Simón Bolívar's Quest for Glory

By Richard W. Slatta; Jane Lucas De Grummond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
Regrouping in Jamaica,
1815–16

Bolívar sailed to Jamaica on the English brig of war Descubierta and debarked at Kingston on May 14, 1815. On May 19 he wrote a long letter to his English friend Maxwell Hyslop, “merchant of Jamaica.” After a brief account of his conflict with Castillo, Bolívar detailed the military weakness of New Granada. The Patriots had only twenty-five hundred men in Cartagena. This small force could not regain the Magdalena Valley from Santa Marta and restore communications with Bogotá. The Patriots numbered only a thousand men under arms in the province of Pamplona. This force could not garrison Cúcuta and defend the fourteen-hundred-mile boundary between Venezuela and the New Granadan provinces of Pamplona and Casanare. Likewise, they had but five hundred troops in Bogotá and sixteen hundred troops in Popayán to hold the southern frontier against Royalist Pasto and Quito.

His military and political reversals had plunged the always mercurial Bolívar into yet another fit of depression. Having been willing to fight and die for his country, he now felt that he served it best by leaving.

The renunciation of my command, of my fortune, and of my future glory
required no effort on my part. It is so natural for me to prefer the welfare
of the Republic to all else that, the more I suffer in its behalf, the greater
the inner satisfaction my soul receives. I will never again be a general. I

-116-

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