Puslapio vaizdai

from the dominion of Spain, collected upon the coast an army of about 6000 men, with the determination of invading it. But Vives, the governor of Cuba, being apprised of his design, caused to be thrown into prison a number of persons of suspected politics, and adopted such other vigorous measures, that Santa Anna thought proper to abandon the enterprise. Government publicly disowned all participation in it; and Santa Anna was ordered to Mexico to render an account of his conduct, the Congress being then sitting, and replaced by another general.

About the same period one of the regiments stationed at the Isle de Sacrificios, which was composed of Indians, hoisted the Spanish flag, and murdered their officers. A number of troops were sent against them from Vera Cruz; on whose approach the mutineers surrendered, and twenty of them were afterwards shot.

An event soon afterwards occurred, which may be deemed of importance in the history of this infant republic. The crews of the Spanish ship of war, the Asia, and brig Constantia, having become discontented, owing to their want of pay and the fatigues they had endured, mutinied at one of the Marianne islands, and having put their commanders into confinement, sailed direct for the coast of California; and on their reaching the Bay of Monterey, their leader, Lieutenant Martinez, entered into a negotiation with the military commander of the place, by which the two vessels and their whole furniture and munitions were delivered up to the Mexican Government; and that Government, on the other hand, became bound to pay to the officers and crews the arrears due to them, to permit those of them who chose it to settle in Mexico, and to give to the others passports to any other independent American state.

The Congress was again convoked upon 1st of August. The chief subject of its deliberations was the state of the negotiations with the Holy See. In a letter addressed to the Pope, the President had felicitated him upon his accession, and also explained to him the wants of the Mexican Church. In reply, the Pope studiously refrained from all allusion to political questions, but, after congratulating the President upon the purity of his religious sentiments, and the constancy of his faith, he bestowed upon him and the whole of the Mexicans his apostolical benediction. This rescript was little calculated to remove the difficulties which beset the Mexican Church, especially the one which related to the supply of vacant bishoprics; and it was commented upon in Congress in a truly Protestant spirit. At length the Congress, by whom the Pope was strongly suspected of mischievously intermeddling, by means of his emissaries, in the temporal affairs of the republic, published a manifesto, in which they declared their unalterable determination to maintain the rights of civil government against the usurpations of any religious power whatever; and denounced the severest penalties against all who should make religion a pretext for exciting disturbances in the state.

This year the siege of St John D'Ulloa was renewed by the Mexicans with increased vigour. Their general, Barracon, repeatedly summoned the garrison to surrender; but the Spanish commander, Coppinger, trusting to reinforcements from the Havannah, continued to hold out obstinately. At length a Spanish squadron, consisting of three frigates and transports, appeared within sight of the fort, but was encountered by the united Mexican and Colombian squadron. The Spanish commodore's frigate having had its mast carried away by a gale of wind, the others did not venture to

force the blockade, and the whole returned to the Havannah. Coppinger, reduced to the last extremity, capitulated on 18th November, upon the conditions that the garrison should march out with all the honours of war, and with four pieces of artillery, and be conveyed to the Havannah at the expense of the Mexican government. Thus passed away from Spain the last spot which she held within the Mexican territory.

In Colombia the Legislative session opened on 2d January. In his message to the Legislature, the Vice-President, Santander, presented a general view of the affairs of the republic. The consuls commissioned by England for Colombia, had demanded exequaturs, or executive powers from government, which had been refused, because the terms of their commissions were inconsistent with the dignity of the nation, they being accredited not to the republic or the President, but to the provinces of Colombia, and to the persons there in possession of power. The Haytian government had proposed a defensive alliance with Colombia; but, interested as the Colombians were in the prosperity of Hayti, he, the Vice-President, had declined the alliance, as it might eventually involve the country in a war with France. With regard to the internal state of the republic, the VicePresident observed, that there were numberless difficulties to be overcome, and great sacrifices to be made, in order to realize the blessings of independence; and he entreated the Legislature to devise and adopt such measures as would accomplish that desirable end.

The official exposé submitted to Congress of the state of the finances was disheartening and deplorable. The receipts for the year ending 1st June, 1824, amounted only to 6,196,725 dollars; while the expenses for that year,

which could not be exactly ascertained, were known greatly to exceed the above sum. It was anticipated that the receipts for the current year would rise to 11,794,596 dollars, owing partly to certain reforms which had been introduced in the collection, and proceeding partly from a new foreign loan, which had been contracted for, and which was destined to the extinction of home debts, after advancing out of it three millions upon loan to the cultivators of tobacco, in the hope that the extended cultivation of that plant would enable the State to draw from it a revenue of four millions dollars. The expenses for that year, it was remarked, would include 15,487,710, the interest upon foreign loans; and, of the sum applicable to that purpose, twelve millions had already been diverted to defraying the charges of the army and navy.

