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Title: Simón Bolívar (The Liberator)
 - Patriot, Warrior, Statesman, Father of Five Nations, a Sketch of His Life and His Work
Author: Sherwell, Guillermo A. (Guillermo Antonio)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Simón Bolívar (The Liberator)
 - Patriot, Warrior, Statesman, Father of Five Nations, a Sketch of His Life and His Work" ***

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_Patriot, Warrior, Statesman Father of Five Nations_

[Illustration: _STATUE OF THE LIBERATOR_ at the head of the Avenue of the
Americas, New York City.]



Patriot, Warrior, Statesman Father of Five Nations



_Guillermo A. Sherwell (1878-1926)_ was the recipient of Doctorate
Degrees from the National University of Mexico and from the University
of Georgetown. Among the posts which he filled was that of Rector of the
National University of Mexico, Legal Counsellor of the Inter-American
Committee in Washington and Professor of History and of Hispano-American
literature. Sincerely interested in the heroes of Spanish-American
independence, he dedicated himself to the study of their lives and
especially to that of the Liberator. He also wrote a biography of Sucre.

This biography of Bolívar was first published in Washington in 1921. It was
again published in Baltimore in 1930. There have been two translations into
Spanish, that of Roberto Cortázar and that of R. Cansinos-Assens, published
respectively in Bogotá (1922 and 1930) and in Madrid (1922).

The Bolivarian Society of Venezuela has decided that in homage to the
memory of the Liberator on the occasion of the transfer of the statue in
New York to its new site at the head of the Avenue of the Americas, the
publication of another edition of this excellent work of Mr. Sherwell's
which gives in an excellent condensed form the historical significations of
Bolívar. The children of Mr. Sherwell have kindly given their consent to
the publication of this edition which is made under the auspices of the
Junta de Gobierno of the United States of Venezuela.


In the history of peoples, the veneration of national heroes has been one
of the most powerful forces behind great deeds. National consciousness,
rather than a matter of frontiers, racial strain or community of customs,
is a feeling of attachment to one of those men who symbolize best the
higher thoughts and aspirations of the country and most deeply impress the
hearts of their fellow citizens. Despite efforts to write the history of
peoples exclusively from the social point of view, history has been, and
will continue to be, mainly a record of great names and great deeds of
national heroes.

The Greeks, for us and for themselves, are not so much the people who lived
in the various city-states of Hellas, nor the people dominated and more or
less influenced by the Romans and later the Mohammedan conquerors, nor
even the present population in which the old pure Hellenic element is in a
proportion much smaller than is generally thought. Greece is what she is,
lives in the life of men and shapes the minds and souls of peoples,
through her great heroes, through her various gods, which were nothing
but divinized heroes. Greece is for us Apollo, as a symbol of whatever
is filled with light, high, beautiful and noble; Heracles for what is
strength, energy, organization, life as it should be lived by human beings.
Leonidas stands for us as a symbol of heroic deeds; Demosthenes as a symbol
of the convincing powers of oratory and Pericles as the crystallization of
Grecian life in its totality of beauty, learning and social and civic life.
Greece is a type, is an attitude, is a protest against oppression, is an
aspiration towards beauty, is an inspiration and a guide for men who live
in the higher planes of feeling and thought. But Greece is not all that as
a people; Greece is all that through men converted into symbols.

So it is with other peoples.

Rome still signifies for us the defense of the bridge against the powerful
enemy; a man taking absolute power over the State and then surrendering it
to the people from whom it came. Rome is Repúblican virtue, and imperial
power,--and also, alas! imperial degradation. Imperial Rome represents
persecution of religion which does not recognize Caesar as a god and the
assimilation of religions which do not hesitate to add a god to those they
adore. Rome, too, symbolizes the tendency to unity which survives and
inspires the life of the nations of Europe, if not of the world,--a
tendency altogether manifest in the last gigantic struggle through which
mankind has just passed. Rome, finally, stands for Law, for the most
marvelous social machine ever devised by human brains. But Rome is all
that, and more than that, through Horace, Sulla, Cato, Caesar, Cicero,
Nero, Caracalla and Justinian.

The confusion of the Middle Ages has some points of light, always around a
man. The great Frederic Barbarossa stands for Germany, as does William Tell
for Switzerland, as Ivan the Great for Russia, as the Cid for Spain, as
King Arthur for England and Charlemagne for France.

The modern peoples, those who only lately have begun to live as nations,
have their heroes, who perhaps do not seem so great to us as the old
heroes, because they have not been magnified by time; but, if compared with
men of the past, many of them are as great, if not, in some cases, greater.
The countries of America are at present forming this tradition about their
illustrious ancestors. And, if they want to live the strong life of the
nations destined to last and to be powerful and respected, they must
persevere in the work of building up around their fathers the frame-work of
their national consciousness. Washington every day appears nobler to us,
because every day we understand better what is the meaning of his sacrifice
and his work; every day we learn to appreciate more the value of the
inheritance he left to us when he gave us a free country where we can
think and speak and work, untrammeled by the whims and caprices of foreign
masters. And the nations to the south of us are also building their
national consciousness around their great heroes, among them the greatest
of all, Bolívar, one of those men who appear in the world at long
intervals, selected by God to be the leaders of multitudes, to be
performers of miracles, achieving what is impossible for the common man.
They live a life of constant inspiration, as if they were not guided by
their own frail judgment, but, like Moses, by the smoke and the flame of
God through a desert, through suffering and success, through happiness and
misfortune, until they might see before them the Promised Land of Victory,
some destined to enjoy the full possession of it, and others to die with no
other happiness than that of leaving an inheritance to their successors.

These few pages, devoted to the life and work of Simón Bolívar, the
great South American Liberator, will attain their object if the reader
understands and appreciates how unusual a man Bolívar was. Every citizen of
the United States of America must respect and venerate his sacred memory,
as the Liberator and Father of five countries, the man who assured the
independence of the rest of the South American peoples of Spanish speech;
the man who conceived the plans of Pan-American unity which those who
came after him have elaborated, and the man who, having conquered all
his enemies and seen at his feet peoples and laws, effected the greatest
conquest, that of himself, sacrificing all his aspirations and resigning
his power, to go and die, rewarded by the ingratitude of those who owed him
their existence as free men. The more the life of this man is studied, the
greater he appears, and the nearer he seems to the superhuman.

The American people, made free by Washington, do not begrudge the
legitimate glory of other illustrious men, and if they have not rendered up
to this time the homage due to Simón Bolívar, it has been mainly through
lack of accurate knowledge of his wonderful work. The city of New York, the
greatest community in the world, is now honoring his memory by placing in
a conspicuous section of its most beautiful park a statue which the
Government of Venezuela has given it; the statue of the Man of the South,
the brother in glory to our own Washington. No greater homage could be
paid to him than to have American fathers and mothers pass by the noble
monument, pointing out to their children the statue and telling them the
marvelous story of Simón Bolívar.

In a book as brief as this it is impossible to present documents or to give
long quotations. Nevertheless, we may fairly affirm that all statements
herein made are substantiable by documentary evidence. We have consulted
all the books and pamphlets which have been at hand and have studied both
sides of debatable questions regarding Bolívar. To follow a chronological
order we have been guided by the beautiful biography written by Larrazábal,
the man called by F. Lorain Petre "the greatest flatterer of Bolívar." That
this assertion is false is proved in the first volume cited below. Petre's
monograph contains apparent earmarks of impartiality, but in reality it is
nothing but a bitter attack on the reputation of Bolívar. Its translator,
a distinguished Venezuelan writer, is to be thanked for the serenity with
which he has destroyed his imputations. We find nothing to add in defense
of the Liberator.

The following studies have been particularly consulted:

    "Bolívar--por los más grandes escritores americanos,
      precedido de un estudio por Miguel de Unamuno,"
      Madrid and Buenos Aires, 1914,

  a book containing the following monographs:

  "Simón Bolívar," by Juan Montalvo (Ecuadorian)
  "Simón Bolívar," by F. García Calderón (Peruvian)
  "Simón Bolívar," by P.M. Arcaya (Venezuelan)
  "Bolívar y su campaña de 1821," by General L. Duarte
    Level (Mexican)[1]
  "Bolívar en el Perú," by A. Galindo (Colombian)
  "Simón Bolívar," by B. Vicuña Mackenna (Chilean)
  "Simón Bolívar," by J.B. Alberdi (Argentinean)
  "Simón Bolívar," by José Martí (Cuban)
  "El ideal internacional de Bolívar," by Francisco José
    Urrutia (Colombian)
  "La entrevista de Guayaquil," by Ernesto de la Cruz (Chilean)
  "Bolívar, escritor," by Blanco-Fombona (Venezuelan)
  "Bolívar," by F. Lorain Petre (North American)[2]
  "Bolívar," by J.E. Rodó (Uruguayan)
  "Bolívar, íntimo," by Cornelio Hispano (Colombian)
  "Bolívar, profesor de energía," by José Veríssimo (Brazilian)
  "Bolívar, legislador," by Jorge Ricardo Vejarano (Colombian)

    "Discursos y Proclamas--Simón Bolívar," R. Blanco-Fombona, Paris.
    "Documentos para la Vida Pública del Libertador" por Blanco y
        Azpurúa, Caracas.
    "El Libertador de la América del Sur," Guzmán Blanco, London, 1885.
    "Estudio Histórico," Aristides Rojas, Caracas, 1884.
    "La Creación de un Continente," F. García Calderón, Paris.
    "La Entrevista de Bolívar y San Martín en Guayaquil," Camilo
      Destruge, Guayaquil, 1918.
    "La última enfermedad, los últimos momentos y los funerales de Simón
      Bolívar," Dr. A.P. Révérend, Paris, 1866.
    "Leyendas Históricas," A. Rojas, Caracas, 1890.
    "Memorias de O'Leary," translated from English by Simón B. O'Leary,
      Caracas, 1883.
    "Orígenes del Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho," discursos
      del Señor D. Felipe Francia, Caracas, 1920.
    "Papeles de Bolívar," Vicente Lecuna, Caracas, 1917.
    "Pensamientos consagrados a la memoria del Libertador,"
      Caracas, 1842.
    "Recuerdos del Tiempo Heróico--Pájinas de la vida militar i
      política del Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho," José María Rey de Castro,
      Guayaquil, 1883.
    "Resúmen de la Historia de Venezuela," Baralt y Díaz, Paris, 1841.
    "Simón Bolívar," Arturo Juega Farrulla, Montevideo,
    "Vida de Simón Bolívar," Larrazábal, Madrid, 1918; also sixth edition
      of same book, New York, Andres Cassard, 1883.

[Footnote 1: Duarte Level is not Mexican but Venezuelan.]

[Footnote 2: Lorain Petre is not North American but English.]

For the use of various documents, articles, and papers, we are also
indebted to Dr. Manuel Segundo Sánchez, Director of the National Library of
Caracas, Venezuela, as well as to Dr. Julius Goebel of the University of
Virginia for his kindness in letting us examine his notes on certain papers
existing in the files of the State Department in Washington.

We beg to express our sincere gratitude to Miss Edith H. Murphy of Bay
Ridge High School and St. Joseph College of Brooklyn, and to Dr. C.E.
McGuire of the Inter American High Commission, for their revision of the
original manuscript and their very valuable suggestions regarding the
subject matter and the style.

For the appreciations and judgments appearing in this monograph, its author
assumes full responsibility.

Table of Contents



I. The Spanish Colonies in America

II. Bolívar's Early Life. Venezuela's First Attempt
to Obtain Self-Government (1783-1810)

III. The Declaration of Independence, July 5, 1811.
Miranda's Failure (1811-1812)

IV. Bolívar's First Expedition. The Cruelty of
War (1812-1813)

V. Bolívar's First Victories (1813)

VI. Araure. Ribas Triumphs in La Victoria. A
Wholesale Execution (1813-1814)

VII. The Heroic Death of Ricaurte. Victory of
Carabobo and Defeat of La Puerta (1814)

VIII. Bolívar in Exile and Morillo in Power. The
"Jamaica Letter" (1814-1815)

IX. Bolívar's Expedition and New Exile. He Goes
to Guayana (1815-1817)

X. Piar's Death. Victory of Calabozo. Second
Defeat at La Puerta. Submission of Páez

XI. The Congress of Angostura. A great Address.
Campaigning in the Plains (1819)

XII. Bolívar Pays His Debt to Nueva Granada.
Boyacá. A Dream Comes True (1819)

XIII. Humanizing War. Morillo's Withdrawal

XIV. The Second Battle of Carabobo. Ambitions
and Rewards. Bolívar's Disinterestedness.
American Unity (1821)

XV. Bomboná and Pichincha. The Birth of Ecuador.
Bolívar and San Martín Face to Face

XVI. Junín, a Battle of Centaurs. The Continent's
Freedom Sealed in Ayacucho (1822-1824)

XVII. Bolivia's Birth. Bolívar's Triumph. The Monarchical
Idea. From Honors to Bitterness

XVIII. The Convention of Ocaña. Full Powers. An
Attempt at Murder (1828)

XIX. Difficulties with Perú. Slanders and Honors.
On the Road to Calvary (1829-1830)

XX. Friends and Foes. Sucre's Assassination. The
Lees of Bitterness. An Upright Man's Death

XXI. The Man and His Work



Patriot, Warrior, Statesman Father of Five Nations


_The Spanish Colonies in America_

Everybody knows that America was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who
served under the King and Queen of Spain, and who made four trips, in which
he discovered most of the islands now known as the West Indies and part of
the central and southern regions of the American continent. Long before the
English speaking colonies which now constitute the United States of
America were established, the Spaniards were living from Florida and the
Mississippi River to the South, with the exception of what is now Brazil,
and had there established their culture, their institutions and their
political system.

In some sections, the Indian tribes were almost exterminated, but generally
the Spaniards mingled with the Indians, and this intercourse resulted in
the formation of a new race, the mixed race (mestizos) which now comprises
the greater number of the inhabitants of what we call Latin America.

African slavery added another racial element, which is often discernible in
the existing population.

The Latin American peoples today are composed of European whites, American
whites (creoles), mixed races of Indian and white, white and Negro,
Negro and Indian, Negro and mestizo, and finally, the pure Indian race,
distinctive types of which still appear over the whole continent from
Mexico to Chile, but which has disappeared almost entirely in Uruguay and
Argentina. Some countries have the Indian element in larger proportions
than others, but this distribution of races prevails substantially all over
the continent.

It would distract us from our purpose to give a full description of the
grievances of the Spanish colonies in America. They were justified and
it is useless to try to defend Spain. Granting that Spain carried out a
wonderful work of civilization in the American continent, and that she
is entitled to the gratitude of the world for her splendid program of
colonization, it is only necessary, nevertheless, to cite some of her
mistakes of administration in order to prove the contention of the
colonists that they must be free.

Books could not be published or sold in America without the permission of
the Consejo de Indias, and several cases were recorded of severe punishment
of men who disobeyed this rule. Natives could not avail themselves of the
advantages of the printing press. Communication and trade with foreign
nations were forbidden. All ships found in American waters without license
from Spain were considered enemies. Nobody, not even the Spaniards, could
come to America without the permission of the King, under penalty of loss
of property and even of loss of life. Spaniards, only, could trade, keep
stores or sell goods in the streets. The Indians and mestizos could engage
only in mechanical trades.

Commerce was in the hands of Spain, and taxes were very often prohibitive.
Even domestic commerce, except under license, was forbidden. It was
especially so regarding the commerce between Perú and New Spain, and also
with other colonies. Some regulations forbade Chile and Perú to send their
wines and other products to the colonists of the North. The planting of
vineyards and olive trees was forbidden. The establishment of industry, the
opening of roads and improvements of any kind were very often stopped by
the Government. Charles IV remarked that he did not consider learning
advisable for America.

Americans were often denied the right of public office. Great personal
service or merit was not sufficient to destroy the dishonor and disgrace of
being an American.

The Spanish colonies were divided into vice-royalties and general
captaincies. There were also _audiencias_, which existed under the
vice-royalties and general captaincies. The Indians were put under the care
and protection of Spanish officials called _encomenderos_, but these
in fact, in most cases, were merciless exploiters of the natives who,
furthermore, were subject to many local disabilities. The Kings of Spain
tried to protect the Indians, and many laws were issued tending to spare
them from the ill-treatment of the Spanish colonists. But the distance from
Spain to America was great, and when laws and orders reached the colonies,
they never had the force which they were intended to have when issued.
There existed a general race hatred. The Indians and the mestizos, as a
rule, hated the creoles, or American whites, who often were as bad as, or
even worse than, the Spanish colonists in dealing with the aborigines. It
is not strange, then, that in a conflict between Spain and the colonies,
the natives should take sides against the creoles, who did most of the
thinking, and who were interested and concerned with all the changes
through which the Spanish nation might pass, and that they would help Spain
against the white promoters of the independent movement. This assertion
must be borne in mind to understand the difficulties met by the independent
leaders, who had to fight not only against the Spanish army, which was in
reality never very large, but also against the natives of their own land.
To regard this as an invariable condition would nevertheless lead to error,
for at times, under proper guidance, the natives would pass to the files of
the insurgent leaders and fight against the Spaniards.

Furthermore, it is necessary to remember that education was very limited
in the Spanish colonies; that in some of them printing had not been
introduced, and that its introduction was discouraged by the public
authority; and that public opinion, which even at this time is so poorly
developed, was very frequently poorly informed in colonial times, or
did not exist, unless we call public opinion a mass of prejudices,
superstitions and erroneous habits of thinking fostered by interests,
either personal or of the government.

This was the condition of the Spanish American countries at the beginning
of the nineteenth century, full of agitation and conflicting ideas, when
new plans of life for the people were being elaborated and put into
practice as experiments on which many men founded great hopes and which
many others feared as forerunners of a general social disintegration.


_Bolívar's Early Life. Venezuela's First Attempt to Obtain Self-Government_


Simón Bolívar was born in the city of Caracas on the twenty-fourth day of
July, 1783; his father was don Juan Vicente Bolívar, and his mother, doña
María de la Concepción Palacios y Blanco. His father died when Simón was
still very young, and his mother took excellent care of his education. His
teacher, afterwards his intimate friend, was don Simón Rodríguez, a man of
strange ideas and habits, but constant in his affection and devotion to his
illustrious pupil.

Bolívar's family belonged to the Spanish nobility, and in Venezuela was
counted in the group called Mantuano, or noble. They owned great tracts of
land and lived in comfort, associating with the best people, among whom
they were considered leaders.

The early youth of Bolívar was more or less like that of the other boys of
his city and station, except that he gave evidence of a certain precocity
and nervousness of action and speech which distinguished him as an
enthusiastic and somewhat idealistic boy.

Misfortune taught Bolívar its bitter lessons when he was still young. At
fifteen years of age he lost his mother. Then his uncle and guardian, don
Carlos Palacios, sent him to Madrid to complete his education. The boat on
which he made the trip left La Guaira on January 17, 1799, and stopped at
Vera Cruz. This enabled young Simón Bolívar to go to Mexico City and other
towns of New Spain. In the capital of the colony he was treated in a
manner becoming his social standing, and met the highest offícials of the
government. The viceroy had several conversations with him, and admired
his wit; but it finally alarmed him when the boy came to talk on political
questions and, with an assurance superior to his age, defended the freedom
of the American colonies.

Bolívar lived in Madrid with his relatives, and had occasion to be in touch
with the highest members of the court, and even with the King, Charles IV,
and the Queen. There he met a young lady named María Teresa Toro, whose
uncle, the Marquis of Toro, lived in Caracas and was a friend of the young
man. He fell in love with her, but as he was only seventeen years old, the
Marquis of Ustáriz, who was in charge of Bolívar in Madrid, advised him to
delay his plans for an early marriage.

In 1801 Bolívar went to Paris, where he found Napoleon Bonaparte, as First
Consul, undertaking his greatest labors of social reorganization after
the long period of anarchy through which France had passed following the
Revolution. Bonaparte was one of the most admired men at that time. He
had come back from Egypt and Syria, had been victorious at Marengo and
Hohenlinden, and had just signed the Peace of Lunéville. One does not
wonder that Bolívar should admire him and that his letters should contain
many expressions of enthusiasm about the great man of Europe.

In the same year he returned to Madrid and married María Teresa Toro,
deciding to go back at once to Venezuela with his wife, to live peacefully,
attending to his own personal business and property. But again fate dealt
him a hard blow and shattered all the dreams and plans of the young man.
His virtuous wife died in January, 1803, ten months after their arrival in
Caracas. He had not yet reached his twenty-first year, and had already lost
father, mother and wife. His nerves became steeled and his heart prepared
for great works, for works requiring the concentration of mind which can be
given only by men who have no intimate human connections or obligations. As
a South American orator lately declared:[1] "Neither Washington nor Bolívar
was destined to have children of his own, so that we Americans might call
ourselves their children."

Bolívar decided immediately to leave for Europe. Nothing could keep him in
his own country. He had loved his wife and his wife only could have led him
to accept a life of ease and comfort. He decided never to marry again and,
perhaps to assuage the pain in his heart, he decided to devote his time
to the study of the great problems of his country, and to bend all his
energies and strength to their solution. At the end of 1803, he was again
in Madrid, giving his wife's father the sad news of their great loss.

[Footnote 1: Atilano Carnevali, on the occasion of placing a wreath before
Washington's statue in Caracas, July 4, 1920.]

From Madrid, Bolívar went to Paris, and was in the city when the Empire
was established. All the admiration the man of the Republic had won from
Bolívar immediately crumbled to dust before the young American. "Since
Napoleon has become a king," said Bolívar, "his glory to me seems like
the brilliancy of hell." He did not attend the ceremony of Napoleon's
coronation, and made him the object of bitter attacks when among his own
friends. He never hesitated to speak of the liberty of America with all his
acquaintances, who enjoyed his conversation in spite of the ideas that he

In the spring of 1805 he went on a walking tour to Italy, with his teacher
and friend, don Simón Rodríguez. In Milan he saw Napoleon crowned as King
of Italy, and then witnessed a great parade passing before the French
Emperor. All these royal ceremonies increased his hatred of monarchy.

From Milan he went to Florence, Venice, Rome and Naples, studying
everything, informing himself of all the currents of public opinion, and
dreaming of what he intended to accomplish for his own people. While in
Rome, he and his teacher went to Mount Aventin. There they denounced in an
intimate talk the oppression of peoples and discussed the liberty of their
native Venezuela. When their enthusiasm had reached its highest pitch, the
young dreamer took the hand of his master, and at that historic spot, he
made a solemn vow to free his country.

From Italy, he came to the United States, where he visited Boston, New
York, Philadelphia and other towns, sailing from Charleston for Venezuela.
He arrived in Caracas at the end of 1806.

Upon his return home, Bolívar devoted himself to the care and improvement
of his estate. Yet his ideas continued to seethe, especially when the
constant spectacle of the state of affairs in Venezuela stimulated this
ferment of his mind.

Among the American colonies, Venezuela was not considered by Spain as one
of the most important. Mexico and Perú, celebrated by their production of
mineral wealth, were those which attracted most of the attention of the
Spaniards. Venezuela was apparently poor, and certainly did not contribute
many remittances of gold and silver to the mother country. It had been
organized as a captaincy general in 1731, after having been governed in
different ways and having had very little communication with Spain. It is
said that from 1706 to 1722, not a single boat sailed from any Venezuelan
port for Spain. Commercial intercourse between the provinces was forbidden,
and local industries could not prosper because the purchase of the products
of Spanish industries was compulsory for the natives, at prices set after
all transportation expenses and high taxes were taken into account. The
colonists were oppressed by taxes and kept in ignorance.

This state of affairs had produced a latent feeling of irritation and a
desire for a change. The native white population read the books of the
French philosophers, especially those of Rousseau and Montesquieu. The
ideas proclaimed by the United States of America and those preached by the
most radical men of the French Revolution were smuggled in and known in
spite of prohibition.

At the middle of the eighteenth century, there had been a movement against
the Compañía Guipuzcoana, established about 1730, and which greatly
oppressed the people. This movement failed and its leaders were severely

At the end of the eighteenth century, Spain allied herself with England to
fight against France. This war ended in 1795 with the Treaty of Basel,
by which Spain lost Santo Domingo to France. A year later, Spain allied
herself with France against England, and the disastrous war which followed
resulted in the loss of the island of Trinidad to England, by the Treaty
of Amiens, in 1802. France and England used these possessions to foster
revolutions in the Spanish colonies.

In 1797 a conspiracy was started in Caracas, but it too failed. Some of its
leaders received death sentences, others were expelled from the country and
others were imprisoned. In Mexico, in Perú and in the southernmost part of
the continent, men were working in favor of the idea of freedom.

In Europe, at this time, there was a very prominent Venezuelan, don
Francisco Miranda, who had played an important rôle in the world events
of that period. Miranda was born in Caracas, came to the North American
colonies, and fought under Washington against the English power. Afterwards
he went to Europe and fought in the armies of revolutionary France,
attaining the rank of general. His friends were among the most
distinguished men in Europe in political position or international
achievement. He talked to them tirelessly, trying to convert them to the
idea of the necessity for emancipating the countries of America. He failed
to receive the attention he desired in England, and came to America. In New
York he prepared an expedition and went to Venezuela, arriving there in
March of 1806, with three boats, some arms, ammunition and men. He found
the Spaniards prepared, and was defeated, losing two of his ships and many
men as prisoners. He escaped with the other boat to Trinidad. In the West
Indies he obtained the help of an English admiral, Sir A. Cochrane, and
with larger forces returned to Venezuela, landing at Coro, which he took
in August, 1806. But there he found the greatest enemy with which he and
Bolívar had to contend, and that was the lack of the sanction of public
opinion. Men whom Miranda had expected to increase his army failed to
appear, and perhaps this indifference was aggravated by the antipathy with
which the natives saw the foreign element which predominated in Miranda's
army. Lacking the support of the people and the reserves which Miranda had
expected to get from the English colony of Jamaica, he withdrew and went to
London, altogether discouraged.

At that time great changes had occurred in Spain. Charles IV, its weak
monarch, saw the French army invading his country under the pretense of
going to Portugal, and feared that Napoleon would end by wresting the
Spanish throne from him. If he allied himself with Napoleon, England
could easily seize America, and should he ally himself with England, he
would make an enemy of Napoleon, who already was in possession of Spain
itself. The Crown Prince of Spain, Fernando, was intriguing against his
father, and Charles IV had him imprisoned. Then it was discovered that
the Prince was in treacherous relations with the ministers of Napoleon.
The King complained to the French Emperor, who persuaded him to forgive
and release his son. Meanwhile, the French army was advancing into Spain
while the English were fomenting among the Spanish people the hatred for
the French. The latter availed themselves of their advantageous position
and, feeling sure of their strength in Spanish lands, demanded from the
Court the cession of the northern section of Spain contiguous to
Portugal. Rumors ran wild in the Court, and it was even said that the
monarch and his family would leave Spain for Mexico. A favorite of the
King, named Manuel Godoy, received the greatest blame for this
situation, and Fernando, the Crown Prince, being the main antagonist of
Godoy, was regarded as the champion of Spanish right and was loved by
the Spanish people. The people rose and demanded that Godoy should be
delivered to them. In March, 1808, the King abdicated and Fernando was
proclaimed King. But the abdication was insincere, and Charles IV wrote
to Napoleon that he had been compelled to take that action, certain that
if he did not do so, he and the Queen would perish. Not content with
this communication, Charles IV went to Bayonne to meet Napoleon, where
his son Fernando had been invited by Napoleon to meet him. There one of
the most disgraceful episodes in Spanish history occurred. Fernando
renounced his rights to his father, and then his father renounced his
rights and those of his family to Napoleon and to whomever he might
select to rule. Napoleon immediately made his brother Joseph King of
Spain. This occurred in May, 1808. The Spanish people had never been
taken into consideration in all these dealings. But they wanted to be
considered and they decided that they would be. Murat was governor in
Madrid, and on May 2 the people rebelled against him. Great ensued.
Though the rebellion was suppressed, the fire burning in the Spanish
soul was not extinguished. Everywhere _juntas provinciales_ (provincial
assemblies) were organized against the intruder; they allied themselves
with England and declared that Fernando VII was the legitimate King of
Spain and that the nation was at war with France. In order to unify the
actions of the different juntas, a central junta was established in
Aranjuez on September 25, 1808.

All these events had a tremendous effect in the American colonies. News
was received in Venezuela of the abdication of Charles and Fernando, with
orders to the colonies to recognize the new government. But at the same
time an English boat sent by Admiral Cochrane arrived, and announced to the
Venezuelan authorities the establishment of the juntas and the organization
of resistance to the French. The authorities concluded to obey the orders
brought by the French messengers, but the people rose in Caracas as in
Spain, went to the city council and forced it to proclaim Fernando VII
the legitimate monarch of Spain, thus starting a revolution, which in its
inception had all the appearance of loyalty to the reigning house of Spain,
but which very soon was transformed into a real movement of emancipation.

Some days later the city council asked the governor to establish a junta
in Caracas, similar to those already established in Spain. The Spanish
authorities wanted to have recognized the supremacy of the junta assembled
in Seville, Spain, which had assumed the name of Supreme Junta of Spain and
her Colonies. The Venezuelans insisted that they should have a junta in
Caracas, and in order to foster this idea the most prominent leaders of
public thought met secretly at the house of Simón Bolívar. Most of the
conspirators were young men, united by strong ties of friendship or family.
Among them were the Marquis of Toro and don José Félix Ribas, a relative of
Bolívar, two very distinguished men. The meetings were sometimes held at
the house of Ribas. It was not long before they were discovered. They
determined to petition for the establishment of a junta in Caracas. The
authorities ordered them to be put into prison; and in spite of their
efforts, the Supreme Junta of Spain and her Colonies was recognized in
January, 1809. The Junta Central declared in that same month that all
the Spanish colonies formed part of the Spanish monarchy itself, which
statement apparently was a declaration of equality. However, in fact, it
was not so, since the elections of deputies to the junta were not to be
made by the people but by the captain general, advised by the city council.
The representation was also very disproportionate. The deputies for Spain
were to number 36 while those for America only 12.

In May of that year, a new captain general, don Vicente Emparan, arrived in
Venezuela. This man was more imperious than his predecessors had been, and
immediately alienated the good will of the city council and the audiencia.
He set up still greater obstacles to commerce, sent many prominent men into
exile, declared criminals those who received printed matter from abroad,
and established an organized system of espionage.

In 1810, when Emparan was exercising his power with the strongest hand, the
patriots were meeting in the country wherever they could under different
pretexts, in order to organize themselves and to work for their ideals.
Bolívar was on the point of being exiled; many prominent men were either
imprisoned or sent out of Caracas. The French armies seemed to conquer all
opposition in Spain, and the Junta Central had been forced to take refuge
in Cádiz. Rumors were circulated that Cádiz had fallen into the hands of
the French. Then the patriots decided to wait no longer, and Bolívar, Ribas
and other friends planned to take immediate steps.

On the morning of April 19, 1810, Holy Thursday, the city council assembled
to attend the religious services in the cathedral, and Emparan was invited
to be present. Before leaving for the service, the council told the
governor that it was necessary to establish in Venezuela a government of
its own in order to defend the country and the rights of the legitimate
monarch. The governor answered that he would consider the matter after the
service, and left the council. On arriving at the church he was stopped by
a patriot called Francisco Salias who asked him to return to the council,
declaring that the public welfare so required. Emparan saw that the troops
were not ready to support him and, willingly or not, went back to the
hall, where he yielded to everything that was proposed to him. Emparan was
deposed and the first locally chosen government of Spanish America was
established. The principle that the provinces of America possessed the
right of self-government, since no general government existed, was


_The Declaration of Independence, July 5, 1811. Miranda's Failure_


The first acts of the Junta were acts of moderation and wisdom. Emparan and
other Spanish authorities were expelled from the country. The Spaniards
were assured that they would be treated as brothers, with the same
consideration as all Americans. The Junta sent notice of this movement to
the other countries of the continent in the following lofty words:

    "Venezuela has placed herself in the number of free nations, and
    hastens to give advice of this event to her neighbors so that, if the
    aspirations of the new world are in accord with hers, they might give
    her help in the great and very difficult career she has undertaken.
    'Virtue and moderation' have been our motto. 'Fraternity, union and
    generosity' should be yours, so that these great principles combined
    may accomplish the great work of raising America to the political
    dignity which so rightly belongs to her."

