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


RETURN TO VALPARAISO--THANKS OF THE GOVERNMENT--REASONS FOR SATISFACTION--ILLEGITIMATE TRADE--TURNED TO GOOD ACCOUNT--DENUNCIATION OF OFFICERS DESERTED--INVESTIGATION OF ACCOUNTS--SAN MARTIN'S CHARGES AGAINST ME--MY REFUTATION--GOVERNMENT REFUSES ITS PUBLICATION--CRUELTY TO SPANISH PRISONERS--RETIREMENT TO QUINTERO--POLITICAL FRUITS OF OUR SUCCESS--DESTITUTE CONDITION OF SQUADRON--INFAMOUS ATTEMPT TO PROMOTE DISSATISFACTION THEREIN--OBJECT OF THIS COURSE--STEPS TAKEN TO DEFEAT IT--DISAVOWED BY THE MINISTER--SYMPATHY OF OFFICERS--ATTEMPT TO GET RID OF GEN. FREIRE--ITS EVENTUAL RESULT--LETTER OF THE CAPTAINS.

On my arrival at Valparaiso, I found that San Martin's agents, Paroissien and Garcia del Rio, had produced his accusations against me to the Government at Santiago, though without effect, as I had taken care to keep it apprised of everything which had transpired, exercising the most scrupulous care in furnishing accounts of monies and stores taken from the Spaniards, but especially as regarded the public money of the Peruvian Government appropriated at Ancon.

The return of the squadron was announced by me to the Government in the following letter:--

The anxious desires of His Excellency the Supreme Director are now fulfilled, and the sacrifices of the Chilian people are rewarded. The naval power of Spain in the Pacific has succumbed and is extinguished, the following vessels having surrendered to the unceasing efforts of the squadron of this Free State:--

Prueba, 50 guns; Esmeralda, 44; Venganza, 44; Resolution, 34; Sebastiana, 34; Pesuela, 18; Potrillo, 16; Prosperina 14; Arausasu; seventeen gun-boats; the armed ships Aguila and Begonia; the block ships at Callao; and many merchantmen.

It is highly gratifying to me, after labouring under such difficulties as were never before witnessed on board ships of war, to announce the arrival of the Chilian squadron in Valparaiso--its cradle; where, owing to its unceasing services in the cause of liberty and independence of Chili, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, it forms an object of admiration and gratitude to the inhabitants of the New World.

(Signed) COCHRANE.

By the inhabitants of Valparaiso our return was hailed with every manifestation of delight, almost every house in the place being decorated with the patriot flag, whilst other demonstrations of national joy showed the importance which the Chilian people attached to our services, in spite of the obstacles which they well knew had been opposed to them.

On the 4th of June, the following letters of thanks were forwarded to me:--

Ministry of Marine,
Santiago de Chili, June 4th, 1822.

Most Excellent Sir,

The arrival of your Excellency at Valparaiso with the squadron under your command, has given the greatest pleasure to his Excellency the Supreme Director. In those feelings of gratitude which the glory acquired by your Excellency during the late campaign has excited, you will find the proof of that high consideration which your heroic services so justly deserve.

Among those who have a distinguished claim are the chiefs and officers, who, faithful to their duty, have remained on board the vessels of war of this State, a list of whom your Excellency has honoured me by enclosing. These gentlemen will most assuredly receive the recompense so justly due to their praiseworthy constancy.

Be pleased to accept the assurance of my highest esteem.

JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA.
His Excellency the Vice-Admiral and
Commander-in-Chief of the Squadron,
the Right Honourable Lord Cochrane.

From the preceding letter it will be observed that my old opponent, Zenteno, was no longer at the head of the Department of Marine, but was appointed Governor of Valparaiso, where he exercised the office of Port-Admiral, a position in which, with all his former enmity, he contrived, notwithstanding the complete satisfaction of the Government with my services, to give me great annoyance.

In addition to the above acknowledgment of our services, a decree was issued commanding a medal to be struck in commemoration thereof.

Ministry of Marine,
Santiago de Chili, 19th June, 1822.

Most Excellent Sir,

His Excellency the Supreme Director being desirous of making a public demonstration of the high services that the squadron has rendered to the nation, has resolved that a medal be struck for the officers and crews of the squadron, with an inscription expressive of the national gratitude towards the worthy supporters of its maritime power.

