UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE"Now that Rufinito has made clear the problems of our independence, I am going to allow myself to speak of them to you. I believe that the concept of independence took root in Santo Domingo at the beginning of the 19th century, but was not made clear to the people or perfected until 1873. The first Independence was, without doubt, that of Nuñez de Caceres; not clearly conceived, perhaps, but independence to be sure. That of 1844 was conscientious and defined by the founders, but not for all the people, not even for certain leadership groups. To liberate ourselves from the Haitians was just and natural, but did all the people understand that we had to be completely independent? This is how we saw the annexation to Spain, and we know that, if for some this annexation was wrong from the start, for others it failed in its implementation; for these reasons they fought against the annexation. And the strange thing is, then, that not even this failure was enough to banish all thoughts of foreign intervention, and that the government of Baez was still thinking about the United States. Nevertheless by that time the idea had matured, the revolution of 1873 overthrew Baez, and not only Baez, but also his enemy Santana; overthrew, in sum, the regimen that prevailed during the first Republic, and banished definitively all ideas of annexation to a foreign country. This for me is the real meaning of November 25th; the work of this youthful, anonymous movement was to fix the consciousness of nationality.
Since then, the most grievous accusation that we can make to a government is to denounce it before the people as likely to diminish the national integrity; and it is noteworthy that until now that accusation in all cases seems to have been unfounded. The year 1873 signifies for Dominicans what the year 1867 means for Mexico the moment in which the process of understanding the idea of nationalism was completed.
Our period of Independence, and thereby, our process of moral independence, lasts, for me, from 1821 to 1873. During this half century, the most heroic moment, the apex, is 1844. However, that date must be considered as the middle, not as the beginning. The independence of the Republic as a fact, as a country, I believe, must date from 1821, although as an effective reality it did not exist until 1844, nor as a moral reality until 1873.
It is logical independence, for the countries of America, means independence from Europe, not from the other countries of America, although these have seen of races and customs so different from those or the people over whom they ruled (as happened in our case) that the domination seemed like tyranny. Surely I am not the only Dominican who has seen himself in this conflict when a Hispanic American asks us the date of our independence, we respond, naturally, 1844; but since the question is frequently asked whether Spain at that time still had battles in America, we have to explain that we had been separated from Spain since 1821; therefore, we declare tacitly that is the date of Dominican independence.
I do not claim, nor by any means affirm, that 1821 was our most glorious date. It is not: our symbolic date must always be that which the popular vote selected, the 27th of February, not because it was the beginning, but because it commemorates the most serious and most deeply thought out work, the most heroically realized (so much so that the people themselves did not understand it, according to that "Rufinito" of yours) in the fifty years that I have called "our period of independence."
(Passages from the letter of Pedro Henriquez Arena to Federico Garcia Godoy La Vega, Dominican Republic. Mexico,1909.)
THE EPHEMERAL INDEPENDENCE. 1821 "One day, on the first of December of 1821, the Separation of the Spanish part of Santo Domingo and its reunification with Colombia was proclaimed. This step was very risky. The population was small Barely 80,000 inhabitants public wealth was diminished; there was no tax revenue; commerce was insignificant; public opinion vacillated or was in opposition, rooted in its old habits. How would they sustain the emerging political entity, without an army, against a neighbor ten times more numerous, organized, warlike, equipped with resources of all types, incited by the strong desire to seize the entire territory of the island, and made arrogant by the growing triumphs that had produced Haitian unity? To this day, the causes that moved Jose Nunez de Caceres to separate his country from Spain in such difficult moments remain a secret, although it can be noted that he had understood the dangers of the undertaking because he did not proclaim absolute independence which perhaps was what he wanted but rather, the unification with Colombia, which offered him a greater probability of success."
Emiliano Tejera, "Monument to Duarte," Santo Domingo, Published by Garcia Brothers, 1884.
THE HAITIAN OCCUPATION. 1822-1844 "With the entrance of (Jean Pierre) Boyer into the city of Santo Domingo on February 9, 1822, the activities of the Haitian government began. New laws and governmental practices were substituted for the colonial system of the old metropolis, which had not seen any changes during the brief period of independence, from December of 1821 to February of 1882. Although, since that time, the entire island had been governed by the same laws, the conquered territory was the object of diverse executive dispositions and legislative actions, representative of the character of the Haitian domination. Boyer had achieved the political unity his predecessors dreamed of thanks to his strength and astuteness but took the route opposite to that of the realization of social unity and indivisibility, which Nunez de Caceres had indicated to him were impossible in his prophetic speech made when handing him the symbolic keys to the city."
Emilio Rodriguez Demorizi, Actions of the Haitian Government, 1821 1843." In Haitian Invasions of 1801, 1805 and 1822, 1955.
