South America - A Popular History - H. Butterworth




The Triumph of Bolivar

THE LIBERATING ARMY OF THE NORTHTHE BATTLE OF ARAUREPETIONPIAR—BOLIVAR ELECTED PRESIDENTTHE MARCH OVER THE CORDILLERASTHE BATTLE OF BOYACAANGOSTURA—COLUMBIA.

Let us repeat. There were three great struggles for liberty in South America—that of the north under Bolivar, that of the south under San Martin, and that of the center under Sucre. Bolivar led the movement of the north.

When Miranda lay down in the closet he had a new vision. He hoped to go to New Granada and unite his fortunes with the liberal government there, and, old as he was, make a new struggle for South American liberty.

Strangely enough, the last dream of the unhappy Miranda was to be fulfilled in Bolivar, who had become his enemy. Bolivar took up the work of liberation that Miranda had left uncompleted. He felt that this was his mission, that in fulfilling it he was being led by a divinity. From the hour when he took the hand of Rodriguez on Monte Sacro, and swore to devote his life to the liberties of his country, he felt that to accomplish that task was his destiny. We must ever judge his purpose by this oath. If he committed sins, they brought their punishment, as all sins do. They made his life less successful than it might have been. But in nearly every proclamation that he issued he recognized the Divine Being that his heart wished to follow. He made himself the altar of liberty, and at last laid himself upon it.

He came to Venezuela to achieve the liberties of the people. He began this achievement as a soldier of Miranda. He failed and fled. He came back again by the way of New Granada. He entered Caracas in triumph. His cause seemed to fail, but it had made progress. He again became an exile. He returned by the way of republican New Granada. Again he entered Caracas in triumph. The cause had advanced. But he failed a second time, and sought refuge in the island of Jamaica. Again he returned. He became the hero of Boyaca and Carabobo. He united the republics of New Granada and Venezuela. He swept over the snowy Cordilleras, and added Ecuador to the growing empire. He entered the magical atmosphere of Peru, and there laid the foundations of the republic. He was dictator, president, the inspiration of emancipation and liberty. After every success and seeming failure the cause of freedom in the Andes advanced. Then he surrendered all to the cause, and died of a broken heart; but his influence in the world still grew. The inspiration that filled the heart of the young traveler at Monte Sacro will never cease to influence his countrymen.

Bolivar in Caracas

BOLIVAR'S ENTRANCE INTO CARACAS.


To return to his early history, a new theater awaits him now. He is to win back the liberties of Venezuela, but through New Granada.

Beautiful New Granada! It bears the name that was the pride of Spain, of the historic and scenic province of the Sierra Nevada and the Guadalquivir. Spain crowned this viceroyalty with her choicest name. She might well do so. The Andes have a loftier brow here than the mountains in enthralling Andalusia, and the Magdalena moves on a more majestic way to the Caribbean than does the Guadalquivir to the Mediterranean. Cartagena, like another Cadiz, here arose on the margin of the purple sea. Spain lavished millions upon its walls. She even built walls under the sea. The city in its ruin, with the monasteries and convents crowning its green hills, with its yellow walls sixty feet thick,—walls that cost so much that an old legend reports that the King of Spain expected to see them rising over the sea,—with its ancient church, with its quintas, its gardens of palms, its wildernesses of all floral delights, is still a picture of Spain in the New World. The republic now has an area of some 513,000 square miles, and a population of three millions, of whom nearly one half are of European origin. Its highest plateaus rise 14,000 feet. Its mountain-crown has an altitude of 18,200 feet. From this sublime range, Nevada de Tolma, on the frontier of Ecuador, the Magdalena flows.

The ancient city of Santa Fe de Bogota stands above the Magdalena, on a plateau 8690 feet high. It is approached from the Caribbean by steamboats on the river, and by mules from the shore. The Cordilleras are white with snow, and the valleys are green with verdure. The products of all climates may be cultivated here.

The republic has ever had a liberal heart. Its people are given to literary and scientific culture, and this inspiration has found a field in a thousand schools.

New Granada was erected into a viceroyalty of Spain in 1718. When Napoleon set aside Ferdinand VII., and put his own brother Joseph on the throne of Spain, a republican sentiment began to develop in New Granada, and the people formed a government of their own. It united with Venezuela end Ecuador to form a northern republic under Bolivar, but became independent of the union in 1858, under the name of the United States of Colombia.