The tributes formerly paid by the Indians were abolished. The alcabala, an
excessive tax on sales, was also suppressed. The introduction of slaves was
forbidden. Different branches of the government were organized.

One of the first works of the Junta was to send emissaries to the several
provinces of the old captaincy general to invite them to unite with Caracas
in the movement. It was the first government of Spanish America to initiate
diplomatic missions abroad. Among her envoys we find Simón Bolívar
representing Venezuela at London.

Most of the provinces followed the example given by Caracas, but some of
them did not take that action, and among these were Coro and Maracaibo,
which exercised powerful influence against the movement for liberty. The
emissaries who went to Maracaibo were even sent to Porto Rico to be tried
there as rebels and were sentenced to prison in that colony.

Among the diplomatic representatives, some were well received and some
were ignored. Bolívar was very highly praised by the London authorities,
although he could obtain no substantial assistance because of a treaty of
alliance then existing between England and Spain. Bolívar worked not only
as a diplomat, but he also wrote and published articles of propaganda
to acquire friends for the cause he represented, and from the first his
influence was felt all over the continent, especially when he was able to
give substantial help to the representatives from Buenos Aires, who went to
London to secure the alliance and friendship of England.

The attitude of Venezuela was not only generous and conciliatory, but it
was even inspired by a great regard for Spain. The junta declared itself
ready to send help to Spain in her fight against the intruder, and also
offered the Venezuelan soil as a refuge for those who might despair of the
salvation and freedom of the mother country. The Council of Regency which
had been established in Spain, instead of thanking Venezuela for her offer,
declared the Venezuelans insurgents, rebels and traitors, and submitted the
province of Caracas to a strict blockade. This decision on the part of the
Council served to arouse the Venezuelans and to change the ends of the
movement. The sea became infested with privateers and pirates and, within
the country, royalist agencies promoted war and insurrection. Towns which
had declared themselves in favor of the Junta were destroyed by the
royalists, and everywhere the situation was very difficult for all who
had expressed any sympathy with the new régime. Nevertheless, the new
authorities persevered in their purpose to show loyalty to Fernando
VII, and tried by all means to avoid bloodshed. Even with regard to the
governors of Coro and Maracaibo, Caracas tried persuasion rather than
force. The uncompromising attitude of the Regency, however, indicated
clearly that the Venezuelans could not expect to effect any agreement with
Spain. Bolívar, thinking that he could be more useful in his own country
than in London, decided to return to Venezuela, but he did not go back
alone. We have mentioned before that General Miranda was then living in
London. Bolívar invited him to return to Venezuela to help the cause of
freedom, for he deemed him the ablest man to lead the movement. He gave him
the hospitality of his own home and praised him generously, increasing his

Miranda was very well received, and the Junta at once appointed
him Lieutenant General. At that time the Venezuelans were electing
representatives to Congress, and Miranda was elected deputy from one of the
cities of the East. Congress entered into session March 2nd with forty-four
members, representing seven provinces, and its very first decision was to
appoint three men to exercise the executive power and a council to sit for
purposes of consultation. Thus the first autonomous government in Latin
America was established.

There were several factors active in the creation of public opinion: the
press was free, and popular orators held meetings in which they spoke of
the new ideas and tried to prepare the people for the new institutions.
Special mention should be made of the Sociedad Patriótica (Patriotic
Society) whose promoters and leaders were Miranda and Bolívar. This
association worked constantly for absolute freedom, putting forward as
an example the independence of the North American colonies. Some
representatives distrusted the association, considering it as a rival of
Congress, but Bolívar relieved their fears by an inspired address delivered
on July 3, 1811, which might be considered as the beginning of his career
as a great orator. He denounced the apathy of the deputies, denied that
there were two congresses, and among other things said:

    "What do we care if Spain submits to Napoleon Bonaparte, if we have
    decided to be free? Let us without fear lay the corner-stone of South
    American freedom. To hesitate is to die."

Obeying these feelings, the association sent a memorandum to Congress,
which was read on July 4, 1811. The following day this assembly proclaimed
the independence of Venezuela. The document contained an exposition of the
wrongs suffered by the colony, a decision to live and to die free, and the
pledge of seven provinces to sacrifice the lives and fortunes of their
inhabitants in this great work. On that same day the national flag of
Venezuela was adopted, one containing three horizontal stripes: yellow,
blue and red.

Up to this time the revolution had been peaceful and bloodless, but now
the royalists of Valencia, a very important city to the west of Caracas,
rebelled against the new institutions and asked help from the governors of
Coro and Maracaibo. Miranda besieged and took the city, Bolívar fighting
on his side. Insurrections broke out in other places and were speedily
repressed. In some cities the new state of affairs was welcomed with great
joy. The obvious political needs became the object of study of the new
Congress. From the beginning the federal system and the central system
appeared in opposition. Bolívar was opposed to the federation, arguing that
the people of Venezuela were still ignorant and unable to understand the
obligations of a federation. At last the partisans of the federation
movement were victorious, and Venezuela adopted a federal constitution, in
which the most advanced principles with regard to individual rights were
incorporated. The epoch of independence was to be called the Colombian
epoch, and the first country to free itself from the bond of Spain was to
be called Colombia. Colombia (from the name of Columbus) was an ideal of
the South American patriots, and the greatest apostle of this ideal was
Bolívar, as will be readily seen by this study. Valencia was selected as
the capital, and in this city the government established itself on March 1,

The work of organizing the new government did not interrupt the royalist
activity in Venezuela nor the preparations made by Spain to suppress the
revolution. The East and the Orinoco valley were in constant agitation,
and we have seen that in the West, Coro and Maracaibo were on the side
of Spain, and their governors ready to send help to the enemies of
independence. Domingo Monteverde, a Spanish naval officer, had arrived in
Coro as a member of a Spanish contingent, and when the governor learned
that a royalist conspiracy was being prepared in a town called Siquisique,
he organized an expedition and gave command of the troops to Monteverde,
with instructions to help the conspirators. At that place more men joined
his troops. Transgressing the orders he had received, which were only
to occupy the town, Monteverde constituted himself head of the army and
advanced to fight the insurgents. Luck was undeservedly on his side. On
March 23, 1812, he defeated a small body of patriots.

The news of this defeat added to the effect of a natural catastrophe, which
came directly on the heels of it, and which was painted by the fanatic
royalists as a punishment of Heaven for the uprising. In the afternoon of
March 26, at a moment when the churches were filled with people, for it was
Holy Thursday, there occurred a violent earthquake in Venezuela. Caracas,
La Guaira and many other towns were reduced to ruins, and some small
dwellings entirely disappeared. It was pointed out that the towns punished
by the earthquake were those that had shown themselves as favoring
independence. Whole bodies of troops were buried. In a church of Caracas,
the coat-of-arms of Spain had been painted on one of the pillars, and the
earthquake destroyed the whole building with the exception of that one
pillar. Orators went out into the streets to proclaim that this was
unmistakably the result of divine anger because of the rebellion of the
people against Fernando VII, "the anointed of God."

In this cataclysm, Bolívar distinguished himself in Caracas, going hither
and thither among the ruins, counteracting with his words the effect of the
speeches of the royalists and assisting to dig out of the debris corpses
and the wounded, giving the latter first aid.

The advance of Monteverde was substantially helped by this earthquake. Many
soldiers of the patriots' army had died in their armories and others
on their way to fight the enemy and on parade grounds. All the patriot
government had was reduced to practically nothing in a moment. Monteverde
continued to advance eastward, and took the important town of Barquisimeto,
where he received a large contingent of men, who flocked to him fearful of
the divine anger. His lieutenants were meeting with success in different
fields and he himself soon entered the city of San Carlos.

On the 4th of April, there occurred a second earthquake which lasted eight
hours, and which destroyed the little remaining courage of those who were
not heart and soul with the movement of emancipation.


(The boundary lines of Colombia are taken from Codazzi's Atlas, 1821-1823.
The other boundaries are taken from Rand McNally's Atlas, 1919.) **note:
illustration spans two pages.]

In the midst of these difficulties, the executive power appointed General
Francisco Miranda supreme commander of all the forces of the Republic, on
land and sea, and the government withdrew from Valencia to the town of La
Victoria, situated between Valencia and Caracas. Miranda went to Caracas to
obtain some resources, and while there associated Bolívar with him in the
army. Later, Miranda sent him to Puerto Cabello, while Monteverde seized
Valencia, the capital of the country.

Various events continued to favor Monteverde, and when Miranda came back
to besiege Valencia, Monteverde was so successful that the independent
military commander saw himself forced to take a defensive attitude instead
of an offensive one. From that moment, Miranda committed error after error,
all of which resulted in victories for the fortunate Spanish leader. The
patriots grew distrustful of their chief, who withdrew to La Victoria.
There he was attacked by Monteverde, but defeated him. This victory availed
the patriots little, for Miranda did not want to abandon his defensive
position. He had 12,000 men and could have destroyed his enemy, but he
preferred to wait. Meanwhile, Bolívar was requesting help to defend Puerto
Cabello, where there were deposited many provisions, and also to attack
Monteverde by the rear. Miranda refused assistance. Monteverde, upon being
defeated in a second attack on La Victoria, withdrew in the direction of
Puerto Cabello. Already one of the forts had hoisted the Spanish flag.
Monteverde was successful, and Bolívar sailed for La Guaira. The loss of
Puerto Cabello, and other facts which need not be mentioned here, decided
Miranda to capitulate, at a time when he was still stronger than his enemy.
The capitulation was ratified in La Victoria by Miranda on the 25th of
July, 1812. The following day Monteverde occupied the city and on the 30th
he entered Caracas.

All the patriots denounced Miranda for the capitulation, which meant the
dissolution of the army and the abandonment of all the elements which had
so raised their hopes.

Bolívar, who, ignorant of the capitulation, had arrived in Caracas on
his way to join Miranda, decided to return to La Guaira and to emigrate,
resolved never to submit to the Spanish rule. Before departing, he issued a
proclamation denouncing emphatically the action of Miranda, and the conduct
of Monteverde who had transgressed the laws of war by encouraging the
barbarous actions of the undisciplined crowds which, in the interior of
the country, were committing all kinds of atrocities. Monteverde had also
violated the articles of the capitulation stipulating that the lives and
properties of the inhabitants should be respected and that there should
follow a general oblivion of all past actions.

Bolívar was in La Guaira when Miranda arrived there with many other
officers who were escaping persecution from Monteverde. The generalissimo
intended to remain in La Guaira that night, sailing from there the
following day. That evening the most prominent men of the city assembled
and denounced the supreme commander for his conduct. Among the most bitter
judges of Miranda was Bolívar, the man who had asked the London exile to
return to Venezuela to work for liberty in his country. The word treachery
was uttered and all agreed to imprison Miranda, a culpable action performed
on the morning of July 31. That same day the port of La Guaira was closed
by order of Monteverde, and the most distinguished patriots who fell into
his hands were sent to prison, and cruel persecutions were exercised
everywhere. A committee of public safety was established and immediately
the prisons of Caracas and Puerto Cabello were filled with men, many of
whom died of suffocation. Into a dungeon in Puerto Cabello, a Spaniard
threw five flasks of alkali, thus causing the death by asphyxiation of all
the prisoners locked there.

The properties of the leading citizens were seized. It was enough to have
means of comfortable livelihood to be denounced as an enemy of Spain. The
most peaceful men were dragged from their homes, and the tears of wives and
children never moved to pity Monteverde's agents.

Miranda, a prisoner in Puerto Cabello, appealed in vain to the audiencia
against these crimes. From Puerto Cabello he was sent to Porto Rico and
finally to Cádiz, where he was locked in a fortress called la Carraca.
There he died on July 14, 1816, his remains being thrown with the corpses
of common criminals. Such was the end of the noble man who had been the
guest of Catherine II of Russia, a soldier of Washington and a general of
the French Republic. He spent his last days in a dungeon, chained to
the wall like a dog. Venezuela has erected in the Pantheon of Caracas a
beautiful marble monument in the shape of a coffin, the cover of which is
held open by the claws of a majestic eagle, waiting for the remains of the
great Venezuelan, who committed errors, it is true, but whose devotion to
his country has never been doubted and whose martyrdom, and the fortitude
with which he bore it, place him among the noblest characters of history.

Bolívar remained in La Guaira for a short while, but inactivity was
distasteful. Through the efforts of a Spanish friend, he obtained a
passport from Monteverde and left the port for Curaçao at the end of

This action marks the end of the first part of Bolívar's life, his restless
youth, the preparation for struggles through sorrow and patient study, his
military training under Miranda, and the clarification in his mind of the
supreme purposes to which he was going to devote his life, no longer in a
secondary position, but as a leader, a commanding figure on the American


_Bolívar's First Expedition. The Cruelty of War_


After the entrance of Monteverde in Caracas and the ensuing persecutions,
all Venezuela could be considered as reconquered for Spain, and it seemed
that all was lost for the cause of independence. The disobedience of
Monteverde, who, as we have remarked before, had no instructions to
continue the campaign, had been forgiven and rewarded, for it had been
sanctioned by success. Until the end of 1812, Caracas was treated
high-handedly and was very cruelly punished for all interest it had
manifested in, and all support it had given to, the cause of independence.

Bolívar joined some patriots in Curaçao, where he remained until October
in the company of his relative and loyal friend, José Félix Ribas. He then
sailed for Cartagena, a city of New Granada which at that time was free
from Spain, and offered his service to the Repúblican government of that
city. Bolívar was made colonel under a Frenchman called Pedro Labatut.

In Cartagena, Bolívar continued to write, supporting his idea that the only
salvation for the colonies lay in war with Spain. At the end of that year
he published a memorandum of so great importance that it can be considered
as the first real revelation of his true genius. He explained the reasons
for the defeat of Venezuela, and set them forth as a lesson of the urgent
need of unity and firmness on the part of the American colonies. He
denounced the weakness of the first government, evidenced in the treatment
accorded Coro, which was not conquered immediately, but was permitted to
be fortified so as to defy the whole federation and finally to destroy it.
Recognizing the lack of friendly public opinion, he denounced the junta for
not being ready to free the "stupid peoples who do not know the value of
their rights."

    "The codes consulted by our magistrates," he wrote, "were not those
    which could teach them the practical science of government, but those
    formed by certain idealists who build republics in the air and try to
    obtain political perfection, presupposing the perfection of the human
    race, in such a way that we have philosophers as leaders, philanthropy
    instead of law, dialectic instead of tactics, and sophists instead of
    soldiers. With this subversion of things, social order was shaken
    up, and from its very beginning advanced with rapid strides towards
    universal dissolution, which very soon was effected."

He emphasized the necessity for regular soldiers, trained to fight and
experienced enough to know that a single defeat does not mean the loss of
all hope, and that "ability and constancy correct misfortune." He denounced
the misuse of public funds and declared himself against state paper money
not guaranteed, pointing out that such a currency was a clear violation
of the right of property, since men who had objects of real value had
to exchange them for paper, the price of which was uncertain and even
imaginary. Acknowledging that the federal system was the best, he declared
that it was the most inadequate for the good of the new states. He added

    "as yet our fellow citizens are not in a condition fully to exercise
    their rights, for they lack the political virtues which characterise
    a true republic, and which cannot be acquired under an absolute
    government where the rights and obligations of citizens are ignored."

In another part he said,

    "It is necessary that the government identify itself, so to speak, with
    the circumstances, times and men surrounding it. If they are prosperous
    and calm, the government must be mild and protective, but if they are
    calamitous and turbulent, the government must show itself terrible and
    must arm itself with a firmness equal to the dangers, without paying
    heed to laws or constitution, until peace is reestablished."

Bolívar well understood the character of his people when he declared

    "Public elections performed by the ignorant peasants and by the
    intriguing inhabitants of the city are an obstacle to the practice of
    federation among us, because the former are so ignorant that
    vote like machines, and the latter are so ambitious that they make
    everything into factions. For these reasons Venezuela has never k
    a free and reasonable election and the government has fallen into the
    hands of men, either opposed to the cause, weak or immoral. Partisan
    spirit decided everything and, consequently, it disorganized us more
    than circumstances did. Our divisions, and not the Spanish Army,
    brought us back to slavery."

Summarizing the causes of the fall of Venezuela, he attributed it in
the first place to the nature of its constitution; secondly, to the
discouragement of the government and people; thirdly, to the opposition
to the establishment of a regular military organization; fourthly, to
earthquakes and superstitions strengthened by those calamities, and fifthly
and lastly to

    "the internal dissensions, which, in fact, were the deadly poison which
    carried the country to its doom."

Then he appealed with persuasive eloquence to Nueva Granada for help,
arguing that it was indispensable for Nueva Granada to reobtain the freedom
of Caracas, pointing out that as Coro, as an enemy, had been enough to
destroy the whole of Venezuela, so Venezuela as a center of Spanish
power would suffice to recover Nueva Granada for the Spanish crown. The
possession of Caracas by Spain was a danger for all Spanish America. Then
he showed the possibility of a military undertaking, starting from Nueva
Granada, and expressed his faith that thousands of valiant patriots would
join the ranks of the army of liberty as soon as it set foot in Venezuela.
He gave the details of the proposed campaign, and finished with a most
eloquent and forceful appeal in the following words:

    "The honor of Nueva Granada imperatively requires the punishment of the
    daring invaders, their persecution to the last trenches. Her glory will
    be the undertaking of going to Venezuela, and freeing the birthplace
    of Colombian independence and its martyrs, and that worthy people of
    Caracas, whose clamors are addressed to their beloved fellow patriots
    of Nueva Granada, for whom they are waiting with deadly impatience as
    for their redeemers. Let us hasten to break the chains of those victims
    who moan in the dungeons, ever expecting their salvation from you. Do
    not betray their confidence, do not be heedless of the lamentations of
    your brothers. Be eager to avenge the dead, to bring back to life the
    dying, to relieve the oppressed and to give liberty to all."

This noteworthy document was published in Cartagena, on December 15, 1812,
and presents Bolívar as he was in the maturity of his life, as a thinker,
apostle, general, and practical statesman; it shows him as the man destined
to give liberty to five countries. This proclamation is the first full
display of Bolívar's genius.

Bolívar was sent to command a small place where he had to be inactive. He
prepared an expedition against the city of Tenerife, considered one of the
strongest in Nueva Granada and which prevented the free navigation of the
Magdalena River. He left with only 400 men and seized the castle abandoned
by the garrison, thus obtaining some artillery, boats and war material.
Following his success, the government of Cartagena placed him in full
command of his own army and gave him orders to conquer the upper Magdalena.
Bolívar accomplished this with only 500 men, freeing the east bank of
the river. When he arrived at Ocaña, he was received amidst the greatest
enthusiasm. He had won five victories in five days.

The Congress of Nueva Granada was holding its meetings in the city of
Tunja. Bolívar got in touch with it and received instructions to lead an
expedition against Cúcuta and Pamplona. He started out with 400 men and
a few spare rifles to arm patriots who might join the ranks. With the
greatest alacrity he advanced, defeating several detachments on the way. He
finally attacked the city of Cúcuta, where 800 royalists were awaiting the
attack of his men. On the 28th of February, after a bloody fight, Bolívar
took the city and considerably increased his supply of war implements.
The royalists occupying Pamplona and neighboring towns evacuated their
possessions upon learning of the defeat of the royalists of Cúcuta. On
sending communications to the governor of Cartagena, Bolívar dated them in
the city of "Cúcuta delivered" (libertada). His habit of adding the word
"libertada" to the cities captured from the royalists contributed greatly
to his later receiving the name of "Libertador," by which he is most
generally known in history.

As soon as he entered Venezuelan territory, he declared that on that very
day Venezuela had returned to life. Addressing the soldiers, he said:

    "In less than two months you have carried out two campaigns and have
    begun a third one, which commences here and which must end in the
    country which gave me life."

He regarded his two previous campaigns merely as an introduction to the
third, and most important for him, whose supreme ambition was to obtain
once again the freedom of Venezuela. At the close of the address to the
soldiers, we find these words:

    "All America expects its liberty and salvation from you, brave soldiers
    of Cartagena and of the Union." (The Union of Nueva Granada.)

These words indicate that he was thinking not in local terms, but in terms
of Greater America.

The government of the Union promoted him to the rank of brigadier general
and conferred upon him the honorary title of citizen of Nueva Granada. He
asked immediate authority to use the troops of the Union to continue
his march, until he could recover the ruins of Caracas. To convince the
government he repeated the arguments put forth in the proclamation of
Cartagena, tending to prove that the freedom of Venezuela was essential
to the continued liberty of Nueva Granada. He insisted so eloquently
on receiving permission to advance, that at last he obtained it, with
authorization to occupy the southwestern provinces of Venezuela: Mérida and
Trujillo. In thanking the executive power for this privilege, he evidenced
his confidence in his future triumph by the following words, addressed to
the president:

    "I ask Your Excellency to send the answer to this communication to
    Trujillo: I shall receive it there."

Bolívar started his campaign from San Cristóbal on the 15th of May, 1813,
with 800 men. The royalists had 15,000 and sufficient resources to equip
6,000 additional men. The work of the young warrior seemed a dream; perhaps
no wise general would have undertaken that campaign, but Bolívar was above
common wisdom; he had the power of making the most beautiful dreams come
true. Among the men who accompanied him were many who have received the
greatest honors history can confer. Two of them may be noted here, for we
shall have occasion to mention them again very soon; they are Atanasio
Girardot and Antonio Ricaurte.

Upon his approach to Mérida, the royalists, numbering 1,000, left the city,
and Bolívar took it on the 30th of May without any opposition. He was
received with enthusiasm as the liberator of Venezuela. The general began
at once to attend to the organization of the emancipated territory, and
to increase the strength of his army. He sent some men to attack the
retreating Spaniards, and Girardot to occupy the province of Trujillo. The
royalists escaped to Maracaibo and, on the 14th of June, Bolívar was in
Trujillo, reorganizing the province. From there he sent Girardot to pursue
the royalists.

On the next day Bolívar took an action which has been the subject of many
debates, and which some writers consider is the one stain in the career of
the great man of the South. We must devote a few lines to frank discussion
of this subject, not neglecting to declare immediately that in our minds
there has never been the slightest doubt that Bolívar was right in his
conduct, and that a different action would have been the height of folly.
Bolívar proclaimed "War to Death to the Spaniards," considering the conduct
of Monteverde, the savage crimes committed in the interior cities of
Venezuela, the many instances in which the Spanish authorities had shown an
utter disrespect for the sanctity of treaties and the lives and properties
of enemies who had surrendered, and even of peaceful natives, these acts
coupled with documents like the proclamation published by a Spanish
governor of a province in which he stated that his troops would not
give quarter to those who surrendered. The documents proving that this
proclamation had been issued were received by Bolívar in Trujillo. In
Bolívar's mind this idea was a permanent obsession: "Americans are dying
because they are Americans, whether or not they fight for American
freedom." He took into account the long list of crimes committed, the
harmless citizens, women and children who had died, the barbarous
asphyxiation of the prisoners in Puerto Cabello, the horrors committed on
the peaceful inhabitants of Caracas, and even the atrocities perpetrated by
the royalist armies in Mexico and other parts of the continent. He recalled
the leniency and mercy of the first independent government of Venezuela
and the cruelty of the Spanish authorities, and thought, not only of the
reprisals necessary to punish and, if possible, to stop these cruel deeds,
but also of the salutary effect of a rigorous attitude on hesitating men,
and the necessity that those who had not taken part on one side or another
should declare themselves immediately, whether they sympathized with and
were ready to help the cause of liberty, or favored a foreign régime.
He was still in Mérida when in a proclamation he spoke of avenging the
victims, and threatened with war to death. But Bolívar was not only a man
of genius but one of equanimity, poise, deep thought and attention. He did
not want to carry out his threats immediately, but decided to think at
length over the transcendent step he was considering. The night of the 14th
of June was a night of torture for the Liberator. On the morning of the
15th he himself wrote the decree of _War to Death_, and then called for an
assembly of his officers to hear their opinions of this decree. Not one
of them dissented. At the close of the meeting Bolívar signed the
proclamation, in which these terrible words appeared:

    "Spaniards and Natives of the Canary Islands:[1] Be sure of death even
    if you are indifferent. Americans: Be sure of life even if you are

[Footnote 1: Many of the natives of the Canary Islands had distinguished
themselves by their cruelty against the independents in Venezuela.]

The law of war is a terrible law, and Bolívar could not but take this step,
unless he preferred to wage a losing fight.

As a measure of legitimate reprisal and as a measure of wisdom in warfare,
the War to Death decree is fully justifiable.

Regarding it as a reprisal, let us mention only two or three facts. When
Monteverde learned of the asphyxiation of the prisoners in Puerto Cabello,
he wrote to the commander of the port:

    "I strongly recommend that your activity on this point be not slackened
    (the expulsion of foreigners from Puerto Cabello), nor on that of the
    safe-keeping of the prisoners in the dungeons. If any one is to die,
    that is his fate."

On the plains some towns were entirely destroyed by bands of assassins.
Women and children were the victims of the royalists in a number of cities.
There were occasions where men and women of all ages had their ears cut
off, were skinned alive, or in other ways cruelly tortured. A Spaniard
called Boves distinguished himself among the worst criminals. He
systematically organized the work of destroying Americans. His theory was
that no American should live, and he simply destroyed them mechanically,
for he thought that that was the only thing to do with them. Bolívar,
himself, in a letter sent to the governor of Curaçao on October 2, 1813,
makes the most eloquent exposition of facts, and shows clearly the reasons
he had for the decree of War to Death.

Still, Bolívar did not carry out the decree of War to Death immediately,
nor did he do so constantly. Whenever he found any opportunity to exercise
mercy, he did so; and when he was forced to let the severity of this law
fall upon his enemy, there was generally an immediate reason for his
action. In San Carlos, a few days after the issuance of this decree, when
addressing the Spaniards and the Natives of the Canary Islands, he said:

    "For the last time, Spaniards and Natives of the Canary Islands, listen
    to the voice of justice and clemency. If you prefer our cause to that
    of tyrants, you will be forgiven and will enjoy your property,
    and honor; but if you persist in being our enemies, withdraw from our
    country or prepare to die."

Several proofs are recorded of his clemency in spite of his threats; but
at last, when he saw that there was no other way to bring the royalists to
terms, he ordered that war be waged mercilessly.


_Bolívar's First Victories_


The Congress of Nueva Granada had ordered Bolívar to take Trujillo and
there to await new instructions. It was reluctant to permit him to advance,
because the patriots in Nueva Granada found themselves in a difficult
position. Bolívar wrote them, showing the necessity of his advancing
immediately, in order to prevent the enemy from discovering the reduced
size of his army and destroying it. His plan was to advance steadily
against the royalists, to destroy them, and thus secure the freedom of
Nueva Granada. Finally, the Congress yielded.

Bolívar's situation was an exceedingly dangerous one. There was a
good-sized royalist army to his right, while to his left were the old
hostile cities of Maracaibo and Coro. Before him was Monteverde with the
men who had helped him to conquer Venezuela and with an abundant supply
of war material. He became so impatient that he advanced without having
received an answer to his last communication to Congress, crossed the Andes
and, on the first of July, took the city of Guanare. Meanwhile, General
Ribas, following Bolívar's orders, also advanced, meeting a detachment of
royalists sent to cut off Bolívar's retreat. Ribas had less than half as
many men as his opponent, but he was a man of the stamp of his leader, and
on the same day that Bolívar entered Guanare he attacked the enemy. When
his limited supply of ammunition was exhausted, he fought with the bayonet,
and succeeded in completely destroying his foes. This battle occurred in a
town called Niquitao, and is considered one of the most brilliant battles
of the War of Independence.

Bolívar continued his rapid advance to the city of Barinas, and found it
abandoned by the royalists, who had left behind artillery and ammunition.
He ordered his trusted Girardot to continue the prosecution of the enemy,
but they made their escape towards Venezuelan Guiana (Guayana) by means of
one of the tributaries of the Orinoco, leaving behind them a path marked
with crimes and depredations.

Once in possession of Barinas, Bolívar reorganized the province, created
his first troops of cavalry, instilled enthusiasm in the population and
prepared himself for new steps in his brilliant career. To Ribas, he
entrusted the defeat of some 1,500 royalists whose position might hinder
his progress. With only one-third this number of men, Ribas encountered and
destroyed the enemy on the plains of Los Horcones, which victory, together
with that at Niquitao, did much for the success of the whole campaign.

Leaving a detachment in Barinas, Bolívar advanced to San Carlos, which he
entered on the 28th of July, and then continued onward towards Valencia.

While Bolívar was advancing from the western border towards the heart
of his country, very important events were taking place in the eastern
extremity. A young man named don Diego Mariño, after having made
preparations in the Island of Trinidad to fight against the Spanish
domination in his country, entered Venezuela and advanced to the city of
Cumaná. There is a striking similarity in the lives and labors of Bolívar
and Mariño. Both were young, both were animated by the same hatred of
tyranny and the same love for independence; both knew how to arouse
enthusiasm in their followers and both displayed the greatest devotion to
their friends; both were inspired by the same ambition for glory and
honor, and both realized a very important part of the first liberation of

Monteverde attacked Mariño and met with disaster, being compelled to
withdraw to Caracas, where he learned of the victories of Bolívar in the
West. He immediately prepared to go personally to Valencia to stop the
advance of the independents. There he was informed of the latest triumph of

Bolívar advanced, destroyed in Taguanes a strong army sent to check
him, and continued his march toward Valencia, prepared to meet a strong
resistance on the part of Monteverde. Great indeed was his surprise when he
found that Monteverde had escaped toward Puerto Cabello during the night,
leaving everything to the mercy of the conqueror.

From Valencia, the victor went to Caracas, where he granted an honorable
capitulation to the city, offering passports to the Spanish soldiers and
officers and permitting them to evacuate the town in the most dignified
way. Upon his arrival in Caracas, Bolívar. found that soldiers and
officers, as well as about six thousand persons who considered themselves
guilty, had already escaped to La Guaira, confident that Bolívar would act
as Monteverde had done in the past.

August 6th, 1813, marks the entrance of Bolívar in Caracas, the end of the
campaign which he had begun with 500 men,--his first campaign as a general,
one in which he fought six pitched battles, covered a distance of 1,200
kilometers, destroyed five hostile armies, captured 50 pieces of artillery
and three ammunition depots, and reconquered all the western part of
Venezuela, while Eastern Venezuela had been recovered by Mariño. All this
was done within ninety days, and established forever the reputation of
Bolívar as one of the most distinguished generals in history.

Caracas received him with the highest honors. The most beautiful young
ladies of the city, dressed in white, brought flowers and branches of
laurel to the conqueror; church bells were rung; flowers were strewn in his
path. Bolívar, with his usual energy, set to work at once to reestablish
order and to arrange to continue operations against La Guaira. He issued
a proclamation announcing the rebirth of the Republic, and expressing his
gratitude to Nueva Granada, to whom Venezuela owed the beginning of this
undertaking. In order to avoid the necessity of fulfilling his decree of
War to Death, he sent messengers to Puerto Cabello to ask Monteverde to
ratify the convention by which he granted life to all Spaniards caught in
Caracas or on their way to La Guaira, but Monteverde refused, explaining
that he did not want to have any dealings with the insurgents.

As soon as the most urgent work of organization was finished, Bolívar, who
had sent cordial congratulations to Mariño, went himself to conduct the
siege of Puerto Cabello.

At that period, when his glory was at its greatest splendor, he made the
first public declaration by which the world could know that he had no
personal ambition. He, who in his youth had enjoyed all the comforts
and pleasures of life; who had had, in various parts of Venezuela,
vast estates, slaves which he had set free, and all kinds of personal
possessions; and who had abandoned everything to devote his life to his
efforts in the service of his country, said these words:

    "The Liberator of Venezuela renounces forever and declines irrevocably
    to accept any office except the post of danger at the head of our
    soldiers in defense of the salvation of our country."

And Bolívar lived up to his words.