JUAN PABLO DUARTE AND DIEZ FOUNDER OF THE REPUBLIC "...Dedicated from his most tender years to study and to meditation, this enthusiastic, free spirited youth could not resign himself to living peacefully with the noise of his homeland in chains. The idea of freeing it from the yoke of Haiti became his only thought, and to this he sacrificed all. Indefatigable in his purpose, he brought together a group of friends who achieved his difficult proposal successfully to raise the spirit of a people who had been subjugated and impoverished for twenty years. At last came the dawn of February 27, 1844, crowning with success the noble aspiration of that disinterested patriot, whose only dream of glory was eradicating the stain of occupation that was an affront to his country."
Obituary of Duarte, published by Felix Maria Del Monte in the Dominican newspaper "The Observer," founded in Santo Domingo in May of 1876.
THE TRINITARIANS""My friends," said Duarte after a long period of meditation "we are united here for the purpose of ratifying that which we have conceived, to conspire and to cause the people to rise up against the Haitian government, with the goal of forming a free and independent state called the Dominican Republic; to this we pledge our honor and commit our lives. The situation in which we have placed ourselves will be very serious, and once we have begun this journey, turning back will be impossible. But now, at this moment, there is still time to decline all nature of commitment. Therefore, if anyone desires to leave and to abandon the noble cause of freedom for our beloved country..."
José María Serra, "Notes for the History of the Trinitarians Founders of the Dominican Republic,", Santo Domingo, 1887.
THE FOUNDING OF THE TRINITARIA. 1838 "... Duarte continued And so, let us take this irrevocable oath before God. And unfolding the page on which it was written, having given each of them a copy in code, he read it slowly, in a loud and clear voice, and when he was through, he signed it, and they all read and signed it. The nine crosses corresponded, in order, to the following names: Juan Pablo Duarte, Juan Isidro Perez, Juan Nepomuceno Ravelo, Felix Ruiz, Benito Gonzalez, Jacinto de la Concha, Pedro Pina, Felipe Alfau, Jose Maria Serra."
José María Serra, "Notes for the History of the Trinitarians Founders of the Dominican Republic," Santo Domingo l887.
THE TRINITARIAN OATH"In the name of the Holy, Venerable and indivisible Trinity of God Almighty: I swear and I promise, on my honor and on my conscience, in the hands of our President Juan Pablo Duarte, to dedicate my person, my life and my property to the definitive separation from the Haitian government, and to establish a free republic that shall be called the Dominican Republic, that shall have a tricolor flag in quarters of red and blue, divided by a cross of white. In the meantime, we shall be Known as the Trinitarians, with the sacred motto: God, Country and Liberty. This I promise before God and the world. If I comply, God will protect me; and if not, may He not hold it against me, and may my companions punish my perjury and my treason should I betray them."
THE TRINITARIANS"When the last one had signed, with the page open on the left, and pointing to the crosses with his right hand, Duarte said, "The cross is not the symbol of suffering; it is the symbol of redemption. under his authority the Trinitaria was formed, with each of the nine members pledged to its continuation, even if only one of them lived, until they had achieved the goal of redeeming the country from Haitian power."
José María Serra, "Notes for the History of the Trinitarians Founders of the Dominican Republic," Santo Domingo, 1887.
FRANCISCO SANCHEZ DEL ROSARIO FATHER OF THE COUNTRY"On February 27, 1844, a young man who lived wandering and exiled by the Haitian government, and whose funeral had already been held, appeared as if in an apparition to his fellow citizens, calling them to arms. God, Country and Liberty were his war cries, and his heroic emblem a crossed flag. The Dominicans responded to this sublime alert with all the enthusiasm of patriotism, and a new republican star shone in the skies of America. . . . The first soldier of independence, he died with the nationality and independence of the country. In 1844 he became a great and heroic public figure, and died a great and heroic man in 1861."
Manuel Rodríguez Objío, "Relations," 1870.
MATIAS RAMON MELLA, FATHER OF THE COUNTRY "He was born on February 25, 1816, and the first years of his precious youth were spent in the despotic shadow of Haitian domination. That soul, chosen by God for great plans that in His holy judgment were being prepared, knew how to respond to his destiny, always keeping alive in the sanctuary of his heart the noble virtue of patriotism. In imitation of Hannibal, when his father raised him to the holy altar and he swore eternal enmity toward the Romans, he too swore implacable hatred to the oppressors. Hence, We could always be found among the sons of the people in their diverse activities, and at the side of his companions to punish the grievances and annoyances that they received at the hands of the oppressors. From then on, he sought the ties of friendship that joined all those who could contribute to the idea of separatism in any way. And in conclusion, he risked his life to further the cause by performing the difficult and important tasks assigned to him by his party."
