Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MONTT, Manuel, Chilian statesman, born in Petorca, 5 September, 1809; died in Santiago in March. 1881. He was graduated at the National institute of Santiago, and soon rose to its rectorship, introducing many useful reforms. There he attracted the attention of the vice-president and chief minister, Portales, who appointed him in 1836 assistant secretary of state, and when that statesman perished in the mutiny of Quillota, 6 June, 1887, Montt took energetic measures to suppress the revolt. Next year he was chosen judge of the supreme court, and in 1839 he was elected deputy to congress and president, of that body, but was soon appointed secretary of the interior and foreign relations, and in March, 1840, became secretary of justice and public instruction, he was subsequently twice secretary of state, introduced many useful reforms, and organized in 1843 the University of Chili. In 1848 he was again elected to congress, where he attacked the Liberal party, and soon became chief of the Conservatives. As such he was elected president in 1851, and re-elected for a second term in 1856, and ruled the country with a firm hand, repressing many revolutionary movements. Although much blood was spilled at Longomilla, Cerro Grande, and San Felipe, he crushed all opposition, and the year 1859 witnessed the last military revolution in Chili. Notwithstanding his oppressive rule, the country owes to him in a great measure its progress and flourishing condition. He fostered the construction of the first railroads, established telegraph-lines, protected immigration, founded in the province of Valdivia the flourishing colony that bears his name, abolished tithes, introduced steam navigation to the southern ports, and established a thorough system of popular education. His services to the country were recognized by his appointment as deputy for Chili to the American congress that met in Lima in 1865, of which body he was chosen president. At the time of his death he was president of the supreme court, which place he had held since 1844, with the exception of his terms as minister and president.
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