Mexico City: Impreso en Madrid en la imprenta de Vega y compañia, y reimpreso en México en la de D. Alejandro Valdés, en dicho año, 1820. Second edition. Small 4to. 26 pp., a little age toning. Recent drab wrappers lettered in manuscript. Very good. Item #3960
REPUBLICAN SPAIN COLLAPSES, ERODING SPANISH DOMINION OVERSEAS: A WEIRD AND VERY LITTLE-KNOWN DIATRIBE CONCERNING THE 1820 SPANISH ELECTION SCANDAL, INVOLVING LATIN-AMERICAN BORN REPRESENTATIVES IN THE NEWLY REFORMED SPANISH PARLIAMENT ("CORTES OF CÁDIZ). This issue fueled the debate on the future of the former Spanish colonies in the Americas, which openly advocated independence -- as here.
In 1820 the provisional Cortes of Cádiz election board limited to 30 the number of Latin-American born substitute deputies, which led to strong criticism across the Atlantic. Particular outrage was expressed by those born in the Americas and who had been summoned to Spain to elect the aforementioned substitutes on May 28 and 29, 1820, an event which occasioned the present pamphlet. While the present text is more than 200 years old, its venomous spew reminds us of more recent claims of "election fraud." The first paragraph of this "Manifesto on the Nullity of the Elections" conveys the foaming, nonsensical language throughout:
"The crazy or drunk populace often shout in the excess of their delirium: 'Long live our death, Perish our life!' This sublime concept of Dante is the most faithful depiction of the power of seducers over the common imbecile. A strong genius, a strong character, an ambition without limits are the weapons with which an impostor attracts to his party a large number of weak spirits of little people. With the examples with modern and ancient history, he presents the master of our political works. We do not need this to happen to know this truth to ancient or alien events. We continually see iniquitous men, who disturb the internal peace of states, and who sacrifice the most sacred rights of their compatriots for petty interests. Monster enemies of society, you had to have a thousand heads, and even then your blood would not compensate for the horrendous evil that your greed caused! What a horrible compromise in which the imprudence of a few American Spaniards constitutes me!"
And finally, the last paragraph, which in its rhythmic desparation reminds us of Ginsburg's "Howl":
"When America screams without her voices dissipating either by distance or the seas asking for help from her own children; when she presents them with her hands in manacles, her feet in chains; when she discovers the aged and deep sores that her fanaticism and tyranny caused on her delicate body; when she stretches out her arms to rest on the chest of the beings she produced, and to recover from the spirits that are beginning to fail her, ah! She is neglected, despised, insulted. In what debates do we waste time when the Homeland demands our help? What laurels do we think will cover us if our countries turn to ashes? What peaceful sleep awaits us in abundance if we are continually agitated by the cries of our unfortunate people? But the denatured American does not hear me: I turn to the European Spaniards and tell them with the most illustrious tragedy: You who have broken the chains that oppressed you generously defend the freedom of your brothers."
It is a remarkable fact that the author, Manuel Lorenzo de Vidaurre (1773-1841) was the enlightened liberal president of the first Peruvian Supreme Court (see: Lissell Quiroz-Pérez, "The Books and Private Libraries of Peruvian High Magistrates of the Nineteenth Century" in: Revue historique, 658:2, 2011, p. 265 et seq.)
Sabin 99488 (Madrid and Mexico City editions).