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we present the following official and authentic testimonials, taken at random from among a great many other proofs.
Let the first be the famous reply, overflowing with indignation, which Dr. Pablo Arosemena, a distinguished statesman of Panama, who was audaciously overthrown from the presidency of the State because he would not approve and support the electoral schemes of a president of the nation addressed to Gen. Sergio Camargo, who carried out said outrage when the latter made known to the former his (Camargo's) scandalous intimation. Doctor Arosemena's reply is as follows:
UNITED STATES OF COLOMBIA, SOVEREIGN STATE OF PANAMA,
Panama, October 12, 1875. To the Chief Commander of the Army of the Union.
Sir: I have just received, with your memorandum of this date which bears no number, the resolution which you have dictated to-day, wherein you brand me as an enemy of the general government, threaten me with arrest, and demand from me the disarming of the force which protects and maintains my government, and the surrender of all the elements of war.
In spite of all the outrages committed by the Government of the Union and by its agents, I have been surprised by the resolution which you communicated to me, which would cause a public protest even in Turkey, and which has been issued after I had been repeatedly informed by you that you would recognize my government as legitimate, that you would communicate with it, and that the rebels who might attack would receive no help from you.
This attitude proves to me that you strictly followed the policy of the Government under which service you are, which humiliates when it pretends to promote, interferes barefacedly and impudently when it pretends to yield, breaks into pieces the constitutions when it boasts of defending them, and breaks the bonds of union when it boasts and brags of strengthening them,
I refuse to become a prisoner in my own house, as well as to maintain the arrest that you pretend to impose on me by the authority of the Colombian guard at your command. Having no force to resist you, I have to limit myself to protest against the enormous outrage of which you make yourself responsible, and which is nothing but a new blow struck against the institutions, and which shows the absence of the spirit of justice and affords a new stain to the political title which has already reaped so abundant a harvest of this rare laurel.
I also protest in the name of my country, which is to-day humiliated, and which in happier days was also to resist the liberator of five republics, the man who now lives in history and who honored in Cuaspud the national colors, and against this lost power which has replaced the whole chapter of individual guaranties with the right of war.
The chief commander of the garrison will deliver to your forces all the elements of war at his disposal.
That audacious act also give rise to the following protest of the legislative assembly of the State:
"The legislative assembly of the sovereign State of Panama:
“Whereas by the imprisonment imposed on the constitutional president of the State by Gen. Sergio Camargo, general in chief of the Colombian guards, supported by the national forces, said distinguished citizen can not fulfill his functions;
"Whereas the same general has substituted a de facto government for the constitutional government, ignoring the alternates;
“Whereas in the absence of the constitutional president the assembly has no one with whom it may communicate constitutionally for the sanction of the laws;
“Whereas the Colombian guard has given earnest aid to the rebels against the legitimate government of the State, in violation of the national law of April 16, 1867, on public order;
"Wheras the attack of the sovereignty of the State and the change of government was effected by the Colombian guard,
“Be it resolved, To protest, as it does protest, before the nation and as becomes the honor of the State, against the outrage committed by the chief of the Colombian guard by the imprisonment of the constitutional president, changing the government of the latter for a de facto government and destroying the sovereignty of the State, which from this moment is left at the mercy of the chief of said Colombian guard and of the revolutionists whom it has welcomed under its protection, to denounce the outrage to the federal powers and to the governments of the other States of the Union, and to suspend its ordinary sessions until the constitutional regimen shall prevail again in the country. “Panama, October 12, 1875.
"J. M. Alzamora, J. M. Casís, Claudio J. Carvajal, Joaquín Arosemena,
Waldino Arosemena, Manuel Paulino (caña, J. Bracho, Manuel Marcelino, Herrera, Mateo Iturralde, Domingo Díaz, Francisco Olaciregui, B. Vallarino, Alejandro Arce, Carlos Y. Arosemena, C. Arosemena,
José E. Braudao, Antonio María Escalona, José Máques." In 1882 the president of the State, Señor Dámaso Cervera, in his message to the assembly, briefly described in the following eloquent terms the situation created on the Isthmus:
" * * * As will be readily understood, the result of a frank and friendly policy were necessarily favorable to the order and the stability of the government of the State, which generally was the victim of the improper influence of public officers of the nation who were sometimes purposely and premeditatedly appointed, without due regard to the permanent interests of the country, and, what is still worse, with the deliberate purpose of annoying or attacking the government of the State.
