Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Narrative of Services in the Liberation of Chili, Peru and Brazil, from Spanish and Portuguese Domination
Vol 2, Chapter VII


MINISTERIAL MALIGNITY TOWARDS ME--DANGERS IN PERNAMBUCO--PORTUGUESE THREATS--MY ADVICE THEREON--FAILURE IN MANNING THE SQUADRON--PLOT FORMED TO SEARCH THE FLAGSHIP--TIMELY WARNING THEREON--I DEMAND HIS MAJESTY'S INTERFERENCE--WHICH WAS PROMPTLY GRANTED--PROTEST AGAINST PRIZE DECISIONS--MY ADVICE SOUGHT AS REGARDED PERNAMBUCO--LETTER TO HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY--POINTING OUT THE ANNOYANCE PRACTISED--AND TENDERING MY RESIGNATION--THE EMPEROR'S INTERVENTION--HIS MINISTERS NEGLECT TO FULFIL HIS ENGAGEMENT--CONFIRMATION OF MY PREVIOUS PATENTS--BUT WITH AN UNJUSTIFIABLE RESERVATION--PRIZE MONEY DEVOTED TO ADVANCE OF WAGES--PROOFS THEREOF--BASELESS IMPUTATIONS ON ME--EXTRACTS FROM LOG--FURTHER DISTRIBUTION OF PRIZE MONEY.

Having failed in inducing the Administration to withdraw the portaria issued with a view to nullify the commissions conferred upon me by His Imperial Majesty,--I waited upon the Emperor to beg his interference in a matter no less derogatory to his authority, than unjust to myself. His Majesty regretted the circumstance, but having alluded to the difficulties in which he was placed with regard to the Administration, begged me to rely on him for justice, assuring me that he would take care that nothing was done which should practically alter my original compact.

His Majesty was exceedingly anxious that the expedition to Pernambuco should not be delayed, but I could only represent to him that nothing whatever had been done to satisfy the seamen, who, in consequence, would not re-enter--that several of the best officers were either in prison on frivolous accusations, or under arrest--that the necessary repairs to the ships were not completed--that no steps had been taken to provide for their equipment--and that, in fact, the greater was His Majesty's anxiety to put down the revolution, the more obstructive were the obstacles interposed by the Ministry to the accomplishment of his wishes.

The Ministers now resorted to a clumsy system in order to lower me in popular estimation, by imposing, for my guidance in naval matters, stringent orders about trifles which were absurd or impracticable, non-observance of these being followed by printed reprimands such as were never before addressed to a Commander-in-Chief, whilst my refutations and remonstrances against such treatment were refused publication. This course was succeeded by another still more unworthy, the ministers so far forgetting the dignity of their position, as to write or cause to be written against me a series of scurrilous articles in the newspapers under the feigned signature of "Curioso," these containing matters which could only have come from the Minister of Marine's office; but as I was able to reply to anonymous attacks through the same channel, I took care that the refutation signally recoiled on the writers, who, finding the course pursued more detrimental to their objects than to mine, relinquished this mode of attack. Pamphlets of an atrocious description were then resorted to, the more noticeable of which, was one purporting to emanate from Chili, and representing that not only had I effected nothing for that country or Peru, but that my very presence in the Peruvian waters had been the greatest obstacle to the speedy attainment of independence!

A circumstance however occurred which alarmed even the Ministers themselves. On the 20th of April, I received a despatch from Captain Taylor, commanding the naval force before Pernambuco, stating that on the 7th, the Camara of that province had unanimously resolved that they would no longer obey the Imperial authority--that the Governor appointed by His Imperial Majesty had been deposed--and that they had elected a President from amongst their own body.

This was an extremity upon which the Portuguese faction in the Administration had not calculated--their object being to encourage disturbance in remote provinces, in order to further their own purposes at Rio de Janeiro. An attempt to institute a Republican form of Government was, however, another thing, it being well known that this movement was fostered by merchants and influential citizens with republican tendencies.

My advice was now asked as to what was best to be done in the emergency, to which I replied that "no time ought to be lost in sending small vessels to enforce the blockade of Pernambuco, which had already been declared by Captain Taylor; as large vessels would be in imminent danger of being wrecked if anchored upon that open coast at this season of the year."

To add to the dangers threatening the Empire, intelligence was received that the Portuguese had reinforced and refitted their fleet with the intention of returning to Brazil and recovering the Northern provinces. This course, no doubt, having been determined upon on account of information, that, in consequence of the injustice done to the Brazilian squadron, it had been abandoned by the seamen, and was now powerless.