Monteverde held many patriots in Puerto Cabello. Bolívar proposed an
exchange of prisoners, but the Spaniard steadily refused all reasonable
demands. The siege of Puerto Cabello was not altogether successful because
the city was open to the sea and the royalist army was able to receive
provisions. A strong expedition commanded by don José Miguel Salomón
arrived from Spain to help Monteverde, and Bolívar realized that he could
not hope to succeed unless the enemy could be drawn out of the city to
fight in the open. Consequently, he ordered his troops to withdraw.
Monteverde came out of the city on the 30th of September, and was attacked
by three independent columns which defeated him completely. They themselves
suffered a distressing loss in the death of Colonel Girardot, who was
killed by a bullet in the forehead while hoisting in a captured position
the flag of independence. Bolívar paid the greatest honor to Girardot, and
took the heart of his young lieutenant to Caracas to receive the homage
of the people. The soldiers and followers of Girardot asked Bolívar the
privilege of being sent to avenge the young colonel. Monteverde had
established himself in a place which he considered impregnable. The
insurgents attacked with all their might, and the enemy was routed.
Monteverde had to withdraw to Puerto Cabello, where he was deposed by his
subordinates and Salomón was elected to take his place. His successor
accepted the exchange of prisoners, and Bolívar, leaving some troops to
continue the siege of the port, went to Caracas, where he had to face new

The communication with Nueva Granada had been cut by the Spanish troops
sent from Maracaibo. In Cúcuta the royalists were committing all kinds of
brutal deeds. It is said that assassinations were committed as the result
of bets. Children under ten years of age had their hands cut off. In the
Orinoco plains, the _llanos_, Boves with his lieutenant, Morales, exceeded
whatever imagination can fancy in the way of bloodthirsty cruelty. Some
independent detachments had been destroyed in the South, and several
fanatical priests were discouraging sympathizers of freedom, declaring that
"The King is the representative of God."[1]

[Footnote 1: It is necessary, at this point, to make very plain the
attitude of the Catholic clergy in the wars of American independence. Of
course, no man of good sense and culture will today pay any attention to
the accusations against Spain, the clergy and the Inquisition, all inspired
by religious hatred, which is one of the worst forms of fanaticism.
Nevertheless, there are still fanatics who refuse to open their eyes to the
truth, either because they find their ignorance a very comfortable frame of
mind or because they maliciously devote themselves to the abominable work
of slandering a country and institutions which have played and are playing
a very important historical rôle.

There appears to be only one serious monograph on Simón Bolívar written
in English, and this is an article which appeared in Harper's New Monthly
Magazine, No. 238, V. 40, published in March, 1870. This article was
written by Eugene Lawrence, and pretends to be a eulogy of the Man of the
South. In substance it is nothing more than a superficial synopsis of the
main facts of the public life of Bolívar, and a constant and virulent
attack against Spain and the Catholic Church. It would seem that to the
author Spain is nothing, and has never been anything, but kings and
priests, and that kings and priests are a curse on the population. The
cruelties of the Spanish kings and priests constitute his main subject. As
a matter of fact, in the political revolutions of America, the priests have
been divided and have acted like other men, availing themselves of their
right to their own opinions. The greatest proof that the Church is not to
take any blame or praise for whatever happened in the War of Independence
is that it did not force its dignitaries to take any particular stand. They
did as they pleased. There were priests on the side of Monteverde and there
were priests on the side of Bolívar. Undoubtedly, the former thought
and preached that the will of God was to keep the American countries in
subjection, while the latter might have believed that the independence of
the American countries would satisfy the desires of God. If the Church was
on the side of Spain, the Spaniards certainly failed to reward her. In a
letter to the Governor of Curaçao, Bolívar wrote: "Many respectable old
men, many venerable priests, have seen themselves in chains and in other
infamous ways prisoners, herded with common criminals and men of the lowest
stamp, exposed to the insults of brutal soldiers and of the vilest men
of the lowest station." On the other hand, several priests accompanied
Bolívar, and he always showed the greatest veneration for the Church and
for its members. Speaking, then, of priests exploiting the fanaticism of
the crowd, no sober-minded historian would ever intend an attack against
the Church in general. Furthermore, we must not forget that most of the
enemies of independence were Americans, and that some publicists refuse to
speak of it as a war of independence but term the revolution a civil war.]

Bolívar sent Brigadier General Urdaneta, who had distinguished himself
in the previous campaigns, to take charge of the army of the West.
Campo-Elías, another trusted officer, was sent to the plains, while Bolívar
himself went to Caracas to pay his last homage to the heart of Girardot, an
action by which he not only honored his dead officer, but also showed
his appreciation of the help received from Nueva Granada in the work of
securing the independence of his country. In Caracas, Bolívar for the first
time received officially the name of "Savior of the Country, Liberator of
Venezuela." On receiving the decree conferring these titles upon him,
he said that the title of Liberator of Venezuela was more glorious and
satisfying to him than the crowns of all the empires of the world, but that
the real liberators had been the Congress of Nueva Granada, Ribas, Girardot
and the other men who had been with him throughout the campaign.

Bolívar was very much concerned with the increasing wave of discontent
which threatened to destroy his work. As we said at the beginning, there
was no public opinion to support him. The masses were moved by their
feelings, by early acquired habits, by superstitions or by low
interests, and the _llaneros_ (inhabitants of the plains) would follow
any chieftain who could guarantee them sufficient loot. At only thirty
years of age Bolívar had proved himself as great a statesman as he was a
soldier. He arranged for the organization of all public services, and
when this was attended to, he took care to satisfy the natural pride of
the patriots, by creating an order called "The Military Order of the
Liberators of Venezuela."


_Araure. Ribas Triumphs in La Victoria. A Wholesale Execution_


The Governor of Coro had come out of the city with 1,300 men and had
destroyed an independent army. He now threatened the possession of Valencia
and the security of the troops engaged in the siege of Puerto Cabello.
Yáñez, at the head of 2,500 _llaneros_, had destroyed another patriot army
and had seized the city of Barinas, leaving his path strewn with corpses
and stained with the blood of his victims.

Urdaneta sent news of his danger to the Liberator, and the latter came at
once to the rescue, and defeated in Barquisimeto the army of Coro, only to
see this victory turned to defeat as the result of a mistaken bugle order
which caused the retreat of one of his regiments. Urdaneta was entrusted
with the organization of the remains of the patriotic army, and Bolívar
went to Valencia to obtain new reinforcements. The Governor of Coro, D.
José Ceballos by name, succeeded in getting in touch with Yáñez and the
Governor of Puerto Cabello, and concerted a combined attack. Bolívar
ordered Ribas, who was at that time in Caracas, to come to the rescue with
all the men he could gather. The commander of Puerto Cabello, Salomón,
advancing on the road which leads from Valencia to Caracas, was attacked by
Ribas and by Bolívar and, after three days of constant fighting, was forced
to withdraw to the port, having suffered very heavy losses. Then Bolívar,
with all the men that he could summon, proceeded to San Carlos, where he
found himself with 3,000 armed men ready to fight the royalists. With this
army he advanced to meet Ceballos, and met him, commanding 3,500 men, near
a place called Araure. The great battle of Araure was fought on the 5th of
December, 1813. At first it was costly to the insurgent armies, which
lost their best infantrymen. But the Liberator was present everywhere,
encouraging his soldiers and directing their movements. At last, the
independents obtained the victory, and the royalists had to withdraw,
leaving 1,000 dead and many guns. After that battle, Ceballos and Yáñez had
to escape to the south, to the valley of the Orinoco. Bolívar's prestige
was shown at its best.

The regiment which, through a mistake, had begun the retreat at the battle
of Barquisimeto, Bolívar punished by depriving it of the right to have a
flag and a name until it would conquer them in the field of battle. The
"Nameless Battalion" was placed in the center of the independent forces in
Araure, and ten minutes after the battle had started, it had conquered a
flag from the enemy and had broken through the royalist army. From that
date the "Nameless Battalion" was called "The Conqueror of Araure."

The victory at Araure destroyed in one day the armies oppressing Venezuela,
and was the last military triumph of 1813, a year of success for the
independent army.

On thanking his staff for the congratulations which they addressed to him,
Bolívar uttered the following significant words:

    "It is true that our armies have avenged Venezuela. The largest army
    which has tried to subjugate us lies destroyed on the field. But we
    cannot rest. Other obligations await us. And when our native
    is entirely free, we shall go to fight the Spaniards in any part of
    America where they are in control, and we shall throw them into the
    sea. Freedom shall live protected by our swords."

But Bolívar's concern was increasing. He well knew that he was not
supported by public opinion, and he was also aware that the cruel crowds of
the plains were his greatest menace.

He sent a communication to the Congress of Nueva Granada, notifying it of
the conquest of the West and of his preparation for war against the men of
the plains, explaining again his attitude with regard to personal power.

    "The possession of supreme authority," he wrote, "so flattering for the
    despots of the other continent, has been for me, the lover of liberty,
    heavy and displeasing."

In another he added:

    "I shall not retain any part of the authority, even if the people
    themselves would entrust it to me."

His report of the 31st of December is one of the most conspicuous documents
of the life of Bolívar. It ranks as high as his proclamation of Cartagena
at the beginning of the campaign. In this report, through his Secretary of
Foreign Relations, he expressed his idea about union between Nueva Granada
and Venezuela. The document appears as addressed to him, and of it the
following words deserve special consideration:

    "The lessons of experience should not be lost for us. The spectacle
    presented to us by Europe, steeped in blood in an endeavor to establish
    a balance which is forever changing, should correct our policy in order
    to save it from those bloody dangers.... Besides that continental
    balance of power which Europe is seeking where it seems less likely
    to be found, that is, through war and disturbances, there is another
    balance, a balance which concerns us, the balance of the universe. The
    ambition of the European countries is to reduce to slavery the other
    parts of the world, and all these other parts of the world should
    endeavor to establish a balance between themselves and Europe in order
    to destroy the preponderance of the latter. I call this the balance
    of the world, and it must enter into the calculations of American

    "It is necessary that our country be sufficiently strong to resist
    successfully the aggressions which European ambitions may plan; and
    this colossal power, which must oppose another great power, cannot be
    formed but through the union of all South America under a national
    body, so that a single government may use its great resources
    a single purpose, that of resisting with all of them exterior
    aggressions, while in the interior an increasing mutual cooperation of
    all will lift us to the summit of power and prosperity."

The present ideas of inter-American coöperation do not differ very much
from those existing in the mind of Bolívar.

Following the deposition of Monteverde, the army of Puerto Cabello had left
for Coro and practically disappeared on its way. But some royalists had
gone to the south, and entered the city of Calabozo, after having destroyed
an insurgent force. Its commander was one of the worst men who had ever
breathed the air of America, José Tomás Rodríguez, a native of Spain, who,
after having been a pirate, was sentenced to the prison of Puerto Cabello.
Several Spaniards applied for a mitigation of the sentence, and he was set
free within the city of Calabozo, where he was employed when the revolution
began. By that time he had changed his name to that of Boves. He first
joined the patriots' army, but for some reason or other he was imprisoned.
He was released in 1810 by the royalists, and swore revenge against the
revolutionists. He organized a cavalry corps and committed infamous deeds
of cruelty wherever he happened to be, at the same time achieving military
success for, though morally a beast, he was clever in the field of battle
and possessed dauntless bravery. He held the banks of the Orinoco with the
aid of his lieutenant, Francisco Tomás Morales, a native of the Canary
Islands, whose moral worth can be judged by a single word applied to him by
Boves himself. Boves called him "atrocious." While Boves killed Americans
systematically, considering that it was the best, and perhaps the only way
to end the insurrection, Morales killed Americans for pleasure, whether or
not their death would foster the ends of the royalists. He had formerly
been a servant. He was brave and obdurate, and a very able second. In the
army of Boves, composed of 4,000 _llaneros_, he helped to take the city of
Calabozo. Bolívar immediately asked Mariño, who was commanding in the East,
to help him, but for several reasons, and perhaps mainly because Mariño
wanted to have supreme power, he did not go to the rescue. This was the sad
state of affairs at the beginning of 1814.

This year began with an assembly in Caracas of representatives of the
people, to whom Bolívar submitted a report on the use he had made of his
authority. On that occasion Bolívar spoke his mind as plainly as before.
Although his words depicted legitimate pride, he was very anxious to make
it understood that he was unwilling to retain any power over the nation.
Among other things he said:

    "I accepted and retained the supreme authority in order to save you
    from anarchy and to destroy the enemy who tried to support the p
    of oppression. I have given you laws, I organized for you the
    administration of justice and revenue, and, finally, I have given you a

    "Fellow citizens: I am not the sovereign. Your representatives should
    draw up your laws. The national treasury does not belong to the
    government. All those who have kept your wealth should show you the use
    they have made of it.... I am anxious to transfer this power to the
    representatives you must appoint, and I hope you will relieve me of a
    burden, which one of you can worthily bear, giving me the only honor to
    which I aspire, that is, to continue to fight your enemies, for I shall
    never sheathe my sword until the freedom of my country is altogether

The political governor of Caracas answered the address of the Liberator,
praising him for his brilliant campaign and for the successes due to his
genius. After a brief summary of his heroic deeds in Nueva Granada, he
said that the greatest merit of a man lay in the handing over of the power
entrusted to him. To take the power from Bolívar, he reasoned, would very
likely work to the ruin of the country, and he expressed his belief that
the thing necessary to do was to offer Bolívar supreme power for the time
being. In his answer to the governor, Bolívar paid a deserving tribute to
his brothers-in-arms, and then added the following words:

    "I have not come to oppress you with my victorious arms. I have come to
    bring you the empire of law. I have come with the purpose of preserving
    your sacred rights. It is not military despotism which can make a
    people free, and the power I have never can be good for the Republic
    except for a short period. A successful soldier does not acquire
    any right to command his country. He is not the arbiter of laws and
    government; he is the defender of freedom, and his glories must be
    identical to those of the Republic and his ambition satisfied if he
    gives happiness to his country.... Elect your representatives, your
    magistrates, a just government, and be sure that the armies which have
    saved the Republic will always protect the freedom and the national
    glory of Venezuela."

Nevertheless, in spite of his protestations, the power was forced upon him.
He did not stay long in the work of the government, but soon devoted his
time to the conduct of war. Puerto Cabello, with fewer soldiers than
before, was the main object of his attention. He intended to put an end
to the siege, attacking the town at one time by land and by sea.
Misunderstandings with Mariño, who had sent some reinforcements previously,
prevented the successful carrying out of his plan.

Barinas had fallen into the hands of the royalist Yáñez, whose bloodthirsty
followers beheaded eighty soldiers who had been left behind, killed men,
women and children, and destroyed the whole city by fire. A few days later
this man was killed in a skirmish, and thus ended the life of a fiend whose
name may be placed at the side of those of Boves and Morales, because of
his delight in committing crimes. In the rest of the country the royalists
were conducting guerrilla warfare, preventing the reunion of patriotic
bodies and rendering the situation very critical for Bolívar. The largest
troops of royalists were generally commanded by men distinguished for their
ferocity. To the names appearing elsewhere we must add those of Calzada,
Yáñez' successor, and of Rosete, who competed with each other for the
distinction of shedding the most blood.

Boves, in command of the horsemen of the plains, won a great victory in a
place called La Puerta, over Campo-Elías, and as a result he reached the
valley of Valencia and approached the city of Caracas. The city of Ocumare
was taken by Rosete, who proceeded to kill even the persons who were in
church praying to God.

In an effort to take advantage of his favorable position by swift
movements, Boves advanced to a city called La Victoria, on the road from
Valencia to Caracas, where Ribas was ready to do his utmost to prevent the
triumph of the bloodthirsty _llaneros_. On the morning of February 12,
1814, Boves attacked and succeeded in entering the town, but he found that
the garrison was made up of extraordinary men, one of whom was worth four
of his own, thanks to the inspiration and bravery of Ribas. The number of
casualties was enormous. Ribas saw his best officers falling about him,
and he himself had three horses killed under him. In the middle of the
afternoon the result of the battle was still undecided. Then troops
gathered by Campo-Elías after his defeat of La Puerta joined the defenders.
Ribas pushed out of the city and destroyed whatever appeared in his path.
Boves retreated and installed himself on the outskirts. The following
day he was attacked again and was forced to withdraw, this time in utter
disorder. The battle of La Victoria was the greatest victory of Ribas, and
is counted among the most brilliant feats of arms during the Venezuelan War
of Independence, filled as it was with heroic deeds.

Bolívar did not fail properly to praise the conqueror. He announced the
triumph to Caracas and to the world, and in paying tribute to the living
hero, he did not forget to pay homage to those who had fallen on the
field of battle. On that occasion, he uttered one of those brilliant
expressions so common in his writings: "Ribas, against whom adversity is
powerless." ... He never felt that his own glory had to suffer from the
unstinted praise he bestowed on his followers.

After this victory at La Victoria, Ribas went to Ocumare, where he saw the
work of Rosete, who had left the streets strewn with dying men, women and
children, and with the corpses of many victims of his insatiable ferocity.
More than 300 had fallen at the hands of the monsters. Bodies and mutilated
members appeared everywhere, the best proof of how just had been Bolívar's
decree of War to Death. Among other things Ribas found a branding iron in
the shape of a _P_, with which Rosete had intended to mark the foreheads of
the patriots and those of their children.

Bolívar, who in spite of the frequent atrocities of the enemy, had had
his decree carried out very seldom and very reluctantly, now, with the
royalists in command of Boves, Rosete and Morales, found it necessary to
begin severe reprisals in earnest.

The prisoners taken by the independents were constantly plotting. When
Boves was threatening Caracas, the commander of La Guaira asked Bolívar
what he was to do with the Spaniards in the prisons of the city,
considering that they were numerous and the garrison very small. The
Liberator answered as follows:

    "I command you to execute immediately all the Spaniards in the fortress
    and in the hospital, without exception."

He gave a similar order to the authorities in Caracas. As a result of these
orders, 886 Spaniards and natives of the Canary Islands were executed.

This is the act for which Bolívar has been most severely criticised and his
conduct most generally condemned. But, if what we have already said is
not sufficient to prove the need of these reprisals, we can take into
consideration also the slow torture to which the sick independents in the
hospital had been subjected, the killing of a woman because she had been
accused of having embroidered a uniform for Bolívar, the destruction of the
innocent dwellers in the towns taken by the royalists. This decision must
be considered also as a measure of safety, for Bolívar could not see an
enemy approaching, realizing the necessity perhaps of a hasty retreat, and
leave behind him reinforcements for his foes. On this occasion, Bolívar was
not merciful, but mercy had been repeatedly exercised by him even against
the dictates of wisdom. His measure of reprisal in this case can be
considered as ferocious only by contrast with his previous clemency. As a
historian (Baralt) remarks:

    "It must be agreed that the patience of saints could not tolerate the
    crimes of the royalist leaders, and at that very moment new attacks
    increased indignation and anger to an inexpressible degree."


_The Heroic Death of Ricaurte. Victory of Carabobo and Defeat of La Puerta_


Boves had retreated from La Victoria, but after reorganizing his army he
was again ready to attack. Bolívar had very few men, for the country was
nearly exhausted. With them he waited the dreaded royalist in a place
called San Mateo, where he was attacked by an army at least four times as
large as his. He had but one advantage, having selected a hilly ground
where the cavalry of the enemy could not easily maneuver. The battle began
on the 28th of February. It lasted all that day, and at the end of ten and
one-half hours of constant fighting, Bolívar was master of the situation,
not without having lost some of his best men, among them the valiant
Campo-Elías, who died a few days later.

Boves, wounded also, withdrew and waited for reinforcements, which arrived
in great numbers from the plains; while Bolívar had to reduce the defenders
of San Mateo in order to send some men to protect Caracas, which was being
threatened on the southeast by Rosete. Boves attacked again on the 20th
of March and was once more repulsed. Being informed that Rosete had been
defeated at Ocumare by the independents and that Mariño was approaching to
the relief of Bolívar, he decided to make a desperate effort to take San
Mateo. On the 25th of March he made a third attempt, and that day marks the
occurrence of one of the heroic deeds of the ages.

The supplies and the hospital of the insurgents were at a house built on a
hill, while the fight developed down below on the farm of San Mateo, owned
by Bolívar. Antonio Ricaurte, a native of Santa Fé (Nueva Granada) was
in command of the house. Boves decided to take this position and, in the
middle of the combat, the independents on the plain discovered that a
large column of royalists had stolen towards the ammunition depot from
the opposite side of the hill. All felt that the war material was lost.
Ricaurte was known as a brave man, but he could do little with the very few
men in his command. The young man had the wounded men taken down to the
plain, then he ordered his own soldiers to follow, and he remained alone.
The enemies continued to advance, and finally entered the house. Suddenly
there was heard a terrific explosion, and, when the smoke had cleared, it
could be seen that the house had been partially destroyed. Ricaurte had
blown up the ammunition, and with it himself and the enemy. Thus
Bolívar's army was saved. Boves, who had attacked thirty times, retreated
immediately, leaving nearly 1,000 men dead on the field of battle. The loss
of the patriots had been as big, or bigger, than that of Boves, but success
remained with them. Ricaurte took his place among men who, like Leonidas,
deemed life of little value as compared with the salvation of their

Further to the west, Ceballos, the former governor of Coro, had obliged the
patriots to retreat towards Valencia, where they were besieged by him with
reinforcements brought by Boves, who, after his defeat at San Mateo, had
fought Mariño, meeting again with disaster. In spite of the reinforcements,
the royalists were forced to retreat when the garrison of Valencia was
reduced to less than half of its former size.

Mariño and Bolívar met in La Victoria. The former, with an army made up of
his men and some given by Bolívar, proceeded to the west to fight against
Ceballos, while Bolívar went to Puerto Cabello, intending to take the city
by storm. By an imprudent move on his own part, Mariño was forced to meet
an army superior to his own, and he was defeated. He then withdrew to
Valencia, where Bolívar hastened to meet him, once more leaving the city of
Puerto Cabello. There he learned that Ceballos had received reinforcements,
and went to Caracas to recruit more men from a city which by now was bled
white. Nevertheless, he did obtain a few more men, and these he sent to
Valencia under Ribas, following shortly in order to take personal command
of the army in the battle.

The contending armies met on a plain called Carabobo, the royalists with
many more men than there were patriots. Desertions from the forces of the
Repúblicans were frequent. This caused Bolívar much concern, as did the
news that Boves was advancing from the south with a great body of cavalry.
With Mariño and Ribas to help him, and with his most trusted officers
at the head of the different sections, he advanced against the enemy,
commanded at that time by the Spanish field-marshal, D. Juan Manuel
Cagigal. This first battle of Carabobo, fought on the 28th of May, was one
of the swiftest and most complete victories of the Liberator. Three hours
were enough to destroy the royalist army and to force its commander to flee
to the southwest with some of his men. Many offícers were killed, great
masses of infantrymen surrendered, 4,000 horses were seized, as well as a
great quantity of ammunition, provisions, documents and money.

But the battle of Carabobo was not decisive. Boves was coming to avenge
Cagigal. The Liberator distributed his officers with such soldiers as he
could gather at different points. Mariño advanced against Boves. Bolívar
and Ribas returned to Caracas, still on the endless quest for more
resources with which to fight. When complimented upon his victory at
Carabobo, Bolívar remarked:

    "Let us not be dazzled by the victories Fate gives us; let us prepare
    ourselves for greater struggles; let us employ all the resource
    our good or bad condition, based on the principle that nothing is
    accomplished when there is something more to do; and we have much still
    to do."

He was thinking of Boves, Boves who had a large army, all the resources of
the plains, and the support of public opinion, while he had neither men nor
resources, nor the invigorating approval of his fellow citizens.

Mariño established himself in La Puerta, a place of ill-omen for the
patriots, and his position was disadvantageous. When Bolívar arrived to
take charge of the army, it was too late to change the place, for Boves was
to the front, with three times as many men as there were patriots. It
was necessary to fight and it was impossible to conquer. All was lost. A
patriot general (Antonio María Freites) killed himself in despair; some
officers who had been with Bolívar since the beginning of his glorious
career died on the field of battle.

Boves killed all the wounded men and prisoners who fell into his hands. He
invited a prisoner colonel (Jalón) to dine with him, and at the end of the
meal he ordered him to be hanged and his head sent as a present to his
friends at Calabozo.

Mariño escaped in one direction, and Ribas and Bolívar went to Caracas,
not without first taking all possible steps to hinder the advance of Boves
towards the city. Bolívar was always full of enthusiasm. At that time his
most frequent remark was:

    "The art of conquering is learned through defeats."

This battle of La Puerta took place on June 15, 1814. Boves entered the
city of La Victoria and then besieged Valencia, which resisted until every
means of defense was gone and the defenders were dying of thirst and
hunger. Boves proposed capitulation of the besieged and, it being accepted,
entered the city on the 10th of July. The treaty provided for the
inviolability of the life of all the inhabitants of the city, either
military or civilian. Boves had sworn that he would fulfil this convention,
but as soon as he had the city in his power he violated his own oath and,
with his usual ferocity, put to the sword the governor, the officers, some
hundreds of the army, and about ninety of the most prominent inhabitants.
His officers forced the young ladies of the families of those who had died
to attend a reception in honor of Boves.

Meanwhile, Bolívar was endeavoring to keep enthusiasm alive in Caracas. He
even intended to resist the advance of the enemy but, being convinced that
the defense of the town would mean a useless sacrifice, he decided to leave
it and went east to Barcelona. The inhabitants of Caracas, realizing the
monster Boves was, decided to leave their homes, and a painful pilgrimage
ensued. The emigration from Caracas is one of the saddest episodes of the
War of Independence. Many emigrants met death on their way east, but they
preferred it to the tortures that Boves knew very well how to inflict upon
the life and honor of the population of the cities he took. He entered the
capital on the 16th of July, and the crimes started. Cagigal, who was a
real soldier and a man of honor, saw his authority ignored by Boves. In
giving an account of this fact to the government of Spain, the only answer
he obtained was that Boves' conduct was approved by Madrid with a vote of
thanks for his important services and his great valor.

Leaving his lieutenant, Quero, in command of the city, Boves followed
Bolívar. Quero was a native American and was so bad that Boves' rule was
preferable to his.

With the few men obtained in Caracas, Bolívar organized a small army with
which he protected the emigrants.

From Barcelona he intended to send diplomatic representatives to Europe,
thus showing his unshaken confidence in the ultimate triumph of his cause.

With no more than 3,000 men, he faced an army of from 8,000 to 10,000
at Aragua, commanded by Morales, and was defeated (August 18, 1814).
A battalion composed of the best elements of the youth of Caracas was
entirely destroyed. Bolívar retreated to Barcelona, and Morales entered the
town of Aragua, where he massacred more than 3,500 men, women and children,
for the sole crime of being Americans. Realizing that he could not hold the
city of Barcelona, Bolívar went to the city of Cumaná with generals Ribas
and Manuel Piar, the latter famous for his military skill, his daring, his
restlessness and his ultimate sad death, of which we shall speak later.
From there Bolívar went with Mariño to Carúpano, and then sailed for
Cartagena, having lost his reputation and having been insulted by his own
officers and friends, among them Piar and Ribas, himself.

Before leaving Venezuela, the Liberator issued a proclamation, for he never
neglected an opportunity to speak to his fellow-countrymen and to the world
in order to build up favorable public opinion, by which he hoped to win
a final victory. In that document Bolívar emphasized the fact that the
Spaniards themselves had done very little harm in the fields of battle to
the cause of independence, and that defeats were due mainly to the native
royalists. This assertion was intended to produce a change of mind on the
part of the native population.

    "It seems that Heaven, to grant us at one time humiliation and pride,
    has permitted that our conquerors be our own brothers, and that our
    brothers only may triumph over us. The army of freedom exterminated the
    enemy's force, but it could not and should not exterminate the men for
    whose happiness it fought in hundreds of battles. It is not just to
    destroy the men who do not want to be free, nor can freedom be enjoyed
    under strength of arms against the opinion of fanatics whose depraved
    souls make them love chains as though they were social ties.... Your
    brothers and not the Spaniards have torn your bosom, shed your blood,
    set your homes on fire and condemned you to exile."

He then affirmed that he was going to Nueva Granada to render an account of
his conduct and to have an impartial judgment, and finished by asserting to
the Venezuelans that the people of Nueva Granada would again help them, and
that he would always be on the side of liberty.

The East was soon subjected, and all Venezuela was once again under the
yoke of Spain, mainly through the work of her own children. During these
campaigns Piar and Ribas and the brave General Bermúdez, of whom we shall
speak later, were united for a while, but at last each one took his own
way. The only good thing that occurred at this time was Boves' death in a
battle in December, 1814. Morales was still left as Venezuela's curse.

Ribas, after a defeat, was traveling with two officers. He was sick and
sad. He lay down to rest under a tree while his servant went to a near-by
town to obtain some provisions. The servant betrayed his master, and Ribas
was imprisoned. In the town he was humiliated and insulted. Then he was
killed. His head was sent to Caracas and placed in an iron cage at the
entrance of the city. His wife, who was Bolívar's aunt, locked herself in a
room and swore not to go out until freedom was achieved, and she remained
true to her vow.

Bolívar and Mariño arrived in Cartagena on September 25, 1814. The former
was on his way to Tunja to render an account of his Venezuelan campaign,
when he learned that some Venezuelan troops commanded by General Urdaneta,
who were in the territory of Nueva Granada, were quarreling with the native
soldiers. He went directly to the army to try to prevent anarchy and
dissensions between the Venezuelans and the natives of Nueva Granada. The
news proved to be false. The army of Urdaneta, which had left Venezuela to
await in the land of Nueva Granada new instructions from the Liberator,
and had obtained the protection of that government, received him with the
greatest enthusiasm.

From there Bolívar proceeded to Tunja, where he was very well received by
Congress. He requested that his conduct be examined and impartially judged.
The President of the Congress answered him with the following magnanimous

    "General, your country is not vanquished while your sword exists. With
    this sword you will again rescue her from the power of her oppressors.
    The Congress of Nueva Granada will give you its protection because it
    is satisfied with your conduct. You have been an unfortunate general,
    but you are a great man."

Then the Congress ordered him to liberate Santa Fé (Bogotá), a part of
Nueva Granada, which had been separated from the Union. Bolívar with his
usual activity proceeded to Bogotá, reached the outskirts of the city and,
promising immunity of properties and honor, offered a capitulation. The
commander of the garrison refused to accept and an assault followed, the
result of which was the surrender of the city. Bolívar was rewarded with
the title of _Capitán General_ of the Army of the Confederation, and
Congress immediately transferred the capital from Tunja to Santa Fé.

Congress asked Bolívar to direct the campaign to protect Nueva Granada
against the royalists. So he decided to take Santa Marta, the only place in
the country which was still in the hands of the Spaniards; then he planned
to fight once more for the liberty of Venezuela. Before adjourning, to meet
again in Santa Fé, the Congress at Tunja conferred on Bolívar the official
title of Pacificador (Peacemaker), which is frequently used with reference
to him, but not so generally as the title he himself used in preference to
any other: Libertador.

On this occasion Bolívar could not count on certain troops of Cartagena
because of the hostility of Castillo, the commander, who had had
differences with Bolívar, and was jealous of his glory. These dissensions
hindered Bolívar's advance towards Santa Marta, and produced delays which
resulted in great loss of provisions, and also of men because of an
epidemic of smallpox which developed in the army. To avoid further
dissension, Bolívar was willing to resign without using force against the
Cartagena contingent. He was unwilling to permit the royalists to learn of
disagreements in the independent army. He had at last, however, to make
ready to take the city and was going to lay siege to it when it was learned
that a great Spanish army had arrived in Venezuela. The delay of the
independent soldiers before Cartagena permitted some royalist troops to
take other cities of Nueva Granada, causing great losses of men and arms on
different occasions. Bolívar lost 1,000 men; 100 artillery guns and other
armament were also lost, as well as the boats upon which the army counted
and which would have been very useful to capture the city of Santa Marta.
At last, convinced that there was no remedy for the situation, Bolívar
determined to resign, and he called for an assembly of his officers, who
accepted his resignation. He embarked for Jamaica, first issuing another
warning against the disunion of the patriots.

    "No tyrant," he said, "has been destroyed by your arms; they have been
    stained with the blood of brothers in two struggles which have produced
    in us an equal sorrow."

The departure of Bolívar was very soon to be deplored by the armies of the

We have mentioned that a Spanish army had arrived in Venezuela, and we must
give some details concerning that expedition. Never in the history of the
Spanish domination and struggles in America did Spain send such a numerous,
well-equipped and powerful army as the one mentioned above. It was
commanded by Field-Marshal D. Pablo Morillo.


