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

Recent Address of the President of Chili to the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, recognising Lord Dundonald's services, and according to him full pay as Admiral for the remainder of his life.

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies,

Towards the end of 1818, when Chili celebrated the first maritime triumph obtained by our squadron in Talcahuano, the gallant seaman Thomas Lord Cochrane, now Earl of Dundonald, and an admiral in the British service, appeared upon our seas, decided to assist the noble cause of our independence.

The important services of this chief in the British Navy are well known during the European war which ended in 1815.

He was a post captain, not in active service, when the squadron of his country was reduced to the peace establishment, and he accepted the invitation which was made to him in London by the Chilian agent, to enter the service of this country, and came to take the command of our naval forces, bringing in the prestige of his name, his great skill and intelligence, his active and daring spirit,--a powerful contingent to that struggle of such vital importance for our independence, the dominion of the Pacific.

In how far the well-founded hopes in the cooperation of Lord Cochrane were realised by the able direction which he knew how to give to our maritime forces, are facts which have been judged by the world at large and history. Still alive in our memory is the taking of Valdivia, the feats at Callao, the bloody and splendid triumph of the Esmeralda, the taking of the Spanish frigates Prueba and Venganza on the coast of the Ecuador, and the complete annihilation of the power of Spain in these seas executed by our squadron under the command of Lord Cochrane; and this Chief upon leaving the service of Chili in January 1823, and when he delivered over to Government, when there were no longer any enemies to contend with, the triumphant insignia of his rank, he might with justice and truth have said, "I return this into your hands when Chili has ensured the dominion of the Pacific."

Chili at the same time that she resists unjust and exaggerated pretensions, has always been proud of her desire to reward, in a dignified and honourable manner, the services of illustrious foreigners who have assisted us in the glorious struggle for our independence. This noble and spontaneous sentiment of national gratitude was what dictated the law of 6th October, 1842, incorporating, during his life with the full pay of his rank, General D. Jose San Martin, even when he might reside in foreign parts; and it is the same sentiment which induces me to propose to you at present, and with consent of the Council of State, the following project of law:--

Sole Article.--Vice-Admiral Thomas Lord Cochrane, now Earl of Dundonald, is to be considered during the term of his life as in active service of the squadron of the Republic, with the full pay of his rank, even although he may reside without the territory of Chili.

Santiago, July 28, 1857.

Manuel Montt.

Jose Francisco Gana.

* * * * *

Lord Dundonald's reply to the preceding.

To His Excellency the President in Council and Congress of Chili.

Your Excellency magnanimously presented to Congress a brief but lucid enumeration of my services to the State, which being taken into consideration by the enlightened representatives of a judicious and gallant people, "full pay during my life," and an honorary medal, were voted to me, accompanied by the truly gratifying announcement that such estimable gifts were "en testimonio de gratitud nacional por grandes servicios que presto a la Republica durante la guerra de Independencia."

These honours I most thankfully accept, as highly gratifying proofs that, after the lapse of more than thirty years, my zealous, official, extra-official, and successful exertions, to ensure to Chili complete independence, internal peace, and the dominion of the Pacific, are held in grateful remembrance by the Government and People of that highly respected nation. Nevertheless I must be permitted to observe that the grant of full pay, only prospectively, to one who is upwards of eighty years of age, is little more than nominal, as my life, in all human probability, is approaching its close. I had hoped that, as vast benefits have uninterruptedly accrued to the State, ever since the completion of the services so honourably recognised, the grant would have dated from that period, in the same manner that has recently been accorded to me by the Government of Brazil, which has decreed the restitution of arrears of pay from the period that my actual command ceased, and also its continuance during my life.

If my services to Chili be acknowledged to have been great, might I not expect an equal boon from a country which owes the blessings of peace and subsequent tranquillity, and consequent prosperity, to the speedy termination of war? I plead not for myself, most Excellent Sir, for at my advanced age, I have few wants, but for the sake of my children and for the honour of my family. I need only point to the additional examples of Spain and Portugal, where all general officers and admirals of first rank, employed in the struggle for the emancipation and independence of those countries, were rewarded by the subsequent continuance of their pay during their lives; an engagement ever punctually discharged.

I have no doubt that had the recollection of my advanced age been present to the mind of your Excellency when you proposed the project of law in my behalf, and had you remembered that a merely prospective grant would be of little personal benefit to me or to my numerous family, your Excellency would have been happy to have recommended, and the Congress to have conceded, that it should likewise be retrospective, especially as Chili had not (as is the case in my native country) to rear and maintain numerous officers for one found suited to command.

In order to convince your Excellency that I do not desire full pay to be granted to me during the long period elapsed since my services were rendered (though from the privations I have suffered and the losses I have sustained, such delay in truth might be deemed an additional title), I therefore beg most respectfully to suggest to the consideration of your Excellency, to that of the Council and National Congress, as well as to the just feeling of the honourable people of Chili, that one half of the pay which I received in actual service, be accorded to me retrospectively, in the same manner that a similar boon was granted by the Brazilian nation. This I should accept with deep gratitude, in compensation for the wounds I received this day thirty-six years, in the capture of the Esmeralda, for other perilous extra-official services rendered, and the heavy responsibilities incurred, all of which terminated in results most important to the national cause.