I did not offer to accompany any vessels that might be sent to Pernambuco; for I had made up my mind not to undertake anything unless some satisfaction were accorded to the squadron. On the 3rd of May, I, however, addressed to the Prime Minister a letter stating the plan which, in my opinion, ought to be pursued in the present predicament. The subjoined are extracts:--

Drawing a veil over that which has passed--though had my recommendations, given in writing to His Imperial Majesty on the 14th of November last--two days after the dissolution of the Assembly--been attended to, the rebellion and separation of the Northern provinces might have been prevented. Passing over the errors committed in the non-employment of the greater part of the naval forces; passing over the disgust occasioned by the conduct pursued towards the seamen, the opposition which had been encountered in every step towards amelioration, and the mischief occasioned by these and many other sources of disunion and paralysation, I say--passing over all these--let me call Your Excellency's attention to the only means which appear to me practicable to save the country--if not from again devolving to Portugal as colonial possessions, yet at least from protracted war, and its attendant calamities.

Taking it then for granted that an expedition is actually fitting out at Lisbon, destined to act against Brazil, the question is, how and by what means can that expedition be most successfully opposed? what is the force necessary? and how, under existing circumstances, it can be procured?

(Here follow plans for the reorganization of the navy, and its mode of operation, in order to prevent the anticipated invasion.)

As regards myself, it is my conviction that, though I might be responsible for the discipline and good order of a single ship, I could make nothing of a squadron so manned, as it inevitably must be, and actuated by those feelings which have been excited to the detriment of the Imperial service.

Since the date of my last letter to Your Excellency, I have received a copy of the laws relative to prizes, and am convinced that these laws differ in no material degree from the maritime code of England, the adoption of which I had solicited; and that the blame of all the disquiet that has been occasioned is entirely owing to the non-execution of the laws by those individuals who have been nominated to dispense justice, but who have perverted it.

(Signed) COCHRANE & MARANHAO.

Notwithstanding the threatening aspect of affairs in the North, no steps were taken to satisfy the seamen. In place of this I received orders to use my influence with them to re-enter without payment! Determined that the Government should not have to find fault with any want of effort on my part, I obeyed the order, with what result the following letter to the Minister of Marine will shew:--

In consequence of the directions from His Imperial Majesty, communicated through Your Excellency, to equip the Pedro Primiero, Carolina, and Maria de Gloria, with all possible despatch, and to hold them in readiness to proceed on service, I ordered a commissioned officer to visit the different rendezvous which the seamen frequent, and endeavour to prevail on them to re-enter --assuring them that the continuance of their services was the best means whereby to obtain their rewards for captures made during the late campaign. It appears, however, that it will be difficult to prevail on them to engage again in the service, without some explicit declaration made public on the part of the Imperial Government, stating what they have to expect for the past, and to anticipate for the future; for the conduct that has been pursued, especially in regard to matters of prize, has led them to draw conclusions highly prejudicial to the service of His Imperial Majesty.

(Signed) COCHRANE AND MARANHAO.

I also protested against the intended arrest of Captain Grenfell, knowing that there were no grounds for such a step, and more especially against the seizure of his papers, which necessarily contained the requisite proofs in justification of his conduct at Para. The only offence he had committed was his firmness in repressing the seditious acts of the Portuguese faction there; and as those whom he had offended had influence with their countrymen connected with the administration at Rio de Janeiro, a tissue of false representations as to his conduct, was the readiest mode of revenge, so that he shared the enmity of the faction in common with myself, though they did not venture to order my arrest.

One instance of the annoyance still directed against myself, on the 4th of June, is perhaps worth relating. It had been falsely reported to the Emperor by his ministers that--besides the 40,000 dollars which I refused to give up--specie to a large amount was secreted on board the Pedro Primiero, and it was suggested to His Majesty, that, as I was living on shore, it would be easy to search the ship in my absence --whereby the Emperor could possess himself of all the money found. This disgraceful insult was on the point of being put in execution, when an accident revealed the whole plot; the object of which was, by implied accusation, to lower me in popular estimation--a dastardly device, which, though contemptible, could hardly fail to be prejudicial to myself, against whom it was directed.

