ALEXANDER HAMILTON bade his fellow citizens to think continent-ally; and Herodotus, in the short introduction prefixed to his history explains its theme as being an account of the relations of two great continents, that is, Europe and Asia, and of the reasons which produced such recurring strife between them. Let us attempt to think a little of the southern part of the western world as a whole, in its relations as a continent to the other continents, and especially to that other continent with which it is connected by a narrow neck of land, the Isthmus of Panama, and which has also drawn its name from the same navigator. The series of incidents by which the name of a Florentine was given, first, to a continent he probably did not discover, and then to another which he never saw, is a curious one.
Everybody knows Christopher Columbus sailed out into the west in search of new lands, expecting them to be a part of Asia, and that to the day of his death, after four voyages, he believed that he had found India. In the last of those voyages, when he was wearily beating up along the coast of Darien against the currents, he fancied himself near the Straits of Malacca. It is natural, therefore, that neither he nor his first successors in exploration should have given a name to the new western land south of the Caribbean Sea, even when they had explored enough of it to know it was a continent. They named particular regions, but a general name was not needed because it was expected that the parts seen would turn out to be parts of Asia. Then in 1497 other voyagers who sailed forth to explore said that they found a new land, far off in the ocean to the south-west of the Canary Islands. Next year Columbus discovered on the south side the Caribbean Sea the “Terra Firma,” which we call Venezuela. Americus Vespuccius of Florence, one of the ship’s company of the 1497 voyage, wrote letters, giving an account of this (and of a later voyage, also) to the new land far to the southwest in which he described it as “a New World, a New Fourth Part of the Globe,” Europe, Asia, and Africa, being the other three. The letters made a great sensation; and one of them was made the basis of a book called Cosmographice Introductio, published in 1507, at St. Die in France, by a certain Waldseemuller (Hylacomylus), a professor there, who suggested that as Americus was the discoverer of this fourth part of the world, it should be called after him. The book was read far and wide; the name took. It was not intended to be applied to the lands west and south of the Caribbean Sea, which between 1497 and 1507 had been discovered by Columbus and others ; still less to the lands discovered by John Cabot in the far north, but to an entirely different piece of land much to. the south and east of what Columbus had discovered. But when all the lands bordering on that part of the Atlantic had been sufficiently explored and the records of the voyages compared, it appeared that the lands lying in the part of the ocean to which the descriptions of Americus referred, were, in fact, continuous with the coasts of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Thereupon all the land from the Rio de la Plata (discovered in 15) northward to the Isthmus of Panama, came to be included under the name America, just because there was no other general name for what had been, at least till 1513, when the Pacific was discovered by crossing the Isthmus at Darien, still believed to be part of Asia. When the Pacific had been reached, and still more when the ever-famous voyage of Magellan had shown that Asia lay thousands of miles further away beyond the Pacific, a general name was badly wanted. Much later, and again, just because there was no other competing name, the word America was extended to include everything north of the Gulf of Mexico up to the Arctic regions, and when the need was felt for distinguishing the two parts, the words North and South were added. Although applied earlier to the southern than to the northern continent, the name when used alone, denotes, to most Europeans, the latter.
How much simpler and better it would have been if each continent had received a name of its own.
South America might have been called after Columbus, as the first man who saw its terra firma; and North America might have received the name of Cabotia or Pinzonia or Ponceana, whichever navigator may be best entitled to be deemed its first and true discoverer. How much trouble would have been saved and how many mistakes avoided ! Italian peasants would not have fancied that a cousin who had gone to Buenos Aires was the near neighbor of another who had gone to New York. Similarities would not have been imagined where differences exist. The South Americans would not have resented the assumption by the people of the United States of the name to which they claim an equal right, and the people of the United States would not have formed the habit of believing that the Spaniards of the southern continent are their affectionate relatives, because they share in the same family name.
These, however, are vain regrets. The names have long been fixed, though for a great while the Spaniards declined to talk of North America. The thing is one instance among many to show how much may flow from a name which is itself the result of a mere accident.