_Bolívar in Exile and Morillo in Power. The "Jamaica Letter"_


At that time Napoleon's luck was beginning to turn in Europe. He had been
forced to free Fernando VII, who had been imprisoned since 1808. Fernando
VII started to govern his country as a despot, disregarding the national
constitution and the public clamor for greater freedom, and soon decided to
assert his power in the New World. For that purpose he organized a powerful
army, the total strength of which, exclusive of sailors, was nearly
men, supplied with implements for attacks on fortified places, and with
everything necessary for warfare on a large scale. This army was placed
under the command of Morillo, who also brought with him a number of
warships and transports. The soldiers had had experience in the European
war and they had proved equal or superior to the armies of Napoleon. The
plan was to seize Venezuela and Nueva Granada, then go southward to Perú,
and then to Buenos Aires.

Morillo decided to land in the island of Margarita, whose inhabitants had
distinguished themselves by their heroism in the long war for independence
to such an extent that, upon becoming a province, the island changed its
name to New Sparta. Two men of equal bravery, Arismendi and Bermúdez, were
in command of a few more than 400 men. Morales was about to lead 5,000 to
6,000 men against the island, with 32 boats, of which 12 were armed with
artillery, when Morillo appeared with his huge army. Arismendi decided
to surrender. However, Bermúdez would not surrender, and, with reckless
daring, he got into a small boat, passed between Morillo's large vessels,
insulting the occupants, and then made his escape, going to join the
patriots in Cartagena.

Morillo was a very clever soldier; it is said that Wellington himself
recommended that he should be chosen, as the Spaniard ablest to subject
Venezuela and New Granada. He was as harsh as he was clever, and was ready
to wage a war of extermination. By the time Morillo reached the continent,
Venezuela was in the hands of Spain. That was at the end of 1814, a fatal
year for the cause of independence. From New Spain to the south, the
Spanish armies seemed to encounter no resistance. Morillo likened the
silence and peace he found everywhere to the silence and peace of the
cemeteries. There was no government anywhere, not even military authority.
Crime prevailed; cupidity and vengeance were the guiding principles of the

After leaving a garrison at Margarita and Cumaná, Morillo went to Caracas,
where he arrived on the 11th of May, immediately taking Cagigal's place as
captain general. There he published a proclamation announcing that he was
ready to go to Nueva Granada with his army, and, after levying exorbitant
tributes in money from the citizens and securing in the most outrageous
manner all the provisions he could possibly obtain, he sailed from Puerto
Cabello for Cartagena with 8,500 men, while Morales with 3,500 advanced by
land against the city.

Cartagena resisted the siege in such an admirable manner as to have her
name placed side by side with the most heroic cities of history. The
besiegers had all kinds of war material; the city lacked all. Still,
Cartagena fought constantly during one hundred and six days. The city
was then almost in ruins; its inhabitants were starving in the gutters;
soldiers and civilians were dying. When Morillo entered its streets he
found them almost deserted, and he made the few remaining persons suffer
the worst tortures he could devise. The able-bodied men succeeded in
escaping by sea.

Several more victories placed all of Nueva Granada in the power of Morillo.
The Congress had to dissolve and the Spaniards entered Santa Fé, marking
their entrance with the execution of more than 600 Americans, among them
men of the greatest prominence and highest social standing. All hope for
the liberty of South America seemed to be lost.

Bolívar arrived in Kingston in May, 1815, where he was very well received
personally by the governor. But he failed to obtain any substantial help
for an expedition to the mainland. Learning of the propaganda being made
everywhere against the cause of independence, he once more used his pen to
counteract this influence. His most important writing during his stay in
Jamaica was a letter addressed on September 6, 1815, to a gentleman of the
island, in which he analyzed the causes of the American failure and the
reasons he had to hope for the final success of the cause. The "Letter
of Jamaica" is counted as one of the greatest documents from the pen of

First, he examines all the errors and crimes committed by the Spaniards
in America, describes the partial success of the American armies and the
development of the war, as well as the enormous sacrifices made for the
cause of independence everywhere, from New Spain to the provinces of the
River Plata and Chile. He deprecates the attitude of Europe, which does not
intervene to save America from the clutches of an oppressive government,
and proves that even for the good of Europe, the independence of America
should be secured.

    "Europe itself," he said, "by reasons of wholesome policies, should
    have prepared and carried out the plan of American independence, not
    only because it is so required for the balance of the world, but
    because this is a legitimate and safe means of obtaining commercial
    posts on the other side of the ocean."

He very exactly described the true condition of the American people in the
following lucid way:

    "I consider the actual state of America as when, after the coll
    of the Roman Empire, each member constituted a political system in
    conformity with its interests and position, but with this great
    difference: that these scattered members reestablished the old
    nationalities with the alterations required by circumstances or events.
    But we, who scarcely keep a vestige of things of the past, and who, on
    the other hand, are not Indians nor Europeans, but a mixture of the
    legitimate owners of the country and the usurping Spaniards; in short,
    we, being Americans by birth and with rights equal to those of Europe,
    have to dispute these rights with the men of the country, and to
    maintain ourselves against the possession of the invaders. Thus, we
    find ourselves in the most extraordinary and complicated predicament."

After analyzing slavery in the abstract, he said:

    "Americans, under the Spanish system now in vigor, have in society no
    other place than that of serfs fit for work, and, at the most, that of
    simple consumers; and even this is limited by absurd restrictions, such
    as prohibition of the cultivation of European products; the mono
    of certain goods in the hands of the king; the prevention of the
    establishment in America of factories not possessed by Spain; the
    exclusive privileges of trade, even regarding the necessities of life;
    the obstacles placed in the way of the American provinces so that they
    may not deal with each other, nor have understandings, nor trade. In
    short, do you want to know what was our lot? The fields, in which to
    cultivate indigo, cochineal, coffee, sugar cane, cocoa, cotton; the
    solitary plains, to breed cattle; the deserts, to hunt the wild beasts;
    the bosom of the earth, to extract gold, with which that avaricious
    country was never satisfied."

           *       *       *       *       *

    "We were never viceroys or governors except by very extraordinary
    reasons; archbishops and bishops, seldom; ambassadors, never; military
    men, only as subordinates; nobles, without privileges; lastly, we were
    neither magistrates nor financiers, and hardly merchants. All this we
    had to accept in direct opposition to our institutions.

    "The Americans have risen suddenly and without previous preparation
    and without previous knowledge and, what is more deplorable, without
    experience in public affairs, to assume in the world the eminent
    dignity of legislators, magistrates, administrators of the public
    treasury, diplomats, generals and all the supreme and subordinate
    authorities which form the hierarchy of an organized state.

    "The events of the mainland have proved that perfectly representative
    institutions do not agree with our character, habits, and present state
    of enlightenment.... So long as our fellow citizens do not acquire the
    talents and the political virtues which distinguish our brothers of the
    North, who have a system of government altogether popular in character,
    I am very much afraid these institutions might lead to our ruin instead
    of aiding us....

    "I desire more than anybody else to see the formation in America
    the greatest nation in the world, not so much as to its extension and
    wealth as to its glory and freedom."

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Monsignor de Pradt has wisely divided America into fifteen or
    seventeen independent states, ruled by as many monarchs. I agree on the
    first point, for America could be divided into seventeen countries
    As for the second point, although it is easier to realize, it is less
    useful, and, consequently, I am not in favor of American monarchies.
    Here are my reasons: The real interests of a republic are circumscribed
    in the sphere of its conservation, prosperity and glory. Since freedom
    is not imperialistic, because it is opposed to empires, no impulse
    induces Repúblicans to extend the limits of their country; injuring its
    own center, with only the object of giving their neighbors a liberal
    constitution. They do not acquire any right nor any advantage by
    conquering them, unless they reduce them to colonies, conquered
    territories or allies, following the example of Rome.... A state too
    large in itself, or together with its dependent territories, finally
    decays and its free form reverts to a tyrannical one, the principles
    which should conserve it relax, and at last it evolves into despotism.
    The characteristic of the small republics is permanency; that of the
    large ones is varied, but always tends to an empire. Almost all of the
    former have been of long duration; among the latter Rome alone lived
    for some centuries, but this was because the capital was a republic,
    and the rest of her dominions were not, for they governed themselves by
    different laws and constitutions."

Then Bolívar ventures to prophesy the destiny of all nations of the
continent, from Mexico to the River Plata, and he does so with such
accuracy of vision that almost to the word the history of the first half
century of independence in Latin America was shaped according to his
prediction. The tranquility of Chile, the tyranny of Rosas in Argentina,
the Mexican empire, all were clearly seen in the future by his genius. Near
the close of his letter, he adds these inspired words:

    "How beautiful it would be if the Isthmus of Panamá should come to be
    to us what the Isthmus of Corinth was to the Greeks! May God g
    that some day we may have the happiness of installing there an august
    congress of the representatives of the republics, kingdoms and empires,
    to discuss and study the high interests of peace and war with the
    nations of the other three parts of the world! This kind of cooperation
    may be established in some happy period of our regeneration...."

He ends this capital document of his career as a political writer, by
pleading again for union as the only means of putting an end to Spanish
domination, in America.

Nothing better can be said than the following words of a biographer of

    "Alone, poor, in a foreign land, when his friends had denied him and
    had persecuted him, and his enemies had torn him to shreds in blind
    rage, when everybody saw America carrying once again the yoke imposed
    upon her, Bolívar saw her redeemed, and from the depth of his soul he
    felt himself bound to this wonderful task of redemption. His spirit,
    animated by an unknown breath, and which had lived a superior life, saw
    Colombia free, Chile established, Argentina expanding, Mexico
    Perú liberated, the Isthmus of Panamá converted into the center of
    communications and activities of human industry; it saw South America
    divided into powerful nationalities, having passed from slavery to
    struggle and to the conquest of her own dignity, and from the times of
    the sword to those of political civilization and organization of power;
    national units weighty in the statistics of the world by reason of
    their products, by their commerce, by their culture, by their wars,
    their alliances, their laws, their free governments; with names of
    their own, with famous histories, with supreme virtues. All that
    Bolívar saw, and of all that Bolívar wrote. Can human intelligence go
    any farther?"

[Footnote 1: Larrazábal, "Vida del Libertador Simón Bolívar," Vol. I. page


_Bolívar's Expedition and New Exile. He Goes to Guayana_


While in Jamaica, Bolívar was as active as he had been in Venezuela. While
he used his pen to teach the world the meaning of the South American
Revolution, and to try and obtain friends for the cause of freedom, he
worked actively in the Island and in other parts of the West Indies to
organize an expedition to the continent.

In this work he was very greatly helped by Luis Brion,--a wealthy merchant
of Curaçao,--who sacrificed practically all of his private fortune in
helping the cause of Liberty.

The influence exercised by the Holy Alliance on the governments of Europe
had some effect on the authorities of Jamaica, who hindered the assembling
of munitions of war by Bolívar. He then decided to go to the Republic of
Haiti, after having escaped almost by a miracle, an assassin who, believing
that he was asleep in a hammock where he usually rested, stabbed to death a
man occupying Bolívar's customary place. The assassin was a slave set free
by Bolívar.

On his way to Haiti he learned of the surrender of Cartagena. The President
of Haiti, Alexander Pétion, received Bolívar in a most friendly way, and
gave him very substantial assistance in the preparations for his expedition
to the continent. The men who had succeeded in escaping from Cartagena were
also well received by Pétion, and treated in a most hospitable manner.
Among them many were personal enemies of Bolívar. None the less, Bolívar
was elected supreme head of the expedition, and the refugees from Cartagena
followed him in his new undertaking, with Mariño as Major General of the
Army and Brion as Admiral. About 250 persons constituted the party, but
they carried enough ammunition to arm six thousand men, whom they hoped to
gather together on the continent. Once more Bolívar seemed to undertake the
impossible, but, as ever, he had full confidence in the ultimate triumph
of liberty. The proportion of his enemies to his followers was 100 to 1.
Public opinion was still against him, but he was still the same man who, at
that time more than any other, had become a symbol--the symbol of America's

Bolívar made his way to the Island of Margarita, where the Spanish
commander had systematically carried on a work of destruction of wealth and
humiliation of families.

In November of 1815, Arismendi, the man who had submitted to Morillo, again
proclaimed independence in the Island and started to fight with no better
arms than clubs and farm implements. The Governor determined to destroy the
population of the Island, even allowing his anger to fall on Arismendi's
own wife,--but Arismendi continued fighting and, knowing his attitude,
Bolívar decided to come to Margarita before touching the continent. On that
island Bolívar reorganized the government of the Republic in its third
period and was again proclaimed Supreme Chief of the Republic, while Mariño
was designated Second Chief. Then Bolívar called for the election of
deputies and proclaimed that he would stop the War to Death, provided the
Spaniards would also stop waging war in a ruthless way. The Captain General
answered by offering 10,000 pesos for the head of either Bolívar, Bermúdez,
Mariño, Piar, Brion or Arismendi. From Margarita the undaunted Libertador
went to the continent, landing in Carúpano, from which place he sent Mariño
to fight in the east, in the land of his old victories, where he was well
known; and organized a military school to prepare officers, and worked
with his usual activity in the organization of the army, while a popular
assembly gathered in the city and again accepted Bolívar as Supreme Chief.

Mariño and Piar, the latter fostering the ambitions of the former, started
again to act against the orders of the Libertador. Several partial defeats
made the condition of the insurgents so critical that Bolívar made up his
mind to leave the east and commence operations in the west, as he had
previously done. On July 6, he and his men landed in Ocumare de la Costa, a
port north of Valencia, proclaimed the cessation of the War to Death,
and offered pardon to all those who surrendered, even though they were
Spaniards. He also proclaimed the freedom of all slaves, thereby fulfilling
a promise made to President Pétion of Haiti.

    "Henceforward," he said, "in Venezuela, there will be only one class of
    men: all will be citizens."

From there Brion was sent to do as much damage as possible to the Spanish
sea trade, and he also received a commission to get in touch with the
government of Washington, and with the patriots of Mexico. The royalists
organized a strong veteran army and attacked Bolívar, who, with his
inexperienced soldiers, could not resist, and had to leave Ocumare. One of
his followers, called MacGregor, who had been sent with some men by Bolívar
into the interior of the country, decided to go and join the guerrillas who
were fighting the royalists in the interior; and his daring movement was
crowned with success, for he and his men advanced through the plains,
fighting the royalists, or dodging them when they were too numerous to be
fought. In that way they covered a distance of over four hundred miles, at
last joining the forces fighting near the Orinoco. Again deprived of his
prestige, Bolívar was deposed and Mariño and Bermúdez were elected first
and second chiefs. Bolívar had to return to Haiti. His deposition was
not well received by the chiefs of the guerrillas, who were fighting the
royalists in the interior. Bolívar--undaunted as ever--thought only of
organizing an expedition to assist those who were fighting in Venezuela.
Pétion once more rendered him substantial aid. He was invited to go to
Mexico and help in the War of Independence of New Spain, but he declined,
and instead continued to make preparations to go back to fight for his

The different commanders had obtained some partial successes, but they soon
recognized the necessity of Bolívar's leadership, and sent Arismendi to
Port-au-Prince to ask him to return. Admiral Brion also besought him to go
back to Venezuela. At the end of December Bolívar reached Margarita Island
with some Venezuelan exiles. Once there, he issued a proclamation convoking
an assembly, for his paramount desire was to have the military power
subordinated to the civil government.

On January 1, 1817, Bolívar once more set foot on the continent, this time
never to leave it. The lessons learned through failures had been well
learned, and new plans were taking shape in his mind. He was thinking of
the freedom of all America, not only of Venezuela, and started plans for
the freedom of New Granada and Perú: all this when he had no soldiers
to command, except 400 men under Arismendi, to which 300 were added by
conscription. He advanced towards Caracas, but was defeated, and had to
return to Barcelona, leaving all his war provisions in the hands of
the enemy. He then had 600 men, and he knew that an army of over 5,000
royalists was advancing against the city. At first he thought of resisting
the enemy, counting on the help of Mariño, who was at that time in the
South, and who, in fact, hastened to the rescue. Mariño and Bermúdez
entered Barcelona and Bolívar received them with joy. Nevertheless, he
understood that he could not stay in that city. It was clear that the
best method of resistance would consist in attacking the royalists from
different and unexpected angles. He concluded that he must leave Barcelona
and go to the Orinoco Valley and the Province of Guayana (Venezuelan
Guiana). Several of his officers opposed the idea so strongly that at last
Bolívar was induced to leave some men to protect the city and send the rest
to Guayana, under the command of Mariño. The men left in Barcelona were
sacrificed by the royalists. In April Bolívar crossed the Orinoco and
afterwards met Piar, who was besieging the City of Angostura, the most
important position of Guayana. Piar had been fighting in that section with
some success since the end of 1816.

The inconstancy of Mariño showed itself once more, although in this
instance his conduct was opposed by Bermúdez and other officers. He did not
give opportune help to Barcelona, and tried to foster his own ambitions
instead of collaborating with Bolívar. Without the support of Mariño and
with Barcelona lost, Bolívar found himself in a very difficult situation,
counting more on his own genius than on human help. Morillo, master of
Nueva Granada, had come from Santa Fé and destroyed most of the insurgent
forces existing in the western part of Venezuela. He had received more
reinforcements from Spain. Bolívar, nevertheless, continued his work with
his all powerful faith, trying to have his dreams proved true by the effort
of his will. "We shall conquer them and we shall free America," he used
to say. The greatest support that Bolívar found at that time was that of
General Piar's troops.

In order to supplant Bolívar, Mariño convoked a congress, which proved to
be a farce, having but ten members. Mariño solemnly resigned his place
of second in command of the army and also resigned on behalf of Bolívar,
without the slightest authorization from his chief. The "congress"
appointed Mariño supreme chief of the army and decided to establish the
capital of the republic in Margarita. The other heads of the army refused
to recognize the usurper, and many of them, among whom the foremost
was Colonel Antonio José Sucre, went to Guayana to join the legitimate
commander. Mariño himself at last abruptly dissolved the congress. Bolívar,
with his usual prudence, did not show that he noticed the attitude of his
second, and praised General Piar for his triumphs, knowing, nevertheless,
by that time, that he could not count on the personal loyalty of the

While attending to the operations of the siege Bolívar did not neglect his
usual administrative work. He organized a system of military justice so as
to avoid the arbitrariness of the military chieftains and, being aware
that Piar had tried to foster the disloyalty of Mariño, he endeavored
to convince him of his folly, and said very plainly that unless these
machinations were stopped, great evils must be expected.

Admiral Brion came with his boats to the Orinoco in order to help in
the siege of Angostura. When he arrived in the river, the royalists of
Angostura decided to abandon the city, which fell into the hands of the
independents, Bermúdez being the first to occupy it. Bolívar found himself
for the first time behind his enemy and was ready to fight against his foes
in the position that his foes had held in the past. He obtained, besides,
great resources in cattle and horses, and it seemed possible that he might
obtain the coöperation of the plainsmen of the Apure Valley, the old
followers of Boves, now followers of José Antonio Páez, a lover of personal
liberty and a sworn foe of the Spanish régime.


_Piar's Death. Victory of Calabozo. Second Defeat at La Puerta. Submission
of Páez_


Morillo, who had lost a great part of his army and his prestige trying to
conquer the Island of Margarita, was obliged to withdraw when he discovered
that Bolívar had become master of Guayana. The two leaders were soon again
confronting each other on the mainland.

Bolívar, who had always been conciliatory towards his personal enemies and
who had tried to make friends with all the chieftains, had been constantly
preaching union among all the elements fighting for independence. He had,
however, met with slight success, and a moment came when he realized that
he must use strong measures in order to have discipline in his army. Piar
tried to induce certain officers to establish a council for the purpose of
curtailing the authority of Bolívar. The Liberator tried persuasion, but
failed. Piar decided to leave the army. He pretended to be sick and,
offering to go to one of the islands of the Caribbean, requested leave of
absence, which was granted.

Once having obtained his leave of absence, he became Bolívar's open foe; he
remained in Venezuela and came back to Angostura, where he intrigued with
other chieftains, and tried to get the support of Bermúdez to deprive
Bolívar of his command. Peaceful means failing again to win over Piar,
Bolívar ordered his apprehension. Piar fled to Mariño, and began enlisting
soldiers to resist. He enjoyed great prestige; he had been a distinguished
general and in bravery, daring, skill and personal magnetism, no one
surpassed him. Bolívar referred with his officers and, after being assured
of the support of all, he ordered the apprehension of Piar, who was
abandoned by his own followers and fell into the hands of Bolívar's agents.

Piar was court-martialed and was sentenced to death. Bolívar confirmed the
sentence and Piar died with the same bravery and serenity he had shown on
the field of battle. Bolívar deplored the fate of the valiant general, but
with this action succeeded in obtaining a greater measure of respect and
obedience from the army than he had been able to secure with his former

As a measure of justice and wisdom, Bolívar, on the 3rd of September, 1817,
decreed the distribution of national wealth among the officers and soldiers
of the Republic as a reward for their services. A council of state was
established, and the General rendered to it an account of his work and
presented an exposition of the state of the national affairs. In his
address he explained the division of the powers of the state, and freely
praised all the generals of the insurgent army, mentioning General Páez,
the chieftain of the _llaneros_ (plainsmen), who was the terror of the
royalists and whose support was becoming of paramount importance to the
Liberator. He declared that Angostura was to be the provisional capital of
Venezuela until the city of Caracas could be retaken from the royalists.
Then he divided the administration into three sections,--state and finance,
war and navy, and interior and justice, putting in each the man best
prepared for the position.

In order to carry out his decision to advance against Caracas, he first
made sure that he could count on the assistance of Páez. The latter
agreed to fight in combination with Bolívar on condition that he would
be absolutely independent and have full power in the territory under his
command. Páez was one of the most remarkable characters of the revolution
of independence and the early years of Venezuela. He was a young man when
he came in touch with Bolívar,--strong, attractive, every inch a warrior,
who lived with his plainsmen just as they lived, living with, and caring
for, his horse as the others did, eating the same food as they did, and
fighting whenever a chance presented itself. He was ignorant. He was
opposed to discipline and his men knew none,--they followed him because of
his prestige and because he was one of them, but better than any of them.
His men were the same kind Boves had commanded, and as Boves was terrible
with his horsemen, so was Páez, with the exception that Páez fought for the
cause of liberty and did not stain his life with the monstrosities of the
Spanish chieftain. His name was respected in the southwestern part of
Venezuela, and he was ready to fight against the army of Morillo when he
received the message of Bolívar.

Morillo concentrated his army in Calabozo, the center of the plains,
intending to attack Páez in Apure, and other patriots who operated to the
south under Zaraza. Bolívar sent General Pedro León Torres to support the
latter, but they were defeated in the bloody battle of La Hogaza.

Bolívar began his movement to join Páez, full of confidence in spite of the
check at La Hogaza. It was now 1818. He was wont to say "This year will see
the end of the Spanish power in Venezuela." His faith had more foundation
than during his exile and the earlier expeditions, when, with a handful
of men, he had started to fight against the great armies organized by the
Spanish government. Public opinion was now beginning to swing towards him;
he had Páez and his plainsmen on his side and he counted on the great
resources of Guayana.

His activity was astonishing. In a month and a half, he and his men
traveled 900 miles to join Páez. As they advanced, his forces were being
disciplined, organized, strengthened and made ready to fight. Owing to his
personal prestige, and his unbelievable daring, Páez was of inestimable
value. On one occasion he promised Bolívar to have boats at a certain place
so that the army could cross the Apure River. When Bolívar arrived at the
point in question with the army, he found that there were no boats ready.
When Páez was questioned by the Libertador, he replied:

"Oh, yes, Sir, I am counting on the boats."

"But where are they?" Bolívar asked.

"The enemy has them," said Páez, indicating some royalists' launches and
canoes across the river.

While Bolívar was wondering what Páez meant by that, the latter called
fifty of his men and with them jumped into the river with their unsaddled
horses, swam through it, defeated the enemy, and brought the boats across.
Bolívar's forces were then able to pass. Immediately the armies of
independence advanced to Calabozo, with such swiftness that Morillo knew
of their advance only when they had arrived. The Spaniards were utterly
defeated and Morillo himself barely escaped falling prisoner. Bolívar could
have advanced and finished the destruction of the royalist army, but Páez
and other officers were opposed to this course, and the commander-in-chief
had to yield.

Soon after this, Bolívar was again in La Victoria, between Valencia and
Caracas, having occupied the rich valley of Aragua, in which he had lived
as a young man of wealth, and had passed years of suffering. He immediately
sent proclamations ordering all men able to fight to present themselves
with arms and horses for the service of the Republic. He called on those
who had been slaves to defend their own freedom, and urged the manufacture
and repair of arms. His position was by no means secure. Morillo was in
Valencia, and don Miguel de Latorre, the victor of La Hogaza, was in
Caracas. A triumph of Morillo over some patriots near Valencia forced the
Liberator to retreat in haste from La Victoria. When Morillo learned of his
retreat, he immediately went on with his persecution and at last met the
independent army in a place called La Puerta, where, on March 15, 1818, he
inflicted on Bolívar perhaps the greatest of his defeats, although at great
loss to himself, and suffering severe wounds. The Spanish authorities
thought that Bolívar would never recover from this disaster, but soon the
undaunted Liberator was again fighting the royal forces.

The defeat of La Puerta was so costly to the royalists that they did not
dare to occupy the position. It was considered so important, however, for
the cause of Spain that Morillo was rewarded with the title of Marquis
of La Puerta. Morillo waited for reinforcements to be sent to him by the
Spanish commander of Caracas, Latorre; and Bolívar, who never despaired,
immediately got ready for new struggles. He summoned Páez to his aid and
prepared for the defense of Calabozo, so that when Latorre arrived he found
a well organized army under command of the Liberator. He withdrew, and
Bolívar followed him, fighting an indecisive battle.

Convinced that he could not at that time occupy Caracas, Bolívar decided to
consolidate his position in the West, and sent his troops towards the city
of San Carlos, while he worked actively in Calabozo, and elsewhere through
his lieutenants, to increase his army. Then he went to join Páez, was
surprised and defeated on his way, being in imminent danger himself.
Furthermore, through a partial defeat of Páez and disasters of other
officers, by the end of May the insurgent forces were almost totally
destroyed. Morales, of bloody reputation, had taken Calabozo; and, in the
East, fate was against the independents, where the weakness of Mariño had
caused the loss of Cumaná. In other sections, the troops had rebelled
against the authority of Bolívar, and had begun to fight in the same
desultory way as before. All this was not sufficient to shake the constancy
and faith of Bolívar. He addressed a letter to Pueyrredón, Supreme Director
of the Provinces of the River Plata, using these lofty words:

    "Venezuela is now in mourning, but tomorrow, covered with laurels, she
    will have extinguished the last of the tyrants who now desecrate her
    soil. Then she will invite you to a single association, so that our
    motto may be 'Unity in South America.' All Americans should have one

Back in Angostura, with his unflinching courage, he went on reviving his
army and reorganizing the supreme government, which had been in the hands
of the Council of State during his absence. He appointed secretaries of the
cabinet and established a weekly paper to spread the new principles of the
government. He again entrusted Mariño with the command of the province of
Cumaná, took the necessary steps to suppress the symptoms of indiscipline
in the army, and initiated several military operations. Again, when his
means were more limited, his thoughts covered a greater field. He seemed
unable to assure the liberty of Venezuela, yet he was thinking of giving
freedom to Nueva Granada. He sent a proclamation to its inhabitants and
directed one of his generals to invade it. He said:

    "The day of America has arrived, and no human power can stop the course
    of nature, guided by the hand of Providence. Join your efforts to those
    of your brethren. Venezuela goes with me to free you, as you in the
    past with me gave freedom to Venezuela.... The sun will not end the
    course of its present period without seeing altars dedicated to liberty
    throughout your territory."

This promise came true.

Before undertaking this great task, he convoked a national assembly for
January 1, 1819. In his long proclamation summoning the representatives of
the people he again made a summary of the work already done, and asked the
people to select the best citizens for the places, without regard to the
fact that they might or might not have been in the army of freedom.

    "For my part," he stated, "I renounce forever the authority you have
    conferred upon me, and, while the fearful Venezuelan war lasts, I shall
    accept none save that of a simple soldier. The first day of peace will
    be the last of my command."

Venezuela had lost the best of her blood; she was nothing better than a
heap of ruins, and yet, she was preparing for new and greater undertakings.

After publishing the proclamation, he started for Cumaná. Learning that
Mariño had been defeated, he sent him to Barcelona, and returned to
Angostura to organize new armies. Spain, he knew, was trying to obtain the
help of the other nations of Europe to regain possession of her American
colonies. He felt it expedient, therefore, once more to manifest to the
world the attitude of Venezuela regarding her new relations with the mother
country. He published a decree on November 20, 1818, reaffirming the
principles of independence proclaimed on July 5, 1811. This decree was
published and translated into three languages, to be distributed all over
the world. After stating the reasons for its publication, he emphatically
declared that Venezuela was free and did not contemplate further dealings
with Spain, nor was she willing ever to deal with Spain except as her
equal, in peace and in war, as is done reciprocally by all countries. He
concluded with the following words, which represent clearly his character
and that of his followers:

    "The Republic of Venezuela declares that from April 19, 1810, she has
    been fighting for her rights; that she has shed most of her sons'
    blood, that she has sacrificed her youth, all her pleasures, and all
    that is dear and sacred to men, in order to regain her sovereign rights
    and in order to keep them in their integrity, as Divine Providence
    granted them to her; the Venezuelan people have decided to bury
    themselves in the ruins of their country if Spain, Europe and the world
    insist on subjecting them to the Spanish yoke."

Immediately afterwards, Bolívar had to go to the West, where Páez had been
proclaimed supreme director of the republic by some dissenters. Bolívar
talked with Páez in private, induced him to return to obedience and
submission, and promoted him to major general in command of the independent
cavalry. The Liberator then returned to install the national congress and
to make preparations for the liberation of Nueva Granada.


_The Congress of Angostura. A Great Address. Campaigning in the Plains_


Congress did not meet until February 15, 1819, on account of the late
arrival of some representatives. There again Bolívar spoke, and on this
occasion he excelled himself in expressing his ideas regarding freedom.[1]

[Footnote 1: Bolívar has been accused of verbosity. Of all the accusations,
this is one of the most stupid. Bolívar's style is the style of his epoch.
The Spanish and French writers of that period wrote exactly in the same
form, and if his words do not appear as modern and sober as we might wish
them at this time, we must remember that times alter customs, and styles
also, and that if a document of Bolívar's were judged with no knowledge of
the work realized by the great man of the South, it might appear bombastic;
when his life is known, his words seem altogether natural. He was proud,
and his words show it, but his pride was a collective pride rather than an
individual one. He praised the work of the liberators, while he was the
Liberator _par excellence_, with this title conferred upon him officially.
When he mentioned his own person and his own glory, he did not exceed the
language of men of his time, and employed words even inferior to his own
merits. He was as emphatic as his race is, but he was never pedantic, and
as for the vanity of which Lorain Petre accuses him and his race, it never
existed. Lorain Petre's pamphlet is a work of passion masquerading as one
of wisdom and of impartiality.]

    "Happy is the citizen," he said in his address, "who, under the shield
    of the armies he commands, has convoked national sovereignty to
    exercise its absolute will.... Only a forceful need, coupled with the
    imperious will of the people, could force me into the terrible and
    hazardous position of Dictator and Supreme Chief of the Republic.
    I breathe freely now when I return to you this authority, which, with
    much danger, difficulty and sorrow, I have succeeded in keeping in the
    midst of the most horrible misfortunes which can befall a people."

Among the most remarkable parts of this document, the following will bear
close and careful study:

    "The continuation of authority in one individual has frequently been
    the undoing of democratic governments. Repeated elections are essential
    in popular systems, because nothing is so dangerous as to permit a
    citizen to remain long in power. The people get used to obeying
    and he gets used to commanding it, from which spring usurpation and
    tyranny." ... "We have been subjected by deception rather than by
    force. We have been degraded by vice rather than by superstition.
    Slavery is a child of darkness; an ignorant people becomes a blind
    instrument of its own destruction. It takes license for freedom,
    treachery for patriotism, vengeance for justice." ... "Liberty is a
    rich food, but of difficult digestion. Our weak fellow citizens must
    greatly strengthen their spirit before they are able to digest the
    wholesome and nutritious bread of liberty." ... "The most perfect
    system of government is the one which produces the greatest possible
    happiness, the greatest degree of social safety, and the greatest
    political stability."

