persons, will attempt to prove that the first and only author of the transcendent event is the colossus of the North, who has overcome our loyalty to Colombia for the purpose of revenging itself for the rejection which that nation made of the Hay-Herran treaty, and which the former considers an unpardonable offense.
This must happen as we predict, and for that reason the time is opportune to state the truth, to reveal facts which it concerns the entire world to know, and to infuse even into the minds of the most incredulous or blind the conviction that the act executed on November 3 last is the logical sequence of a situation already unendurable, the solution of a grave and vexatious problem, the sincere, firm, definite, and irrevocable manifestation of the will of the people.
1. It would not be just to censure the heroes who emancipated us from the power of Spain by their determination to annex the Isthmus to the Republic of the Great Colombia, which seemed to rise all powerful and with a future full of promise and prestige out of the epicycle of independence. Under identical circumstances we of to-day would have acted in like manner; but it is well to bear in mind that the question of selecting a South American nation to which the Isthmus should unite was the cause of passionate and continued deliberatons of patriotic statesmen. The uncertainty that a small country, sparsely populated, could maintain itself alone
that of Colombia-although the vast extent of intervening territory was then, as it is now, a wilderness, without means of communication, and delivered up to the almost absolute dominion of the wildness of nature-were sufficient reasons for our forefathers to resolve to unite the provinces of the Isthmus to the republican state mentioned, contenting themselves with the sole means of maritime comunication for the purpose of maintaining intercourse and communication with a government situated in the interior of the continent, hundreds of leagues distant, on a table-land of a chain of the Andes exceedingly difficult of access.
These physical disadvantages to which we have alluded were further complicated with others of a different character and exceptionally grave. Colombia was organized with a central government which boded ill to the Isthmus, inasmuch as that Government, leaving the provinces in a state of abandonment so much the greater because of their distance from the capital, took from them at the same time the means and resources of satisfying their wants and subjected them to a complete state of enervation. Deputies of the two isthmian provinces-Panama and Veragusattended the federal congresses, but the isolated action of these deputies could accomplish nothing for the well-being of their provinces, and their functions were reduced to the sharing of political responsibilities due to the operation of the established system.
As a climax of misfortunes the Granadines, like the Venezuelans, proved to be men opposed to every system of orderly government, and showed themselves to be a turbulent race with secession tendencies. Soon after independence was obtained the first symptoms of anarchy were noted, internal revolutions flourished, as did also the darkest of machinations, which wrung from the liberator, Simon Bolivar, that memorable expression, “I do not yet discern happiness for my country." The confusion of ideas was inexpressible. Some Colombians began to think, and even proposed the establishment of a monarchy in the country. This scheme had many proselytes, and the liberator (Bolivar), opposed to all monarchial ideas, declared that it was necessary to seek the protection of a foreign power.
The contemplation of that lamentable state of affairs caused a Colombian historian to record this melancholy thought: “Colombia had lived her years of fame and glorious deeds so fast that, child as she is, she has arrived at a premature old age."a
a Quijano Otero.
The spirit of disgust which was noticeable on the Isthmus was general, and regret at what had been done dominated the thought of our most proininent men. The tendency toward the separation of the Isthmus had its inception at that time on, and in 1830, nine years after the voluntary annexation to Colombia, it was rudely manifested in a popular gathering, convened in this city by Gen. José Domingo Espinar, a Panaman by birth, a distinguished military leader of the epoch of independence, and at the time intendent or governor of Panama, and one of the most enthusiastic partisans of the idea of separation.
The memorable resolution of that patriotic assembly contained the following recommendation: “Separation from the rest of the Republic, especially from the Government of Bogotá."
The first sectional impetus did not fail to be recorded in the annals of Colombia, and the same historian whom we have already mentioned describes it as follows:
“The picture of the Republic, which the liberator was already beginning to see between the shadows, was lamentable. The Congress of Venezuela, his country, demanded his expulsion; Montilla came to his support at Cartagena, and his example was followed by Espinar in Panama, and by the sons of the valiant Mompox. From various places in Venezuela he received enthusiastic encouragement to accept the challenge. Rio Hacha rose up against Bolivar and asked assistance of Venezuela, and Carujo set out with a force that was soon to give battle to Coronel Blanco at San Juan de Cesar. The Atlantic provinces went so far as to consider the establishment of a fourth state, and Panama went to the untenable extreme of advocating annexation to Great Britain.”
Yielding to the entreaties of the illustrious liberator, the Panamans assuaged their vehement desire of separation and submitted to the Federal Government, confiding all to the genius and sublime patriotism of their great South American chief.