Now let us turn from names to things, and consider in what respect the two Americas, and their peoples, resemble and differ from one another, and how far they constitute, politically or otherwise, one whole world apart, and what are the relations of the southern, or Spanish and Portuguese, continent to the other, now mainly Teutonic, continent, and to the countries of Europe. Some points in the history of each continent may come out more clearly, and be-come more significant when the two are compared, The history of each illustrates that of the other.
The physical structure of the two continents shows certain similarities. Each is traversed from north to south by a great mountain chain, sometimes breaking into parallel ridges and sometimes widening out into high tablelands. In each this chain is much nearer to the western than to the eastern coast, and in each there are volcanic outbursts at various points along the lines of elevation, these being more continuous and on a vaster scale in the southern continent. In each there is, moreover, an independent mountain mass on the eastern side, the Appalachian system in North America, the Brazilian highlands in South America. Each has, nearer to its western than to its eastern coast, a desert, and in that desert an inland river basin with lakes, Great Salt Lake in Utah corresponding roughly to Lakes Titicaca and Poopo in Bolivia. Each has two gigantic rivers, though the Mississippi and St. Lawrence are not equal in volume to the Amazon and the Paraná. The shores of both are washed by mighty ocean currents, but while the Gulf Stream warms the east coast of the northern, the Antarctic current chills the west coast of the southern continent. Their climates are so far similar that in both the east side of the continent receives more rain than the west. South America, however, having its greatest breadth in the tropics, lies more largely within the torrid zone.
It is, however, with the settlement and subsequent history of the two continents that the real interest of this comparison begins. There are three remarkable points of similarity, but the points of difference are more numerous and instructive, since, in noting them, we see how potent each difference has been in directing the course of events and forming the character of the communities that have grown up.
The points of similarity are these. Both continents were inhabited by races entirely unlike those of Europe, who over the greater part of this area were in the savage state, but had in a few regions favored by nature made some progress towards civilization. Both were conquered by Europeans, and easily conquered, owing to the superiority of the invaders in arms and discipline. The peoples of both (with one important exception in the northern and three unimportant exceptions in the southern continent) ultimately revolted against the kingdoms whence the European part of their population had come and have ever since man-aged their own affairs as republics, seven republics in North, eleven in South America.
Having noted these general resemblances in the fortunes of the two, let us inquire what were the differences, natural and political, which made the lines of their subsequent development diverge.
At this point, however, it is proper to leave off talking of North and South America, for the southern part of the former continent belongs historically and to some extent physically also, to the latter continent. As Alexander Dumas said in his book on Spain, “Africa begins at the Pyrenees,”it is a saying which the Spaniards have never forgiven, so we may say, “South America begins at the Rio Grande del Norte.” Mexico and the states of Central America down to the Isthmus of Panama were parts of the Spanish colonial empire, conquered, settled, and administered in much the same way as the still larger part of that empire which lay farther south. We must, therefore, group the regions that once belonged to that empire under the general name of Spanish, or, when it is desired to include Brazil (a Portuguese country), “Latin” America, referring to the other parts of the northern continent as “Teutonic America.”
The aboriginal tribes with which the English and French came in contact when they settled the Atlantic coasts of North America were scattered over a vast wooded region, lived mainly by the chase, and had formed no habits of regular industry. They were mostly fierce fighters, proud and dogged, unwilling to bear any control, and it was found impracticable to make slaves of them, or use them for any kind of regular labor. They were unfitted for it, and it would have cost the settlers more effort to compel the Indians to cut down trees and till the ground than to do the same things themselves. There was, accordingly, never any question of Indian slavery or serfdom, either on the Atlantic coasts or further inland, as the march of colonization advanced to the Mississippi, and across the plains, and mountains to the Pacific, nor was there more than a very little intermarriage between the settlers and the natives.
Other reasons besides those connected with labor prevented any admixture in these regions of the white with the native races. There was little social intercourse, because the Indians, even the majority of the less warlike tribes of Virginia and the regions south of Virginia, were driven out, or retired, or died out. Their barbarous way of life drew a sharp line between them and the white intruders. The latter, moreover, brought their women with them, and had less temptation to seek wives among the Indians. Thus it was only among the French voyagers and trappers of the region round and beyond the Great Lakes that any mixed race grew up, half white, half Indian, and this race has now almost disappeared.