Father Dr. Adolfo Alejandro Nouel. "ORATION," Cathedral of Santo Domingo, February 27, 1891, during the Apotheosis of General Matias Ramon Mella.
THE DRAMATIC SOCIETY "Therefore, they resolved to create an amateur dramatic society that, with the pretext of producing plays, gave the members the right to hold meetings. The Haitian government, seeing in that society nothing more than foolishness, gave their permission, not without having a Colonel named Santillana, head of the Artillery Field, appear at times before a judge to give testimony as to whether or not certain dramatic pieces should be censored, the type of decorations that were used, the size of their productions, etc.; and who assured the government that not only was this a childish activity, "But that it would be good if the Haitian young people imitated the Dominicans. . . "
Felix Maria Del Monte historic Rejections of Santo Domingo," Santo Domingo, 1852.
THE PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY "Every day new recruits were incorporated into the Dominican crusade; to show who the recruits were, they used the names of the colors of their emblems. Therefore, when the general counted the number of new patriots, he said so many yellows, so many greens, so many blues, and so on, and thus each of the founders had his pseudonym and an emblem color. Afterward, they formed a philanthropic society; their sessions were public (the speeches)."
Rosa Duarte, "Notes."
THE DECLARATION OF JANUARY 16 1844 "Thus, when the Dominicans thought that the right moment had arrived for the call to freedom, they decided, as liberators conscious of their historic responsibility, to compose the document of their solemn determination the declaration by the peoples of the eastern part of the island that was Hispaniola, or of Santo Domingo, stating the causes of their separation from the Republic of Haiti, dated January 16, 1844 in Santo Domingo, a few days before the Dominican Republic was proclaimed. Therefore, the first official document of the Nation, with which our Collection of Laws was begun, is properly considered the Declaration of Separation from Haitian Domination, and whose principals were the norm in the organization of the State which came into being on February 27, 1844."
Emilio Rodriguez Demorizi "The Declaration of Dominican Separation and the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America," 1944.
THE FIRST DOMINICAN FLAG "To achieve, then, the goal desired by the separatists, it was necessary to give to the flag that was to serve as the symbol of Dominican nationality a meaning that was diametrically opposed, either choosing colors different from those of the Haitian flag, or combining these colors with the white that they considered a principal of discord, which would be for the Dominicans a symbol of peace and harmony. Inspired by this belief, and their patriotic faith Kindled by the doctrines of the Christian religion, the national leader, searching in the symbol of redemption for the way to resolve this difficult problem, conceived the great idea of separating the colors of the Haitian flag with a white cross, to signify to the world in this way that the Dominican people, entering into a free life, were proclaiming the union of all races linked by civilization and Christianity."
Jose Gabriel Garcia, "The Separatist Idea," 1883.
THE OVERTHROW "The solemn hour had arrived: a group of patriots anxiously awaited those who were late in a distant and solitary part of the city called La Misericordia, at the foot of Saint Giles Fort. . . One of the band finally arrived, excited and out of breath "I think they have discovered everything, " he said. "A patrol has seen following me, and I had to take the long way around in order to get here. " These words put fear into the few that were listening; a frightened one already spoke of returning home and leaving the glorious project. "NO," a robust, boyish voice replied firmly, carelessly disturbing the quiet night. "WE CANNOT TURN BACK. COWARDLY OR VALIANT, WE MUST ALL GO TO THE END. LONG LIVE THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!
He spoke, and a loud firing of his gun noisily accented the heroic cry. No one hesitated then: everyone renounced their lives and ran toward the venerable Conde Gate. The bold shot made by the intrepid RAMON MELLA announced to the world the birth of the Dominican Republic."
Manuel De Jesus Galvan, February, 1883.
THE PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE
FEBRUARY 27, 1844"I remember with pleasure that outburst of pure patriotism with which, on the night of February 27 in the year 1844, with the cry of separation, God, Country and Liberty this people became an independent nation called the Dominican Republic. I hear in mind the memorable day that followed that night of triumph, on which all Dominicans, with great joy, complemented each other for the glory they had obtained; and those moving scenes that caused such rejoicing will never be erased from my imagination. There was such enthusiasm! Such excitement among the people! What harmony in everyone's ideas! Oh, yes! They were a people who had just torn to pieces the infamous tyranny to which despotism had despicably yoked them; they were gentlemen, a people enlivened by the first gust of the air of liberty, focusing their attention on the sole objective of confusing their tyrant.
Father Fernando Arturo de Merino, Sermon Of February 27, 1860," Cathedral of Santo Domingo.
CHRONOLOGY OF GOVERNMENTS AND LEADERS
OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, 1844-1874FIRST REPUBLIC 1844-1861 PROVISIONAL GOVERNING BOARD:
• February 28, 1844:
Francisco Sanchez del Rosario, Joaquin Puello, Remigio del Castillo, Tomas Bobadilla, Manuel Jimenes, Ramon Matias Mella.
