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Florencio Varela

VARELA, Florencio (vah-ray'-lah), Argentine publicist, born in Buenos Ayres, 23 February, 1807; died in Montevideo, 20 March, 1848. He studied in the college of his native city, and was graduated in law in 1827 at the university. He was then employed under the secretary of the interior, and took part in the revolution of 1828 under Lavalle. who made him chief clerk of the ministry. In August, 1829, at the fall of Lavalle and the accession of Rosas, whom Varela had opposed, the latter went to Montevideo, where he published some poems and a drama in the magazines. In 1835 he was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of Uruguay, and in April, 1838, he was exiled by order of President Oribe, who accused him of complicity in the revolutionary attempt of Rivera ; but he returned in October, after the installation of Rivera as president. In 1840-'2 he sojourned in Brazil on account of his health, and returned in December of the latter year, when the siege of Montevideo had begun. In 1843 he was sent as commissioner of the Montevideo government to England to negotiate the withdrawal of the English blockading forces, and on his return he abandoned his literary studies and entered politics, founding the journal "El Comercio de la Plata," which soon became a powerful instrument of opposition to Rosas and Oribe, and excited the patriotism of the besieged city. It was generally reported that he was assassinated by instigation of Rosas while returning one evening from the press-rooms of his paper to his home. He wrote "Rosas y las Provincias" (Montevideo, 1844), which was translated into French under the title "Affaires de Buenos Ayres" (Paris, 1844) ; "La Confederacion Argentina" (1845); "Proyeetos de Monarquia en America" (1846) ; and "Biblioteca del Comercio de la Plata," a geographical, historical, and political magazine, of which four volumes had appeared at his death. His portrait is engraved on the notes of the provincial bank of Buenos Ayres.--His son, Hector Florencio, journalist, born in Montevideo in 1832, after the assassination of his father removed his mother and brothers for security to Rio Janeiro, where ha labored as a commercial clerk to sustain his family, employing his leisure in acquiring other European languages, and soon became an accomplished linguist. When Urquiza declared war against the dictator Rosas in 1851, Varela returned to Montevideo and founded the " Tribuna," which, under his management and that of his brother, Mariano, soon became one of the most popular newspapers of South America. He became the chief champion of the opposition to Urquiza and of the independence of Buenos Ayres, and took an active though indirect part in the operations that forced Urquiza to raise the siege of Buenos Ayres in July, 1853. Ha visited Europe in 1854, and was appointed consul-general of Uruguay in Paris, but was refused the exequatur by the French government, on account of his severe criticism of the coup d'etat of 2 December, 1851, in the columns of " La Tribuna." On his return, and after the accession of Venancio Flores, he was elected to the legislature of Montevideo, and formed part of that general's cabinet. After Flores's resignation, Varela left the cabinet, and when the former was assassinated, 19 February, 1868, the latter returned to Buenos Ayres. During the cholera epidemic that desolated that city in 1871 he was one of the first to call a meeting, on 10 March, for the purpose of establishing a health and charitable committee, of which he was appointed vice-president, and when the president, Dr. Roque Perez, succumbed under his arduous duties, Varela assumed the lead and made heroic efforts for the relief of the afflicted. One afternoon, when the grave-diggers fled in the presence of 700 bodies to be buried, he personally, with members of his committee, undertook the task, and did not retire until every coffin was covered. Toward the end of 1871 he made a tour through Chili and other Spanish-American republics to obtain subscriptions for the foundation in Europe of a large journal destined to defend the interests of the Latin-American people, to make their civilization and literature known in Europe, and to acquaint his country with the progress of science in the Old World. He was assisted by the authorities and private persons, and going to Paris, founded there the journal "El Americano," which soon became widely known and was the means of attracting the interest of European statesmen and merchants toward South America. In 1873 he was appointed minister resident of Guatemala at Paris, mad in the next year he began the publication of a series of noteworthy political essays, which were afterward collected in book-form. In 1874 he founded in Turin another journal, "La Italia y El Plata," having the same object as "El Americano." He is a fluent orator and writer, although his speeches as well as his works suffer from verbosity. He is the author of " Revolucion de Lima" resefia de los acontecimientos de Julio," with introduction by Emilio Castelar (Paris, 1872)" "Perou devant les pays d'Europe" (1873) ; "La republique de Venezuela et son president Blanco" (1874); "Elisa Lynch"; " A Alvarez Calderon" ; and "Emilio Castelar" (1874).--Another son, Mariano, born in Montevideo in 1834, assisted his brother on " La Tribuna," and after the latter's departure for Europe continued the journal. In 1869 ha was secretary of foreign relations under Sarmiento's administration, and in 1871 was sent as minister plenipotentiary of the Argentine Republic to London, where he negotiated a loan of $30,000,000.--Another son, Jnan Cruz, born in Montevideo in 1843, although occupied in mercantile pursuits, has given much time to literature and travel. He is a contributor to many periodicals, a notable antiquarian, and author of two dramas in verse, " La Pecadora arrepentida " (Buenos Ayres, 1873), and "Faeundo," unpublished.--Another son, Luis Vicente, author, born in Montevideo, 27 May, 1845, studied law, was editor of "El Autonomista" and assistant on " La Tribuna," and is the author of " Estudios sobre la constitucion de Buenos Ayres" (Buenos Ayres, 1868); "El Ciego," a drama (1871); " Concordancias y Fundamentos del Cedigo Civil Argentino " (14 vols., 1873-'6); and "Organizacion del Registro del Estado Civil " (1874).--Florencio's brother, Juan Cruz, journalist, born in Buenos Ayres in 1794: died in Montevideo, 15 January, 1839, studied in Cordova and Tucuman, and was graduated in the latter city in theology and law in 1816. When in that year the congress of the United Provinces of La Plata met at Tucuman, Varela was elected one of the deputies for Buenos Ayres, and thenceforth abandoned the church for politics. He took an active part in the direction of the papers "El Mensajero Argentino," "El Tiempo," "El Centinela," and "El Portefio," held several public offices, and from 1824 till 1827 was secretary of the National congress. He suffered persecutions for his political opinions after the fall of the government of Rivadavia, and, taking part in the revolution of December, 1828, emigrated to Uruguay, whence he was banished by Oribe, together with other political enemies of Rosas, and returned only after the former's fall. He is the author of the dramas "Dido " (Buenos Ayres, 1823) and "Arjia" (Montevideo, 1834), and left a collection of unpublished patriotic poems, of which the poem celebrating the victory of Ituzaingo, 20 February, 1827, is the most famous.--Another brother of Florencio, Rufino, born in Buenos Ayres in 180i; died in Quebrachito, 28 November, 1840, was banished from Buenos Ayres together with his brothers, and in 1840 followed General Juan Lavalle in his invasion of the Argentine, and fell in the battle of Quebraehito.--Rufino's son, Pedro, born in Montevideo in 1834, took an active part in the politics of his country, and, after the death of Cren. Venancio Flores, was considered the leader of his party. He was deputy and senator, and as president of the latter body took charge of the executive, 14 January, 1875, at Dr. Ellauri's fall. He was then elected constitutional president, but his government was overthrown, 10 March, 1876, and Colonel Lorenzo Latorre was his successor.

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