Chapter XXIX "THE GREAT GENTLEMAN OF COLOMBIA"

SUCRE, as President of Bolivia, had had his troubles from the first. Gil Fortoul says, "His government was illustrious, progressive, liberal--and weak." Though a stern and determined commander in battle, the noble Sucre was far too gracious a character for a civil magistrate in those times. He exercised none of the powers allowed him under the strong Bolivarian Constitution. He reduced the standing army to only fifty men and the country became shot through with dissensions in the face of his apparent weakness. Only a few months after he took the oath of office an assassin, one Valentín Matos, entered the palace and attacked him with a knife. Matos was tried by the courts and sentenced to death; but Sucre commuted the sentence to exile and gave the man 200 pesos out of his own pocket to pay for his journey. Shortly afterwards he pardoned the man entirely.

Finally, in April of 1828, a serious revolution broke out. There was fighting on the city streets and Sucre was severely wounded in the right arm and head. To climax the catastrophe, troops from Perú crossed the border into Bolivia with the intention of bringing the new nation back into the dominion of the Lima government. There had long been considerable resentment among the Peruvians over the separation of one of the old viceroyalty's richest provinces.

Utterly discouraged in the face of all this, Sucre resigned his office on August 2, 1828. Shortly before, he had

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Man of Glory: Simon Bolivar
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