Be assured, most Excellent Sir, that it is only my advanced age that prevents me from attempting to re-visit your now peaceful and prosperous country, personally to acknowledge your Excellency's courtesy, and the kind feeling evinced towards me by the Council of State, by the representatives, and people of Chili. It would be with delight that I should see steam vessels now introduced into the national marine, the great railroad from Valparaiso to Quillotta and Santiago, now in progress, and witness the various important improvements accomplished, and advancement in national prosperity effected in the course of the last third of a century. Such happy results testify highly to the merits of the Government and to the character of the Chilian people.


London, Nov. 5, 1857.

Letter from the Supreme Director of Chili, approving all I had done in Peru. This letter was written in English, in which tongue His Excellency was by no means unversed, having, in early life, had the advantage of a few years spent at Richmond; a circumstance which, in after years, gave to his mind an English tone, elevating him far above the then narrow-minded men by whom, unfortunately for Chili, he was surrounded and thwarted.

Most secret and confidential.

Santiago, Nov. 12, 1821.

My Dear Friend Lord Cochrane,

Capt. Morgell, the bearer of this, has delivered to me the despatches sent by you in the Ceransasee, together with your interesting notes, Nos. 1 to 9, dated 10th to 30th of September last; as also the documents to which they are referred. I have read them, with great attention, but have always felt just indignation against the ungrateful course pursued towards Chili, which can only be tempered by the pleasure which I feel in reading the dignity, good judgment, and knowledge with which you knew how to sustain your rights, and those of this Republic.

It was my wish that this reply should not be in writing, but personally, and with embraces of approbation for all that you have said and practised under the difficult circumstances detailed in your private and official letters; but as the great distance in which you are from this deprives me of this pleasure, and as you expect to add new glories to Chili in the seizure of the Prueba and Venganza, and to bring them to port Bernardo under your orders, I will hastily answer the principal points of your communications.

The party and the words you mention, do not leave any doubt of the small hopes which Chili is to have for its sacrifices; yet there is nothing to fear from such intentions when discovered. Whilst the squadron under your orders commands the Pacific, this Republic is very well covered, and it is in our hands to be the masters of the moral, political, commercial, and even of the physical force of this part of America.

* * * * *

Although the battery placed at Ancon after the enemy went away in tranquillity, and the threat (from San Martin,) about not paying one real, unless Chili should sell the squadron to Peru, made it excusable not to send any mission there; yet I have named my Minister of Finance, in whom I have the greatest confidence, to go to Lima to fix the basis of relations, and to ask compensation for the active debt of Chili against Peru. My Minister has orders to return as soon as possible, let the end of his mission be what it will, and by that time you may have returned to Chili, and then we will accord the ulterior.

It is very painful that the garrison of Callao would not capitulate under your flag! Then you and Chili would have been implored for grants,--then all should have been paid without excuse,--and then you would not have found yourself under the necessity of taking the property retained, to pay and save the squadron. I would have done the same if I had been there, therefore I say again all has my approbation, and I give to you, as to the meritorious officers under your orders, my cordial thanks for their fidelity and heroism, in favour of Chili, where, in a more glorious and decorous way, the fortune of all will be made in the course of progress which events are preparing for this happy country; whilst it is not known what is to be had in Peru, because, as you observe, the war is only beginning, which will be followed by poverty, discontent, and above all, anarchy. They will soon feel the want of you and of the squadron, and those ungrateful officers who separated themselves from you to enter the Peruvian navy will also feel their deceit and punishment. They have been scratched out of the list of the Chilian navy, and I only wait your arrival or an official detail relating to the expedition, to assign lands and premiums to those who have not abandoned you, and in particular to the honourable Captains Crosbie, Wilkinson, Delano, Cobbet, and Simpson, whom you recommend.

Although we live in poverty, and the Exchequer continues in affliction, yet we have sufficient resignation and courage to make convenient sacrifices. All my efforts shall be employed in making the Rising Star one of the vessels of our squadron, and then we shall be invincible, and by keeping good relations with Sir Thomas Hardy, and by his means with England, we shall establish fundamental principles to our glories. I am satisfied of the conferences and deliberations you had with this gentleman, and I approve the whole, although the Valparaiso merchants might scream.

I like the precautions you have taken in sending correspondence directly to me, and not to the ministry. But you must understand that even before I had read your private and official letters, much of their contents was known to the public, no doubt by the private communications of some officers, or by what was verbally communicated in Valparaiso by the officers of the Aransasu. On my part, I also recommend you all necessary secrecy on the contents of this letter, so that our reserve may not be frustrated, and our best measures disappointed.

I shall claim from the Lima Government satisfaction for putting in prison the First Lieutenant of the O'Higgins, and also for imprisoning him of the same class belonging to the Valdivia, as also for the threat of the Ungrateful Guida, as narrated in your favour of the 29th of September last. I assure you that I will never permit the least insult against the flag of this Republic. I felt the greatest pleasure in the answer you gave to Monteagudo and Guida in your note of the 28th and 29th.

As you have left Callao there is nothing officially to communicate upon your conduct there. You have not submitted to Lima neither directly nor indirectly, and from the moment the independence of that country was declared under the protectoral Government of San Martin ceased the provisional control that he had upon the squadron.

The province of Conception is almost free of enemies, and I hope Chiloe will be so very soon, to accomplish our greatness. There is a nursery for a good navy, and when you can visit that archipelago you will discover advantages and richness, relieved from the care of indolent and despotic Spain.

Believe me, my dear Lord,

Your eternal friend,


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