I have the honour to communicate this to your Excellency by supreme command, and to offer you my highest respects.

JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA.
His Excellency the Rt. Hon. Lord Cochrane,
Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief, &c. &c.

It is here observable, that whereas San Martin, on the occupation of Lima, had caused a medal to be struck, arrogating the success of the expedition entirely to the army, which had done little or nothing towards it--leaving out all mention of the services of the squadron; the Chilian Government gave the credit, as was deserved, to the squadron--omitting all mention of the army, which remained under the standard of the Protector. Nothing can be more conclusive as to the opinions of the Chilian Government on the subject.

Chili had indeed reason to be grateful, no less for the management than the achievements of the squadron. I had now been in command something more than two years and a half, during which we either took, destroyed, or forced to surrender, every Spanish ship of war in the Pacific; the whole of the west coast was cleared of pirates, which before abounded; we had reduced unaided the most important fortresses of the enemy, either by storm or blockade; the commerce both of Chili and neutral powers had been protected; and the cause of independence placed on a basis so firm, that nothing but folly or corruption could shake it.

For these most important results, Chili had been at no cost whatever beyond the original ineffective equipment of the ships. With the exception of three or four cargoes of provisions sent to Callao, I had, by my own exertions, for the whole period, provided for the maintenance and subsistence of the squadron, its repairs, equipment, stores, provisions, and pay, as far as the men had been paid; not a dollar having been expended for these purposes by the Chilian Government, which trusted--but in vain--to Peru. To have been ungrateful--as far as the public expression of gratitude went, for other reward there was none--would have been a national crime.

As one of my modes of providing for the necessities of the squadron has not been mentioned, it must be here given.

Under the Spanish regime, no foreign vessel could trade at their ports in the Pacific. But, for the sake of revenue as well as to obtain supplies, it had become the practice of the Viceroy to sell licences, enabling British merchants to employ British vessels in the Spanish Colonial trade. These had to load in some port in Spain, and were there furnished with legalized Spanish papers.

Under the altered state of things in Chili, in order to secure such vessels from capture by the Chilian ships of war, as having Spanish property on board, the device of simulated papers was resorted to, representing the cargoes as British property, coming from the port of Gibraltar; one set of papers being used ashore, and the other afloat, or as occasion required. Several British vessels had been detained by the Chilian squadron, whereof the Spanish papers were found in the Peruvian custom-houses when taken possession of; they were accordingly liable to be libelled as Spanish property.

In order, however, to land their cargoes in safety, the commanders and supercargoes of such British vessels voluntarily offered terms which should confer upon their trade a legitimate character, viz. to pay a certain impost as an equivalent for customs' duties. I accepted these terms as furnishing me with means to supply the necessities and defray the expenses of the squadron, the wants of which were with great difficulty supplied, as the Protectoral Government refused to aid in any way, notwithstanding that it owed its very existence to our efforts.

The duties thus collected,--for the most part in contraband of war,--were duly accounted for by me to the Government of Chili, whilst such compromise was received as a boon by the British merchants, and highly approved of by the British naval authorities, Sir Thomas Hardy especially.

Yet General San Martin, and others interested in a line of policy which in its prosecution was inimical to the true interests of Chili, afterwards charged these proceedings upon me as "acts of piracy."

That the Chilian Government was, however, well satisfied with all the steps taken for provisioning and maintaining the squadron, as well as with the seizure and disposal of the public money at Ancon, is evident from the following acknowledgment:--

Most Excellent Sir,

I have informed the Supreme Director of the note which you addressed to me on the 7th of October, accompanying the accounts of the monies supplied to the payment of the officers and seamen of the squadron, and to the other objects of the naval service; as well as the accounts of money and bars of silver returned at Ancon to their respective owners.

His Excellency approves of all that you have done in these matters and orders me in reply to convey his approbation, which I have the honour now to do.

Accept the assurance of my high consideration,

(Signed) JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA,
Ministry of Marine, Santiago de Chili.

To LORD COCHRANE,
Vice-Adm. & Comm.-in-Chief. Nov. 13, 1821.

On the same date, the following was received relative to the officers who had deserted from the squadron, for the purpose of entering the service of the Protector:--

Santiago de Chili, Nov. 13, 1821.