In Spanish America, the case was quite different. Both in Mexico, in parts of Central America, and in Peru there was a large sedentary population of aborigines, cultivating the soil and trained to industry during many generations. The conquerors immediately turned them into serfs, parceling them out among the persons who received land grants, and who therefore lived on the produce of this semi-servile labor. The result was that whereas in Teutonic America there grew up, slowly at first, a white agricultural population and ultimately a white manufacturing population also, in Spanish America agriculture was left almost entirely to the aborigines, the pure white population increased hardly at all, and because few new settlers came. There appeared, however, and that within two or three generations, a considerable half-breed, or mestizo, population, which has come, after three centuries, to constitute most of the upper class and practically the whole of the middle class in all but two of the republics.
This was the beginning of the divergent careers of the two sets of European colonists, Spaniards and Englishmen, a divergence which ultimately gave to the social system of each set its own peculiar structure. Two other circumstances helped to deepen the divergence. One was the hot climate of most parts of Spanish America, which made field labor, or, indeed, any kind of manual labor, more distasteful to men of European stock than such labor was in the northern parts of Teutonic America. The same cause, it need hardly be said, had much to do with the importation of negroes on a vast scale into the southern parts of the British North American colonies. Such an expedient was less needed in Mexico and Peru, because they possessed (as already remarked) a native population that could be reduced to serfdom. In Spanish America, accordingly, all forms of labor connected with land were left by the European settlers to the natives, and no white peasantry grew up.
The other circumstance was that whereas in Teutonic America few or no mines were discovered or worked for a long time after the country had begun to be occupied, the Spaniards, having hit upon regions rich, some of them in gold, many of them in silver, began greedily to exploit this natural wealth and forced the natives to toil for them in this (to the native particularly odious) kind of work. The destruction of human life was terrible, but in those days life was little regarded. The development of mining in Spanish America, immense for the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, when comparatively little was going on elsewhere, had many effects for Spain and for the world. For Mexico and Peru the most direct effect was to enrich a good many persons without any industrial efforts put forth by themselves, and to lead the colonies as a whole to rely less upon agriculture than men did in the English colonies. A luxurious style of living established itself in the city of Mexico and in Lima, most unlike the frugal simplicity of Boston or Providence, or even of Philadelphia or New York in the eighteenth century.
It has often been observed that whereas the men who went to the northern English colonies were mostly small farmers or townsfolk of the trading or artisan classes, the Spanish emigrants were mainly adventurers, making gold and silver their first object, the acquisition of plantations or mines to be worked by natives the second. This stamped on Spanish coinnial society what can hardly be called an aristocratic character, for many of the emigrant-adventurers, like the Pizarros brothers, sprang from a humble social stratum, but yet a character which lacked both the sentiment of equality and a respect for industry.
Not less marked than these social differences were those which belonged to the sphere of government and administration. The English colonies were for the most part left to govern themselves. Each had not only its colonial assembly, but also local assemblies for towns and counties, along with the English arrangements for securing justice in civil and criminal matters by juries. Even the governors sent out from England, where such there were, interfered but little with the power of the colonists to regulate their own affairs. The Crown did occasionally interfere, but these instances and the resistance which arbitrary interference evoked bear witness to the general adherence to the principles of local self-government. In the Spanish colonies, on the other hand, all power remained in the Crown, and was exercised either directly from Spain by ordinances made or orders is-sued there, or else through the viceroy or captain-general of each colony. Much to the disgust of the criollos, or men born in the colonies, nearly all lucrative posts were reserved for persons of Spanish birth, who obtained them by court favor at home, or perhaps from a viceroy, who had brought them out in his suite. In the field of religion the contrast was even greater. Ecclesiastical power had in Spanish America been almost equal to civil. Although the Crown of Spain yielded less authority to the Pope in its transatlantic than it did in its European dominions, the church as a whole, archbishops and bishops, the orders and the holy office, were, in America, an immense and omni-present force, with whom even viceroys had to reckon, for their influence was great in the court at home as well as over the minds and conduct of the colonists. Society was saturated with clericalism, and a taint of heterodoxy more dangerous than one of disloyalty.
