Guatemala. Secretaría General del Gobierno, Memoria que presenta a la asamblea legislative el secretario general del gobierno del Estado de Guatemala. Al abrirse las sesiones del año de 1826 (Guatemala: Beteta, 1826)
The Constituent Assembly, after having decreed and sanctioned the constitution, found it fit to dissolve itself, leaving the Executive Power with the important charge of proposing it to the entire State. — Faithful to this duty, it has impeded its attention in spreading the rejuvenating spirit of the new code and laws in all places, which were promulgated before and after it.—
Today, the works of the first constitutional legislature begin. — The government pleasantly looks forward to the moment in which it must given an account of what the law has entrusted to it; and, in order to confirm it in exact harmony with article 147 of the Constitution, I shall manifest: what has been done up to now; what is left to be done in the diverse branches of the public administration. — Such is the objective of this report.
The goals of our institutions, whose establishment has been the Executive Power’s responsibility, is dictating to me the order in which I should write the detailed report that the law orders me to present in this session. — I will scrupulously obey it, so that clarity may preside in my concepts and so that these notes may be useful for the legislative body in some way.
One of the duties the Assembly imposed on the Executive Power, and perhaps the most pleasant, has been the promulgation of the State’s constitutional code. — It has been done with the possible solemnity; and all the people saw the President of the Republic and the supreme authorities of the Federation united in this interesting act with the Head of State and those that depend on him.
Allegiance has been sworn to the Constitution across the territory; it has been publicly read in the parishes and it has begun to be observed with due religiosity. The Executive Power has received consecutive official notices, which testify that their agreements on this important point have been precisely observed.
The constitutional elections of representatives, councilors, and magistrates, in conformance with the division of the territory and decrees of this matter, have taken place in the seven departments with order and regularity.
Turbulence and restlessness exist simultaneously even in the most civilized nations, yet, in the exercise of these acts of sovereignty, the people behaved themselves with the moderation that captures a live portrayal of their passive character and love of independence, which promises so much good to them.
Without exceeding the term indicated by the law, the Executive government has issued an exequatur on everything the Council has found fit to sanction. — There are 71 decrees issued by the Assembly. —Their promulgation has been necessary to see them obeyed exactly; because of this, the Government has considered this act to be one of its first duties.— Now it has the satisfaction of assuring the legislative body that all the laws issued by the Assembly are solemnly published.— And with the objective of making them more easily known and noticeable to the inhabitants of the territory, it has agreed to reprint all the decrees, so that, united with the Constitution, they may form a short volume of the state’s first code of laws.
Decree no. 67, regarding the demarcation of territory in seven departments, has fixed the rules with which the duties of the municipalities should be governed and regulated, which it establishes in proportion to the number of inhabitants in each district. — The department heads must propose this law and carry out the consequent benefits promised by its exact and loyal observance.
Due to motives, whose evaluation may be submitted by the Executive government to the Legislature, it has not been deemed convenient to appoint more than two of the three departmental head candidates proposed by the Council. — Nevertheless, the law of its formation has not been paralyzed in many of
Since this same thing prevents the appointment of political auxiliary heads in the districts, those who were previously there will continue until the departments, once established, can propose to the Executive government those who should subrogate them.
The Executive government has the pleasure of announcing to the Legislature that, ever since the Constituent Assembly was dissolved, leaving the villages in profound peace, order has not been altered in any of them. — Various ill-advised people or, rather, those determined to give reign to their dominant vices, committed some disturbances in Antigua Guatemala, alarming the neighborhood quite a bit. — The Government used force to repress the agitators, and at that moment, trust and safety was reestablished in that region. — So that it can be imperturbable in the future, the Government has roused the Supreme Federal Government, so that it can situate a permanent army company there, and this single measure should be enough to produce the desired effect.
The Measles epidemic, which caused so much havoc in 801 and 802 throughout the entire area known as the Kingdom of Guatemala, now seems to threaten this Republic in Chiapas, after having sacrificed innumerable victims in the territory of the Mexican States.
Yet, the government, roused to the effect in accordance with the Federation’s Supreme Government, dictated the most energetic measures to impede its contagion in this Republic. — Various precautionary methods were circulated to debilitate the effects of the epidemic, if it were to enter: the sanitary cordon was established and
The indescribable satisfaction of having managed to keep the most terrible of scourges, which sometimes afflicts the human species, out of the State, through these opportune measures, fell to the Executive government.
