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Timothy E. Anna - The Peruvian Declaration of Independence: Freedom by Coercion

Timothy E. Anna - The Peruvian Declaration of Independence: Freedom by Coercion

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Published by elevatoraero
Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Nov., 1975), pp. 221-248
Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Nov., 1975), pp. 221-248

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].Lat.Amer.Stud.7,
2,
221-248
Printed in Great Britain
ThePeruvianDeclarationofIndependence:FreedombyCoercion
*
byTIMOTHYE. ANNAPerulaunched tshistoryas anindependenttatewithone of the world'sbriefestandmostdirectDeclarationsfIndependence.nLima,on15July1821,anopentowncouncilmeetingcabildoabierto)alledespeciallyocon-siderthequestion,declared:All thegentlemenpresent,orthemselves ndsatisfied f theopinionofthe inhabitants fthecapital,aid:Thatthegeneralwill is decided n favoroftheIndependencef PeruromSpanishdomination,andthatofwhateverotherforeignpower.'1Peopleactuallypresentn thechambersfthecitycouncil,n the corridorsutside,andinthe streetbelowsignedtheAct thereand then.Recognizingtsimportances awatershedntheircity'shistory,he cabildo henagreedodisplayhe boundbook ofActscontaininghe Declaration n theofficeofthe cabildosecretaryothat thepublicatlargecouldfurtherratifyt. The timeforthe collectionofsignatureswas evenextended,andintheendatotalof3,504people igned.2
*
Theauthorgratefullyacknowledgestheresearchsupportof theCanadaCouncil,and thehelpfulsuggestionsand corrections ofhiscolleague,ProfessorDouglasN.Sprague.1BibliotecaMunicipaldeLima(hereaftercitedasBML),ActasdeCabildo,Libro45,15July
I82I.
Iwasprivileged,ontheoccasion of theFiestas Patrias in1972,to begiven per-mission to use theoriginalLibro45oftheActs,becauseIneeded toread the entire volume.I believe I wasthefirstforeignerallowed tousethe bookcontainingthis nationaltreasure,which isusuallykeptondisplayin aglasscase. The cabildomeetingsimmediately leadinguptoandfollowingtheDeclaration, however,havebeenprinted,ineditedform,inFernando GamioPalacio,LamunicipalidaddeLimaylaemancipacionde
i82i
(Lima,197I).This inturn is a re-edition andamplificationof the same author'spublicationunderaverysimilartitle,Lamunicipalidadde Limaylaemancipacion(Lima,1944).Allcita-tionshereare fromthe
297I
book.Averyusablefacsimileof theDeclaration andthesigna-tures,completewithtranscriptionsof thenames andanalphabeticist,waspublishedunderthetitleActadelaDeclaracion de laIndependenciaNacionalin
I97I
bytheConcejoPro-vincialdeLima.Itisthecopyusedhere.TheBibliotecaMunicipalof Limaisnot amajorarchive,ratheritistheworking-libraryortheConcejoProvincial.Itdoes,however,possessallof theextantLibrosde Actas.
2
Iusedthe facsimile of the Declaration to count thisnumber. I havededucted onename,thatof ManuelMuelle,the cabildosecretary,whosignedtwice.Evenso,thetotalof3,504maynotbeperfectlycorrect because some names areillegibleorobscured asaresult ofsmearedink,badhandwriting,ink transferencethroughthepages,andseveralripson
221
 
222
TimothyE.Anna
Fewdocumentsinanynation'shistory appeartobetheproductofgreaterconsensusthanthis one.With theexceptionofthemanycitizenswhohadalreadyfledfromLima,almosteveryliterate malesigned.Thesuggestioninherentin theDeclaration is 'thatLima'selite was almost unanimousinsupportofindependence.Theydeclared thatitwaspositively'thegeneralwill'ofLima,and ofitsinhabitants,andofthegentlemenwhospokeforthem. Thereinliestheproblem.Unanimityisproblematicbecause,inadditiontobeingsuspecton thegroundsoflogic,it isdubious on the basisofsubsequentevents. Lima didnotdistinguishitself insupportofindependenceinthe months andyearsahead.Quitethecontrary,therepublicfoundedbyGeneralJosede SanMartin,basedchieflyonLima,collapsedin sixmonths asaresult of Peruvianindifferenceand refusal tosacrificenitsdefense.3Thehypothesisofunanimityinsupportofindependenceis,therefore,notplausible.Yet,subsequent generationsofhistorianshaveneverexplainedallthosesignaturesor whattheymightmean.Theissuerepresentedbythe3,504signaturesstheproblemofmotive.Theusualapproachssimplytoassumetheyrepresentedthe actual wishofLima,andthen toexplainthesubsequentfailureofthemovementunder SanMartinbyotherfactors. Butonce ahistorianhasdecidedtotreatthe Declarationasevidence ofthepopularityofindependence,observethetorturedlogicthatinevitablyfollows. IfLimaclamoured forindependence unanimously,thenSanMartin,the manwhosearmiesmade theDeclarationpossible,was morethan aconqueroror aLiberator,hewasnoless thana Messiah. His failure atLimamust,therefore,betheresult ofthe inhabitants'ungratefulnessorofhisownstupidityinfailingto sustainthemandate.Neitherexplanationis satis-factory.SanMartin was notstupid,nor isitlogicalthatLimashouldhaverejectedsoquicklyapoliticalstatusitunanimouslyaccepted.Theremust beanalternativeexplanationthatwillaccountforthecontra-dictionbetween Lima'swords andits actions. Asamatteroffact,thereis,thoughitisunderstandablydifficult toacceptatfirstglance.Could the
pp. I-4.Thegreatestprobleminidentifyingsigners,however,isthatmanyof themusedshortversionsof theirnames.Consequently,Icannotidentify,muchlesscheckforpossibleduplication,namessuchasJoseGarcia(thereare4),JoseGutierrez(3),JoseMoreno(3),JoseRodriguez (3),orJoseSanchez(4).OnewouldassumethatnoonebutMuellesignedtwice,butit isimpossibletobesure. I haveventuredapositiveidentificationonlywhenthename isclearlydistinguishablefromotherslikeitbysomerecognizedcriterionsuch asuse of amaternal surname orvariationsinspelling.TheGacetadelGobiernoIndepen-diente deLimapublishedaspecialedition onIoAug.
I82I,
containingalist ofthesigna-tures.Itwasapparently incomplete.Atanyrate,thelistpublishedas anappendixto thefacsimileoftheGaceta(LaPlata,1950)isincomplete,as itseditorspointout. Itshowed3,I36signatures.
3
SeeTimothyE.Anna,'EconomicCauses ofSanMartin's FailureatLima',
HispanicAmericanHistoricalReviewt,
LIv,
No.4,(Nov.I974),657-68i.
 
