No. 289.
Mr. Maury to Mr. Bayard.

No. 136.]

Sir: With reference to my No. 133, of the 1st instant, I have the honor to inform you that some general disapproval of the passage in President Nuñez’ message has been evinced.

On the 2d instant a discussion took place in the Colombian senate on a proposition being made to send a congratulatory reply to President Nuñez. This was opposed by a number of senators who stated their disapproval to President Nuñez’ insulting reference to foreign governments, and on the motion of the president of the senate the proposition to send a congratulatory reply was withdrawn.

On the 6th instant Dr. Nuñez went away, transferring the executive power to Senor Doctor Cárlos Holguin, who had been elected by congress to that post in the absence of Dr. Nuñez. Dr. Holguin was duly installed on the 7th, and I have the honor to inclose his inaugural address. In it he makes graceful and ample amends for the offensive words of President Nuñez.

I have, etc.

Dabney H. Maury.
[Incloaure in No. 136.—Translation.]

dr. cárlos holguin’s inaugural address.

Your Excellency. I consider that the exceptional proof of confidence which the body over which you so worthily preside has just given me, binds me almost as much as the oath which in my capacity as a Christian magistrate I have just taken to act as an honorable guardian and faithful executor of the constitution and the laws. I do not remember any other occasion on which the unanimous vote of the representatives of the nation has been obtained for so important a post. Pardon me therefore if at the risk of appearing egotistic I avail myself of so solemn a moment to express my gratitude and offer it to the nation as a pledge of my fidelity and respect. For it seems as if that august body had intended to supplement my lack of ability and merit by its authority, and that the chosen of the people had lent their crown of light and strength to my modest personality as if to raise and render it fit for the position for which it is destined.

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It is a universal custom, on occasions like the present, for those who are assuming the chief command of a nation, to give some sketch of the measures they propose to carry out during their period of government.

Although from the fact that I am about to occupy the presidential chair temporarily only I might consider myself exempted from this duty, I think that both the congress and the nation would consider a few words said by me, for the purpose of showing my opinions on the most essential points of government, as a mark of deference.

With respect to foreign politics I shall continue to cultivate the good relations of the Republic with friendly nations, religiously fulfilling our treaties and endeavoring to present Colombia before their eyes more worthy every day of their consideration and respect. This will be an easy task, since we have no grave international question pending, since the nations with whom we have common boundaries are ruled by just and friendly governments, and since, so far as concerns foreign powers, the well-chosen-members of the diplomatic corps which they have sent to honor us by their presence here are a pledge of sympathy with us and of peace and harmony in the future.

My line of conduct in internal politics is duly traced out by the constitution. I do not intend to depart either from the constitution or from those laws which have been or may be issued in the work of its development. My own wish is that the government over which it is my duty to preside shall be distinguished by a moderate, conciliatory, honorable, and just but at the same time energetic and unvacillating policy when public order and peace are at stake, that under its shelter this exhausted people may seek repose; a government that may be looked upon as a protector to all legitimate interests, but also as a bridle upon all manifestations of disorder and a sword against all threats of anarchy.

Promises of liberty would be superfluous. We are all her sons, nursed at her breast, nourished with her spirit, accustomed to her conflicts. She holds an empire of love in all our hearts, and we look forward to see all the germs of welfare and progress spring up and develop under her protecting shield, in this land of her conquest, on some day like this, for the cause of civilization. This is the reason why men of the political school to which I belong are little alarmed when we hear talk of the dangers which some few and salutary constitutional checks are supposed to cause to her. We reserve our anxieties for the time when it is a question of carrying her to the public square, clad as a Bacchanal, to preside over scandalous and revolutionary orgies.

Jealous of their honor and friends of truth, the conservative parties everywhere disdain to seduce the multitude by attractive promises impossible to realize and limit themselves to offering and granting in their codes what they are legally and morally able to fulfill.

I shall try to give such support to the works of material progress already begun, and to the new ones which we may initiate as the condition of the resources of the country may justify.

Everything which tends to increase, open up, and rationally protect commerce and industry, to consolidate the credit of the country, and to facilitate transactions between private persons, demands in my judgment especial attention on the part of the Government and very careful study. I believe that we ought, as we have done hitherto, to pay the greatest attention to the education of youth, taking care to multiply institutions destined for such a noble object, but acting, at the same time, with the prudence which your excellency recommends, that they shall be always under the charge of men of good intentions and religious spirit, who will form in the fear of God the hearts of the generations called upon to replace us.

I will cause that discipline and morality to be maintained in the army which have made it the safeguard of our institutions and the guaranty of the integrity and honor of the country.

And, finally, I will protect the religion of our fathers, as the constitution has ordered me to do, and will cultivate with special care the relations so happily re-established between the head of the church and this Catholic nation, accustomed always to seek from the blessings of heaven the realization of its honorable hopes on earth.

These, in short, are the propositions which I have in my mind on taking possession of the exalted position to which I have been called. I shall be happy if I can, in any respect, fulfill the hopes you have shown of me, founded, no doubt, on the opinions to the triumph of which I have devoted the best years of my life. I know that the labor which awaits me is arduous and the responsibility great, but be assured that I will devote to the service of my country all my strength and every hour of my life.

Besides, I have good will and full faith. The active help which I am sure to find in this Congress, which abounds with patriotism, experience, and talent, inspires me with faith. I trust that the political elements which have fought together in parliaments, in the press, and in battle-fields, until the final establishment of the new order of things to-day existing in Colombia, will not be dissolved during my administration; [Page 429] but, above all, I trust in the good feelings of the nation, which has given so many proofs that it well understands its own interests, which, in fact, are the only ones which this Government will bear always in mind.

The task which awaits me is, I repeat, arduous; but when it is considered whence we came and where we find ourselves now, one can not help feeling encouraged to continue the march, sure of arriving happily at the end of the journey. What remains to be done is very little compared to what has already been done. To bring Colombia safely out of the difficulties with which it has been struggling for a quarter of a century after a horrible shipwreck; to reunite its dissevered members and give to them cohesion so as to form a nationality with a life of its own; to give it institutions, laws, administration of justice, an army; to put God above all, restoring Him to His dominion and acknowledging His divine authority—all this must be done in order to base liberty on justice and security on order; and after this has been done what can turn us back or appear to us beyond our power?

Well, then, in order to obtain these benefits the irresistible will of one man (Nuñez) and the protection of Providence, of which we ought always to take account, have sufficed. I for my part will pledge myself to follow the luminous track which I find traced out, and I shall descend with pride from this post if whilst I occupy it I so act that my fellow-citizens judge me to be a worthy co-worker with the illustrious chief chosen by God to carry out the greatest political transformation of our history.

These are my aspirations, and there is one more: That not one drop of blood, not one tear may be shed in Colombia through the fault of the Government of which I to-day assume the Presidency.