Late one evening I received a visit from Madame Bonpland, the talented wife of the distinguished French naturalist. This lady--who had singular opportunities for becoming acquainted with state secrets--came expressly to inform me that my house was at that moment surrounded by a guard of soldiers! On asking if she knew the reason of such a proceeding, she informed me that, under the pretence of a review to be held at the opposite side of the harbour early the following morning, preparations had been made by the ministers to board the flagship, which was to be thoroughly overhauled whilst I was detained on shore, and all the money found taken possession of!

Thanking my excellent friend for her timely warning, I clambered over my garden fence, as the only practicable way to the stables, selected a horse, and notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, proceeded to St. Christoval, the country palace of the Emperor, where, on my arrival, I demanded to see His Majesty. The request being refused by the gentleman in waiting, in such a way as to confirm the statement of Madame Bonpland--I dared him to refuse me admission at his peril; adding that "the matter upon which I had come was fraught with grave consequences to His Majesty and the Empire." "But," said he, "His Majesty has retired to bed long ago." "No matter," replied I, "in bed, or not in bed, I demand to see him, in virtue of my privilege of access to him at all times, and if you refuse to concede permission--look to the consequences."

His Majesty was not, however, asleep, and the royal chamber being close at hand, he recognised my voice in the altercation with the attendant. Hastily coming out of his apartments in a dishabille which, under ordinary circumstances, would have been inconsistent, he asked--"What could have brought me there at that time of night?" My reply was--that "understanding that the troops ordered for a review were destined to proceed to the flagship in search of supposed treasure, I had come to request His Majesty immediately to appoint confidential persons to accompany me on board, when the key of every chest in the ship should be placed in their hands, and every place thrown open to their inspection; but that if any of his anti-Brazilian Administration ventured to board the ship in perpetration of the contemplated insult, they would certainly be regarded as pirates, and treated as such." Adding at the same time--"Depend upon it, that they are not more my enemies, than the enemies of your Majesty and the Empire, and an intrusion so unwarrantable, the officers and crew are bound to resist." "Well," replied His Majesty, "you seem to be apprised of everything, but the plot is not mine; being--as far as I am concerned--convinced that no money would be found more than we already know of from yourself."

I then entreated His Majesty to take such steps for my justification as would be satisfactory to the public. "There is no necessity for any," replied he; "but how to dispense with the review is the puzzle.--I will be ill in the morning--so go home, and think no more of the matter. I give you my word your flag shall not be outraged by the contemplated proceeding."

The denouement of the farce is worthy of being recorded. The Emperor kept his word, and in the night was taken suddenly ill. As His Majesty was really beloved by his Brazilian subjects, all the native respectability of Rio was early next day on its way to the palace to inquire after the Royal health, and, ordering my carriage, I also proceeded to the palace, lest my absence might appear singular. On entering the room, where--surrounded by many influential persons--the Emperor was in the act of explaining the nature of his disease to the anxious inquirers--a strange incident occurred. On catching my eye, His Majesty burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, in which I as heartily joined; the bystanders, from the gravity of their countenances, evidently considering that both had taken leave of their senses. The Ministers looked astounded, but said nothing--His Majesty kept his secret, and I was silent.

Months had now been consumed in endeavours on the part of the Administration to give annoyance to me--and on the part of the prize tribunal to condemn me in costs for making lawful captures, this appearing to form their only object; save when a prize vessel could be given up to a claimant or pretended claimant, in outrage of justice, as evinced in the case of the Pombinho's cargo, and numerous other instances.

To such an extent was this being carried, that I sent protest after protest on the subject. The following will serve as a specimen:--

PROTEST.

The Marquis of Maranhao, First Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Naval forces of His Imperial Majesty, does hereby protest, on behalf of himself and those employed under his command in the blockade of Bahia, and other services of the Empire, against the sentence given in the case of the Nova Constitucao, whereby costs and damages to the amount of four times the value are decreed against the captors of the said vessel (taken in the act of violating the blockade of Bahia), in performance of duties which the law sanctioned and the service of His Imperial Majesty required.

And further, the said Marquis of Maranhao, on behalf of himself and the captors, does again most solemnly protest against all sentences of acquittal of vessels which violated the said blockade, or which were seized, navigating under Portuguese flags or with Portuguese registers--and against all proceedings to recover damages against the said Marquis and captors for any capture whatsoever; His Imperial Majesty having been graciously pleased to signify that all expenses thus incurred in case of vessels pronounced "malprisa," shall be placed to the account of the State.