History now follows the course of the life of Bolivar, whom the patriotic clubs were already hailing as the Liberator. We have seen no more interesting account of this period of Bolivar's life than is contained in a review of the Historia de la Revolucion de la Republica de Colombia, por Jose Manuel Restrepo, Secretario del Interior del Poder Ejecutivo de la misma Republica, by the Hon. Caleb Cushing. It appeared in the North American Review  for January, 1829. It pictures not only the military movements of Bolivar, but the animus and methods of the great leader.

After the disaster at Puerto Cabello, Bolivar retired to New Granada, and his life from this date is portrayed in a single paragraph by Mr. Cushing: "The government of Cartagena, little anticipating the brilliant fortune which awaited Bolivar, appointed him to the command of the little station Barranca, within the district committed to the adventurer Labatut, and, of course, regularly under his orders. But the active spirit of Bolivar prevented his remaining contented in the obscurity of a subordinate command, and led him to undertake of his own authority a movement of that bold conception and vigorous, rapid execution which afterward became the great characteristic of his military genius, and he rose to be the trusted leader of the armies of the independence."

Young Bolivar found a shelter in Cartagena, the stronghold of republicanism. He met there a patriot leader who was marching upon Santa Marta. He offered to enlist under him as a private. Bolivar's patriotism at this time found expression in a declaration the sincerity of which cannot be doubted, and which merits immortality: "I disregarded rank and distinction, because I aspired to a more honorable destiny—to shed my blood for the liberty of my country!

The first movement of Bolivar was the key-note of the march which ended in Lima, the "City of the Kings." The Spaniards held the Magdalena, and the Magdalena must be free. His movements were so bold and swift as to take the enemy at a disadvantage. He accomplished his purpose, and won the approval of the republic. His name in New Granada became a star. The state made him a general. His army grew, owing to his magnetism. Having freed the Magdalena and gained other successes, he resolved to march into the interior. The Spaniards, who boasted that they would not respect a flag of truce, were compelled to flee before him. He won victory after victory, and on August 6, 1813, entered the city of Caracas in triumph, amid the vivas  of the multitude.

Larrazabal vividly describes the triumphal entry of the Liberator into his native city. "Long live the Liberator! Long live New Granada! Long live the savior of Venezuela!" was shouted by a concourse of more than thirty thousand people. Says Larrazabal: "A multitude of beautiful young women, dressed in white and bearing crowns of laurel, pushed their way through the crowds to take hold of the bridle of his horse. Bolivar dismounted, and was almost overpowered by the crowns cast upon him. The people wept for joy."

On December 3, 1813, the patriots encamped on the plain of Araure. They numbered thirty-five hundred men. The battle that followed was a furious one. The fate of the day was decided by a sudden and unexpected movement directed by the Liberator. The enemy was routed, and fled, leaving in the hands of the patriots one thousand muskets, ten field-pieces, four flags and three thousand prisoners.

Larrazabal relates an incident of this contest which shows the spirit of true heroes who have been vanquished. Few stories of the victories of the vanquished are more thrilling or better illustrate the unconquerable power of purpose.

"At the battle of Araure, memorable feat of arms, in which the most intrepid valor was crowned with the most signal victory, all the soldiers, officers and chiefs made themselves worthy of admiration; but there was a battalion which was particularly distinguished by the conferring of the title of 'Conquerors of Araure,' and to which Bolivar presented a flag. What was the motive of such an honorable distinction? We remember that at Barquisimeto the sound alone of the signal of retreat, executed by a drummer, placed our infantry in irreparable disorder, the extraordinary efforts of the general-in-chief and his brave officers not being sufficient to remedy it. Of the relics preserved another battalion was formed at San Carlos. Bolivar, who had been extremely irritated by the unpardonable conduct of the infantry, gave it the title of 'Battalion without Name,' and did not allow it a flag until it should win it on the battle-field. The 'Battalion without Name,' mortified by this degrading treatment, determined to gain a famous name, and to take flags from the enemy. At Araure it composed the center. Eight minutes had not transpired from the time they opened their fire when they already had possession of a flag, throwing themselves with heroic intrepidity upon the triple Spanish line of formidable artillery, infantry and cavalry. Bolivar, who beheld them perform these prodigies of valor, named the battalion 'Conquerors of Araure,' and on the day following the victory, in a review, he presented them a flag, saying: 'Soldiers, your bravery yesterday on the field of battle has gained a name for your corps, and in the midst of the fire, when I beheld you triumphing, I proclaimed you "Conquerors of Araure." You have taken flags from the enemy who at one moment was victorious; you have gained the celebrated one called the "Invincible Numancia." Carry, soldiers, this flag of the republic. I am certain that you will always follow it with glory. . . .'