Putting all these things together, it can be seen how little in common Teutonic America and Spanish America had when the colonial period ended for each of them by its severance from the mother country. They were, in fact, unlike in everything, except their position in the Western Hemisphere. Few, and far from friendly, had been their relations. There had been very little commercial intercourse, but a great deal of fighting. English and American buccaneers and pirates,the two classes were practically the same,-had been wont to prey upon Spanish colonial commerce and pillage Spanish colonial cities. There probably remained more aversion between the two races in America than in Europe, for in their hostility to France during the eighteenth century the people of Britain had forgotten their hostility to Spain. To the New Englander or Virginian the colonial Spaniard had been a Papist and a persecutor, to the colonial Spaniard his neighbors on the north were pirates and heretics.
What change was made by the two wars against the two mother countries and the independence which followed? It might have seemed likely that now, when both parts of the New World were disconnected from the Old and both had republican forms of government, they might begin’ to draw together. Independence, though it came nearly forty years later to Spanish America, made more difference there than it had done to the English colonies. Those who had been kept in leading strings by Spain were now left to their own devices. Ill-built and ill-steered had been the vessel that carried their fortunes, but now they were left to drift and be tossed about with neither compass nor pilot. An era of civil wars and military revolutions set in, which lasted in Mexico nearly half a century, in Peru and Argentina still longer, and which seems to have become chronic in some of the more backward states. While Teutonic America was making enormous strides in population and prosperity, intestine strife checked all progress, educational and material, in the Spanish lands during two generations. It is to the last thirty years of the nineteenth century that the development of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay belongs. After the Latin-American countries had become independent, there was no more commercial intercourse between them and the United States than there had been in colonial days and no more community of feeling. Much sympathy had been expressed by the latter with the colonies in their struggle against Spain, and the declaration made by John Quincy Adams in concert with the English George Canning against any interference by the Holy Alliance to support the cause of monarchy in the New World, was gratefully welcomed by the insurgents. But no friendship between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking men grew up, and the war of the United States against Mexico in 1845, undertaken not so much because there were grievances against, Mexico as from a desire to extend the area of slavery in the United States, and strengthen the slave power itself, exposed United States policy to suspicions that sank deep into the Spanish-American mind.
From this consideration of the past relations of the two American continents, let us return to the divergence of their fortunes. At the time of the discovery, the regions which passed under the rule of Spain were richer, more advanced in the arts of life, and far more populous than those whose settlement began with the expeditions of Champlain and Raleigh. We have no data for guessing at the population of the New World either in 1500 or in 1600, but evidently there were in Mexico and Central America far more inhabitants than in all the, rest of the northern continent taken together. As regards South America, the empire of the Incas alone probably contained from nine to eleven millions of persons, a number many times greater than that of all the aborigines that at any one time. dwelt between the Arctic Circle and the. Gulf of Mexico. Even in 1800 the population of Mexico alone, without counting South America, was far larger than that of the United, States and Canada. But from 1810, when the revolt of the Spanish colonies began, down till 1860, the growth of those colonies was, slow, and in some there was even retrogression. Meanwhile the United States, and latterly, Canada also, have been advancing with unexampled speed, so that now their population, about 108 millions, far exceeds that of all the Spanish re-publics in both continents. Their hotter countries were at one time more populous than the temperate ; now the reverse holds. If we regard wealth, there is, of course, no comparison at all between Teutonic America, as it stands today, and the southern regions. Yet Spain was long supposed to have got by far the best parts of the New World, not so much because they had tropical productiveness, as in respect of the quantity of the precious metals they contained. The economic change from the sixteenth century to the twentieth which the progress of natural science and mechanical invention has brought about can hardly be better illustrated than by the changed importance which coal, iron, and copper have for our time when compared with that which gold and silver had in the days of Charles the Fifth.
