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


As the province of Para was now the only one which remained under the authority of Portugal, it became of importance to take possession of it, whilst the prestige arising from our acquisition of Maranham was in all its freshness; for we had still no other force than the flagship, which was necessary to maintain order there. In the absence of a Brazilian ship-of-war, I manned the captured brig Don Miguel--changing her name to the Maranhao--and placed her under the command of an able and gallant officer, Captain-Lieutenant (now Admiral) Grenfell, upon whose judicious management every reliance was to be placed.

Captain Grenfell was the bearer of a summons from me to the Junta and garrison of Para, dated off the bar, as though a force were at hand to second his operations. In short, he was instructed to employ the same ruse for intimidating the city as had been so successful at Maranham--the summons as well as the terms to be granted to the Portuguese garrison being similar in both cases. He was further instructed to secure, if possible, the new frigate which had just been launched for the service of Portugal, and if successful, to name her the Imperatrice, in honour of the Empress--to take command of her--and after the submission of the city to return to Rio de Janeiro with his prize. The nature of Captain Grenfell's mission will be apparent from the following extracts from the orders given to him:--

The enclosed orders in Portuguese you may show. They purport to be addressed to you at the mouth of the river Para, and to be there dated on board this ship, she being supposed at anchor there; for it is essential to create a belief in the Government at Para that you do not come alone, but that the squadron is at hand ready to cooperate. You will therefore fill up the date of the Portuguese orders on the day of your arrival at the mouth of the river. You will also fill in the dates of the official letters to the Junta, at the same time, without regard to the delay which may arise, from proceeding up the river.

You will perceive that my intentions are to effect, by your means, objects which would otherwise require an expedition, and therefore the utmost prudence and circumspection are necessary. Next to the liberation of Para, the great object is to secure the frigate. If you succeed in obtaining possession of her, and find yourself deficient in men, you are at liberty to leave the brig for the purpose of manning the frigate. I expect everything from your exertions and good management in bringing about the surrender of Para, with all that is important to His Brazilian Majesty.

To return to the state of affairs at Maranham. One of the first acts of the new Junta--despite their professed admiration of the course I had pursued--was to transmit to me a demand that the property taken from the Portuguese should be placed at their disposal. My surprise at such a request from men whom I had unexpectedly released from thraldom, and elevated to power, ceased as I became better acquainted with the factions existing amongst them. Now that they were invested with power, they were evidently bent on turning it to their own private advantage, by representing to me that if I retained the property of Portuguese in Maranham--that of Brazilians in Lisbon, viz. their own mercantile consignments--would be confiscated in retaliation, and that, therefore, I ought to restore it!

To this I replied, that the captures made by the flagship were strictly in accordance with the decrees of His Imperial Majesty, no less than with the rights of belligerents as defined by the laws of nations; so that their request was directly opposed to the Imperial decrees against all the subjects of Portugal, as well as against all who should contribute to continue the Brazils under a foreign yoke. The Junta was reminded that it was within my power to have imposed upon the Portuguese authorities whatever terms I thought proper, but having granted those I had judged best for the interests of the empire to which I was bound, I would adhere to the treaty as it stood, and should any attempt be made to evade it, it would be my duty--however painful--to enforce its fulfilment, as being responsible to His Imperial Majesty.

This specimen of patriotism in a body of men who little more than a fortnight before were imprisoned or in expectation of imprisonment, but now--to save their own interests in Lisbon--sought to set His Majesty's decrees and my instructions alike at defiance, inspired me with deep distrust of their fitness for the Government of the province--it being evident that if the flagship quitted the port, they would construe the functions of Government in favour of their own private purposes. I accordingly wrote to the Prime Minister, Andrada, representing the course which had been pursued--concluding with the subjoined advice as to the steps to be taken in order to place the future Government on a right basis:--

I beg, through your Excellency, to suggest most respectfully to His Imperial Majesty my opinion that it would greatly conduce to the peace and prosperity of this province, if some able and honourable person should be sent to take the chief authority; for--with all respect to the individuals composing the new Junta, and to those from whom succeeding Juntas might be chosen--none appear to me to possess either the talents or acquirements necessary for the good government of Maranham. I may also add that family connections, together with private and political friendships, no less than enmities--exist here to a degree which can hardly fail to involve the province in internal dissensions, unless averted by the means which I respectfully suggest.

I had shortly afterwards the pleasure of receiving the following expressions of satisfaction from His Imperial Majesty through the Prime Minister:--

Rio, July 12, 1823.


I have received the secret communications with which you have favoured me, whereby I learn in detail the distinguished conduct which you have pursued since quitting this port, and the various difficulties with which, (to my regret) you have had to contend. These are, however, of such a nature as to be irremediable in our present circumstances; but let us hope they will vanish when the empire is consolidated.

Meanwhile your Excellency--being no less a politician than a warrior, and enjoying to the utmost the confidence of His Imperial Majesty--is fully empowered to adopt whatever means your judgment may suggest to facilitate the important objects of your commission. On this subject, I also refer to the Imperial authority and other documents addressed to you in reply to your communications.