The following study of the balance of powers in a country shows keen
political penetration:

    "In republics, the executive must be the stronger, because all conspire
    against him; while in monarchies, the legislative power should be the
    stronger, because all conspire in favor of the monarch. The splendor of
    the throne, of the crown, of the purple; the formidable support given
    to it by the nobility; the immense wealth which generations accumulate
    in the same dynasty; the fraternal protection which kings mutually
    enjoy, are considerable advantages which militate in favor of royal
    authority and make it almost boundless. These advantages show the need
    of giving a Repúblican executive a greater degree of authority than
    that possessed by a constitutional prince.

    "A Repúblican executive is an individual isolated in the midst of
    society, to restrain the impulses of the people toward license and the
    propensities of administrators to arbitrariness. He is directly subject
    to the legislative power, to the people; he is a single man, resisting
    the combined attack of opinion, personal interests and the passions of

Elsewhere in his address, he remarks:

    "The government of Venezuela has been, is, and must be Repúblican
    its foundation must be the sovereignty of the people, the division of
    powers, civil freedom, the proscription of slavery, the abolition
    of monarchy and of privileges." ... "Unlimited freedom, absolute
    democracy, are the rocks upon which Repúblican hopes have been
    destroyed. Look at the old republics, the modern republics, and the
    republics now in process of formation; almost all have aimed to
    establish themselves as absolutely democratic, and almost all have
    failed in their just desires." ... "Angels only, and not men, could
    exist free, peaceful and happy, while all of them exercise sovereign
    power." ... "Let the legislative power relinquish the attributes
    belonging to the executive, but let it acquire, nevertheless, new
    influence in the true balance of authority. Let the courts be
    strengthened by the stability and independence of the judges
    the establishment of juries, and of civil and criminal codes, not
    prescribed by old times, nor by conquering kings, but by the voice of
    nature, by the clamor of justice and by the genius of wisdom." ...
    "Humankind cries against the thoughtless and blind legislators who have
    thought that they might with impunity try chimerical institutions. All
    the peoples of the world have attempted to gain freedom, some by deeds
    of arms, others by laws passing alternately from anarchy to despotism,
    from despotism to anarchy. Very few have contented themselves with
    moderate ambitions constituting themselves in conformity with their
    means, their spirit and their circumstances. Let us not aspire to
    impossible things, lest, desiring to rise above the region of freedom,
    we descend to the region of tyranny. From absolute liberty, peoples
    invariably descend to absolute power, and the means between those two
    extremes is social liberty." ... "In order to constitute a stable
    government, a national spirit is required as a foundation, ha
    for its object a uniform aspiration toward two capital principles;
    moderation of popular will and limitation of public authority." ...
    "Popular education must be the first care of the paternal love of
    Congress. Morals and enlightenment are the two poles of a republic;
    morals and enlightenment are our first needs."

Then Bolívar recommended the sanctioning of his decree granting freedom to
the slaves.

    "I abandon to your sovereign decision the reform or abrogation of all
    my statutes and decrees, but I implore for the confirmation of the
    absolute freedom of slaves as I would implore for my own life and the
    life of the Republic."

This document might well be quoted in its entirety. Very few in the history
of mankind can compare with it. "No one has ever spoken like this man,"
says an author.[1] The peoples of America have been marching steadily,
though at times haltingly, but always in a progressive way, towards the
ideals of Bolívar. The Congress of Angostura carried into effect many of
these sublime principles.

[Footnote 1: Larrazábal--Vida de Simón Bolívar. Vol. 2, p. 177.]

    "An assembly of tried and illustrious men, the Congress of Angostura,
    responded to the important requirements of the revolution, and when it
    gave birth to Colombia, powerful and splendid, it realized no longer a
    task Venezuelan in character, but rather an American mission."[1]

    "The address of the Liberator in Angostura may be considered as a
    masterpiece of reason and patriotism."[2]

At the beginning the Congress was formed of twenty-six deputies, which
number was increased to twenty-nine, representing the provinces of Caracas,
Barcelona, Cumaná, Barinas, Guayana, Margarita and Casanare. This last
province belonged to Nueva Granada and the others forming the same
vice-royalty were expected to be represented as soon as freed from Spanish
domination. Its president was don Francisco Antonio Zea.

As was proper Bolívar immediately divested himself of the civil authority,
handing it to the President of the Congress and then resigned his command
of the army, offering to serve in any military position, in which he
pledged himself to give an example of subordination and of the "blind
obedience which should distinguish every soldier of the Republic." The
Congress, as was to be expected, confirmed Bolívar in his command and
sanctioned all the commissions he had given during the campaign. He was
also elected President of the Republic, with don Francisco Antonio Zea as
Vice-President to take charge of the government during the campaigns of
the Liberator. He organized the government, made the appointments for the
cabinet and sent commissioners to England to obtain arms, ammunition and a
loan of a million pounds sterling, undertakings in which the Republic did
not meet with success at that time.

[Footnote 1: Discurso de Bolívar en el Congreso de

[Footnote 2: Larrazábal--Vida de Simón Bolívar. Vol. 2, p. 177.]

The installation of the Congress made a great impression at home and
abroad, in spite of the attacks and ridicule with which the Spaniards tried
to discredit it. On that eventful day Bolívar saw his dream of a great
nation, Colombia, take shape, even though it were in danger of dying
shortly after its birth.

After asking all the members of the government and prominent persons of
Angostura to remain united in the cause of liberty, he went to join the
army in the western section.

During his stay in Angostura and afterwards he had been receiving foreign
contingents, especially from England. The Foreign Legion played from
that time on a very important role in the War of Independence and helped
substantially to obtain the triumph. By means of the British contingents,
the plainsmen of Páez, the regular armies of Bermúdez and Mariño, and the
genius of Bolívar, which united and directed all, the final victory was

After a rapid march, Bolívar joined Páez and for a while waged a constant
war in the plains, consisting of local actions by which he slowly, but
surely, destroyed the morale of the royalists and did all the harm he
could, the climate being a great factor in his favor. He was impetuous
by nature, but for a while he imitated Fabius by slowly gnawing at the
strength of his foe. He tired him with marches and surprises. He burned
the grass of the plains, cleared away the cattle, and drove Morillo to the
point of desperation. Meanwhile he lived the same life as the _llaneros_,
for he could do whatever the semi-barbarous plainsmen did. He could ride on
the bare back of a horse against the foe, or just for the exhilaration of
crossing the endless plains with the swiftness of lightning; he could groom
his horse and he did; he swam the rivers, waded marshes, slept on the
ground and associated freely with his men in the moonlight in front of the
camp fires.

At this point of the war, Páez again distinguished himself by an act of
supreme daring. With 150 of his horsemen, he crossed the river Arauca,
which separated the independent army from the royalists, and then feigned a
retreat along the river, which in very few places could be waded. Morillo,
considering him and his men easy prey, sent 1,200 men, including all his
cavalry, against the retreating horsemen. When they were far from the main
body of the army Páez rushed against the attacking party, without giving
them time to organize, and at the first inrush he destroyed the column.
The defeated royalists fled to their camp and Morillo decided to withdraw,
which he did during the night. This action, fought on April 3, 1819, and
known as the Battle of Las Queseras del Medio, covered Páez with glory
and Morillo with discredit. Bolívar conferred all the honors and praise
possible on the brave Páez and on his men.

At that time the plains began to be flooded. In the northern part of South
America, the season of rain, called winter, lasts from May until October.
The Valley of the Orinoco becomes in places an interior sea. The cattle go
up to the highlands and, where horses walk in the summer, small boats ply
in the winter, going from village to village and from home to home. The
villages are built on piles, and traveling on horseback is very difficult
during this season. On these plains, Bolívar and his men would travel,
riding or swimming as required. They would drive cattle with them and
kill them for food, pressing the remaining meat under the saddles, and
continuing the march. To all of this the plainsmen were accustomed; and to
this, Bolívar, born among the greatest comforts and reared amid all the
refinements of life, showed no apparent repugnance.


_Bolívar Pays His Debt to Nueva Granada. Boyacá, A Dream Comes True_


Páez was commissioned to get fresh horses with which to advance against
Barinas, when Bolívar got in communication with the province of Nueva
Granada--where Santander, a very able general, had organized an army, which
was fighting successfully against the royalists. Bolívar perhaps recalled
his promise made to Nueva Granada before leaving Angostura, or perhaps he
obeyed a long prepared plan. The fact is that he decided to do nothing less
than cross the flooded plains, go to the viceroyalty, free that country
from the Spanish domination and return to emancipate Venezuela. The man who
could not consider himself even the equal of Morillo again dreamed of the
impossible, and decided to convert it into fact.

He convoked his officers, communicated to them his plan of leaving some men
to distract Morillo's attention while he, himself, should go quickly to
Nueva Granada and give it freedom, and on May 25, 1819, he started to carry
out his project, one perhaps more difficult than those of Hannibal and

He left Páez to hold the attention of the royalists, and, besides that
depletion, had to suffer the loss of many of his plainsmen who refused to
accompany him across the Andes. But Colonel Rook, the head of the British
Legion, assured Bolívar that he would follow him "beyond Cape Horn, if
necessary." After spending a month painfully wading through the flooded
plains, he ascended the Andes and crossed them, in spite of inexpressible
suffering. The men had lost most of their clothing in the marshes below;
very few soldiers had even a pair of trousers in good condition. Leaving
the torrid climate of the plains, these men had to climb up the Andes
almost naked, on foot,--because they could not use their horses,--and
to suffer the freezing cold of the summits. Many died, but the faith of
Bolívar sustained the rest. The Liberator himself suffered all the fatigue
of the road. He was worn out, but he was always going forward.

Then he began his fight with the royalists in the land of Nueva Granada.
At this time he had no horses and his men had had to abandon most of the
provisions and ammunition. While in these straits, he learned that a
royalist army of 5,000 well disciplined men was approaching. Bolívar had
three days only in which to get ready, but at the end of that short period
he had arms and horses provided and his men prepared to fight. Then he
attacked the enemy, at first by the system of guerrillas and later in
formal battle, in which his genius succeeded in defeating the disciplined
strength of his foes. On entering the emancipated cities he was received
with the greatest enthusiasm and acclaimed as their liberator. New recruits
joined him everywhere.

These pitched battles would receive greater mention in history were it not
for the fact that another one took place almost immediately afterwards
which, by its magnitude and its results, made the others sink to a
secondary place. The royalists took position in a place called Boyacá. They
were commanded by Barreiro, and formed the vanguard of the army of the
viceroy Sámano. Bolívar attacked them with an army only two-thirds
their size and was victorious. Among the independents was José Antonio
Anzoátegui, a major general, who fought like a hero and succeeded in
breaking the stubborn resistance of the enemy. Death spared him on the
field of battle, but his glorious career ended a few days after the victory
of Boyacá, following a short illness. He was thirty years old. A member of
a very distinguished family, his culture was brilliant, his character was
pure, his loyalty and patriotism were unsurpassed. His loss was equivalent
to a great defeat. Barreiro, the commander of the royalists, fell prisoner
to Bolívar's troops. This battle occurred on August 7, 1819, and was not
only a complete victory for the forces of independence, but also meant
practically the end of the Spanish régime in Nueva Granada.

Regarding the crossing of the Andes and the victory of Boyacá, J.E. Rodó
(Uruguayan), one of the greatest thinkers of recent years, says:

    "Other crossings of mountains may have been more adroit and
    more exemplary strategy; none so audacious, so heroic and legendary.
    Twenty-five hundred men climb the eastern slope of the range, and a
    smaller number of specters descends the other side; these specters are
    those of the men who were strong in body and soul, for the weak ones
    remained in the snow, in the torrents, on the heights where the air is
    not sufficient for human breasts. And with those specters of survivors,
    the victory of Boyacá was obtained."[1]

One of the elements required for the upbuilding of Colombia--the
independence of Nueva Granada, was created by the victory of Boyacá. This
was by its effects the greatest triumph of Bolívar up to that moment.
The Liberator advanced to Bogotá and was received there in a frenzy of
admiration and love.

The whole march and campaign lasted 75 days. This is the time a man would
require to traverse the distance covered; but it was completed by an army,
fighting against nature and man, and conquering both. Immediately after the
triumph of Boyacá, Bolívar sent troops to the different sections of Nueva
Granada, and felt the satisfaction of repaying this country for what she
had done when she placed in his hands the army with which he first achieved
the freedom of Venezuela. In Bogotá, he obtained money and other[1] very
important resources with which to continue the war in Venezuela. As
elsewhere, he used his marvelous activity in the work of organization, and
in conducting his armies on the field of battle. A great assembly of the
most prominent men of Bogotá conferred upon him the title of Liberator of
Nueva Granada, and bestowed the same title on all the men composing his
army, each one of whom also received a cross of honor called the Cross of
Boyacá. A Vice-President of Nueva Granada was appointed, General Francisco
de Paula Santander, the man who had organized the troops which Bolívar
joined when he invaded the viceroyalty. Bolívar considered all the
inhabitants as citizens of Colombia, without asking questions about their
previous conduct, and issued passports to those who cared to depart.

[Footnote 1: J.E. Rodó--Bolívar.]

After Boyacá, the campaigns of Bolívar were very swift, very successful and
on a very different footing from his past campaigns. His enemies henceforth
had to give up calling him the chieftain of rebels and bandits, and to
treat him as an equal. He, however, by word and act showed to the world
that he was not their equal, but very far their superior. After Boyacá
"victory is always true, and grows, and spreads as the waters of a flood,
and from peak to peak of the Andes, each mountain is a milestone of

[Footnote 1: J.E. Rodó--Bolívar.]

The royalists retreated from Bogotá, and Sámano fled to Cartagena. As for
Bolívar, he soon returned to Venezuela, leaving the business of Nueva
Granada in the hands of Santander, recommending him to respect the rights
of everyone, because, as he said, "Justice is the foundation of the

In Angostura, there had arisen dissensions, and opposition to the
vice-president, and even to Bolívar, himself. Some wanted him to be treated
as a deserter because he had undertaken the campaign of Nueva Granada
without the permission of Congress; some pronounced him defeated; some
declared that he was fleeing to safety. Mariño, who had been called to
occupy his seat in Congress, seconded by Arismendi, was the center of ill
feeling against Bolívar. The vice-president was forced to resign, and
Arismendi was elected in his stead. His first action was to appoint Mariño
head of the army of the East. The substitution of a military president for
a civilian was a vicious precedent which, unfortunately, has been followed
in many instances by the Spanish American countries. Arismendi proved,
nevertheless, a good vice-president, and retained the cabinet appointed
by Bolívar. Affairs were in this condition when news arrived of Bolívar's
victory in Boyacá.

The Liberator had learned of the disturbances in Angostura on his way
to Venezuela. He received also at this time the distressing news of
the execution, ordered by Santander, of Barreiro and the other Spanish
prisoners taken in Boyacá. Bolívar had proposed to the viceroy an
exchange of prisoners, but the viceroy had not even answered Bolívar's
communication. The Liberator had never agreed that the cause of freedom
should be stained by the blood of prisoners, except in those very
exceptional cases, already mentioned, when the War to Death decree was
in effect. On some occasions, individual chieftains had not hesitated to
commit crimes as heinous as those of the royalists. Though at times Bolívar
had to ignore such actions, lest he be left alone by his followers,
whenever he could prevent them, he did. He had recommended justice to
Santander, who, though otherwise a distinguished officer, an able general
and patriot, marred the fame he had acquired by this stupid act of cruelty,
an act not to be justified even by the fact that Barreiro had ordered,
without any form of law, the execution of many prisoners of war. Once, when
a priest was imploring that the lives of prisoners be spared, Barreiro
answered: "I am shooting them as I should shoot Bolívar were he ever to
fall into my hands." Santander published a proclamation in which he tried
to vindicate his conduct, but history has been just in its severity,
condemning him unreservedly.

Once back in Angostura, Bolívar feigned ignorance of what had happened,
and comported himself with much prudence and circumspection. Arismendi
presented his resignation with words of modesty, and promises which he
fulfilled thereafter. On December 14, Bolívar appeared before the Congress,
and in an address gave a short report of his victory in Nueva Granada,
voicing his constant aspiration for the union of Venezuela and Nueva
Granada to form the republic of Colombia. He said:

"Its aspiration (that of Nueva Granada) to join its provinces to those of
Venezuela is ... unanimous. The New Granadians are entirely convinced of
the enormous advantages which would result to both countries from the
creation of a new republic composed of these two nations. The union of
Nueva Granada and Venezuela is the only purpose I have had since my first
battles; it is the wish of the citizens of both countries, and it is the
guaranty of the freedom of South America.... It behooves your wisdom to
decree this great social act and to establish the principles of the pact on
which this great republic is to be founded. Proclaim it before the whole
world, and my services will be rewarded."

The vice-president endorsed the proposition of Bolívar with eloquent words,
incidentally praising the victorious general and his troops. Among the
persons who came to compliment him was an old foe named Mariano Montilla, a
colonel in the army. Bolívar knew well how to discover real qualifications
even in the hearts of his enemies, and he availed himself of this
opportunity to establish strong bonds of friendship between himself and his
former foe. He gave Montilla full powers to go to Cartagena, still in the
hands of the Spaniards, with instructions to take it. Montilla proved
worthy of Bolívar's trust. After fourteen months' siege, he captured
Cartagena, as we shall see later.

On the 17th of December, 1819, Congress decreed the creation of Colombia
by the union of Venezuela, Nueva Granada and Quito into a single
republic. Bolívar was then elected president. Don Antonio Zea was elected
vice-president for Venezuela, and Santander for Nueva Granada (also called
Cundinamarca). No vice-president was elected for Quito. The organization of
Quito was deferred until the army of freedom should enter that city.

The dream of Bolívar had come true again, and his prophecy made in Jamaica
in 1815 had become a reality.


_Humanizing War. Morillo's Withdrawal_


Meanwhile, in Spain, a great expedition was being prepared to come to
America, an expedition which was intended to surpass even the army of
Morillo. Fernando VII was determined to reëstablish his absolute power, not
only in Spain but in the colonies. Morillo, in Venezuela, was asking for
reinforcements. In his pleas for more men he stated that he wanted them to
conquer Bolívar, "an indomitable soul, whom a single victory, the smallest,
is enough to make master of 500 leagues of territory." Fernando VII was
very willing to send this expedition, not merely to support his authority,
but also to get rid of many officers who were accused of liberal
principles. The army, gathered in Cádiz, was very soon undermined by
subversive ideas. An officer named Rafael Riego led the insurrection, and
on New Year's Day, 1820, instead of being on its way to America, the army
was in revolt in the name of constitutional freedom. The ultimate result
of this was that the expedition did not sail, and that Fernando VII had
frankly to accept a constitutional program. Although Morillo endeavored to
convey the idea that the events in Cádiz had little importance, the news
which reached Bolívar after some delay strengthened his hope, for it seemed
evident that Spanish soldiers were unwilling to come to America to fight
against the insurgents.

In January, 1820, Bolívar again crossed the plains, where Páez was in
command, and journeyed towards Bogotá, with the object of publishing the
law establishing the Republic of Colombia. It was proclaimed there with
solemnity by Santander, who, on communicating the event to the President,
praised the latter with the following words: "Colombia is the only child of
the immortal Bolívar." In March Bolívar was in Bogotá, where he gave the
final orders for the various military operations to be conducted in the
North and South.

In his absence, the Congress of Angostura decreed that he should use the
official title _Libertador_ before the word _Presidente_, and consider
this title as his own on all occasions of his life. Many other honors were
conferred upon him and his men. Grateful at heart, Bolívar devoted his
attention to the stupendous task of organizing the country.

Meanwhile, Morillo, waiting for the Spanish reinforcements which never
arrived, distributed his armies on the plains and in the southwest, in
order to be in a position to fight Bolívar whenever the opportunity
occurred. There were still nearly 15,000 men under Morillo, besides those
who were in Nueva Granada occupying Cartagena and other smaller places, and
those in possession of Quito. Bolívar organized another army, determined to
try his forces once more against those of his powerful foe.

As a result of the revolution in Spain, Morillo had to proclaim and swear
to the Spanish constitution in the provinces that he governed. This fact
wrought a marked change in the position of the contending armies. The
representative government established certain rights for provinces, and
at the same time created the hope among the Spaniards that the revolution
would end by conferring the privilege of representation on the American

The Spanish government initiated peace negotiations with the patriots, and
Morillo was made president of a commission which went to talk this matter
over with the heads of the Colombian revolution in July, 1820. A "Junta
Pacificadora," or assembly to establish peace, was set up by Morillo in
Caracas. Its first work was to send communications to the various generals
to suspend military operations for a month, while settlement was being
reached, and Bolívar was approached. On this occasion, Bolívar was
addressed as "His Excellency, the President of the Republic." He was no
longer the rebel, the insurgent or the bandit.

Bolívar was not to be deceived by any conciliatory attitude on the part of
the government. He decided that all his subordinate officers should furnish
every means for the conferences with the royalists, but always on the basis
of the independence of Colombia.

"It will never be humiliating," he wrote in a letter to one of his
officers, "to offer peace on the principles established in the declaration
of the Republic of Venezuela,[1] which ought to be the foundation of all
negotiations; first, because it is ordered by a law of the Republic,
and second, because it is necessary according to the nature and for the
salvation of Colombia."

[Footnote 1: That of November, 1818.]

Consequently, Congress answered the commissioners who came to deal with
Bolívar that the sovereign congress of Colombia would listen with pleasure
to all the propositions of the Spanish government, provided they were
founded on the acknowledgment of the sovereignty and independence of
Colombia, and that it would not admit any departure from this principle,
often proclaimed by the government and people of the republic.

Latorre, one of the most distinguished and gentlemanly of the Spanish
commanders, sent a personal note to Bolívar, in which he expressed the hope
that Bolívar would some day give him the pleasure of embracing him as his
brother. Bolívar answered accepting the armistice, but reiterated that he
would listen to no proposition not based on the independence of Colombia.

The proposal of the Spanish commanders was that the provinces should adopt
the political constitution of the Spanish monarchy; the King would permit
the present chieftains to retain command in the provinces they were then
occupying for an indefinite time, but subordinate either to the general of
the Spanish army or directly to the Spanish government. The representative
of Bolívar, for Bolívar did not attend the meeting through necessities of
the campaign, declined to accept the proposals, and added:

    "The champions of justice and liberty, far from feeling flattered
    by promises of unlimited command, feel insulted to see themselves
    identified with the low element which prefers to oppress and be
    powerful to the sublime glory of being the liberators of their

Meanwhile, the diplomatic representatives of Colombia were strengthening
the credit of the country in London. The public debt was recognized and
a system of payment was decided on. Colombia, whose freedom was not yet
accepted by the world, had at the time better credit than that of some of
the European countries. On the other hand, some diplomatic movements were
badly conducted in Europe. The royalist system was so deeply rooted in
the spirits of men that many did not hesitate to take steps to establish
independent kingdoms in America, with European princes at their heads. As a
matter of fact, at that time, the Spanish colonies, with the exception of
Colombia, showed very marked monarchical tendencies.

Mexico had given indication of her desire for a Spanish prince, and at
last fell into the hands of Iturbide. In Buenos Aires also, a monarch was
wanted, and it is well known that San Martín, the hero of Argentina and
Chile, was very much in favor of the monarchical system. Colombia alone
continued to support Bolívar in his idea concerning the establishment and
the conservation of the Repúblican system. It is true that Bolívar wanted a
president for life and an hereditary senate, but these ideas were rejected
by his fellow citizens. He defended them with great vigor, and, if we are
to judge by the history of anarchy succeeded by long periods of tyranny
through which many countries of Spanish America have passed, we may believe
that Bolívar's ideas were based on a knowledge of all the weaknesses
characteristic of the Spanish American people of his time. He wanted
to live up to the lofty words of Henry Clay, who, in the House of
Representatives of the United States, proposed that Colombia should be
recognized as a free country, "worthy for many reasons to stand side by
side with the most illustrious peoples of the world," a solemn utterance
which had little weight at that time in the United States, but which showed
for the first time in a semi-official way that the United States was taking
notice of the important movement of the South.

Bolívar, after an expedition to inspect the military operations of his
army, sent a communication to Morillo, notifying him that he was ready
to communicate with him. In a later letter, he asked Morillo to give
instructions to his commanders to enter into a treaty to regularize the
war, the horrors and crimes of which up to that time had steeped Colombia
in tears and blood. The first arrangement made by the commanders of both
sides was the agreement to an armistice to last during six months, covering
all Colombia, and designating the lines where the contending armies should
stay. It was also agreed that a treaty would be drafted providing for the
continuance of war in accordance with international law and the usages
of civilized countries. The initiative for these improvements was due to
Bolívar, who was also the author of the basis of the treaty proposed by
the Colombian delegates. Among the clauses of this agreement were some
providing for the safety, good-treatment and exchange of prisoners; the
abolition of capital punishment against deserters apprehended in the ranks
of the enemy; the inviolability of lives and property in the sections
tentatively occupied by the troops of the two armies; and the burial or
incineration of the bodies of the dead on the field of battle. No treaty
of the same nature entered into before that time had been so advanced in
character. As Bolívar had previously said, the Venezuelans had nothing
to lose; they had lost everything already; but the new treaty prevented
further misfortune or abuse.

Subsequent to the signing of the treaty, Morillo expressed a desire to meet
Bolívar personally, and Bolívar agreed. The two met in a town called Santa
Ana, accompanied by a very few officers. Latorre also attended the meeting,
but the presence of officers particularly distasteful to Bolívar was
prevented by Morillo. Each of these two men represented in its noblest
aspect the cause which he defended. It is strange that neither of them
seemed to have been prepared by circumstances of early life for the role he
was playing. Morillo was born of humble parentage, and from the lowest
rung of the ladder he climbed to the highest place in the army, always in
defense of the monarchy, until he received the titles of Count of Cartagena
and Marquis of La Puerta; Bolívar, born in wealth, destined to become a
millionaire and to be the recipient of every honor if he remained on the
side of the oppressors of his country, sacrificed everything, lost his
personal property to the last penny, and shared privations of every kind
with his soldiers. When he had money, he gave it away; when he had no
money, he gave away his food and clothing. His generosity was unlimited. On
one occasion, when he learned that the man who had helped him to secure a
passport after the surrender of Miranda was in prison and his estate about
to be confiscated, Bolívar immediately asked that his own private property
be taken instead of that of his friend.

But both Bolívar and Morillo were very much above the common chieftains,
the bloodthirsty Boves, the ignorant Páez. They were the best
representatives of what was truest and loftiest in Spanish power and in
independent energy.

The interview was cordial. The two men embraced one another, had a long
friendly conversation, and parted with a high mutual regard. They decided
that a monument should be erected to commemorate their meeting. Bolívar's
toast at a dinner tendered him on that occasion indicated clearly how he
desired the war to be fought in the future. Lifting his glass, he said:

    "To the heroic firmness of all the fighters of both armies; to their
    constancy, endurance and matchless bravery; to the worthy men who
    support and defend freedom in the face of ghastly penalties; to those
    who have gloriously died defending their country and their government;
    to the wounded men of both armies who have shown their intrepidity,
    their dignity and their character ... eternal hatred to those who
    desire blood and who shed it unjustly."

Morillo answered in these words:

    "May Heaven punish those who are not inspired with the same feelings of
    peace and friendship that animate us."

From that day on the correspondence between the two men was very respectful
and cordial.

Morillo knew well that he could not conquer the independent army, and he
decided to return to Spain before he had lost his reputation in Venezuela.
He asked to be recalled, and was succeeded by D. Manuel de Latorre, of whom
we have already made mention. Transfer of the command was effected on the
fourteenth of December, 1820.


_The Second Battle of Carabobo. Ambitions and Rewards. Bolívar's
Disinterestedness. American Unity_


Sucre had been placed by Bolívar in command of the army of the South, with
instructions to go to Guayaquil,--a section which was not covered by the
armistice,--in order to negotiate its incorporation with Colombia. San
Martín desired to have the province of Quito form part of Perú, and there
is no ground for believing that he did so without sound and patriotic
reasons. Bolívar, on his part, insisted that Quito and Guayaquil should
belong to Colombia. Sucre had a very delicate mission, for he represented a
man totally opposite in ideas to San Martín, although inspired by the same
lofty motives and with the same noble purpose of freedom. Sucre went by sea
to Guayaquil and prevented its invasion by the royalists, who had Quito in
their possession.

Meanwhile, new commissioners came from Spain to undertake peace
negotiations. On that occasion Bolívar wrote a very courteous letter to
Latorre; and in a private communication he sent these friendly words to

    "I feel happy, my dear General, at seeing you at the head of my
    enemies, for nobody can do less harm and more good than you. You are
    destined to heal the wounds of your new country. You came to fight
    against it, and you are going to protect it. You have always shown
    yourself as a noble foe; be also the most faithful friend."

He also sent commissioners to Spain with a very polite and cordial letter
to Ferdinand VII, so as to do his best to obtain the freedom of Colombia
and its acceptance by Spain, avoiding, if possible, further fighting.

Maracaibo, which, as we have seen, had always been a royalist city, also
decided to break with Spain; on this occasion, Latorre thought that Bolívar
had broken the armistice, a thing that Bolívar denied, for he had not
intervened in the movement, although he was ready to support the city in
its labors towards freedom. He was willing to submit the decision of the
question to arbitration, but Latorre did not acquiesce. Bolívar then
notified him that hostilities were resumed. He was convinced that the
Spanish Government never thought seriously of granting peace to the former
colonies through accepting their independence. He immediately concentrated
his forces, organized an expedition against Maracaibo, called the cavalry,
ordered invasion of the province of Caracas, obtained incorporation of Páez
and his plainsmen, and advanced towards the enemy. On opening the campaign,
he published a proclamation offering pardon to the Spaniards and promising
to send them to their country, and in all respects to obey the treaty
on regularization of warfare. He also ordered his soldiers to obey the
stipulations of that treaty.

    "The Government," he said, "imposes on you the strict duty of being
    more merciful than brave. Any one who may infringe on any of the
    articles on the regulation of war will be punished with death. Even
    when our foes would break them, we must fulfil them, so that Colombia's
    glory may not be stained with blood."

It must not be forgotten that these enemies of Bolívar were very different
from the murderers commanded by Yáñez or Boves.

The new Colombian Congress convened in the city of Rosario de Cúcuta.
Bolívar, as usual on such occasions, submitted his resignation in order to
leave the Congress free to give the command to whomever it might select.
Among the members of the Congress there were some men openly hostile to
Bolívar, and in his communication he not only presented the usual reasons
for resigning, but also stated frankly that he was tired of hearing himself
called tyrant by his enemies. The Congress answered very cordially, asking
him to remain in his position and assuring him of the gratitude of the
Assembly for his valor and constancy.

Knowing that Latorre had advanced to Araure, the General moved with his
army towards the town of San Carlos, where he received some reinforcements.
As other independent commanders were harassing Latorre at different points,
the Spaniard had to send some of his troops to repel these attacks, and so
was forced to weaken his own army. Then he placed himself on the plain of
Carabobo, where Bolívar, in 1814, had defeated the royalists commanded by
Cagigal and Ceballos. There he was attacked by Bolívar on June 24, 1821. At
eleven o'clock in the morning the battle began, and it developed with the
swiftness of lightning. In an hour the royalist army was destroyed, not
without great losses to the independents. In one hour not only the royalist
army was defeated, but the Spanish domination in Venezuela had come to an
end. In this battle, a very decisive rôle was played by the British legion,
and by the brave _llaneros_ commanded by Páez.

As the battle of Boyacá practically secured the independence of Nueva
Granada, the battle of Carabobo secured the independence of Venezuela.
Boyacá and Carabobo were up to that moment the greatest titles of glory for
Bolívar, but his work was not completed, and America had still more and
brighter glory in store for him. He, in his vigorous style, described the
battle in a communication to the Congress, in which he said, among other

    "Yesterday the political birth of the Republic of Colombia was
    confirmed by a splendid victory."

Then he praised Páez, whom he immediately promoted to the rank of full
General of the Army, and paid last homage to General Cedeño, who died in

    "none braver than he, none more obedient to the Government ... He died
    in the middle of the battle, in the heroic manner in which the life of
    the brave of Colombia deserves to end....

    "The Republic suffers an equal pain in the death of the most daring
    Colonel Plaza, who, filled with unparalleled enthusiasm, threw himself
    against an enemy battalion to conquer it. Colonel Plaza deserves the
    tears of Colombia ... The Spanish army had over 6,000 picked men. This
    army does not exist any more; 400 of the enemy's men entered Puerto
    Cabello today."

The struggle for Venezuelan independence opened on April 19, 1810, in
Caracas, and closed on June 24, 1821, at Carabobo.

