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8, 1830. BENJAMIN CONSTANT DIED, ÆTAT. 63.
This distinguished writer and statesman was born at Geneva, on the confines of France, in 1767. His father, a General in the Dutch service, returned to his native country on the close of his military career. At the commencement of the Revolution, young Constant went to Paris, and in 1796, appeared at the bar of the Council of Five Hundred, demanding the rights of a French citizen, as the descendant of French ancestors exiled by the revocation of the edict of Nantes. About this period he published several political tracts, which attracted much notice. On the forming of the Tribune he became a member of that body, in which he performed a conspicuous part: In 1802, however, he was comprehended in Buonaparte's first purification of that assembly. He was afterwards ordered, with Madame de Stael, to quite Paris in consequence of their opposition to some of Buonaparte's measures. After travelling through various countries, and making a long stay at Gottingen, he returned to Paris in 1814.
Constant's opposition to Buonaparte being only against points in which he considered the liberty of the people concerned, the Emperor, on his return from Elba, took him again into favour, and made him a Councellor of State. On the restoration of Louis XVIII., he was, therefore, again compelled to withdraw, and come over to England. In November 1816 he was again enabled to visit Paris, and in 1818 was elected in the Chamber of Deputies, where be continued and shone as one of its brightest luminaries.
His constitution had been gradually decaying for more than two years, and he became daily more attenuated. He had several times been seen in the Chamber to be overcome with sleep, and twice fainted. He seemed to have had a presentiment of his dissolution from the last words he uttered in the Tribune." Permit nie,” said he, “ to implore your indulgence, not for my principles, but for the imperfections of a reputation drawn with haste. Naturally weak, and in bad health, I feel a sadness I cannot overcome : this sadness, gentlemen, it is not in my power to explain. I cannot account for it, but have endeavoured to surmount these obstacles in the discharge of
my duty, and my intention, at least, is worthy your indulgence.” His funeral, in the Pere la Chaise, was attended by the most eminent of all classes in Paris, who moved amid a congregated mass of upwards of 200,000 persons. Several orations were delivered over the grave, the first of which was by General Lafayette.
The memory of this eminent statesman, orator, and patriot, will be immortal. His attachment to freedom was ardent and sincere. That noble object was always his; and neither the seductions of power, or of fortune, nor the perils he had to encounter in its defence, ever induced him to relinquish it. His whole life was a struggle against all the principles and interests that are averse to the people. Writer, deputy, citizen, he attacked, during thirty years, despotism in every shape, and did more than any other man in France to crush it. The storms of the Tribune had peculiar charms for him, and he loved the animating excitement of Parliamentary contests, Never was orator more ingenious; never was a keener or more resistless logic displayed in the Senate. He laboured most indefatigably, and the extent of his works, chiefly political, if collected, would be prodigious.
13. St. Lucy, A lady of Syracuse, who, refusing to abjure her vow of celibacy, and marry a young nobleman, was by her rejected lover accused of Christianity before the heathen judge, and condemned to death in the year 304. She, however, died in prison before the execution of her sentence.
17, 1830. Simon BOLIVAR DIED. This distinguished man was born at Caraccas about the year 1785; and, being descended from a family of distinction, at the age of fourteen he was allowed-a permission then granted to few-to visit Spain for the purpose of concluding his studies. He subsequently travelled through France, Italy, and England ; and, as he had early resolved on liberating his country, he paid
particular attention to every thing relating to politics and the military art. In 1809 he returned to his native country, just at the moment when the flag of independence was unfurled; but, as he disapproved of the course pursued by the Congress of Venezuela, he took no part in public affairs until subsequent to the earthquake, when he hastened to the assistance of Miranda, and obtained the governorship of Puerto Cabello, with the rank of Colonel.
On the restoration of the Spanish authority in Venezuela, nothing was dreamed of but to inspire terror and to inflict punishment, but these measures recoiled upon the tyrants; the earthquake was forgotten, and the people flew to arms to repel that inhuman oppression which left them no hope except what is founded in resistance.
