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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

 



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Jose Antonio Paez

PAEZ, Jose Antonio (pah'-eth), Venezuelan soldier, born near Acarigua, province of Barinas, 13 June, 1790; died in New York city 6 May, 1878. He received a common-school education, and during his youth was employed in menial pursuits by some of his relatives. At the age of seventeen, during a trip to deliver some money, he was waylaid in a wild region by four robbers, one of whom he killed on the spot. Being afraid of the consequences, he fled to the llanos of Barinas and obtained employment on a cattle estate, where he became inured to a life of hardship. Two years later he entered the cattle-trade on his own account, and when independence was declared in 1810 he joined the patriot troops, serving till the beginning of 1813 in the province of Barinas. When Bolivar occupied Cucuta, Paez was called by the Spanish department-commander to collect a drove of horses, and was appointed captain; but, unwilling to serve against his country, he fled across the mountains, and was given the same commission by the patriot government. When fresh Spanish forces arrived under General Francisco Lopez, Paez refused to abandon Venezuela, and with only 500 cavalry routed Lopez at Mata de la Miel, 16 February, 1816, with the loss of 400 killed and 500 prisoners. For this he was promoted lieutenant-colonel by the Granadian government. At a meeting of the patriot officers several months later, Francisco Santander, the commander-in-chief, was asked to resign, and subsequently Paez was elected supreme political and military chief, and promoted to brigadier-general. His force consisted of 700 cavalry, destitute of clothing, provisions, ammunition, and even regular arms, poles of bamboo and slender palm-stems, pointed at one end, serving them as lances. They were hampered by a great number of old people, women, and children, who had been driven from their homes by the Spaniards, and by the condition of the country, which was converted during the rainy season into an immense swamp. Notwithstanding these obstacles, Paez resolved upon an aggressive war, and, leaving the non-combatants in charge of a troop of cavalry, defeated Lopez at Yagual, and on 13 October occupied Achaguas. Meanwhile General Pablo Morillo (q. v.) sent Latorre with 3,000 infantry and 1,700 cavalry against Paez, whose force had increased to 1,100. The two armies met at Mucuritas, 28 January, 1817, and Latorre's cavalry was dispersed and nearly destroyed at the first charge. When the infantry formed squares for the defence, the high grass surrounding them was lighted, and they were forced to beat a retreat, during which they were charged on all sides by the Haneros, whose horses were accustomed to prairie fires. Toward the close of 1817 Paez recognized the authority of Bolivar as supreme chief of Venezuela, and the latter promoted Paez major-general in January, 1819. After the armistice of Trujillo, Paez continued to organize the army, and his victory over Latorre at Carabobo, 24 June, 1821, where he was raised by Bolivar to the rank of general-in-chief, and his surprise and capture of Puerto Cabello, in the night of 7 November, 1823, finally secured the independence of Colombia. On the formation of the new government, Paez was appointed commander-general of the department of Venezuela; but his strict execution of an order from Bogota, requiring the enlistment of all citizens between the ages of sixteen and fifty years, gave offence. Hearing that he was to be impeached, he resigned in March, 1825; but his resignation was not accepted. In the next year, however, the impeachment was presented by instigation of the vice-president, Santander, who had opposed Paez ever since he was superseded by the latter in 1816, and Paez gave up the command on 29 April ; but the people mutinied on the next day, and on 11 May the municipality of Valencia proclaimed him supreme civil and military chief of Venezuela. Bolivar returned from Peru, and by decree of 1 January, 1827, confirmed Paez in his rank. When the convention of Ocana in 1828 declared against, the federal system and Bolivar was proclaimed dictator of Colombia, the opposition in Venezuela to becoming a dependency of New Granada was extreme, and on 26 November, 1829, the secession of Venezuela was proclaimed. Paez was appointed provisional president by the constituent congress of 1830, and constitutional president by congress on 18 March, 1831. In the latter year General Jose Tadeo Monagas (q. v.) revolted, but soon submitted to the government, and Paez was presented By congress with a golden sword and the tide of "illustrious citizen." From 1839 till 1843 he was again president, and during his term the remains of Bolivar were by his order removed with great solemnity, in 1842, from Santa Marta to Caracas. When General Monagas, in January, 1848, attempted to usurp supreme power, Paez rose in arms, but after an unfortunate campaign capitulated, 15 August, 1849, at Macapo-Abajo. He went to Valencia, but on 18 August, in violation of the capitulation, was arrested by order of Monagas, who imprisoned him at Fort San Antonio in Cumana until 24 May, 1850, when he was released by order of congress. From Cumana he went to New York, where he was publicly received by the authorities, and resided there till after the overthrow of Monagas. In November. 1858, he went to Venezuela by special invitation of the government of that country, and was escorted thither by two United States vessels. Gem Castro, then in commandat Caracas, seemed to be jealous of Paez's presence, and the latter returned to New York. After Castro's fall he was accredited in 1860 as minister to the United States, but resigned in 1861. After the invasion of Venezuela by General Falcon, Paez was again called to his country, and invested with supreme authority; but failing in his efforts, and wishing to avoid further bloodshed, he resigned by the treaty of Coche, 22 May, 1863, and returned to New York. He afterward lived for some time in the Argentine Republic, Peru, and Ecuador, receiving large pensions from those countries and the present republic of Colombia, and he was also the recipient of several testimonials of respect from European monarchs. He finally retired to the United States to end his days. His remains were deposited in the Marble cemetery in Second avenue, New York city. In 1888 the Venezuelan government decided to transport them to his native country, and bury them with military honors, and a commission was sent to the United States to make the arrangements. He wrote "Autobiografia del General Jose Antonio Paez " (New York, 1867).

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