The zeal of the government-dependant functionaries has contributed in a large way to the attainment of their desires. — And this special mention is very much due to merit, which they have achieved and which will be appropriately rewarded.
The conservation of the vaccine fluid is of the utmost importance. — If by some natural effect in man, misfortunes are forgotten once they have passed, the vigilance, which awakens the very idea of the suffering that they would cause us, is lessened; the Executive government can prevent that which can reduce us to nothing.
The Protomedicato 1 has explained to the Government that the onerous charge of distributing the pus causes great inconveniences and that the gratification assigned to this important objective cannot be covered in one day.
The Executive government hopes that this point deserves some priority and it will give the Legislature the necessary, related reports, so that it can reach an appropriate resolution as soon as possible.
Only two of these beneficial establishments exist in the State: that of this City and the one in Antigua. — By speaking about them, the Government hopes to absorb the Legislature’s complete attention in this single point. — Those refuges shall always be worthy of that of the sensible man, in which the indigent sick, the orphan, and the widow find a charitable hand that pulls them from the sepulcher and takes care to deposit their ashes in the dirt.
But the state of their income is very deficient. — The Executive government has received the data, which demonstrates that in 825, their income totaled 11,086 pesos, 2 reales, while the sum of its essential expenses has not decreased from 16,572 pesos.
It is very just to say that this deficiency would undoubtedly be greater if the good house administration of the day had not procured a savings of 2,087 pesos, despite hospital stays having grown to 3,813 between this and last year.
This very laudable zeal, with which the charity committee, who currently directs the hospital, has procured its subsistence, should rouse the gratitude of the State Powers. — It should be roused even more by the generous effort with which the brothers prepared to defend the house, voluntarily donating until completing the monthly sum of 500 pesos, from within and outside of their own earnings, so that the number of beds would not be reduced to 55, or, more appropriately speaking, so that the hospital would not close, while the Legislative Assembly covers the deficit that results in its funds.
Upon remembering that this establishment owes its progress and splendor to the generosity of the Spanish throne, from whose treasury they received 10 pesos daily; upon comparing the excessive increase of the entries and exits of sick patients from that time to the present; seeing in this same progression, opposite to the decadence of the hospital’s income, an invincible argument of the imperious necessity to sustain it with new excise taxes; the Executive government must have wanted to have them in its hands so that charitable men, to whose force and generosity we owe today’s house subsistence, can find the strongest incentive of their laudable conatus, in favor of humankind, in the Government’s protection.
The true causes of failure are: the inefficiency of previous governments; the strong worries of the people sustained by the interests of those who believe themselves to be punished in the adoption of this beneficial project; the very measures that the Government has adopted to fulfill it.
But the Government’s efforts would be illusory if they were about trying to make it the owner of this endeavor. — Its hands are inert to be employed in peculations, which are only livened by personal interest. — They are not so in regard to providing all the protection and guarantees that an establishment, so connected with the health of the people and the decorum of the cultured, should have.
It has already manifested on the occasion its ardent desires to see the least constructed one in the State capital, the residence of the highest levels of power, a building as influential in the health of the people as the respected decorum of our temples, which shall also give a true idea of our progress in sanitary policing.
The Government also sees to the assignment of the provided locations, so that the foreigners from different religions can conduct their burials in accordance with their rituals and with the decency they deem appropriate.
The Executive government agreed to create it. — Once the partial cadastres are gathered, a general table is created, which, marking the division of the State, as decreed by the law in seven departments, indicates the subdivisions of districts and the population of each one.— Its total exceeds 512, 120 inhabitants. — Previous data
Taking a retrospective look at the fate of the people en masse, the Executive government happily contemplates that it has improved considerably. It is true that there are still none of those large fortunes among us, which spread wealth and abundance among the capitalists; but there isn’t a multitude of poor people who die of hunger and frequently disrupt the repose of others in highly populated cities. Mendicancy has disappeared in large part and there are very few beggars who, forced to be so, beg for alms in our streets. This proves the abundance of the methods with which our country provides the support of life and its relation to the current public consumption. A pleasing idea that creates hopes for an even more pleasant future!
Domestic trade has had recognized progress with the decrease ofimport duties. It can improve even more with the increase of our population. Since these objectives should never be considered in isolation, it is correct to conclude that the prosperity of the latter is tied to the improvement of the former.
