Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs, Accompanying the Annual Message of the President to the Third Session of the Fortieth Congress
Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Since my dispatch No. 4, which was written in haste and sent by hand, I have received (inclosures Nos. 1 and 2) the proclamations of the presidents of the States of Antioquia and Santander to their people denouncing President Mosquera.
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I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.
Pedro J. Berrio, constitutional governor of the sovereign State of Antioquia, to the nation.
Countrymen! The revolution which the President of the republic has been fomenting ever since his accession to power has at length broken out. This conspiracy is against the nation that honored him with its confidence and elevated him to his present position.
Vain have been the efforts of all honest parties in the republic, and of the governors of the States of the Union, to preserve peace.
A man whom the nation graced with the highest honors now puts himself above all law, and wields the sword and staff placed in his hands by the republic, against the country, because it defended its institutions and liberties, and, with the army to support him, commits the horrid crime which the laws and conscience term high treason!
He desires to subject the country to new trials; he excites the people to war. The result is not doubtful; we will triumph!
People of Antioquia! You have aided the State government in trying to preserve peace. The nation was smitten on one cheek and it turned the other to the assailant. Not satisfied with this, he now wishes to plunge the dagger into the nation’s vitals, and, in open violation of the constitution, he has sent national forces to overthrow the lawful president of Magdalena and place one of his own minions in power there.
But this is not all. He has thrown the president of the sovereign State of Candinamarea into a filthy prison; and on the 29th of April he dissolved congress and declared himself dictator. Many of the members, among them Plata Azuera, Arosemena, and others, were also imprisoned.
We know not upon what principle he has raised himself to such a position. Our [Page 1007] banner is the constitution, and we will hoist it so high that all the world can see it. Our duty is to pull down the man who has arisen against the institutions he helped to found, and put one in his place who will obey the laws and the constitution. There are but two parties now—the republicans, in favor of the nation, and the pretorians, who would give us a master. Neutrality is now a crime. Those who are not for us are against us. Every one who has a pulsation of liberty in his breast will be for us; all who would ruin their country will side with the dictator. In the name of threatened liberty, in the name of the insulted country, I invite all republicans to rally around our banner.
To arms! Presidents of other States, if you have any regard for the constitution you will prepare to overthrow the tyrant. I promise you that Antioquia will be with you, and will not be the last to strike. Let us work together around the national banner, which is the constitution, and the straggle will be brief.
People of Colombia! You are too proud to bend the neck to the yoke of tyrants or shun the sword of dictators. Let us act in concert, and victory is certain.
I am sure there is not a partisan of tyranny in Antioquia, or if there should be, let him hide his head in shame; his breath would poison the atmosphere of our patriotic land. A country that has produced heroes like Cordoba and Restrepo could not bear the presence of a man who would willingly submit to the will of a despot.
Our conduct shall be regulated by the magnitude of our duty; we will observe the laws of war and of nations, and we will do nothing not worthy of a civilized people.
Public schools will not be closed; the peace of the country will not be disturbed, for our cause is just. Our religion, liberty, homes, and property are attacked; let us sell cur lives dearly before these rights are taken from us by usurpers.
Yes, we are the republic, and the republic will triumph; we will sustain the constitution.
Nestor Castro, Government Secretary.
Abram Moreno, Secretary of Finance.
Address of Victoriano Paredes, governor of the State of Santander, to its inhabitants.
People of Santander! The President of Colombia has at last consummated the revolution with which he has so long threatened us, and this day we have ceased to be his fellow-citizens to become his slaves. It is not yet known what title he intends to assume; it may be king, emperor, or autocrat; but be what it will, it means that our lives are in his power, that our property belongs to him, that our liberty is taken from us, that we have no rights, nothing but what he wills to give us. A signal from his scepter may consign hundreds of Colombians to the gibbet; one word from his lips can ruin millions of families; a single decree of his may drive thousands of us from our beloved country.
Such, countrymen, is our situation. We have no law but the caprice of one man, and no perspective than our ruin. This State has always struggled for its rights, and it will be nothing new to us to give a lesson to a tyrant or perish in the attempt; we will perish nobly in our struggle for liberty.
Our position is desperate, but wo to him who wavers on the verge of the precipice when duty urges him to act, or to him who dastardly accepts the bribes offered to him by the tyrant!
Sons of Santander, listen, and I will tell you what has been done. On the 29th of April last the house of representatives adopted two resolutions making inquiries about two war vessels on the way to our ports. One of them, called the Rayo, had arrived. These simple resolutions served as an excuse for the President of the republic to consummate the long-threatened revolution and assume supreme power. He dissolved congress, declared the country in a state of war, imprisoned the representatives of the people who would not enter into his treason, arrested the president of Cundinamarea, prosecuted and seized several editors and publishers of newspapers, and with one stroke of his pen abolished every guarantee of the constitution.
In presence of such outrages the heart of every loyal republican who has any principles or believes in any law swells with indignation, and boldly denounces the ignominious usurpation of public power.
Fellow-countrymen of Santander! You are the acknowledged bulwark of the democratic republic in this land, and it is your sacred duty to sustain the reputation you merit by energetic action in the present cause.