CENTRAL GOVERNING BOARD:
• March 1, 1844:
Tomas Bobadilla, President; Manuel Jimenes, Vice President; Manuel Maria Valverde, Francisco Javier Abreu, Felix Mercenario, Carlos Moreno, Ramon Echavarria, Francisco Sanchez del Rosario, Jose Maria Caminero, Ramon Matias Mella. Silvano Pujol, Secretary.
• March 11, 1844:
Tomas Bobadilla, President; Carlos Moreno, Ramon Echavarria, Francisco Javier Abreu, Jose Maria Caminero, Felix Mercenario.Silvano Pujol, Secretary.
• April 19, 1844:
Tomas Bobadilla, President; Manuel Jimenes, Vice President; Jose Maria Caminero, Ramon Echavarria, Carlos Moreno, Jose Ramon Delorve, Manuel Maria Valverde, Jose Tomas Medrano,Juan Pablo Duarte. Silvano Pujol, Secretary.
• May 6, 1844:
Tomas Bobadilla, President; Manuel Jimenes, Vice President; Ramon Echavarria, Jose Maria Ramirez, Francisco Sanchez del Rosario, Manuel Maria Valverde, Carlos Moreno, Jose Tomas Medrano. Silvano Pujol, Secretary.
• June 5, 1844:
Jose Maria Caminero, President; Carlos Moreno, Francisco Sanchez del Rosario, Tomas Bobadilla, Jose Tomas Medrano, Juan Pablo Duarte, Felix Mercenario. Silvano Pujol, Secretary.
• June 5, 1844:
In addition, the signatures of Manuel Jimenes and Ramon Echavarria appear in another decree of the same date.
• June 9 to July 12, 1844:
Francisco Sanchez del Rosario, President
• July 13, 1844:
Pedro Santana is named leader.
• July 16, 1844:
On this date the Board is reorganized and Telesforo Objio and Toribio Lopez Villanueva are added.
• July 24, 1844:
Pedro Santana, President and Supreme Leader; Manuel Jimenes, Jose Ramon Delorve, Toribio Manon, Felix Mercenario Tomas Bobadilla, Carlos Moreno, Lorenzo Santamaria, ad hoc Secretary.
• July 27, 1844:
Pedro Santana, President and Supreme Leader; Felix Mercenario, Jose Ramon Delorve, Manuel Jimenes, Toribio Mafion, Tomas Bobadilla, Juan Tomas Medrano. Manuel Cabral Bernal, ad hoc Secretary.
• August 22, 1844:
Pedro Santana, President and Supreme Leader; Manuel Jimenes, Tomas Bobadilla, Felix Mercenario, Toribio Manon, Jose Tomas Medrano, Norberto Linares, Toribio Lopez Villanueva. Felix M. Marcano, ad-doc Secretary.
• August 29, 1844:
Pedro Santana, President and Supreme Leader; Felix Mercenario, Tomas Bobadilla Rudecindo Ramirez, Telesforo Objio, Jose Tomas Medrano, Toribio Manon. Deputy Secretary: Toribio Lopez Villanueva
PRESIDENT THE REPUBLIC:
November 14, 1844 to August 4, 1848.
COUNCIL OF SECRETARIES OF STATE:
(Domingo de la Rocha, Justice and PubIic Instruction; Jose Maria Caminero, Housing, Commerce and Foreign Relations; Felix Mercenario, Interior and the Police; and Manuel Jimenes, War and the Navy) August 4 to September 8, 1848.
September 8, 1848 to May 29, 1849.
May 30 to September 24, 1849. Although elected, Santiago Espaillat did not accept.
September 24, 1849 to February 15, 1853.
February 15, 1853 to June 1, 1856. Manuel de Regla Mota: (Vice President, in charge of Executive Power): January 2 to May 30,1855. July 2 to September 5, 1855. MANUEL DE REGLA MOTA:
June 1 to October 9, 1856.
October 8, 1856 to June 12, 1858.
JOSE DESIDERIO VALVERDE:
July 7, 1857 to August 31, 1858.
June 27, 1858 to March 18, 1861. Antonio Abad Alfau (Vice President, in charge of Executive Power): April l to May 1, 1859. May 11 to May 27, 1859. June 30 to November 18, 1859.
ANNEXATION TO SPAIN 1861-1865 CAPTAIN GENERAL PEDRO SANTANA:
March 18, 1861 to July 20, 1862.
CAPTAIN GENERAL FELIPE RIBERO Y LEMOINE:
July 20, 1862 to October 22, 1863.
CAPTAIN GENERAL CARLOS DE VARGAS Y CERVETO:
October 23, 1863 to March 30, 1864.