Rio de Janeiro, July 23, 1824.

The anxiety of His Majesty on account of the revolt at Pernambuco was meanwhile utterly set at nought, neither Severiano, nor his colleague Barbosa--though now beginning to be alarmed--shewing the slightest disposition to carry out His Majesty's orders for the compromise with the officers and seamen, in order that the squadron might be manned. At length intelligence arrived from the revolted districts, of such a nature as to appear to His Majesty fraught with immediate danger to the integrity of the Empire, as in truth it was, for the Republican nature of the insurrection had become an established fact, whilst the squadron which, months before, ought to have sailed to quell the revolt, was, from, want of men, lying idle in the port of the capital.

Setting aside all Ministerial interposition, I received His Majesty's orders to repair at once to the palace, to decide on the best plan of meeting these revolutionary manifestations. My advice was--at once to put them down with a strong hand; but I called His Majesty's attention to the ministerial contempt of his orders to satisfy the seamen, and the consequent hopeless condition of the squadron--abandoned because no assurance had been given that past services would be rewarded by the adjudication of the prizes--against which adjudication the tribunal resolutely set their faces, or, what was worse, unwarrantably disposed of the property entrusted to them for adjudication.

His Majesty was greatly annoyed at learning the continuance and extent of the vexatious opposition to his wishes; but, begging me not to be influenced by the injustice committed, strongly urged the necessity of my using every endeavour for immediate action,--I at once pointed out to His Majesty that the only way to accomplish this was, to restore confidence to the men by maintaining public faith with the officers and seamen, giving compensation--at least in part--of their prize money, with recognition of their claims to the remainder.

Still nothing was done, until, becoming tired of the harassing circumstances in which I was placed, I made up my mind to a last effort, which, if unsuccessful, should be followed by my resignation of the command, even though it might involve the loss of all that which was due to me. Accordingly, I addressed to His Majesty a letter from which the following are extracts:--

The time has at length arrived when it is impossible to doubt that the influence which the Portuguese faction has so long exerted, with the view of depriving the officers and seamen of their stipulated rights, has succeeded in its object, and has even prevailed against the expressed wishes and intentions of Your Majesty in person.

(Here follows a recapitulation of injuries and annoyances with which the reader is familiar):--

The determined perseverance in a course so opposed to justice, by those members and adherents of the Portuguese faction, whose influence prevails in the ministry and council, and more especially the proceedings of those individuals of that faction, who compose the naval tribunals, must come to an end.

The general discontent which prevails in the squadron has rendered the situation in which I am placed one of the most embarrassing description; for though few may be aware that my own cause of complaint is equal to theirs, many cannot perceive the consistency of my patient continuation in the service, with disapprobation of the measures pursued. Even the honours which Your Majesty has been pleased to bestow upon me, are deemed by most of the officers, and by the whole of the men--who know not the assiduity with which I have persevered in earnest but unavailing remonstrance--as a bribe by which I have been induced to abandon their interests. Much, therefore, as I prize those honours, as the gracious gift of Your Imperial Majesty, yet, holding in still dearer estimation my character as an officer and a man, I cannot hesitate a moment which to sacrifice when the retention of both is evidently incompatible.

I can, therefore, no longer delay to demonstrate to the squadron, and the world, that I am no partner in the deceptions and oppressions which are practised on the naval service; and as the first, and most painful step in the performance of this imperious duty, I crave permission--with all humility and respect--to return those honours, and lay them at the feet of Your Imperial Majesty.

I should, however, fall short of my duty to those who were induced to enter the service by my example or invitation, were I to do nothing more than convince them that I had been deceived. It is incumbent on me to make every effort to obtain for them the fulfilment of engagements for which I made myself responsible.

As far as I am personally concerned, I could be content to quit the service of Your Imperial Majesty, either with or without the expectation of obtaining compensation at a future period, and could submit to the same sacrifices here as I did on the other side of the continent, even to abandoning the ships which I captured from the enemy--without payment or reward--as I did in Chili and Peru. After effectually fighting the battles of freedom and independence on both sides of South America, and clearing the two seas of every vessel of war, I could submit to return to my native country unrewarded; but I cannot submit to adopt any course which shall not redeem my pledge to my brother officers and seamen. Neither can I relinquish the object which I have equally at heart, of depriving the Portuguese faction of the means of undermining the nationality and independence of the empire, to which--notwithstanding their admission to places of honour and trust--they are notoriously and naturally opposed.

