to Mr. Evarts.
Caracas , September 11, 1878. (Received October 4.)
Sir: It is interesting and instructive in itself to know how the popular writers of one nation appreciate another; and having been struck by [Page 942] an editorial which appeared in La Tribuna Liberal of the 7th instant—the independence day of Brazil—I have thought it not amiss to communicate some portions of it, as tending to help in some degree to an accurate general idea of the political condition of the South American states. I translate from the editorial in question, as follows:
Independence of Brazil.
To-day, the 7th of September, twelve millions of Brazilians celebrate the anniversary of the independence of their country. It is the most glorious souvenir that a people can recall; and much the more glorious, if, as in the case of Brazil, it is permitted to present itself on this day before the other nations of the world with fruits of civilization, of wealth, of progress, and of liberty, gathered in a half century of the wisest use of the supreme right of sovereignty.
The Portuguese colony numbered little more than three millions of inhabitants when it broke the ties which united it to the Metropolis. In fifty-seven years it has quadrupled its population, a phenomenon which neither France nor England has ever seen, and the likeness of which is only met with in the United States of the North. It has increased the amount of exportable coffee produced within its borders to the enormous figure of four millions of quintals, besides producing a great quantity of indigo, dye-woods, and other things in which that fortunate soil abounds; and it has an annual
public revenue of sixty millions of pesos.*
* * * * * * *
The eminent qualities of Dom Pedro II are known to the intelligent and political world. He is a wise king, a philanthropic citizen, a great philosopher crowned. He has realized in his empire that which has been believed to be Utopian in other monarchical countries—that is, true constitutional monarchy, and harmony between order and liberty.
* * * * * * *
In political matters Brazil has advanced very much. Her press is very free, as is her Parliament; and profound respect is observed for the supreme right of opinion, and even for the interests of party. In civilization Brazil has made great progress. She has numerous educational and charitable establishments, and a desire to enlighten the people and to lighten their burdens is everywhere seen. As a military power she possesses powerful land and naval forces, and her dock-yards are considered the best in America.
It is incredible that a people governed by monarchical institutions should have increased and prospered so much in South America—on this continent, which we have always called the world of liberty and of republics. This is because there is no monarchy in Brazil except in name—institutions of the country being in practice most thoroughly democratic. On the other hand, many other South American nations bear the name of republics, and are governed by the caprice of successive autocracies when they are not devoured by anarchy.
It is glorious, therefore, for these twelve millions of Brazilians, South Americans, brothers and neighbors of ours, to commemorate at this time the great day of their independence; they can say with pride that they have made a worthy use of so sublime a conquest, and that in peace, in repose, in industry, in the prudent labors of policy, they have formed a strong, enlightened, prosperous, and great nationality, with an immense future before it, and a history of but few pages, but all of them glorious in the eyes of civilization and philosophy.
This is a great day for Brazil; and it should be also for all South America, which ought to study in this model people the science of harmonizing order and liberty, and with it the secret of a fruitful peace—the only thing that our impoverished and unquiet democracies need, in order that the continent may be peopled with free, happy, rich, and powerful nations.
The side-light shed by this article in its casual allusions to some of the South American republics, brings to view their main trouble.
I have, & c.,
- The Venezuelan peso equals, as I understand, 80 cents in silver, and 7 per cent. less in gold.—J. B.↩