CAPTAIN GENERAL JOSE DE LA GANDARA Y NAVARRO:
March 31, 1864 to July 11, 1865.
RESTORATION AND SECOND REPUBLIC: 1863-1874 JOSE ANTONIO SALCEDO:
September 14, 1863 to October 10, 1864.
October 10, 1864 to January 24, 1865.
BENIGNO FILOMENO DE ROJAS:
January 24 to March 24, 1865.
PEDRO ANTONIO PIMENTEL:
March 25 to November 15, 1865.
JOSE MARIA CABRAL:
August 4 to November 15, 1865.
November 15 to December 8, 1865.
December 8, 1865 to May 29, 1866.
(Gregorio Luperon,Pedro Antonio Pimentel and Federico de Jesus Garcia):May 1 to August 22, 1866.
JOSE MARIA CABRAL:
August 22, 1866 to January 31, 1868.
January 31 to February 13, 1868.
BOARD OF GENERALS IN CHARGE OF EXECUTIVE POWER:
(Jose Hungria, Antonio Gomez and Jose Ramon Luciano): February 13 to May 2, 1868.
May 2, 1868 to January 2, 1874.
IGNACIO MARIA GONZALEZ:
November 25, 1873 to January 21, 1874.
Aristides Inchaustegui "Chronology of Governments and Leaders of the Dominican Republic 1844 1977", Dominican Studies, Vol. VI, No. 36, May June 1978, Santiago, Dominican Republic.
DOMINICAN HAITIAN WAR. 1844 1856 "Do not listen to those who cowardly think to intimidate you, spreading alarming rumors about the coming Haitian invasion, to reduce you to total extermination, whose enterprise the entire world would judge by comparing it with the spirit of civilization that reigns everywhere and the generosity with which we have conducted ourselves. Even if it were so, we would resist them strongly, our bodies serving as bulwarks to those who dare invade our territory, make war on us and strip us of our rights. They would die with honor and glory those whose destiny had been determined by fate, and the rest of us would be assured of a country that we did not have before, to be able one day to sing hymns to liberty and to the Dominican Republic. Long live religion. /Long live the Country. /Long live liberty." Central Governing Board: "Passage from the Proclamation to the Dominicans," March 10, 1844.
BATTLES WON BY THE DOMINICANS OVER THE HAITIANS AND OUTSTANDING HEROES•Azua, 3 19 1844: General Pedro Santana • Santiago, 3 30 1844: General Jose Maria Imbert and General Fernando Valerio •Tortuguero, (Naval), 4 23 1844: Commanders Juan Bautista Cambiaso and Juan Bautista Maggiolo • Caciman, 7 13 1845: General Antonio Duverge •Estrelleta, 9 21 1845: General Jose Joaquin Puello a Beler, 10 27 1845: General Francisco Antonio Salcelo (Tito) • El Numero, 4 17 1849: General Pedro Santana • Las Carreras, 5 4 1849: General Pedro Santana •Santome, 12 22 1855: General Jose Maria Cabral •Cambronal, 12 22 1855: General Francisco Sosa • Sabana Larga, 1 24 1856: General Fernando Valerio.
THE RETURN OF DUARTE. MARCH 15.1844 "Duarte arrives in Santo Domingo at midnight ... The neighbors get up and light their Louses, displaying flags in the windows. They come from all over to congratulate the family. It would be seven in the morning when a commission from the Central Board went down to the dock to receive them, with the order to disembark The commission was accompanied by the troops, the workers, and the Archbishop(*), who was the first to embrace him when he landed, saying, "Hail to the Father of the Country! With the Archbishop(*) were the priests, who loved him very much and finally, the people, hailing the hero who had achieved this great accomplishment. As he stepped into the land, a canon from the fort saluted him in homage, and all was excitement and joy." Jose Maria Serra "Letter to Father Fernando Arturo de Merino," 188? (*) Named in 1848 (j.ch.ch )
THE BATTLE OF AZUA. MARCH 19, 1844 "The Haitians have provoked hostilities, and have attacked us without any notice, and without responding to the official notes we have sent to their President. The affront has only added to their former vexations, thinking undoubtedly that by their presence alone they would dominate us again to treat us better than ever; but the Omnipotent One who protects our cause has wanted our arms to be victorious in the three encounters we have had with them in Neiba and Azua, particularly on the day of the 19th, on which the number of dead and wounded on their side was considerable, causing them to abandon the battlefield after three hours of combat. Central Governing Board: Passages from the Proclamation to the People and the Army," March 21, 1844.
