IN July, 1810, Lord Wellesley, the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, received the emissaries of the junta of Ciracas in Apsley House, London. The head of the commission was Colonel Simón Bolívar and his two aides were Don Luis López Méndez and Don Andrés Bello. Bello was the famous Venezuelan poet who had been one of Bolívar's tutors years before.
Wellesley carefully read the credentials and the instructions of the emissaries, and looked at the young man who stood before him. Bolívar, in full regimentals and high Wellington boots, was an impressive figure.
When the formalities of introduction were over, Bolívar spoke. His dark eyes flashing in that odd, characteristic way, his small hands moving in slight, graceful gestures, speaking in French, the words flowed from his lips easily --forceful and eloquent. He pleaded that the government of His Majesty recognize the junta which he represented as the legitimate government of a sovereign people free of obligation to any foreign power; that, as an independent nation, Venezuela be granted the privileges of diplomatic relations and of commerce; that the British government lend military aid to lift the blockade which Spain had placed upon the coast and to protect the existence of the new nation against the power which now threatened it.
Wellesley, surprised, heard him through. Then he said, "But your instructions say nothing of an independent