ThePeruvianDeclarationofIndependence:FreedombyCoercion
223
Declarationbea meresham,ariggedreferendum? Thatishow PedroAngelde Tado described it in a remarkableletterhewrotetoa formerLima
oidor
afterindependence.Adedicatedroyalist priestwho livedthirty-two yearsinPeru,heisanextremelybiasedeye-witness.Heasserted thatindependenceresulted in
1821
because agroupof ambitious and bitterpetty lawyers,priestsandprofessionalsorced ituponadesperateandstarving capitalwhose citizenswere intimidatedbyarmedforce,threatenedbyimminentsocialchaos,andcoercedbyviolenceandfear.4 Itmaybethathistorians havelongfeltsuch anexplanationmadesenseintuitively;a carefultestingof Tado'sallegationswillpermitus tosubstantiateorrejectitonce and for all.Startingwith theIndians,whom heknewbestaftertwenty-two yearsinvarious curaciesin theSierra,Tadocogentlyandcoherently arguedthatindependencewasnotthe will of Peru. He said the Indians andmestizosweretheking'smostloyalvassals,therebelperiodicalssimplylied whentheyclaimed to havetheirsupport.'If the[Indian] pueblosnearLimamaintainedthemselves onthe sideof the insurrection it wasonlybecausetheyfearedthearmedNegroesof SanMartin who robbed their housesandgranaries'.Themestizosthoughtthe same becauseinthemountainstheylivedasindigenas.Theslaves,whowereconcentratedonthe coastofPeru,hadoriginally joinedtherebels,but soonbecame disaffected when submittedtodiscipline,andpre-ferredtosupportagovernmenttheyknewto onetheydidnot know. Tadosaid he knew ofsome liberalhacendados whooriginally supportedindepen-dencetoo,butupon discoveringthataidingthe rebels meantgivinguptheirslaves toconscription,theyalsobecamedisaffected.Thentherewerethewhites-bothEuropeansandthosesimplydescribed
4
PedroAngeldeTado toMarquesdeCastell-Bravo deRivero,Madrid,14Nov.
I823,
ArchivoGeneral de Indias(hereaftercited asAGI),Lima
1024.
A word is inordercon-cerningwhythisstartlingdocument,tomyknowledge,hasnotpreviouslybeenstudied.It isaverylongletterwritten onasinglesheetofpaperinanearlymicroscopicscript,andfolded severaltimes.With noidentifyingmarkstoattract theinvestigator'seye,itliterallydisappearsinitslegajo.Itsimportancewasrecognized,however,whenfirstreceived,forCastell-Bravo,anemigrantLimaoidor,turned it overto theFiscal oftheCouncilof theIndies,whosuggesteditbepublishedaspropaganda.The Councilread theletterinasessionon17Jan.1826,but there is noindicationitwas everpublished.Twootherdocu-ments substantiate Tado'sexistenceandthedetailsofhis career.One(AGI,LimaI563)isanexpedienteconcerninghisrequestini826 forthecrowntogranthimabenefice in somechurchinSpain.It containshisprintedRelacion deMeritos(inwhich hissurnameisspelled'Jado'),andpersonalreferencesfromtheArchbishopand Castell-Bravo. Thesecond(AGI,Lima604)is the decision of theCdmaradeIndiasof27Feb.i826,to findhimaposition.Throughoutbothexpedientes,Tado is treatedas acompetentwitness withalongexperiencein Peru.Whendispensingbenefices the Councilwasverycriticalofapplicants,andits failuretonoticeanythingamissinTado'squalificationsor careersuggests,quitefrankly,thateverythingwasinorder. I have chosentouse'Tado'ashissurnamebecausein hisownhandwritingit seemstobe aT.

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