THE BATTLE OF SANTIAGO. MARCH 30 1844 ' Some plausible news has just strengthened the just cause that we have embraced. The arrogance of our oppressors not only has succumbed in Santo Domingo, but furthermore, according to the communications we received during the night from Santiago, we have the satisfaction of announcing that our arms have prevailed. The battlefields are strewn with the bodies of the enemy, since our oppressors dared to tighten even more the chains that violently tied us to them." Central Governing Board: Passages from the Proclamation to the Dominicans," April 2, 1844.
THE BATTLE OF TORTUGUERO. APRIL 1884"Our victorious arms on the banks of the Guayubin and on the overflowing Yaque have completely repelled the villainous soldiers from the North. Victorious also in the unfortunate town of Azua, they have admired the army from the South, and by the same token have surely upset their President. Informed, more or less, of the weak forces that the Haitians might have in the port of Azua, we resolved to arm some ships, forming a naval expedition that advanced on them with the objective of attack; the beaches of Tortuguero were immortalized with what our schooners, the Dominican Separation and the Little Maria, have accomplished. Such was the result of the first encounter by sea, and as our cause is just and acceptable in the sight of God, He has protected us, and there is no doubt of a complete triumph over our oppressors." Central Governing Board: Message to the People and the Army," April 23, 1844.
THE FIRST CONSTITUTIONAL CONGRESS"Honorable Representatives let us not forget that the Nation has put its destiny in our Lands. If in responding with dignity to their trust we satisfy their needs and desires, we will earn the blessings of the people whose happiness we will have worked for; but if in neglecting our duties, we sacrifice the country to self interest and personal gain, you may be sure that our names will be passed down to posterity charged with the terrible but just curse of the victims of our passion. Let us congratulate ourselves with the hope that this will not happen, and that the same hand that has thus far directed our noble efforts will complete his work, giving us the wisdom to bestow on our beloved country a constitution worthy of the Dominicans." Manuel Maria Valencia President of the Sovereign Constitutional Congress, (Speech given at the first session, September 24, 1844).
THE CONSTITUTION OF SAN CRISTOBAL. NOVEMBER 6 1844 Since the works of man are never entirely perfect, despite all the effort that people put into the writing of their Basic Law, it is always necessary to amend some of its dispositions... It can he sail that our constitution was something improvised due to the Dominican people's sudden change from the ominous yoke of the Haitians to the liberty that they enjoy today. Furthermore, we did not have the best resources available to ensure that the work would be completed and that it would fulfill everyone's desires; with public instruction entirely suppressed, denied intercourse with civilized nations and dealing only with cruel oppressors, it was not possible for us to reach the level of those nations. In spite of this disadvantageous position, we developed our political code with the deepest wisdom and meditation, consigning to it the guarantee of the unwritten natural rights of man, and organizing a republican government with all the conditions necessary for its preservation and enhancement, except for a few small flaws..." Juan Nepomuceno Tejera, Constitutional Delegate. 1854.
THE IDEA OF THE PROTECTORATE "In Santo Domingo there is a people whose only desire is to exist, and they have proclaimed themselves independent of all foreign powers, and a miserable fraction who has always Seen against this law, against this desire of the Dominican people, achieving always by means of intrigue and sordid dealings to take advantage of the situation and to make the Dominican people appear to be different from what they really are. This fraction, or to be exact, this faction, has Seen, is, and always will be, less Dominican. They will be seen as such in our history, representing all antirational parties, and a criminal enemy of all our revolutions; and if not, they will be seen as MINISTERIAL, during Boyer's time, and then as RIVIERISTS, and the 27th of February had not yet occurred, when they were seen as FRENCH PROTECTIONISTS, and later as AMERICAN ANNEXATIONISTS, and after that as SPANIARDS, and today they still claim to wear the coat of the vindictive public with yet another annexation, thus lying to all the nations about the political faith they do not possess, and all this in the name of the country, from those who neither have nor deserve another country, but only the mire of their miserable degradation. Juan Pablo Duarte Letter to the Minister of Foreign Relations of the Restoration Government, Caracas, May 7, 1865.
THE ANNEXATION TO SPAIN. MARCH 18 1861 'Santana very quickly understood the urgency of the case and that he must not miss the opportunity. Therefore, when on March 18, 1861 Santo Domingo already had a well established and capable city government, he proposed before the councilmen that which everyone had known for several months, and being all of the same opinion as the President of what was no longer a republic, he drew up a declaration of voluntary annexation. The Tower of Homage lowered the tricolor flag and replaced it with the flag of Castile, with a twenty one gun salute. The authorities proceeded to the Cathedral, where a Te Deum was sung. With that first act the clergy began to demonstrate their opposition to the Spanish domination, and announced the continuing war would have to be waged. Santana was nervous until he saw the conclusion of the comedy that he presented. . . The government of Santo Domingo informed the captain generals of Cuba and Puerto Rico of what had occurred, asking that they send troops to take possession of the island that was being rejoined to its former mother country." Ramon Gonzalez Tablas "History of the Domination and Last War of Spain in Santo Domingo," in universal Correspondence, Madrid, 1870.
