BESIDE BOLIVAR: The Edecán Demarquet
DEMARQUET'S ROLE IN THE STRUGGLE: Mission To Peru
Demarquet is most often referred to as “colonel Demarquet”. He achieved this rank – his highest – in 1829:
In 1829, upon his return to the capital [Bogotá] he was named colonel. He returned to Lima Bolivar's ambassador, trying to establish friendly relations between Peru and Colombia.
Restrepo refers to Demarquet in this year as Bolivar's “old aide-de-camp”, but he seems simply to mean that Demarquet, as a colonel, was no longer an edecán (though that does not seem to have been the case – others still refer to Colonel Demarquet as Bolivar's edecán):
The Obando guerrillas disrupted communications with the coastal departments by the occupation of Patía and Pasto. Thus the Liberator could not be certain of the successes there; but with the arrival of his old aide-de-camp Colonel Demarquet, who came to Popayan by the Pacific coast, he was informed of several details relative to the army defending the Colombian territory against invasion by Peru.
Restrepo, vol 4
In 1830 the English paper the Annual Register wrote of: “the war which, in the course of the preceding [year], had sprung up between [Columbia] and Peru, without any intelligible cause, and had been conducted without spirit”. This tempest in a teapot was nonetheless a real crisis for Bolivar and became the one in which Demarquet played his most prominent part:
In the end of 1828, the Peruvians blockaded Guayaquil with a squadron under admiral Guise, consisting of one frigate, a corvette, a schooner, and two launches. In the middle of December, the blockading squadron proceeded up to the city. The Colombians, though the squadron had been in their waters for several weeks, were taken by surprise, and the first broadside from the frigate battered down a fort, a short distance below the city, which mounted seven large brass pieces, but was defended by only sixteen men. The Peruvians landed in boats, and spiked all the guns.— Below the fort a chain was thrown across the river, on which the frigate hung nearly twenty minutes before she could slacken it, and if the fort had been well manned, and the guns well worked, she would have been blown to pieces. The squadron lay in front of the city three days, and fired three thousand shot, to the great injury of several houses. Relying on the co-operation of a strong party of disaffected in the town, the Peruvians at last attempted a landing, but they were repulsed with loss; and some batteries having been erected, which played with effect upon the fleet, it was compelled to retire, having lost its commander, who was killed by the bursting of a gun. The blockade, however, continued; and, on the 10th of January, articles were concluded between its commandant and the Peruvian generals, for its conditional surrender within a given time.
Annual Register v. 71 – 1830
Numerous events and attempts to resolve the resulting conflicts followed. Ultimately changes in Peru simplified matters for both side:
Lamar had been raised to power because he was hostile to Bolivar, who was suspected of aiming at governing Peru as well as Colombia. While he was absent with the army, Bolivar's party were taking their measures to overturn him...Among the reputed partisans of Bolivar was a general La Fuente, who, having been ordered to march with the troops under his command to join the president, refused to obey. The public were kept in suspense for some days as to his designs, but he put an end to it, on the 5th of June, by declaring himself to be, in the mean time, until Congress could be assembled, the "supreme chief " of the republic, and filling all the public offices with his own friends.....The first effects of the elevation of La Fuente and his party to power were, the instant conclusion of an armistice with Bolivar, and the surrender of Guayaquil to the Colombians—events which were represented as proofs that the revolution had been effected by Colombian influence, and for Colombian purposes. Thus, both in Peru and Bolivia, Bolivar seemed to have regained the authority of which the occurrences of last year had deprived him.
This “instant conclusion”, however, required somewhat more effort than the above account suggests (and was still being debated decades later). Bolivar confided this effort to Demarquet (who thus had to leave his very pregnant wife, who would bear their fifth child while he was away):
The Liberator sent as commissioner to Lima the French Colonel Demarquet, his aide-de-camp, a fine and tactful young man, with whom he sent a personal letter for General Lafuente, in which he declared the peaceful feeling which drove him and the hope the new administration gave him, that everything would end with the celebration of a peace which would avoid more spilling of blood, and that although he did not want to recover Guayaquil by force, he had superior forces with which he could do so.
