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issue a law respecting the revenues of corporation lands, since the health, convenience, and ornament of our towns, the state of the roads, and the facilities of communication, require certain funds, without which, the municipalities will be mere ciphers in the state. I may state to you, that in general no unfavourable change has occurred in the progress and regularity of the constitutional regime. The authorities daily respect our institutions more and more; and the citizens enjoy the free privilege of demanding the fulfilment of the laws. It would, indeed, be a phenomenon in politics, if an infant society like ours could arrive at its height of prosperity without obstacles and slight oscillations. Colombia has still to experience the effects of the wanderings of ignorance and the incessant intrigues of our enemies; although it is true, that neither can impede her advance to that point at which she must one day arrive. The disturbances in Pasto, which, from the nature of the country, and the character of the people, threatened to be of long duration, have subsided ; and the government has visited them with as much indulgence as was compatible with public security. That activity and vigilance which suffocated this germ of disunion, will do the same on all occasions where deluded persons suffer themselves to be seduced into the commission of disorders. The people desire to live in peace under protection of the laws, and whilst they themselves take charge of the public tranquillity, and support our institutions, the republic will enjoy internal quiet, and the standing army will have fewer duties to discharge.
Our internal commerce requires some regulations, in order to suppress the abuses committed by our sailors, and to protect navigation; and our commerce carried on with the coasts inhabited by wandering tribes, requires some special laws, in order to spare the executive those embarrassments which it has experienced in this particular of late years. I require from congress a law denying letters of citizenship to individuals of any nation with whom the republic may be at war. This is a law to be found in the code of a nation that may be truly called free, and any demonstration of its necessity appears to me superfluous. ' The exhaustion of the national treasury will continue to be sensibly felt whilst the payment of arrears falls on the annual revenue, and the system continues to prevail of not fixing the public expenses, and providing correspondent funds for meeting them. To those causes of fiscal embarrassment may be added at present, the necessity we have been under of increasing the standing army, with a view of opposing a vigorous resistance to the hostile undertakings of Spain. I cannot give you an accurate idea of the improvement that has been made in the treasury department, in virtue of the laws issued in the last session, owing to the short period that has elapsed since their publication. The executive has given that tone and impulse that were so essentially wanted in the general administration, the custom-houses, and treasuries of departments, always consulting, however, the strictest economy. I hope that in the course of the present legislature, you will digest a systematic arrangement arrangement of the tithe rents, a reform in the law of direct contribution, and such other objects as the executive will point out to you in virtue of the privilege it derives from the constitution to that effect. The various and unpleasant questions that were agitated regarding the loan of March, 1822, have been set at rest in a manner satisfactory to the parties, and honourable to the republic. For this purpose, the executive had recourse to the powers granted by you in the act of the 1st of July, 1823, and the result shall be in due time laid before you. The congress must be highly gratified in learning that our conduct in this transaction has met with the general approbation of those respectable persons in foreign countries who were best able to appreciate the difficulties which enveloped it. I shall likewise give you a most circumstantial account of the mode and the terms on which the loan decreed on the 30th of June of last year has been raised. To those who are acquainted with the histories of other nations, the conditions of this loan have appeared highly favourable. The executive has observed, that its agents have confined themselves to the instructions they received on leaving the capital: their operations have been conducted under the eye and direction of the Colombian minister in London, and the conduct of this public functionary has obtained the applause of all who have observed him narrowly. It has been a source of great satisfaction to the executive, that the new loan was not negociated until the question of the old one had been satisfactorily disposed of: and the con
sequence was, that the former was contracted under most favourable circumstances, which, by having been taken advantage of at the moment, saved us from the burdensome conditions to which we must, otherwise, have submitted. You will examine the documents which will be presented to you with accuracy and discretion, and you will receive all the necessary information thereon from the secretary of the treasury, since in this examination are comprised the interests of our constituents, the honour of the government, and the good faith of the republic. I can congratulate myself, by anticipation, with the assurance that the congress and the nation will be well pleased with this transaction. It is essential to the public prosperity and national credit, that you employ a portion of your labours in funding the national debt. Every year that passes accumulates fresh embarrassments in this particular for the succeeding ones. The debt embraces various periods, objects, and creditors, without a proper classification of each. You know well that it is absolutely necessary that a classification of those periods be made, as well as provision for the punctual payment of the interest, and the gradual extinction of the principal. Although a law on this subject was passed last session, you will agree with me in thinking that it is imperfect and informal. The standing army continues to give proofs of its obedience to the laws. Although no enemies are to be found within the republic with whom to cont-nd, it has remained on the war footing required by the state of European politics. The executive has carried into effect effect so much of the law which provided for the levying 50,000 men as was necessary in order to reinforce the auxiliary army of Peru, to cover the coast departments, and to organize several corps of reserve in the interior. Orders have been given for forming the national militia throughout the country, on the principle laid down by the congress of Cucuta; insomuch that several corps of citizens, who recognize the defence of the country as their first duty, are now added to our battalions. You will examine the provisional decrees which the executive has issued for the due observance of the law on this subject, and will establish a permanent system for the national militia in all the branches and objects of its organization. These measures, and the abundant elements of war which we possess, have placed the republic in a condition to present itself armed at all points, in defence of its liberty and independence. Our naval force is undergoing that improvement and increase which, in our immediate circumstances, it requires. The Colombian flag has made itself respected throughout the seas; and where it has encountered that of Spain, it has left a monument of the superiority which it derives from the valour of its sailors. The executive has adopted measures for fixing the strength of our navy, as well on our rivers and coasts as on the high seas, and for laying aside such vessels as occasion immense expenses, without being of the slightest service. Little, however, can be done in this department, unless education be encouraged among our naval officers, and until the laws to which I have elsewhere 1825.
