A diplomatic incident.
With great surprise the public have seen the diplomatic dispatch addressed to the superior chief of the department of the center by the minister plenipotentiary of the United States, in answer to a note which the superior chief had addressed to the foreign representatives, announcing the new government which the republic had just inaugurated, and proclaiming the establishment of the empire of the law.
It is really to be regretted that an officer, purely military, with attributions only to attend to the first requirements of interior order, should have passed a circular to the diplomatic corps, announcing his office, relating the events which have recently occurred here, and reestablishing directly diplomatic relations. But since the entire diplomatic corps, with strict impartiality, had accepted these relations, it was to have been desired that the American minister would have observed the same conduct, instead of establishing, by his refusal, a groundwork of hostility to the new state of affairs which the people, with perfect right, had established. Of the two extremes the American minister could have adopted one, either to have denied roundly to recognize the representation of Don Francisco Canseco, or to proceed in the manner followed by his colleagues. But the dispatch to which we allude, without assailing Canseco’s note as irregular from its nature, is an open condemnation of the events which have taken place in the country, and moreover is an ill-timed menace, which the minister was not in a position to make, nor was there any motive for its being made. If it was necessary to receive instructions as to whether the new state of things should be recognized or not, diplomatic practice counsels never extemporaneously to venture opinions which might give occasion to grave commentaries or troubles, which are always inconvenient in the relations which two free people cultivate.[Page 851]
No one can deny that the Peruvian nation is the only judge of its own actions, while they do not offend or injure the rights of other countries. Her transformations of a purely domestic character, are shielded from all diplomatic censure, but more especially when they tend towards establishing, more solidly, the true republican rule, under the protection of the law. In the supposition that even this were not true, only governments can definitively emit opinions concerning the recognition or not of other governments, and even then they cannot, without offending, proceed capriciously. The conduct of the American minister is based on very glaring errors. His excellency has forgotten that the only reason adduced for the delay in acknowledging the administration of Colonel Prado was, that the form of government had been altered, the dictatorship having been proclaimed, an event which has not now taken place, on the contrary, the republican form of government has been more firmly established, guaranteed by the empire of the law, following the traditions of more than half a century of independence, interrupted by the arbitrary acts of a ruler who destroyed and vitiated the representative government, violated and abolished all public liberty and rights.
In spite of the fact that Peru is in the last scenes of a very disastrous civil war, still the administration is regulated and the government of the law established.
People so advanced in democracy as those of the southern States of the Union live yet subject to a most odious military rule, and are deprived of all their benefits under the federal constitution; but here, in the midst of a new people, with the sound of the last combats has disappeared all that military rule which conducted us to anarchy or monarchy, and we may inspire confidence to all republicans of good will.
There are no conquered or conquerors. After the battle, all participate in the benefits of the common law; and no man, who for political opinions may be persecuted, but can find protection in the tribunals of justice.
It is sad, indeed, that our country passes through so many perturbations, but no one will deny that they tend to establish more securely the practice and establishment of republican institutions. But, in the midst of our troubles, the justice and circumspection of our governments, especially in their international relations, have never been obscured. This spirit of justice and moderation should be fomented, but the minister of the United States has forgotten it, and on more than one occasion acted contrary to it.
The feelings which political conflicts leave behind them frequently occasion difficulties in the relations existing between nations; and when, as in the present instance, diplomatic agents do not preserve their neutrality between the parties fighting in the fields of interior policy.
The minister of the United States, felicitating the government on the death of Grand Marshal Castilla, offered a great offense to all of one national party. Conceding asylum to some and denying it to others, he left the bounds of diplomatic circumspection, and his present dispatch comes to finish these antecedents, in revealing a hostility which we earnestly desire had been better concealed, in view of the friendly relations which Peru cultivates with the great republic of the north.