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Narrative of Services in the Liberation of Chili, Peru and Brazil, from Spanish and Portuguese Domination
Chapter V


SAN MARTIN'S VIOLATION OF TRUTH--REMOVAL OF BLOCKADE--SPANISH DEPRESSION--TROOPS DYING OF FEVER--SAN MARTIN'S DESIGNS ON GUAYAQUIL--MUTINOUS CONDUCT OF OFFICERS--REFUSAL TO OBEY ORDERS--DEPOSITION OF VICEROY--SAN MARTIN GIVES ME TROOPS--JEALOUSY OF SAN MARTIN--ATTACK ON ARICA--CAPTURE OF TACNA--CAPTURE OF MOQUEGA--REFUSAL OF MORE MEN--AN ARMISTICE RATIFIED--DISTRESS OF LIMA--DISSATISFACTION OF THE ARMY--LADY COCHRANE--GOES INTO THE INTERIOR--DANGEROUS POSITION--LADY COCHRANE IN ACTION--DEVOTION OF SEAMEN.

On the 8th of November I went to Ancon with our prize, this being hailed with great enthusiasm by the army, which--now that the Spanish naval force had received, what even the Spaniards themselves considered its death blow--made certain that it would be at once led against Lima, before the authorities recovered from their consternation. To their mortification--no less than my own--General San Martin, in defiance of all argument to the contrary, ordered the troops on board the transports, having decided on retreating to Huacho! whither the O'Higgins and Esmeralda, abandoning the blockade, had to convoy them. In place of prompt action--or rather demonstration, for the occupation of the city would have amounted to little more--he issued a proclamation, promising, as before, the most perfect freedom to the Peruvian people if they would join him:--

"Spaniards, your destiny is in your own hands. I come not to declare war against the fortunes and persons of individuals. The enemy of the liberty and independence of America alone is the object of the vengeance of the arms of the PATRIA. I promise you in the most positive manner, that your property and persons shall be inviolable, and that you shall be treated as respectable citizens, if you co-operate in the great cause," &c. &c.

By the 12th the army was again disembarked, amidst evident manifestations of dissatisfaction on the part of the officers, who were naturally jealous of the achievements of the squadron, from being themselves restrained from enterprise of any kind. To allay this feeling General San Martin had recourse to an almost incredible violation of truth, intended to impress upon the Chilian people, that the army, and not the squadron, had captured the Esmeralda!--indeed stating as much in words, and declaring that the whole affair was the result of his own plans, to which I had agreed! though the truth is, that doubting his confidants, I had concealed from him my intentions of making the attack. The following is an extract from the bulletin issued to the army:--

"Before the General-in-Chief left the Vice-Admiral of the Squadron, they agreed on the execution of a memorable project, sufficient to astound intrepidity itself! and to make the history of the liberating expedition of Peru eternal!"

"Those valiant soldiers who for a length of time have suffered with the most heroic constancy the severest oppression, and the most inhuman treatment in the dungeons of Casas-matas, have just arrived at our head-quarters. Flattering promises of liberty, and the threats of death, were not sufficient to destroy their loyalty to their country; they have waited with firmness the day on which their companions in arms should rescue them from their misery, and revenge the insults which, humanity has received in their persons. This glory was reserved to the liberating army, whose efforts have snatched from the hands of tyranny these respectable victims. Let this be published for the satisfaction of these individuals, and that of the army, to whose arms they owe their liberty."

It thus went forth to the people of Chili, that the army captured the frigate, and subsequently released the prisoners, though not a man in the whole force had the most distant idea that an attack was even contemplated, much less could it have co-operated, seeing that it was far away in cantonments! This bulletin excited the astonishment of the troops; but as it contributed to their amour propre, by representing to the Chilian people that the achievement which had been effected was due to them, they accepted it; whilst I thought it beneath me to refute a falsehood palpable to the whole expedition. It had, however, as General San Martin no doubt calculated, the effect of allaying, for the moment, a dissatisfaction which foreboded serious consequences.

