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Upper Peru.-General assembly.-Its proceedings.—Republic of Bolivia.-Aggression of the Brazilians.-General Bolivar sets out from Lima.-His tour.-Arrival at Potosi.-Rejoicings.Mine transactions.-The Liberator proceeds to Chuquisaca.General Miller sets out on leave of absence for England.
THE provinces of Upper Peru, previous to the revolution, formed a part of the viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres. However, as the manners, customs, and even language, of the majority of the inhabitants were extremely dissimilar to those of the natives of the provinces of the Rio de la Plata, the Argentine republic generously and judiciously relinquished its claim, and concurred in allowing it to decide upon its own political destiny, conformably to the known views of the Liberator and General Sucre. The latter was to continue the exercise of the supreme power until a new government should be regularly organized.
Fifty-four deputies were chosen to express the wishes of the people at large upon the question, whether Upper Peru should incorporate itself with Lower Peru; re-incorporate itself with Buenos Ayres; or declare itself an independent state. The general assembly met at Chuquisaca, in August, 1825, and proclaimed the national will to be, that Upper Peru should become an independent nation.
The deputies having fulfilled the object for which
they had been convened, it was hoped, rather than expected, that they would have separated in order to make way for a general legislative body. Unwilling, however, to relinquish the captivating title of legislators, the deputies continued their session, and, assuming congressional powers, passed various laws. They decreed that Upper Peru should in future be called Bolivia. They put forth a declaration of independence, very proper in its intention, but so pompously written as almost to throw an air of ridicule over the whole proceeding. The assembly voted at the same time that its president, Doctor Serrano, should be styled and addressed as HIS EXCELLEncy. They next decreed that the deputies themselves should each receive a dieta, or daily allowance.
A million of dollars was voted to Bolivar, as a reward for his past eminent services; but the Liberator, with characteristic disinterestedness and magnanimity, accepted the grant only upon condition that the money should be employed in purchasing the liberty of about one thousand negro slaves existing in Bolivia. A million of dollars was also voted to those who had served in the campaign of 1824.
The assembly, not content with the pleasures of legislation only, assumed, on some occasions, the executive power. Sucre being absent from Chuquisaca, the assembly, in order to celebrate their own installation, and their adoption of a new name for the country, sent a circular to the prefects, desiring them to order Te Deum to be sung, salutes of artillery to be fired, and illuminations to be made. This order was not obeyed by the prefect of Potosi, in conse
quence of its not coming through the executive power. A call for money was also made soon afterwards by the assembly; but this demand met with the same fate, on the same account.
A few days after the affair of Ayacucho, and before the news of it could have crossed the western frontier line of Brazil, a party of about two hundred Brazilian troops took possession of the Upper Peruvian province of Chiquitos, in the name of the Emperor Don Pedro. The commanding officer wrote a letter of defiance, in the most inflated style, to Sucre. But so soon as a company of patriot infantry made appearance, the bombastic Brazilians sneaked away, and, buccaneer-like, carried off a quantity of cattle, and other property of the unprotected peasantry. It was Sucre's wish to have sent fifteen hundred men, under the command of Miller, who it was expected would have found a strong republican feeling in the inland provinces, and who thus would have been enabled to have pushed on to Rio Janeiro, to prevent the repetition of any imperial aggression.
The projected advance upon Rio Janeiro may appear to have been most quixotic to those who only look to the immense breadth of the intervening territory. But the Peruvian force would have entered the Brazils, not as enemies, but as auxiliaries to a strong democratic party known to exist there. Information, subsequently obtained, confirmed the probability, and even the facility, of realizing the first expectation. But Bolivar did not approve of the plan, and it was, in consequence, laid aside.
The minister of the emperor signified to the go
vernor of Matagrosso his majesty's disapprobation of this unauthorised marauding expedition. majesty also desired that the cattle and other stolen property should be restored. The disavowal and the order were communicated by the governor of Matagrosso to the prefect of the department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, of which Chiquitos is a province. It does not appear that the plundered property was ever restored, or any indemnification made. The Upper Peruvians of all parties long to avenge the insult; and such is the state of affairs now in that country, that unless peace should be concluded between the Brazils and Buenos Ayres, it is probable that Don Pedro may be reminded of the plundering excursion to Chiquitos.
On the 10th of February, 1825, Bolivar re-assembled, at Lima, the deputies of the congress of Lower Peru, and resigned the dictatorship; but he was solicited still to remain at the head of affairs. This he refused; but at length he acceded to the prayers of the people, with the appearance and expressions of the greatest reluctance.
Having decreed that a new congress should be installed on the 10th of February of the following year (1826), Bolivar set out from Lima on the 10th of April, 1825. Travelling along the coast, he arrived at Arequipa on the 15th of May, and left it on the 10th of June. He entered Cuzco on the 26th of the same month, and on the 26th of July set out for La Paz, where he arrived on the 18th of August, having remained a few days at Puno. He quitted La Paz on the 20th of September, and entered Potosi on the 5th of October.
The whole tour had been one continued triumph. On Bolivar's approach to the capitals of departments, the prefects, at the head of the public authorities, accompanied by a great part of the population, went out to meet him, and he was received with a degree of pomp and rejoicing highly flattering to his feelings. Triumphal arches were raised, costly presents were made to him, and grand dinners, balls, and bull-fights were given. The same honours were paid, on a smaller scale, at every town and village through which he passed. Cuzco and Potosi struck medals of copper, silver, and gold, to commemorate the Liberator's arrival in those cities.
Miller, after making every necessary arrangement for the reception of the Liberator, set out from Potosi, accompanied by deputies representing the municipality, clergy, corporations (gremios), and public offices, to meet his excellency on the frontier of the department, where a small obelisk had been erected, with an inscription commemorating his entrée. The date was placed when His Excellency appeared in sight.
The distance from Leñas, a hamlet on the frontier of the department, to Potosi is about seventeen leagues. The road was once one of the worst in Peru; in many places it was dangerous to pass it even upon a mule*. Two hundred Indians had for the preceding six weeks been employed upon it. In many places its direction was entirely changed. In short, the approach to Potosi, by this road, formerly
An attempt had been once made to introduce a piano forte for the lady of one of the governors of Potosi, but it could not be accomplished. The badness of the road would not admit of its being carried even upon the shoulders of Indians, and it was conveyed back to the coast.