"The battalion received the flag from the hands of the Liberator with a concert of joy and enthusiasm, giving vivas  to the genius of victory."

Boves now entered the field for Spain, with the purpose of killing every patriot he could find, and striking terror to all hearts by torture, fire and merciless deeds. The patriot cause for a while grew; but eventually Boves, with Spanish recruits, defeated Bolivar at La Puerta, and the great expectation of Venezuela remained unrealized.

Bolivar returned to New Granada, organized a new army, and continued the war upon the coast. The war became a political contest with his rival Castillo. He now found himself in a difficult position, owing to political entanglements. He seems to have acted unwisely. He was forced to conclude a treaty, relinquished the command of the army to General Palacios, and sailed for Jamaica, May 8, 1815. But, notwithstanding these disasters, his faith in the cause was not lost. He was ready to enter the field again when the gate of opportunity should open.

An unsuccessful attempt to assassinate him was made at Jamaica. A negro was engaged to do the deed. On the night appointed another man chanced to sleep in Bolivar's bed, and received the dagger-thrust intended for the Liberator.

Bolivar, restless and ill at ease, now went to Aux-Cayes. He found sympathy there in the negro republic. He began to organize a new expedition for the emancipation of Venezuela. He desired to return there and again place himself at the head of the patriots who were struggling to maintain the cause of independence.

Bolivar furnishes one of the most notable examples of persistency of purpose in all history. If one opportunity failed, he waited for a greater one. At this time, when so much seemed lost, his vision of what America might be grew more and more clear. "I desire," he said, "to see in America the greatest nation in the world, famed less for its extension and riches than for its glory and liberty. America can sustain seventeen nations. The states from the Isthmus of Panama to Guatemala shall form an association. This magnificent position between the two great oceans shall be in turn the emporium of the world. Its canals shall shorten the distances of the earth. How grand would it be if the Isthmus of Panama could be to us what Corinth was to the Greeks! God grant that we may some day have the fortune of convening there an august congress of the representatives of the republics, kingdoms and empires to discuss the all-important interests of peace and war with the nations of the world!"

Bolivar now met the immortal apostle of liberty, Alexandre Potion, President of Hayti. This man, whose name is forever beloved by the negro race, was born at Port au Prince in 1770. He was well educated. He had lived in France at the period of the rise of Napoleon. On returning to Hayti he had entered with a true and noble sympathy into the cause of his race. After the overthrow of Toussaint L'Ouverture he entered into the plans of Dessalines in the demand for the independence of his country. He became the idol of the Haytians. He was elected President, and later was reelected. On the achievement of liberty in Hayti he believed that the mission of his life was accomplished.

When Bolivar and Potion met, the latter was affected to tears, and said: "Que le bon Dieu vows benir clans toutes vos entreprises!" He rendered Bolivar all the aid in his power toward the fitting out of the expedition for the recovery of Venezuela. The Liberator speaks thus of this man: "His first quality was kindness, and kindness is that human virtue that does most honor to a man." "I shall always pay my tribute to that great man," said Potion of Bolivar. "I feel toward him as toward the noble minds of antiquity." He saw in Bolivar a man who could advance the interests of his own race. "When your expedition shall land in Venezuela," he said to Bolivar, "free the slaves. For how can you found a republic where slavery exists? "

Bolivar himself had the same thought and purpose. On landing in Venezuela he freed his own slaves, and issued a proclamation giving freedom to the slaves of the country.