"Many and very frequent have been the scandals by which a Federal policy, different from that recently put in practice, have taken away from this privileged soil even the hope of obtaining a tranquil, peaceful life under the protection of the law. And the worst of it all is that to Panama has almost always been charged before the civilized world the serious sin of the responsibility of these acts, and this in spite of the fact that but for the generally noble nature and character of its sons, the habits of work and activity would have been lost and the most trivial of public good would have been unknown, carrying us surely to barbarism.
"The administration of the State in 1878 has already knowledge of the great irregularities which were the direct cause of the most serious disorders in Panama. * *
In the following year, in another message, with an optimistic spirit, he said:
"I think that the time in which the Colombian guard used to overthrow constitutional government has passed, but so long as the law on public order is subject to captious interpretations by the officer charged with the enforcement thereof, the national governments, which are exclusively supported on such force, are liable to succumb when least expected, should it be convenient to the political interests of the chief of the union.”
Upon the investigation of the general causes of the unfortunate condition of Colombia, Señor Victorino Lastarria, an impartial Chilean writer, in a book published in 1867, expressed his opinion, which was reproduced as a true one in El Porvenir of Cartagena in 1886, and of which opinion we will quote here only the following paragraph;
* * * To this should be added the absolute lack of notions and habits of justice and morality in people educated under a regimen in which everything was justified by law or force, and we will have an explanation of the frenzy and cruelty with which parties have been persecuted, and how easily have they thought lawful every means of hostility, every exclusion, every attack on the rights of others, even by men who, because of their personalintegrity, would not in their private relations allow such acts. This lack of political integrity and that lack of respect for the opinions and interests of adversaries, constitute two reminiscences of the Spanish civilization which have neutralized the democratic conditions of the Colombian people and which have given to its revolutions an atrocious character and a singular demoralization which deprives the institutions and the reforms of all their value.”'
And in 1862 Dr. Rafael Nuñez, who was about to be elected for the fourth time to the presidency of the Republic, in order to influence the people toward the reform in the institutions which he advocated, summed up the political history of Colombia in the following significant conclusion:
“In the course of nearly forty years of our political life, since 1832, the maintenance of public order has been, I regret to say, the exception, and civil war the general rule."
If, in a political sense, the guardianship of Colombia was so fatal to the Isthmus, it was not less so in an economic and fiscal sense. The institutions only left to the State property and revenues of scant importance to meet its most peremptory wants, while the nation enjoyed the most valuable receipts and revenues. The Isthmus being most advantageously situated for carrying on the trade of the world, it seemed fair to let it enjoy to a sufficient extent those means of prosperity with which she was bountifully endowed by nature. But it was not without great efforts that the Isthmus obtained the right to receive one-tenth of the revenues derived from the interoceanic railway; and as regards the contracts made for excavating the canal in our territory, the Isthmus was excluded from all participation in the immense profits which said contracts have produced to the Colombian nation.
Under the federal régime of 1863 to 1885 the secession spirit of the Isthmus was not openly revealed. It was calmed, but this fact should be considered at least until 1878 as one of the rare phenomena of the mad intoxication that the people found at the bottom of the golden cup which was perfidiously offered them under the name of sovereignty of the States, and after that year as a result of the hope which the contract for the opening of the canal made with Mr. N. B. Wyse led the Isthmians to entertain, and the favorable consequences of which to our independence we shall take into consideration hereinafter.
In the fifteen years preceding the celebration of said contract the Isthmians lived an artificial and fallacious life, in which they lost sight of their true interests and their traditional tendencies.
V. While a large immigration of men of all races and countries was flowing into the Isthmus, attracted by the great work of the canal, which was already in progress, and when the well-paid work came to relieve the condition even of the poorest classes, there was initiated in the nation the propaganda of an army of statesmen, at the head of which appeared Dr. Rafael Núñez, advocating with a stentorian voice a fundamental regeneration in order to prevent a political catastrophe, and holding the federation responsible for all the evils which afflicted the country.
There was a tremendous social convulsion in the Republic, followed by a frightful butchery and a change in the institutions.
We then returned to the régime of centralization which prevailed in 1843. To the political organism of the nation there was again given the contexture of a gigantic octopus, having powerful and innumerable tentacles spread all over the country, of which the monster made use in order to smother the slightest manifestation of autonomous life in the municipalities and to devour their very substance.
There also occurred in this city, in the crisis of 1885 and 1886, serious disturbances which were episodes incident to the bloody national tragedy; but it is obvious that the new order of things found the Isthmians with the black flag of political scepticism raised over all their homes. Thus it found them undeceived by all the vain promises and pompous theories with which the orators, statesmen, and governors of Colombia had quieted their spirits.
