Camilo Henríquez, a priest who joined the movement for Chilean independence and contributed to its eventual triumph, is remembered as the founder of the country’s first newspaper, Aurora. By means of this and later publications Henríquez propagandized for the revolutionary cause and suggested standards on which the independent state should rest. His remarks have been edited and condensed into this enlightening book and the result is a portrait of an intelligent and literate observer whose statements contain uncanny truths applicable to the present day Chilean scene.
The editor of this monograph has taken Henriquez’s comments written during the period called the Patria Vieja, 1810-1814. When the Chilean patriots deposed the Spanish captaingeneral, Henriquez was a minor official in the church who had been expelled from Peru for revolutionary activities. Coming to Chile, he found revolutionary sympathizers and soon immersed himself in their activities. His major interest, at this time, was creating a national newspaper. It finally appeared in 1812.
With the defeat at Rancagua and the collapse of the revolutionary cause Henríquez, like many of his countrymen, was discouraged and embittered. In an essay discussing the causes for the catastrophe Henríquez concluded that republican government would never succeed in Chile. Instead, he maintained, authority had to rest in the hands of one person who inspired fear, love, and respect. This person, he concluded, should be a monarch, as he had been the only figure capable of uniting the country. Henríquez went into exile disenchanted with his countrymen. He returned to Chile in 1822, after the final triumph of the revolutionaries, and continued his labors in the fields of journalism and education.