No. 538.
Mr. Baker to Mr. Evarts.

No. 22.]

Sir: I have the honor to report that the Fourth of July was duly respected by the Venezuelan Government, and by the representatives of other nations present in this capital.

As an indication of the appreciation of the greatness of the United States, which I find here, and of the friendly feeling of this country for ours, I have thought it worth while to send nearly the whole of two editorials which appeared in the Opinion Nacional of the 4th instant; the one devoted to our day of Independence, the other to that of Venezuela—which is the 5th of July. The editor’s view of the causes of the difference which he recognizes between the United States and the South American Republics, is, in my judgment, philosophical and sound—as far as it goes—and well worthy the attentive consideration of any one who wishes to form a rational idea of the two phases of society. From the editorial on the 4th of July I translate as follows, viz:

Fourth of July.—This date represents the origin of the Republic on the American continent. On this day the thirteen British colonies, situated in the North, declared their independence of England, and laid the first stone in that temple of popular sovereignty which has since multiplied its columns and extended its arches to the remotest confines of the hemisphere, offering shelter beneath its immense dome to every race and people.

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The subsequent rebellion of the countries situated to the south of these progenitors of the new political condition of nations, was a phenomenon of the same nature, as the constitutions which they have adopted have likewise been identical.

Both revolutions and their harmonious results form parts of one and the same important historical evolution.

To-day is the grand anniversary of the glorious epoch of the year 1775, and the great American people which constitutes the United States of the North celebrate it with justifiable enthusiasm, and with the consciousness of its immortality in history.

That day being taken as a starting point, and in view of the immense progress this race has accomplished, of the position which it has reached among the family of nations, and of the edifying example which its existence, its prosperity, and its civilization presents to the world, the problem of the social and political organization of nations is solved in favor of liberty, of republican government, of democracy, and of all the great principles which are consecrated by modern ideas of right.

In less than a single century the American people have attained in certain respects a predominance and a grandeur which has placed them in the first rank even compared with the oldest nations of Europe.

Rich, free, happy, great, and incessantly progressive, the American peoxde have triumphantly vindicated liberty and republican government, and they celebrate with abundant reason the glories of their fruitful emancipation.

So far for the 4th of July. From the editorial on the 5th of July, I translate as follows, viz:

Fifth of July.—If the grand celebration of the new political life of the continent began in the North on the 4th of July, 1778, the 5th of July, 1811, set the final seal on the liberty of the hemisphere of Columbus; for the cry of redemption, which arose on that day from the benches of the revolutionary Congress of Caracas, extended its echoes across mountain ranges, inaccessible heights, and profound abysses, arousing from their sleep of servitude the kindred peoples who still remained like ourselves, in the sad condition of colonists.

Neither the school in which our race was formed, nor the special circumstances which fell to our lot, have permitted these nationalities to reach the degree of elevation which was attained by the North Americans after sixty years of independence. But no one is bound to perform miracles, nor do we lack ample reason to be proud of our progress, if we take into consideration the road over which we have traveled, and make an impartial comparison of our colonial condition with our present one.

We have not crossed the country with railroads, nor conveyed the telegraphic wires [Page 939] over plains and mountains, nor caused our seas to swarm with vessels, but we have conquered prejudices, obliterated privileges, destroyed sophisms, cleared away superstitions, removed fanaticism; in a word, lifted from our shoulders that oppressive moral burden which weighed upon us even more heavily than the material servitude to which we were subjected by the laws of the metropolis; and, establishing the equality of men, recognizing right as the rule for all citizens, founding democracy and emancipating the mind, we have accomplished a great and most noble task, which constitutes the credentials which we present to the world, saying we have fulfilled our duty. When once the cry of liberty was raised, and the recognition of independence obtained through success of arms, the situations in which the North and the South were placed by their circumstances were very different. The efforts of the former could be immediately directed to the elaboration of its future civilization from the favorable elements with which they were surrounded; whilst we were obliged to begin by destroying all the adverse germs which had descended to us as an inheritance, and, after these were removed, to create upon their foundations those which we had to employ in the great work of the social and political regeneration of these nationalities. Thus the effect ought not to be measured by a comparison of the point arrived at, but by a comparison of the point of departure, in deciding whether or not the task has been meritorious, the work fruitful, and the results obtained in the contest worthy of applause and of a crown of honor.

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I have, & c.,