He devoted the resources of his own property to this new expedition. He collected some six ships, and an army of one hundred and fifty exiles. With these he set forth, for the third time, for the emancipation of Venezuela. He landed at Margarita. Here he captured two Spanish vessels, and was hailed by the people as chief. He issued a proclamation announcing the third period of the republic. He penetrated into the interior, his army gathering force. His name was an inspiration. He returned to Hayti to organize a new expedition among the islanders. He saw that the new liberation must come in part from the islands. The republic of Hayti had forced upon the amiable Potion, by acclamation, the title of "Chief for life." The latter entered again into the cause of Bolivar, but under the limitations of international law. Bolivar organized a new force, and again landed at Margarita, and there again issued a proclamation to the Venezuelan patriots, calling upon them to convene a congress at Margarita: "Venezuelans, name your deputies to Congress. The island of Margarita is completely free. In it your assemblies shall be respected and defended by a people who are heroes in virtue, in valor and in patriotism. Assemble on this sacred soil, organize, open your sessions. The first act of your functions may be the acceptance of my resignation. Margarita, December 28, 1816."

On January 1, 1817, Bolivar landed at Barcelona, never again to be driven from the country. This time he was to organize a movement that should give liberty to the New World. His great opportunity had now come. The country was ripe for a new struggle for emancipation. The people were driven to desperation by the barbarity of the Spanish rule.

Though now but the leader of small bodies of men, he wrote to General Palacios on January 2, 1817: "The troops of Urdaneta have joined those of Zaraza. When this army shall have the arms it needs, and joins our forces, there will be formed a mass of ten thousand men. We shall be able to march to Santa Fe and Peru, and liberate those provinces from the yoke of the tyrants that oppress them."

The patriots in most places were disposed to hail Bolivar as their chief, and to seek his will and direction. His position at Barcelona was a perilous one. Marino, the patriot general of the south, who saw Bolivar's danger, brought to him twelve hundred men. "I have come to embrace the Liberator of the liberator," said Marino's principal general, on meeting Bolivar.

The liberating army now marched into the interior by the way of the Orinoco, where a part of the patriot forces were contending, near Angostura. Left with but a small protection, Barcelona was besieged by the Spanish general Aldama, and was compelled to surrender. The Spaniards massacred nearly seven hundred soldiers, more than three hundred old men, women and children, and fifty invalids in the hospital. The cruelties of this slaughter are indescribable.

The clouds darkened again about Bolivar. Barcelona was ruined. Marino withdrew dissatisfied. Morillo, the Spanish general, had returned from the kingdom of Santa Fe resolved on the total extermination of the patriots. Piar, a signally successful general, conspired against Bolivar.

Thus the cause of independence in Venezuela had lived amid many vicissitudes. Bolivar may have made mistakes, but the patriots believed in his patriotism. He had returned to Venezuela without substantial authority, but the patriot cause had again turned to him for leadership. As soon as he returned the patriots felt that they were again a republic. The Spanish army under Morillo was yet powerful, but the desire of the people was for liberty, and Simon Bolivar was looked upon as the man providentially appointed to lead their cause.

Piar's execution

PIAR BEFORE HIS EXECUTION.


Manuel Carlos Piar, a soldier of Curacao, West Indies, was born in 1782. His youth was spent in hardship. He engaged in trade with Venezuela, and there came to meet the patriot Miranda. He entered the patriot army of Venezuela as a lieutenant. Although a soldier under Marino, he engaged in a conspiracy against him and Bolivar. After the Spanish successes he left the country for the islands. Bolivar forgave his treachery. In 1816 he joined the expedition of Bolivar from Hayti, and was made a major-general of the invading army. He gained a great victory at San Felix, April, 1817. He again entered into a conspiracy against Bolivar, and sought to overthrow him and supplant him. He was condemned to death by a court martial, and was shot at Angostura, October 16, 1817.

Bolivar has been censured for the death of Piar, but he sought to save him from both treachery and death. He remembered San Felix, and exercised a great magnanimity toward this brilliant but vain and ambitious man, who had twice become his enemy.

The Liberator, on the day following the death of Piar, issued a proclamation:

"SOLDIERS: Yesterday was a day of pain for my heart. General Piar was executed for his crimes of high treason, conspiracy and desertion. A just and legal tribunal pronounced the sentence against that unfortunate citizen, who, intoxicated by the favors of fortune, and to satiate his ambition, attempted to ruin the country. General Piar really had done important services to the republic, and although the course of his conduct had always been mutinous, his services were bountifully rewarded by the government of Venezuela.

