Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States, For the Year 1887, Transmitted to Congress, With a Message of the President, June 26, 1888
Mr. Roberts to Mr. Bayard
Santiago , October 1, 1886. (Received November 9.)
Sir: On the 18th of September President José Manuel Balmaceda took the oath of office and immediately thereafter his cabinet was sworn in.
As the President makes no announcement of his policy or views at his inauguration, I inclose a printed translation of his speech delivered before the convention which nominated him for President. I have every reason to believe that the views and sentiments expressed therein are those which he has consistently believed in during his public life and which will guide him in his administration.
Señor Joaquin Godoy, minister of foreign relations, was lately Chilian minister to the United States.
* * * * * * *
The political complexion of the cabinet is somewhat of a concession to the liberal opposition to the late administration, and it is quite probable that it will be reconstructed before another year.
I have, etc.,
Speech of President Balmaceda.
Mr. Balmaceda was elected as a candidate for the Presidency by the grand Liberal convention held in Valparaiso on January 17 last, and his speech on that occasion in accepting his nomination will furbish a very clear conception of the man, the minister, and the President. It reads, translated, as follows:
“Designated candidate of the Liberal party for the Presidency of the Republic by this convention of delegates elected by the nation, and by honorable and duly authorized members of Congress, I gratefully accept the position of honor, labor, and responsibility tendered to me as an act of homage due to the wishes of my political friends and to the liberal ideas which I have served during the whole of my public life. I experience at this moment a perfectly natural feeling of anxiety as I contemplate the arduous task committed to my care and ability. Nevertheless, the cheering words of this numerous assembly, the members of which will, I trust, continue to lend mo the efficacious support of their experience and patriotism, reassure me. The noble words of the president of the convention induce me to believe that an exposition, although brief, of the ideas and the common purposes which form the bond which we seal today in the sight of all the Republic will not be out of place. Our foreign policy should [Page 150] be based upon the scrupulous observance of treaties and of international rights and of equal respect towards all the nations with whom we maintain relations of amity. It is unnecessary for me to say that in any and in all cases we shall maintain unsullied the honor and the rights of the Republic. The war having terminated and peace having been celebrated with the neighboring Republics, we will prove, practically, to the nations of the Pacific that between them and Chili there exist no antagonistic interests, for we only aspire to the peaceful preponderance of industry, to a greater development of trade, and, to a national vitality sustained by the natural vigor of our institutions and to a patriotic cohesion in foreign affairs. The fulfillment of a constitutional mandate, and the necessity of strengthening the permanent security of the state, counsel the adoption of a law to organize, on a democratic basis, the national guard. This is a practical method of establishing the community of duties imposed upon all our citizens in the service of the highest interests of the nation. All of the Liberal régime rests upon regularity in the exercise of individual rights. Individual liberty, properly speaking, does not exist where there prevails a régime of exceptions and privileges. A reform, either civil or political, which, extends and strengthens legal equality and the domain of common right, does not violate the principle of jauthority nor wound liberty of conscience. Common right, which is the practical outcome of civil liberty, is not the denial of any belief; it is the application of positive human criterion to state legislation to protect religious liberty. There is not, nor ought there to be, in the reformatory action of the Liberal party any attack upon the conscience of others. Our work is a work of tolerance, of respect for the religious faith of all; for it would not be lawful for us to ignore the fact that God has created mankind, and that He has bestowed upon Chili a share of the gifts with which He favors the rulers of nations. The cemeteries, civil marriages, and civil registration acts have secured full liberty in the manner of constituting the civil state of individuals and families. The reform which has been effected in this respect has laid the foundation of individual liberty in the civil order, just as the ratification: of the pending reform of the constitution will establish liberty of religion and the independence and sovereignty of the state. To strengthen this Liberal conquest, to perfect and consolidate it gradually, in order that it may take deeper root in the habits of the people, should be the task of the statesman who knows that sudden reforms bring about dangerous reactions; and the most efficacious manner of consolidating the reform is the full and complete diffusion of education.