The Congress decreed the highest honors to the conquerors of Carabobo,
ordered a day of public rejoicing throughout the whole country, and set the
following day for the funerals of all those who had fallen on the field of

After the battle of Carabobo, Venezuela was divided into three military
districts, which were placed under the command respectively of Mariño, Páez
and Bermúdez, who had also been promoted to the rank of general. In this
way, Bolívar tried to satisfy the ambitions of his officers, who, in more
than one respect, considered their conquests as private property.

This was especially true of Páez. The Liberator had to be very careful in
dealing with them, constantly impelled by the fear that through peace their
restlessness would become a danger to the stability of the country. Bolívar
summarized the situation when he exclaimed:

    "I am more afraid of peace than of war!"

His attention was then turned to the campaign of the South. He had been
informed that San Martín was inclined to deal with the royalists, and
he wanted to hasten there to avoid any such compromise. At this time he
learned that the independence of Mexico was a fact, and he became impatient
to finish the emancipation of Colombia by means of the freedom of the
Isthmus of Panamá, which he used to call the "carrier of the universe."

Upon the organization of Colombia, as a result of the union of Nueva
Granada and Venezuela, Bolívar was made president, and in that capacity he
signed the constitution of 1821. In his communication to the Congress of
Rosario de Cúcuta, he reiterated his desire to resign the command. On this
occasion, his declaration could not be more emphatic.

    "A man like me is a dangerous citizen in a popular government. He is an
    immediate threat to the national sovereignty. I want to be a cit
    in order to secure my own freedom and the freedom of everybody else. I
    prefer the title of citizen to that of Liberator, because the latter
    comes from war and the former comes from the law. Change, I beg you,
    all my titles for that of _good citizen_."

Of course, no one would think of accepting his resignation at a moment when
his genius was most needed for the organization of the country.

We have mentioned very often the resignation of the Liberator from his
command, and the invariable nonacceptance of it. Some enemies of Bolívar
have declared that he never resigned in earnest, and have gone so far as to
pronounce him an ambitious man who wanted all glory and power in Colombia
and South America. The declarations made by Bolívar were made before the
whole world. He had gained sufficient glory to be termed a great man,
even though he left the army. If his resignation had been accepted, it is
absolutely certain that he would have abandoned the power in order to
keep untainted his reputation as a warrior, as an organizer, and as a
self-sacrificing patriot. At that time he was praised by the North American
press, as well as by men in every part of the world. The press of the
United States opposed his resignation, considering it premature. General
Foy said:

    "Bolívar, born a subject, freeing a world, and dying as a citizen,
    shall be for America a redeeming divinity, and in history the noblest
    example of greatness to which a man can arrive."

The Archbishop of Malines, Monsignor de Pradt, said:

    "The morality of the world, weakened with so many examples of violence,
    baseness, ambition, covetousness and hypocrisy, was in need of a
    stimulus like Bolívar, whose moderation and whose unheard-of abnegation
    in the full possession of power have rendered ambition hate
    The example of this great, virtuous man may serve as a general
    purification, strong enough to disinfect society."

The author of this monograph has been very keen to find all papers and
documents in which appears disparaging criticism of the life of Bolívar. He
declares that he has never found one which is not invalidated by reasons of
personal interest, political antagonism or prejudice. Bolívar's life was
always consistent with his words. He was a man of power. Whenever occasion
demanded it, he became a real dictator. At times necessity made him rather
weak in dealing with the stormy elements of his own party, and only in
exceptional circumstances, as in the sad case of General Piar did he rise
to the plane of severity in letting justice take its course. A careful
study of the life of Bolívar has produced a great change in the mind of the
author of this work. He has come to realize that he was studying not merely
the life and deeds of a great American, or even of a great man among all
men, but the history of one of those exceptional beings selected by God to
perform the highest missions and to teach great lessons. The student, upon
leaving the subject, feels the same reverence experienced upon leaving
a sacred place, where the spirit has been under the influence of the
supernatural. Bolívar's ambition was the legitimate desire for glory, but
he never wanted that power which consists in the oppression of fellowmen
and the acquisition of wealth.

We have seen that General Sucre had gone by sea to Guayaquil, while Bolívar
decided to go by land to Quito. He considered this campaign as decisive,
but while he was making his preparations, he did not neglect the diplomatic
relations of his country, the organization of finance nor the domestic
service. He continued to dream of the unity of America. He never succeeded
in attaining it, but that dream was the star to which he had hitched his
chariot. He had been in communication with the statesmen of Argentina and
Chile, and, as we have seen, in his proclamation sent to the inhabitants
of Nueva Granada he expressed a desire that the motto of America should
be "Unity in South America." He sent one plenipotentiary to Mexico, and
another to Perú, Chile and Argentina. In his instructions to the latter he
said the following words, which sound today, a century later, as though
they had been uttered yesterday:

    "I repeat that of all I have expressed, there is nothing of so much
    importance at this moment as the formation of a league truly American.
    But this confederation must not be formed simply on the principles of
    an ordinary alliance for attack and for defense; it must be closer than
    the one lately formed in Europe against the freedom of the people.

    "It is necessary that our society be a society of sister nations,
    divided for the time being in the exercise of their sovereignty, on
    account of the course of human events, but united, strong and powerful,
    in order to support each other against aggressions of foreign powers.

    "It is indispensable that you should incessantly urge the necessary
    to establish immediately the foundations of an amphictyonic body or
    assembly of plenipotentiaries to promote the common interests of the
    American states, to settle the differences which may arise in the
    future between peoples which have the same habits and the same customs,
    and which, through the lack of such a sacred institution, may perhaps
    kindle deplorable wars, such as those which have destroyed other
    regions less fortunate."

In the projected treaty carried by the same representative, the following

    "Both contracting parties guarantee to each other the integrity of
    their respective territories, as constituted before the present war,
    keeping the boundaries possessed at that time by each captaincy general
    or viceroyalty of those who now have resumed the exercise of their
    sovereignty, unless in a legal way two or more of them have agreed to
    form a single body or nation, as has happened with the old captaincy
    general of Venezuela and the kingdom of Nueva Granada, which now form
    the Republic of Colombia."

Similar instructions were given to the representative sent to Mexico.

The treaty arranged with Perú was similar to another entered into
afterwards with Chile. In both documents it was stipulated: that an
assembly should be organized with representatives of the different
countries; that all the governments of America, or of that part of America
which had belonged to Spain, should be invited to enter into that union,
league, or perpetual confederation; that the assembly of plenipotentiaries
should be entrusted with the work of laying the foundation for, and of
establishing, the closer relations which should exist among all of those
states; and that this assembly should "serve them as a council in great
conflicts, as a point of contact in the common dangers, as faithful
interpreter of their public treaties when difficulties occur, and as an
arbitral judge and conciliator in their disputes and differences." In this
way, two great principles were sanctioned by Bolívar: the principle of
_uti-possidetis_ and the principle of arbitration, which was proclaimed in
America, for the first time, by Bolívar as president of Colombia.

Before leaving for the campaign of the South, the Libertador Presidente
received the good news of Cartagena's fall into the hands of Montilla after
fourteen months of siege, and of the insurrection of Panamá, which became
independent and formed the eighth department of Colombia.

The importance of the independence of Panamá cannot be exaggerated. Bolívar
wisely deemed it of greatest moment, and what has occurred during the
twentieth century has proved that Bolívar was absolutely right in his


_Bomboná and Pichincha. The Birth of Ecuador. Bolívar and San Martin Face
to Face_


In January, 1822, Bolívar was in Cali, assembling his army to invade Quito
by land.

This campaign proved to be the most difficult he had undertaken with
respect to natural obstacles. Between Quito and his army, the Andes form a
nucleus of mountains called the Nudo de Pasto. All the difficulties with
which he had had to contend in the campaigns of Venezuela and Nueva
Granada,--such as the flooded plains, the deep ravines between Venezuela
and the Colombian valleys, the narrow and rugged passages, the wild
beasts,--sink into nothingness as compared with the almost unconquerable
obstacles which he was to face on his way to the South. In no other part
of the continent do the Andes present such an appalling combination of
ravines, torrents, precipitous paths and gigantic peaks. Furthermore,
nowhere on the continent was the population so hostile to freedom as were
the _pastusos_ (inhabitants of the _Pastos_). Men, women and children
cordially hated the cause of the Republic, and stopped at no crime to
destroy the armies of Bolívar. Despite all this opposition, Bolívar made
ready to throw the glories he had earned in Boyaca and Carabobo into the
balance, risking everything to obtain the freedom of the peoples of the
south, and the union of Quito and Colombia. This campaign presented
difficulties greater than Napoleon himself ever found in his path. The
Alps do not compare with these American mountains,--which rank with the

On the 8th of March, Bolívar began his advance to the South, being forced
to leave a thousand men in the hospitals on the way. Scarcely two thousand
men formed the army when it approached the formidable Nudo de Pasto. Sucre,
who had been stationed in Guayaquil, moved so as to distract the attention
of the Spaniards, thus helping Bolívar, and this was the only favorable

Two thousand men were awaiting Bolívar in the city of Pasto, men who knew
the country and who had the support of the inhabitants in their war against
the independents. The commander of Pasto was a Spanish colonel named D.
Basilio García.

The two armies met in a place called Bomboná, where all the advantages were
on the side of the royalists. Bolívar found himself about to attack an army
made almost invulnerable by nature; forests, roads, ravines--all protected
it. In such a position, Bolívar merely said these words: "We must conquer
and we will conquer!"

On the 7th of April the battle of Bomboná occurred. It lasted the entire
afternoon and part of the night. The independent army rose to the occasion,
and accomplished what it had never before realized. The light of the moon
witnessed the retreat of the royalist army, defeated and destroyed, seeking
shelter in the city of Pasto; and the name of Bomboná was written in
history beside those of Boyacá and Carabobo as among the most momentous,
the most significant battles fought for the cause of independence.[1]

[Footnote 1: Before the battle, General Pedro León Torres misunderstood an
order from Bolívar. The latter instructed him to surrender his command to a
colonel. Torres took a rifle and answered:

    "Libertador, if I am not good enough to serve my country as a general,
    I shall serve her as a grenadier."

Bolívar gave him back his command; Torres ordered the advance of his men
and threw himself against the enemy, falling fatally wounded.]

The city of Pasto was unanimous against the Liberator, who now asked García
to surrender. García at first refused, but finally accepted capitulation.
He was a brave man and a creditable representative of Spanish heroism.

Bolívar entered Pasto. He was in such grave danger from the hostility of
the inhabitants that he had to be escorted by Spanish soldiers, who, in
this way, displayed their loyalty to their word and their high sense of

This occurred on the 8th of June, 1822. The battle of Bomboná had taken
place two months before, and in the interval another great event occurred
in favor of the independent army. General Sucre, who had come to help
Bolívar in the movement, had taken several cities as he advanced towards
Quito. On the 24th of May he fought a decisive battle on the volcanic
mountain of Pichincha, by which the independence of Quito was secured. The
battle of Pichincha made Sucre the greatest general in the Repúblican
army, after Bolívar. He captured 1,200 prisoners, several pieces of field
artillery, guns and implements of war, and even made prisoner the Spanish
commander, Aymerich. On the 25th of May, Sucre entered the city of Quito,
two hundred and eighty years after the Spaniards arrived in that city for
the first time.

With Sucre in Quito and Bolívar in Pasto, many bodies of royalist troops

In the United States, the question of recognizing the independence of the
South American countries finally came before Congress. On March 8, 1822,
with James Monroe as President and John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State,
the ideas expressed by Henry Clay in 1820 were carried to full fruition.
The press had been working in favor of independence, and the message of
Monroe in favor of recognition was an interpretation of public opinion
at that time. In the report presented to Congress was the following

    "To deny to the peoples of Spanish America their right to independence
    would be in fact to renounce our own independence."

The independence of the South American countries was recognized by a
congressional vote of 159 out of 160. It is better to forget the name of
the man who opposed it. Spain fought against this measure but still it
held. Colombia, Mexico and Buenos Aires entered into the concert of free

Bolívar proceeded to organize the province of Los Pastos, and, with the
help of the Bishop of Popayan,--a former foe to the cause of independence,
who had wanted to return to Spain when the insurgents took possession
of the city, but who was persuaded to remain by the noble words of
Bolívar--finally obtained the consolidation of the republic in that
section. A few days later Bolívar left Los Pastos for Quito, where he was
received in triumph. The authorities of the old kingdom of Quito declared
the city's desire to be reunited with the Republic of Colombia,--to become
a part of the latter. Upon receiving the minutes of the assembly in which
this decision was taken, Bolívar decided that this resolution should be
placed before the proper representatives of the people, so that it might be
given greater emphasis by their approval.

In the organization of the country, Bolívar formed the department of
Ecuador of three old provinces. Sucre, promoted to the rank of major
general, was appointed governor of this department. Then Bolívar addressed
a letter to San Martin, at that time Protector of Perú, telling him that
the war in Colombia had come to an end and that his men were ready to go
wherever their brothers would call them, "especially to the country of our
neighbors to the South."

There was a serious problem to be solved in the South, and it had to be
worked out in Guayaquil. Two great men were going to come face to face. It
is necessary to study, even briefly, the personality of the other noted man
of the South, General San Martín.

D. José de San Martín was born on the 25th of February, 1778, of Spanish
parents, in the little village of Yapeyú, in the missions established among
the Indians in the northeast part of what is now the Argentine Republic.
His father was lieutenant governor of the department. José was educated in
Spain among youths of noble birth. At eleven years of age he entered the
army. He fought in Africa, against the French, and in Portugal. In the
campaign in Portugal he was a brother-in-arms of don Mariano Montilla, the
hero of Cartagena. He rose to the position of lieutenant colonel. In 1811
he met Miranda in London, and then decided to come to Buenos Aires.
He arrived there in 1812, and placed himself at the disposal of the
revolutionary government, which gave him the grade of lieutenant colonel
of cavalry. He immediately showed his talent as an organizer of men; he
instructed his officers and disciplined his soldiers.

At the beginning of the Argentine revolution, the idea of independence was
vague, and it was San Martín who first suggested that the revolutionists
should call themselves "independents," so as to have a cause, a flag and
principles by which they might be known. It is necessary to remember that
the revolution in this section of America was always of a monarchical
tendency, and San Martin was always an ardent supporter of monarchical
ideas. The only battle in which he took part in Argentina was one in which
he, with 120 men, defeated 250 foes. The independence of the viceroyalty of
the River Plata caused very little bloodshed, except in the northern part,
which is now the republic of Bolivia. San Martin was sent to fight the
Spaniards in this section, but he well knew the futility of attacking
by land, because the greatest stronghold of the Spaniards on the entire
continent--the viceroyalty of Perú--was on the other side. He then feigned
illness, and was sent as governor to the province of Cuyo, at the foot of
the Andes, where he worked constantly and efficiently to organize a large
army. He succeeded, not with the brilliancy of Bolívar's genius, but
through the constancy of his own methodical soul.

San Martín was reserved. It was very difficult to know his thoughts and his
feelings. He was successful in battle as well as in his deception of the
enemy. In many respects he was the opposite of Bolívar.

In 1817 San Martín had 4,000 soldiers in Mendoza ready to invade Chile,
where the insurgent armies had been defeated in Rancagua by a Spanish army
sent from Perú. The remnants of the Chilean patriots dispersed, and some of
them crossed the Andes and presented themselves to San Martín in the city
of Mendoza. He received some and rejected others. Among the former was D.
Bernardo O'Higgins, upon whose loyalty San Martín was certain he could

San Martín crossed the Andes, and defeated the Spaniards at Chacabuco.
Later, he fought the decisive battle of Maipó, passing then to Santiago,
where he was proclaimed director of the state, from which position he
immediately resigned, using all his influence to have O'Higgins appointed
in his stead, which was done. O'Higgins was an honest man and an excellent
administrator. He immediately appointed San Martín general-in-chief of the
army, and together they planned the invasion of Perú by sea.

With the help of Admiral Cochrane, San Martín reached the shores of Perú,
where he landed. After some delay, due to the desire to enlist public
opinion in the cause of independence, he took the city of Lima on July 8,
1821, and was appointed Protector of Perú. He wished to unite Guayaquil and
Perú, in which plan he was opposed by Bolívar.

Guayaquil had declared itself independent of Spain in October, 1820. We
have seen that Sucre was sent there by Bolívar because that section had
not been included in the armistice agreed to with Morillo in Santa Ana. In
Guayaquil there were three parties, one on the side of Perú, one on the
side of Colombia, and a third which desired the independence of that
section. There were several movements in favor of and against these
conflicting views, when Bolívar sent messages to Sucre, O'Higgins, San
Martín, and other prominent men, in an endeavor to form a combination to
bring about an early and successful end to the war for independence. In all
the difficulties of Guayaquil, Sucre displayed exceptional prudence and
tact, but when he was obliged to leave the city in order to draw to himself
the attention of the Spaniards and thus facilitate the movement of Bolívar
against Pasto, the intrigues increased, and Bolívar had to intervene,
sending a message to the Junta of Guayaquil, asking them to recognize the
union of Guayaquil and Colombia. San Martín was on the point of declaring
war on Colombia, a fatal step which was prevented by the pressure of other
more urgent matters, and perhaps because the victories of Bomboná and
Pichincha were too recent to encourage any disregard of the conquerors.

As soon as Bolívar arrived in Quito, he decided to go to Guayaquil to take
the situation in hand. He arrived on July 11, and was received in triumph,
his presence producing a decided effect in favor of the union with
Colombia. He published a proclamation inviting expressions of popular
opinion as to union, and was waiting for the day on which the
representatives of the province were to meet, when General San Martín
appeared in the city, surprising everybody, for, although he had sent
Bolívar a letter notifying him of his intended visit, Bolívar had not
received it. He was most cordially received by the Liberator, who, in a
previous communication, had declared his friendship for the Protector of
Perú. San Martín landed on the 26th of July, and that night had a long
personal conference with Bolívar, concerning which opinions varied. There
were no witnesses of that interview. It is certain that the men discussed
the union of Guayaquil, and the conflicting ideas of both leaders. Again
the intellectual superiority of Bolívar was evident. One thing, however, is
known: forty hours after landing in Guayaquil, the Protector left the city
and went to Perú, where he resigned his position and then sailed for Chile,
whence he went to the Argentine Republic. Later, he proceeded to Europe,
where he died in the middle of the century, a great man, the victim of the
ingratitude of his fellow citizens, always modest and reserved, and, in
many respects, an unsolved mystery. He harbored no resentment towards
Bolívar. When he arrived in Callao after the interview, the papers
published the following words over his name:

    "The 26th of last July, when I had the satisfaction of embracing
    the Hero of the South, was one of the happiest days of my life. The
    Liberator of Colombia is not only helping this state with three of his
    brave battalions, united to the valiant division of Perú under the
    command of General Santa Cruz, to put an end to the war in America, but
    he is also sending a considerable number of arms for the same purpose.
    Let us all pay the homage of our eternal gratitude to the immortal


_Junín, a Battle of Centaurs. The Continent's Freedom Sealed in Ayacucho_


After the victories of Bomboná and Pichincha Bolívar again evidenced
his disinterestedness and his generosity in praising his officers. He
reiterated his desire to resign his power. He expressed in a letter the
need he felt for rest, and a belief that a period of repose might restore
his former energy, which he felt slipping away from him.

Writing to a friend about Iturbide, he said:

    "You must be aware that Iturbide made himself emperor through the grace
    of Pío, first sergeant.[1] ... I am very much afraid that the four
    boards covered with crimson, and which are termed a throne, cause the
    shedding of more blood and tears and give more cares than rest.... Some
    believe that it is very easy to put upon one's head a crown and have
    all adore it; But I believe that the period of monarchy is pass
    and that thrones will not be up-to-date in public opinion until the
    corruption of men chokes love of freedom."

[Footnote 1: Augustin de Iturbide was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico as the
result of a mutiny led in Mexico City by a sergeant called Pio Marcha.]

    Regarding the battle of Pichincha, he said: "Sucre is the Liberator of

No better praise could be given his worthy lieutenant.

Once in Quito, he received the alarming news from Perú, which province had
been left by San Martín, that several serious defeats had been suffered by
the independents. He immediately made ready to free the viceroyalty from
Spain, realizing that while Perú remained under Spain the independence
of Colombia would be in danger. The viceroy of Perú had 23,000 European
soldiers and all the resources necessary to carry on war.

Perú was the last South American country to proclaim its independence.
Although there had been some movements of insurrection in 1809 in Alto Perú
(now Bolivia), they were soon quelled and the country once more placed
under the dominion of Spain. As a result, Perú was in position to send
reinforcements to the royalists in Chile and was a constant menace to
Colombia. The patriots of Chile, after obtaining their freedom, organized
San Martín's expedition to invade Perú. When San Martín entered Lima early
in July, 1821, the viceroy (Pezuela) was deposed by an assembly, and
Laserna was appointed to take his place. Once in Lima, San Martín entered
upon a period of inactivity which resulted in heavy losses to the
independents. He was even ready to communicate with the Spaniards in order
to arrange for the establishment of a regency in Perú, awaiting the arrival
of a European prince to govern the country. He even appeared ready to go to
Spain, himself, to beg for a prince.

The viceroy established his residence in Cuzco, the old capital of the
Incas, and the Spanish officers obtained several partial victories.

The defeats of the independent forces brought about the dissolution of a
_junta_ which had taken charge of the government. At that time, Bolívar
decided to intervene to help Perú gain her independence. He decided to send
3,000 men at once and to follow himself with 3,000 more to undertake this
last part of his important work. As we have said, his decision in this
matter was based, among other things, on the realization that the freedom
of Colombia was in constant danger while the royalists occupied Perú. While
making preparations for the campaign, he received news from Santander,
the vice-president of Colombia, that the Spanish general, Morales, was
advancing from Mérida to Cúcuta with a powerful army. He decided to send
Sucre to Lima to handle the situation there and to go, himself, to Bogotá
to defend his own country. He would have been unable to go to Lima
immediately anyway, for he had not yet obtained permission from the
Colombian government to do so. On his way to Bogotá he learned that the
reports of the movements of Morales were very much exaggerated and that his
forces were not so large as at first thought. Meanwhile, the Perúvians were
insisting that Bolívar come to assist them, and the Constitutional Congress
of Perú even instructed the President to ask the Libertador Presidente to
inform his home government that the government of Perú ardently besought
him to lend his assistance. Aware of the inefficient organization of the
Peruvian forces, Bolívar strongly advised that attacks should not be made
at once in order to see whether negotiations could bring about the desired
results, or to allow time in which to improve the condition of the army.
He argued that no movement should be made until it was certain that
independence could be gained only through the success of arms.

While Bolívar was still undecided, a powerful royalist army approached
Lima, and the insurgents had to leave the capital and take shelter in the
near-by port of Callao. Sucre, to whom the command of the united army
had been offered, but who had not accepted this commission, directed the
retreat. In Callao he assumed power, organized the insurgents of the city,
and undertook other military operations. The royalists remained in Lima for
a short while only, and then their opponents reoccupied the city.

Once more Bolívar was obliged to leave Guayaquil, this time to go to Quito
to defend the city against the _pastusos_, who had again rebelled. After
punishing them, he sent men to the city of Pasto to finish the work of
pacification, and he returned to Guayaquil in January, 1823, where he was
met by a commission sent from Perú to insist upon his taking command of the
Perúvians. Upon receipt of authorization from the Colombian government,
he proceeded to Callao, where he arrived on the first of September, 1823.
Congress conferred upon Bolívar the title of Libertador, and placed in his
hands supreme military authority over all the forces of the country. In
order to insure close coöperation between the civil administration and the
military operations, he was vested with political and executive authority.
Bolívar accepted these powers with great modesty, and remarked:

    "I do for Perú more than my ability permits, because I count upon the
    efforts of my generous fellows-in-arms. The wisdom of Congress will
    give me light in the midst of the chaos, difficulties and dangers in
    which I see myself.... I left the capital of Colombia, avoiding
    the responsibilities of civil government. My repugnance to work in
    governmental affairs is beyond all exaggeration, so I have resigned
    forever from civil power so far as it is not closely connected with
    military operations. The Congress of Perú may count, nevertheless
    on all the strength of Colombian arms to give the country unlimited
    freedom. By protecting national representation I have done for Perú the
    greatest service a man could do for a nation."

There were elaborate festivities in honor of Bolívar, and his moderation,
as well as his other personal qualifications, was recognized and admired.
General O'Higgins of Chile was present on that occasion. At one of the
banquets, Bolívar proposed a toast voicing the hope that the children of
America might never see a throne raised in any of its territories, and
that, as Napoleon was exiled in the middle of the ocean, and the new
emperor, Iturbide, thrown out of Mexico, all usurpers of the rights of the
people might fall, and that not one of them might remain throughout the New

Bolívar had many difficulties to overcome in the work of organizing the
elements of the country for the final struggle. Perúvians had not been
hardened by constant fighting as had Venezuelans and New Granadians, and
although they were patriotic and anxious to obtain their freedom, yet they
lacked the ardor that only Bolívar knew how to kindle in men's hearts. He
decided to hasten the advance of the Colombian reinforcements, knowing that
he could trust them to form a strong nucleus around which he could organize
the Peruvian campaign. In the midst of his incessant work, he would say:

    "We must conquer or die! And we will conquer, for Heaven does not want
    us in chains."

In January, 1824, Bolívar became very ill with fever. Before he had fully
recovered he began to direct the preparations for the campaign, and while
convalescing displayed remarkable energy in his work.[1] At times, though,
he showed some signs of discouragement. He had already said he felt that
his energy was diminishing, and in a letter to General Sucre he wrote:

    "I am ready to meet the Spaniards in a battle to end war in America,
    but nothing more. I feel tired, I am old, and I have nothing to

He had something to expect: the last and final victories, and then the
ingratitude of his fellow citizens. Perhaps at that time he was beginning
to feel the advances of the illness which caused his death.[2]

[Footnote 1: When he was still very weak, sitting ghost-like in an
armchair, his friend don Joaquín Mosquera, who had been his ambassador to
the countries of the South, asked him, "And now, what are you going to do?"
"To conquer," answered Bolívar.]

[Footnote 2: Tuberculosis.]

Then an event occurred which almost destroyed all of Bolívar's well-made
plans. Some troops sent from the River Plata started a rebellion in Callao,
and, before anything could be done to correct the situation, the Spanish
flag was hoisted over the fortress and messages had been sent to the
viceroy offering to deliver the city. Laserna sent General Rodil,
appointing him governor and military commander of the province of Lima, and
placing him in full command of the fortress and the treacherous soldiers.
This was a severe loss for the Repúblican cause. Congress at once suspended
the constitution and the law and appointed Bolívar dictator, for it
realized that he was the only man to cope with the situation. The royalist
army had 18,000 men, 12,000 to fight Bolívar, who was then in the city
of Trujillo, and 6,000 to keep Upper Perú (now Bolivia) and the southern
coast, subject to Spain. Bolívar had from 4,000 to 6,000 Colombians and
about 4,000 Perúvians, all in poor condition. He gathered all the resources
available in Lima, but desertion and treachery had left very little of use.
At that time, to be disloyal was a fashionable thing for the insurgents of
Lima. However, Bolívar would not despair. In a letter written at that time,
he said:

    "This year will not come to a close without our having gained Potosí."

His chief hope had been in the army of Colombia; but, while in Trujillo,
he learned that the government of Colombia would not send any troops or
resources without express authorization from Congress, which meant a long
delay. Meanwhile, the Spaniards under command of Canterac were advancing
against Trujillo. Bolívar set to work again with that feverish activity
which seemed to enable him to create everything from nothing--men,
uniforms, arms, horses, even horseshoes. The smallest detail, near or at a
distance, was the object of his care, and he attended to everything with
that precision and accuracy which form a great proportion of what we call

The city of Pasco was selected by Bolívar as the meeting place of all the
independent forces, and the month of May chosen for the general movement.
In June the Andes were crossed, and on August 2nd, the army was assembled
on the plain of Sacramento, near Pasco. There he arranged his soldiers for
battle and decided to attack on the 6th the royalists, who were near
by. Canterac was approaching with an army of 9,000 of which 2,000 were

On August 6, 1824, at four o'clock in the afternoon, the two armies met on
the plain of Junín, near the lake of that name, the source of the Amazonas.
This battle was one of cavalry only, and was in appearance and in results
one of the most terrible. Throughout the whole combat not one shot was
fired. Only the horsemen fought, but the defeated royalist cavalry on
retreat, drew the infantry with them. The battle of Junín ranked in
importance with those of Boyacá, Carabobo and Bomboná, as well as that of
Pichincha, and had a marked effect on the ultimate success of the Peruvian
campaign. The morale of the royalists was destroyed. Canterac, in his
retreat, was forced to cover 450 miles of very rough country, and lost a
large part of his army.

A festivity following this success was the occasion of generous words
exchanged between the victor of Bomboná and the conqueror of Pichincha.
Sucre said:

    "Led by the Liberator, we can expect nothing but victory!"

to which Bolívar answered:

    "To know that I will conquer, it is enough to know who are around me."

At another time, Bolívar reiterated his feelings in the following way:

    "Let the valiant swords of those who surround me pierce my breast a
    thousand times if at any time I oppress the countries I now lead to
    freedom! Let the authority of the people be the only existing power on
    earth! Let the name of tyranny be obliterated from the language of the
    world and even forgotten!"

Bolívar then left the army in the command of Sucre and departed for the
seaboard to continue his work of organization.

The royalists had left Lima as soon as they learned of the defeat of Junín.
Rodil was in the fortress at Callao. The viceroy in Cuzco gathered all the
soldiers he could, forming an army of 11,000 men, and started out to avenge
the defeat of Junín.

On December 9, 1824, the two armies met on the plain of Ayacucho, and at
noon began the final battle of the Wars of Independence on the American
continent. At first the Spaniards had some success. Then General Córdova
of the army of Sucre, jumped from his horse, killed it with his sabre, and
exclaimed to his soldiers: "I do not want any means of escape. I am merely
keeping my sword to conquer. Forward, march of conquerors!" The royalists
could not resist Córdova. They put all their reserves into action, but the
soldiers of the independent army were determined to triumph, and Córdova,
himself, had the glory of taking the viceroy prisoner. It is said that in
the afternoon of that day the insurgents were fewer in number than their
prisoners. A capitulation was proposed and was accepted, Canterac signing
on account of the capture of the viceroy. The generals and officers
promised not to fight any more in the War of Independence nor to go to any
place occupied by royalists. Callao was included in the capitulation, but
Rodil did not accept.

Bolívar possessed the virtue of creating heroes by his side: Anzoátegui in
Boyacá; Páez in Carabobo; Torres in Bomboná; Sucre, commander-in-chief in
Pichincha and Ayacucho; and Córdova, under Sucre's command, in the last
fight for independence.

The War of Independence of Latin America began in Caracas on April 19,
1810, and ended in Ayacucho on December 9, 1824. Writing about this battle,
Bolívar said:

    "The battle of Ayacucho is the greatest American glory and is
    work of General Sucre. Its arrangement was perfect; its execution
    superhuman. Swift and clever maneuvers destroyed in one hour the
    victors of fourteen years, and an enemy perfectly organized and ably

He conferred the highest honors on Sucre, and bestowed the titles of Grand
Marshal and General, Liberator of Perú, on him. In a letter to Sucre, he

    "The ninth of December, 1824, when you triumphed over the foe of
    independence, will be remembered by countless generations, who will
    always bless the patriot and warrior who made that day famous in the
    annals of America. So long as Ayacucho is remembered, the name of Sucre
    will be remembered. It will last forever."

The battle of Ayacucho practically put an end to the War of Independence of
America, which began with the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775.


_Bolivia's Birth. Bolívar's Triumph. The Monarchical Idea. From Honors to


Immediately after Ayacucho, Bolívar ordered the cessation of conscription
and called a constitutional convention for February 8, 1825.

    "The deplorable circumstances which forced Congress to create the
    extraordinary office of dictatorship have disappeared," he said, "and
    the Republic is now able to constitute and organize itself as it will."

Passing from national interests to his great idea of American union, he
issued a circular to all the governments of the continent to carry into
practice the assembly of plenipotentiaries of Latin America.

