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THE NATIONAL CONGRESS AT TUCUMAN
an event, he says, which will be celebrated by public festivities and rejoicings.”
Some advantages were obtained, at this time, by Belgrano, on the banks of the Paraná, and Rondeau, by his skilful application of emollients, healed some bitter sores that were breaking out in the army of Peru. Viamont's government of Santa Fé gave such general umbrage, that he was shut up there, almost as a prisoner, and only relieved by reinforcements from Buenos Ayres. This was one of many cases, in which the military chiefs of Buenos Ayres were coerced, either by popular opinion or by Government orders, to “pull in their horns.” And thus the march of public opinion, in spite of all obstacles, gradually but surely made its way. It is edifying to look into these things, and to consider what a tendency there is in the mind of man to better his condition. The statesman who overlooks this, or will not yield to it, is sure in the end to be trodden down by the giant force of public opinion. It is in vain to expect from the people, as they
It was, however, an ephemeral affair, and produced nothing but discord, nor anything in legislation but squabbling and delay. The style of address to this assembly was that of “Soberano Señor," (Sovereign Lord.)
CONGRESS AT TUCUMAN.
increase in numbers, and grow in wealth, that they should look passively on, with hope deferred, for prospective amelioration.
The Sovereign Congress, that is to say, a body of legislative nullity, was now established at Tucuman; and, like the Pope, issued its ineffectual political bulls to all the country round. The provinces laughed at their decrees ; none obeyed them. Only think, here was a Congress established seven hundred miles from Buenos Ayres, without the command of the sinews of war, without resources in itself, absolutely without the power of enforcing its decrees, yet attempting to dictate to the whole provinces of the River Plate; a thing at once impracticable and absurd.
This Congress, moreover, assumed not only the supreme legislative power, but the executive, as will be seen by the following decree :
“ The Sovereign Congress, taking into consideration its august installation, grants a general pardon to all criminals confined in the different prisons, &c. Let the Executive Government be informed of this decree, and act accordingly."
If this be not the legislative lording it over the executive, we know not what is; and yet this was
THE SPANISH MINISTER AT WASHINGTON. 251
only one of many decrees, issued in the same spirit, and on the same principles, by the Congress of Tucuman.
We feel convinced that we shall not offend the better classes of South Americans, by thus upholding to them their early aberrations. Quite the contrary; we believe they now not only laugh at them, but sincerely desire to abolish them. But public reform, like personal reform, whether in South America or in England, is rather uphill work.
* * * “ Facilis descensus averni;
On the 11th of May, 1816, we find, from the Buenos Ayres Gazette of that date, the Spanish Minister at Washington, with whom the senior writer was well acquainted, not only fulminating his wrath against the South Americans, (pirates, rebels, and insurgents, as he calls them,) but insisting upon the Government of the United States prohibiting the admission into the ports of North America, of the flags of Carthagena, Mexico, and Buenos Ayres.
PUEYRREDON SUPREME DIRECTOR.
Mr. Madison refused to accede to so unreasonable a requirement; and the Spanish Minister, in great dudgeon, mounted his high horse, and took his departure from Washington.
On the 17th of May, the Sovereign Congress of Tucuman elected Colonel Pueyrredou Supreme Director of the State, superseding thus the actual Director's temporary appointment.
THE AUTHORS TO GENERAL MILLER.
Admiral Brown goes to the Pacific-Discontent of Artigas—General
Balcarce displaced-Declaration of Independence-Pueyrredon elected Supreme Director-Affair of Azurduy-PueyrredonInterference of the Portuguese General San Martin continues his preparations for crossing the Andes.
London, 1842. AFTER the fall of Monte Video, the indefatigable and restless Brown, finding that his services were not further required in the River Plate, determined, with the approbation of the Government, to fit out a small squadron of privateers, and try his fortune in the Pacific. He got round there, kept the coast in alarm, made many prizes, took some prisoners of distinction, and sailing as far north as Guayaquil, he suddenly attacked the town, and threw it into the utmost consternation. Leaving his own ship, for the purpose of being able to enter the river, he took the command of a brig, and bombarded the shipping and town from it. In his ardour, however, he forgot the tides ; his