When the North American colonies separated from England, they were a small nation of less than three millions on the Atlantic Coast. Thence they spread out over the vast spaces beyond the Alleghany Mountains, then across the Mississippi, finally over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, remaining one nation over a territory thirty times greater than that which had been actually settled at the time of the Revolution. The same process happened later and on a smaller scale in the dominion which remained to England in the north. The Canadians have spread out from the banks of the St. Lawrence to Vancouver Island, also remaining one people. Thus Teutonic America now consists of two nations only. How different the fate of the Spanish colonies. Scattered over a space nine thousand miles long from San Francisco to Magellan’s Straits, in days before railways existed and with even steam navigation in its infancy, they did not think of trying to maintain political connection across vast distances, and naturally fell apart into many independent states, roughly corresponding to the administrative divisions of colonial days. The number of these states has varied from time to time. At present there are six on the North American continent, and ten on the South American, without counting Portuguese Brazil and the three island republics of Cuba, San Domingo, and Hayti. Out of the lands that obeyed Charles the Fifth, nineteen states have grown, all (except Hayti) speaking Spanish, while the English-speaking peoples are but two.
They are alike in being (always excepting Canada) republican in the outward forms of their governments; that is to say, there is nowhere any official called a king. How far the governments of most Spanish-American states are from being republican in spirit and working everybody knows. To most men’s minds, however, the form means a great deal. So, too, in Spanish America people who acquiesce in transitory dictatorships would be horrified at the idea of a hereditary sovereign, however constitutional.
Latin America consists of two separate state-systems. One includes Mexico and the five small Central American republics, two of which, Costa Rica and Salvador, are peaceful within and seldom embroiled abroad, while the other three have had more chequered careers. Members of this group have had a good deal to do with the United States, but seldom come into contact with the South American countries. The little state of Panama, which is virtually under the protection of the United States, may now be deemed a “buffer state,” and no Central American republic has a navy. The larger group is composed of the eleven South American states. It presents some analogies to the Europe of the eighteenth century in which there were several great powers “playing the great game” against one another and against the smaller powers, nominally in the interest of that so-called balance of power which was to prevent any one from dominating the others, but often in reality for the sake of appropriating ‘territory, whenever a dynastic pretext could be found. In this group there are three great powers, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile ; and when these three stand together, they can keep all the rest quiet, especially if (as they may usually expect) the United States throws its influence into the scale of peace. At present these three are tolerably friendly, and there is no reason why they should not remain so. Between them there exists no longer such territorial controversies as disturb the repose of Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
Some publicists have suggested that troubles might arise to affect South America from without if Japan or China were to insist on flooding her with their emigrants, and that if this were attempted gainst one of the weaker South American republics, either the greater South American powers, or the United States, or both, might be tempted to intervene. There are at present some Chinese and a very few Japanese on the Pacific coast, but no more were arriving in 1910. Any danger of this nature seems remote and improbable,
With these three things, however, republican forms, social equality, and detachment from European politics,the list of the things which the two Americas have in common ends. Far more numerous and more important are the points in which they stand contrasted.
Many causes have gone to the making of the contrast. Race and religion, climate and history have all had their share. The contrast appears both in ideas and in temperament. The Spanish American is more proud and more sensitive to any slight. He is not so punctilious in his politeness as is the Spaniard of Europe, and is, indeed, in some countries a little brusque or offhand in manners and speech. But he feels a slight keenly; and he knows how to respect the susceptibilities of his fellow-citizens. I will not say that he is more pleasure-loving than the North American, for the latter has developed of late years a passion for amusement which would have startled his Puritan ancestors. But he is less assiduous and less strenuous in work, being, in this respect, unlike the immigrant who comes from Old Spain, especially the Gallego, who is the soul of thrift and the steadiest of toilers. He is not so fond of commercial business, nor so apt for it, nor so eager to “get on” and get rich. The process of money-making has not for him that fatal attraction which enslaves so many capable men in the United States and (to a less degree) in England and Germany, leaving them to forget the things that make life worth living, till it is too late in life to enjoy them. In South America things are taken easily and business concerns are largely in the hands of foreigners. The South Americanand here I include the Mexicanis an excitable being and prone to express his feelings forcibly, having absorbed from the Indians none of their stolid taciturnity. He is generally good-natured and hospitable, and responds quickly to anything said or done which shows appreciation of his country and its ways. Private friend-ship or family relationship have a great effect on his conduct, and often an undue effect, for one is every-where told that the difficulty of securing justice in these republics lies not so much in the corruptibility of judges, as in their tendency to be influenced .by personal partiality. Everything goes by what is called favor.