Most Excellent Sir,

His Excellency the Supreme Director has received with the greatest dissatisfaction a list of the naval officers who have deserted from the squadron. These will not fail to be noted in order to be tried by a court-martial, in case they should again tread the soil of Chili. It is fortunate that your Excellency has altered the private signals, lest Capt. Esmonde should divulge those which were in use.

(Signed) JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA.
Vice-Adm. Lord Cochrane.

Immediately after my arrival, an intimation was forwarded to me by the Supreme Director of his wish to confer with me privately on the subject of my letter of May 2nd, in which had been pointed out the danger arising in Peru, from the tyranny exercised by the Protectoral Government.

Santiago, June 4th, 1822.

My Distinguished Friend Lord Cochrane,

I do not wish to delay a moment in expressing my satisfaction at your arrival, of which you have informed me in your letter of the 2nd inst. As in that letter you acquaint me that you will speedily be in this Capital, with a view to communicate matters which would be better conveyed in a verbal conference, shall anxiously await the day to express to you all the consideration with which I am

Your sincere friend,

BERNARDO O'HIGGINS.

Having as yet received no official acknowledgment of the accounts of the squadron, beyond the previously mentioned general expression of entire satisfaction on the part of the Government, I applied to the Minister of Marine for a more minute investigation into their contents, as from the charges made against me by San Martin, I was desirous that the most rigid inquiry should be instituted forthwith, and indeed expressed my surprise--from the time which had elapsed since they were forwarded--that this had not been done. On the 14th of June, the Minister replied as follows:--

MOST EXCELLENT SIR,

The accounts of monies applied by your Excellency in the necessary requirements of the vessels of war under your command, which you conveyed to me in your two notes of the 25thof May last, have been passed to the office of the Accountant-General, for the purpose indicated by your Excellency.

JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA.

Knowing the dilatory habits of the departments of State, I did not deem this satisfactory, and being engaged in preparing a refutation of San Martin's charges, I again urged on the Minister to investigate the accounts without further delay, when, on the 19th of June, he acknowledged--in a letter too long for insertion--the specific items; at the same time declaring his "high consideration for the manner in which I had made the flag of Chili respected in the Pacific."

This was satisfactory, but it is perhaps necessary to assign a reason why so much importance is attached to a mere matter of routine, especially after the Government had declared its satisfaction with all my proceedings. The reason is this--that for all the services so warmly acknowledged, the Government of Chili restrained from conferring either upon myself or the squadron the slightest pecuniary recompense, even the prize-money due to the officers and seamen, part of which the ministry had appropriated. On pressing these claims year after year subsequent to my departure from Chili, I was informed sixteen years afterwards! that my accounts required explanation! the reason for this unworthy proceeding being, that, as the claim could not be disputed, it might thus be evaded.

My refutation of San Martin's accusations was drawn up in the most minute manner, replying to every charge seriatim, and bringing to light a multitude of nefarious practices on the part of his Government, which had been previously kept back. Lest I might appear in the invidious light of an accuser, I was strongly dissuaded from its publication, as being unnecessary, the Chilian Government paying no attention whatever to his charges, but being afraid of embroiling themselves with Peru, the weakness of which they failed rightly to estimate.

Having, however, my own character to defend, I did not think proper to comply, and therefore forwarded my refutation to the Government, the Minister of Marine acknowledging its receipt, with an intimation that it had been deposited in the archives of the Republic.

As, from the Minister of Marine's reply, the document was evidently intended to remain there without further notice, I addressed the following letter to the Supreme Director:--

MOST EXCELLENT SIR,

As the game attempted to be played by the Government of Peru for the annihilation of the marine of Chili is now being put in practice in another form, conjointly with further attacks on my character, I have to request permission from the supreme authority to publish my correspondence with San Martin and his agents on these subjects; together with a copy of his accusation against me, with my reply thereto, in order that the public may no longer be deceived, and falsehood pass for truth.

I have the honour, &c.

COCHRANE.

To this the following reply was returned:--

Santiago, Oct. 1, 1822.

MOST EXCELLENT SIR,

Your Excellency is too well acquainted with political affairs not to understand the reasons which oppose the publication of the disagreeable occurrences which have taken place with the Protector at the termination of the Peruvian campaign. Were they made public, it would be opening a vast field of censure to the enemies of our cause, and also weakening the credit of the independent Governments, by shewing dissensions amongst themselves.