The Executive government, however, believes that the interior traffic 2 would be revitalized even more by the liberty of the laws with respect to contraband. It is very painful to see a merchant, whose chattel capital is worth 200 or 300 pesos, ruined by the punishment of a concealment that does not total 10. The law would be more effective and productive if it fixed the double or quadruple of the excise that it tries to defraud; and this way, it will attack the greed with its own arms. — The order of proceedings is very expensive; and in frauds of small entities, a hearing would suffice
Here is another of the most transcendental points regarding the people’s wellbeing. Nothing can be expected of a country in which the drives are slow, uncomfortable and dangerous, for the same reason that no organized body, whose circulation is stagnant, can fulfill any function.
The state of our roads demands the Government’s zeal– but this zeal will be inefficient if adequate laws do not favor its actions. — We lack good roads and the most necessary are almost impassable during the rainy season, devoid of comfortable lodging, and lack security.
To attempt to construct them all is an illusory endeavor. — Preference for being opened should be given to those roads used to bring in the fruit that is consumed in our market and which circulates the people’s wealth. — Foreigners have given the desired perfection to this matter. The roadwork is already of solid, permanent, and durable construction.
The Executive government will present the Assembly with the calculation of expenditures required to open the roads that are considered most important today. — But, as of now, they announce: that although it seems most obvious to entrust the endeavor, or at least its supervision, to the interest of individuals, it will always be indispensable to establish the duty known as tolls, which, by reimbursing the speculation expenses, provide a stable fund for the repair and conservation of these roads. — This duty is the least costly to the people and those who would undoubtedly pay more with pleasure. — With time, it will form one of the treasury’s most plentiful branches and will impel the construction of all domestic roads,
Our beautiful and expansive countryside is covered in prickly pears. — A spirit of agricultural speculation caused a change that reached all the way to the house porches and there are not enough hands to employ in tillage. — The profits that cochineal farming produced for the first harvesters and the protection of the laws, which exempted that fruit from all duties, created general enthusiasm.
The Executive government is pleased by the good, which promises the people its dedication to agriculture; it is pleased to see the fertility of our fields, which so abundantly provide the necessities of life.
It is true that last year, the harvests of cochineal did not correspond to the harvesters’ expectations, but, since this is not an effect of speculation, nor of causes that influenced its demerit, the Government believes that by next year, they will find that they have completely achieved their desires, and that the multitude of workers will experience the rebirth of the spirit of animation and life, which their work spreads throughout society.
The regional government knows of an increasing number of denunciations of land, which they credit in relation to the progress of agriculture in the territory. Now, comparing its current state with that which existed during the period of our dependence on the Spanish throne, it is important
This part of our wealth has been insignificant to us, until the law, breaking the snares with which a foreign government tied the hands of the speculators, banned these ordinances, created from fiscal interest, which always dominated the Spanish Cabinet’s calculations.
The Central American company, which presides over a child of the country, sends machines from London to explode the mines and cultivate the metals; it will also introduce wealth that will scatter abundance throughout the State, employing a multitude of hands that await the irresistible impulse of interest in order to become productive.
The Executive government, which sees the reality of these goods, shall take opportune measures so that the mint, whose administration commits it by law, acquires the improvement of which it is susceptible.
The Executive government has looked at the foot on which these establishments stand in order to consider in what conditions they should be found. — There are various schools in this court. — Some have gifted teachers; others support themselves by student contributions. — None of them display
A method of teaching, uniform for all schools, clear, simple, and brilliant is a necessity of the times. Its decree corresponds to the Legislature, listening, if it doesn’t see fit, to the Government’s dictum. — Thus, the first rudiments will mold our youth; and learning shall reach even the poor’s huts.
The Executive government owes the establishment of schools in many districts of the State to the zeal of its agents, and we can add that the subsistence of some is the work of the patriotic unselfishness of its political heads. This remarkable circumstance makes its reform even more imperious.
There are two that currently exist. The school of Trent, once famous for the good status of its income and the multitude of its individuals, is reduced today to 18 students, whom it can barely support. That of young children, under the protection of the Venerable Dean and Chapter, is on better footing. — When the general plan of studies is created, these establishments will receive the best of what they are currently capable under the system where the penury of their income has placed them.
But the Executive government cannot prescind calling the attention of the Assembly to absolute abandon, in which the hospital’s school of surgery finds itself. The beneficent zeal of the Dr. Esparragoza gave it all the impulse needed for its improvement. Yet, this hard work could not outlive the existence of such an illustrious professor.