These contrasts of temperament between North’ and South Americans give rise to different tastes and a different view of life, so that, broadly speaking, the latter are, accordingly, not “sympathetic” either to the former or to Englishmen. To say that they are antipathetic to the people of the United States would be going too far, for there is nothing to make unfriendliness, nor, indeed, is there any unfriendliness. But both North Americans and Englishmen are built on lines of thought and feeling so different from those which belong to South Americans that the races do not draw naturally together, and find it hard to appreciate duly one another’s good qualities.
The use of nicknames has a certain significance. In South America a North American or Englishman is popularly called a “Gringo,” as in North America a person speaking Italian or Spanish or Portuguese is vulgarly called a “Dago.”
Thus we return to the question when we started, and ask again whether there is any sort of unity or community in the two Americas. Are the peoples of these continents a group by themselves, nearer to one another than they are to other peoples, possessing a common character, common ties of interest and feeling? Or does the common “American name” mean nothing more than mere local juxtaposition beyond the Atlantic? Is it, in fact, anything more than a historical accident?
The answer would seem to be that Teutonic Americans and Spanish Americans have nothing in common except two names, the name American and the name Republican. In essentials they differ as widely as either of them does from any other group of peoples, and far more widely than citizens of the United States differ from Englishmen, or than Chileans and Argentines differ from Spaniards and Frenchmen.
Nevertheless, juxtaposition has induced contact, though a contact which we shall find to have been rather political than intellectual or social. It is worth while to examine the attitude of each to the other.
When the Spanish colonies revolted against the Crown of Spain, the sympathy of the United States went out to them profusely, and continued with them throughout the war and long after. Their victories were acclaimed as victories won for freedom and for America, and children were called after the name of Simon Bolivar, whose exploits in Venezuela had early fixed upon him the attention of the world, and have given him a fame in excess of his merits.
The struggling colonists were cheered by this as by the similar sympathy that came to them from,England. They were, as already observed, grateful for the support given them by the diplomacy of Canning and John Quincy Adams, and when they framed their constitutions, took that of the United States for their model. Their regard for the United States, and confidence in its purposes, never quite recovered the blow given by the Mexican War of 1846 and the annexation of California; but this change of sentiment did not affect the patronage and good-will of the United States, whose people, and for a time the English Whigs also, manifested their touching faith that countries called republics must needs be graced by republican virtues and were entitled to favor whenever they came into collision with monarchies. This tendency of mind, natural in the days when the monarchies of continental Europe. were more or less despotic, has begun to die down of late years, as educated men have come to look more at things than at names, and as United States statesmen found themselves from time to time annoyed by the perversity or shiftiness of military dictators ruling in some Spanish-American countries. The great nation has, however, generally borne such provocation with patience, abusing its power less than the rulers of the little ones abuse their weakness. For many years after the achievement by the Spanish colonies of their independence, a political tie between them and the United States was found in the declared intention of the latter to resist any attempt by European Powers either to over-throw republican government in any American state or to attempt annexation of its territory. So long as any such action was feared from Europe, the protection thus promised was welcome, and the United States felt a corresponding interest in their clients. But circumstances alter cases. Today, when apprehensions of the old kind have vanished, and when some of the South American states feel themselves already powerful, one is told that they have begun to regard the situation with different eyes. “Since there are no longer rain-clouds coming up from the east, why should a friend, however well-intentioned, hold an umbrella over us? We are quite able to do that for ourselves if necessary.” ‘in a very recent boot by one of the most acute and thoughtful of North American travelers, there occurs a passage which presents this view :
“Many a Chileno and Argentino resents the idea of our Monroe Doctrine applying in any sense to his country and declares that we had better keep it at home. He regards it as only another sign of our overweening national conceit; and on mature consideration it does seem as though the justification for the doctrine both in its original and in its present form had passed. Europe is no longer ruled by despots who desire to crush the liberties of their subjects. As is frequently remarked, England has a more democratic government than the United States. In all the leading countries of Europe the people have practically as much to say about the government as they have in America. There is not the slightest danger that any European tyrant will attempt to enslave the weak republics of this hemisphere. Furthermore, such republics as Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, Chile and Peru, no more need our Monroe Doctrine to keep them from being robbed of their territory by European nations, than does Italy or Spain. If it be true that some of the others, like the notoriously lawless group in Central America, need to be looked after by their neighbors, let us amend our outgrown Monroe Doctrine, as has already been suggested by one of our writers on International Law, so as to include in the police force of the Western Hemisphere those who have been able to practice self-control.”
