Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Murillo-Toro, Manuel

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MURILLO-TORO, Manuel (moo-reel-yo-to'-ro), Colombian statesman, b. in Chaparral, Tolima, in 1815; d. in Bogota in December, 1880. He was graduated in law at the University of Bogota, and began early to enter politics. His articles in the daily press attracted attention by their energetic opposition to the Conservative government of Dr. Marquez in 1837-'40. After the revolution of the latter year he became editor of the “Gaceta Mercantil de Santa Marta,” which exercised a great influence, and prepared for the triumph of the Liberal party in the elections of 1849. He was elected to the chamber of representatives, and soon attained a reputation for eloquence, when he was called by Gen. Lopez to his cabinet as secretary of state, and afterward of the treasury. In the latter post he displayed much ability, establishing liberty of industry and the decentralization of the provincial revenues, and thus preparing the way for the future Federal institutions. At the same time he defended the administration in the press, and initiated the greater part of the progressive reforms that were established by it, such as the abolition of slavery, of the death-penalty for political crimes, and of several fiscal monopolies, the liberty of the press, and the reform of the civil code. In 1852 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the vice-presidency of the republic; but when the Liberal party lost power he returned to journalism, and, except during the short time that he occupied the state executive of Santander, he sustained an energetic opposition to the Conservative government. When President Ospina was overthrown, and the federation proclaimed by the constituent convention of Rio Negro, 4 Feb., 1863, Murillo was appointed minister to Europe, and afterward to the United States. While in the latter country he was elected president of the federation for the term of 1864-'6, and during his administration, which was noteworthy for its conciliatory spirit and progress, the first telegraph-lines were established. He was elected to the Federal senate after his term as president had expired, and for his constitutional opposition to some arbitrary measures of President Mosquera he was arrested with others, by order of Mosquera, on the dissolution of congress in March, 1867. After the deposition of Mosquera, 25 May, 1867, Murillo was a member of the legislature of Cundinamarca, and afterward for a short time again minister to the United States and judge of the supreme court, and in all these posts he was notable for his consistent adherence to the doctrines that he had proclaimed as a journalist and legislator. He was again a candidate for the chief executive, and, aided by part of the Conservative party, was elected president for the term of 1872-'4. His successor, Santiago Perez, although belonging to the opposite party, sent him as minister to Venezuela to arrange the pending question of boundaries according to the proposal of Guzman Blanco. As Murillo controverted with great ability on all the points that were brought up by the Venezuelan commissioner, no treaty could be agreed on. Murillo was again elected senator in 1878, and occupied his seat in the next session of congress, but sickness prevented him from attending in 1880, and he died in the same year.