. From this period Bolivar's life was a continued series of active service in the cause of his country's liberty, and after undergoing many vicissitudes, he at length became President of Colombia, and took the oaths on the 1st of October, 1821. In his speech on accepting the presidency he said :-“I am the son of war, the man whom battles have raised to the magistracy. Fortune has sustained me in this rank, and victory has confirmed it. But these titles are not those which are consecrated by justice, by the welfare and wishes of the nation. The sword which has governed Colombia is not the balance of Astrea- it is the scourge of the Genius of Evil, which sometimes Heaven permits to descend to the earth for the punishment of tyrants and the admonition of the people. The sword will be of no use on the day of peace, and that shall be the last of my power, because that I have sworn it within myself -because there can be no republic when the people are not secure in the exercise of their own powers. A man like me is a dangerous citizen in a popular government–is a direct menace to the national sovereignty. I wish to become a citizen, in order to be free, and that all may be so too. I prefer the title of Citizen to that of Liberator, because this emanates from war-that from the laws. Exchange, sir, all my honours for that of a good citizen.”
The Spanish authority was soon after this completely annihilated, and the independence of Colombia acknowledged
both by the United States and Great Britain. Though it is to be apprehended that permanent tranquillity, for many reasons, is not to be expected for some time in South America, there is a confident assurance that the dominion of Spain is gone for ever.
When the independence of his country had been established, Bolivar set out for Peru, to aid the cause of man in that province, where his military talents were again crowned with victory, and where he established the same independence that he had obtained for Colombia.
This illustrious Liberator of Colombia and Peru expired at San Pedro, near Santa Martha, on the 17th December, 1830, of an illness brought on by years of fatigue and exertion in the cause of liberty, aggravated, we fear, by a too great sensitiveness under the attacks of illiberal politicians, by whom he was constantly assailed, and who were unable to appreciate the many excellent qualities of the promoter of South American freedom. His Excellency met the announcement of his fate with calmness and resignation-received the sacrament, and conformed to all the rites prescribed by his religion, and on the 11th of December performed the last act of his public life, by dictating and signing a patriotic address to the Colombian nation. He afterwards became delirious, in which state, with occasional lucid intervals, he remained until one o'clock on the 17th, when he expired without a groan. All his expressions evinced the utmost anxiety for his country and his horror of anarchy; and his most frequent exclamation was, “Union, union ! or the hydra of discord will destroy us.”
To his honor it must be recorded, that not even in his delirium, after having been apprised of his danger, did a single word of anger against his persecutors and enemies escape him, although he was well aware that he had been brought by them chiefly to an untimely end.
In examining Bolivar's character let us endeavour to divest it, on the one hand, of the mist which his enemies would cast around it, and on the other of that halo of exaggerated praise which may be readily forgiven to his admirers. As a man, we shall find him heroic and noble minded ; liberal in his sentiments, and warm in his affections, unwavering to his friends, and placable to his foes. As a patriot, he was pure and disiaterested ; and even his love of fame was cherished in subserviency to the good of his country. Of his disinterestedness, there exists a proof of so remarkable a nature, that it is scarcely to be paralleled in history. Notwithstanding his having, for a long period, possessed unlimited control over the revenues of the three countries, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, the Liberator died without possessing a single shilling of the public money; and also without debts, although he had sacrificed nine-tenths of a splendid patrimony in promoting the service of his country, and in liberating nearly 1000 slaves.
The diamond crosses, and other magnificent decorations, which bad been presented to him by the different states and towns in Peru and Bolivia are, by his order, to be restored to the donors as memorials of his affection.
21. ST. THOMAS, By birth a Jew, and supposed to have been a Galilean. He travelled in the eastern countries, promulgating Christianity, and effected numerous conversions, which so much incensed the Brahmins, that they instigated the people against the saint, who threw stones and darts at him, through which he died.
21. SHORTEST DAY. This day in London is 7 hrs. 44 min. 17 sec.; allowing 9 min. 5 sec. for refraction.
25. CHRISTMAS DAY. CHRISTMAS CARO L.
BY L. E. LANDON.
Give me a penny before Í go.”
The violet that of spring;
That take the south wind's wing !