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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Cortés, Madariaga José

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CORTÉS, Madariaga José (cor-tays), South American patriot, b. near Santiago, Chili, in 1784; d. in Rio Hacha, Colombia, in 1826. He studied theology in his native city, was graduated as doctor of divinity and ordained to the priesthood, but in 1805 had a controversy with the prosecutor of the audiencia, and went to Spain to obtain justice. On his return in 1806 he went to Caracas, where he obtained a canonry in the cathedral. He took part in the patriotic movement, and when on 19 April, 1810, in the meeting of the municipality, the captain-general, Empáran, was about to be victorious, Cortés was sent for and took a seat in the assembly as deputy of the clergy. By his speeches he influenced the assembly, and the populace outside, to demand the deposition of Empáran, thus declaring independence. He was sent in 1811 as a commissioner to the patriots of New Granada, but in 1812 was included in the capitulation of Miranda, and sent by Monteverde as a prisoner to Spain, where he was confined in the penitentiary of Ceuta. He fled to Gibraltar in February, 1814, and was delivered up by the governor to the Spanish authorities, but released in the following year on the reclamation of the British cabinet, which disavowed the conduct of the governor. In 1816 he set out for Jamaica, where he heard of Bolivar's expedition from Hayti to Venezuela, and early in 1817 sailed for Margarita. There he published a manifesto protesting against the country being controlled by military chiefs, and recommending the formation of a representative government. In April he went to Carúpano, and in Cariaco met Gen. Montilla, Zea, and others, who were carried away by Cortés's eloquence, and on 8 May assembled the so-called congress of Cariaco, which decreed the deposition of Bolivar from the executive and appointed a governing junta of three members. But the other chiefs of the eastern provinces did not recognize the authority of this congress or the governing junta, and before the approach of the enemy Cortés fled to Jamaica. In 1820 he joined the expedition of Gen. Montilla against Rio Hacha and Santa Marta, and fixed his residence there, while Caracas, which had become his second home, was occupied by the Spaniards. When they evacuated the city in June, 1821, Cortés, offended at not being summoned, remained in Rio Hacha till his death.