"Nothing was left to be desired by a chief who had obtained the highest grades of the army. The second authority of the republic, which was vacant by the dissidence of General Marino, was to be conferred on him before his rebellion; but he aspired to the supreme command, and formed a purpose the most atrocious that can be conceived. Not only had Piar intended civil war, but also anarchy, and the most inhuman sacrifice of his own companions and brethren.

"Soldiers! You know it. Equality, liberty and independence are our motto. Has not humanity recovered her rights by our laws? Have not our arms broken the, chains of the slaves? Has not the hateful difference of classes and colors been abolished forever? Have not the national moneys been ordered to be divided among you? Do not fortune and glory await you? Are not your merits abundantly rewarded, or at least justly? What, then, did General Piar want for you? Are you not equal, free, independent, happy and honored? Could Piar obtain for you greater wealth? No, no, no. The tomb was being opened by Piar with his own hands, to bury in it the life, the wealth, the honor of the brave defenders of the liberty of Venezuela, their children, wives and fathers. . . .

"Soldiers! Heaven watches for your well-being, and the government, which is your father, is vigilant in your behalf. Your chief, who is your companion in arms, who is always at your head, and has participated in your perils and privations, as also in your victories, confides in you; rely then on him, sure that he loves you more than if even he were your father or your son.

"SIMON BOLIVAR.

"HEADQUARTERS OF ANGOSTURA, October 17, 1817."

These words reveal the spirit of Bolivar. We cannot doubt Bolivar's sincerity. The execution of Piar caused him as much suffering as that of Major Andre caused Washington.

Bolivar now convened a Council of State at Angostura. He there organized a government, gave himself to the creation of a new republican sentiment, and formed a new army.

The Council of State at Angostura provided for the election of a Congress. The representatives of the people to this Congress met there on January i of the eventful year 1819. Bolivar was elected President with dictatorial power.

What should be the next movement in this long contest? Fabius was prudent, I am impetuous," said Bolivar, on being compelled, after the Congress of Angostura, to adopt the Fabian policy of wearing out an enemy by delay.

The contest with the Spanish general Morillo, on the plains, had moved slowly, and Bolivar was not constituted for a campaign whose end was exhaustion. He said at Angostura: "Granadians, Venezuela with me marches to liberate you, as you with me marched to liberate Venezuela. The sun shall not complete its annual period without beholding raised in all your territory the altars of liberty."

There seemed to come to Bolivar a new and sudden inspiration. He decided to cross the Granadian Andes, the mountain heights of winter and storm and desert, depose the viceroy, and restore to Granada her lost liberties. He would then reconquer Venezuela.

The war in Venezuela stopped, or consisted only of movements to wear out the power of Morillo. Bolivar looked up to the rainy Andes, shadowed with clouds. He gave the first order to his army to begin the ascent of the Cordilleras, an order that caused even some of the llaneros  to shrink and to desert. Those who watched the movement said with wonder, "Whither go they?"

The march through the desert altitudes, in winter weather, with the half-naked troops of the plains, was arduous and perilous. The fiery faith of Bolivar in the power of the human will here found its most magnificent expression. His soul rose superior to all difficulties. In the clouded plains of the heights he led a dying army, but the men followed him.

On the 25th of May he issued a manifesto of the liberty of Granada. On the 22d of June he left the plains of Casanare. He ascended the heights almost without food and shelter. His cavalry in part vanished where it seemed that only the mules could live.

He descended and met the Granadian army, which hailed him like one bringing an army from the skies. He said to these heroes of liberty: "In your midst you now have an army of friends and benefactors, and the God of suffering humanity will grant victory to our redeeming arms."

On the 25th of July he met the Spanish general Barreiro in the open field. Bolivar had left behind no way of retreat. He led his troops in person. His voice was a trumpet-tone. He was victorious against a disciplined army. The Spaniards lost five hundred men, and left their flags, muskets and ammunition in the hands of the patriots.

