Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th's Unsung Prophet



The love which I profess for Your Majesty, the just recognition of the honors with which you have distinguished me and the affection I bear for my Country, move me to submit to Your sovereign attention some thoughts I consider to be of interest in the present circumstances....

The American colonies have achieved independence; this is my sorrow and misgiving.

This Federated Republic is born, shall we say, a pygmy be cause it has been formed and given its existence through the power of France and Spain who assisted it in gaining its independence.  But tomorrow, as it consolidates its constitution, it will be a giant; and after that it will become an irresistible colossus in those regions.  It will then forget the favors and benefits received from those foreign powers [who came to its aid] and will think only of its own aggrandizement.

The liberty of religion, the ease of establishing settlements within immense boundaries and the benefits offered by the new government, will call forth laborers and artisans from all nations, because men go where they think fortune will smile; and within a few years we will behold the menacing colossus of which I have spoken.

Thus fortified, we should apprehend that the Anglo-American power will cast its first sights on the full acquisition of the Floridas from whence it will seek to extend its dominion into the heart of Mexico.  Not only will it interdict  our commerce with Mexico at will but it will aspire to conquer those vast imperial regions, which we will not be able to defend from European shores....

Man is the same everywhere; the difference in climate does not change human nature or sentiments: he who is presented with an opportunity to acquire power and enrichment will do so... How could we expect that the Americans should respect New Spain [Mexico] when they shall have the opportunity to take over that rich and beautiful country? ... [fn.1]

After much investigation and reflection on the political and military aspects of this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the following measures are the only way to avoid such a great loss to us:

1.    That Your Majesty cede all your American possessions, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico, ... in a manner as will most expediently establish three princes of Your Blood as Kings of Mexico, Peru and the Other Lands, retaining for Yourself, the title of Emperor. 

. . .

4.    That said sovereigns and their issue be resolved to marry with Spanish royalty and vice versa so that all four kingdoms may forever be bound in an indissoluble union. ...

5.    That the four nations consider themselves as one for purposes of reciprocal commerce, maintaining in perpetuity the strictest offensive and defensive alliance for their protection and development.  ...

6.    That France, our ally, undertake to provide the former colonies with such finished goods as we ourselves do not manufacture ...  pursuant to treaties with us and France ... and to the absolute exclusion of England.

. . .

This is, in the main, the idea which I have formed with respect to this delicate matter, and if it meets with Your Sovereign approval, I will enter into negotiations in the most secret and cautious manner....


The Count of Aranda is the unsung prophet of American greatness, who understood what the nascent United States were about without the obfuscations of sentimental hortatory.

Translation © Woodchip Gazette, 2012

FN1:  It appears that the memorandum underwent two drafts, the first and second being recorded in a single document.  This paragraph is from the second draft which is somewhat more elaborated and takes into account various ongoing diplomatic developments.  The substance of both drafts is the same.


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