Already have we felt the inconveniences of the injurious impressions made on the British Cabinet by the dissensions between your Excellency and Gen. San Martin; for they had no sooner been informed thereof, than the diplomatic negociations which had been established with our Envoy at that Court were paralysed; and had he not laboured to counteract the rumours, which had been exaggerated by distance, there is no doubt but that his influence in advocating the cause of South America would have most prejudicially failed.

His Excellency the Supreme Director feels confident that these reflections will have in your mind all the weight they merit; but if you still insist on the publication of your reply to Gen. San Martin, you may nevertheless avail yourself of the liberty of the press which prevails in Chili.

(Signed) JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA.

It was "the injurious impressions made on the British Cabinet," which made me chiefly desirous of replying to the Protector's charges; but being thus adjured not to sacrifice the interests of South America, and being, moreover, strenuously requested to let the matter drop, as being of no consequence to me in Chili, I reluctantly yielded, contenting myself with sending a copy of my reply to the Peruvian Government. Further to assure me of the disbelief of the Chilian Government in the charges made, an additional vote of thanks was given me by the Senate, and inserted in the Gazette.

On my return to Valparaiso, I found a lamentable instance of the cruelty practised by the military tyrants of Peru, It has been mentioned that the old Spaniards were ostensibly permitted to quit Lima on surrender of half their property--a regulation of which many availed themselves rather than submit to the caprices of the Protectoral Government. In place of the security which they thus purchased for the remainder of their property, they were seized and stripped on their way to Callao of the whole that remained, thrust on board the prison ship, and finally sent, in a state of complete destitution of the necessaries of life, to be added to the Spanish prisoners in Chili. The Milagro had arrived in Valparaiso full of these miserable people, many of whom were shortly before amongst the most respectable inhabitants of Lima; and, to add to the bitterness of their treatment, they were accompanied to Chili by the agents of the Protector, Paroissien and Garcia del Rio, with his charges against me, no doubt for the further purpose of again tampering with the officers of the squadron. I did all in my power to interfere on the part of the unhappy prisoners, but in vain; they were at length transferred to the hospital of San Juan de Dios, where they were confined with the common felons, and would have been starved but for the English inhabitants of Valparaiso, who raised a subscription on their behalf, and appointed one of their body to see their daily food distributed. They were afterwards transferred to Santiago. The cruelty practised towards these prisoners in Peru, is of itself a reason why their tyrants did not venture to encounter the Spanish General Cantarac. Cruel people are invariably cowards.

On my arrival at Santiago, I found the Supreme Director on the point of resigning his high office from the opposition he had to encounter by adhering to a ministry which in one way or other was constantly bringing his Government into discredit, and from being supposed to favour the designs of General San Martin, though to this I attached no credit, believing that his high sense of principle led him to take upon himself the obnoxious acts of his Ministers, who were partisans of the Protector. The dissatisfaction increasing, the Supreme Director at length tendered his resignation to the Convention, who, being unprepared for this step, insisted on reinstating him in the supreme executive authority.

Being indisposed to mingle in the conflicting state of parties which distracted Chili after my return, and being in need of relaxation after the two years and a-half of harassing anxiety which I had encountered, I requested permission of the Government to retire to my estate at Quintero, intending also to visit the estate which had been conferred upon me at Rio Clara as an acknowledgment of services rendered at Valdivia; my object being to bring it into a state of cultivation, which might give an impetus to the low condition of agriculture in Chili.

At this juncture, the Rising Star, the steamer which was spoken of as having been left behind in England, arrived in Valparaiso, too late, however, to take any part in the operations which were now brought to a close by the surrender of the Spanish navy. This delay had been caused by want of funds to complete her equipment, which could not even now have been accomplished, had not large means been furnished to the Chilian agent in London, by my brother, the Hon. Major Cochrane, who, to this day, has not been reimbursed a shilling of the outlay advanced on the faith of the accredited Chilian Envoy! Though the Rising Star was now of little use as regarded naval operations, she was the first steamer which had entered the Pacific, and might, had she not been repudiated by the Government, have formed the nucleus of a force which would have prevented an infinity of disasters which shortly after my departure from Chili befel the cause of independence, as will presently be seen.

The political fruits of our successes in Chili and Peru now began to manifest themselves in the recognition of the South American Republics by the United States, so that Chili had assumed the rank of a recognised member of the family of nations.