The Government, highly convinced of the school’s importance and the consequential benefits that its reform offered, is occupied in gathering the necessary information in order to propose something that is compatible with the state of its
The protomedicato, which is currently an insignificant body, is an accessory to this reform. — One of its most essential obligations is that of visiting the apothecaries’ shops, prevented by laws still in force from the code of the Indies. — This point, whose immediate influence on the conservation of public health is so remarkable, is almost forgotten today.
Lastly, it has been in the Government’s care to prepare three very talented students for the military school, whose establishment was decreed by the National Constituent Assembly. — The Executive government, roused by the Supreme Federal Government, has moved all possible means to provide the school with other boarding students. — Its desires have been fulfilled in this part; and on the 1st of March, set by its beginning, some will enter to enjoy the benefits of such a useful establishment, and its progress will undoubtedly attract many more.
The reforms, which this establishment demands, are radical. — Its particular structure, gothic work of the dark ages, has become obsolete. — It is a deformity for an institute– where, of course, enlightenment, which has been diffused everywhere, should be able to enter– to be ruled by absurd laws and that they suffer the spirit of imbecility, which presided over its formation.
The University Council nominated many of its individuals to present the reform project, which the National Constituent Assembly decreed. - Its discussion could not be concluded and has remained incomplete.
For this same reason, it is very easy to trace our University’s statutes; and the Government, if the Assembly finds it appropriate, will appoint a commission of educated individuals, who, conforming to the general laws of the material, will create those that should subrogate those constitutions that, with waning national honor, combat the irresistible rule of the time and enlightenment.
The Constituent Assembly decreed that the Supreme Government be asked for a 5 Ɔ 3. peso foreign loan so that a library could begin to be built with that money and that they acquire some machines and instruments useful for the arts and sciences. — The petitioned sum has been prepared and the catalog of books, instruments, and machines, sent to the Government as various lists by the named commissions, has been created. The Secretary of Legation in London, Manuel Barberena, is in charge of buying them, and the Government believes that he will know how to fulfill this service.
The bookstore bequeathed by Mr. Esparragoza to the hospital, of whose absolute abandon the Government has some proof, could be added to the new library. —An account of it shall be given to the Legislature, arranging, in the meanwhile, for this precious inheritance to be placed in secure deposit.
The judicial power, which sustains order and applies the law, is worthy of all consideration. — The Supreme Court, organized in accordance with the law of June 10 of last year, had to defeat some difficulties borne of its own organization.
The Executive government, proceeding in accordance with the Supreme Court, has placed 28 offenders sentenced to prison, who will be released as soon as completing their sentences, at the disposition of the General Command of the Federation, giving an opportune and beneficial example that crimes have not remained contested. — Keeping with the expression of the law, the same Court will publish the result of its works in the exercise of its functions; and the Assembly will find information in its exposition to resolve the reforms so imperiously required by judicial order.
The court of the second instance, provisionally created by the law of June 10, shall continue its free use of its powers, and its progress is speedy, which the additional charge to its duties prescribed.
Educated men, who have been appointed by the Government in accordance with the law, currently serve on this Court district’s three courts of the first instance: that of Escuintla, Totonicapan, and Suchutepequez.
After the Government appoints those who correspond to the other districts, in accordance with their population and area, the Executive government shall provide these judicatures; due to the nature of their functions, they should give preference to law professors.
Despite the zeal of the courts and the inferior judges, the administration of justice is not what it should be. — Thanks to the absurd system run by the Spanish legislation until the period of its political renovation, the system which governs us today is a gothic edifice– half ruined, and composed of a hundred heterogeneous, discordant parts. —
The code of judicial and royal laws, the decisions en banc, the Code of Castile and the Indies, the Bilbao ordinances, and a multitude of pragmatic, royal documents and orders are our codes. — The legislative bodies have dictated many other laws that, by derogating the Spanish ones, partially reforming them, or giving them new strength, have multiplied our legislation to the point that it is impossible to have an exact understanding of what it mandates or prohibits.
And so, the arbitrariness of the judges has been legitimately enthroned and in each proceeding they base themselves on legislature or must leave crimes punished if they are to follow the text of the laws that are contradictory or derogated by the empire of time, which no one can resist.
The Executive government calls the Assembly’s attention to this important matter. — The order of procedures is expensive, full of dilatory and useless formalities in the investigation of the truth. — Everything requires peremptory reforms, and the formation of the civil and criminal codes is of such absolute necessity that the Legislature cannot pretend to misunderstand it.