II. But the sentiment was not and could not be extinguished, inasmuch as the causes producing it not only continued to exist, but were greatly aggravated. In 1840, as soon as a number of the provinces rebelled against the central Government of New Granada, the people of this capital also rose in rebellion, on November 18 of that year, led by the then Col. Thomas Herrera, for whom the future had in store such a brilliant career, and again proclaimed the independence of the Isthmus, leaving proof of that fact in an authentic popular proclamation. The idea of separation was looked upon with such favor that all the people of the isthmian provinces at once supported the proclamation and sent delegates to the convention which met soon thereafter in this city to establish the political bases of the independent state and to organize the federal government.
Our countrymen will read to-day with interest and enthusiam the fundamental law which that admirable convention adopted and which we insert, as follows:
FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF THE STATE. The convention of the State of Panama, considering
First. That the majority of the provinces has expressly rebelled against the central Government, separating themselves from it and proclaiming the federation, completely breaking thereby the social compact of 1832.
Second. That while the Republic is being reconstituted in conformity with the vote of the people the Isthmus can not remain indifferent to its lot, but that it must employ, at least provisionally, the proper means for obtaining its security and welfare.
In conformity with article 15 of the popular will of November 18 last, decrees:
ARTICLE 1. The cantons of the ancient provinces of Panama and Veragua shall compose an independent and sovereign State, which shall be constituted as such by the present convention under the name of “State of the Isthmus."
ART. 2. If the organization given to New Granada be federal and suitable to the interests of the people of the Isthmus, the latter shall form a State of the federation.
SOLE PARAGRAPH. In no case shall the Isthmus be incorporated into the Republic of New Grenada under the central system.
ART. 3. The convention shall accredit two commissioners to the body which duly represents the provinces that composed the Republic of New Granada in order to negotiate for the incorporation of the State of the Isthmus to the federation which the former comprise. The convention shall issue by a special act the instructions which these commissioners shall follow, and shall arrange everything relating to this matter.
ART. 4. No community which, separating itself from any of the provinces of the federation and which desires to incorporate itself into the State, shall be received in it. Neither shall any of the communities who up to the present time have belonged to the ancient provinces of Panama and Veragua be permitted to separate themselves from the State of the Isthmus.
Art. 5. The State of the Isthmus recognizes and offers to pay in proportion to its population the proportion of the internal and external debt due at the present time by the Granadines, and also offers not to divert from their purpose the funds destined to the public treasury.
Given in the hall of sessions of the convention.
JOSÉ DE OBALDÍA. The vice-president, representative of Panama,
MARIANO AROSEMENA. The representative of the canton of Alanje,
JUAN MANUEL LÓPEZ. The representative of Bocas del Toro,
José PALACIOS. The representative of Bocas del Toro,
José MARÍA TRIVALDO. The representative of La Chorrera,
BERNARDO ARZE Mata. The representative of La Chorrera,
JUAN BAUTISTA FERAUD. The representative of El Darien,
MANUEL JOSÉ BORBUCA. The representative of the canton of Darien,
MARIANO AROSEMENA QUEZADA. The representative of Nata,
MARCELINO VEGA. The representative of Nata,
SATURNINO CASTOR OSPINA. The representative of Parita,
JOSÉ GARCÍA DE PAREDES. The representative of Parita,
ANTONIO AMADOR. The representative of Panama,
JOSÉ MARÍA REMON. The representative of Portobelo,
RAMÓN VALLARINO. The representative of Portobelo,
ANTONIO NICANOR AYARZA. The representative of Los Santos,
JOSÉ MARÍA GOITIA. The representative of the canton de los Santos,
FRANCISCO ASPRILLA. The representative of the canton de Santiago,
José FÁBREGA BARRERA. The representative of Santiago,
NICOLÁS OROSCO. The secretary of the convention,
JOSÉ ANGEL SANTOS. Panama, 20 of March, 1841. Let it be published, circulated, and observed. [L. S.]
Tomás HERRERA. Por S. E. el Jefe del Estado, el Secretario General,
JOSÉ AGUSTÍN ARANGO.
The convention, which remained five months in session, adopted laws governing all branches of the public service, and legalized the power intrusted to the skill of Col. Thomas Herrera, heart and soul of the movement, and to Dr. Carlos de Icaza, who were accompanied by, as assistant and general secretary, the talented, intrepid, and spirited patriot, Mr. José Augustin Arango.a Of those acts the following, which we insert herewith and which seem to receive new life from contact with the exciting events of the present time, are worthy of mention:
a His son, of the same name, is one of the members of the present junta of the Republic of Panama.