BESIDE BOLIVAR: The Edecán Demarquet
DEMARQUET'S ROLE IN THE STRUGGLE: Beyond Bolivar
Demarquet's European plans seem to have been put aside; he now served Ecuador – and Florès. Towards the end of the following year, Boussingault found himself at Demarquet's side during the revolt of the Vargas battalion, an event as as tragic as it must have been terrifying:
In the night of October 10 to 11 1831, the officers of the Vargas battalion, except for commandant Whitle, were arrested at the instigation of a sergeant-major, the Negro Arboleda.
At 11 in the evening, Florès finding himself in the palace, in a ground floor room, a bullet, coming from the main plaza, killed his assistant. The general understood immediately that there was an insurrection. He went out at once on horseback through a hidden door and went into the city to order a regiment of hussars, camped a few leagues away, to march against the rebels. At 12 in the morning, there was a lively agitation on the square: the Vargas battalion was under arms.
I had my treasure and my papers buried in the archbishop's garden by my assistant Vicente; then I managed to go out without being noticed and, despite what I was advised, I was on horseback beside general Florès. A parlay was being held with the rebels who declared, as was true, that they had not been paid. They demanded their pay to return to the Central Provinces. It was decided to give them money; colonel Demarquet and I were charged with the distribution. Demarquet took a few piastres from a bag which he put in the soldiers' hands. I was there as a witness and my role was not without its use, because there was a moment where a grenadier, too impatient, put the end of his trabuco on my friend's hip, I just had time to turn away the shot which went off without touching him. After the granted indemnity, it was agreed that before authorizing the battalion's departure, the president of the Republic of Ecuador would make certain propositions. For this purpose, the troops were to meet in the square.
At 3, we found the soldiers in formation. Florès advanced with us some distance from the front, but at the moment he was starting to talk, the battalion fired. One is rarely exposed to a hail of bullets, like that which was directed against our group; one never forgets so deafening a noise. General Florès, in a movement known to the llaneros had, after the volley, his legs crossed over his saddle and his body under the horse's belly. As for us, shocked to still be alive, we fled hastily to a street where there we would be covered; only the horses had been lightly wounded. We were able to return to the neighborhood of the archbishop's residence. The rebels began to march with the intention of going to Pasto to join general Obando, apparently the instigator of the rebellion. Colonel Whitle followed them in hopes of bringing them back to their duty, which cost him his life because fallen into an ambush, he was shot on the bridge of Guayabamba.
Once out of Quito, the soldiers marched without order as always happens with troops obliged to provide for themselves. The stragglers were dragged off by the hussars who were following them. They captured the sergeant-major Arboleda, who was shot in the main plaza, despite the pleas for mercy from some ladies who took a singular interest in this Negro. Not one of the soldiers of the Vargas battalion made it to the interior; most were taken to Quito.
It was sad to see men endowed with undeniable courage die with so much determination and indifference. Those who escaped the searches spread out everywhere. Several times I encountered some; they gave me a military salute, a kind of confession. I understood, and I felt sorry for them.
Two weeks later, on October 29, 1831, Demarquet was granted retirement and a pension:
Also approved was that of the War Committee, whose opinion is passed to the Executive to grant his retirement to Colonel Carlos Eloy Demarquet, who requested it from Congress, assigning him the third of the salary of his class, from which he can profit whatever his residence, during the time fixed by the Executive to maintain its continuance, and if he does not take service under another flag.
Demarquet had already made forays into business and Boussingault says that Demarquet now became a businessman. Unfortunately, after Bolivar, his life in general is barely documented. What follows reflects the fitful availability of information.
Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera (who would later be president of Colombia four times) gave a glimpse of Demarquet's fortunes (and his character) when, finding himself in Lima on a mission the year before, he had had to borrow money and then wrote Bolivar to explain the circumstances:
All recourse is closed, and General Florès has not been able to send me a real, I was going to sell my furniture to go and not perish here with the frigate, to seek our end in Guayaquil and hide our shame in Colombia; when your excellent friend and ours, Colonel Demarquet and Codecido, offered me their services, so long as I find a way to pay them. Neither, absolutely neither, has asked for my personal guarantee to give me a real and they offer me what they have. Demarquet has put all his small fortune in our hands, and has given me twenty thousand pesos, to pay them in discount of rights in Guayaquil, and I have concluded a contract allowing them to deal in linen and woolen cloth... I have pledged my responsibility to these men and it would be very painful to ruin myself in serving my country. Never, sir, have I abused my posts, and Y. knows me: and so excuse me for being vague in this matter and I assure Y. E. I proceeded to this only by love of country. It consoles me as well that Y. E. knows that Demarquet and I are not speculators, and that Codecido has served us other times in similar circumstances.
It may be then that Demarquet was, among other things, dealing in textiles at this point.
The following year, he was “reintegrated” as a French citizen, per a note in the French national archives: “Reintegration in the status of being French, authorization to serve abroad; DEMARQUET Charles, Eloi; Seine; Bolivia; May 14, 1832.” 2 BB/11/332 réintégration dans la qualité de français, autorisation de servir à l'étranger ; DEMARQUET Charles, Éloi ; Seine ; Bolivie ; 14 mai 1832 .
http://www.archivesnationales.culture.gouv.fr/arn- search NAT : Naturalisations, noms, titres, armoiries (1814–1853)
This shows that he was in Paris when he applied; supposedly he was residing there too, though it may be he made that declaration to avoid complications. Was he then coming from Bolivia? If so, this is the only note of his having resided there.
Unless the permission to “serve abroad” was retroactive, this would also imply that he did not entirely plan to leave military (or at least public) life.
In 1835, he was in Quito, where his father-in-law gave him a proxy or power of attorney for an unspecified purpose. Banco Central del Ecuador, Fondo Jijón y Caamaño 1983-<c1987> I:201-202
Demarquet seems to have been, at least for a time, a part of the Florès administration, as evidenced by a reference concerning the debt owed by Ecuador to Gran Colombia for the struggle with Spain. Hurtado – who does not mention Demarquet elsewhere – writes that in 1836 the government was considering who to send on a mission related to this debt but that “Demarquet was not suited to the circumstances of working in the bond business.” Hurtado, 190-191 This is curious, given his reputation for efficiency in general. But it may be that, simply put, he did not have a head for finance.
As per Lafond, he was certainly back in Paris before 1843, whether to visit or establish his family. In 1844, the French government delivered “Patent letters which authorize the sir Demarquet to take up military service in the republic of Ecuador.” . Collection complète des lois, décrets, ordonnances, réglements v44 -18 44
While it is just possible at this point that this referred to one of his sons, it is sure that his services were again needed in Ecuador, thanks to a person who kept reappearing in his, and Ecuador's, life: Juan José Florès.
One must remember that Florès was formerly the president of this sad republic, that he was overthrown and expelled from the country, not without having signed a personal guarantee to the government to which he gave way, and that since he has tried several times to return as master, arms in hand, to Ecuador. The noise of his undertakings has filled America.
Annuaire des deux mondes T8 1857/58
On January 15, 1847 colonel Eloy Demarquet was named as Chargé d'Affaires [to Chile], “to address the means of counteracting the expedition of Don Juan José Florès” so that in everything he agree with Rocafuerte and with the special mission of traveling constantly from Lima to Santiago, with the purpose of carrying instructions from Rocafuerte and Millan, which often it was not prudent to trust to pen and paper.
Ana Gimeno, Una tentativa monárquica en América: el caso ecuatoriano 463, 447
No doubt much remains to be discovered about the years between this appointment and 1860. Boussingault is quoted (apparently not from his memoirs) as saying in 1860 that Demarquet was then the richest man in Quito and, having liquidated everything, was on the point of returning to France. He had certainly settled there by August of that year, when his daughter Petrona was married. Whether he already had been so before, after Bolivar's death and before a return to Quito, is unclear. As already stated, he died there in 1870.