On the 15th we again sailed from Huacho, to renew the blockade at Callao, beyond which nothing could be done; though even this was of importance, as cutting off supplies from the capital, the inhabitants of which, in consequence of the privations they were subjected to, caused great uneasiness to the Viceregal Government.

Several attempts were now made to entice the remaining Spanish naval force from their shelter under the batteries, by placing the Esmeralda apparently within reach, and the flag-ship herself in situations of some danger. One day I carried her through an intricate strait called the Boqueron, in which nothing beyond a fifty-ton schooner was ever seen. The Spaniards, expecting every moment to see the ship strike, manned their gun-boats, ready to attack as soon as she was aground, of which there was little danger, for we had found, and buoyed off with small bits of wood invisible to the enemy, a channel through which a vessel could pass without much difficulty.

On the 2nd of December the Esmeralda, being in a more than usually tempting position, the Spanish gun-boats ventured out in the hope of recapturing her, and for an hour maintained a smart fire; but on seeing the O'Higgins manoeuvring to cut them off, they precipitately retreated.

The preceeding successes caused great depression amongst the Spanish troops, and on the following day the battalion of Numantia, numbering 650 disciplined men, deserted in a body, and joined the Chilian forces at Chancay. On the 8th, forty Spanish officers followed their example; and every day afterwards, officers, privates, and civilians of respectability, joined the patriot army, which thus became considerably reinforced; the defection of so large a portion of his troops being a severe loss to the Viceroy.

On the 6th, Colonel Arenales, who, after his previous success, had marched into the interior, defeated a division of the royalist army at Pasco. On his proceeding to Huamanga, the authorities fled, and the inhabitants declared themselves independent. Tarma was next abandoned, and followed the same example, as did Huanuco, Cuenca, and Loxa; whilst, on the news of the capture of the Esmeralda arriving at Truxillo, that important province also revolted, under the direction of the Spanish governor, the Marquis of Torre Tagle.

Notwithstanding this succession of favourable events, General San Martin still declined to march on Lima, remaining inactive at Haura, though the unhealthy situation of the place was such, that nearly one-third of his troops died of intermittent fever, during the many months they remained there. In place of securing the capital, where the army would have now been welcomed, he proposed to send half the army to Guayaquil, in order to annex that province, this being the first manifestation on the part of General San Martin to found a dominion of his own--for to nothing less did he afterwards aspire, though the declared object of the expedition was to enable the South Pacific provinces to emancipate themselves from Spain, leaving them free to choose their own governments, as had been repeatedly and solemnly declared, both by the Chilian Government and himself.

Finding that I would not consent to avert the naval force from the purposes to which it was destined, the project was abandoned; but the troops which had advanced to Chancay were ordered to fall back on Haura, this step being actually a further retreat as regarded the position of the Spanish forces, which thus managed to check further desertion by apprehending and shooting all who attempted it.

Still General San Martin was determined, if possible, to accomplish his views on Guayaquil. Two deputies, Tomas Guido and Colonel Luzuriago, were despatched with complimentary messages to Torre Tagle and others, warning them against the designs of Bolivar, whose success in the north led San Martin to fear that he might have designs on Peru. The deputies were strictly enjoined to represent that if such were Bolivar's intention, Guayaquil would only be regarded as a conquered province; whilst, if the people of that place would adhere to him, he would, on the fall of Lima, make it the principal port of a great empire, and that the establishment of the docks and arsenals which his navy would require, would enrich the city beyond measure. They were at the same time exhorted to form a militia, in order to keep out Bolivar.

By way of conciliating me, General San Martin proposed in a flattering way to call the captured frigate the "Cochrane," as two vessels before had been named the "San Martin," and "O'Higgins;" but to this I demurred, as acquiescence in such a proceeding might in the estimation of others have identified me with any course the general might be inclined to pursue, and I had already formed my conjectures as to what were evidently his future purposes. Finding me firm in declining the proffered honour, he told me to give her what name I thought proper; but this was also refused, when he said, "Let her be called the 'Valdivia,' in memory of your conquest of that place;" her name was accordingly changed from the Esmeralda to the Valdivia.

