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    Simón Bolívar Letter Signed. Six pages, 8" x 10", in Spanish, Bucaramanga [Colombia], April 11, 1828. Simón Bolívar had long dreamed of uniting his new republics (which he had wrested by force from the Kingdom of Spain) by establishing a government modeled after that of the United States. By 1826, however, Gran Colombia's twelve departments were proving more and more difficult to govern. In an effort to preserve his dream, he organized a constitutional convention in March 1828 which met in the city of Ocaña, Colombia, where he intended to implement a more powerful Federal government which included such provisions as a lifelong presidency and his ability to choose his successor.

    At the same time, an uprising against the Bolívar government occurred in the city of Cartagena, directed at General Mariano Montilla, by supporters of Admiral Jose Padilla. Padilla and Montilla had long been at odds. Writing to Señor Castillo, he defends the actions of one Montilla: "I am writing in response to your letters of March 29 and April 5, although not in detail but at least in part. The first has made me sad because it demonstrates ... disapproval of the conduct of [Mariano] Montilla regarding the recent occurrences at Cartagena. On my part, I don't see it as reprehensible..." In his letter, Castillo has apparently suggested that the military should be separated from the government, leading Bolívar to divulge his own opinion on the matter: "In my view, this step prevents the military spirit and relaxes discipline...[when] civil doctrines are applied to the military order."

    With regard to the uprising, Bolívar asks how "...would it be possible to remain inactive when one has seen the spirit that dictated the elections in Bogota, Caracas, and other departments and provinces? You want [Jose Antonio] Paez, Montilla, and my administration to work with much softness while the contrary comes from the walks of public life to form the citizens to adopt their own and...raise arms? You say that extraordinary faculties exasperate those gentlemen...I believe that you yourself were the one that indicated these ideals...the fault is not mine in which the state of the republic finds itself...All of history shows that political gangrene is never cured..."

    He continues: "Senor Castillo, you believe that man is the son of fear, and the criminal and slave much more. Some Senores lie when they say they are not afraid; if they were, they would not be so insolent... they know that my magnanimity is superior when regarding politics, for the prudence and well being of the republic. Very generous have I always been with my enemies...they have no right to complain, nor even murmur. They threaten to destroy the life work and they do not want us to be resentful or defend ourselves. When we represent the force of a lion, and they represent nothing more than the malice of a fox. In response to your second letter: It seems to me that there has been much exacting influence over your judgment... it is difficult to be fair to those that have offended us."

    Despite Castillo's suggestion to separate the military from the government, Bolívar proclaimed himself dictator through the Decree of Dictatorship on August 27, 1828. Folds are weakened and separating with some loss of paper and text, especially along the main vertical fold. Edges are chipped and toned. A small stain appears on page five from a wax seal.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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