Bolivar the Liberator

By Michel Vaucaire; Margaret Reed | Go to book overview
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VIII

LIBERAL ideas were making astonishing progress in all the Spanish colonies. At Buenos Ayres and at Santiago de Chile the cause of independence seemed to be won. At Santa an argument in a draper's shop degenerated into a riot. The confederates ran through the town shouting, 'They are murdering the Americans! Long live the Junta!' The patriots called themselves 'representatives of the nation,' a name which had an excellent effect upon the masses. There were acts of heroism. When the garrison seemed about to fire, a woman put herself at the head of the demonstrators and said to her five-year-old son: 'Go and die like a man. We women will march ahead, and if the cannon mow us down, we shall at least have saved the lives of those behind us, who can seize the guns.' The child began to cry, the soldiers fraternized with the insurgents, and the Viceroy realized that resistance was impossible.

At Caracas all was joy; the people believed that they were actually free. Spain was a long way off; rejoicings were organized everywhere. The Junta decided to send ambassadors to London to demand British recognition of the accomplished fact. But whom were they to send? The expenses were enormous and the Junta had not a farthing.

Bolivar offered to bear all the cost himself; he had been in England before, had friends there. He was

-34-

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