The command of the frigate had been given to Captain Guise; and after her change of name, his officers wrote to him a letter deprecating the name, and alleging, that as they had nothing to do with the conquest of Valdivia, it ought to be withdrawn, and one more consonant with their feelings substituted. This letter was followed by marked personal disrespect towards myself, from the officers who had signed it, who made it no secret that the name of Guise was the one sought to be substituted.

As the conversations held by these officers with the rest of the squadron were of such a derogatory nature as regarded my character and authority, as might lead to serious disorganization, I brought the whole of the officers who had signed the letter to a court-martial, two being dismissed the service, the remainder being dismissed the ship, with a recommendation to General San Martin for other appointments.

During the arrest of these officers, I had determined upon an attack upon the fortifications of Callao, intending to carry them by a coup de main, similar to that which had succeeded at Valdivia, and having, on the 18th, taken soundings in the Potrillo, was convinced of the feasibility of the plan.

On the 20th, this intention was notified by an order, stating that on the following day I should make the attack with the boats of the squadron and the San Martin, the crew of which received the order with loud cheers, volunteers for the boats eagerly pressing forward from all quarters.

In place of preparing to second the operations, Captain Guise sent me a note refusing to serve with any other but the officers under arrest--stating that unless they were restored, he must resign his command. My reply was that I would neither restore them nor accept his resignation, without some better reason for it than the one alleged. Captain Guise answered, that my refusal to restore his officers was a sufficient reason for his resignation, whereupon I ordered him to weigh anchor on a service of importance; the order being disobeyed on the ground that he could no longer act, having given over the command of the ship to Lieutenant Shepherd. Feeling that something like a mutiny was being excited, and knowing that Guise and his colleague, Spry, were at the bottom of the matter, I ordered the latter to proceed with the Galvarino to Chorillos, when he also requested leave to resign, as "his friend Captain Guise had been compelled so to do, and he had entered the Chilian navy conditionally to serve only with Captain Guise, under whose patronage he had left England." Such was the state of mutiny on board the Galvarino, that I deputed my flag-captain, Crosbie, to restore order, when Spry affected to consider himself superseded, and claimed exemption from martial law. I therefore tried him by court-martial, and dismissed him from the ship.

The two officers now made their way to head-quarters, where General San Martin immediately made Spry his naval aide-de-camp, thus promoting him in the most public manner for disobedience to orders, and in defiance of the sentence of the court-martial; this being pretty conclusive proof that they had been acting under the instructions of General San Martin himself, for what purpose will appear in the course of the narrative. The course now pursued by General San Martin sufficiently showed that the disturbance previously made at Valparaiso emanated also from himself, and that in both cases the mutinous officers felt quite secure in his protection; though I will do both the credit of supposing them ignorant at the time of the treacherous purposes of which they were afterwards the instruments.

Knowing that I should take their punishment into my own hands if they returned to the squadron, General San Martin kept both about his own person at head-quarters, where they remained.

So dissatisfied were the Spanish troops at Lima with the government of their Viceroy, Pezuela, to whose want of military capacity they absurdly attributed our successes, that they forcibly deposed him, after compelling him to appoint General Lacerna as his successor. The deposed Viceroy wishing to send his lady and family to Europe, applied to General San Martin for a passport, to avoid capture by the Chilian squadron. This was refused; but Lady Cochrane having arrived at Callao in the British frigate Andromache, to take leave of me previous to her departure for England, the Viceroy's lady, Donna Angela, begged of her Ladyship to use her influence with the General to obtain leave for her departure for Europe. Lady Cochrane immediately proceeded to Haura, and effected the object; after which she remained for a month at head-quarters, residing at the house of a Peruvian lady, Donna Josefa Monteblanco.

A passage was also, by Lady Cochrane's influence, procured for the lady in the Andromache, on board which ship Captain Sherriff politely invited me to meet her. At this interview the ex-Vicequeen expressed her surprise at finding me "a gentleman and rational being and not the ferocious brute she had been taught to consider me!" A declaration, which, from the unsophisticated manner in which it was made, caused no small merriment in the party assembled.

