No. 598.
Mr. Baker to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 750]

Sir: I have the honor to make a very succinct statement respecting the honors given in Venezuela to Bolivar, one hundred years after his birth.

Bolivar was born in Caracas on the 24th of July, 1783. Venezuela celebrates the centennial of his birth by certain ceremonies and by an exhibition.

The principal of the ceremonies were those which took place on the 24th of July, the birthday of Bolivar, and on the 31st of July, when a statue of Washington was erected in Caracas.

I give here a word to the first.

Venezuela has a Pantheon, not dedicated, as in ancient Rome, to all the gods, but to the deceased men of the country who are regarded as great. One can see in this difference the great modification which time has wrought.

Bolivar occupies a supreme place in the Pantheon of Venezuela. His remains are there; his statue is there, at the end of the principal aisle of the edifice.

On the morning of the 24th of July, one hundred years after his birth, [Page 927] all the officiality of Caracas, and that of foreign countries here present, followed by an imposing concourse of people, moved in stately procession to the Pantheon. Then, after some words by the President, many beautiful crowns or garlands, all of artificial flowers, were placed on the pedestal of the monument of Bolivar, the President being the first to deposit his offering; then the gentlemen in various representative capacities, and finally the ladies.

The procession then moved to the Plaza Bolivar, where stands an equestrian statue of Bolivar, and on the base of this many floral offerings, artificial and natural, were deposited.

For my part, I deposited two crowns or garlands at the Pantheon and one in the Plaza Bolivar. In depositing the last the President accompanied me, indicating the place where the crown of immortelles which I bore in my hand should be deposited, and saying, “Venezuela and the United States,” extended his hand to mine at the base of the statue of Bolivar.

So much for the morning act of the 24th of July.

The night of the same day witnessed what is here termed the “apotheosis of Bolivar,” the real meaning of the “apotheosis “being as much changed from its ancient import as that of the word “pantheon.”

The large new theater of Caracas, brilliantly illuminated, and filled in all its circles, was the scene of this act, and presented, truth to say, a really magnificent spectale. The act consisted principally of music and of floral offerings to Bolivar. As at the pantheon, the President first presented his offering, advancing to the stage and laying it before a bust of Bolivar. Then followed various floral offerings in various representative character, until this part of the ceremony was finished (except as to the United States). For the rest I translate from the account of the act as given by the Opinion National of the 6th ultimo, an account which, though containing some erroneous details, is correct as to the general spirit of the scene:

After this, agreeable surprise and profound commotion was caused in all the surroundings upon seeing the commodore of the American squadron anchored at La Guayra, Mr. G. H. Cooper, in full uniform, accompanied by the minister resident of the United States, Mr. Baker, and Mrs. Baker, and by the several naval officials of that friendly nation, advance to the proscenium, carrying a beautiful garland. Once there, they separated into two wings and offered a passage to the honorable minister and his worthy wife, who were to place the offering at the pedestal of the bust along with the others, by which they generously evinced their admiration of our liberator and hero. The public could not restrain the vivid emotions caused by this eloquent mark of sympathy, and broke forth into loud and prolonged applause, as much at the approach as at the return of the amiable and distinguished guests; and in all the boxes and on all the sofas the ladies also applauded with the greatest enthusiasm in order to signify to our brothers of the North in what high estimation we hold the kind proofs of their most valuable friendship and the cordial relations which exist between Venezuela and the Great Republic. General Guzman Blanco, standing in his box, led the applause in the ovation.

I am, &c.,