I took with me as a guest to Quintero, my former prisoner, Colonel Fausto del Hoyo, the Commandant at Valdivia on our reduction of that fortress. Previous to my departure for Peru, I had obtained from the Government a promise for his generous treatment, but no sooner had the squadron sailed, than he was thrust into prison, without fire, light, or books, and in this miserable condition he had remained till our return. As he received the promise of generous treatment from me, I insisted on and obtained his liberation, and he was now on parole. By paying him every attention, I hoped to inculcate that national greatness does not include cruelty to prisoners of war.

No sooner had I arrived at Quintero, than I zealously entered on my improvements, having now received from England a variety of agricultural implements, such as ploughs, harrows, spades, &c, all of which were new to Chili; also European agricultural seeds, such as carrots, turnips, &c, which, previous to their introduction by me were unknown in the country.

But I was not long permitted to enjoy the "otium" marked out for myself. Letter after letter came from the squadron, complaining that, like the Spanish prisoners, they too were in a state of destitution, without pay, clothes, or provisions. Starting again for Valparaiso, I found their complaints to be more than realized, upon which I addressed to the Minister of Marine the following letter:--

MOST EXCELLENT SIR,

Three months having passed since the squadron anchored in this port, and the same period since my representations on its condition were made to the Supreme Government, relative to the nakedness and destitute condition of the crews; who still continue in the same state as that in which they passed the winter, without beds or clothes, the sentinel at my cabin door being in rags, no portion of which formed his original uniform. As it is impossible that such a state of things can continue, without exciting dangerous discontent and mutiny, I beg that you will order such clothing as may be found in Valparaiso to be supplied through the Commissary of the squadron, in order that it may immediately be distributed to the naked crews.

(Signed) COCHRANE.

The determination with which I had entered upon the relief of the seamen, was so offensive to those who, in popular estimation, were deserving of blame, that a report was circulated of my having surreptitiously shipped on board the English frigate Doris, then lying in the harbour of Valparaiso, 9000 ounces of coined gold, and also a quantity of gold and silver bars to the like amount! the object no doubt being to induce a belief in the popular mind, that money had been applicable for the use of the squadron, but that it had been dishonestly appropriated by myself.

As I had returned to Quintero, this rumour did not reach me till it had become widely disseminated amongst the Chilian people. The first intimation I had of it, was contained in the following letter from Captain Cobbett, of the Valdivia:--

MY DEAR LORD,

When I informed you, on my arrival at Quintero, that something unpleasant would take place, I was not altogether ignorant of a report which has now become prevalent. It was said on the day of your departure, that your Lordship had placed a large sum of money on board one of the British men of war in the harbour, 9,000 ounces in gold in a package directed to Lady Cochrane, and an equal amount in gold and silver bars to wait further orders from your Lordship. Every exertion was made by one interested in injuring your Lordship, to convince me of the fact, my reply being, that I had too long been accustomed to rely in your Lordship's integrity to believe any such report without proof.

Yesterday the same person came again to my house to inform me that the matter was cleared beyond doubt, for that the master of the Doris frigate had told him that the two boxes of gold and silver were on board, directed as above-mentioned. This report has created great sensation here, and the greatest pains are being taken to spread it far and wide. On making inquiry on board the Doris, Captain Wilkinson and myself found that no packages of the kind were on board, and on telling the parties engaged in spreading the report the result of our inquiry, they seemed much chopfallen, but would not retract their charge, which I am certain they intend to carry to the Supreme Director, the consequence of which would be, that were the report true or false, the Government would blame your Lordship, and accuse us of being your abettors; whilst, as the want of pay and prize-money renders the officers irritable, they are ready for anything and everything which might promise to relieve their necessities.

I have told your Lordship all I know, and have conceived the rumour to be of so much importance, as to send one of my own horses with the little doctor to inform you immediately of what is going on, as such reports ought not to be treated lightly. I beg to subscribe myself, with the greatest respect,

Your Lordship's grateful Servant,

HENRY COBBETT.

Another letter, from Captain Wilkinson, was to the same effect:--

MY DEAR LORD,

A report is in circulation that your Lordship has put on board the British frigate Doris nine thousand ounces in gold. I feel it my duty to acquaint you of this, as no person can have your Lordship's reputation more at heart than myself. I have been told this by two or three persons after your Lordship left for Quintero, and in the evening by Moyell, who must have known it to be false, and I declared it so to him. I trust your Lordship will be able to trace the shameless offender.