THE GOVERNMENT OF ANNEXATION. 1861 1863 "Santana's personal situation had been entirely cleared up, since he had received from Colonel Rizo the assurance that the Spanish government would approve his documents, which he immediately chose to make public in repeated proclamations, as well as the announcement of the honors and compensation that he received from the royal munificence: the rank of Captain General of the island, the title of Marquis of Carreras, a lifetime pension, and last but not least, an official chair among the Founding Fathers of the Kingdom. All this seemed to give new spirit to the struggle, and his initiative was such that he gave himself up without reserve to the authoritarian spirit that had motivated him, that from his earliest dispositions he saw the voice of Pelaez raised before the highest Spanish authority on the island of Cuba. None of this is strange in Santana, as he had just realized his greatest dream, the most gratifying aspiration of his life, and like one who longs to possess something for a long time and then receives it, he gave himself up completely to the unlimited pleasure of the good fortune that had just provided him with such riches' Jose De la Gandara, "Annexation and War in Santo Domingo," Madrid, 1884.
THE MARTYRDOM OF SANCHEZ, JULY, 1861 "Commanded by a few Dominican officers and by one or another of those who changed their minds, the neighbors from the town of cercado drove the rebels out, pursuing them over the mountains until many of them crossed the border, not without leaving behind several prisoners, among whom, it can be noted, was General Sanchez, who had been gravely wounded. The number of prisoners rose to twenty-one. On Santana's orders they were subjected to a drastic and irregular proceeding and were executed on July 4th...
...Those executions constituted '...a gross and unspeakable act of tyranny,' for, according to the eyewitnesses, they were condemned in what would only be called a parody of a court martial, incapable of satisfying in any way the legitimate demands of a rational proceeding. Brought to this court martial were the accused, who were treated as enemies, not as prisoners. They were condemned to death, and this sentence was carried out in a way that is repugnant to remember, for while some were shot, others were beaten or hacked to death, an act that was objected to by a commander of the Crown's regiment, who happened to be in San Juan with this company." General Jose de La Gandara, "Annexation and War in Santo Domingo," Madrid, 1884
CAUSES OF THE RESTORATION, 1863 "We, the inhabitants, of the Spanish part of the island of San Domingo, do, by means of the present Declaration of Independence, make evident before God, the whole world and the Throne of Spain, the just and legal causes that have obliged us to take up arms in order to restore the Dominican Republic and reconquer out freedom, the first, the most precious of rights by which man was favored by the Supreme Creator of the Universe, thereby justifying out orderly conduct and out indispensable work, when other soft and persuasive methods have not been enough to pursude the Throne of Castle that our annexation to the Crown was not a voluntary act, but the treacherous desire of General Pedro Santana and his followers who, in desperation, seeing their imminent fall from power, made the decision to hand over the Republic, gained by great and bloody sacrifices, with the pretext of annexation to the power of Spain, permitting the flag with the cross to be lowered after it had been raised at the cost of the blood of the Dominican people and with the sad memory of a thousand gallows." "Passages from the Declaration of Independence,"
Santiago, September 14, 1863
CAUSES OF THE RESTORATION, 1863 "Scorn, contempt, marked arrogance, persecution and undeserved and scandalous hangings are the only results that we sacrificed lambs received from the subordinates of the Spanish Throne into whose hands our fate has been delivered. First, devastation of our population, wives without husbands, children without parents, the loss of all out interests and misery, these are the wages we have earned from out forced and deceitful annexation to the Spanish Throne. Al this we have lost, but we still have out independence and out freedom, for which we are willing to spill the last drop of out blood. If the Spanish government is political, if they are concerned about their interests and about ours as well, they must be convinced that it is not possible to subjugate a people who, for a certain amount of time have enjoyed their freedom, without exterminating the last of its men... Your Majesty has been deceived by the perfidy of he who was out President, General Pedro Santana, and by his followers; that which has had a corrupt beginning cannot become valid with the passing of time." Passages from the Declaration of Independence," Santiago, September 14, 1863
THE RESTORATION AS A SOCIAL WAR, 1863-1865 "It is necessary to remember that this revolution is not like the one of July 7th. The latter was a revolution of a few men who dragged the masses down with them. In the current revolution, it was the masses who rose up, dragging the others with them. In the revolution of July, the masses put themselves at the disposition of the intellectuals; in this one, the intellectuals have become devoted to the masses. In the revolution of July there were a half dozen individuals who committed themselves; in their present revolution all the people are committed; at any rate, we can say to them, 'Dominicans: we have joined our fate to yours, giving the nation what little intelligence we have and out name, after having sacrificed all that we had. Together we will run all the risks of the war...Today it is not a half dozen men who are committed; it is thousands, who would sooner cross over piles of bodies than let themselves be deceived by a few villains.' " Passages from the Editorial "Political Principals of the Republic,"
Official Bulletin, Santiago, Number 1, January 10, 1864.