As I was determined not to be idle, General San Martin was with some difficulty prevailed upon to give me a division of 600 troops, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller. On the 13th of March we sailed for Pisco, of which, on its previous abandonment by the army, after a useless sojourn of fifty days, the enemy had again taken possession. On the 20th it was retaken, when it was found that the Spaniards had severely punished the alleged defection of the inhabitants for contributing to the supplies of the patriot force during its stay. Not imagining that we should return, the Spanish proprietors of estates had brought back their cattle, of which we managed to seize some 500 head, besides 300 horses for the use of the Chilian forces, the squadron thus supplying their wants instead of remaining in total inaction.

Previous to going to Pisco, I had again urged on General San Martin to advance on Lima, so convinced was I of the goodwill of the inhabitants. On his refusal, I begged him to give me 2,000 men, with whom I offered to take the capital, but this was also declined. I then offered to undertake the capture of Lima with 1,000 men, but even this was refused, and the detachment under Colonel Miller was only given to me to get rid of my importunity. Of this detachment I however determined to make the most before our return.

The only way of accounting for this indisposition on the part of General San Martin to place an adequate military force at my disposal, was the reason current amongst the officers of the army, who were all eager to place themselves under my orders; viz. the violent jealousy which caused him to look upon me as a rival, though without reason, as I should certainly not have attempted to interfere with him in the government of Peru when its reduction was complete. Suspicious himself he could not trust me, employing every effort to lessen my reputation amongst his officers, and endeavouring to the utmost to prevent the squadron from gathering fresh laurels; even sacrificing his own reputation to this insane jealousy, by preventing anything being done in which I could take part.

On the 18th I shifted my flag into the San Martin, and leaving the O'Higgins and Valdivia at Pisco to protect the troops, sailed for Callao, where we arrived on the 2nd of April. On the 6th, we again attacked the enemy's shipping under the batteries, and did them considerable damage, but made no further attempt to gain possession of them, as I had other aims in view. After this demonstration, the object of which was to deter them from quitting their shelter, we returned to Pisco.

General San Martin having now given me discretionary power to do what I pleased with the few troops placed at my disposal, I determined on attacking Arica, the southernmost port of Peru. Reimbarking the troops, and abandoning Pisco, we sailed on the 21st, and on the 1st of May arrived off Arica, to the Governor of which I sent a summons to surrender, promising to respect persons and personal property. As this was not complied with, an immediate bombardment took place, but without any great effect, as, from the difficulties of the port, it was impracticable to get sufficiently near to the fortifications.

After a careful survey, the San Martin was on the 6th, hauled nearer in shore, and some shells were thrown over the town by way of intimidation. As this had not the desired effect, a portion of the troops was landed at Sama, to the northward of the town, being followed by Colonel Miller with the remainder, and Captain Wilkinson with the marines of the San Martin; when the enemy fled, and the patriot flag was hoisted on the batteries. We took here a considerable quantity of stores, and four Spanish brigs, besides the guns of the fort and other detached artillery. A quantity of European goods, belonging to the Spaniards at Lima, was also seized and put on board the San Martin.

On the 14th Colonel Miller, with the troops and marines, advanced to Tacna, and by my directions took possession of the town, which was effected without opposition, two companies of infantry deserting the royalist cause and joining his force. These I ordered to form the nucleus of a new regiment, to be called the "Tacna Independents."

Learning that the Spanish General Ramirez had ordered three detachments from Arequipa, Puno, and La Paz, to form a junction at Tacna, to execute the usual Spanish order--to "drive the insurgents into the sea"--Miller determined on attacking them separately. The Arequipa detachment, under Colonel Hera, was fallen in with at Maribe, and immediately routed, the result being that nearly the whole were killed or taken prisoners, together with four hundred mules and their baggage. In this affair we lost a valued officer, Mr. Welsh, an assistant surgeon, who had volunteered to accompany the detachment. This gentleman was sincerely mourned by all, and his early death was a great loss to the patriot service.

