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and to dissolve the sect of which Paez had prudently declared himself to be the head, was hopeless. Paez declared frankly to Bolivar his determination to resist to the uttermost any force which might be sent against him. "I cannot answer for tranquillity," said he, "if the government of Bogota have the imprudence to discharge a single shot. I have undertaken the protection of this people; I have sworn that they shall not be molested, till their enemies have passed over my body. I will not be the aggressor, but I will take vengeance for any insults which may be offered to diem, until they forsake me. Without your excellency, civil war is inevitable; and, should it once commence, I feel that, from the character of this people, there is no hope of its termination, until all be reduced to ashes." Such was the language of the Colombian government held by one of its own officers, and such the deplorable condition of its civic union. While it was compelled to stand by in idleness, the example of Venezuela was rapidly spreading. The desire to shake off their dependence on the central government spread from province to province. The municipality of the department of Guayaquill addressed an application to the government, praying that the constitution should be immediately revised and altered. The government replied, that the executive could not, without a breach of duty and a violation of oath, anticipate the period originally fixed for that purpose; that the federal form of government demanded by the discontented was essentially weak; and that the disobedience of
Venezuela alone, and part of the province of Apure, furnished no reason why the other states composing the republic should consent to the violation of a fundamental law. But to Venezuela and Apure was now added Guayaquill itself: they were speedily followed by the departments of the Isthmus, Azuay, Zulia, Magdalena; and, in a few months after the first defection of Valencia, no fewer than seven departments had declared themselves ready to thrqw off their connection with the central government, and to frame for themselves a new constitution. So unsteady and inconsequent were some of these Neophytes in the cause of regular liberty, that, at Quito, they voted that all liberty should be suspended, and Bolivar declared Dictator; expressing a hope that the other departments would unanimously adopt a similar measure. To such communications, Santander, the vice-president, answered, that he recognised no acts inconsistent with the political code which the executive had received from the Colombian people, and that, so long as a single town adhered to it, he would support it with his life and fortune; that there was no necessity for the "absolutely detestable" proposition to create a Dictator; and that the president, as chief magistrate, would find in the constitution itself, all the powers necessary to save it from foreign or domestic assaults.
Venezuela, in which the discord had begun, proceeded more formally than any other province to remodel its institutions. In consequence of a report by the recorder of Caraccas, which re
presented, with a melancholy de-
Lupose of assembling at such time
Paez, in conformity with these arrangements, promulgated a decree on the 13th November, regulating the election of the deputies. The qualifications already required in the electors and candidates to the general congress were retained; but he decreed that the number of deputies returned by each electoral college should be doubled, and the constitution was tendered more purely democratic by the suppression of the senate. The deputies were to be paid out of the funds hitherto set apart for payment of the deputies of Bogota. One sweeping article in the decree, which ordained that "all persons, without exception, who should directly or indirectly oppose the elections, or any part of the decree, should be fined and punished as a traitor," placed the life of every man at the mercy of a wild and vague law, administered by fiery party zealots. The assembly was to meet at Valencia on the 15th of January, in the following year— and thus the republic of Colombia found that its members neither had, nor thought they had, any common interest, and that it was utterly impotent in itself to prevent local jealousies, or personal ambition,- from dashing it in pieces. It was fortunate that the revolution had proceeded so far without bloodshed. Some lives, indeed, had been lost at Truxillo, inthe department of Zulia, but the affray was more the result of a drunken quarrel between the garrison and some of the troops of Paez, on their march to Varmas, than the open contention of opposite political opinions. The only attempt to support by force the authority of the government of Bogota, within the revolted provinces, was made by general Bermudez, who, from Carthagena, had thundered forth threatening and impotent proclamations, announcing the speedy annihilation of Paez and his rebellious adherents. Cumana having declared for the federal system adopted at Caraccas, Bermudez contrived to make himself master, with about four hundred men, of one of the Vol. LXVIII. batteries at the mouth of the Cumana river, where he was joined by general Monayas, who commanded in the town. The greater part of the inhabitants expecting a bombardment, fled, some to Bermudez, and others to the opposite shore; but the great mass of the population determined to resist; and, as the militia had joined the federal cause, colonel Ruiz, who took the command after the desertion of Monayas, found himself at the head of several thousand men. He made a sally on the 19th of November, and defeated Bermudez, who, aftei sustainingconsiderable loss, retired to Barcelona, leaving the town unmolested. It was only the influence and authority of Bolivar that could check these ruinous dissentions; and Bolivar was lingering in Peru, where the war had been already triumphantly finished, detained partly by the discovery of a conspiracy directed against himself, and partly by a wish to secure his power more firmly than the spirit which produced that conspiracy seemed willing to permit. Early in August, however, he had despatched a confidential person to the Intendant of Caraccas, to explain his views regarding the present state of affairs in Colombia, and proposing that the constitution which he had just framed for the new republic of Bolivia should, with somemodification, be adopted at home. He left Peru in the end of August, and arrived at Guayaquil on the 12th of September, where he immediately issued a proclamation, taking upon himself all the blame of the dissentions which had occurred, and speaking of them much more in
to meet the pecuniary engagements of the republic. When they met, he told them in his message, that the executive had received the disagreeable intelligence that it could not dispose of the funds with which it had intended to pay the interest due on the foreign debt, and provide for the gradual extinction of the capital. "Government," said he, "had well-grounded hopes that the successive improvement of our finances, and the reductions which would be made in the public expenditure in the war department, would leave means sufficient to meet the pecuniary engagements of the republic, without its being necessary to burthen the people with fresh contributions; but, as the improvement of the revenue is not the work of a moment, and it would not be prudent in our present state to diminish the army, the executive had appropriated a part of what was owing us by Peru for the payment of the interest of the foreign debt during the present year. The government of Peru determined to negociate a loan in Europe, to facilitate the reimbursement of the debt it had contracted to the republic of Colombia; but, from circumstances which were not within its control, the negotiation was not successful. In consequence of this unexpected occurrence, the executive sees itself surrounded with serious difficulties, which you alone, from the nature of your functions, are able to remove. The honour of the nation being deeply involved, and our public faith being compromised, I have judged it absolutely necessary to convoke congress on an extraordinary session." [2 D 21