    "It is now time," he wrote, "that the common interests uniting the
    American republics had a fundamental basis to make permanent the
    duration of their governments, if possible. The task of establishing
    this system and affirming the power of this great political body must
    rest upon that lofty authority which may direct the policies of our
    governments and keep their principles of conduct uniform, an authority
    whose name alone will calm our storms. So respectable an authority can
    exist only in an assembly of plenipotentiaries, designated by each one
    of our republics and united under the auspices of the victory obtained
    by our armies against the Spanish government.... The day when our
    plenipotentiaries exchange their powers will start an immortal epoch in
    the diplomatic history of America. When, after one hundred centuries,
    posterity seeks the beginning of our international law, it will
    remember the agreements which affirmed its destiny and will gaze with
    respect upon the conventions of the Isthmus. And then it will find the
    plan of the first alliances showing the course of our relations with
    the world. What will the Isthmus of Corinth then be, compared with the
    Isthmus of Panamá?"

Bolívar now sent his resignation to Colombia, stating that since he had
fulfilled his mission and there were no more enemies in America, it was
time to carry out his promise. At this very time he was beginning to be
attacked by his enemies as an ambitious man who desired monarchial power!
These attacks, it was clear to him, would become more numerous, and even
foreigners would take part in the abuses. But there does not now exist one
document which warrants a single accusation against Bolívar for immoderate

When the War of Independence had practically come to a close Rodil was
holding Callao, and Upper Perú was still in the hands of the Spanish. Sucre
undertook to remedy this situation while Bolívar attended to the convening
of the constitutional congress in Perú. The Liberator remarked how
dangerous it was "to put into the hands of any one man a monstrous
authority which could not be placed without danger into the hands of Apollo
himself." Speaking to the delegates he said he desired:

    "to compliment the people because they have been freed of that which is
    most dreadful in the world, war, through the victory of Ayacucho, and
    despotism, through my resignation. Proscribe forever, I pray you, such
    enormous authority, which was the doom of Rome. It was praiseworthy,
    undoubtedly, for Congress, in order to pass through the abyss and face
    terrific storms, to substitute the bayonets of the liberating
    for its laws, but now that the country has secured domestic peace and
    political freedom, it should permit no rule but the rule of law."

The Perúvians insisted that Bolívar should retain the power, and passed a
decree conferring it on him, without, however, calling him dictator, so as
to respect his will. On the same day a decree ordered several honors to be
paid him and also that one million pesos (about $1,000,000) be distributed
among the officers and soldiers of the liberating army, and that another
million pesos be placed in the hands of the Liberator as a token of
gratitude of the country.

Bolívar was very much moved, and, to a certain extent, hurt by this
pecuniary reward. He declined to accept in the following words:

    "I have never wanted to accept, even from my own country, any reward of
    this kind. It would be a monstrous incongruity if I should receive from
    the hands of Perú that which I refused to receive from the hands of my

Congress finally asked Bolívar to take the million dollars and devote it to
charities in his own country and other parts of the republic of Colombia.
This Bolívar agreed to do.

Bolívar decided to remain in Perú until the convening of the following
congress, which was to assemble in 1826. He immediately bent all his energy
to the work of government, in which he was, if possible, more admirable
than he was as a soldier. Among the several measures of his administrative
work was the establishment of normal schools in the departments, tribunals
of justice, several educational institutions, mining bureaus, roads, public
charities and multitudinous other services.

On April 1, 1825, Sucre defeated the last Spanish troops in a place called

Upon the completion of his work, Bolívar started to visit Cuzco and Upper
Perú. In the city of Arequipa, on May 16, he issued a decree proclaiming
the republic of Alto (Upper) Perú. In Cuzco he was received in triumph. A
thousand ladies offered him a beautiful crown set with pearls and diamonds.
The Liberator received it and immediately sent it to Marshal Sucre, saying:

    "He is the conqueror of Ayacucho and the true liberator of this

From Cuzco, Bolívar went to La Paz, and there he was received in like
manner. The assembly of Alto Perù sent representatives to meet him. The
country had received the name of República Bolívar (now Bolivia). From
there he went to Potosí, where he remained several weeks, accepting the
homage and gratitude of the people. There he received several members of
the diplomatic corps and a committee sent by the government of Buenos Aires
with the purpose of complimenting him for the services he had rendered to
the cause of South American independence which, as they said, Bolívar had
made secure forever.

He gave Bolivia its first political organization, applying his favorite
ideas about the distribution of powers. Here he repeated what he had done
everywhere when in command. He established educational institutions;
ordered that the rivers be examined in order to study the feasibility of
changing their courses so as to furnish water to arid and sterile areas;
distributed land among the Indians; suppressed the duties on mining
machinery; ordered the planting of trees, and showed in a thousand ways his
untiring energy, all the while keeping in active diplomatic correspondence
and in constant communication with his friends and civil officers, in order
to give instructions in detail. He issued orders from Chuquisaca to have
the Venezuelan soldiers sent back to their country from Perú. He even went
so far as to entertain thoughts of the independence of Cuba and Porto Rico.

In January, 1826, he left Chuquisaca for the coast and from there he sailed
for Perú, and a month later reached Lima, where he rendered an account of
what he had done in Upper Perú and in the South. By that time the last
stronghold of the Spaniards, Callao, had fallen into the hands of the
Venezuelan general, Bartolomé Salom, a very distinguished officer who had
played a remarkable rôle under Bolívar during the War of Independence.
The resistance of Rodil in Callao is one of the best examples of Spanish
bravery. Rodil was a rough soldier, and often harsh and cruel in his
measures. In spite of hunger, illness and losses, he remained in Callao for
almost eleven months, not surrendering until January 23, 1826; he and
his men were the last representatives of the Spanish power to leave the

As soon as everything was well organized in Perú, Bolívar made ready to
return to Colombia. At that time some imprudent friends tried to convince
him that it was to the best interest of the now independent countries that
he should be made emperor of the Andes, which covered Colombia, Perú and
Bolivia. From Caracas, Páez proposed that he should return to Colombia and
set up a monarchy. Bolívar steadfastly refused to listen to any of these
seductions. To Páez he wrote:

    "France had always been a kingdom. The Repúblican government
    discredited itself and became more and more debased until it fell into
    an abyss of hate. The ministers who led France were equally cruel and
    inept. Napoleon was great, singular, and, besides that, extremely
    ambitious. Nothing of the kind exists here. I am not Napoleon, no
    I wish to be; neither do I want to imitate Caesar, and still less
    Iturbide.... The magistrates of Colombia are neither Robespierre nor
    Marat.... Colombia has never been a kingdom. A throne would produce
    terror on account of its height as well as on account of its glamour."

To all his friends he declared his decided opposition to the monarchical
idea. In another letter, addressed to vice-president Santander, he wrote:

    "I have fulfilled all my obligations, for I have done my duty as a
    soldier, the only profession which I have followed since the first day
    of the Republic.... I was not born to be a magistrate.... Even if a
    soldier saves his country, he rarely proves a good executive.... You,
    only, are a glorious exception to this rule."

One of the greatest rewards for his ambition, the one he valued the most
throughout the rest of his life, was received at that time. It consisted
of Washington's picture and a lock of his hair, sent as a present by
Washington's family from Mount Vernon through General Lafayette. In his
letter to Bolívar, Lafayette said:

    "My religious and filial devotion to General Washington could not be
    better recognized by his family than by honoring me with the commission
    they have entrusted to me.... Of all men living, and even of all men in
    history, Bolívar is the very one to whom my paternal friend w
    have preferred to send this present. What else can I say to the great
    citizen whom South America has honored with the name of Liberator,
    confirmed in him by two worlds, a man endowed with an influence equal
    to his self-denial, who carries in his heart the sole love of freedom
    and of the republic?"

Bolívar answered:

    "There are no words with which I can express how my heart appreciates
    this gift.... Washington's family honors me beyond my greatest hopes,
    because Washington's gift presented by Lafayette is the crown of all
    human rewards."[1]

[Footnote 1: From that time until his death Bolívar preferred to any other
decoration, Washington's miniature picture, which often he wore on his
breast. Venezuela keeps with veneration this sacred relic in the _Museo
Boliviano_ of Caracas.]

While yet aglow with the great satisfaction he derived from this episode,
Bolívar was annoyed again by the movement to make him accept a crown.
Something still worse occurred at this time. In 1826 trouble broke out in
Venezuela because of the activities of Páez.

We have already mentioned that Venezuela was divided into three military
districts, governed by Bermúdez, Mariño and Páez. These three men had been
at times hostile to Bolívar, and, in order to satisfy their ambitions, he
had placed them in high commands. Páez was stationed in Caracas, where
his arbitrary rule was resented by the people. He intrigued against the
vice-president, Santander, executing his commands in such a way as to
produce ill-will, especially an order providing for the recruiting of
soldiers in Venezuela, which because of the manner of its execution, caused
much protest and resulted in complaints to the House of Representatives
against Páez. The House endorsed the accusation and submitted it to the
Senate, which suspended Páez from his post and summoned him to the capital.
Páez refused to appear, but at last was obliged to leave his command and
retire to Valencia as a private citizen. Once there, he instigated all
sorts of disturbances, and succeeded in creating an appearance of popular
clamor for his reinstatement in command of the department in order to avoid
anarchy. In this he was helped by his friends and partisans. A faction
asked him to accept the military command of the department, and Páez,
supported by the municipal council of Valencia, did so in disobedience to
Congress. He adopted the title of Military and Civil Chief of Venezuela. He
succeeded in enlisting the support of Mariño, but not that of Bermúdez, in
spite of all his flattering propositions. Thus started the endless chain of
civil revolutions in independent Latin America.

Santander wrote to the Libertador asking him to help save the country from
revolution. Páez also sent a communication to him, in which he complained
against vice-president Santander. Bolívar decided to return at once to his
country, but he met with strong opposition on the part of the Peruvian
authorities and people. After some hesitation, he concluded to return home,
thus ending the period which marks the height of his popularity. Soon his
glory was to be tarnished by ingratitude. He departed from Perú never to
return. "Whatever remains of that life is sorrow."[1]

[Footnote 1: Bolívar--J.E. Rodó.]

On the way to his country, Bolívar found that the southern provinces of
Colombia wanted him to be dictator, but he declared that it was his desire
that the constitutional regime should continue. He sent a proclamation to
the Colombians, once more offering his services as a brother.

    "I do not want to know," he said, "who is at fault. I have never
    forgotten that you are my brothers-in-blood and my fellow soldiers....
    Let there be no more Cundinamarca; let us all be Colombians, or death
    will cover the deserts left by anarchy."

He crossed at the foot of the lofty Chimborazo and arrived in Quito, where
he was again received with rejoicing, as he had been in all the towns
on his way home; and again he was urged to assume dictatorship. This he
steadfastly refused to do. In the middle of November he arrived in Bogotá,
where he exhorted the people to union and concord. He expressed much
satisfaction at the obedience to law on the part of the army, "because if
the armed force deliberates, freedom will be in danger, and the mighty
sacrifices of Colombia will be lost." For two days only he exercised the
executive power, but those days were sufficient to deepen the impression he
had left as a great organizer. He then continued on his way to Venezuela,
learning that Páez, who was openly opposed to the most cherished ideas
of Bolívar, had convoked a Venezuelan constitutional congress to meet in
Valencia on the 15th day of January, 1827. Appreciating the type of man
he was to face, Bolívar gathered a small army, to be prepared for
contingencies. On his way he learned that Puerto Cabello, which had
declared itself in favor of union, had been attacked by Páez and that
Venezuelan blood had been shed. Upon his arrival at Maracaibo, he published
a proclamation, resolved to make every effort at persuasion before
resorting to the sword. Páez had declared that Bolívar was coming to
Venezuela as a citizen to help with his advice and experience to perfect
the work of reform. From Coro, the Libertador wrote him, attempting to
convince him that his conduct was criminal and making him flattering offers
if he would desist. When the people of Caracas learned that Bolívar was
approaching, a reaction took place, to such an extent that Páez became
frightened. Some of the population openly declared themselves in Bolívar's

On the last day of 1826, Bolívar's mind passed through a crisis in an
effort to decide what steps would best reduce Páez to obedience, and, if
possible, avoid bloodshed. On the following day, the first of 1827, he
issued a decree, by virtue of his extraordinary powers, granting an
armistice to all those who had taken part in the so-called reform movement,
and ordering that his authority as President of the Republic be recognized
and obeyed. He also offered to convoke a national convention. Páez
hesitated no longer; he acknowledged the authority of Bolívar as President,
annulled the decree convoking a congress, and ordered that the President
should be honored in all the towns from Coro to Caracas. From Puerto
Cabello, Bolívar issued a beautiful proclamation in which he said:

    "There are no longer any enemies at home.... Today peace triumphs....
    Let us drown in the abyss of time the year 1826.... I have not known
    what has happened. Colombians, forget whatever you know of the days of

Páez humiliated himself to the point of asking that he be tried, but
Bolívar would not permit it. He even praised Páez for his self-denial,
going so far in his generosity as to call him _savior of the country_. This
generosity was censured, especially by the people of Nueva Granada, and
was considered a weakness on the part of Bolívar. It was thought to be an
indication that he feared his authority would not be sufficiently strong
to carry him through the dangerous business of disciplining a man with
so large a following as Páez. But this was not so. Bolívar had, upon
the occasion of Piar's treachery, shown himself capable of decisive, if
difficult action; but his preference was always for justice tempered
with mercy. That he felt no weakening in personal power is shown by the
following incident: At a banquet where Páez and his partisans formed the
great majority of those present, a man started a debate which gave Bolívar
opportunity to make very energetic declarations, and even to utter the
following words:

    "Here is no other authority and no other power than mine. Among all my
    lieutenants I am like the sun; if they shine it is because of the light
    I lend them."

Silence followed these words; everybody, including Páez, realized that
Bolívar could make himself respected whenever he wished.

His reception in Caracas surpassed any one that Bolívar had ever been
given. He could not walk because of the crowd. He had to listen to
addresses, hymns and eulogies, receive crowns, attend banquets and accept
all kinds of homage. His modesty was recognized by an inscription on one of
the banquet tables: "To conquer in the field of battle may be the work of
fortune; to conquer the pride of victory is the work of the conqueror."
Páez, who had been presented a sword by Bolívar, expressed his gratitude
in the warmest terms, and pledged himself to the service of his fellow

    "I should rather die a hundred times," he said, "and lose every drop of
    my blood than to permit this sword to leave my hand, or ever attempt to
    shed the blood which up to now it has set free.... Bolívar's sword is
    in my hands. For you and for him I shall go with it to eternity. This
    oath is inviolable."


_The Convention of Ocaña. Full Powers. An Attempt at Murder_


It was Bolívar's fortune to dispel the effect of evil with his presence,
but in his absence evil was certain to raise its head. While he triumphed
in Caracas, he was being severely criticised in Bogotá, even by Santander.
His generosity with regard to Páez irritated the people of Nueva Granada to
the extreme.

When Congress convened, Bolívar tendered his resignation, as usual, but
this time he insisted still more. "For fourteen years," he wrote, "I have
been Supreme Chief and President of the Republic. Danger forced me to
accept this duty. Now that the danger has passed, I may retire to enjoy
private life." The rest of his communication evidenced the sincerity of
his desires and his modesty. He finished with these words: "I implore of
Congress and of the people the grace to be permitted to resume my simple

In spite of the resignation, intrigues continued in Nueva Granada, and
the separatist feeling grew stronger and stronger in that country and in
Venezuela. Through the separation of Nueva Granada, Bolívar's enemies in
that nation saw a way to get rid of him without displaying their enmity,
since, being a citizen of Venezuela, Bolívar could not be president of
Nueva Granada. Páez and his partisans, on their side, did not want to have
Santander in authority, because Santander was not a native of Venezuela.
The situation was made more complicated and more serious by a rebellion
in Lima, followed by another in Guayaquil. Notwithstanding that his
resignation had been tendered, Bolívar, considering that the union of
Colombia was threatened, immediately started for Bogotá, to take the
situation in hand. He resolved to sacrifice everything to prevent anarchy
from taking the place of freedom and mutiny from taking the place of law.
He left Caracas, his native city, and here again he was taking a last
farewell. In July he was in Cartagena, where the people received him with
genuine affection. He recalled that it was from here he had begun his first
quixotic expedition to his country in 1812. Fifteen years had elapsed since
then, and he was again in Cartagena, his great work of redemption fulfilled
but now in danger of being destroyed.

The steps taken by the Liberator to organize the attack against the
revolutionists were described by Santander and his followers as steps to
destroy the country and its political freedom. It was publicly proposed
that Nueva Granada should declare null the fundamental convention providing
for the union of the country with Venezuela. Santander was ready to begin
the work of resistance. He was persuaded to be prudent, but not before he
had given vent to his immoderate anger in ignoble expressions. He went so
far as to state that war should be declared against Bolívar, for, if they
were to be deprived of public liberty, it would have been better, he said,
to remain under Spain. Morillo was to him preferable to Bolívar.

Bolívar advanced towards Bogotá. Santander endeavored to stop him, sending
him word that the army was not necessary since constitutional order had
been reestablished in Guayaquil. Bolívar knew better, and continued his
advance. On the 10th day of September he arrived in Bogotá, was received by
the Congress, took the oath of office and delivered an address in which he
offered to govern according to the constitution, in order to keep Colombia
free and united until the meeting of the national convention. Santander
greeted Bolívar formally. They had a long conversation in which the
Liberator showed unbounded generosity.

Congress had entire confidence in Bolívar. It approved all the steps he had
taken and gave him powers to execute other measures seemingly necessary to
the life of the Republic. It also issued a communication providing for a
general convention in the city of Ocaña on the 2nd of March, 1828. This
convention was the last hope for the reestablishment of the Republic.
Bolívar recommended that, in the election of representatives, the people
select honorable men, possessed of intense patriotism and devotion to the
independence, union and freedom of Colombia. He sent a request to Guayaquil
not to leave the Union, and he had the satisfaction of learning that a
counter revolution had put an end to the work of secession in that section
of the country. Other minor movements were soon defeated and an alarm over
a reported Spanish invasion subsided.

The convention took place in Ocaña, and after the work of preparation it
formally inaugurated its work on April 9th. Among its members were some of
Bolívar's most bitter enemies, some of his closest friends and a group
of so-called independents who were ready to swing to either side. The
convention proved a field of discord and of disgraceful disputes. Bolívar
experienced keen anguish at the thought of the inevitable results of the
meeting of that ill-advised group of men, and feared that it would lead
to anarchy. He sent a message in which he exhorted the convention to save
Colombia from ruin and to give it security and tranquility. He demanded a
firm, powerful and just government to indemnify her for the loss of 500,000
men killed in the field of battle.

    "Give us a government under which law is obeyed, the magistrate is
    respected, and the people are free; a government which can prevent the
    transgression of the general will and of the people's commands ... In
    the name of Colombia, I pray you to give us for the people, for the
    army, for the judge and for the magistrate an inexorable government."

Bolívar knew that in his appeals for a strong government his enemies would
see, or pretend to see, personal ambitions, and Santander, of course,
immediately exploited this feeling against him. But Bolívar, who had proved
his disinterestedness when he might have had anything he desired, made no
effort, at this time, when he was trying to rescue his country from grave
danger, to show that he was not ambitious.

A large number of petitions were received by the general assembly,
requesting that Bolívar continue in control of the government "as the only
man who, because of his talents, his exceptional services and his powerful
influence, can keep Colombia united and tranquil." But the convention
was agitated by opposing feelings and influences. The federal system was
proposed, but it was not accepted, although the proposal was greeted with
joy by the enemies of the Liberator.

Bolívar, at about this time, wrote to a friend:

    "If the constitution to be adopted in Ocaña is not suitable to the
    situation in which I see Colombia, I shall abandon at once a government
    of which I am tired at heart."

And to his sister he wrote:

    "I have decided to leave for Venezuela, and I want you to know this,
    warning you that I absolutely do not want you, on your account or on
    mine, to incur the least expense, for you well know how poor I am."

And this was the man who had been born wealthy, who had declined to accept
a million dollars from Perú, who gave his salary to the needy, who could
have had all life can give, but who renounced all to devote himself to his

When the constitution was drafted, Bolívar found that it was going to be
contrary to his desires, and he made ready to return to Venezuela, but
was persuaded by the insistence of his friends to remain. At last, they,
fearing the oppression of Santander and his followers, left Congress. This
destroyed the quorum, as other representatives had already resigned.
On June 11th, they issued a proclamation explaining the failure of the
Congress, attributing it to the oppression by a party which desired a
constitution unsuited to Colombia, and which overlooked the real facts of
the situation; and declared that the legal status of the country was as

    "The constitution of the year 1811 is in full vigor; the laws are in
    force, and at the head of the government is the Libertador Presidente,
    who has the confidence of the nation."

When Bolívar was informed that the convention had adjourned, he wanted to
return to the capital and withdraw from public life. This would have meant
civil war with no man powerful enough to put an end to it. In the emergency
an assembly of respectable persons met in Bogotá and established a _Junta_,
asking Bolívar to resume power and to hasten to the capital to handle the
situation. Bolívar had nothing to do but to obey; it was a matter of his
own conscience, even more than of the demands of the people.

He had full power in governmental matters, but he decided to exercise it
with due consultation and only during the crisis through which Colombia was
passing. Bogotá received him with unusual enthusiasm. He declared publicly
that he would always be the champion of public liberty.

"When the people want to deprive me of the power and separate me from the
command, I shall gladly submit to their will and will surrender to them my
sword, my blood and my life. That is the sacred oath I utter before all the
principal magistrates, and what is more, before all the people."

In truth, he used his powers with great prudence, and devoted his time
especially to the reorganization of the army and the extinction of
privateering, ordering that no more licenses should be issued and that
those in force should be recalled.

Memorials to him were drafted in every part of Nueva Granada, and even the
smallest villages showed their unanimous wish that Bolívar should take the
situation in hand and save the country. Guayaquil and Venezuela did the
same. It seemed that everything was settled and that peace was to last
forever. Bolívar did not use the name of Dictator nor that of Supreme
Chief, but the one given to him by law, _Libertador Presidente_. He
regulated his own powers, created a council of state, ordered that all
guarantees granted by the constitution of Cúcuta be respected, and offered
to convoke the national representation for January 2, 1830, to establish
at last the constitution of the Republic. In papers concerning the
constitution, he expressed disgust for dictatorship.

    "Under a dictatorship, who can speak of freedom?" he said. "Let us feel
    mutual compassion for the people who obey and for the man who commands

He was as generous as ever with his enemies. Santander was appointed
minister of Colombia in Washington; and in the appointment of the members
of his council of state, Bolívar did not hesitate to include men who had
not shown the least friendship for him, if their intellectual achievements
or their patriotic work warranted the distinction.

Santander repaid Bolívar's kindness by fostering a plot against his life.
On the 25th of September, Bolívar's palace was attacked by a group of
conspirators whose object was to murder him. They took the guard by
surprise, wounding and killing several of its members, and started towards
Bolívar's room. The Liberator intended to fight, but was persuaded that it
would be foolhardy; so he jumped through the window to the street and hid
for a while. The conspirators, crying, "Death to the tyrant and long life
to General Santander and the constitution of Cúcuta," went in pursuit of
him. Colonel William Ferguson, the Liberator's Irish aide-de-camp, seeking
his chief in order to defend him, was killed. Other men were also murdered.
The garrison was made ready and went to the palace. Finding it abandoned
by the conspirators, it assembled in the principal square of the city
and prepared to defend Bogotá. There was fighting in several sections,
accompanied by much sorrow, for it was believed that Bolívar had been
killed. Bolívar had not been killed, but he would have preferred death to
the torture which he experienced at this reward of his eighteen years
of service in the interest of his country. Seeing some soldiers pass
discussing the defeat of the mutineers, Bolívar joined them and soon
presented himself to the garrison, who received him with tears of joy.

To make a show of energy, he published a decree declaring that he would
assume the powers given to him by the people and would use them according
to circumstances; but this event had depressed him more than anything in
his life. "I have really been murdered," he said. "The daggers have entered
here in my heart. Is this the reward for my services to Colombia and to
the independence of America? How have I offended freedom and those men?
Santander has caused all this; but I will be generous."

Several of the conspirators were sentenced to die, among them Santander,
but Bolívar changed the penalty to banishment from the country. Santander
always contended that the sentence of death had been unjust. The worst
punishment that might have fallen upon the would-be-murderers was the
unanimous condemnation of all the people.


_Difficulties with Perú. Slander and Honors. On the Road to Calvary_


The wound received by Bolívar's heart had no possible cure. His physical
condition was getting worse and worse from day to day, but he had to remain
in power. Serious dangers threatened the country. In Bolivia, Sucre, a
victim of the conspiracy of Perúvians, had been wounded and forced to leave
the country where he had been in command, but not without showing his
generosity in a message to the Bolivian Congress, in which he said:

    "Although through foreign instigations I carry broken the arm w
    in Ayacucho put an end to the war of American Independence, which
    destroyed the chains of Perú and gave birth to Bolivia, I am comforted,
    feeling in these difficult circumstances that my conscience is
    of any guilt.... My Government has been distinguished by clemency,
    tolerance and kindness."

All of this was the naked truth. Perú had invaded Bolivia and had attacked
Colombia. Bolívar immediately organized an expedition, under the command of
General José Maria Córdova,--who distinguished himself in Ayacucho,--and
he, himself, prepared to go immediately. After attending to several matters
of an administrative character, he started towards the South, in spite of
declining health. It was torture for him to ride on horseback. He knew that
little of life remained for him, and still he was going to give his last
days to the service of his country. He did not seek revenge on his enemies
then in power in Perú. He only wanted to defend the integrity of Colombia
against the foreign invader.

As was his custom, he tried first to settle all difficulties through
negotiation. His aide-de-camp, Colonel O'Leary, was sent to offer the
Liberator's friendship to Perú, but the Peruvian Government did not deign
even to answer O'Leary's communication. In January, 1829, the Perúvians
obtained some success; they occupied Guayaquil and other places with an
army of over 8,000 men well organized, while the Colombians numbered only
6,000 men, poorly equipped, but commanded by the greatest of all South
American generals after Bolívar,--Sucre, who was able to inflict two
defeats on the enemy during the month of February, and, after his final
victory, offered a capitulation, which was accepted by the enemy, with
the stipulation that the boundaries between Perú and Colombia were to
be settled by a special commission, and that neither of the contracting
parties would intervene in the domestic affairs of the other. The city
of Guayaquil was to be surrendered to Colombia. The Peruvian army was
commanded by La Mar, head of the anti-Colombian party of Perú.

The inhabitants of Pasto had again rebelled against Colombia, but they were
subdued without bloodshed. Upon receiving their submission, Bolívar went to
Quito, where, after long separation, he met Sucre, and found in the loyal
friendship of the Great Marshal of Ayacucho some comfort in the midst of
all the bitterness which filled his soul. On that occasion, for the first
time, Bolívar's facility and felicity of language failed him, and his tears
were the only expression of his feelings. He received in Quito a manifesto
issued by Páez regarding the murderous attempt of the 25th of September,
once more protesting that he was loyal to Bolívar. Again mentioning the
sword that his illustrious chief had given him, he said: "In my hands it
will always be Bolívar's sword, not my own; let his will direct it and my
arm will carry it."

La Mar, on trivial pretexts, did not surrender the city of Guayaquil, but
undertook the reorganization and enlargement of his army. Bolívar prepared
himself for new struggles, while in private he did his best to have the
capitulation fulfilled. Advancing to Guayaquil, he succeeded in recovering
without a single shot the land lost by Colombia, for La Mar had become
unpopular in Perú on account of this war and was deprived of his command
and expelled from the country. Immediately after his banishment public
feeling in Perú expressed itself freely in favor of Colombia and a friendly
arrangement was very easy. La Mar died soon after in exile, forgotten by

In Guayaquil, Bolívar's life was in great danger because of very serious
illness, and his soul was sick of the unjust attacks by his enemies. In
1815 the Duke of Manchester, governor of Jamaica, had said of him that _the
flame had consumed the oil_, but at this time it was really true. Yet on
August 31st, while barely convalescing, he plunged again into activity
by issuing a famous circular asking the people to express their opinions
freely on the form of government and on the constitution to be adopted by
the next constitutional congress. After recovering from that illness he
went to Quito, where he worked in the reorganization of the southern
departments, and at the end of October he left for Bogotá.

Then another man added his bit to the work of Bolívar's enemies. Córdova,
tempted by ambition, and believing in the necessity for the separation of
New Granada from Venezuela, claimed that, since Bolívar was getting old and
had very few days to live, he should be deprived of the command. He tried
to form a combination with Páez, Mariño and others. Bolívar knew of his
actions and talked to him in an attempt to win back his friendship.
He thought that so distinguished a general would hesitate much before
smirching his glory with ingratitude; but at the bottom of his heart this
wound, added to the others he had received, pushed him a little farther
towards his premature end. Córdova finally raised the flag of insurrection,
based on the Constitution of Cúcuta, calling Bolívar the tyrant of the
country. He and his improvised army were destroyed by O'Leary, and he was
fatally wounded on the field of battle. He was young, rich and endowed with
great powers of attraction; he was brave and clever, and his disloyalty and
insurrection form one of the saddest episodes of this part of the history
of America.

It may have been of some comfort to Bolívar that at that time a special
envoy from France went to Bogotá to express the esteem of his country for
the great man of the South. Addressing the Council of Ministers, the French
envoy, Bresson, voiced the hope of seeing Bolívar soon, and of

    "expressing to him verbally to what extent Simón Bolívar's name is
    honored among us. France admires in him not only that intrepidity and
    celerity in enterprise, that vision and that constancy which are the
    qualifications of a great general, but pays homage to his virtue
    to his political talent, which are guaranty of independence and
    order--the essentials of the freedom of the country, which has placed
    her destiny in his hands."

Europe was unanimous in her admiration for Bolívar. In England they also
had the highest opinion of the American hero.

    "It is impossible," wrote the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Dudley, in
    March, 1828, to Campbell, British Chargé d'Affaires in Colombia, "to
    have observed the events which have occurred in Colombia and its
    neighboring provinces since their separation from the mother country,
    without being convinced that the merits and services of General Bolívar
    entitle him to the gratitude of his fellow-citizens, and to the esteem
    of foreign nations."

But this general feeling also gave foundation to slanderous affirmations
that Bolívar wanted to make himself king. We have seen how untrue this
was. Bolívar had no other ambition than the freedom and the union of his
country,--Colombia, the child of his genius. For himself, he wanted only to
keep his honor untarnished and to pass his last days as a simple citizen.

During his stay in the South, the Council of Ministers started to work
for a monarchy. A letter was sent to him, not speaking openly of the
monarchical question, but dwelling on the restless condition of the
population and the need of preparing for the future. In answer, Bolívar
expressed his agreement and, knowing that he could not live much longer,
said that in order to avoid civil war with its terrible results, which he
expected to occur within ten years, it would be advisable to divide the
country by legal and peaceable means. He declared that he considered the
stability of the government impossible because of the hostility between
Venezuela and Nueva Granada. He pronounced himself against a foreign
monarch and said that, as for himself, he took it for granted that it was
understood that he was tired of serving and of suffering ingratitude and
attempts against his own life. He still insisted that, "in case no other
solution seems feasible, the best way out of the difficulty would be
a president for life, and a hereditary senate," as he had proposed in
Guayana. In a letter to O'Leary, he wrote:

    "I cannot conceive of even the possibility of establishing a kingdom in
    a country which is constitutionally democratic because the lo
    and most numerous classes of the people want it to be so, with an
    indisputable right, since legal equality is indispensable where there
    is physical inequality, in order to correct to a certain extent the
    injustice of nature. Besides, who can be a king in Colombia? Nobody,
    for no foreign prince would accept a throne surrounded by danger and
    misery, and the generals would consider it humiliating to subordinate
    themselves to a comrade, and resign the supreme authority forever."

He wrote that the idea of monarchy was chimerical, and that it should
be discussed no more. In another letter he expressed his decision to
relinquish power, whether Congress met or not.

Bolívar arrived in Bogotá on the 15th of January, 1830, and on the
20th Congress began its work under the presidency of Sucre. With the
inauguration of the Congress, Bolívar considered that his public duties
had ended, and in that sense he published an eloquent proclamation, which
closed with this supreme appeal:

    "Fellow citizens, listen to my last words, at the end of my political
    career. In the name of Colombia, I beg you, I pray you, always to
    remain united so that you may not become the murderers of your country
    and your own murderers."

In this proclamation he mentioned the fact that a crown had been offered
to him more than once, and that he had rejected the offers with the
indignation befitting a strong Repúblican. In his message to the Congress,
he offered to obey any person elected to occupy his place and to support
him with his sword and all his strength.