This action was fought none too soon, for before it was over the other detachments from Puno and La Plaz appeared in sight, so that the patriots had to face a fresh enemy. With his usual promptness Miller despatched Captain Hind, with a rocket party, to oppose their passage of a river; when, finding that the Arequipa detachment had been cut up, the royalists remounted their mules and decamped, in the direction of Moquega.

On the 22nd Miller pursued the runaway royalists, and, on the 24th, entered Moquega, by a forced march of nearly a hundred miles, where he found the enemy, deserted by their colonel. Notwithstanding the fatigue of the Chilenos, an instant attack was made, when the whole, with the exception of about twenty killed, were made prisoners. The inhabitants at once gave in their adherence to the cause of independence, their Governor, Colonel Portocarrera, being the first to set the example.

On the 25th Colonel Miller learned that a Spanish force was passing Torata, about fifteen miles distant, when, coming up with them on the following day, they were all taken prisoners or dispersed, as were also those who had fled from Arica, numbering four hundred men; so that in less than a fortnight after landing at Arica, the patriot forces had killed and made prisoners upwards of one thousand of the royalist army, by a series of difficult forced marches, and amidst hunger and privations of every kind, which were cheerfully borne by the Chilenos, who were no less inspired by a love of country than with attachment to their commander. The result was the complete submission of the Spaniards from the sea to the Cordilleras, Arica forming the key to the whole country.

Having ascertained that Colonel Miller was at Moquega, I took the San Martin to Ilo, from which anchorage the patriot force was supplied with everything requisite. The sick were taken on board the brigs captured at Arica, as were also the Spanish colonels, Sierra and Suares, who had been taken prisoners, but whom I liberated on their parole, not to serve again until regularly exchanged.

It has been said that, before sailing to Arica, I had procured from General San Martin discretionary powers to do as I pleased with the troops placed at my disposal. My object was believed to be to create a diversion in favour of the general, but this was the least part of my intention; for, as the army had remained inactive from its first landing in Peru--with the exception of the detachment under Colonel Arenales,--no diversion would have been of much use. I wrote to the Government at Santiago for 1,000 men, or, if these could not be sent, for 500, and also for 1,000 stand of arms, of which there was abundance in the arsenal to equip recruits, who would have been forthcoming; and with these we could, with the greatest ease, have secured the whole of the southern provinces of Peru, the people being warmly disposed in our favour. I therefore told the Government that with such a force, we could hold the whole of Lower Peru, and gain eventual possession of Upper Peru. My request was refused, on the false ground that the Government had no means to equip such an expedition, and thus the good will manifested by the natives was thrown away.

In spite of this neglect, I determined to persevere, relying upon sacrifices made by the Peruvians themselves in our favour. General Ramirez was actively engaged in drawing men from distant garrisons to act against our small force, which was suffering severely from ague. Nevertheless, every effort was made again to advance into the interior--a number of recruits from the adjacent provinces having been enrolled--and everything promised a general revolt in favour of independence, when the Governor of Arequipa communicated to us intelligence that an armistice had been agreed upon for twenty days, between General San Martin and the Viceroy Lacerna. This happening just at the moment when hostilities could have been carried on with the greatest effect, and we were preparing to attack Arequipa itself--was annoying in the extreme; the more so, as the application had come from the Viceroy, who, being the first to receive intelligence of our success, had, no doubt, deceived General San Martin into the arrangement, in order to check our operations in the South.

This armistice was ratified on the 23rd of May, and sent by express to the Governor of Arequipa, the unusual haste proving the object of the Viceroy in persuading General San Martin to its ratification. To have regarded the armistice as a preliminary to the independence of Peru was a great mistake on the part of General San Martin, as the Viceroy Lacerna had no more power to acknowledge the absolute independence of the Colonists, than had his predecessor; and therefore the object of the armistice could have been none other than to put a stop to our progress, thereby giving the Spanish generals time to collect their scattered forces, without any corresponding advantage to the patriot cause.