Granada rose to receive the liberating army, which grew by reinforcements. What this army had suffered and endured for the cause became an inspiration. The invading army followed Barreiro in his retreat, and came to Boyaca. Here it compelled Barreiro again to try the fortunes of war. Barreiro had three thousand men, Bolivar two thousand, but the latter had the spirit of freedom, and every man was as two. To Anzoatequi, a personal friend of Bolivar, who loved the latter as a brother and reverenced him almost as a god, was intrusted the direction of this great battle. He inspired the men with his own spirit. He surrounded body after body of the enemy, until the cavalry began to fly. The army broke, and Barreiro found it impossible to rally it. He himself became lost as if in a whirlwind, and was taken prisoner. The officers were nearly all made prisoners, together with sixteen hundred soldiers, their artillery and arms. The friend of Bolivar slept that night on the field of battle under the moon and stars. Bolivar marched to Bogota in triumph, and entered the astonished city, from which the viceroy had fled.

He issued a manifesto which is a history, and rings in harmony with the event that it celebrated:

"HEADQUARTERS OF SANTA FE, August 14, 1819) ?>

"Simon Bolivar, President of the Republic, Captain-General of the Armies of Venezuela and New Granada, etc., to his Excellency the Vice-President of the Republic:

"From the moment that I conceived the project of advancing my marches to the interior of this kingdom, I knew that an alarming fear would put in action all the resources of the Spanish authorities. In effect, this idea, based on the experience of my observations, was more confirmed when, in the states which were under the power of the viceroy Don Juan Samano, I found that a superior force, well organized and disciplined, was the wall against which it was intended that the brave liberating army should perish.

"I calculated, notwithstanding, that the abundance of evils with which these people had been and still were afflicted should have prepared their minds to embrace with pleasure their heroic defenders. And, in truth, scarcely had I taken the first steps on this side of the mountains which divide the plains from the hilly country bounding the province of Casanare, when I heard resound before me the blessings of some men who awaited my arms with all the enthusiasm of liberty, as a remedy for the calamities and misfortunes which had carried them to the last degree of exasperation.

"An experienced chief, at the head of an army of four or five thousand men, is the first thing which presents itself to me on the battle-field. The General Don Jose Maria Barreiro, charged with its direction, drains all his resources. The discipline of his troops, his fine organization, the advantageous position he occupied, and the abundance of resources he had opportunely prepared for himself, caused me to believe that this enterprise was only proper to the intrepidity and bravery of the republican arms.

"The battle of Boyaca, the complete victory which I have just obtained, has decided the fate of these inhabitants, and after having destroyed the army of the king I have flown to this capital."

Bolivar, now master of the two republics, returned to Venezuela with the purpose of uniting them and forming the one republic of Colombia.

The return of Bolivar to Angostura is thus dramatically described by Larrazabal: "On the day of his arrival at Angostura Baralt affirms that Bolivar appeared in the Hall of Congress. This is untrue. On the 11th he did not leave the house, receiving there the compliments of his friends; the 12th he passed in seclusion, if not from sickness, at least suffering the fatigues of continued travel; the 13th, in virtue of an official notice, from the minister of the interior to the secretary of the Congress, announcing that the Liberator, President of the republic, would proceed personally to present to the National Assembly the homage of the victories obtained under his command in New Granada, and the unanimous wish of those people for political reunion with Venezuela, an extraordinary session was appointed at twelve o'clock of the following day; and as there were no ceremonies prepared for the reception of the Liberator, the Congress busied itself on the morning of the 14th in considering what should be observed in such an act.

"At midday of the 14th the Congress was convened, and the president, at that time Senator Zea, appointed a committee which, preceded by a military band, should proceed to congratulate his Excellency, and accompany him to the Hall of the Sessions.

"Three cannon announced the march of Bolivar from his house. On entering the square before the Congress he was saluted with twenty-one rounds.

"The Congress in a body went out to receive him outside the railing, and the president, by a singular demonstration, ceded him the chief seat, and said to him: 'Your Excellency has the floor. Congress awaits and desires to hear you.' Bolivar made a profound bow to the assembly, and said: 'On entering this august place my first feeling is that of gratitude for the infinite honor which Congress has thought proper to confer upon me, allowing me to return to occupy this chair, which scarcely a year ago I ceded to the president of the representatives of the people. When, undeservedly and against my strongest feelings, I was invested with the executive power at the beginning of this year, I represented to the sovereign body that my profession, my character and my talents were incompatible with the functions of the magistrate; thus, separated from these duties, I left their performance to the vice-president, and only took upon myself the charge of directing the war. I afterward marched against the Army of the West, at whose head was General Morillo. At the approach of winter General Morillo abandoned the plain of Araure, and I judged that the liberty of New Granada would produce more advantages to the republic than the completion of that of Venezuela.