I am, my Lord, &c. &c.

W. WILKINSON.

As soon as these letters were received, I lost no time in repairing to Valparaiso, not doubting that Zenteno and the Peruvian agents were again at work to disorganize the squadron, and in case of the overthrow of the Supreme Director, which was still impending, to place it in the hands of San Martin. The object of the party was to cause dissension amongst the seamen, by making them believe that, amidst their poverty and sufferings, I had been taking care of myself, and hence they hoped to destroy that confidence in me which officers and men had all along exhibited, notwithstanding their privations. As they had never before been so wretchedly destitute, this circumstance was considered favourable to the impression, that having secured all I could for myself, I was about to abandon them.

Though there was not a word of truth in the report which had been thus sedulously disseminated, it was too serious to be trifled with; accordingly, on the receipt of Captain Cobbett's letter, I hastened to Valparaiso, and to the chagrin of Zenteno, again hoisted my flag on board the O'Higgins.

My first step was to demand from the Government the appointment of a commission to go on board the Doris, and there ascertain whether I had placed any packages on board that frigate for transmission to England or elsewhere. The reply was, that no such commission was requisite, as no one gave credit to the assertion that I had done so, or suppose me capable of acting in the way which had been falsely reported!

The re-hoisting my flag was a step which had not been anticipated, and as it was unbidden, a remonstrance was addressed to me upon having taken such a step unauthorised by the Government. My reply was, that I had taken the step upon my own responsibility, and that as such an infamous accusation had been promulgated against me, for the purpose of promoting mutiny amongst the men, I intended to keep my flag flying till they were paid. At the same time I addressed the following letter to the Minister of Marine:--

MOST EXCELLENT SIR,

Aroused from the tranquillity in which I hadvainly hoped to spend at least the short period of my leave of absence by imputations against my character, propagated with a view to excite dissatisfaction and mutiny in the squadron, by taking advantage of the irritation occasioned by the necessities of the officers, and the destitute and naked condition of the men, which I have so often implored you to remedy; I have reluctantly proceeded to this port to refute the calumny and prevent the evil anticipated, for which purpose I have re-hoisted my flag, to haul it down when the discontent shall cease, by the people being clothed and paid, or when I shall be ordered to haul it down for ever.

I enclose a copy of a letter which I have sent to the Governor of Valparaiso.

(Signed) COCHRANE.

It is unnecessary to give the letter to Zenteno, as being to the same effect with the preceding, with some additional guesses at the infamous author of the report, these proving sufficient for his discreet silence on the subject. The following reply from the Minister of Marine was immediately forwarded to me:--

Santiago, Oct. 1, 1822.

MOST EXCELLENT SIR,

His Excellency the Supreme Director is impressed with deep disgust at the calumny to which you allude in your note, a copy of which I have forwarded to the Governor of Valparaiso. Your Excellency may rest satisfied that the authors thereof will not remain unpunished if discovered.

Accept the assurance of my high consideration.

The Minister of Marine,

JOAQUIM DE ECHEVERRIA.

To the Vice-Admiral Com.-in-Chief of the Squadron.

As a matter of course the libeller was neither discovered nor punished, otherwise the Governor of Valparaiso, and the agents of San Martin would have been placed in an unpleasant position. But they had nothing to fear, as, from the daily increasing perplexities of the Chilian Government, it was in no condition to defend itself, much less to assert the majesty of the law.

From the promptitude displayed in meeting a charge as utterly groundless as it was infamous, and from the conviction of the squadron that I was incapable of acting in the manner imputed to me, the calumny producedthe opposite effect to that which was intended, viz. by inspiring in the minds of the officers and men the most intense disgust towards its originators. On my re-hoisting my flag, I was received with every demonstration of enthusiasm and affection, the officers unanimously uniting in the following address;--

May it please Youe Excellency,

We, the undersigned officers of the Chilian squadron, have heard with surprise and indignation the vile and scandalous reports tending to bring your Excellency's high character in question, and to destroy that confidence and admiration with which it has always inspired us.

We have seen with pleasure the measures your Excellency has adopted to suppress so malicious and absurd a conspiracy, and trust that no means will be spared to bring its authors to public shame.

