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do declare, therefore, like every other independent People, that we are free and are determined to hold no dependence on any Potentate, Power, or Government, excepting that which we ourselves establish; and that we now assume among the Sovereign Nations of the Earth the rank which the Supreme Being and Nature have assigned to us, and to which we have been called by the succession of human events and by a due regard for our own happiness.

Although we are aware of the difficulties which may attend our new situation, and of the obligations which we contract by the rank which we are about to occupy in the political order of the World; and above all, of the powerful influence of ancient forms and habits, by which to our regret we have been hitherto affected;-yet we also know that a shameful submission to them, when it is in our power to shake them off, would prove more ignominious to ourselves, and more fatal to posterity, than a continued and painful servitude. It therefore becomes our indispensable duty to provide for our security, liberty, and happiness, by an essential and entire reform and subversion of our ancient Establishments.

Wherefore, believing, for all these reasons, that we have complied with the respect which we owe to the opinions of Mankind, and to the dignity of other Nations, amongst whom we are about to take our rank, and of whose friendly intercourse we assure ourselves:

We, the Representatives of the Confederated Provinces of Venezuela, invoking the Most High to witness the justice of our cause, and the rectitude of our intentions; imploring his Divine assistance to ratify, at the epoch of our political birth, the dignity to which His Providence has restored us, and our ardent desire to live and to die free; and in the belief and defence of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Religion of Jesus Christ, as the first of our duties;

Therefore, in the name, by the will, and under the authority which we hold from the virtuous Inhabitants of Venezuela, do solemnly declare to the World, that these United Provinces are and ought to be, from this day forth, in fact, and of right, Free, Sovereign, and Independent States;-that they are absolved from all allegiance to the Crown of Spain, and to those who now call, or may hereafter call themselves their Representatives or Agents; and that as Free, Sovereign, and Independent States, we possess full power to adopt whatever form of Government may be deemed suitable to the general will of its Inhabitants; to declare War, make Peace, form Alliances, contract Commercial Alliances, conclude Commercial Treaties, define Boundaries, and regulate Navigation; and to propose and execute all other Acts, usually made and executed by Free and Independent Nations; and for the due fulfilment, validity, and stability of this our solemn Declaration, we mutually and reciprocally pledge, and bind the Provinces to each other, our lives, fortunes, and the honour of the Nation.


Done at the Federal Palace of Caracas, signed with our hands, and sealed with the Great Seal of the Provincial Confederation, and countersigned by the Secretary to the Congress assembled, on the 5th day of July, in the year 1811, and in the 1st of our Independence.

J. ANT. RODRIGUEZ DOMINGUEZ, Representative and President of Obispos, in the Province of Barinas.

LUIS IGNACIO MENDO, Representative, Vice-President of Nutrias, in the Province of Barinas.

Signed, by the Representatives assembled, of the Provinces of Caracas, Cumana, Barcelona, Barinas, Margarita, Merida, Truxillo, and Villa of Aragua and Province of Barcelona.


Decree of the Supreme Executive.

Federal Palace of Caracas, 8th July, 1811.

By the Executive Power of the Confederation of Venezuela, it is ordained, that the above Declaration of Independence be published, carried into effect, and be of full authority throughout the States and Territories of this Confederation.

CRISTOVAL DE MENDOZA, President pro tem.



MIGUEL JOSE SANZ, Secretary of State.

CARLOS MACHADO, Grand Chancellor.

JOSE TOMAS SANTAN, Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

MANIFESTO of the General Congress of Venezuela; making known the reasons which influenced the Nation in declaring its Absolute Independence of Spain, and of every other Foreign Power.-Caracas, 30th July, 1811.


AMERICA, condemned for more than 3 Centuries to hold an existence only as subservient to the political preponderance of Spain, without the smallest influence or participation in her grandeur, would have become, by a succession of events in which it bore no other share than a patient resignation, the victim of confusion; corruption and conquest would have disorganized the Nation, if an instinctive sense of their own security had not dictated to the Americans, that the moment had arrived when they should labour to reap the fruits of 300 years of patience and inactivity.

If the discovery of the New World was one of the most interesting events to Mankind, the regeneration of the same World, which has ever since been degraded by oppression and servitude, will be no less so. America, without passing through the political gradations of other Countries, having raised itself from the dust and its chains, will, in its turn, conquer the Old World without invading or enslaving it, The Revolution of America will become useful to the whole human race, when, constituted and governed by itself, it shall open its arms to receive the People of Europe, weighed down by political exactions, put to flight by War, and pursued by the fury of every passion; thirsting there in vain for peace and tranquillity, the Inhabitants of the other Hemisphere will cross the Ocean, without the ferocity or perfidy of the Heroes of the 16th century; as Friends, and not as Tyrants; as Petitioners, and not as Lords; not to destroy, but to build; not as tigers, but as Men, who, indignant at our former disgrace, and feeling it as their own, shall not convert their reason into selfish interest, nor seek to make our annals again become the annals of vexation and blood. Then shall navigation, geography, astronomy, industry, and commerce, brought to perfection by the discovery of America, be converted into so many means of accelerating, consolidating, and perfecting, the happiness of both Worlds.