“Education is the lamp of intelligence and morality applied with discernment to the actions of men. It constitutes the securest foundation of individual rights and the surest guaranty of general prosperity. Intellectual influence, the progress of the age, political experience and foresight, indicate the field of public instruction as the cardinal point on which Chilian liberalism will, have to prove its intelligence, the superiority of its doctrine, and its real interest for the welfare of the people. In a complete preceptorial organization, in a general use of the most advanced methods of teaching, in the foundation of new schools, in the elaboration of practical methods that will conduct us to gratuitous and compulsory primary education, in the extension and improvement of the position of the in and out pupils of the secondary schools, in the adoption of adequate text-books for experimental and practical teaching, in the constitution of the preceptorate according to the specialty of the professors in each branch, in the foundation of special schools to serve the industries of the country, and, finally, in the reform of the law relating to public instruction, we shall find that there is work to be done that will require a great amount of thought and study and all our energy and our united efforts. I believe that in Order that this reform may be fruitful, the power and influence of the state are necessary, and that intolerance and sectarian influence should not be permitted within the precincts of the public schools. Education should neither be skeptical nor intolerant; it should simply respect the conscience of all. Our tributary system requires technical and practical revision, in harmony with the equitable distribution of the public duties prescribed by the constitution.
“The public income and expenditure returns of the past few years show that by maintaining a proper equilibrium between income and expenditure, productive public works that may materially influence education and national industries may and ought to be undertaken. And while speaking of home industries I ought to add that they are weak and tottering, owing to the want of confidence on the part of capital and to our own obstinacy in not opening up new channels of trade. If, like Washington and the Great Republic of the North, we should prefer to use home-made articles, though they may not be so perfect and may lack the finish of the foreign article; if farmers, miners, and manufacturers would have such of their machinery as can be made in the country manufactured in home workshops; if we would but open up and increase the variety of our raw materials and would work them up into useful alimentary productions or into articles of personal use; if we would but ennoble labor by increasing salaries according to the degree of intelligence and industry of the workman; if the [Page 151] state, while preserving a proper equilibrium between its revenue and expenditure, would devote a portion of its wealth to the protection of home industries, sustaining and assisting them in their early years; if we make the state assist with its capital and economic laws; if all of us, individually and collectively, strive to produce more and of better quality, a vivifying sap will circulate through the industrial organism of the Republic, and a greater degree of wealth and happiness will accrue to us from the greatest of blessings that can fall upon an industrious and honest people; to maintain and clothe ourselves by ourselves. With national industries is closely associated industrial immigration, and also the idea of constituting, by special and better remunerated labor, fixed homes for a numerous class of our people, in which, is not compromised the dweller in towns nor the farm laborer, but a class that roams about the country, and that lend their strength to the construction of great public works, that provides indomitable soldiers in time of war, but who, in times of nubile agitation or economical crises, may become a serious disturbing element. Municipal independence is the complement of laws that have been sanctioned during the past few years. Ideas have progressed immensely; nevertheless it would not be prudent to substitute suddenly for our old and effete system the most advanced municipal régime, although I believe that local government ought to have an independent existence with sufficient revenue, and should be endowed with complete and full liberty and responsibilities.
“Political parties may and ought to organize themselves in accordance with the ideas they represent, because political reform is the bulwark of the free exercise of political rights. The electoral individual guaranties and internal administration laws recently promulgated by the Liberal party, place electoral rights beyond the influence of the executive power, protect individuals from any abuse of authority, limit the attributions of the agents of the Government, provide easy means for making effective the responsibility of authorities who may commit abuses, and, finally, they surround electors and personal liberty with guaranties that they never before enjoyed. Inveterate custom and extreme measures of militant political parties prove that only the political struggles which are developed within the sphere of the law and with organized political forces are useful that this is the manner in which to found parliamentarism proper, for it is only in doctrine, in the solidarity of ideas, and in a reasonable subjection to the will of a lawful majority that they can attain honor, power, and stability. If, therefore, the reform of our political laws affords new and more ample conditions of existence to political parties, it is only just that they should live within the orbit that liberal or conservative ideas draw for the political parties which in modern times contend for government. Of late years the action and distribution of the national wealth has been greatly decentralized, and it has been employed in the execution of useful works in all the provinces and departments. This work of reparation and of distributive justice ought to be continued, because I know from personal experience that the greatest if not the only satisfaction that a public man or a political party can receive is that of doing the greatest possible amount of good, and of enabling the protecting hand of the Government to cover all the territory of the Republic. In the fulfillment of my duty as a public man, and especially in the position to which you invite me, and as a citizen whose duty it is to procure the happiness of all Chilians, I shall make use of the confidence you repose in me to serve Chili with all the strength that firm convictions, an untiring will, and an honest heart can bestow.”