Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV / The Story of the Maid of Bogota >> Page 37

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 37

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription BOLIVAR,.
when Bolivar first commenced his struggles with the Spanish
authorities, with the ostensible object of freeing his country from
their oppressive tyrannies. It is not within our province to dis-
cuss the merits of his pretensions as a deliverer, or his courage
and military skill as a hero. The judgment of the world and
of time has fairly set at rest those specious and hypocritical
claims, which, for a season, presumed to place him on the pedes-
tal with our Washington. We now know that he was not only
a very selfish, but a very ordinary man not ordinary, perhaps,
in the sense of intellect, for that would be impossible in the case
of one who was so long able to maintain his eminent position,
and to succeed in his capricious progresses, in spite of inferior
means, and a singular deficiency of the heroic faculty. But his
ambition was the vulgar ambition, and, if possible, something
still inferior. It contemplated his personal wants alone ; it
lacked all the elevation of purpose which is the great essential
of patriotism, and was wholly wanting in that magnanimity of
soul which delights in the sacrifice of self, whenever such sacri-
fice promises the safety of the single great purpose which it
professes to accomplish.
But we are not now to consider Bolivar, the deliverer, as one
whose place in the pantheon has already been determined by
the unerring judgment of posterity. We are to behold him only
with those eyes in which he was seen by the devoted followers
to whom he brought, or appeared to bring, the deliverance for
which they yearned. It is with the eyes of the passionate
young girl, La Pola, the beautiful and gifted child, whose dream
of country perpetually craved the republican condition of ancient
Rome, in the days of its simplicity and virtue ; it is with her
fancy and admiration that we are to crown the ideal Bolivar,
till we acknowledge him, as he appears to her, the Washington
of the Colombians, eager only to emulate the patriotism, and to
achieve like successes with his great model of the northern
confederacy.
Her feelings and opinions, with regard to the Liberator, were
those of her family. Her father was a resident of Bogota., a
man of large possessions and considerable intellectual acquire-
ments. He gradually passed from a secret admiration of Bolivar
to a warm sympathy with his progress, and an active support´┐Ż