Oct 28, 2021 - Sale 2584

Sale 2584 - Lot 3

Price Realized: $ 6,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 20,000
TO THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF BOLIVIA ON WAR WITH PERU AND SPANISH INVASION BOLÍVAR, SIMÓN. Lengthy Letter Signed, "Bolivar," as President of Gran Colombia, to Antonio José de Sucre ("My dear General"), in Spanish, requesting confirmation that he lost his arm to a Peruvian attack and suggesting that his situation is analogous to the ungrateful treatment of Socrates [by the ancient Athenians: Bolívar regards Sucre as liberator of the Peruvians], remarking that the Colombians have begun to support Bolívar after his recent reforms, reporting that Spain is to launch an invasion of 12,000 troops at Mexico or Guatemala or Colombia, remarking that the situation in Cumaná is slowly improving, resolving to make war against Peru until they agree to Bolívar's terms, requesting a report of the [Peruvian] invasion of Bolivia, and, in a postscript: "Give a thousand regards to all the friends who have stood by you and in particular to Sr. Infante and the Brave Generals . . . and [current Bolivian president José María Pérez de] Urdininea." The text of the letter likely in the hand of his secretary, Belford Hinton Wilson. 8 pages, small 4to, written on two folded sheets; slight even fading to signature and text; 1/4 morocco slipcase with gilt spine titling and compartments, chemise. Bogotá, 22 July 1828

Additional Details

"Imagine with what a multitude of sentiments I write to you to discuss Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. . . . Can it be true that your arm has been mutilated as the Peruvians claim? It would be painful to lose a limb, a hand that wielded the sword at Pichincha and Ayacucho and that has signed a thousand decrees of blessings and health.
"America owes a great deal to your arm, but if you have lost it, will this crime not become a monument to your Glory and an example to the world! Why, my dear friend, in this new Greece you are suffering the martyrdom of Aristides, Alcibiades, . . . and Socrates, who were all victims of their sublime generosity. . . . Needless to say I have chosen my side, and raised my buckler against your enemies and those of my people, the Bolivians and Colombians: deeply resolved to avenge Colombia and save Bolivia. In this circumstance I think not of myself, who also have the right to the most legitimate revenge.
"I shall tell you that the Colombian People have shown themselves to be what they were of old . . . . Their infamous leaders had betrayed and degraded them to a point to which they should never have sunk. But they have awoken and regained their force . . . . Public opinion throughout Colombia has spoken in favor of its true leaders and the best ideas. . . . The People . . . have entrusted me with restoring their former way of life; because they are not fond of innovations. I have started by protecting religion . . . . I have offered to re-establish everything that is compatible with our Independence. The Army will return to its former ordinances and we shall have healthy reforms in that department. Do you know that the Spaniards want . . . to harass us? There is an expedition of twelve thousand men coming for America and we have a thirty-three per cent chance that we are the target, because it will be either Mexico, Guatemala or Colombia; but there is no worry of succumbing; because we are prepared and the people's spirit is excellent. The war against Peru has raised our warrior spirit and ideas of Glory and Battles have resuscitated [the people] from the lethargy in which Santander and his Defenders had sunk them. That perfidy will stand no longer while I live, because he has proven to be the greatest wretch in the world and unworthy even of life. . . .
"I shall tell you in passing that things in Cumaná are starting to improve . . . , but . . . it was in a horrible state and will only recover from its tribulations very slowly.
"You must already know that we have declared war on Peru because we could no longer tolerate their insults and thus are resolved to make war with all our might and for all our worth if they do not give us the strongest guarantees for Colombia and Bolivia. By guarantees I mean broad satisfactions and complete restitutions . . . .
"I anxiously await news from Bolivia to find out the result of that treacherous invasion. We were greatly pleased by the latest news we got that you were prepared to resist your enemies and that there was a conspiracy in Lima against Lamar, to depose him and install a better administration, one that can give us assurances of friendship and harmony between ourselves and you. If this happens we shall avoid a war that might perhaps do much damage to Peru and distract too much of our attention at such critical times, given all that I have referred to. . . ."
Spanish transcription available upon request.