June 25,1829, already as a colonel and then aide de camp to the Liberator, [Demarquet] was sent by him to Lima with a very important commission: to treat with Peru's Supreme Leader on issues of the peace agreement in process, between Colombia and Peru, he was also charged with asking the Peruvian government for the return of Guayaquil, as a prelude to the talks, which was an essential requirement. Demarquet was bearer, as well, of a letter from Bolivar for Antonio Gutiérrez de la Fuente,Vice President of Peru. "My aide, the Colonel Demarquet," Bolivar said, "will cover with truth and simplicity everything known of ourselves and Colombia.”
Meanwhile, in a more general way, Bolivar was growing discouraged, as shown by this letter to Restrepo:
Buijó Camp, before Guayaquil
July 7, 1829
Doctor J. Manuel Restrepo....
I received in this mail the kind one from you of May 29, and I remain aware of what I said about the contract of General Montilla, about the good elections being prepared, and the draft constitution being considered.
I continue in good health, visited frequently by natives and foreign friends from the plaza, with whom we continue our temporary suspension of arms until the coming of Colonels Guerra and Demarquet, who were at Piura and Lima.
The Mercurio Peruano of July 26, 1829 included in the maritime notices that were once a current feature of newspapers:
Maritime. == Port of Callao, Arrival.== July 24. Colombian warship Guayaquilena traveling from Guayaquil with 20 days under sail, under the command of D. Juan Calderon; carrying the Colombian colonels Carlos Demarquet and Antonio Ayaldeburn.
In these complex negotiations with Peru Demarquet was acting essentially as a diplomat. Upon arriving he presented his credentials:
Having arrived at this moment in this port, my first concern is to have the honor of announcing this to Y. E.; and to give you the original of my passport. This document will inform Y. that H. E. the Liberator President of Colombia sends me with the agreeable charge of presenting to the Supreme Government of Peru, by Y. worthy intermediary, several communications which H. E. directs to him, for the performance of which I take the liberty of asking Y. to please send me the necessary permission.
I have the honor of being, with the most respectful and distinguished consideration, Y., sir Minister, most obedient servant.
On board the Peruvian warship "Arequipena", moored in the port of Callao, July 25, 1829.
To the honorable Minister of the Government and the Office of Exterior Relations of Peru.
The minister, Mariano Alvarez, replied the same day that he had already sent the Governor's coach for Demarquet at Callao and was returning his passport. "For this reason, he has excused himself from sending you the permission you requested, respecting which H. E. has anticipated your wish.”
"Demarquet," Bolivar later wrote O'Leary, "was received like an ambassador, and even received homage from the the French Rear Admiral, who arrived at Callao with a small squadron." O'Leary. This courtesy must have been particularly gratifying to the French-born officer.
Demarquet presented Bolivar's request in the following speech:
H. E. the Liberator President of Colombia sends me with the object of presenting to Y. E. this dispatch in which are newly consigned the peaceful sentiments which motivate Colombia and its Government toward Peru; those which were waning under the previous administration of mutual interest, brotherhood, union and good understanding which must reign between our brother peoples, and with admiration of America and the whole world.
H. E. considers the change that recently occurred in the Government of this Republic as the precursor of a happy future between the two peoples; and does not doubt that justice and harmony will seal them by durable peace desired by the two nations.
Permit me Y. E. that, in fulfilling the flattering charge of congratulating Peru and Y. E. I take the liberty of adding the personal homage of my high veneration and my most profound respects.
H. E. the Supreme Leader answered the object, showing that he was moved by the same peaceful sentiments as the Liberator of Colombia, in a brief speech whose energetic words, though pronounced with the mouth, clearly came from his heart.
Manuel de Odriozola Documentos historicos del Peru en las epocas del coloniaje
Demarquet is then mentioned in correspondence from assorted others as various maneuvers went on from there.