referred be enforced. Naval instruction is taught in Carthagena and Guayaquil, as far as the small funds which the executive can supply for this purpose will permit; but it can make but little progress until warmly protected by congress. Having already represented the state of the army to congress in my former messages, pointing out such laws as appeared to menecessary andjust, Ishallcontent myself with naming the subject, in the hope that during the present session you will take this interesting object into your con
sideration. Such is the state of our republic in the various branches of its administration; possessing friendship and good intelligence with American and foreign governments; regularity in its conventions and treaties; order and tranquillity at home; respect and submission to the laws; free exercise of the liberty of the press; the dissemination and advancement of public education; well-founded hopes of improvement in the state of our treasury; an army covered with laurels, and zealously devoted to the cause of independence and liberty; together with sufficient resources for supporting, under every event, our dignity, our government, and our laws. It belongs to you, gentlemen, to remove such obstacles as impede the rapid march of the republic to its height of prosperity, and to reform those errors which the public voice and your own judgments condemn. If we take a retrospective view, and contemplate what Colombia was when she published her code, we shall recognize with surprise the grand career we have since run, and the enormous difficulties we U U have
“ Gentlemen of the Federal Congress, In conformity with the constitutional law, I laid before the chambers in January of the present year, the state of the republic ; and I now have the honour of announcing, that from that time to the present, our situation has been sensibly improving, and that our nation, far from retrograding or becoming weaker, has been acquiring strength, and advancing in the career of prosperity and power.
“The federal bond has been generally preserved and consolidated. The greater part of the states have sanctioned their constitution, or are about to do so. Each of them labours in establishing or in rectifying its administration. All of them will shew an emulation and zeal, as they have partly done, to supply the contingent which corresponds with
their extent, and without which the institutions by which we are governed would become inert and powerless. In a word, looking at the data which we have on this head, and the good fortune and happiness with which heaven has hitherto advanced the fortunes of the republic, we may hope that each state, proceeding in its own orbit, towards its own good, without neglecting that of the federation, and revolving (if we may be allowed the expression) around the common government, will exhibit, in political order, an imposing spectacle of equilibrium, with the precision and the harmony which distinguish the great masses of our universe. “The executive power has neither lost, nor could lose, sight of morals and knowledge; and to promote what regards them, a junta is actually employed in a great project of public education, in order that Mexicans may no longer be under the necessity of going in search of improvement to other countries. At the same time establishments, tending to promote the dignity and the grandeur of the republic, its agriculture, together with its commerce and industry, have all been advancing in a manner very perceptible to those who, casting their eyes back upon past times, recollect their condition in the days of our humiliation and slavery. “Thus the idea is produced and confirmed in us, that the spirit of regulating every thing by the government, and of mixing with every thing, is the most efficacious means which it can employ to diminish or banish, perhaps for ever, abundance and wealth; and that, on the contrary, to introduce and encourage
encourage them, an enlightened and beneficent administration ought only to remove important obstacles, leaving the rest to the action and interest of individuals. “At present, in what respects the management and direction of the finances, the labours which have been completed and those which have been prepared are immense. Confining myself to the results, the chambers should be acquainted that the army has been paid, that the military magazines have been provided, that the civil list has been satisfied, that the last loan has been realized on advantageous terms, that their subsistence-money and credit have been paid to the cultivators of tobacco, that a part of the debt has been extinguished, that paper money no longer exists, that a considerable quantity of arms and all sorts of stores have been acquired, and that funds have been allocated at different places for the purchase of vessels (of war), that a system of order and economy has been introduced which has saved large -sums, and that the administration of the public money only needs for its consolidation and perfection a decision on some projects submitted to the legislative body. “The military branch is likewise proceeding towards a sensible improvement. The corps of all arms is completing. Discipline is re-establishing. The law on desertion will powerfully contribute to promote this object. At the same time, the state of Chiapas has been garrisoned. Our frontier on the west and the north has been fortified with particular attention to the side of Tejas; and the labours which have been undertaken, and are still prosecuted,
to form a general plan of defence, (for which engineers, formed among ourselves, have gone to draw plans of our coasts, mountains, and approaches), will always do honour to the knowledge of the Mexican staff, and evince, in a decisive manner, the vigilance and circumspection of the executive power. “As regards our navy, although it has been well supplied and managed, yet, if we attend to the number and force of our vessels, it may be said that it has scarce passed its infancy. The government had thought that they might reckon by this time upon a respectable force in both seas; but inevitable obstacles have, till now, deprived us of that assistance which we shall indubitably obtain in a few months. In the inean time, an expedition has sailed to provide the Californias with all kinds of assistance. Our port of Manzanillo, one of the most secure, spacious, and magnificent of the globe, has been ordered to be repaired : and the port of Galveston has been fortified. Orders have been given to construct gun-boats in our territory, by which means our resources will multiply, civilization will advance, commerce will increase, and that which ought to interest us the mostthe art of ship-building—of which we so much stand in need, especially in the Pacific, will begin to prosper. “Our judicial administration was incomplete and lame, before we possessed a supreme court to decide questions of general interest, and to provide for what the territory and the finances of the federation require. But, fortunately, on the 15th of March, the supreme court of justice was I, U 2 installed.