As regards the United States there is a balance between attraction and suspicion. The South Americans desire to be on good terms with her, and their wisest statesmen feel the value of her diplomatic action in trying to preserve peace between those of their republics whose smouldering enmities often threaten to burst into flame. More than once in re-cent years this value has been tested. On the other hand, as has already been observed, they are jealous of their own dignity, and quick to resent anything bordering on a threat, even when addressed not to themselves, but to some other republic. It is as the disinterested, the absolutely disinterested and unselfish, Advocate of peace and good-will, that the United States will have most influence in the Western Hemisphere, and that influence, gently and tactfully used, may be of incalculable service to mankind.
The matters in which these republics are wont to imitate or draw lessons from the United States are education, especially scientific and technical education, and engineering. Of the influence upon their constitutions of the North American Federal Constitution I have already spoken. Their publicists continue to follow with attention the decisions given upon the application of its principles to new conditions as they arise, and attach value to the opinions of North American international jurists. Otherwise, there is little intellectual affinity, and still less temperamental sympathy. The South Americans do not feel that the name “American” involves any closer community or cooperation with the great Teutonic republic of the north than it does with any other people or peoples. They are just as much a race or group of peoples standing by themselves as if the lands they occupy had been that entirely detached continent out in the southern seas, supposed to lie far away from all other continents, to which the name of Amerigo Vespucci was first applied.
With whom, then, have the Spanish Americans real affinities of mental and moral constitution? With the peoples of southern Europe. If any one likes to call them the “Latin” peoples, there is no harm in the term so long as it does not seem to ignore the fact that there exist the greatest differences, between Italians and Frenchmen and Spaniards, for whoever has studied the history and the. literature of those people knows that it is’ only the existence of still more marked differences between them and the Teutonic peoples that makes them seem. to resemble one an-other.
It might be supposed that the relations of the Spanish Americans would be most close with their motherland, Old Spain. But these relations are not intimate, and have never been so since the War of Independence. Even in those old colonial days when the ports. were closed to all but Spanish vessels, in order. to stop all trade, export and import, except with the mother country, the days when Englishmen and Dutchmen were detested as heretics, and French-men as dangerous rivals, there was an undercurrent of anti-Spanish feeling. It was chiefly due to the practice of reserving all well-paid posts for natives of Spain. The criollos, as they were called, men born in the colonies, were naturally envious of the strangers, and resented their own exclusion and disparagement. They suffered in many ways, economic as well as sentimental, both from laws issued in Spain and from authority exercised on the spot by men from Europe who did not share their sentiments and flouted their local opinion. Accordingly, when the separation came, there was less sense of the breaking of a family tie than there had been among the North American colonists in the earlier stages of their revolution. This antagonism to Spanish government was, of course, accentuated and envenomed by the long duration of the struggle for independence which in Peru lasted for fifteen years, and in the course of which many severities were exercised by the governors and generals who fought for the Crown. As for the Indians, the oppressions they suffered and the memory of the hideous cruelties with which the rebellion of Tupac Amaru was suppressed, made the name of Spain hateful to them. After the flag of Castile had ceased to fly anywhere on the continent, and the last Spanish officials had departed, there were few occasions for communication of any kind. Spain herself was in a depressed and distracted state for many years after 1825. There is today little trade between her and the New World, nor is there, except to Mexico and Argentina, any large, Spanish immigration.
Where it does exist, it is valued, for the men who come from northern Spain (as most settlers do) are of excellent quality. Family ties between colonists and the motherland have become few or loose. Seldom in Spanish America does one hear any one speak of the place his ancestors came from, as one constantly hears North Americans talk of the English village where are the graves of their forefathers. Seldom do South Americans or Mexicans seem to visit Spain, either to see her ancient cities and her superb pictures or to study her present economic problems. They do not feel as if she had anything to teach them, and her modern literature has apparently little message for them. In all these respects the contrast between the position of Spain towards South America and that of Britain towards North America strikes an Englishman with surprise. If that revival in Spanish literature and art, of which there have recently been signs, should continue, and if Spanish commerce should develop, the position may change, for the tie of language will always have its importance.