"'It would be lengthy to detail to the Congress the efforts made by the troops of the liberating army. The winter on the inundated plains, the frozen summits of the Andes, the sudden change of climate, a warlike army thrice our superior, and in possession of the best military localities of South America, and many other obstacles we had to surmount at Paya, Gameza, Vargas, Boyaca and Popayan, to liberate in less than three months twelve provinces of New Granada.

"'I recommend to the national sovereignty the merit of these great services on the part of my intrepid companions in arms, who, with an unexampled constancy, underwent mortal privations, and, with a valor unequaled in the annals of Venezuela, conquered and captured the army of the king.

"'But it is not only to the liberating army that we owe the advantages acquired. The people of New Granada have shown themselves worthy of being free. Their efficacious cooperation repaired our losses and increased our forces. This generous people have offered all their property and their lives on the altars of the country. Their des* for the union of their provinces to the provinces of Venezuela is also unanimous. The Granadians are thoroughly convinced of the immense advantage which will result to one and the other people by the creation of a new republic composed of these two nations. The reunion of New Granada and Venezuela is the only object which I have entertained since my first battle. It is the vote of the citizens of both countries, and it is the guaranty of the liberty of South America.

"'Legislators! The moment of giving a fixed and eternal base to our republic has arrived. To decree this great social act, and to establish the principles upon which will be founded this vast republic, belong to your wisdom. Proclaim it to the world, and my services will be amply rewarded.'

"When the Liberator pronounced this sentence, the Senor Zea stood up, full of inspiration and patriotism, and said:

"'Imagination, sirs, does not reach that which the hero of Venezuela has done since he left this august Congress installed. The undertaking of crossing the Andes with an army fatigued by so long and painful a campaign—this daring undertaking, during the rigor of the rainy season and hurricanes, appeared so extraordinary that the enemy believed it to be a military delirium. Nature being conquered, further opposition was met with in an army three times more numerous, well provided, posted on that frontier, and always fighting in advantageous positions,—Gameza, Vargas, Bonza, Boyaca,—under the orders of a general as able as he was experienced. But all yields to the rapid and terrible impetus of the soldiers of the independence. Scarcely can victory keep up with the victor, and in less than three months the principal and main portion of New Granada has been freed by these same troops, whose complete destruction was held by the viceroy of Santa Fe to be sure and inevitable.

"'And what man sensible of the sublime and great, what country capable of appreciating lofty names, will not pay to the name of Bolivar the tribute of enthusiasm due to so much audacity and to such superhuman prodigies? To have carried the lightning of the arms and the vengeance of Venezuela from the shores of the Atlantic to those of the Pacific; to have hoisted the standard of liberty upon the Andes of the east and west; to have snatched away twelve provinces from the Inquisition and tyranny; to have caused to reecho from the burning plains of Casanare to the frozen summits of the mountains of Ecuador, an extension of forty thousand square leagues, the heroic cry of liberty or death, which each time the people repeat with fresh energy and more intrepid resolution—will it not be admired? And the genius to whom this is due, will he not obtain the reward he expects? What! shall he not attain the union of the people whom he has freed and is still freeing? If Quito, Santa Fe and Venezuela are joined in one sole republic, who can calculate the power and prosperity corresponding to such an immense mass? May heaven bless this union, whose consolidation is the object of all my vigilance and the most ardent desire of my heart.'

"The Liberator replied to the discourse of Zea, attributing the glory of the redemption of New Granada to the valor and intrepidity of the troops, to the sublime enthusiasm of the people, and to the ability and heroism of the chiefs, among whom he distinguished the English colonel Rook and the general of division, Anzoatequi. He also made an honorable commemoration of the distinguished patriotism of the secular and regular clergy of New Granada, who were convinced that the independence of America would extend the empire of religion and would give it new brilliance and splendor."

The motion creating the Republic of Colombia was approved by Congress on December 17, 1819. The president of the Congress announced, "The Republic of Colombia is constituted!" To the presidency of this new republic General Simon Bolivar was unanimously elected.