Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs, Accompanying the Annual Message of the President to the First Session Thirty-eighth Congress, Part II
Mr. Nelson to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to enclose herein a copy of a note addressed to me by the secretary of foreign relations of Chili on the 13th instant, in reply to the one transmitted by me to his excellency on the 30th ultimo.
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I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State of the United States.
Mr. Tocornal to Mr. Nelson.
The undersigned, minister of foreign relations of Chili, has had the honor to receive the note which the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States was pleased to address him, under date of the 30th ultimo.[Page 1284]
His excellency has thought proper therein to express to the undersigned how agreeable it is to him to initiate their relations by a manifestation of the sentiments which animate the government and people of the United States towards the Chilian government and nation, and towards all the other Spanish American republics.
The undersigned, while accepting the manifestation transmitted by the Hon. Mr. Nelson, highly congratulates himself that it affords him the opportunity of setting forth, in his turn, the kindly feelings entertained by the Chilian government and people towards the government and people of the United States of North America.
Nothing is more natural than that the republic of Chili should view with great interest the painful crisis at present afflicting the United States, and should pray for its early conclusion in the most satisfactory manner.
Notwithstanding the diversity of origin and of language, the United States and the Spanish American republics are mutually united by the strong bond of analogous political institutions, in whose development they found the hope of a growing prosperity, which must, of necessity, cause each to view the fate of the others as of an interest not foreign, but their own. If, heretofore, there have been at times motives which may have enfeebled the friendly relations of the Spanish American republics with the United States; if there has existed a want of confidence, either founded or unfounded; if, perhaps, the principles which guided the cabinet at Washington in diplomatic affairs have not always been well appreciated, the undersigned flatters himself that the solution of the crisis through which the United States are now passing, while it will assure them the elevated rank which, in a brief period of their history, they have obtained among the great nations of the earth, thanks to the powerful resources of their territory, and more than all, to the admirable efforts of their citizens, must contribute to draw closer together the relations of true fraternity with the Spanish American states, causing all the republics of this continent to consider themselves as the members of one and the same family.
The sincere union of all the republics of the American continent, whatever be their historical antecedents, will be a fact pregnant with great and profitable results, since it must co-operate not only to the security of republican institutions, but, also, to the moral and material progress of these states, and even to the preservation of friendly relations with European nations, which Chili, as well as the United States, desires to cultivate and foment.
The envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States is also pleased to inform the undersigned that his government has viewed with especial interest the events occurring in Mexico; and the President of the United States, although confident in the good faith of the allied powers, and in the sincerity of their promises not to intervene to change the form of government of Mexico, has deemed it his duty to manifest to them his opinion that a monarchy, upheld by foreign armies and navies, would have no prospect of permanency in that country.
The undersigned has been especially charged by the president of the republic to manifest to the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary that he participates in the accurate opinion of the President of the United States upon the inefficacy of substituting in Mexico for the republic a monarchy constituted in favor of a Mexican citizen or foreign prince. A foreign prince would, doubtless, need the constant aid and protection of foreign forces, which would place him under a permanent tutelage, which, while it would weaken the prestige of authority, would deprive him of his true independence. A citizen of Mexico would meet with analogous difficulties and the want of those historical antecedents which, in great part, [Page 1285] constitute the power of monarchical governments. So that it is impossible to believe that it would succeed in meriting the adhesion of the people.
Nor are social and political changes so easily effected. The constitution, in republics of the different sections of Spanish America, is, doubtless, the most prominent fact of their history, as it is in regard to the United States, as observed by his excellency the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary. And a new change in the form of government of Mexico would require radical modifications in her customs and other social elements, which, even on the hypothesis that they could be effected at the cost of immense sacrifices and in a long series of years, would give room for a movement of reorganization, slow and dangerous, which would prolong the evil condition of affairs in Mexico instead of affording a remedy therefor.
It is undoubtedly much to be regretted that the perturbations which have agitated the Spanish American republics, and especially Mexico, should have weakened the prestige of the republican system in the estimation of a few, obliging them to seek a remedy in another form of government, which, instead of being the end, would be the beginning of new and more sanguinary contests.
By an error of judgment they deem order and prosperity irreconcilable with the republican system, as though stability and the guarantees of a good government belonged alone to monarchy, without reflecting that the history of all ages has condemned the principles of absolutism, and that (both) republicanism and monarchy have given to nations prosperity and glory.
For the rest, the government of the United States ought ever to count upon the assurance of finding that reciprocity of ideas and sentiments which the undersigned has had the honor to manifest in this note to the honorable Mr. Nelson.
The undersigned likewise entertains the conviction that his excellency, who so worthily and so acceptably to the government of Chili fulfils the high mission with which he is charged, will continue, as up to the present time, co-operating in the development and increase of the cordiality and harmony which happily exist between the republics of Chili and the United States.
With this motive the undersigned takes pleasure in renewing to the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary the assurances of his high and distinguished consideration, and in subscribing himself his excellency’s attentive and obsequious servant,
The Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of North America.