I may add in this connection that among the edudated classes of Spanish America one finds few signs of interest in the history of Old Spain which the North Americans take in the history of England. The former have no link of free institutions brought from the old soil to flourish in a new one. Is it be-cause the Conquistadores were Spaniards, or because many of their deeds shock modern consciences, or because it is felt that to honor them would be an offense to Indian sentiment, faint as that sentiment is in Mexico and still fainter in Peru, that there are no statues or other honorific memorials of these brilliant and terrible figures? Even the statue of Queen Isabella the Catholic, which stood in Havana, was shipped back to Spain, after the independence of Cuba had been declared in 1899. There is no monument to Cortez in Mexico, nor to Pizarro in Lima, nor (so far as I know) any statue of any of his companions except one of Pedro de Valdivia, set up on the hill of Santa Lucia in Santiago. where he built his fort and founded the capital of Chile. On the other hand, Cuahtemoc or Cuatemozin, the last of the Aztec kings, has a statue in the park between the city of Mexico and the castle palace of Chapultepec, and the name of Caupolican, the Araucanian chieftain whom the Spaniards shot to death with arrows, like St. Sebastian, is about to be commemorated by a charitable foundation at Temuco in Chile.
Between Italy and Latin America there never were any direct relations except, of course, ecclesiastical relations with Rome, until in recent years Italian immigrants began to pour into Argentina and south-ern Brazil. As many of these go backwards and forwards, and as swift lines of ocean steamers have been established between Buenos Aires and the ports of Italy, there is now a good deal of intercourse, but this has not so far led to any closer connection either political or intellectual. The Italian immigrants belong almost entirely to the scantily educated classes, and have brought with them little that is Italian except their language and their habits of industry.
But are the South Americans really to be classed among south or west European peoples? May they not beif one can speak of them as a whole, ignoring the differences between Chileans, Argentines, and Braziliansa new thing in the world, a racial group with a character all its own?
This is their own view of themselves. It would need more knowledge than I possess either to deny or to affirm it. They are all, except Argentines and Uruguayans, largely Indian or (in Brazil) African in blood. Even the Uruguayans and Argentines strike one as differing at least as much from Spaniards as North Americans differ from Englishmen. They give the impression of being still nations in the making, whose type or types, both the common type of all Spanish America, and the special types of each nation, will grow more sharp and definite as the years roll on and as life becomes for them more rich and more intense.
When this happens and the world of A.D. 2000 recognizes a definite South American type (or types), may there be thence expected any distinctively new contribution to the world’s stock of thought, of literature, of art? Each nation is in the long run judged and valued by the rest of the world more for such contributions than for anything else. There is a sense in which Shakespeare is greater glory to England than the empire of India. Homer and Vergil, Plato and Tacitus are a gift made by the ancient world to all the ages, more precious, because more enduring, than any achievements in war, or government, or commerce.
That there is vitality and virility in the Spanish-American peoples appears from the number of strong, bold, forceful men who have figured in their history, including one, the Mexican Juarez, of pure, and many of mixed, Indian blood. Few, indeed, have shown that higher kind of greatness which lies in the union of large constructive ideas with decisive energy in action, the Napoleonic or Bismarckian gift. In most of the republics, political conditions have been so unstable as to give little scope for constructive statesmanship. Still there is no want of vigor, and it is something to have produced in San Martin one truly heroic figure in whom brilliant military and political talents were united to a lofty and disinterested character.
If Latin America has not yet produced any thinker or poet or artist even of the second rank, this will not surprise any one who knows what was her condition before the War of Independence and what it has been from that time till now. Could any one of those ancient sages whom Dante heard in Limbo, speaking with voices sweet and soft, have been brought back to earth and permitted to survey Europe as it was in the welter of the tenth century, such a one might have thought that art and letters, as well as freedom and order, had forever vanished from the earth.