And as the streams of the Pactolus, which the canal company brought to this territory, flowed incessantly, the Isthmians established themselves on the margin of this marvelous river for the purpose of securing personal prosperity with the material means at their disposal. But few of the Isthmians interested themselves or participated in public affairs, with which the masses were not at all concerned, leaving such matters to the will of the Colombians, who had made of them a lucrative business. Who, then, could believe any longer in either the efficiency of centralism or federalism, in view of the fact that both systems had already been tried, with disastrous results to Panama because of the political incompetency and bad faith of the governors of Colombia ? Were they not the same men, and their political successors and disciples those who were to enforce the laws? Why attempt to influence the destinies of the country when the Isthmus, as a political entity, was only a member the health of which depended on the hopelessly diseased body to which it was linked?
There was a novelty in the constitution of 1886, namely, the extraordinary article 201, in conformity with which the department of Panama was “subjected to the direct authority of the central government and governed in accordance with special laws."
It remains to be determined whether the majority of the legislature which established such special laws acted with an honest or dishonest intention toward the Isthmus; but the truth is that the said constitutional article did nothing but oppress Panama, establishing in it a dictatorship of the most odious sort. This department was then left in a worse condition than the others. Our assemblies, governors, corporations, and employees of all grades only exercised the most urgent functions which the governors of Bogotá had the mercy or the meanness to grant them. The chapter of individual guaranties, like the rights guaranteed by the constitution to Colombians, did not exist for the Isthmians. Such a life was unbearable to the people, and in 1894, after a great struggle, we succeeded in obtaining the repeal of such an odious provision.
The generosity which inspired the members of the Congress of Colombia on repealing article 201 of the constitution—which article may be called the Panama article can be gauged by the text of the law that abolished the same, and which reads as follows: [Law 41 (November 6), amending article 201 of the constitution, and clause 4 of article 76 of same.)
The Congress of Colombia decrees:
SOLE ARTICLE. Let article 201 of the constitution, and section 4 of article 76 of said constitution, be repealed. Consequently, the general laws of the Republic shall also be applicable to the Department of Panama.
$ In revenue matters, legislative, executive, and special regulations may be issued for the Department of Panama. Given at Bogotá September 3, 1892.
José DOMINGO OSPINA C.,
President of the Senate.
Clerk of the Senate.
MIGUEL A. PEÑAREDONDA,
It was our lot to have a most excruciating experience and to realize the profound truth contained in this principle of constitutional law, taught by the most eminent jurists of the world; that all systems of government, even those which are intrinsically the best, are bad if they are to be put in practice by men who have not at heart the public welfare, who are not familiar with the character of the people or with their instincts, and who do not take into consideration their wants and ambitions.
The only possible salvation in sight for this territory was the opening of the canal, because this work, which was destined to satisfy the industrial wants of the people of the whole world, would place us under the vigilance of powerful and civilized nations which, in the logical course of events, would eventually exercise on us a collective and beneficial protectorate; would rescue us more or less from the power of the multitude of aliens in whose hands we foolishly placed ourselves in 1821; or they would cure the evils of said adventurers by the most advanced, scientific, and governmental processes.
That solution was considered as an equivalent of a virtual emancipation from the Colombian metropolis, and for that reason the spirit of secession was not again revealed frankly and openly, as had been shown on previous occasions, while there was hope of obtaining such a natural and peaceful termination.
The interoceanic canal was to be our redemption. Whether they acted by instinct, by presentiment, by conviction, or by the clearest evidence of the future blessings to which we have referred, the fact is that there has been not a single sensible Isthmian who has not based his hopes of peace and prosperity on the opening of the prodigious interoceanic canal, and who did not consider himself bound to do all that was possible for him to do in order that the great work should be carried to a successful termination.
Hence the clamorous petitions, the earnest propaganda, the plebiscites, the delegations of prominent men sent to Bogotá, all those manifestations by means of which the Isthmus signified to the Government of Colombia its desire that the French canal company requested the extension of time which it asked in order to meet its obligations and which the great bankruptcy of 1889 had rendered necessary.
At last it was discovered that the said French company did not have at its disposal sufficient means to open said route, but the feeling of stupor that such discovery might have produced on the Isthmus was neutralized by the announcement that the Government of the United States of North America, realizing at last the advantage of our route over that of Nicaragua, by reason of the foreign protection of said great nation, and by reason also of the necessity of developing its great wealth, consented to take charge of the execution of the great work, provided that suitable and fair agreements be made with the company holding the concession and the Government of Colombia.
The stockholders of the French company overcame the difficulties and an agreement was made, subject only to the consent of the Republic of Colombia.
