Historical Documents

1. Letter from Simon Bolivar to General Mariano Necochea

Mi querido general:

Todo el mundo está encantado con Vd. y yo, si me permite Vd. la franqueza, le diré que estoy furioso contra su bondad, su política y su parsimonia. La guerra no vive sino de actos de violencia y de destrucción; no se hace por el amor de Dios. La desgracia es que Vd. y yo somos militares, y no tenemos otro oficio más benéfico. Acuérdese Vd. de que me pidió el artículo de los quinientos mil pesos de contribución; y yo le recordaré además que sin dinero no se levanta el Callao, no se queman los buques de guerra, no se paga el ejército, no se paga la escuadra y no se pagan los elementos de guerra. Yo no quiero dinero para las tropas de Colombia, pero es indispensable querer una cosa tan fácil como es sacar cien mil pesos de esa rica capital, para todo lo que tiene Vd. que ejecutar para la salud de la América entera.

El odio me lo he echado encima dando mis instrucciones, y yo amo mi nombre tanto como el que más; así no debo temer que Vd. se rehuse a cumplir una medida militar que no es con mucho la centésima parte de lo que debíamos hacer

El Callao está perdido; Lima se ha de perder; los buques están bajo las baterías enemigas; las tropas miserables; la escuadra desesperada ¿qué aventuramos? ¿y con cien mil pesos no se puede remediar algo? ¡cien mil pesos para rescatar al Perú!!! al Perú... que es la antonomasia de la riqueza! el poseedor del Potosí!!!

Adiós, mi querido general, vuelvo a pedir a Vd. perdón por mi mal humor. Quien quisiera ver a Vd. más fuerte y menos bueno.


Publicada por "El Ferrocarril" de Santiago de Chile correspondiente al 28 de setiembre de 1878 y reimpresa en "La Opinión Nacional" de Caracas el 4 de noviembre del mismo año, N° 2.843. En ambas publicaciones aparece dirigida al general Tomás Guido, y así la reprodujimos en Papeles de Bolívar, pero del texto se deduce que fue escrita al general Mariano Necochea, encargado del mando militar y de sacar recursos de Lima. El general Tomás Guido acompañó en aquellos días a su amigo el general Necochea como simple particular. Véase la correspondencia de ambos para Bolívar, O’Leary, XI, 243 a 272, la nota de Necochea de 24 de febrero y el oficio del secretario de Bolívar a este último de 27 del mismo mes, fecha de la presente carta, O’Leary, XXII, 6 y 37.nicky

2. Letter wherein Bolivar refers to General Mariano Necochea as his "Ajax and Patroclus."
To the Ecuadorian poet JoséJoaquín Olmedo,author ofthe famousCanto a Junin, written from Cuzco on 27June Í825.

Ajax - grandson of Zeus, cousin of Achilles

Patroclus - beloved friend of Achilles

Dear friend, 

A few days ago, when I w as travelling, I received tw o letters and one poem from you: the letters are those of a politician and a poet, but the poem is the work of an Apollo. All the heat of the arid deserts, all the fire of Junin and Ayacucho, all the rays of the Father of Manco Cápac have never produced a greater or more intense flame in the mind of a mortal. You unleash emotions as yet un- known, you scorch the earth with the sparks of the axle and the wheels of a chariot of Achilles which has never before driven over the soil of Junin. You are master of all the characters, making mea Jupiter, Sucre a Mars, La M aran Agamemnon and a Menelaus, Córdoba an Achilles, Necochea a Patroclus and an Ajax, Miller a Diomedes and Lara a Ulysses. W e each have our divine or heroic shadow, which covers us with its protective wings like a guardian angel. In your fashion you make us figures of poetry or fantasy, and—to continue in the realm of poetry,fictionand fable—you elevate us to false divinity, as Jupiter's eagle lifted the tortoise up to the skies, only to drop it on a rock and break its stunted limbs. You have elevated us so much that you have cast us also into the abyss of nothingness, covering the pale radiance of our obscure virtues with myriads of shining lights. Thus, m y friend, you have atomized us with the bolts of your Jupiter, the sword of your Mars, the sceptre of your Agamemnon, the lance of your Achilles, and the wisdom of your Ulysses. If I were less charitable, and you were not such a good poet, I would be inclined to think that you had wished to write a parody of the Iliad with the heroes of our feeble masquerade. But no, this I would not believe. You are a poet, and, like Bonaparte, you know that there is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous, and that Manolo and El Cid are brothers, though of different fathers. An American will read your poem as if it were a canto by Homer, and a Spaniard as if it were a canto from Boileau's Facistol.
For all this, allow m e to express m y unbounded gratitude.
I do not doubt that you will worthily perform your mission in England: I was indeed so convinced of this that, having looked over the length and breadth of the Empire of the Sun,I could find no
diplomat capable of representing and negotiating for Peru to better advantage than yourself. I have sent a mathematician with you so that, once removed from the truth of poetry, you might not come to think that tw o and two made 4,000; and so our Euclid has departed to open the eyes of our Homer so that he can see not with his imagination but with his senses, to present him from falling under the charms of harmony and metre, and to induce him to pay heed only to the tough, harsh and soul-searching prose of politicians and public figures. Yesterday I reached the classic country of the sun,of the Incas, of fable and history. Here the real sun is gold; the Incas are the viceroys and prefects; the fables are the stories of Garcilaso; history is thetale ofthe destruction ofthe Indians by LasCasas. Poetry aside, everything here sets m y mind to high ideas, deep thought; my soul is spellbound by the presence of primitive nature unfolding through its own endeavour, creating from its own re- sources, inspired by its own inner patterns, having no compound with the foreign works, alien advice and whims of the human mind, and not tolerating contagion by the history of mankind's crimes and absurdities.
Manco Cápac, the Adam of the Indians, came down from his paradise in Titicaca to set up a historic society, untroubled by either sacred o r profane fabrication.
God made him man; he built up his kingdom, and history tells the truth, in th e monuments of stone, th e straight wide roads, th e innocent customs and the genuine traditions which all bear witness to a social creation of which w e have no notion, no model and no replica. Peru is unique in the annals of mankind. This is how I see it, because I a m here where all that I have described to you, poetically or not, is clear and directly perceptible.

Please be good enough to present this letter to Mr Paredes, and accept the most sincere assurance of my friendship,


Simon Bolivar, Hope of the Universe, Unesco.  Introduction, selection,    biographical notes
and chronology by J. L. SALCEDO-BASTARDO.  Prologue by  ARTURO USLAR PIETRI. Published b y the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 7 place de Fontenoy, 75700 Paris Typeset b y Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd, Bungay, United Kingdom Printed by Imprimerie dela Manutention, Mayenne, France
ISBN 92-3-102103-6 French edition: 92-3-202103-X Spanish edition: 92-3-302103-3
©    Unesco 1983
Printed in France

Achilles mourning Pratroclus

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