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to Europe. Cuba, Caracas, and Buenos Ayres, which raise bulky and perishable articles, requiring a large tonnage to export them, and liable to spoil if not brought speedily to market, were the greatest sufferers by this change. Cuba, from its situation, could best relieve itself by contraband, the natural check of impolicy and injustice in matters of commerce : But even Cuba was loud in its complaints of restrictions; which appeared intolerable, when it became manifest that no one was benefited by them except the merchants of Cadiz. Buenos Ayres and Caracas made similar representations; but no effect was produced by their remonstrances.
In this situation of affairs, the news arrived in America of the irruption of the French into Andalusia, and of the dispersion of the Central Junta, loaded with the execrations and contempt of the people. Among the charges against that body, was the accusation of having betrayed their country to France, and secretly favoured the progress of her arms. We believe the charge to have been most unjust; but it cannot be denied, that the central government had made an unskilful use of the resources of the country entrusted to its hands; that it had lost the confidence of its subjects, by the want of openness and candour, as much as by want of vigour and success; and that it had alienated its allies by unworthy suspicions, pettifogging altercations, and ruinous delays. When America had first received intelligence of the war with France, the colonists had expressed the greatest ardour in the cause of the mother country, and had manifested the sincerity of their zeal, by the readiness of their obedience to her provisional governments, and by the liberality of their contributions in her support. But when every wind from Europe brought tidings of defeats and disasters, with complaints of misconduct, and accusations of treachery, they became more sparing of their donations, and less disposed to give their confidence, or intrust their destinies, to those who had the administration of her affairs. They recollected, with jealousy and distrust, that, in most parts of America, and universally in Europe, the people, and not their governors, had first expressed apprehensions of the designs of France, and taken up arms to pose them. They could not forget, that when the first account of the transactions at Bayonne, aud insurrection of Seville, reached Caracas, the governors of the colony haci affected to disbelieve the intelligence, and were only compelled, by their fears of the populace, to declare war en France, and swear fidelity to Ferdinand VII. They knew also, that at Buenos Ayres, Liniers had forfeited the esteem and confidence of a people, so much and so justly beholden to hiin for his past services, by preaching up to them the duty of waiting for events in the Peninsula'; I 4
and, as their fathers had done in the Succession War, of following the fortunes of the conqueror. There prevailed, therefore, in the minds of all Spanish Americans, who were incensed with French aggression, or attached to the name and glory of their country, a general and not unnatural suspicion, that the persons possessed of authority arnong them were not deserving of their confidence. Creatures of Godoy, as the greater part of those in the service of government necessarily were, they shared in the odium attached to his name. Old Spaniards, as they almost universally were, they were suspected of being more anxious to maintain the connexion with the mother country, than to defend American Spain from foreign usurpation.
Such was the state of the public mind at Caracas, when news arrived of the loss of Seville, and dissolution of the central government. Those who were afraid of French domination, were seized with fresh alarm. Those who had suffered from the monopoly and restrictive regulations of the mother country, were glad of the opportunity to take the redress of grievances into their own hands. The government, destitute of popularity, and abandoned by the military, yielded to this combination, and, after a feeble resistance, permitted a provisional Junta to intrude into its place, and exercise its functions. * Those who secretly aspired to independence disguised their sentiments, and joined with the others in swearing fidelity to Ferdinand VII, and pro. fessing attachment to the mother country; till subsequent events gave strength to their party,' and encouraged them, first to avow, and afterwards to effectuate their designs. Their reserve and dissimulation at the commencement of the insurrection, afford, however, the strongest proof, that when Caracas first rejected the authority of the Regency, the majority of its leaders were either sincere in their professions of adherence to the mother country, or afraid to declare their real intentions, because the people were not yet prepared to enter into their schemes.
It was not long, however, before the Regency furnished them with materials to exasperate the people against the mother couniry, if not with grounds to justify views of complete separation and absolute independence. Though the Central Junta had declared, that the transatlantic possessions of Spain had equal rights with its European provinces, the Regency continued to govern them on the footing of dependent colonies. An order was given, that no persons should be permitted to land in America, without å passport from the government at home, or from some of its agents abroad, as if tlie Americans were not fit to be trusted out of the pupillage in which they had been hitherto
confined. April 19th, 1910.
confined. Viceroys, Captains-general, Judges, and other officers, were sent out to them from Spain, with such powers and instructions as the old government had been accustomed to transmit to its servants. Many of the persons entrusted with these commissions were of doubtful fidelity, and some of them had voluntarily taken an oath of allegiance to Joseph, and actually received from him the same appointments in the colonies which they afterwards obtained from the Regency of Cadiz. But the transaction, which made the deepest impression on the colonies, was the revocation of the decree in favour of their commerce. The remonstrances of Cuba had at length awakened the Regency from its torpor, and procured a decree, * permitting the colonies to trade with foreign nations in articles of their own production, for which they had no market at home. This decree was just, equitable, and necessary; but it was contrary to the interests, and offensive to the prejudices of the merchants of Cadiz; and, on that account, after an interval of five weeks, † it was recalled, and declared to have been a forgery and imposition on the public. No inquiry, however, was made into the origin, nor punishment inflicted on the authors of this pious fraud; and therefore no credit was given to the declaration, that it was spurious, and had been published without authority. No one could believe, that a forgery of this nature had been committed, with impunity, in the offices of government; or that a spurious decree, in name of the Regency, had been suffered to circulate for weeks, in the place of its residence, without challenge or contradiction. The second decree was therefore attributed to the influence of the Junta and merchants of Cadiz., who had extorted, from the weakness and necessities of the Regency, the denial of an act, which its members had not courage to vindicate, or justice to maintain. We may judge whether, after conduct so mean, so dastardly and so dishonest, any man of sense or spirit in America could respect a government, which had acted a part so timid, so shufiliug, and so fraudulent.