August 10th of the the same year, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru reported to the Liberator that Colonel Demarquet returned to Colombia, bearing the sincere provisions of the Supreme Chief of Peru "to the worthy Republic of Colombia in their desire to accelerate the signing of peace agreements; that Demarquet has won the consideration of the Peruvian government "by his appreciable manners" and the respect of his leader, the Liberator. The parlaying Colonel performed his commission in an excellent way, judging by the phrases of the Peruvian official cited above. On September 17 of that same year, aboard the Peruvian war schooner The Arequipena, Demarquet came to Guayaquil after completing his diplomatic mission to the Peruvian government.
The same day the 31st of August, on which he was sent to Guayaquil, the Peruvian congress was installed in Lima. The Liberator's commissioner, colonel Demarquet, was very well received by the government of this republic, to whom he gave the most favorable reports of the sincere wishes that his patron had for peace and harmony between Colombia and Peru. Demarquet furthered by whatever means he could the quickest installation of that body. It depended on their actions for the appointment of the minister who was to negotiate the final peace treaty, an event which the governments of both republic ardently desired, that of Columbia to reduce its army and deal with its internal organization, and that of Peru because the establishment of peace was a necessary condition for the existence of the new administration. The people had received this with enthusiasm, principally because they hoped it would lead to peace.
José Manuel Restrepo Historia de la revolución de la República de Colombia
It seems the Peruvians then tried a bit of emotional manipulation with Bolivar:
Hardly had Congress begun its sessions, when José Larrea y Loredo was appointed with its consent and approval minister plenipotentiary to negotiate peace in Guayaquil, who immediately embarked. Larrea was an old friend of the Liberator and finance minister when Bolivar ruled in Peru: he was chosen expressly in order that the friendship obtain what diplomacy could not.
José Manuel Restrepo, Historia de la Revolución de la República de Colombia en la América meridional
Bolivar seems to have seen through their intent, or at least been uncomfortable with having to negotiate with an old friend. On top of this, he was not in good health:
In August 1829, Bolivar had an “attack of bile” or a strong attack of black bile, which kept him in bed for two days. Gual and Demarquet had already returned to Guayaquil. The second had brought frm Lima “very satisfactory communications from the Government of General de la Fuente, with many others from all the friends” in Peru. Bolivar was convinced that the Peruvians had come around in his favor. Nonetheless, he did not neglect to ask the central Government of Bogotá to send at least a frigate which would serve as a shield against any eventuality. Deep in his heart doubt about the future reminded strong.
Whatever the reason, he showed a rare flash of irritation with his loyal aide:
At last, on September 8 the Peruvian negotiator for the peace treaty arrived in Guayaquil, doctor José Larrea y Loredo, “intimate friend” of the Liberator. In a letter to O'Leary, Bolivar told him that Larrea had come “as a friend and to ask that we give grace to Peru”. “The choice of this individual puts us in a something of a bind,” he added; “the worst thing is that Demarquet suggested him, thinking to do the right thing. We will ask him for the essential, and will not fail to establish a regular but quite moderate peace, because we do not have time to make demands with 9000 men threatening us...”
Alfredo Luna Tobar, Ecuador y Bolivar 88
Overall, however, Bolivar expressed great satisfaction with Demarquet's performance. On August 29, in a brief letter to La Fuente, the leader of Peru, he wrote: “I particularly thank you for the distinction which you have been good enough to show my Edecán Demarquet, who certainly has exceeded what was to be expected in the current crisis, by the nature of his commission.” O'Leary At the start of September, he wrote Estanislao Vergara, the Secretary of External Relations, “I have offered to my Edecán Demarquet to send him as Secretary of the Holland Legation.” O'Leary. This was certainly a mark of confidence, even if events ultimately prevented its fulfillment.