THE RESORATION OF THE GOVERNMENT, 1863 "For the men of the Restoration their task was not a simple, local revolution or one of mere nationalism, but a more altruistic revolution, directed toward all of America, equal to and in favor of democracy and against colonialism. In their epic proclamations the exemplary Government of Santiago not only directed themselves to out people; they also directed themselves to the continent, declaring that they observed with pleasure the march of the Revolution and that they had strengthened their relations abroad; that they could and should assure us that out independence was consolidated and that the progressive march of liberty on American soil was already an established fact.
And in a grandiloquent period, worthy of the stage set among the ruins of the city, the paladins of Santiago boasted that they were attracting the attention of the world." Emilio Rodriguez Demorizi, "In Praise of the Restoration Government," Santiago, 1963
THE HEROES OF THE RESTORATION "The immortal leaders of the memorial Dominican Restoration have been mistreated, insulted, defamed, persecuted and abandoned by their indomitable valor, their self-denial and their sacrifices, they saved the country from foreign domination, and aided valiantly by the generation of their glorious era, they fulfilled their responsibility, inspired by an unimposed patriotism. They struggled indefatigably, without respite, for the freedom and the welfare of their compatriots...
The leaders of August 16th met the same fate as the heroes of February 27th, and in exchange for the boldness of the proclamation of the country's independence, they received persecutions and cruelties from the ambitious men who did not want to pardon them for the great fame they acquired with their bravery and noble spirit of freedom.
The usurpers of power cannot cause the liberators to suffer except by humiliating them and dragging them down." Gregorio Luperon,
BUENAVENTURA BÁEZ "The life that under the action of a free spirit unfolded on the stage during more than a third of a century, reflecting, perhaps unconsciously, the characteristics of the collective entity, is as certain a reality as that very society of which it forms a part. If of that society, as in the case of Buenaventura, one wraps up a bundle and labels it with a single word or phrase, thus pretending to definitely characterize that entity, it does not alter in the slightest his eternal right to be studied and thereafter judged and classified accordingly. Faced with the conventional labeling, there are some who stretch their accusatory character and, cursing, remember scenes that move them, and others, those who do not write in order to maintain their public image, portray a Buenaventura who, in any sensible and unprepared Dominican, causes admiration. Leaving all that aside, let us loosen the bindle and examine its contents. There is no other way of knowing the truth." Rufino Martínez, "Dominican Men," 1943.
THE AMERICAN COMMISSION, 1871 "By demonstrating to the North American People that the commissioners sent by President Grant to study the people and problems of Santo Domingo have no fulfilled their mission with the impartiality required of such an important matter, we believe that we have proven with data of indisputable exactitude:
1. That the diplomats to whom we refer have altered historical truth and disfigured national traditions in order to benefit the illegal aspirations of Báez.
2. That the revolution that has bloodied the country is an essentially national revolution and has as its rallying cry the maintenance of the independence and sovereignty of the Dominican people.
3. That the plan for annexation in essence is not a voluntary desire of the Dominicans, but of the selfishness and evil passions of their rulers.
4. That the idea of annexation has strong opposition in the country.
Fulfilling in this manner a sacred duty, we have only...to warn the North American people of what their representatives omitted, so that they will know what to be guided by and will be able to act justly." Josése Gabriel García, "Critical Examination of the Report of the Commissioners of Santo Domingo, dedicated to the People of the United States," 1871.
THE PLAN ANNEXATION TO THE UNITED STATES, 1871 "The question that I wish to discuss is quite simple: It is not whether it is desirable to acquire all or part of the island of Santo Domingo, with its population that is different from outs; their language, their institutions, their origin, but whether the means that we have employed to obtain this acquisition are justifiable. This question is independent of the principal question and is essentially anterior to it; regarding the principal question, there can be various opinions. Some think that it is a desirable acquisition; others think it is not. Some are desirous of expanding our empire, although if only to have a hospital in the tropics; others only dream of establishing a Republic of Negroes...Some dream of gold mines, mountains of salt, much sugar, crates of cigars; others think, above all, about what we owe to the African race. But whatever the difference of opinion regarding the principal question, the documents that are already in our power clearly prove that the means used up to now are blameworthy in the highest degree..." Charles Sumner, Passages from his Speech to the American Senate, March 24, 1871. Quoted in José Gabriel García's "Critical Examination of the Report of the Commissioners of Santo Domingo, Dedicated to the People of the United States," 1871.