José Maria del Barrio, José María del Barrio

Catherine Fuller (ed.), The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham: The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, Vol. 11: January 1822 to June 1824

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Editor’s Note3018From José María Del Barrio18 November 1823

London November 18th, 1823.

Dear Sir

I have read with the greatest pleasure your plan to realise the junction of the Atlantic and Pacific Seas.2 I highly approve of it in all its parts, and I am quite convinced you have found the only means of putting in execution a project from which all the humankind will derive every kind of advantage.

It is wonderful that till this present time nobody, or to speak with more pg 316correctness, no government has sent to America scientific men, to reconnoitre the situation of the Isthmus of Darien and many other spots, where, perhaps, it was possible to perform the junction; How much more useful and worthy of its care it would be to direct its attention to such an object, than to be united to op[p]ress and destroy the human race?

I think the Lake of Nicaragua is worthy to be examined; its situation, the different rivers which run in and surround it in every side, would perhaps afford the means of performing the junction. As we have now in Guatemala our own government, to which the Province of Nicaragua will be joined as it forms one of the Kingdom,3 I would like to send your plan, well aware, the government will make a great use of it.

As the bounds of the Kingdom of Guatemala are all near the Isthmus of Darien, the Lake of Nicaragua belongs to the Kingdom of Guatemala, in consequence, it is only that Government which will make the cessions of Land to the contractors, and which will make every arrangement that may be necessary.

I have read too your letter to S. Bolivar4 containing the plan of organisation for diplomatic commissions from a South American to an European State; I shall send it to my government considering they will adopt it.

Allow me, Sir, to thank you heartily in the name of all the Guatemalians, I am certain they will write to you with the most tender expressions of respect and gratitude, both for the time you employ in writing useful works in favour of all the humankind and particularly of America, and for the kindness with which you have received me and the singular affection with which you have distinguished me: for my own part I want words to express you my sincere gratitude.

  •                          I have the honour
  •                             to be
  •                                Sir
  •                                   your most obedient Servant.
  •                                      J.M. del Barrio.

  • Jeremy Bentham. Esq
  • &c. &c. &c.

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Notes

Editor’s Note
3018. 1 BL IX. 636–7. Autograph. Addressed: 'Jeremy Bentham Esq / Queen's Square Place / Westminster', José María del Barrio, Guatemalan, was elected as Deputy for the province of St Miguel to the Spanish Cortes in 1820: see draft letter by Bentham for del Barrio to send to Canning at UC Ix. 82. del Barrio was a cousin of José Cecilio Díaz del Valle (1776–1834), Guatemalan lawyer, economist, and politician, with whom Bentham corresponded in later years.
Editor’s Note
2 'Junctiana Proposal' was Bentham's plan, first drafted in June 1822, for the management by a joint stock company of a canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans via Lake Nicaragua through land bordered by Mexico and Columbia, and placed under the protection of the United States of America: see Letter 2890 & n. 8. Political boundaries tod changed by the time Bentham gave a copy of the proposal to del Barrio, and the proposed route of the canal now ran through Nicaragua, one of the states of the United Provinces of Central America, to which Guatemala belonged: see n. 3 below. The proposal in the hand of Colls is at UC cvi. 265–97 (20-25 June 1822), and a list of the titles of the sections into which the proposal was divided, in the hand of Bentham is at UC cvi. 264 (16 November 1823). A copy of 'Junctiana Proposal' was sent to del Barrio on 24 November 1823 according to a note by Colls at UC cvi. 265.
Editor’s Note
3 After declaring independence from Spain on 15 September 1821, Guatemala bad joined Mexico on 5 January 1822. The union ended in March 1823 when Iturbide, Emperor of Mexico, was ousted, and in July 1823 a National Constituent Assembly of Central America, meeting in Guatemala City, declared the live provinces of Central America-Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, E1 Salvador and Nicaragua-independent In 1824 the provinces became the United Provinces of Central America, a union which survived until 1826.
Editor’s Note
4 i.e. Letter 2975. According to Colls's journal (BL XXVII. 127), Doane had taken a copy of part of this letter to del Barrio on 15 November 1823.
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