At a time like the present, when the best interests of the squadron and our dearest rights as individuals are at stake, we feel especially indignant at an attempt to destroy that union and confidence which at present exists, and which we are assured ever will exist, while we have the honour to serve under your Excellency's command. With these sentiments we subscribe ourselves,

Your Excellency's most obedient humble Servant,

(Signed) J.P. GRENFELL, Lieut.-Com. Mercedes,

And all the Officers of the Squadron.

The excellent officer whose name is prominently attached to this address, is now Admiral Grenfell, Consul-General in England of the Brazilian Empire. He was my flag-lieutenant at the capture of the Esmeralda, under the batteries of Callao, and it is no more than justice to mention, that his distinguished gallantry in that affair in an eminent degree contributed to the success of the enterprise.

But I was not the only person of whom the envoys of San Martin and their creatures in the Chilian Government desired to get rid. General Santa Cruz was openly appointed to supersede General Freire as Governor of Conception and Chief of the Army of the South; the keen discrimination of Freire having estimated San Martin and his proceedings in Peru as they deserved, and hence he had become obnoxious to those whose design it was to lay Chili at the feet of the Protector. On Santa Cruz proceeding to Conception to take up the command, the troops unanimously refused to obey his authority, or to permit General Freire to leave them. The people of Conception, who had suffered more from their patriotism than any other in Chili, were equally resolute, not only from attachment to Freire, but because they knew that if the ministry gained their ends, Conception would be destroyed as a port; it being their object to shut up every port but Valparaiso, in order that by the corrupt practices prevalent there, they might monopolize the whole advantage to be personally gained from the commerce of the country.

The Supreme Director was, as usual, made the scapegoat for the unsuccessful attempt of his ministers to depose General Freire, and the consequence was that in three months after the attempt was made, General O'Higgins was deposed from his authority, and General Freire elevated to the Supreme Directorate!

As I had been falsely accused of stealing money which ought to have been divided amongst the seamen, I was determined that no ground for future accusation of the kind should arise in consequence of their not being paid; and with this view, pertinaciously insisted on the payment of the arrears due to the squadron. These efforts were seconded by the commanding officers of ships, who, in a temperate address to the Government, set forth the nature of their claims. From this address, the following extracts are given, as forming an excellent epitome of the whole events of the war:--

"Ever since the capture of the Isabel, the dominion of the Pacific has been maintained by the Chilian navy, and such have been the exertions of our Commander and ourselves that with Chileno crews unaccustomed to navigation, and a few foreign seamen whom we alone could control, not only have the shores of this State been effectually protected from injury and insult, but the maritime forces of the enemy have been closely blockaded in the face of a superior force. By means of the navy the important province, fortifications, and port of Valdivia have been added to the Republic. By the same means the Spanish power in Peru was brought into contempt, and the way opened for the invasion of that country. The enemy's ships of war have all fallen into our hands or by our means have been compelled to surrender. Their merchant vessels have been seized under their very batteries, whilst the Chilian transports and trading vessels have been in such perfect security that not even the smallest has been compelled to haul down its flag. Amongst these achievements, the capture of the Esmeralda has reflected lustre on the Chilian marine equal to anything recorded in the chronicles of ancient States, greatly adding to Chilian importance in the eyes of Europe; whilst, from the vigilance of the naval blockade, the fortifications of Callao were finally compelled to surrender."

"This happy event, so long hoped for, was by all considered to complete our labours in Peru, and to entitle us if not to a remuneration from that State, as in the case of those officers who abandoned the Chilian service! yet, at least, to a share of the valuable property taken by our means, as awarded under similar circumstances by other States, which, by experience, are aware of the benefit of stimulating individuals by such rewards for great enterprises undertaken for the public good. But, alas! so far from either of these modes of remuneration being adopted, even the pay so often promised was withheld, and food itself was denied, so that we were reduced to a state of the greatest privation and suffering; so great, indeed, that the crew of the Lautaro abandoned their ship for want of food, and the seamen of the squadron, natives as well as foreigners, were in a state of open mutiny, threatening the safety of all the vessels of the State."