In August too Demarquet received what may have been his only (and quite brief) mention in the American press, at the end of a long letter that shows Bolivar's growing doubts:
We have been furnished with a copy of a letter from his Excellency the liberator, President of Columbia, to General O'Leary, dated Guayaquil, August 6, 1829. It is this most probably, which has given rise to the report that Bolivar is about to abandon his country, and seek a refuge from its disquietudes beyond the sea. We subjoin a translation.
Guayaquil, 6th Aug. 1829.
My Dear O'Leary:
Your valued letters of the 9th and 15th July, reached me at the same time; and I have attentively perused them. The information they contain has pleased me much;- and especially your suggestion that I ought not to go to Bogotá during the sittings of Congress, lest it should be said that I have influenced their deliberations, or they overwhelmed me with their power. This is highly judicious, and it is with the best reason you mention it. I had before been advised to the same course by persons of much respectability and my own inclination urged it upon me still more; but the multitude, who are not content with any security, and judge without reflection, entreat me to go immediately to Bogotá. I could wish, and I desire, that you will endeavor to make your opinion general, both as your own, and that of intelligent men. The truth is, if they press me too much, they will dishearten me more than I now am. An idea has occurred to me, which I hope you will consider well. Would it not be better for Columbia, and for me, and more agreeable to the nation, that a President should be appointed, and I remain only a General. I could stand before the government like a bull before the herd.* I could defend with all my energies, and those of a Republic. This government would be stronger than mine, because to my own energies would be added those of the Government, and of the individual who should preside over it. The government would be strong in itself, and also by the support which I should give it. It would have unity, stability, and permanence. It would not be obliged to move about, as I am, and leave immense spaces behind. Instead of subverting the whole administration by its movements, as I am obliged to do continually, it would form a system of action which would proceed without variation and without passing through different hands, as is the case at present, which tinges every thing with different colors and extravagant manner. I could visit the departments, prevent disorders and enter upon a campaign, without the necessity of abandoning the government. My attention would then be all devoted to the army, and the direction of the armed forces. I could go with promptness and convenience wherever necessity or danger should call me. In this way all insurrections and all sudden attacks would be avoided, and the government would be placed on its proper foundation, enjoying perfect tranquility, and certain that I should present myself in all parts as a wall, within which public order and domestic peace would be secure. The administration would move on without obstacles-the citizens would repose in the enjoyments of the laws and my own reputation would reputation would regain the lustre it has lost. With it Columbia would gain much, and I, glory, liberty and happiness. Unless this measure is adopted, they lose me or they lose Columbia; and in either case we are all ruined. I cannot live under the weight of a supposed ignominy which oppresses me-neither can Columbia be well governed by a despairing man, whose mind has lost its stimulous to act, and from whom the hope of tranquility has been snatched forever.-For heaven's sake! O'Leary-for Columbia's sake, and my own!-propose this design; insinuate it into the minds of the legislators and of all. And I moreover authorize you to print an address, full of force and eloquence, showing the utility of the adoption of this plan.
Demarquet has arrived, and brings me very satisfactory communications from Gen. Lafuente and all our friends there. You can see at Gen. Udaneta's some copies of the letters which Lafuente and Gemarra have sent me,- for I have no more time, and am still feeble from a sickness which I have suffered, but from which I am now recovering.
I salute your lady with the greatest affection and am your friend.
*The force of this figure will be better understood in S. America than in this country. By an instinct common to wild cattle, if not to tame, the leaders of the herd, when danger approaches, place themselves at the expected points of attack, and defend the young and weaker animals from assault
The American Mercury, Hartford, Connecticut, December 29, 1829
Towards the end of September, Demarquet again asked Bolivar to consider his personal situation. The start of the letter deals with a coming congress, and already has a worried tone, focusing as it does on people's distrust of Bolivar's projects:
Quito, September 22, 1829
Most ex.. sir Liberator President of Columbia, etc., etc., etc.
