Front Page Titles (by Subject) General Miller to Bentham. - The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index)
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General Miller to Bentham. - Jeremy Bentham, The Works of Jeremy Bentham, vol. 11 (Memoirs of Bentham Part II and Analytical Index) 
The Works of Jeremy Bentham, published under the Superintendence of his Executor, John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1838-1843). 11 vols. Vol. 11.
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General Miller to Bentham.
“27th June, 1829.
“I shall give you my opinion as to the best form of government for the new States of America, for the sake of obtaining, in return, the benefit of yours.
“Let us begin with Buenos Ayres, or the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, which I consider one of the most important points of South America, on account of its position, productions, navigable rivers, and commercial capabilities.
“Soon after Rivadavia was appointed Secretary of State, (in 1821, I think it was,) he made the federal system the ground-work of his administration; and the flourishing state of affairs which ensued, goes to confirm my impression that federalism is, of all forms, the best adapted to the wants and genius of the natives of the provinces of the Rio de la Plata, if not of the whole of South America. The prosperity of Buenos Ayres excited the attention of the other provinces, and, I think, proves the soundness of their judgment; they successively sent in their voluntary adhesion, and they were admitted into the federative union.
“In 1826, Rivadavia was advanced to the Presidency of the Republic, when, most unfortunately, he could not let well alone. The system which had worked so well was discarded, and the spirit of innovation substituted the ‘one and indivisible,’ or, as they called it, the ‘central’ form of government; but gaucho sense would not tolerate the measure which deprived them of a positive good, nor gaucho pride brook the change which conferred on Buenos Ayres a palpable supremacy. Division arose, and the provinces severally withdrew from the federation. We have seen that fine portion of America retrograding from bad to worse, until it has become a question, whether a war of colour will be the fatal consequence of Rivadavia’s grievous error. Where this horrid state of things is to end, is difficult to foresee; but it appears certain, to my mind, that Buenos Ayres might slowly restore the provinces to the federal bond by the reestablishment of a good government; but that she will never be able to conquer them by force of arms. Nor, indeed, ought she to wish it; for provincial jealousies and petty feuds cannot deprive her of the metropolitan precedency, which geography assigns to her, in the Argentine territories, and which might render her an emporium, like what Venice was in former days. Having said so much relative to Buenos Ayres, it is unnecessary to add much with regard to Peru, or any other of the States; for I have observed that a strong family likeness runs through the different Spanish-American nations as far as I have had an opportunity of observing them. Peru, under a liberal, steady, honest, economical administration, would soon be possessed of the elements of wealth, strength, and happiness. More than one Palmyra would probably be seen to arise in the midst of her arid and now tenantless deserts, and Lima might become a second Tyre. If the mines of Potosi could draw 180,000 inhabitants to one of the most barren of regions, can we doubt the power of the precious metals, the staple produce of Peru, reperforming a similar miracle, whenever human enterprise, prompted by the love of gain, shall be left uncramped by vexatious restrictions and oppressive misrule?
“I have sometimes been asked, if I thought monarchy suitable to the wants and wishes of the South Americans. To this question my answer has invariably been a negative. In this I am borne out by the untimely fate of Iturbide, and by the failure of the ‘President for life’—that half-way-house sort of elective monarchy which was overturned in Peru and Bolivia, and rejected in Colombia. I do not mean to say that no monarchies can be established in South America. What I assert is, that no king can be forced, or force himself, upon the South Americans. There is scarcely a fortified town throughout the continent, and there is no aristocracy upon which to rely. The only way in which a monarchical form of government will again be adopted in these States, will be from some President—let us suppose in Chili, for the sake of argument—rendering himself extremely beloved and popular; the people might then elect him king.
“Of the democratic forms, I give an unhesitating preference to the federal. It is upon this point that I should feel most happy to be favoured with your friendly instructions. Let them be plain, and suited to the capacity of an unlettered soldier of fortune, who may, perhaps, be placed in circumstances where his opinion may be called for, and where it may be listened to with some attention.
“In taking into consideration any legitimate system, as applicable to Spanish America, do not, I beseech you, lose sight of the facts that the people there must be counted as something; that standing armies are there peculiarly incompatible with lasting tranquillity; and that no government, however strongly fenced round by bayonets, can long stand its ground, unless it be the people’s choice, and upheld by that support which is to be permanently secured only by justice and integrity.”