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systematic effort to get Article 35 of the treaty of 1846 out of the way.
But a word here in this connection about “ entangling alliances.” At the time of Washington's Farewell Address all Europe was in turmoil. England and France were still quarrelling, and Jefferson (who had become strangely infatuated with French ideas) had been at no pains to conceal his desire for an alliance between France and the United States as against England. Washington's advice was to have nothing to do with this or any other European quarrel, but to “avoid all entangling alliances.” His warning could have had no possible reference to any free state in South or Central America, for no such state then existed or seemed likely to come into existence. The eastern banks of the Mississippi were the utmost limits of our prospective possessions in the west; Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and California were all under foreign flags. In less than fifty years conditions had radically changed; for in 1846, when this treaty with Colombia was signed, the entire Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Bay of Fundy to the mouth of the Rio Grande, were within our national domain and jurisdiction. Our western boundary was the Pacific Ocean, and the isthmus of Panama had become practically our southern border, in that it was in the direct line of our fifteen thousand miles of sea-coast. Hence, the treaty, in the form agreed upon, had become a commercial and political necessity.
It was, however, entered into with extreme reluctance, and was with great difficulty ratified by the Senate. Like our federal Constitution itself, it was the necessities of an unwilling people.” Even after the exchange of ratifications, the treaty excited constant apprehension; and four years afterwards we committed the astonishing blunder of soliciting a "joint guarantee'
of the neutrality of the isthmus by England and France ! Fortunately this ill-advised request was not granted. Indeed, it was hardly entertained. Earl Russell, speaking for the British government, said a joint guarantee was "alike unnecessary and undesirable; ” that "the sole guarantee by the United States was ample for any emergencies likely to arise;" and that “the present arrangement was entirely 'satisfactory to Great Britain.” A similar response was received from the French government, with the additional assurance that “the sole guarantee by the United States was satisfactory to the commercial world."
This seemed to end the matter. The Monroe Doctrine had long before received the tacit sanction of the two leading powers of Europe, and the apprehensions of a weak and timid Executive were allayed. At any rate, nothing more was ever heard of “ joint European guarantee" of the neutrality of the isthmus till the De Lesseps canal company came into existence.
By the so-called Salgar-Wyse Contract of 1878, that company had come into possession of millions of acres of wild lands on the isthmus; and it had likewise become the owner of the majority of shares in the Panama Railway Company. Then it was that Count de Lesseps made the astonishing discovery that the “Monroe Doctrine ” had an European origin; that the people of the United States had never quite understood it; and that it really meant nothing ! But he failed to induce Colombia to abrogate Article 35 of the treaty of 1846; failed to induce the French people whom he had inveigled into his enterprise, to force the new Republic to take a bad bargain off his hands; and a few years later he and his associates and accomplices were sentenced as criminals by the judicial authorities of his own country.
THE OLD SPANISH MAIN
Y the old “Spanish main” is generally understood the entire Caribbean coast from the Cape
of Yucatan to the delta of the Orinoco. But at present we are concerned only with that portion of it between the isthmus of Panama and Cape Guajira, which constitutes the northern shore of the Republic of Colombia. As I have already intimated, if we would see the most beautiful and attractive part of Colombia, we must make a long and tedious journey of several weeks to the remote interior; for practically the Isthmus and the capital of Colombia are farther apart than Washington and Alaska, and there are but two available routes between them.
One of these is down the South Pacific coast by ocean steamer to the little seaport town of Buenaventura; thence by narrow-gauge railway through the coves of the western cordillera, 70 miles or more, to the old city of Cali, in the beautiful valley of the Cauca; thence by mule-back, fully two weeks' journey over the mountains of the central cordillera to the northern edge of the tableland of Bogotá; and thence by coach 32 miles or more to the national capital. The entire journey can hardly be made in less than four weeks, and it may require five or six; it all depends upon the condition of the roads.
The other and more frequented route is by ocean steamer from Colon, along the old Spanish main to the port of Savanilla (or Salgar, as it is now called), about a dozen miles west of the Magdalena delta; thence by railway, less than 20 miles, to Barranquilla; thence by river steamer up the Magdalena, fully 500 miles, to Honda; thence by mule-back three short days' journey over the mountains of the eastern cordillera to the southeastern edge of the great tableland of Bogotá; and thence some 30 miles in coach or omnibus across the plain to the national capital. The journey usually takes about 20 days, but it may be 40; it all depends upon the condition of the river, which at certain seasons can hardly be said to be navigable for more than 200 miles.
If desirable, we may disembark at Carthagena, 36 hours' sail from Colón, and proceed thence by canal steamer through the Diquel to Calamar, on the Magdalena some 75 miles above the delta, and there take a regular river packet for Honda. But this is seldom advisable. The trip through the Dique is neither comfortable nor interesting; and there will be ample time and opportunity to see about all we care to see of Carthagena without making the change of route. Besides, by taking the canal route, we would miss seeing Savanilla and Barranquilla; and the latter is well worth seeing.
Carthagena, or Cartajena? as it is written in the language of the country, is one of the oldest, and in some respects the most interesting, seaports on the Caribbean. The city was founded early in the seventeenth century and soon became a great commercial and naval centre. Its decadence began early in the present century, soon after the beginning of the long war for independence, and continued steadily up to some 25 or 30 years ago, when the city began to revive. But its recuperation has been slow, though steady. It has been called “the Charleston of South America; ” possibly because it is considered “a finished town," rich in historical reminiscences and in the evidences of departed greatness. Once famous as the site of wealth, culture, and refinement, it still lives in the past, the typical representative of a former era and civilization.
1 The Dique, as it is called in the language of the country, is a wide canal connecting the river Magdalena with the bay of Carthagena. It was opened in the time of Philip II. of Spain; and, after having been closed for three-quarters of a century, was reopened in 1881.
2 Pronounced Car-tah-hay-na.
As first seen, at some distance, from the upper deck of an ocean steamer, the grand old city presents a most romantic and imposing appearance. The great mossgrown buildings, many of them three centuries old, stand out in bold relief against a background of green hills and craggy cliffs, and the tall towers and steeples of the old cathedrals, rising from a base of red tiles, pierce a clear tropical sky. On either side are gray old forts, long since disused but still in an excellent state of preservation; while at the threshold of the city, on the western side, lies the spacious harbor, the deep blue waters of which are seldom disturbed even by a ripple.
As we approach nearer, we discover that the old city is completely encircled by a massive stone wall, antique in form and venerable in appearance, fully 30 feet in height and many yards in thickness. It was built in the reign of Philip II., and is said to have cost over a million of dollars. In all probability it has never been repaired since, yet, saving a few rents of recent origin, it appears to be quite as good as new. The subterranean passages leading out from the inclosure