The commission designated for this purpose must already have their work cut out for them; and the Government believes that they are prepared to obtain the publication of the codes from the deliberating body, whose simplification of laws and obligations and indication of punishments and crimes will provide justice administration with the character of simplicity and firmness that supports public liberties.
These are the objectives proposed by the Executive government for the shaping of prison regulations, which has been entrusted to a commission: introduce a complete reform of the prison system; assure the current good behavior and correction of the prisoners; establish health, cleanliness, order, and industry in these mansions, which, until now, have been infested with physical and moral corruption; increase security while decreasing spending, instead of augmenting it. — When the commission presents it, observations should be made to the Assembly
This very interesting article includes minute details that, having merited the Government’s attention, are not singled out at the moment. — The following are points that the Executive government will opportunely clarify upon informing the Assembly of those that it should be aware of: the harmony that has been conserved with the ecclesiastic authorities in matters of immediate contact; the measures that have been taken, with their agreement, for the abolition of the St. Agustin convent, which will be carried out with many well-founded reasons; the Archbishop’s the effective cooperation regarding public order and integrity of the system; the conduct of the secular and regular clergy in both matters.
Without a treasury, there is no government. — This is an axiom that cannot be answered. — The Executive government, greatly affected by it, has impeded its efforts in organizing the income, which the general law assigned for public administration expenses.
Once the treasury is organized; the functionaries, provided by the regulations for its service, are appointed; and the administrative system of income is put in order, the latter will not be enough to cover its expenses.
The Constituent Assembly has decreed a direct contribution to fill the deficit of 100 Ɔ 4.pesos, which resulted in the present year’s budget. — Upon publishing this law, the Executive government has addressed the people in the frank language of truth and justice. — It hopes that its conviction and zeal– with which it promises to execute the payment of the contribution, satisfying public consumption– will bring about the abolition of other taxes, which it can subrogate.
Since none of the foreign tax receivers’ offices have sent in their accounts, the Government lacks exact information regarding the total yield from income. — It appears, then, that, if the income of stamped papers, specifically, is more productive this year, it is in virtue of the measures that have been dictated for its improved administration.
Productive consumption, which demands the improvement of our institutions, makes the Government believe– in the case of asking the Supreme Government of the Federation for a proper sum from the foreign loan it took on after having gathered information– that the previous legislature judged according to what was necessary for this purpose.
The Executive government will produce them as soon as possible, pleased because by having already proposed the system, which the majority will adopt, the treasury’s will progressively organize itself and the good regime will go as far as to level consumption and products.
Almost insuperable difficulties have opposed the fulfillment of this plan. — With the goal of overcoming them, the Government consulted with the Representative Council on the creation of a consultative board, which, inspecting the isolation of the militia, would give course to the officers’ and soldiers’ requests: it would check nominations and everything regarding the new force’s good order and discipline. — The moderating body agreed with the Executive government, but difficulties of another genre obstructed this project.
Perhaps they would encounter less through the establishment of a General Inspection, whose more economic and expeditious plan would be proposed by the Government, certain that it would offer more advantages.
Due to very established motives, the Executive government has considered employing all its conatus in giving the Federation the share of men that correspond to the State. — This plan will be carried out soon, as much in line with the spirit of the law as with the peoples’ interests.
Upon concluding this brief report of the Executive Power’s jobs, I should say that its relationships with the Republic’s Supreme Government and the Heads of the other states of the union are found on the best footing, on which the harmony and consonance of interests can be placed. — The spirit of independence brings with it the spirit of union; and this union should not limit itself to one single point, but rather, should extend itself to all the individuals of the same political body, who are actually members of the same family.
I have already informed the Assembly, with the clarity and simplicity that I proposed, of what has been done and what is left to be done in the diverse branches of the administration. — The Executive government would like for the scenario that I have outlined to be completely satisfactory, but the course of our political revolutions have barely given time to propose the new system.
The people love order; they enjoy peace that unites goodwill around the law. — This is obedience and respect for the Government; and here is the best opportunity for the deliberating body to give the firmness and perfection, of which they are susceptible, to the institutions by methodizing its efforts.
If it found it fit to occupy itself with the objectives to which I have called your attention, the Executive government will communicate the notions that its experience has ministered and the reports that it esteems appropriate.