Being thus reluctantly reduced to inaction, I dropped down to Mollendo, where we found a neutral vessel taking in corn for supplying the city of Lima, which city, from the vigilance of the squadron, was reduced to great straits, as shewn in an address from the Cabildo to the Viceroy:--"The richest and most opulent of our provinces has succumbed to the unopposable force of the enemy, and the remaining provinces are threatened with the same fate; whilst this suffering capital of Lima is undergoing the horrible effects of a rigorous blockade, hunger, robberies, and death. Our soldiers pay no respect to the last remains of our property, even our oxen, indispensable for the cultivation of the land, being slain. If this plague continues, what will be our lot--our miserable condition?" From this extract it is plain that Lima was on the point of being starved out by the squadron, whilst the inhabitants foresaw that, although the army of General San Martin was inactive, our little band in the south would speedily overrun the provinces, which were willing to second our efforts in favour of independence.

To return to the shipment of wheat for the relief of Lima. On ascertaining the fact, I wrote to the Governor of Arequipa, expressing my surprise that neutrals should be allowed to embark provisions during an armistice; the reply being that the most positive orders should be given to put a stop to it, upon which I retired from Mollendo, but leaving an officer to keep watch, and finding that the embarkation was persisted in, I returned and shipped all the wheat found on shore. The consequence of this was that Colonel La Hera, with 1,000 royalists, took possession of Moquega, on pretence that I had broken the armistice.

My private advices from head quarters informed me that the dissatisfaction of the Chilian army was daily increasing, on account of their continued inaction, and from jealousy at our success; knowing also, that the capital of Peru was, from the straits to which it was reduced, as well as from inclination, eager to receive them. General San Martin nevertheless declined to take advantage of the circumstances in his favour, till dissension began to assume the character of insubordination. A daily toast at the tables of the officers was, to those who fight for the liberties of Peru, not those who write. "A los que pelean por la libertad del Peru, no los que escriven." General San Martin, aware of the state of feeling in the army, went on board the schooner Montezuma, for the re-establishment of his health.

I was further informed that the Viceroy was negociating with General San Martin for the prolongation of the armistice to sixteen months, in order to give time for communication with the Court of Madrid, to ascertain whether the parent state would consent to the independence of Peru! At the same time official information was forwarded to me that a further prolongation of twelve days had been conceded.

Feeling certain that there was something wrong at head-quarters, I determined to proceed to Callao for the purpose of learning the true state of affairs, leaving Colonel Miller to return to Arica, and in case of emergency, victualling and equipping the prizes, so as to be in readiness, if necessary, for the reception of his troops.

During my absence Lady Cochrane sailed for England, partly for the sake of her health, but more for the purpose of obtaining justice for me, for in addition to the persecution which I had undergone, a "Foreign Enlistment Bill" had been passed, the enactments of which were especially aimed at my having engaged in a service which had for its object the expulsion of Spain, then in alliance with England, from her Colonies in the Pacific.

As an incident relating to her Ladyship has been mentioned in the "Memoirs of General Miller," I may be pardoned for giving it as narrated in that work.

"On the 25th, six hundred infantry and sixty Cavalry, all picked men, were placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, who received directions to embark on a secret service under the orders of Lord Cochrane, and proceeded to Huacho. On the day after his arrival there, and whilst he was inspecting the detachments in the Plaza, Lady Cochrane galloped on to the parade to speak to him. The sudden appearance of youth and beauty on a fiery horse, managed with skill and elegance, absolutely electrified the men, who had never before seen an English lady. 'Que hermosa! Que graciosa! Que linda! Que airosa! Es un angel del cielo!' were exclamations which escaped from one end of the line to the other. Colonel Miller, not displeased at this involuntary homage to the beauty of his countrywoman, said to the men, 'This is our generala;' on which her Ladyship, turning to the line, bowed to the troops, who no longer confining their expressions of admiration to suppressed interjections, loud vivas burst from officers and men, to which Lady Cochrane, smiling her acknowledgments, cantered off the ground like a fairy."

