Santiago De Liniers, 1st Count of Buenos Aires - Biography - Government

Government

There was a large number of celebrations after the victory against the British. Liniers was officially appointed as viceroy in May 1808, and awarded the title of "Count of Buenos Aires". However, this victory of the Argentine people which was obtained without any military help from Spain led to a new political situation in which some will for independence started to emerge. In this configuration, Liniers who appeared to be a fantastic leader during the emergency crisis began to be criticized by the different parties including the conservative members of the Cabildo, led by Álzaga.

On one side, Spanish leaders criticized the new power of the Argentine people issued from the formation of criollo armies, and thought that Spanish influence was in danger. On the opposite side, criollo people who were asking for more independence, had some difficulty understanding the perfect sense of loyalty of a navy officer issued from old French nobility who intended to respect his oath to the king of Spain.

In this context, every action coming from Liniers became a source of criticism. As an example, his relation with Ana Perichón was severely pointed out, forcing him to lock her at her home and later to deport her to colonial Brazil. In the same spirit, his French birth became highly controversial when France invaded Spain, and started the Peninsular War, which included the removal of the Spanish king and queen by the French occupying forces. Despite the clear statements by Liniers of remaining loyal to the Spanish Empire and his refusal to accept Joseph Bonaparte as king, his political enemies created rumours that he was plotting to accept Bonaparte. They also promoted in the Río de la Plata the xenophobia that was taking place in Spain against the French, as an indirect means to attack Liniers and lower his prestige. The arrival of Sassenay, an agent of Napoleon seeking recognition for Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain, boosted rumors and controversy.

The criollo peoples promoted the Carlotist project, which tried to crown Charlotte of Spain, sister of Ferdinand, as Regent of the Spanish territories in the Americas, under a Constitutional monarchy. The project did not achieve success. The news of the creation of the Junta of Seville was seen by both criollos and peninsulars as a chance to create similar governments locally, but they had different perspectives on the political line such governments should have. Javier de Elío, governor of Montevideo and allied with Álzaga, created a Junta in the city. Álzaga set off a mutiny to do the same in Buenos Aires, but the forces under the command of Cornelio Saavedra defeated it and kept Liniers in power. Álzaga was jailed and the military bodies that took part in the mutiny were dissolved, which left only military bodies loyal to the criollos.

The Junta of Seville appointed a new viceroy, Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros. Some Criollos proposed Liniers to resist the replacement with the forces under his command. It was considered that only a rightful king could appoint viceroys, and despite the circumstances of his designation Liniers had been confirmed in office by Charles IV; whereas Cisneros, appointed just by the Junta, may have lacked such legitimacy. However, Liniers rejected the proposal, and gave up government without resistance.

After leaving government, he retired from politics and moved to Córdoba province, settling in the town of Alta Gracia. However, he came out of his retirement shortly after, when news of the May Revolution arrived to the province.

Read more about this topic:  Santiago De Liniers, 1st Count Of Buenos Aires, Biography

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