As there was no possibility of meeting the expenses of the year by the ordinary revenue, the Legislature authorised a new loan of thirty millions dollars to be contracted for; which measure was followed by a number of salutary reforms, such as the abolition of the law against the exportation of silver, and a diminution of the duty upon gold.

Notwithstanding the many pecuniary difficulties of the State, howeverdifficulties which the practice of borrowing only smoothed down for the time, but ultimately aggravated, the Congress ventured to decree a loan of a million dollars to the agriculturists at 7 per cent, and half a million for the coining of copper money.

The Legislature received with much satisfaction the official announcement of treaties having been at length concluded, under the auspices of Bolivar, between the different new American States; and their having agreed to convoke at Panama, in the ensuing October, a Congress composed of deputies from

the whole of them, in order to delibe rate concerning their common welfare, and the means to be adopted for resisting the hostile attempts of Spain; and, finally, to oppose an American confederation to the Holy Alliance of Europe. The United States and the Brazils had been invited to join the Congress; but these powers declared, that though they would send ministers to the Congress, as friendly and, at same time, interested spectators, they would not become parties to its decisions.

Colombia, as well as Mexico, made attempts, and with no better success, to obtain for herself a concordat from the Pope. Incensed by the obstinacy of his Holiness, the Congress, with becoming spirit, passed a memorable law, by which it was declared that the right of patronage over metropolitan churches, cathedrals, and parishes, which had been exercised by the kings of Spain, now belonged to the republic. During the last days of the Session, there was submitted to the Legislature treaties which had been negotiated with Guatimala and Chili; also a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, between Colombia and Great Britain, which had been signed at Bogota on 18th April, by the respective plenipotentiaries of the two nations. After discussing this latter treaty for three days, the Legislature unanimously sanctioned it.

On 3d May, Colonel Campbell, one of the two British plenipotentiaries, (Colonel Hamilton being the other,) was presented to the Vice-President, on which occasion congratulations were exchanged upon the conclusion of the treaty. About the same time a deputation from the Peruvian Congress arrived at Bogota, charged with thanks to the Colombian government for the services which it had rendered in li berating Peru, and a request that the immortal Bolivar might be permitted

to remain in Colombia, until he consolidated its institutions by his virtue and his valour.

Peru now had nothing to dread from the efforts of Spain. The only point of territory she occupied was the port of Callao, which was invested by a very superior force; and her dispersed troops, roving over Upper Peru, were actively pursued by the Colombians, who had triumphed at Ayucucho.

The Peruvian Congress having commenced its sittings on 10th February, it received a message from Bolivar, in which he recapitulated the measures he had adopted for the safety of the republic, demanded a recompense for those who had fought for its independence, and beseeched Congress to resume the supreme authority which it had intrusted to him, and which, when vested in a single individual, was incompatible with the maxims of a free government.

The Congress replied to this address by passing a law to the following effect that a medal should be struck in honour of the Liberator; that an equestrian statue of him should be erected in the capital, and others in the principal towns of the provinces; that he should retain for life the title and privileges of President of the republic; that the liberating army should be rewarded with the donative of two millions of dollars; that General Sucre should have the title of Grand Marshal of Ayucucho; that the soldiers of the liberating army should enjoy within. Peru all the privileges of Colombian citizens; and that Bolivar should have the power of decreeing, according to his discretion, the nature of the reward which was due to those who had rendered, or might render service to the cause of Peruvian independence.

Bolivar, immediately upon the passing of this law, addressed a letter to the Congress, in which he acknow

ledged his gratitude for its munificence towards General Sucre and the liberating army; but expressed himself embarrassed and humbled by the excess of its generosity, as respected himself. The medal and the statues which they had decreed, he observed, more than remunerated all his services, and surpassed all his expectations.

The state of affairs, however, did not admit of the Congress accepting the resignation by the Liberator of the supreme authority confided to him; and, having nominated two deputies to the Congress of Panama, it also, of new, conferred upon him dictatorial powers.

The Congress having dissolved itself, Bolivar instituted a council of government under his own immediate direction; and, after having taken measures to render more effectual the blockade of Callao, he took his departure for Upper Peru, where the aspect of affairs required his attention. Olanetta, the Spanish general, having collected the remnants of the army which was defeated at Ayucucho, retreated before the conquerors to the neighbourhood of Potosi. Having, with a corps of about 800 men, taken possession of the small town of Tumusla, he was there attacked by the Peruvian general, Urdimima, who was at the head of a force of only 300 men. At the commencement of the attack Olanetta fell mortally wounded; and his troops, discouraged by the circumstance, surrendered after a short resistance.