While this impression was still fresh at Caracas, intelligence arrived, that all who adhered to the late revolutionary proceedings were proclaimed traitors, and that the ports of the colony were declared to be in a state of blockade, till it should acknowledge the Regency at Cadiz as the true and legitimate representation of Ferdinand VII. This measure, fruit of the imbecile haughtiness of the government and disappointed avarice of the merchants, would have been of doubtful policy, could it hare been followed up by powerful fleets and numerous armies. But,
instead * May 17th, 1910.
+ June 27th, 1810.
instead of a Duke of Alva or Duke of Parma to enforce its orders, the Regency sent out a lawyer to wrangle with the colonists, and argue them into obedience. Mr Cortavarria, for so he was called, fixed his residence at Puerto Rico, and from that secure station commenced a regular fire of tedious proclamations against Caracas; to which Caracas replied with the same innocent weapons ;---till at length, provoked with their obstinacy, and worsted in the argument, he fulminated against them a decree, * confirming the blockade ordered by the Regency six months before ; t but with strict injunctions to his blockading squadron, where such could be found, not to molest English or Portuguese
upon the coast, though these were the only ships he could expect to meet with. A piratical war had already commenced, which cost the people of Caracas the loss of some fishing boats and miserable coasters, but was attended with no other consequence; and failed entirely in reducing the colony to submission.
Irritated by this petty warfare, and enraged at the contumelious epithets which the mother country and her partizans continued to lavish upon them, the leaders of Caracas executed at length a design, which they had early announced, of assembling a general congress of delegates from all the principal towns and districts which had espoused their cause. This congress met at Caracas on the 2d of March, 1811, and began with renewing the oath of fidelity to Ferdinand VII, and repeating the former declarations of attachment to the mother country. But a different spirit from that of the first insurgents had now arisen, and acquired an unhappy ascendancy in the colony. A refugee from America, whose lifetime has been spent in stirring up enemies to Spain, had been permitted, by the English government, to return to Caracas, and had there contrived to get himself electcd member of congress by one of the most inconsiderable towng of the province. "A patriotic club was got together, and a newspaper set on foot, with the imposing title of the Patriot of Venezuela ;' having for its professed object to discredit and destroy the system of moderation on which the leaders of the insurrection had hitherto proceeded. These arts were as usual successful. On the 5th of July, 1811, the reputies who had so lately renewed their oaths to Ferdinand, abjured his authority, declared themselves absolved from all a legiance to the Crown of Spain, and constituted the provinces which they represented into free and independent states, with the title of United Provinces of Venezuela
These violent changes have been followed by the consequen
"anuary 21st, 1811.
† July 31st, 1810,
ces it was natural to expect from them. An antirevolutionary party
has sprung up, and excited alarm even within the city of Caracas. 'The adherents of the mother country bave, in their turn, been proscribed, and punished by the same sunmary justice, which, if the stronger party, they would have inflicted on their opponents. If the accounts we have received are correct, many persons have been arrested on suspicion, and thrown into prison; some banished, and not a fi'w put to death; and, to strike greater terror into the disaffected, the heads of the sufferers have been fixed on poles at the gates of the city, as a warning to the unwary, not to question the legitimate authority exercised by the free and independent states of Venezuela.--Such are the happy auspices under which South American regeneration has commenced, and such the benefits of a leader experienced in revolutions! Valencia, å town of the interior, not far distant from Caracas, and inhabited by some of the oldest and most respectable Creole families of the province, bad originally taken part with the insurgents, and sent deputies to their eongress; but, on the declaration of independence, it fell off from their party; on which Miranda was sent against the unhappy town with a body of forces; and, by the last accounts, he has punished it most severely for its disobedience. Coro and Maracaybo, however, still hold out; and continue, as they have done from the beginning of the revolution, stedfast in the interest of the mother country.
The provinces in the south and the west have not been more fortunate or more pacific. On the first breaking out of the disturbances at Caracas, the Viceroy of Santa l'é de Bogota gave the strictest orders to cut off all communication between the provinces subject to his jurisdiction and those occupied by the insurgents. But the same grievances and the same fears, which had excited Caracas to rise against its government, existed in New Grenada. The rashness and violence of the Corregidor of Socorro, who made the troops under his command fire upon a mutinous, but unarmed populace, became the signal for insurrection. Attacked by an immense multitude from the neighbouring country, he was besieged in a convent to which he had retired for protection, and starved into surrendering, Socorro imme. diately appointed its junta, and sent to the Audiencia of Santa Té a vindication of its proceedings. The Viceroy, finding it in vain to oppose the general inclinations of the people, which had been strongly manifested in a tumult that occurred in the capital, but desirous to retain at least the semblance of authorily, yichalal in their wishes, and indulged them with a junta,
July 9. 1919;