It is impossible to view the prize tribunal--consisting of natives of the hostile nation--in any other light than as a party of the enemy, who, in the disguise of judges, have surprised and recaptured our prizes, after we had lodged them--as we thought--safely in port. And we have not the slightest reason to doubt that, if suffered to proceed unmolested, they will eventually get them clean out of the harbour, and convey them back to their own country. We do not ask for reprisals upon these people, but simply restitution of the fruits of our labours in the service of Your Majesty, of which they have insidiously despoiled us, and that no impediment to this act of justice may arise, or be pretended by the individuals in question, we are willing to wait for a still further period--retaining, however, what remains of the prizes in our own custody--until our claims are settled; when we shall punctually surrender them into Your Imperial hands at whatever moment Your Majesty shall be pleased to cause the said claims to be duly discharged.

We most earnestly beseech Your Imperial Majesty--upon whom alone we depend for justice--to take into your consideration the necessity of withdrawing all control over the naval service and its interests from the hands of individuals with whose country Your Majesty is at war, and against which, under Your Imperial authority, we have been employed in active hostilities. It is only by the removal of Portuguese functionaries--more especially from the naval department, and the appointment of native Brazilians in their stead, that Your Imperial Majesty can reasonably hope to possess the full confidence of your people. Such a proceeding would be far more effective for the suppression of the rebellion in the North, than the ill-equipped naval detachment employed on that service.

I trust that Your Imperial Majesty will perceive that nothing short of the most thorough conviction in my own mind, with regard to the step now taken, could have led me to adopt it on my own account, or on that of the squadron. To myself, in particular, it must be a source of great anxiety, and in all probability, for a time --before the circumstances are generally understood--it may bring on me a large share of obloquy. My resignation is attended with the surrender of the high honours with which Your Majesty has graciously invested me, in addition to the honourable situation which I hold under Your Imperial authority. Your Majesty may be assured that such sacrifices as these are not made without extreme reluctance, and if there had remained the slightest probability of obtaining by any ordinary means the justice for the squadron, which it is my bounden duty to persevere in demanding, I should have avoided a step so pregnant with disadvantages to myself.

(Signed) COCHRANE AND MARANHAO.

His Majesty frankly admitted that the course pursued by his Ministers towards the squadron was no less discreditable than injurious to the vital interests of the state, but begged me to reconsider my determination. To prevent further ministerial interposition, at a moment so pregnant with danger, the Emperor offered to place at my disposal, for the temporary satisfaction of the men, 200,000 milreis in paper currency--not one-tenth of the value of the prizes--if I would endeavour to rally them under the national flag, and merge my own injuries in oblivion, till he should be better able to do us justice.

My reply was that, personally, His Majesty had ever manifested his desire to fulfil his promises to me, and that I would stand by the integrity of the empire, and its consolidation. It was of the ministers I had to complain, by whom all the Imperial promises had been broken, and His Majesty's intentions thwarted; but that this would neither interfere with my duty nor gratitude to His Majesty, personally; and that if the 200,000 milreis were paid, I would endeavour to use the money to the best advantage by inducing the men to return to the ships.

The amount was directed to be placed in my hands, with the request that I would proceed to Pernambuco, and use my discretion in putting down the revolution, unfettered by orders; His Majesty recommending me to withhold payment till the squadron was at sea, in order to prevent delay and desertion. I begged of His Majesty to appoint a commission for the distribution of the money, as the responsibility was foreign to my duties. This, however, was overruled with a gracious compliment as to the manner in which my services had uniformly been conducted; being thus pressed I made no further opposition.

Still the ministers withheld the money, on which I wrote to the Emperor, requesting that His Majesty would perform the gracious compliment of delivering it on board personally. The Emperor at once comprehended the nature of the hint, and insisted on the sum being placed in my hands. On receiving it, I immediately issued a proclamation to the seamen, informing them of His Majesty's concession--inviting them to return to their duty--and promising payment to the extent of the funds supplied. The result was, that all who had not quitted Rio de Janeiro in despair, with one accord rejoined the service, and every effort was made to get the expedition ready for sea.