After this engagement the Spaniards no longer dreamt of contending with their fate; and from the different provinces there were constantly arriving at the head quarters of the liberating army, officers and detachments of soldiers, to make a surrender of their There was, however, one Spanish commander, in the province of Chiquitos, Don Sebastian Ramos,


who, instead of capitulating, chose to have recourse to the protection of the Emperor of Brazil; and, with an unprecedented assumption of diplomatic authority, gravely proposed to the Governor of Mato Grasso the union of Chiquitos with the Brazilian empire. The Governor at once acceded to the proposal, and took possession of the ceded province with an armed force. But General Sucre, on being made acquainted with the proceeding, intimated to the Governor of Mato Grasso that the cession of the province was an act of treason upon the part of Ramos; that the Emperor of Brazil could have no possible claim to it; and that if the Brazilians did not immediately withdraw from it, they would be attacked. There can be no doubt that Sucre would have made good his threat, had the Brazilians continued refractory; but the Emperor, on being made acquainted with the event, solemnly disavowed it, directed the immediate evacuation of Chiquitos by his soldiery, and expressed to the Governor of Matto Grasso his astonishment at his conduct, particularly at his having, without orders, pushed an armed force across the frontiers.


Bolivar, having arrived in Upper Peru, proceeded to organize a government for the extensive districts which composed the territory of that name. Some of them had formerly been included in the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres, and therefore were now claimed by the Argentine Republic. considering the universal dislocation which had taken place of the Spanish system, Bolivar could admit no claim, resting on such a foundation, to countries which he himself had liberated; and conceived that the more prudent and equitable proceeding would be to convene a meeting of the people, that they might decide upon the plan of their future government. Previous to which, however, he had the address to

procure from the Congresses of Lower Peru and Buenos Ayres acknowledgements of their complete independence. Accordingly, the chief inhabitants of the provinces of Upper Peru, La Paz, Potosi, Charcas, Cochabamba, and Santa Cruz, having assembled at Potosi, on 6th August, they formally declared their independence, and erected the above provinces into a republic, to be named Bolivia, in honour of the Liberator. They also constituted a provisional government, of three persons, of whom General Sucre was nominated the president.

An end was thus put to the anarchy which, for five years, had wasted those extensive provinces; and Bolivar had the satisfaction of seeing a seventh free American state start into existence under his fostering patronage. Previously to that event, he had been incessantly employed in personally inspecting the social and political condition of the different provinces, and bestowing upon them laws suited to their altered circumstances. Among his laws there was one decreeing the equal liability of all to the payment of taxes; another, intended to ameliorate the situation of the aboriginal natives, and giving them a political status; and another suppressing all hereditary titles, and among the rest that of Cacique.

As a rupture between the Argentine Republic and Brazil was every day becoming more unavoidable, the government of the former, justly conceiving it to be of great importance to conciliate the friendship, if not to procure the active assistance of Bolivar, sent a deputation to congratulate him upon his glorious successes. The deputation, which included General Alvear, arrived at Potosi on 7th October, where they were most magnificently received by the Liberator. Numberless entertainments were given in honour of their arrival; but the deputa

tion was wholly unsuccessful, Bolivar conceiving that the quarrel between the two states ought properly to be submitted to the approaching Congress at Panama.

Chili, during the year, was a prey to contending factions. The liberty which the people possessed was that of the savage state, there being no law, and scarcely a government, to restrain violence, or to punish crime.

The national Congress assembled in the month of December 1824; but its attention was speedily withdrawn from several projects of law which had been brought under discussion, by the discovery of a plot to assassinate several of the members. Some of the conspirators having been seized, they revealed the names of their associates, and also accused the Minister of Justice of being the principal author of the plot. So violent were the altercations which ensued in the Chamber, that the Supreme Director, General Freyre, found it necessary to place one of the most turbulent of the deputies under arrest, and, in a message to the Congress, implored it to take the dangers which threatened the republic into its immediate consideration. The debates which ensued were most hot and intemperate. At length one party had the fortitude to bring forward a law for dissolving the Congress, as the only panacea for the evils which afflicted the state, and for remodelling the constitution. Its preamble bore, that the Congress, after sitting three months, had been able to accomplish nothing, owing to the spirit of faction which reigned among its members; and that the state of affairs demanded the utmost energy and activity on the part of the Executive, and also that it should be invested with extraordinary authority; and it decreed the immediate dissolution of the Congress, and the conferring upon the Supreme Director

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