My respected General:
I arrived here the 17th, and found the news already communicated to Y. E. by General Sucre and my brother-in-law Colonel José Maria Saenz. I would like to speak of the Federation's projects. I was also surprised that the deputies were ready to not go to Congress. They based this on the circular by which Y. E. facilitated electoral colleges in order that they frankly express their opinions and desires. They say that this move will cause the ruin of the country, because popular ambition will be reborn like never before; the spirit of provincialism will grow greatly; and ultimately they go to the Congress bound by written instructions of their constituents (which could be quite absurd) they will create there an absurd paper, and would not be able to conscientiously fulfill their duties, since they will not be allowed to discuss (nor either the people's representatives) the national interests; and in consequence they believe there will be no Congress; and they add that surely Y. E. will lose the world's opinion in this way; because to a certain degree, however involuntarily, Y. E. gives weight to the severe judgment of Benjamin Constant.
In vain have I raised every reason and fought with the arms of my own conscience these fears with a thousand of the most convincing facts. The lack of confidence is enormous, and disgracefully the premature announcement of the electoral college of Venezuela has come to increase it infinitely. The clergy, and the devout of good faith, and the hypocrites have become alarmed, and work actively. This matter is quite hateful, and certainly I have proposed not to take it up; but at the same time I would blame myself for failing in this particular with my silence the duties I have to Y. E. The truth is that the circular in question can produce such a divergence of opinions in the Republic, that arriving in Congress it may find itself powerless to untangle them and above all to deliberate; and in this case Y. E.'s enemies will conclude that the means was malicious, and for the purpose of keeping absolute power by the same means...
He then expresses general frustration with the mails, his tone already more personal and aggrieved than usual:
The Marques of San José has given Y. E. 1500 pesos more or less for my passage, which was sent with Mr. Mosquera of Popayan. They must be in the mail, as well as the warrant in the notification letter. I don't know why I haven't gotten this, nor others which definitely were written to me and which greatly interest me. Correspondence is lost with extraordinary ease. Please Y.E. have my letter removed from the mail, and receive the above-mentioned money, and do me the honor of informing me that you have so verified it.
With that, he begins a frank statement of his discontents and uncertainties. This passage is remarkably impassioned, especially coming from Demarquet, and might easily be a monologue at the climax of a play. It shows, in the rawest way, the fears and ambitions of a man whose character elsewhere is so restrained, so entirely in the service of others. In a more mundane sense, too, it shows Demarquet yearning for Europe.
Allow me Y. E. for a moment to take the liberty of my own concerns; so that I do not lose my reason. I have found no opposition here either from my wife or her family to my trip to Europe. I will do what I think best; yet a thousand weighty reasons have been presented as objections which will later matter to me. One is that I do not know what pay I will receive, and if it is likely I will be paid in leaving, and later in Europe; that in case I do not receive there pecuniary resources from the Government, not only will I play an unfortunate role, as well as to the interests of Colombia, but I will shame myself because it will be believed that coming from a country in America (which is known as opulent) the diplomatic list must be adequately covered, and as a result I am resolved to economies very unsuited to my character, and that the worst of all will be the impossibility of abandoning destiny, motu proprio [by his own accord], even though I am dying of hunger. This is the truth. Later the lack of time to realize, etc. All this is certain; but as I have such a desire, as much a need to go to Europe, and as on the other hand it would be so agreeable to serve Columbia and Y. E. in a career towards which I am inclined, and which would make me known in my country, I am going mad, and I do not want to give up on the trip. The profession of arms cannot be useful to me, and the other can. Nonetheless, I have written to Arboleda, and try to muddle through; but counting always and exclusively on the goodness of Y. E., without which I must forget every type of prosperity and also of hope; and in the event separate myself from everyone. Do not refuse me,Y. E. if only once, the benefit of your advice, putting aside for one moment the dignity of your character which I so respect and venerate.
He then moves to more general matters, but still shows evident exasperation:
The arrival of senor Larrea has filled me with the greatest satisfaction. I wrote him congratulating him for his arrival in Colombia. The news from Peru concerning the provision of the high magistrature has delighted me as well, because I have made known to Y. E. that neither have I been fooled, nor have I deceived myself in Peru.