    "The Republic will be happy," he said, "if, on accepting my
    resignation, you appoint as President a citizen loved by the country.
    She would succumb if you insisted that I command her.... Beginning
    today I am nothing but a citizen, armed for the defense of my country
    and for the obedience to her government. My public functions have ended
    forever. I deliver unto you the supreme authority which the will of the
    country conferred upon me."

The circular issued by Bolívar from Guayaquil on the 31st of August had
been received by Páez, who circulated it in Venezuela, and organized
demonstrations asking for the separation of Venezuela from Colombia. As the
union of Colombia had been Bolívar's greatest conception, he was attacked,
and in Valencia his ostracism was demanded. Páez was asked to prevent his
entering Venezuelan territory. Wherever Páez exercised any influence,
Bolívar's authority was denounced, and Páez was asked to assume the highest
authority of the country. Bolívar was insulted by the press of his own
nation, which called him a tyrant and a hypocrite, and insisted on his
banishment. At last Páez declared himself openly. He went to Caracas,
approved the rebellion of the capital against Bolívar, broke with him,
declared Venezuela a sovereign state, appointed a cabinet and convoked a
congress to meet in Valencia. He asked the people for subsidies for the
war against Bolívar, and at the same time wrote a letter to the Libertador
warning him not to oppose the will of the Venezuelans, who were ready, he
said, to deliver themselves to the Spaniards rather than to Bolívar.

The Congress of Colombia had asked Bolívar to remain in command, to
suppress anarchy, and to fulfil his promise that he would exercise power
until the constitution had been proclaimed and magistrates duly elected.
Bolívar accepted provisionally, and immediately tried to obtain a friendly
compromise with Venezuela. He wanted to have a personal interview with
Páez, but Páez declined. He had unsheathed the sword Bolívar had given him,
and the one he had sworn to carry according to the will of the Libertador.
The Congress of Colombia appointed a constitutional committee, and Bolívar
proposed that a peace mission be sent to Venezuela to make known the
intentions of the national representation, and to show the basis of the
constitution, in order to destroy any suspicions which might have been
conceived in Venezuela regarding this document. The mission was appointed,
one of its members being the illustrious General Sucre, President of the
Congress, another, its Vice-President. The Commissioners were asked to
inform the Venezuelan people that the future constitution was to be
entirely Repúblican, that the Congress hoped to obtain a friendly agreement
with Venezuela, and that the Congress was firmly decided to preserve the
principles of integrity of the Republic and unity of the government in the
new constitution; that all dissensions were to be forgotten and that all
existing differences would be settled in a friendly way. Sucre said very
frankly that, considering the state of affairs in Venezuela, he did not
expect favorable results. The basis of the constitution as finally adopted
provided that

    "the republic should be unitary according to its fundamental law; the
    government should be popular, representative and elected for terms of
    eight years; the legislative power should be divided among the Senate,
    the House of Representatives and the Executive; there was to be a
    Council of State to help the President of the Republic, and this
    Council should have no responsibility except in the case of treachery;
    the Cabinet officers were to be responsible. Local legislatures
    to be created to take care of local interests; individual rights were

[Footnote 1: Larrazábal--Vida de Bolívar. Vol. II (6th Edition), New York,
1883, p. 531.]

Bolívar showed his generosity again by pardoning those who were in exile
on account of the conspiracy of the 25th of September, and then asked
permission of the Congress to be relieved of his duties because of ill
health. Once obtaining permission, he went to a country place to recover.
He was never again to exercise the executive authority of Colombia. Using
his power, he appointed General Domingo Caicedo to take his place. He was
a very kindly and patriotic man and the best suited to mediate between the
contending parties.

The peace commission was not even received in Venezuelan territory, but had
to stay on the border to meet the delegates appointed by Páez, one of whom
was Mariño. Claiming that Bolívar was oppressing Nueva Granada, Páez
had prepared himself for a campaign, not only to support the Venezuelan
Revolution but to deliver Nueva Granada from its so-called oppressor. The
real cause was simply his inordinate ambition. The conferences between the
two groups were fruitless, and the delegates of the Congress withdrew.
Meanwhile, Páez was issuing proclamation after proclamation against
Bolívar, who had to leave the country place where he was caring for his
health and go to Bogotá to meet the new situation. He was asked to resume
the supreme command, but he knew that he was not strong enough for the
task. He consulted the Ministers and some friends, but nothing was decided.
Some members of the Congress wanted to elect him constitutional President;
these, however, were vehemently attacked by others. Many friends deserted
the Libertador, knowing perfectly well they had little to expect from a
life which was rapidly nearing the end. Bolívar saw all this, learned of
the intrigues of his enemies, and, convinced that the best thing he could
do was to withdraw not only from power but from the country he had loved so
dearly and for which he had done so much, he sent a message on the 27th of
April, 1830, to the Congress, in which he reiterated his decision not to
accept again the supreme power of the state.

    "You must be assured," he said, "that the good of the country imposes
    on me the sacrifice of leaving forever the land which gave me life
    in order that my presence in Colombia may not be an obstacle to the
    happiness of my fellow citizens."

Three days later, Congress answered, praising the patriotic
disinterestedness of Bolívar and protesting that the country would always
respect and venerate him, and take care that the luster of his name
should pass to posterity in a manner befitting the founder of Colombian

[Footnote 1: Upon the disruption of Colombia, Nueva Granada kept her old
name. Later she changed it to Colombia. It is necessary to bear in mind
that Colombia of today is only a part of Bolívar's Colombia.]


_Friends and Foes. Sucre's Assassination. The Lees of Bitterness. An
Upright Man's Death_


Bolívar prepared to go to Cartagena, where he intended to sail for Jamaica
or Europe. His melancholy was relieved by a message from Quito, in which
the most prominent citizens asked him to select as his residence that city,
where he was respected and admired. "Come," they said, "to live in our
hearts and to receive the homage of gratitude and respect due to the genius
of America, the Liberator of a world." The Bishop of Quito, Monsignor
Rafael Lasso, also sent a communication, in his own name and in the name of
the clergy, endorsing the petition. Bolívar did not accept this invitation.
On May third, the constitution of Colombia was signed, and on the following
day don Joaquín Mosquera and General Domingo Caicedo were elected President
and Vice-President of Colombia, respectively. Bolívar showed his pleasure
at the result, and uttered the following words:

    "I am reduced to the private life which I have so much desired
    if the Congress wants any special proof of my blind obedience to the
    constitution and the laws, I am ready to give whatever may be asked."

He left the palace and went to live in a private residence. There he
received a delegation of the principal citizens of Bogotá, who placed in
his hands a beautiful document containing the following words, especially
worthy of notice:

    "You conquered the plane upon which our future happiness will be built
    and, believing yourself to be an obstacle to that happiness, you resign
    voluntarily the first authority, protesting never again to take the
    reins of government. Such a noble, generous and magnanimous action
    places you above heroes. History has its pages filled with the actions
    of brave soldiers and fortunate warriors, but it can make them
    beautiful only with the actions of a Washington or a Bolívar. In
    private life, you will receive unmistakable proofs of our devotion to
    your person. We shall always remember your merits and services, and we
    shall teach our children to pronounce your name with tender emotions of
    admiration and gratitude."

This document was signed on May 5, 1830, by Caicedo, the Vice-President, in
the exercise of the executive power, the Archbishop of Bogotá, the members
of the Cabinet and 2,000 distinguished citizens. Three days later, Bolívar
left Bogotá, accompanied for six miles by the members of the Cabinet, the
ministers of the diplomatic corps, many military men and citizens, and
almost all the members of the foreign colonies. The following day, Congress
passed a decree which is an honor to it and to Bolívar, by which homage of
gratitude and admiration was paid him in the name of Colombia, and it was
ordered that wherever Bolívar might choose to live he should be treated
always with the respect and consideration due the first and best citizen
of Colombia. In that same decree, it was ordered that a pension of 30,000
pesos per year, decreed to Bolívar in 1823, be punctually paid for life.

Among the many sad things which can be told of this man of sorrows, is the
fact that this pension was sorely needed. In March of that year he had been
forced to sell his silver, and even then did not have enough money to pay
for his trip.

On his way to the Caribbean, Bolívar received homage in all the towns
he entered. He advised everybody to respect the law and to obey the
government. Every day saw him poorer. His personal fortune in Venezuela had
been greatly diminished, and possessions left to him by his ancestors were
involved in litigation. Consequently, he could count on very little. He
had planned to sail from Cartagena, but was unable to do so. From there he
endeavored to secure some money from his relatives in Caracas, in which
effort he failed.

While in Cartagena he received news of several insurrections in favor of
the integrity of Colombia and of himself as head of the nation. Bolívar
refused to heed these calls, and continued his life of poverty, embittered
and saddened by the news received that Antonio José de Sucre, his beloved
friend and lieutenant, the hero of Pichincha and Ayacucho, had been
murdered on his way to Quito, on the 4th of June, while crossing a mountain
called Berruecos. It is difficult to conceive how Sucre could have had
enemies, he who was perhaps the purest and kindest figure of all the
American War of Independence, all generosity, forgiveness and benevolence.
He was riding alone when shot from an ambush. His orderly, who was at some
distance behind him, rushed to the scene only to find that Sucre was dead.
His corpse remained there that afternoon and all night. On the following
day the soldier buried him in the forest.[1]

[Footnote 1: Sucre's body was lost for a long while. In the Pantheon of
Caracas there are three beautiful monuments: the one in the center contains
Bolívar's ashes; the one to the right, which we have already described, is
devoted to Miranda; the one to the left is devoted to Sucre, and contains
an expression of hope that some day Venezuela can pay homage to her great
son. The body of Sucre has been found at last in Quito, and it is expected
that very soon it will occupy its place near Bolívar, Sucre's leader and
friend. (See: Manuel Segundo Sánchez, Los Restos de Sucre, Caracas, 1918.)]

That news was perhaps the last blow to Bolívar. The day he received it he
was attacked with a severe cold, which he neglected and which developed
into his fatal illness, an illness which had been long latent in his frail
body. He remarked that the murder had perturbed his spirit. As a matter of
fact, from the day he received the news, he sank rapidly in both mind and

Venezuela was doing her best to thrust the dagger still deeper in Bolívar's
heart. Since she had decided to withdraw from the Union, it was resolved
by Congress that no negotiations should be exchanged between Venezuela and
Nueva Granada while "General Simón Bolívar remains in the territory of old
Colombia." One representative proposed, as a provision for the continued
relations between Venezuela and Nueva Granada, the expulsion of General
Bolívar from all the territory of Colombia, and his motion was accepted.
Most of the former friends of the dying man were now his bitter enemies,
all due to the ambition of Páez and the intrigues of his partisans and of
those who, in good faith, believed that idealistic Repúblican principles
could meet the practical needs of Colombia.

The President of Colombia, Mosquera, committed so many errors in government
that he lost his prestige and was forced to leave Bogotá. The government
then passed into the hands of Caicedo. A military insurrection overthrew
the President and the Vice-President, and the military element proclaimed
Bolívar chief of the republic, granting him full powers. General Urdaneta,
old friend and constant companion of Bolívar, was entrusted provisionally
with the executive power, and he organized a cabinet. He at once sent a
commission to meet the Libertador in Cartagena. Many friends wrote Bolívar
beseeching him to return to Bogotá to establish public order. The foreign
representatives also used their influence to induce Bolívar to accept
authority, for he was the only guaranty of peace.[1]

[Footnote 1: Among the foreign representatives who showed pleasure at the
idea of Bolívar's accepting the power was the representative of the United

It is worthy of notice that the reputation of Bolívar as an ambitious man
was discredited in the State Department at Washington by the very
person thought to be its originator. When Watts was in Bogotá, in his
correspondence with Clay (No. 19, Nov. 28, 1826), he asserted that he did
not believe in the anti-Repúblicanism of Bolívar, who had consolidated the
departments and acted with prudence and discretion. Watts expressed his
firm conviction that Bolívar would not act as dictator but in conformity
with the constitution, stating also the fact that Bolívar had refused the
Bolivian and Peruvian dictatorships. In his communication of March 2, 1827
(No. 26), Watts denies the rumors of the monarchial ambitions of Bolívar,
and says that he has nothing but the greatest magnanimity. On March 15,
Watts himself asked Bolívar to assume power.

All these stories of disinterestedness seem to be contradicted in the
correspondence of Harrison and Van Buren. In his note of May 27, 1829 (No.
13), Harrison speaks of monarchical plots, expressing his belief that
Bolívar is behind them, founding his assertions only on the opposition of
Bolívar to foreign princes. He is very free in speaking of _plans_, but he
gives no precise data about them. In his note of July 28, 1829 (No. 18),
Harrison states that the monarchists are determined to put Bolívar on the
throne, and adds that he saw a letter of "_a man in high position_ who
has enjoyed the entire confidence of Bolívar, but who is now in complete
opposition to all his schemes of personal aggrandizement." Bolívar,
according to this letter, intended to become the monarch of Colombia, Perú
and Bolivia. Then Harrison mentions the printing of a paper on the evils of
free government, and states that that paper, of which he had seen a single
copy, had the purpose of making propaganda in favor of Bolívar, but had
been suppressed for fear that it would injure Bolívar's cause. All this
sounds very much like personal hostility, and shows that the practice of
some diplomatic representatives of making trouble for the countries
where they are accredited instead of representing their own country in a
dignified manner is not new.

After the correspondence of Harrison, we find the papers of Moore to Van
Buren. In No. 10 of December 21, 1829, Moore affirms that Bolívar had no
monarchical designs and encloses a letter of Bolívar to O'Leary, ridiculing
monarchical government. That letter is dated August 21, 1829, and in it
Bolívar suggests the election of another president. Moore accuses Harrison
of insulting the Colombian government. The author is indebted to Dr. Julius
Goebel, Jr., for the references to these papers.]

Bolívar, declining to accept command of the insurrection and condemning the
movement, sent General O'Leary to the assembly provisionally organized
to advise them to use the right of petition and to inform them that he
condemned all other actions. He reiterated his offer to serve as a citizen
and as a soldier, and repeated that he would not accept any position except
as the majority of the people willed. In a letter to Urdaneta he said that
between him and the presidency there was "a bronze wall," which was the
law. He advised them to wait until the election could be held, and said
that he would then assume the executive power in case he were chosen in
free elections held according to the law. This letter was the last public
defense of his career. The last principle he sought to establish was the
most sound of Repúblican principles.

    "The source of legality," he wrote, "is the free will of the people;
    not the agitation of a mutiny nor the votes of friends."

From Cartagena he went to a town called Soledad, and then to Barranquilla,
where he remained during October and November, receiving daily news of the
insults with which Venezuela was rewarding his services, and knowing very
little of the good work of his friends, for he still had friends in several
sections of the countries he had set free. All Nueva Granada was in favor
of his assuming power as supreme chief of the republic. Ecuador proclaimed
him father of his country and protector of Southern Colombia, and the
government of Bolivia, learning that he was going to Europe, decided to
appoint him its ambassador to the Holy See.

But Bolívar was preparing for his last voyage. He planned to go to Santa
Marta, where his friends urged him to rest. His physician heartily
approved, thinking that there his health might improve. When he arrived
at Santa Marta, on the 1st of December, he had to be carried in a chair.
Subsequent to an examination by a French and an American physician, he was
sent to a country place called San Pedro Alejandrino, situated about three
miles from Santa Marta, where he obtained temporary relief. On the 10th
there were symptoms of congestion of the brain, but they disappeared. The
same day he drafted his will and, not desiring to die without speaking
again to his fellow citizens, issued his last proclamation, which read as

    "Colombians, you have witnessed my efforts to establish freedom where
    tyranny formerly reigned. I have worked unselfishly, giving up my
    fortune and my tranquillity. I resigned the command when I was
    convinced that you did not trust my disinterestedness. My foes availed
    themselves of your credulity and trampled upon what is most sacred to
    me--my reputation as a lover of freedom. I have been a victim of my
    persecutors, who have led me to the border of the tomb. I forgive them.

    "Upon disappearing from your midst, my love prompts me to express my
    last wishes. I aspire to no other glory than the consolidation of
    Colombia; all must work for the invaluable blessing of union; the
    peoples, obeying the present government, in order to free themselves
    from anarchy; the ministers of the Sanctuary, by sending prayers
    to Heaven; and the soldiers, by using their swords to protect the
    sanctions of social order.

    "Colombians, my last wishes are for the happiness of our country. If my
    death can help to destroy the spirit of partisanship, and strengthen
    union, I shall tranquilly descend to my grave."

After this act he became delirious and, calling his servant, he said:
"Joseph, let us go away. They are throwing us out of here. Where shall we
go?" On the 17th of December, at one o'clock in the afternoon, the great
man of the South, one of the greatest men in the history of the world,
died. On that same day, eleven years before, in Angostura, Colombia had
been created by his genius. He died at the age of forty-seven and one-half

    "Few men have lived such a beautiful life in the whirlpool of action;
    nobody has died a more noble death in the peace of his bed."[1]

[Footnote 1: Bolívar--J.E. Rodó.]

His death was the end of Colombia.

For twelve years his remains rested in Santa Marta, and then they were
carried to Caracas, where they now lie in the Pantheon, between two empty
coffins, that of Miranda on his right and that destined for Sucre on his

There the Venezuelans honor him as the protecting genius of their country.
They have blotted from the memory of man the ingratitude of their
forefathers. They live in constant veneration of the great man, and
consider him as the creator and protector of their country, and the
greatest source of inspiration to live austerely and united within
Venezuela, since they cannot form a part of that greater country, the dream
of which went with Bolívar to his tomb.

A patriot, a general as great as the greatest who ever lived, a statesman
possessing an exceptional wisdom and a vision which has been justified by a
century of American history, a loyal friend, a man of generous and liberal
nature, always forgiving, always opening his arms wide to his enemies,
always giving all that he had in material wealth and in spiritual gifts,
a conqueror of the oppressors of his country, a founder of three nations
(which later were converted into five, by the disruption of Colombia); the
man who consolidated the independence of America, making his power felt as
far as the provinces of the River Plata and Chile; a symbol of freedom,
even in Europe where his name was like a flag to all those who fought
oppression; a sincere Repúblican--all this was Simón Bolívar, and he was
something more. He was the best personification of his own race, the
Spanish race, which made him the brother of Morillo, Latorre and Rodil, a
race which lives in twenty nations of the earth and in whose memory all
names now stand equal, if they represent the same principles, whether they
were written in Covadonga or Carabobo, by the sword of Pelayo or by the
sword of Bolívar.

A man who writes of Bolívar's life, actions and sorrows, can hardly retain
the serenity of the historian, but surrenders to that deep emotion composed
of profound awe and human love, and, though his work may have been begun
impersonally, it ends with the creation in his heart of those deep feelings
which at times have no better expression than tears.


The Man and His Work

Bolívar was of rather less than medium height, thin and agile. In all his
actions he showed quickness and alertness. He had large, black, piercing
eyes, his eyebrows were curved and thick; his nose straight and long;
his cheeks somewhat sunken; his mouth, not particularly well formed but
expressive and graceful. From early youth his forehead was deeply lined.
His neck was erect; his chest, narrow. At one period of his life he wore
a mustache and sidewhiskers, but he resumed shaving about 1825, when grey
hair began to appear. His hair was auburn at first, and his complexion very
white in his youth, but tanned after his long campaigns. His appearance
evidenced frankness of character, and his body, spiritual energy.

Bolívar was always a great reader. In his style and his quotations he shows
his predilection for the classics, especially for Plutarch's "Lives." He
also read much of the literature of the French Revolution. He was a very
impressive orator; his addresses and proclamations show much emphasis, and
the rhetorical artifice is apparent, as it is in all literature of this
kind. In his letters he uses a very simple and naturally witty style.
He was a great coiner of sentences, many of which can be found in his
proclamations and addresses. His political perspicacity was remarkable.
He could and did break the conventionalities and the political principles
sacred in that epoch, to formulate those which were better for the
condition of the country. He was a shrewd judge of men, and knew how to
honor them and please them for the good of the cause they defended. All his
intellectual power was necessary to become a master of men like Páez and
Bermúdez. His mental alertness was exceptional. He could make a decision
promptly without showing the effect of haste. He had a brain for large
problems and for small details. He would attend to the organization of his
army down to the most minute details, as well as to the preparations for
long campaigns.

The most admirable moral quality of Bolívar was his constancy. It rose
above everything.

His energy was marvelous to carry him through the difficulties he had to
encounter. In defeat he had

    "the virtue of Antheus as no other hero had to such a degree; a
    singular virtue of growing to more gigantic proportions when the fall
    had been deepest and hardest; he had something like a strengthening
    power to assimilate the sap of adversity and of discredit, not through
    the lessons of experience, but through the unconscious and immediate
    reaction of a nature which thus fulfils its own laws. His personality
    as a warrior has in this characteristic the seal which individualizes
    it, as was aptly said in a few words by his adversary, the Spanish
    general Morillo: 'More fearful vanquished than victor.'"[1]

[Footnote 1: Bolívar--J.E. Rodó]

His soul could be like steel, as in the case of Piar, and it could be soft,
as in his untiring forgiveness to Santander. His generosity was unlimited.
He gave all. Any soldier could come to him and receive money. It is said
that no common soldier went away from him with less than a dollar. When he
was on his way to Cartagena, having resigned power forever, when he was
writing to Caracas for money, at a time when he had not enough to pay his
transportation abroad, he was still giving of his limited resources to all
who begged of him.

His ambition was legitimate. In a communication he acknowledged that he was
not free from all ambition; but that does not mean that he yielded to
it. Virtue does not lie in the absence of temptation, but in fighting
it successfully. He was truly ambitious for glory, and when glory is as
legitimate as his was, there is no worthier ambition. He was accused by
Lorain Petre of craving flattery, and of having been delighted with the
homage paid him on his way to Potosí. Great men have been flattered
always, and that they are flattered does not mean that they like flattery.
Furthermore, there is a certain delicate flattery which every man likes.
We, sober-minded Americans, have often heard some of our great men who are
still living, even called saints, and we do not feel shocked. After
having given life to three countries, one of them composed of three large
divisions, Bolívar could receive homage without finding it incongruous or

He was refined in manner and always a gentleman. In his campaigns he was
careless of his clothing through necessity, but when in the cities he liked
to have all the refinements. He never thought of money; he would spend
it if he had it, and if he did not spend it, he gave it away. He enjoyed
society and was a great admirer of women. "He knelt before love, without
surrendering his sword to it."

He was human. He enjoyed a good joke, and sometimes his jokes hurt. It is
related that once, after a long march, he arrived at a small town where he
expected to get some food. He was received by the notables of the town,
among them a young intellectual, who took from his pocket a long address.
Bolívar listened to the beginning and at once knew that it was going to be
not only long but tedious. The young man came to a sentence reading: "When
Caesar crossed the Rubicon...," at which point Bolívar interrupted him,
saying, "My dear friend, when Caesar crossed the Rubicon he had had his
breakfast, and I have not yet had mine. Let us first have breakfast."
Generally, he respected everyone's feelings, and was much inclined to
praise others, the living as well as the dead. We may well remember the
honors paid to Girardot, his beautiful words in homage to Cedeño and Plaza,
how Páez received his dues after the battle of Carabobo, and how Sucre
was given his right place as one of the most legitimate glories of the
continent by Bolívar. Speaking of Anzoátegui's death, he said: "I would
have preferred the loss of two battles to the loss of Anzoátegui." No more
beautiful way could be found to be generous while being just.

We have called Bolívar a gentleman; we might rather call him a knight.
He loved an ideal and lived for that ideal, and that ideal was his last
thought before he went to his rest.

He was judged in Europe and North America in very flattering terms. Daniel
Webster, J.H. Perkins and Joseph Story, in the name of the Bunker Hill
Monument Association, wrote Bolívar the following:

    "When we read of the enormous sacrifice of personal fortune, the
    calmness in difficult situations, the exercise without misusing
    a power greater than imperial power, the repeated refusal of
    dictatorship, the simplicity of your Repúblican habits and the
    submission to the constitution and law which has so gloriously
    distinguished the career of Your Excellency, we believe that we see the
    image of our venerated Washington. At the same time that we admire and
    respect his virtues, we feel moved by the greatest sympathy to pay
    equal homage to the hero and Liberator of the South."

Martin Van Buren wrote:

    "What better example could be presented of human glory than that
    the great chieftain who, after having successfully resisted foreign
    aggression and extinguished domestic commotion, also conquered the
    weakness to which noble hearts have been subjected at all times."

Murray, an English rear admiral, wanted to present his homage to the
"leader of all South America"; Lord Byron, whose yacht was called Bolívar,
also expressed his desire to visit him. Lafayette, Monsignor de Pradt,
Martin de Nancy, Martin-Maillefer, and the noted Humboldt, among others,
expressed their admiration for Bolívar. Victor Hugo praised him. His name
was on the lips of the Repúblicans of Europe as a symbol of liberty.

We have seen the words of Lafayette in transmitting the present sent to
Bolívar by Washington's family. A former member of the French Convention
wrote to him: "You are the first citizen of the world." The noted Irish
orator O'Connell sent his son to him with the following words: "I am
sending him to you, illustrious sir, in order that, admiring and imitating
your example he may serve under Your Excellency." The same was done by Sir
Robert Wilson, member of the English Parliament. Kosciusko's nephew went
to him to have the honor to serve him. The Dutch representative in Bolivia
compared him with William of Nassau. Bernadotte, King of Sweden, spoke of
a striking analogy between Bolívar and himself. Joseph Bonaparte, King
of Spain, expressed his desire that Murat's son go to Bolívar as his
aide-de-camp. Iturbide's son preferred also to serve under him. J.P.
Hamilton, British commissioner to the republic of Colombia, says: "He is
the greatest man, the most extraordinary character produced up to this day
by the new world." He considers him "supereminent above all heroes living
in the Temple of Fame."

Many persons have made comparisons between Bolívar and Napoleon, Bolívar
and Washington and Bolívar and San Martín. Juan Montalvo (in "Simón
Bolívar") writes that Bolívar is not so well known as Napoleon because
the glamour of Napoleon's life reduced to silence the lives of his
contemporaries. He asserts that in the future, Bolívar will take his place
beside the French Emperor. Napoleon owes his glory to Chateaubriand, to
Lamartine, to Madame de Stael, to Byron, to Victor Hugo, while Bolívar has
had few biographers, and a very few have spoken of him with the power and
authority of those who praised or attacked Napoleon.

Regarding a comparison between Washington and Bolívar, Montalvo says:

    "Washington presents himself to memory and imagination as a great
    citizen rather than as a great warrior; as a philosopher rather than as
    a general.... Washington and Bolívar have in common their identity of
    purpose; both aspired to the freedom of a country and the establishment
    of democracy. The difference between these two illustrious men
    in the excessive difficulty one had to conquer and the abundance with
    which the other carried on his work to the end. Bolívar, during several
    periods of the war, had no resources at all, nor did he know where to
    get them; his indestructible love for his country, the sense of honor
    active in his breast, the fertile imagination, the supreme will, the
    prodigious activities which formed his character, inspired in him
    wisdom to turn the impossibility into a reality.... North America was
    rich, civilized and powerful even before its emancipation from Mother
    England; if the colonists had not had their leader, one hundred
    Washingtons would have presented themselves to fill the place, and not
    at a disadvantage. Washington was surrounded by men as remarkable as he
    was, if not better: Jefferson, Madison, men of great and deep counsel;
    Franklin, a genius of Heaven and earth. All these and many others, no
    matter how great they were, or how numerous, were as one in the service
    of the cause, were rivals in obedience.... Bolívar had to tame his
    lieutenants, to fight and to conquer his own fellow citizens, to fight
    one thousand elements conspiring against him and against independence,
    at the same time that he fought the Spanish legions and conquered
    them or was conquered by them.... Washington presents himself to the
    admiration of the world, more venerable and majestic, and Bolívar,
    higher and brighter. Washington established a republic which later
    became one of the greatest countries on earth; Bolívar founded also a
    great country, but, less happy than his elder brother, saw it crumble
    down; and though he did not see his work destroyed, he saw it
    disfigured and diminished. The successors of Washington, great
    citizens, philosophers and statesmen, never dreamed of tearing up the
    sacred mantle of their mother in order to cover their scars with rags
    of purple; Bolívar's companions, all of them, stabbed Colombia
    order to take for themselves the greatest prize. Washington, his work
    finished, accepted the trivial presents of his fellow citizens
    Bolívar refused millions offered by Perú. Washington declined a third
    presidential term in the United States and, like a patriarch withdrew
    to live tranquilly in the bosom of private life, enjoying without any
    mixture of hate the respect of his fellow citizens, venerated by the
    people and loved by his friends. This singular and happy man had no
    enemies. Bolívar accepted the tempting command that came to harass his
    spirit for the third time, and this time from an impure source,
    he died rejected, persecuted, insulted by many of his contemporaries.
    Death has erased this small blemish and we see only the light which
    surrounds the greatest of South Americans. Washington and Bolívar were
    august men, the glory of the New World."[1]

[Footnote 1: "Simón Bolívar," Juan Montalvo.]

In reality, great men cannot be compared. Each one stands by himself.
Washington was an able general, ready to sacrifice himself for his country;
a learned man, trained in military affairs; the representative of the will
of his fellow citizens, who were behind him in his tremendous fight for
freedom. Washington was the Father and the servant of his country.

Bolívar did not receive special training in military affairs. He did not
represent the will of his country, for his country had no will. His country
really did not exist. Bolívar created it. He was obeying no commands but
those of his conscience. He was making something out of nothing, and in his
campaigns it was the flash of genius which led him rather than science.

Washington was successful as a military commander and more so as a
statesman; Bolívar had remarkable successes and crushing defeat a general,
and, as a statesman, he showed a vision which amounted to inspiration--but
the creation of his mind and soul, Colombia, was a sad failure. Washington
lived in a country of law; Bolívar had to make the law. When Washington was
absent from a place, law remained in that place; when Bolívar turned his
back, law was violated.

San Martín is a noble figure. He stands alone in the southernmost part of
America. He did not begrudge praise given Bolívar, whose superiority he
acknowledged by withdrawing in time from the scene in America. Because of
this acknowledgment, San Martín grew greater than he had been before their
interview in Guayaquil. To endeavor to establish invidious comparisons
between him and Bolívar does harm to both heroes and good to no one. Let
both stay where they belong, in the hearts of their fellow-citizens, and
in the minds of lovers of freedom.

Strong resemblance might be found between Bolívar and Lincoln. Both gave
freedom to slaves; both fought a real civil war, for we must not forget
that most of the royalists were Americans. Both were men of sorrows. A
close examination of Bolívar's pictures and statues will reveal to the
observer that in the eyes of the great man of the South is the same
inexpressible melancholy which is obvious in those of our own man of
sorrows, the beloved Lincoln. Bolívar was insulted and slandered as was
Lincoln, and if Lincoln was assassinated by a man, Bolívar escaped the
weapon of the assassin only to sink under poisonous treachery and
ingratitude. It is true that Bolívar was quick-tempered, at times sharp
in his repartee; his intellectual aptness had no patience with stupidity,
and occasionally his remarks hurt. But when the storm had passed, he was
all benevolence, enduring all, forgiving all, like Lincoln.

He compared himself with Don Quixote, and in many ways this comparison is
the best. As Don Quixote, he created Dulcinea. It was not Don Quixote's
fault that the lady of his thoughts, the ideal Dulcinea, proved to be just
the uncouth peasant girl, Aldonza Lorenzo. Bolívar's Dulcinea was his
people, and he was not to blame for all the weakness, the roughness, the
grossness of those with whom he came in contact. But the American Don
Quixote had a higher virtue than the knight created by Cervantes, for Don
Quixote never could transform Aldonza into Dulcinea, while the peoples that
Bolívar saw in his imagination, those peoples who at first were hostile to
his work, through a century of constant purification, through a century
during which Bolívar has become a symbol, a protecting genius, a warning
against danger, an irresistible force to conquer difficulties and an
imperious finger pointing to higher destinies, are approaching more and
more each day what Bolívar thought they ought to be. The Aldonza Lorenzo
of America, through Bolívar's sublime madness, rid of her dross, will be
the Dulcinea of Bolívar's dream.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Simón Bolívar (The Liberator)
 - Patriot, Warrior, Statesman, Father of Five Nations, a Sketch of His Life and His Work" ***

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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.