Before sailing for Pernambuco I was naturally desirous of coming to a definite understanding on the subject of my commission, the patents conferring which had been ruthlessly attempted to be set aside under the signature of Barbosa, on the assumed pretence of authority from His Imperial Majesty, whose rubrica, however, was not attached to this violation of our original compact. Accordingly, on the 26th of July, I addressed a letter to Barbosa on the subject, and on the 29th received the following reply:--

His Imperial Majesty commands, through the Secretary of State and Marine, that there shall be transmitted to the First Admiral commanding-in-chief the naval forces of this empire the enclosed copy of a decree of the 27th of this month, by which His Imperial Majesty has judged proper to determine that the said First Admiral shall receive in full, so long as he shall continue in the service of this empire, the full pay of his patent; and, in the event of his not choosing to continue therein after the termination of the present war of independence, the one-half of his pay as a pension--the same being extended to his wife in the event of his decease.

The said First Admiral is hereby certified that the said decree of His Imperial Majesty is not required to be inserted in his patent, as he requests in his letter of the 26th instant, the said decree being as valid as the patent itself.

Palace of Rio de Janeiro,

July 29th, 1824.

(Signed) FRANCISCO VILLELA BARBOSA.

Decree of His Imperial Majesty, inserted in the Mercurio de Brazil, Sunday, 31st July, 1824.

In consequence of what has been represented to me by the Marquis of Maranhao, First Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the naval forces of the empire, and in consequence of the great services he has rendered, and which we hope he will continue to render to the sacred cause of Brazil, I hereby--by the advice of my Council of State--determine that the said Marquis of Maranhao shall be paid in full, during the period that he shall remain in the service of this empire, the whole amount of salary due to his patent; and in the case of his not wishing to continue in the service after the termination of the present war of independence, the one-half of the said pay as a pension, the same, in case of his death, being extended to his wife.

Francisco Villela Barbosa, of my Council of State, Minister and Secretary of Marine, is hereby commanded to promulgate the same, and execute the necessary despatches.

Given in the palace of Rio de Janeiro, the 27th of July, 1824, and the third of independence and the empire.

With the Rubrica of His Imperial Majesty.

(Signed) FRANCISCO VILLELA BARBOSA.

This decree nullified the unjustifiable portaria issued by Barbosa, limiting my services to the period of the war, which, in reality, had been ended by my expulsion of the Portuguese from Bahia and Maranham. It recognised and established the validity of the Emperor's original patents, of which, by the minister's own explanation, it was a continuation, with an extension to Lady Cochrane; a boon spontaneously granted by the Emperor, as a mark of gratitude for services rendered in the preceding year. It was, moreover, clearly left to my own option to continue in the service or to quit it on half-pay, on the termination of the war of independence.

If there was any faith to be placed in princes or ministers, nothing could be more definite or satisfactory than the preceding document, with the exception of the phrase, "in the event of his not choosing to continue therein," which evidently contained an arriere pensee, implying, as was afterwards proved, that when I could be got rid of it would be easy to compel me to retire from the service; but even this alternative was subsequently disregarded--though His Imperial Majesty, on my thanking him for having so far done me justice against the attempts of his Ministers--remarked, "never mind their injustice--they can't deprive you of that"--alluding to the stipulations contained in the Imperial patents, and this renewed confirmation thereof.

The concession of 200,000 dollars, as a portion of the prize money so long due to the officers and crews, was actually made to suffice, in place of an advance of wages usually given on the departure of a naval expedition; so that, in fact, the squadron was manned at its own expense! no other payment being accorded by the Government. As His Majesty had requested that the men should not receive their money before going to sea, the squadron, with the exception of the flagship, was despatched on its voyage, the crews being satisfied--now that the money was on board--with my promise of payment when they should assemble at the rendezvous appointed.

It is requisite to enter into some detail relative to the distribution of prize money thus of necessity substituted as an advance of wages: it being impossible to get the requisite numbers of foreign seamen for the Pedro Primiero without such advance; and although the frigates which had sailed, manned for the most part with Portuguese or Brazilian crews, relied upon me for payment of their prize money, the foreign seamen refused even to remain on board the flagship without the usual advance; the officers also were in want of everything, and the men--indebted to tavern keepers--clamorous for payment.

As the necessity was urgent, I did not choose that the flagship, under my immediate command, should leave port in a discreditable manner, I therefore took upon myself--notwithstanding His Majesty's suggestion to withhold payment till we were at sea--to accommodate the officers and satisfy the crew by the advance demanded; a step, in my judgment, the more necessary, since, as had been the case in the former campaign, I should mainly have to depend upon the foreign officers and seamen of my own ship, for the execution of plans which might become requisite--the best way, therefore, to ensure their zealous co-operation throughout the voyage, was to establish harmony at its commencement by complying with their just demand.