Nor is this a pleasing dream only, but a homage which reason pays to Providence. It was written in its ineffable decrees, that one half of the human species should not groan under the tyranny of the other half, and that the last Judgment-day should not arrive until every portion of its Creatures should enjoy its rights. Everything has combined to realize this epoch of felicity and joy. In Europe, the shock and fermentation of opinion, the contempt and overthrow of the Laws, the profanation of the rights which linked the People and the State together, the luxury of the palace, the misery of the cottage, the triumph of vice, and the oppression of virtue: in America, the increase of Popu lation, the necessities created by it, the expansion of agriculture in a soil new and vigorous, the germ of industry under a beneficent climate, the elements of the sciences in a privileged organization, the disposition to a rich and prosperous commerce, and the vigour of a political youth,-all, all accelerated the progress of evil in the one World, and of good in the other.

Such was the advantageous alternative which enslaved America presented beyond the Ocean to her mistress, Spain, when, oppressed by the weight of every evil, and undermined by all the destructive principles of Society, she demanded to be released from her chains, that she might fly to her assistance: the genius of evil and disorder possessed the Governors: resentful pride occupied the place of foresight and prudence: ambition triumphed over liberality: and substituting fraud and perfidy for generosity and good faith, they turned

against us the very arms by which, in the honest simplicity of our attachment, we had taught Spain the way to resist and triumph over her Enemies, under the banners of a presumptive King, unfit to reign, and with no other right than his misfortunes and the virtuous sympathy of the People.

Venezuela was the first to swear to Spain that generous aid which she believed to be a necessary homage; Venezuela was the first in her affliction to pour upon her wounds the consolatory balm of fraternity and friendship; Venezuela was the first to discover those disorders which threatened the destruction of Spain; she was the first to provide for her own preservation without breaking the bonds which connected them together; she was the first to feel the effects of ambitious ingratitude; she was the first to suffer hostilities from her Brethren; and she will be the first to assume her independence and civil dignity in the New World. To vindicate this measure of necessity and justice, she has thought it due to her own respect and principles, when about to occupy the high rank designed for her by Providence, to present to the World the reasons by which she was actuated.

It would be superfluous now to exhibit to the view of impartial Europe, the indignities and vexations which we have often lamented, when the privilege of complaint was denied to us: nor would it be less so to expatiate upon the injustice of our dependence and degradation, when it must be looked upon by every Nation as an insult to political equity, that Spain, a small spot of ground, depopulated, corrupted, and plunged into disgraceful inactivity by a despotic Government, should usurp, to her own exclusive use, the industry and enterprize, the precious and incalculable resources, of this Continent.

The interests of Europe cannot be in opposition to the freedom of the fourth part of the World, which is now opening to itself the felicity of the other three; the Southern Peninsula could oppose the interests of its Government to those of the Nation, and excite the Old Hemisphere to hostilities against the New, for a time; but it has already seen its inability to oppress it any longer. It is against these attempts, which are more injurious to our dignity than to our prosperity, that we shall oppose the reasons which, since the 15th of July, 1808, have drawn from us the Resolutions of the 19th of April, 1810, and of the 5th of July, 1811; which three epochs will form the first period in the records of regenerated Venezuela, when the impartial pencil of history shall trace the first lines of the political existence of South America.

Having made known in our Manifestos and Public Papers nearly all the reasons for our resolution, all our intentions, and all the just and honourable means we have employed to carry them into effect; it will suffice to make an exact and impartial comparison of our conduct with that of the Governments of Spain, in more recent times; to justify not

only our moderation, our measures of security, and our independence, but even the declaration of an irreconcilable enmity against those who have, directly or indirectly, contributed to the unnatural system which has been adopted against us. Let those who have borne no share in our disgrace, and who desire to take no part in our dispute, hear and judge; and let them not lose sight of the solemn act of our just, necessary, and becoming emancipation.

A long habit of obedience, the apathy which despotism had created, and the fidelity and good faith of Caracas, were for the moment superior to every combination; and even after the Despatches of the Lieutenant of the Kingdom, Murat, had been received, the People of Caracas continued faithful, without foreseeing the evils to which such generous and noble conduct would expose them. Influenced only by a sense of honour, Venezuela refused to follow the voice of of the Nobles of Spain, when, in support of the orders of the Lieutenant of the Kingdom, they exacted from us the acknowledgment of the new King and the other Authorities; declaring and publishing that Spain had commenced a new existence from the moment of the Cession made by the Bourbons and the introduction of another Dynasty; giving an example thereby to America for the recovery of her liberty and independence but as soon as the Central Junta saw that we were determined to provide for our own safety, they began to vary their language of liberality;-they perfidiously held out Ferdinand as the talisman of our fidelity; the simple and lawful project of Caracas to follow the example of the Governments of Spain, was with deceitful severity stifled in its birth, and a new kind of despotism began to be established by those who usurped the Sovereignty.

New Governors and Judges, instructed to adopt and support a new system against America, according to the policy of the other Hemisphere, were sent out in consequence of the surprise which our unexpected attitude had caused to the Central Junta. Ambiguity and cunning were all the resources of their frail Administration; as they saw the Empire exposed, and their own authority depending upon that of their Constituents, they thought of nothing but to support each other under the shelter of our delusion and good faith. There was no existing Law to prevent their plans; and every expedient, however adverse to the principles of equity and justice, which could favour this new order of political freemasonry, assumed the force of Law. The declaration of the Captain-General to the Audiencia, that there was no law nor will in Caracas except from Spain; the interception and opening of the Papers addressed by Don Pedro Gonzales Ortega to the Central Junta; the carrying our Citizens away from these Provinces and confining them at Cadiz and Porto Rico; the chaining and condemning to public labour of a great number of good Citizens, dragged from their homes under various pretexts, without even the form of a Trial; the

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