Inasmuch as in the Salgar-Wyse contract it had been stipulated that the concession could not be transferred to any foreign government, and since, on the other hand, the written law of Colombia declares that said governments are judicially incapable of acquiring real estate in the territory of the Republic, the permission to make the transfer had to be granted exclusively by the Congress in which lies the power to repeal or amend the laws.
The will of that sovereign body could not be sounded on so important a matter except by means of an agreement ad referendum made between the governors of the two contracting nations, which agreement, after being ratified by the legislators of both countries, would assume the character of a solemn public treaty.
The Hay-Herran treaty was made and the Senate of the United States of North America immediately approved it; but not so the Senate of Colombia, which, against all reasonable expectation, disregarding the immense benefits which the treaty would bring to the Republic, without any regard for the great interests of the United States of North America and those of France, guided by a foolish pride and an antiquated notion of patriotism, vetoed it in an indignant and emphatic manner which was equivalent to a foolish challenge to the civilization and progress of the world,
Quicquid delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi: “When kings blunder, the people are the victims."
The opposition to said treaty resounded throughout the isthmian territory like the awful announcement of an imminent cataclysm, because it was known that the rival route via Nicaragua had in North America bold and earnest friends for whom the attitude of the Colombian Senate has just helped to win the game, and because, simultaneously with the decision of said body of legislators, came the election of the President of the Republic, and there were heard sinister voices announcing a new conflict, and all eyes were turned with fear to the former prosperous villages and luxuriant fields of the Isthmus, which were converted by the last war into the devastated department of a vast necropolis.
The hour had come. The people of the Isthmus, after suffering the agonies of eighty years, received from their masters the death sentence.
But desperation works wonders. It, like faith, moves mountains, and at times, also, by a tremendous effort, breaks them to pieces. The longing for liberty, a long time suppressed and silent, though it was noticeable in the feelings of the masses like those fire streams which burn the very depths of the planets, finally bursting to the surface with indomitable force to blow to a distance the power which weighed with overwhelming heaviness on this virile and generous people.
VI. Suspicious and wicked men will perhaps accuse the United States of North America of having stimulated the insurrection on the Isthmus, but such a false and vile charge shall not stain the immaculate glory of this blissful moment and sacred hour in which the nations of the world salute with gladness the advent of the new Republic, and praise the wonderful civic valor of its founders.
Whoever reads this long statement of facts will realize that the secession tendency has been transmitted with the strength of an almost secular tradition from generation to generation in this Central American region, and that to it the most notable Isthmians of all times have offered enthusiastic devotion. Whoever calmly studies the great political transformation which has just been effected on the Isthmus of Panama, and examines the causes which produced it, will clearly see that an act of such magnitude and of such great social consequences can have no other origin than spontaneous and unanimous feeling of the people, who with a wise instinct seek their own welfare, and that such act and the way that it has been accomplished excludes all idea of foreign intervention.
Showing the qualities of statesmanship that had not been suspected in Colombia, the Isthmians have done nothing but follow in the critical moment the signs of the times; to estimate with a sound judgment the quality, the number, and the power of the elements that might favor their independence; to foresee the emergencies and to act with the faith and resolution which a lofty purpose inspires without hesitating before the tremendous consequences of a possible failure. The decisive step was taken withont reckoning with the guaranties of the promises or obligations of any foreign power, because it was obvious that such step would deserve the applause and favor not only of the great North American Republic, which was about to break its relations with Colombia, and which is the natural and remarkable protector of all the oppressed peoples of this continent, but also of the other nations, all of which have such great interests in our territory, and which have just been so rashly slighted by the Government of Colombia.
Those interests, which are also ours, should be and have been the main reason for an alliance, which is none the less effective because it is not written, and which shall secure in a permanent way the independence and prosperity of our Republic.
All praise to the men who wisely conducted the movement and carried it out with such great success! All praise to the people who, in order to obtain their political liberty, did not resort to a process of extermination, nor even spilled a single drop of blood!
In order to corroborate the long enumeration that we have made of the internal causes which were the origin and which justify the final separation of the Isthmus from the nation to which it has belonged, we will quote here the following impressiye words, which we invite the world to ponder, and which we, from a chair of the Colombian Congress, clearly and distinctly heard pronounced by Don José Manuel Marroquín, the present president of that republic, on the 7th of August, 1898, in the solemn act of taking the oath of office:
" * * * Hatred, envy, and greed cause men to differ in their opinions. In the political sphere, where we struggle with earnestness not so much in order to obtain a triumph of principles as we do for sinking or raising men and parties, public tran