"We do not claim merit for not relieving ourselves from this painful situation by an act of a doubtful nature, viz. by an acquiescence in the intentions of the General Commanding-in-Chief the expeditionary forces; who, having declared us officers of Peru, offered, through his aides-de camps, Colonel Paroissien and Captain Spry, honours and estates to those who would further his views. Nor do we envy those who received those estates and honours; but having rejected these inducements to swerve from our allegiance, we may fairly claim the approbation of Government for providing the squadron of Chili with provisions and stores at Callao, out of monies in our hands justly due for the capture of the Esmeralda, when such supplies had been refused by General San Martin. We may also claim similar approbation for having repaired the squadron at Guayaquil, and for equipping and provisioning it for the pursuit of the enemy's frigates, Prueba and Venganza, which we drove from the shores of Mexico in a state of destitution to the shores of Peru; and if they were not actually brought to Chili, it was because they were seized by our late General and Commander-in-Chief, and appropriated in the same manner as he had previously intended with respect to the Chilian squadron itself. We may add, that every endeavour short of actual hostilities with the said General, was made on our part to obtain the restitution of those valuable frigates to the Government of Chili. In no other instance through the whole course of our proceedings, has any dispute arisen but what has terminated favourably to the interests of Chili, and the honour of her flag. Private friendships have been preserved with the naval officers of foreign powers; no point has been conceded that could be maintained consistently with the maritime laws of civilized nations, by which our conduct has been scrupulously guided; and such has been the caution observed, that no act of violence contrary to the laws of nations, nor any improper exercise of power, can be laid to our charge. The Chilian flag has waved in triumph, and with universal respect, from the southern extremity of the Republic to the shores of California; population and the value of property have by our exertions increased threefold; whilst commerce and its consequent revenue have been augmented in a far greater proportion; which commerce, so productive to the State, might, without the protecting aid of its navy, be annihilated by a few of those miserable privateers which the terror of its name alone deters from approaching."

"The period has now arrived at which it is essential for the well-being of the service in general, and especially for our private affairs, that our arrears, so long due, should be liquidated; and far as it is from our desire to press our claims on the Government, yet we cannot abstain from so doing, in justice to the State, as well as to ourselves; because want of regularity in the internal affairs of a naval service is productive of relaxation of discipline, as just complaints cannot be redressed, nor complainants chastised--discontent spreading like a contagious disease, and paralysing the system."

"Permit us, therefore, to call to the notice of the Government that since our return to Valparaiso with our naked crews, even clothes have been withheld for four months, during which no payment has been made, the destitute seamen being without blankets, ponchos, or any covering to protect them from the cold of winter, the more severely felt from the hot climates in which they have for nearly three years been employed."

"The two months' pay offered the other day could not now effect its purpose, as the whole--and more is due to the Pulperia keepers, to whose benefit, and not that of the seamen, it must have immediately accrued. Judge, then, of the irritation produced by such privations, and the impossibility of relieving them by such inadequate payment; also whether it is possible to maintain order and discipline amongst men worse circumstanced than the convicts of Algiers! Under such circumstances, it is no exaggeration to affirm that confidence will be for ever gone, and the squadron entirely ruined, if measures of preservation are not immediately resorted to."

"With respect to the offer of one month's pay to ourselves! after our faithful and persevering services, undergoing privations such as were never endured in the navy of any other State, we are afraid to trust ourselves to make any observations; but it is quite impossible that it could have been accepted under any circumstances, as it would have placed us in no better situation than if, on our arrival here four months ago, we had actually paid the Government three months' salary for the satisfaction of having served it, during a period of two years, with unremitting exertions and fidelity."

"In conclusion, we respectfully hope, that the Supreme Government will be pleased to take what we have stated into its serious consideration, and more especially that it will be pleased to comply with its existing engagements to us, with the same alacrity and fidelity with which we have acted towards the Government; the duties of each being reciprocal, and equally binding on both parties."

Signed by all the Captains.

The preceding statement of the captains is a faithful statement of the case as regarded the injustice done to the squadron, which had throughout supported itself, even to the repairs and equipment of the ships. As to the ruin which the captains predict, it was no doubt intended by the envoys of San Martin and their creatures in the Chilian Ministry, as the effect would have been to have driven the men to desertion, when the ships would have been turned over to Peru, and manned with fresh crews. Fortunately for Chili, this consummation was prevented by an occurrence as strange as unexpected by her short-sighted rulers, though long before predicted by myself.


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