The following were the principal sums disbursed on this occasion, as appears from my private memoranda, the vouchers themselves being afterwards transmitted to the Minister of Marine through Captain Shepherd, as will subsequently appear:--

Dollars.

To Myself 85,000

Paid Messrs. May and Lukin, Prize Agents,for Admiralty Court expenses, and commission, at 5 per cent 15,000

Advanced to Squadron generally 23,000

Ditto to Captain Crosbie 5,000

Ditto, to other Officers 3,750

Disbursed at Rio, 70,750

This sum, about L.14,000, may appear trivial to the English reader, accustomed to lavish expenditure in all naval expeditions as the most economical way of securing their future efficiency--and hence the mention of such an amount may be deemed superfluous. That this is not the case will presently appear.

The reader must not however imagine that I am about to inflict on him an account current of the expenditure of the squadron; but circumstances compel me to a precision in this respect on personal grounds: the Brazilian Government--though in possession of the documents and vouchers afterwards transmitted by Captain Shepherd--publicly persisting in the statement that I never furnished accounts of the expedition to Pernambuco and Maranham--thus leaving the public to infer that the disbursements just narrated, together with subsequent payments, had never in reality been made! In other words, that I induced the crews to go to sea--put down the revolution in the North--spent nine months in pacifying the revolutionary provinces--and yet fraudulently withheld 200,000 dollars, the only sum supplied during the whole of the expedition; the seamen meanwhile not only serving without reward, but being content with my monopolizing the portion of the prize-money known by them to have been awarded for the expulsion of the Portuguese in the preceding year, and notoriously in my possession! Their forbearance being so improbable as to refute itself, being contrary to common sense; even in the absence of the vouchers, which were transmitted to the Brazilian Government, but never acknowledged--I am able however to account for the whole from documents no less convincing than the vouchers transmitted.

It is true that nothing but the blind hatred of the old Portuguese faction towards me could have originated such charges, and that hatred was greatly increased by my pacification of the revolutionary provinces--this being the death-blow to the intrigues recommended by Palmella in favour of the mother country. As, however, the Brazilian Government did not acknowledge to me the receipt of my accounts, which must either exist to this day in the office of the Minister of Marine, or must have been destroyed, for the sake of traducing my character in justification of my prospective dismissal--it is incumbent on me to supply, for the information of the Brazilian people, explanations which have been repeatedly given to their Government, but which have not as yet been made public through the medium of the press--and that not for the information of the Brazilian people solely, but of the British public, who, in the absence of official imputations recently promulgated, have never before been put in possession of facts.

The Brazilian people may rest assured that whenever I received, for the use of the squadron, sums which itself had captured, I could neither then conceal the circumstance nor can I now disavow the fact--giving, however, the reasons which, for the interests of the Empire, justified my proceedings. The only instance of this kind which had hitherto occurred was my retention of 40,000 dollars captured at Maranham, and they who have perused the preceding narrative will be at no loss for the ground of my refusal to surrender to the Court of Admiralty a sum which would have been returned by that tribunal to their Portuguese brethren--nor for my resistance to the plot which the ministers had formed to take it by force from on board the flagship.

To return to the advances made to the officers and seamen of the flagship. The following extracts from the original log kept by my secretary will shew the fact of the distribution previously narrated:--

July 12th, 1824. Received the 200,000 dollars at the treasury, and gave receipt, with Captain Crosbie and the Commissary. Deposited the notes in the iron chest on board the Pedro Primiero.

July 19th. Went on board the Pedro Primiero to pay advance. (Paid May and Lukin 15,000 dollars.) Engaged all day in paying the men.

July 26th. Went to the Pedro, with the Admiral and Lieutenant Blake, to pay advance from the prize-money. In the evening the Emperor called and announced to the Admiral that he was to sail on Sunday next.

July 31st. On board the Pedro paying seamen as before. Soldiers came on board.

August 2nd. Emperor came alongside. Admiral embarked. Got under way, and set sail in company with the Maranhao brig and three transports.

The preceding extracts shew that not only was an advance made for the good of the service, but this was done with such publicity, that both the Emperor and his ministers could not fail to be aware of the circumstance. The further distribution as prize-money, according to His Majesty's direction, took place at Bahia and Pernambuco, as will be shewn in the next chapter.


Return to Book index Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast