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parents, who were of noble family, and possessed of large estates. At
the age of fourteen or sixteen, he was sent to Spain for education. His
habits are said to have been dissipated; but he paid some attention to
the study of jurisprudence. After visiting Italy and France, he returned
to Madrid, married, and in 1809 returned to reside on his estates near
Caracas. It is positively asserted, and as positively denied, that
Bolivar had an active share in the decisive movement at Caracas, April
19, 1810, when the Spanish authorities were deposed. A congress was
summoned, which met March 2, 1811. Bolivar received a colonel’s
commission, and was sent to claim the protection of Great Britain. The
date of his return to South America we do not find: but he is said to
have been concerned in the first military operations of the patriots;
and in September, 1811, he was appointed governor of the strong sea-port
of Puerto Cabello. In March, 1812, a violent earthquake took place. The
clergy succeeded in producing a considerable reaction in favour of
royalist principles, by representing this calamity to be a manifestation
of God’s wrath against revolution. Monteverde, the royal general, then
advanced, and met with rapid success. The strong hold of Puerto Cabello,
the chief depôt of the patriots, was wrested from Bolivar by an
insurrection of the prisoners confined in it; the patriot army became
dispirited; and General Miranda, under the sanction of congress,
concluded a treaty, July 26, 1812, by which an amnesty was concluded,
and the province of Venezuela returned under the dominion of Spain.
Miranda was subsequently arrested on a futile charge of treachery to the
patriot cause, and delivered to the Spaniards, who kept him in prison to
the day of his death. In this unjustifiable transaction, Bolivar had a
principal share.

Bolivar retired for a short time to his estate; but he soon became
uneasy at the frequency of arrests, and obtained a passport to quit the
country. He retired to Curaçoa. In the following September, his active
temper led him to seek employment in the patriot army of New Granada,
which had declared itself independent in 1811, and still held out, with
better fortune than Venezuela. He obtained a trifling command, not such
as to satisfy his ambition; and on his own responsibility, he undertook
an expedition against the Spaniards on the east bank of the river
Magdalena, in which he succeeded; clearing the country of Spanish posts
from Mompox, on the above named river, to the town of Ocaña, on the
frontier of Caracas. This exploit attracted public notice. He conceived
the bold plan of invading Venezuela with his small forces, and the
congress of New Granada consented to his making the attempt, and raised
him to the rank of brigadier. He crossed the frontier with little more
than 500 men; but the country rose in arms to second him; and after
several engagements, in which the patriots were successful, he defeated
Monteverde in person at the battle of Lastoguanes, and, finally, entered
Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, in triumph, August 4, 1813.

At this time no regular government could be said to exist; but a
convention of the chief civil and military functionaries, held at
Caracas, January 2, 1814, conferred on Bolivar the title of Liberator of
Venezuela, and invested him with the office of Dictator, and the supreme
control over both branches of the executive. But these successes were
followed by a rapid reverse; and before the end of the year, he was
beaten out of Venezuela, and obliged to return to New Granada. That
country was harassed by the contests of numerous and discordant parties.
Bolivar was received with respect by the congress; and was entrusted
with the task of compelling the dissentient province of Santa Fe de
Bogotá, afterwards named Cundinamarca, to accede to the union of the
other provinces. He marched against the city of Bogotá in December, at
the head of 2000 men. It was not in a condition to resist, and
capitulated, after the suburbs had been taken by storm. It will afford
an instance of the difficulty of getting at the real character of
Bolivar, to say, that we find it stated in one account that his
behaviour at Bogotá received not only the thanks of Congress, but the
approbation of the citizens; while another author asserts, that
notwithstanding the capitulation, and in spite of the most urgent
remonstrances, he permitted the pillage of part of the city for the
space of forty-eight hours. He was then appointed to act against the
strong town of Santa Martha, which commands the mouth of the river
Magdalena. Unfortunately, private enmity between himself and Castillo,
the governor of Carthagena, led to dissensions which ended in the
investment of Carthagena, instead of Santa Martha, by Bolivar. During
this civil strife, which led to consequences most injurious to the
patriot cause, General Morillo arrived from Spain, now enabled by the
peace of 1814 to act with more vigour against her revolted colonies; and
Bolivar gave up his command, on the pretext that the harmony and
advantage of the army required it, and embarked for Jamaica, May 10,
1815. During his abode at Kingston, he narrowly escaped assassination at
the hands of a Spaniard, who stabbed to the heart a person who chanced
to occupy the bed in which Bolivar usually slept. From Jamaica, he went
to Hayti, where, with the help of the president Petion, and in
conjunction with a French officer, Commodore Brion, he drew together a
force, with which he again raised the standard of independence in the
province of Cumana, in May, 1816: but he was soon driven out of the
country, and returned to Hayti, whence, in December, he again sailed to
the island of Margarita, and he issued a proclamation convoking a
congress of the representatives of Venezuela. He then repaired to
Barcelona, and organised a provisional government. During the years 1817
and 1818, the struggle was obstinate; but the patriot cause on the whole
gained a decided advantage. In February 1819, Bolivar summoned a
congress at Angostura, on the river Orinoco, and resigned his authority
into its hands. The assembly, however, continued to him the executive
power, with the title of Provisional President of Venezuela, until the
expulsion of the enemy should afford a prospect of more settled times.

Bolivar rejoined the army in March, and soon after conducted his forces
to join the patriots in New Granada. Two battles, on the 1st and 23d of
July, were fought to the advantage of the patriots, whose cause obtained
a final triumph in the decisive victory won August 7, at Bojaca. Bolivar
advanced at once to Bogotá, where he was enthusiastically welcomed; and
within a short time, eleven provinces of New Granada announced their
adhesion to the cause of independence. He summoned a congress, by which
he was appointed President, and Captain-general of the Republic.
Meanwhile a party, jealous of his intentions, had obtained the
ascendancy in the Venezuela Congress held at Angostura; and Bolivar,
fearful of being supplanted, quitted the scene of war with his best
troops and marched to Angostura. His presence, with such a force, turned
the scale in favour of the party attached to his interest. It was
determined to summon a general convention from the independent provinces
of Venezuela and Granada; and December 17, 1819, the celebrated decree
was passed by which the two states were united, and entitled the
Republic of Columbia. Bolivar was appointed President.

Strengthened by union, the patriots took the field in greater force than
they had hitherto been able to raise. The course of war during 1820 was
on the whole favourable to them. In November, an armistice for six
months was concluded. Soon after the renewal of hostilities, an
important victory was gained by the Columbian troops under Bolivar, at
Carabobo, not far from the city of Valencia, June 21, 1821, which may be
regarded as having closed the war in Venezuela. Before the end of the
year, Columbia was nearly cleared of Spanish troops, with the exception
of the province of Quito; and time was found to attend to the
establishment of civil order. The constitution of the short-lived
Columbian Republic was adopted, August 20, 1821, and Bolivar was
appointed First Constitutional President.

The war was then directed against the Spaniards in the south. In
January, 1822, Bolivar himself conducted operations in the province of
Pasto, lying to the north of Quito, while General Sucre, who had been
sent previously to assist the cause of independence in Guayaquil, after
liberating the southern provinces of Loxa and Cuenca, advanced
northwards, and secured independence to the province of Quito by the
decisive victory of Pichincha, May 24, 1822. But though this portion of
Columbia was now cleared of enemies, there could be no security to the
frontier provinces while the Spaniards held Peru; and it was therefore
determined to send assistance to the patriots in that country. Bolivar
landed at Lima, September 1, 1823, and was invested with supreme power
as Dictator of Peru. It was not until the end of 1825, however, that the
war of independence was finished; and the honour of this, in a military
point of view, belongs rather to Sucre than to Bolivar.

On the establishment of a separate republic in 1825, in the province
called by the Spaniards Upper Peru, the new state paid a high compliment
to the Liberator, by assuming the name of Bolivia, and requesting him to
draw up a constitution for its adoption. In compliance with the wish
thus expressed, he presented to the constituent congress in May, 1826,
the celebrated Bolivian Code; for an account of which we must refer to
the ‘Encyclopædia Americana,’ or the appendix to the ‘Memoirs of General
Miller.’ This forms a remarkable era in Bolivar’s life; for, out of the
institutions of this code, arose the first suspicions that the Liberator
was at heart indisposed to republican institutions. It was however
adopted; and Sucre was appointed President. Meanwhile, though the
deliverance of Peru was completed, Bolivar showed no intention of
leading home the Columbian troops. A congress summoned at Lima, in
February, 1825, continued to him, for another year, the dictatorial
power which he had received on his first entrance into the country. A
second congress, held in 1826, adopted the same course, adding a
recommendation that he should consult the provinces as to the form of
government which it might be desirable to establish. The result was,
that the Bolivian Code was declared to be adopted by Peru, and Bolivar
himself was nominated President.

During the Liberator’s long absence in the south, the northern provinces
of Columbia became involved in civil confusion. The Vice-president,
General Santander, was a man of firmness and ability; but the
newly-formed government wanted consistency, and that habitual respect
which is paid to long recognised authority. In April, 1826, General
Paez, who commanded in Venezuela, being summoned before the senate of
Columbia to answer certain charges, refused obedience, trusting to the
devoted attachment of the troops under his command: and to this private
act of rebellion, something of a national character was given, by the
accession of many in Venezuela, who disapproved of the union with New
Granada, or distrusted the intentions of those who held the reins of
power. At the same time, the southern departments, which had formerly
composed the presidency of Quito, displayed a strong inclination to
adopt the Bolivian Code. Bolivar has not escaped the suspicion of having
fomented these troubles, with a view to convince all parties that
tranquillity could only be secured by strengthening the executive, by
appointing him Dictator of the Columbian Republic. Being recalled for
the suppression of these disturbances, he quitted Lima in September,
1826, and hastened to Caracas, where, instead of punishing, he met Paez
upon friendly terms, confirmed him in the office which he held, and
published a general amnesty on the submission of the insurgents. The
term for which he was elected President had now expired. He had been
re-elected, and should have gone through the forms of taking office at
the beginning of 1827; but in February, he announced his intention to
resign, and retire to his estates, in consequence of the imputations of
ambition cast upon him. The spring was spent by Congress in discussing
this matter; and at last, June 6, it was finally determined not to
accept his resignation, and a general convention was summoned to meet at
Ocaña, March 2, 1828, to revise the constitution. In September, Bolivar
again assumed the office of President.

Meanwhile a speedy revolution had taken place in Peru. It is no great
argument of Bolivar’s purity of purpose, that, a year after the war was
finished, the Columbian auxiliaries were still retained by him in
Bolivia and Peru, one division being quartered in the former country,
and two in the latter. Many of them were strongly attached to their
general, and perhaps had no objection to becoming instruments of his
ambition, so far as Peru was concerned. But when he incurred the
suspicion of meditating the overthrow of the Columbian constitution,
they took fire. The division quartered at Lima matured a plan of revolt,
arrested their generals, who were personally attached to Bolivar, and
announced to the authorities of Lima their desire to relieve the
Peruvians from a constitution which had been forced upon them, and to
return home to defend their own country. Hereupon, in concurrence with
the generally declared wish of the people throughout Peru, the Bolivian
Code was thrown aside only a few weeks after it had been adopted; and in
June, 1827, a new congress was summoned, and a new President and
Vice-president of the republic were elected. The troops embarked; but on
their landing in Columbia, part placed themselves under the orders of
officers sent to take the command of them, and the rest were easily
reduced to obedience.

The convention met at the appointed time. Bolivar opened the proceedings
with an address, in which he ascribed the internal troubles of Columbia
to the want of sufficient power in the executive department, and plainly
intimated his opinion that the constitution had been founded on views
too liberal to be adapted to the state of society existing in that
country. His speech was very much in accordance with the views developed
in the Bolivian Code, and furnished good reason for believing that he
was no less willing to accept supreme power than his friends were
disposed to invest him with it, as the only remedy for existing evils.
The majority of the convention, however, were suspicious of the
President’s intentions. Finding themselves in a minority, his friends
vacated their seats in the assembly, which being thus reduced below the
number necessary to give validity to its proceedings, became virtually

In this state of things, a meeting was convened at Bogotá, June 13, of
the principal civil and military residents, at which resolutions were
passed investing Bolivar with the most extensive powers as Supreme Chief
of Columbia. He himself was not present, but in the near neighbourhood;
and on receiving intimation of these resolutions, he made a solemn entry
into Bogotá, June 20, and assumed the powers thus gratuitously bestowed
upon him, not, it is to be observed, by the act of the convention, or of
any body authorised to interfere in any way with the existing
constitution. Great dissatisfaction was felt by those who were not
attached to the party of Bolivar; and in the following September, a
conspiracy was organised in the garrison of Bogotá, to which the
President’s life had nearly fallen a sacrifice. It was quelled however.
General Santander, the Vice-president, was accused of being concerned in
it, and was banished from Columbia. Partial insurrections subsequently
broke out in various places. Towards the close of 1829, the discontent
which had formerly appeared in Venezuela, manifested itself more
decidedly. Paez put himself at the head of the dissatisfied party; and
in a very short time, the whole province raised the standard of
independence, and expressed its determination to be merged no longer in
the Columbian Republic. In the midst of these tumults, Bolivar resolved
at length to retire from the eminent station in which he had been the
cause of so much offence. He had issued a proclamation, December 24,
1828, summoning a convention in January, 1830, to frame a new permanent
constitution for Columbia. It met at the appointed time. Bolivar, in
opening the deliberations, expressed his determination not to accept
again the chief magistracy of the state; but, as he had said the same
thing in equally strong terms before, nobody paid much attention to the
declaration. This time, however, he adhered to it. Besides the labour of
making a new constitution, the convention had to discuss the difficult
question of the secession of Venezuela: nor was this all, for as that
district had separated itself from the Columbian Republic, in a great
degree Owing to its distrust of Bolivar, so the southern provinces
refused to acknowledge the new constitution unless he were placed at its
head. The convention wisely resolved, with respect to Venezuela, that
every peaceful method should be tried to prevent its secession, but that
it would not be expedient or proper to attempt to maintain the union by
force. To anticipate a little the order of time, the Venezuelans were
resolved to have an independent government; and finally, in 1832, the
short-lived republic of Columbia was divided into three, bearing
respectively the titles of Venezuela, New Granada, and the Republic of
the Equator, which was formed out of the southern provinces of Quito,
Guayaquil, and Assuai.

After the adoption of the new constitution of 1830, Bolivar retired to
the province of Carthagena, exhausted both in body and mind. He died at
Santa Martha, December 17, 1830, leaving a character on the merits of
which it is difficult to pronounce a decided opinion. His name will not
soon be forgotten, for it is indissolubly connected with the cause of
independence in South America: but, in reviewing the progress and
prospects of North and South America, it is impossible not to remark
Bolivar’s inferiority to Washington, both in talent and virtue, and not
to reflect with regret how different, in all probability, the conduct
and the prosperity of the South American republics would have been if
they had possessed such a leader as the first President of the United

The chief books which have been consulted for this sketch have been the
‘Annual Register,’ General Ducoudray Holstein’s ‘Memoirs of Bolivar,’ a
work evidently written under strong feelings of personal hostility, the
article Bolivar in the ‘Encyclopædia Americana,’ and a short account of
the Liberator in the ‘Memoirs of General Miller.’ In these works there
is so much discrepancy, not only of opinions, but of facts and dates,
that we do not venture to hope that we have escaped errors. A clear and
impartial history of the war of independence is still a desideratum.


_Engraved by J. Posselwhite._


_From a Picture by Wright of Derby._

Under the Superintendance of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful

_London, Published by Charles Knight, Ludgate Street._



In the history of trade there is nothing so remarkable as the rapid and
immense increase of the British cotton manufacture during the last
thirty years of the eighteenth century. Two nearly contemporaneous
discoveries concurred to produce that increase: the invention of
machinery for spinning; and the improvement, we might almost say
completion, of the steam-engine by James Watt. To his eminent merits we
have borne our testimony in the first volume of this work; and scarcely
less important, though less imposing, have been the services of the
ingenious men who contrived to spin thread without the use of the human
hand. We do not hesitate to take Arkwright as the representative of
those who wrought this great revolution in our manufacturing system, for
though recent evidence has refuted his claim to the invention, properly
speaking, of spinning by machinery, he was the first person who rendered
that invention profitable.

By the year 1760, the manufacture of cotton goods, which had been
increasing slowly from the beginning of the century, had attained
considerable importance. In 1764, the declared value of British cotton
goods exported was upwards of 200,000_l._, having increased tenfold
within forty or fifty years. At this period the demand for them exceeded
the supply, in consequence of the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient
quantity of yarn for weaving. The one-thread spinning-wheel, now nearly
banished from our cottages, was then the sole source from which
spun-yarn could be obtained; and the trades of spinning and weaving were
commonly united in a humble manner—the man wove, while his wife and
daughters spun. If this domestic supply was insufficient, the weaver had
often to waste time and labour in collecting materials for his daily
work. Mr. Guest states, that “it was no uncommon thing for a weaver to
walk three or four miles in a morning, and call on five or six spinners,
before he could collect weft to serve him for the remainder of the day;
and when he wished to weave a piece in a shorter time than usual, a new
ribbon or a gown was necessary to quicken the exertions of the spinner.”
This check existing on the industry of the weaver, it is no wonder that
mechanical ingenuity was tasked to invent a quicker way of spinning. The
principle of the first plan by which this was effected may be easily
explained. Suppose a ribbon placed between two horizontal cylinders
which are in contact with each other; if the cylinders are made to
revolve, it is evident that they will draw the ribbon onwards in the
direction of their motion. Again, if the foremost end of it be presented
to a second pair of similar revolving cylinders, it will be drawn
through these also. If both pairs revolve with exactly the same
velocity, it will pass through them unaltered; but if the second pair
revolve with greater velocity than the first, there will be a certain
strain on the intermediate ribbon, which, if extensible, will be
stretched in the same degree that the velocity of the second pair of
rollers exceeds that of the first. Now cotton, after being cleaned and
carded, comes from the card in fleecy rolls, the fibres of which are
laid parallel, and so made fit to spin. To reduce these to thread or
yarn takes more than one operation: the first brings the _cardings_ into
thick, loosely twisted threads, called _rovings_; the subsequent ones
reduce the rovings into yarn fit for the loom. It is evident that both
the cardings and rovings are fitted by their texture for the process of
extension by rollers described above; and that they would be drawn out
twofold, fourfold, or in any greater or less degree, proportionate to
the difference of velocity between the first and second pair of rollers.
From the second pair the thread is delivered to a spindle, which gives
the due degree of twist; and it is finally wound on a bobbin: the whole
being set in motion by the same mechanical power. It is evident that
many spindles might be attached to, and many threads spun by, the same
combination of rollers. Arkwright claimed the merit of this invention.
It is proved, however, by the undeniable evidence of an existing patent,
printed by Mr. Baines in his History of the Cotton Manufacture, that
this principle of spinning by rollers was patented so early as the year
1738, by a foreigner named Lewis Paul; the real inventor was John Wyatt,
of Birmingham. In their hands however, though the invention did not
absolutely fail, it did not so succeed as to be brought into general
use, or even to become profitable to the inventors. Simple and obvious
as the _principle_ appears when once laid down, great difficulties were
to be overcome in forming this stretched cotton into a useful thread; as
may be conceived from reflecting on the great rapidity with which, to
make spinning profitable, parts of the machine must move, the perfect
regularity of motion requisite, and the slightness of the strain which a
few untwisted filaments of cotton will bear. For the apparently trivial
object of producing a uniform line of fine yarn, the utmost efforts of

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