Everybody believes and insists that Y. E. is going to Lima even though I tie myself in knots swearing the opposite. It is incredible the degree of doubt to which these people have come. If Saint Thomas lived in our days he would be a child.
Deign Y. E. to accept my respects and those of my family, and believe your devoted subject and loyal friend.
C. E. Demarquet
Bolivar, though probably not unconcerned for Demarquet, had his own problems:
While he was marching against the Peruvians, an assembly in Caracas, on 25 Nov., 1829, condemned him for ambitious designs, declared the separation of Venezuela from Bolivia, and elected Paez president. In Colombia the senate adhered to the liberator; but insurrections broke out in various places.
Troubles continued in the new year:
In January, 1830, Bolivar for the fifth time resigned the presidency, but was again confirmed in his position by the general voice. He then undertook to compel Paez and the Venezuelan disunionists to submit to the Colombian congress. The congress, however, now contained a majority made up from his opponents, and it voted to accept his proffered resignation, granting him a pension of 8,000 dollars on condition of his residing abroad.
A few months later, Demarquet was a victim of dirty tricks in Peru:
Some months later however a dying echo of the Colombian plots was heard in Peru. It appears that during the month of April, 1830, there were circulated in Lima copies of alleged instructions given by Bolivar to Mosquera, the Colombian minister to Peru. These instructions were said to have been sent to the Peruvian capital by General [sic] Demarquet, one of Bolivar's aids-de-camp, who, through failure to observe due precaution, allowed copies of them to be made. The supposed instructions were thus secretly passed from hand to hand in Peru; and in Chile, where they were sent, extracts of them were published. A manuscript copy was obtained by the United States minister, Lamed, at Lima and sent by him to the Secretary of State at Washington.90 On June 30, El Conciliador, a government organ published at Lima, gave a summary of the instructions but maintained with well grounded reasons that they were apocryphal.
The instructions were in substance as follows: "The empire will be realized or rivers of blood will flow in America; therefore, I charge you to act with energy and constancy. What have you to fear from those impotent Peruvians ? Have you not already obtained the assent of Gamarra and of La Fuente? Are not our friends in control of the cabinet ? . . . Are they not protected by our warships and by our power?...”
Joséph Byrne Lockey Pan-Americanism: its beginnings
April ended dramatically:
The patriot leader sent in his final resignation to congress on 27 April, 1830, and left Bogotá on 9 May with the intention of embarking for England from Carthagena; but his adherents induced him to remain in the country, and made ineffectual attempts to restore him to power.
Demarquet was probably prepared for this by now, but it must have been a terrible blow just the same. Personally loyal to Bolivar, he had also had good reason to expect that his leader would soon be that of much of South America and that his own fortunes would rise accordingly.
Things were only going to get worse.
José Maria Obando, defending himself years later, wrote:
The 13th of May...., Florès severed his obedience to the Government of Colombia, separated the departments of the South, and made himself sovereign of them...
...Florès' plans to separate the southern departments already shone through and were apparent in Quito; I agreed with General Saenz and with Colonel Demarquet, residents of Quito, to block the effects of Florès' outsized ambition; and repeated the opinion that this devil among despots already revealed his intention of forming a Republic for himself alone, and to rise with it. General Sucre, a thousand times superior to this man who had only been able to rise to power by the ladder of cunning and flattery; General Sucre approaching Quito, was the only powerful rival that he would have, and the only one who without claiming as much could overwhelm him and block his projects of domination and despotism.
José Maria Obando, , Los Acusadores de Obando juzgados por sus mismos documentos
The southern departments which split off from Gran Columbia on May 13, 1830 became the nation of Ecuador. In one sense, this was to Demarquet's benefit, since Quito, now his home, became the capital of the new country. But to the degree that he had shared the dream of a greater Columbia, it would have been another disappointment. As a friend of Sucre's he was probably at least disappointed by Florès' accession, whether or not one takes Obando's words at face value.