In the month of February, during my absence, Lady Cochrane, tired of the crowded villages occupied by the liberating army, undertook a journey into the interior, in the hope that change of air might prove advantageous to our infant child, which was in a precarious state of health. She performed the journey on horseback, under the intense heat of a vertical sun, across a desert, impeded by the precipitous beds of torrents which intersect the country in every direction. On her arrival at Quilca, she was most hospitably received by the Marchioness de la Pracer, who placed her palace and every luxury at Lady Cochrane's disposal.

In the midst of the festivities which followed, her child was taken dangerously ill, whilst no medical assistance of any kind was at hand. On this she determined to return to the coast, and seek the aid of an English or Spanish physician, but as the Royalist army was advancing towards the direction necessary to be taken, this was judged impracticable till they had passed.

Whilst her Ladyship was in this state of suspense, information was received that the Royalists, having gained intelligence that she was at Quilca, had determined to seize her and her infant that very evening, and to detain them as hostages. This intelligence arrived just as a large party was assembled in the ball-room, when, with a decision which is one of her chief characteristics, Lady Cochrane ordered a palanquin--presented to her by the Marquis of Torre Tagle--to be got ready instantly, and placing the child and its nurse in it, she despatched them under the protection of a guard. Leaving the ball-room secretly, she changed her dress, immediately following on horseback with relays of her best horses.

Travelling all night and the following day without intermission, the party came to one of those swollen torrents which can only be crossed by a frail bridge made of cane-rope, a proceeding of extreme danger to those who are not well accustomed to the motion produced by its elasticity. Whilst the party was debating as to how to get the palanquin over, the sound of a Royalist bugle was heard close at hand. Lady Cochrane sprang to the palanquin, and taking out her suffering infant, rushed on to the bridge, but when near the centre, the vibration became so great that she was compelled to lie down, pressing the child to her bosom--being thus suspended over the foaming torrent beneath, whilst in its state of vibration no one could venture on the bridge. In this perilous situation, Pedro, the faithful soldier of whom mention has been previously made, seeing the imminent danger of her Ladyship, begged of her to lie still, and as the vibration ceased, crept on his hands and knees towards her Ladyship, taking from her the child, and imploring her to remain motionless, when he would bring her over in the same way; but no sooner had he taken the child, than she followed, and happily succeeded in crossing, when the ropes being cut, the torrent was interposed between her and her pursuers.

All travellers agree in describing these torrent bridges as most perilous. They are constructed of six elastic cane or hide ropes, four of which, with some sticks laid across, form the floor, and two the parapet. Only one person can pass at a time, and as the weight of the passenger causes the bridge to belly downwards, he remains suspended as it were in an elastic bag, from which it requires considerable skill to extricate himself with safety. Mules and horses cannot go over at all, but are hauled through the torrent with ropes.

Having reached the coast in safety, Lady Cochrane came down to me at Callao. Whilst she was on board, I received private information that a ship of war laden with treasure was about to make her escape in the night. There was no time to be lost, as the enemy's vessel was such an excellent sailer that, if once under weigh, beyond the reach of shot, there was no chance of capturing her. I therefore determined to attack her, so that Lady Cochrane had only escaped one peril ashore to be exposed to another afloat. Having beat to quarters, we opened fire upon the treasure-ship and other hostile vessels in the anchorage, the batteries and gun-boats returning our fire, Lady Cochrane remaining on deck during the conflict. Seeing a gunner hesitate to fire his gun, close to which she was standing, and imagining that his hesitation from her proximity might, if observed, expose him to punishment, she seized the man's arm, and directing the match fired the gun. The effort was, however, too much for her, as she immediately fainted, and was carried below.

The treasure-vessel having been crippled, and the gun-boats beaten off, we left off firing and returned to our former anchorage, Lady Cochrane again coming on deck. As soon as the sails were furled, the men in the tops, and the whole crew on deck, no doubt by preconcerted arrangement, spontaneously burst forth with the inspiring strains of their national anthem, some poet amongst them having extemporized an alteration of the words into a prayer for the blessing of Divine providence on me and my devoted wife; the effect of this unexpected mark of attachment from five hundred manly voices being so overwhelming as to affect her Ladyship more than had the din of cannon.


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