Then, on June 4th, Sucre, returning to Quito, was assassinated:
The Republic of Ecuador as such came into being in 1830 when they finally abandoned the federation of Gran Colombia due to internal problems. Expected as President of the nascent nation was the liberator Antonio José de Sucre who was coming from Colombia to Quito probably to take over the country because of his popularity in the southern department, but was killed after being shot on the way; according to the most widespread versions the assassination was ordered by the Venezuelan Juan José Florès who, ultimately, assumed the first presidency of the Republic of Ecuador.
Other versions accused Obando, prompting his long defense.
Bolivar is often quoted as having then said: “Holy God! The blood of Abel has been spilled!" "¡Santo Dios! se ha derramado la sangre de Abel! " Academia Nacional de la Historia (Venezuela), Documentos en honor del gran mariscal de Ayacucho. This phrase captures the tragedy of the event, a primal stain on the new nation's birth. Whether or not he would ultimately have fulfilled the hopes of others, Sucre was a very different man from the relentlessly ambitious Florès, whom a French writer would later describe as “the eternal nightmare of Ecuadorian democracy.” Annuaire des deux mondes
Sucre's heart-broken wife so feared further insults to her dead husband's body that she hid it soon after – leaving a mystery that would ultimately involve Demarquet's oldest son.
Demarquet's own reaction went unrecorded. But the death of a friend who shared his devotion to the Liberator must have been extremely painful to him. On a more material plane, if Demarquet had indeed opposed Florès' ascendancy, this might have dimmed his prospects under the new administration - if, that is, Florès was aware of it. But, there is no record then of open conflict between the two and in fact Demarquet later served Florès.
One bright spot for Demarquet's family was the election of José Fernandez-Salvador, his father-in-law, as president of Ecuador's first Constitutional Assembly, which met on August 14. Even this role however was darkened when a brief counterrevolutionary revolt occurred and, as the country's acting executive. Fernandez-Salvador was obliged to arrest the plotters – including his son-in-law, Demarquet's brother-in-law and Manuela Saenz's half-brother, José Maria Saenz: “General José Maria Saenz must have been substantially implicated in the revolt for his own father-in-law to find himself obliged to put him in prison.” Gustavo Vásconez Hurtado, El general Juan José́ Florès : la república, 1830-1845, 1984 129
The Liberator meanwhile began to suffer from tuberculosis.
Demarquet was not a man to record his states of mind; his impassioned letter to Bolivar appears to be exceptional, even extraordinary. But it would be astounding if, in a year of so much disappointment, division and loss, he did not spend long periods in very real pain. There is every reason to think this was one of the very worst years of his life.
Nor was Bolivar offering any comfort.
On November 9, he made the famous (and much misquoted) declaration that “those who have served the revolution have plowed the sea.” Devastating as these words are, they look almost cheerful when read in context:
America is ungovernable. Those who have served the revolution have plowed the sea. The only thing to be done in America is to emigrate. These countries will infallibly fall into the hands of the unbridled multitude, to then fall into those of petty tyrants, almost imperceptible, of all colors and races, devoured by every crime and extinguished by ferocity. The Europeans, perhaps, will not deign to conquer them. If it was possible for a part of the world to return to its primitive chaos, that would be the last period of America.
Simón Bolívar, Proclamas de Simon Bolivar, libertador de Colombia
The Liberator had become an Old Testament prophet, thundering as if in ashes and sackcloth, fiercely foretelling his people's downfall.
He was not, however, entirely wrong. Mercifully, he would not live to see one of his own comrades in arms begin the long string of petty dictatorships that gave rise to the stock phrase “South American dictator”. Little more than a month later, on December 17, Bolivar died in Colombia; nominally, of tuberculosis.
How many of Demarquet's hopes must have died with him...
Demarquet's own life was hardly over; it was not even half done. Yet he knew in future years, and may already have suspected, that he had now lived its most meaningful chapter. Thirty years later in Paris at his daughter's wedding, with all he had done in the intervening years, he identified himself only as the “former colonel aide de camp of general Bolivar”.