I beg to add my personal thanks for the interesting communications with which you have favoured me, of which I shall avail myself in order to accomplish the objects desired to be effected.

Be assured of the particular esteem and high consideration with which I am,

De V. Exa.

Attento venerador e criado,


The Junta continuing its unreasonable demand, the moveable property captured was embarked on board the Pombinho, and another vessel--both prizes--for the purpose of being sent to Rio de Janeiro for adjudication. I then directed the Provisional Government to furnish me with an account of all money found in the treasury, customs, military chest, and other departments; also of all military stores in the various forts and magazines and of government property of every description, such property having been wholly awarded to the captors by Imperial decree of the 11th of December, 1822, issued to induce foreign seamen to enter the service.

On the 20th of August the Portuguese troops were ordered to depart for Lisbon--Maranham being thus entirely freed from the presence of the armaments upon which the mother country had relied for the maintenance of her Northern provinces; this result, wholly unexpected by the Imperial Government or the nation, having been accomplished within the space of a few months, by measures adopted on my own responsibility.

Still numerous vessels and much perishable property taken from the enemy, remained on hand--with which it was difficult to deal. From having manned the captured brig-of-war, Don Miguel--as well as the prize vessel, Pombinho, from the crew of the flagship, it was not expedient further to reduce her efficiency; so that there were no means of forwarding the other prizes and property to Rio de Janeiro for adjudication. I therefore apprised the Minister of Marine, that the only course circumstances would permit me to pursue--though not perfectly regular--would be to dispose of them and remit to the Government in specie the amount realised; as, in case of my departure from Maranham, they were certain to be improperly appropriated. Accordingly, an offer was again made to the merchants, to accept two-thirds of their value in specie, and to submit the amount to the further decision of the Court of Admiralty, I little anticipating at the time the anti-Imperial predilections of the members composing the prize tribunal at Rio de Janeiro.

The amount of the seizures effected by the squadron was very considerable, comprising upwards of a hundred and twenty vessels, some of which contained important cargoes. The aggregate amount of these--together with merchandise found in the Custom-house--Government and other public property and stores--was several millions of dollars, and this by His Imperial Majesty's decree of the 11th of December, 1822--promulgated to attract foreign seamen into the Brazilian service--was, as before mentioned, the property of the captors; the Imperial Government, by that decree, disclaiming all share in it,--a stipulation afterwards remorselessly violated.

On the 25th of August, the province of Turi Assu sent in its adhesion to the Empire, this favourable circumstance being however counteracted by the arrival of deputies from the troops of Ceara and Piahuy, reporting their revolutionary tendency, and demanding payment for their previous service; the Piahuy troops--consisting for the most part of Indians recruited in the interior--even threatened to march upon Maranham and enforce their demand, although they had rendered no assistance. The Junta, alarmed at this demonstration, now forwarded to me a request that I would appropriate some portion of the captured property to satisfy the importunity of the mutinous troops.

Considering that the tranquillity of the province in a great measure depended upon silencing these troops--who were not only clamorous and menacing, but in a state of nakedness and destitution--which rendered it probable that they might help themselves at the expense of the inhabitants--I consented to the application of the Junta, placing at their disposal the monies taken in the Portuguese treasury, amounting in cash to Rs.62.560 $423 (60,560 dollars); that found in the custom-house, to the amount of Rs.54.167 $877 (54,167 dollars); and outstanding bills to the amount of Rs.147.316 $656 (147,316 dollars); making in the whole Rs.264.044 $776 (264,044 dollars): accounts of these sums, and the urgency of their appropriation to the necessities of the public service, being duly forwarded to the Minister of Marine at Rio de Janeiro.

These sums are thus minutely set forth, because it has been erroneously represented that sixty contos of reis alone (60,000 dollars), were given up to the Junta, though reference to the vouchers themselves would have dissipated this error, which will be found to have an important bearing upon a subsequent part of the narrative. It may be also necessary to explain how "outstanding debts" could be owing to the Government. Contrary to the English practice of paying duties to the revenue, before goods are cleared from the custom-house, it was the habit of the Portuguese authorities to permit their clearance on receipt of bills to be paid after the goods were disposed of; hence merchants became indebted to the Government in the amount of such engagements.

It was impossible to avoid assisting the Junta, in the extremity alluded to, as the neglected troops might have caused a dangerous emeute, which would have proved injurious to the interests of His Imperial Majesty.

The assistance rendered to the Junta was given at the expense of the officers and seamen, to whom the money of right belonged, and who looked for its repayment as soon as circumstances would permit. On this subject I wrote as follows to the Minister of Marine:--

Maranham, Aug. 26, 1833.


Since I had the honour of addressing you deputies have arrived from the troops of Ceara and Piahuy soliciting payment for their services. The provisional Junta of Maranham have requested my assistance in this object, and as I consider the tranquillity of this province to depend in a great measure on the speedy payment of these forces, I have placed at the disposal of the Junta various funds arising from the capitulation of this place. This will doubtless be considered by the seamen--who are the captors--as an unwarrantable sacrifice of their rights in favour of mutinous troops, who have effected nothing; but feeling confident of support from the Imperial Government on a matter so essential to the public interest, I have had no hesitation in assuring the seamen that they will not be losers by their captures being, in the first instance, applied to the relief of the immediate exigencies of the State.

(Signed) COCHRANE.

On the 30th of August, I had the satisfaction to learn from Captain Grenfell that his mission to Para had been completely successful, the frigate, together with another vessel of war, having been secured, the former being, by my previous directions, named the Imperatrice, and added to the Imperial navy; several merchantmen were also taken and sent to Rio de Janeiro.

The summons despatched by Captain Grenfell was--as has been said--based upon the same ruse as had been so successful at Maranham. In order to produce a more decisive effect, it had been dated off the mouth of the river, as though the squadron was there at anchor to compel submission to the Imperial Government. The plan was so ably conducted by the talented officer to whom it was entrusted, that although his force consisted of less than a hundred men, the inhabitants of Para, without a dissentient voice--save that of the Portuguese commandant--pronounced their adhesion to the Government of His Imperial Majesty, and thus a province, greater in extent than France and England combined, was added to the empire, and the independence of Brazil effected to its Northern extremity.

The only blood shed in the liberation of Para, was that of Captain Grenfell, who received a severe wound, treacherously inflicted by a Portuguese who was hired to assassinate him! This cowardly act was resorted to, on the discovery--when too late--that I was not in the river, as the Portuguese authorities had been led to believe.

The subjoined is Captain Grenfell's letter announcing the success of his mission:--

H.I.M.B. Maranham,

August 12, 1833. (Off Para.)


I have the honour to inform your Lordship that your hopes of the union of Para to the empire of Brazil are verified. Agreeably to your Lordship's instructions, and in virtue of the power conferred on me, I opened the communications with the Junta, and enclose a letter from the General-at-Arms to your Lordship, and am glad to inform you that his is the only dissenting voice. I shall pursue the tenor of your Lordship's instructions until further orders.

I have the honour, &c. &c.


I had directed Captain Grenfell--in case of a declaration of independence by the inhabitants of Para--to form a Junta, and to adopt generally the same course as had been so instrumental in preserving tranquillity at Maranham; giving him, moreover, power to employ the resources at his command in supplying the exigencies of the Imperial service generally, as might be necessary. A Provisional Government was accordingly formed, though not to the satisfaction of a number of refractory persons, who, on the pretence of adhesion to the Imperial Government, connected themselves with a body of undisciplined troops, and made an attempt to depose the newly constituted Junta, which applied to Captain Grenfell for support. Landing his men, the insurrection was with some difficulty put down; but as an ill feeling still prevailed, he considered it necessary to make an example by ordering the trial of five of the ringleaders, who, being condemned, were shot in the public square.

On the 9th of September, I apprised the Junta of Maranham of my intention to proceed to Para, though--being without instructions from the Administration, I really purposed to sail for Rio de Janeiro; for as the Provisional authority temporarily established was not, by any means conducting public affairs in a satisfactory manner, I thought it as well to keep them in ignorance of our real destination, in order that they should believe me within reach, till the Imperial Government might exercise its own discretion as to the future.

The Junta of Maranham, indeed, appeared to have no other object than to shew how liberty suddenly acquired could degenerate into despotism. It was, for the most part, composed of men, who were not only united by family connections and private friendship, but who were nearly allied, as members of one influential family. No sooner had they been invested with power, than they dismissed all civil and military officers, and filled the vacant situations with their own friends, relations, and dependents, without consideration as to their talents or qualifications, thus equally exciting discontent amongst the Brazilians--who were excluded, and the Portuguese--who were dismissed.

Their chief aim was to maintain themselves in power against the will of the people, who, now that tranquillity had been restored, desired a free and general election of a Constitutional Government throughout the province, in place of that which, of necessity, had been confined to the city only. To put down what they considered disaffection--towards themselves--the Junta brought into the city a large body of irregular troops, intending, by means of these, to gratify their resentment against the resident Portuguese, who, having taken the oaths of allegiance to the Imperial Government, were entitled to protection. It appeared, moreover, that the Junta and their friends owed large sums of money to some of the more wealthy and influential Portuguese, and that they intended to get rid of their debts, by the expulsion of their creditors.

As it was sufficiently clear that the Junta was determined not to be advised, it became my duty to avert the evils in contemplation, by expediting the change of administration so much desired by the people. Therefore, on the 12th of September, I transmitted to the Junta, an order for the election of a more comprehensive Government, as they were only intended to remain in power until a general election throughout the province could conveniently take place. Satisfactory as was this measure to the public, it was anything but agreeable to the despotic body, at whose ill-advised measures it was aimed; their resource being to increase the ferment amongst the soldiery brought into the city to uphold their authority, and who--partly from motives of revenge, but more from the hope of plunder--were eager to execute the hostile intentions of the Junta against the Portuguese.

An attempt to arrest the president of the Camara, Senor Luiz Salgado, by the General-at-arms--who had reason to suspect Salgado of intriguing to remove him from office, gave a pretext for disturbance. On the night of the 14th of September, the troops rose and plundered many Portuguese houses, compelling their owners to fly for safety to neutral and other vessels in the harbour. They then deposed the General-at-arms, and chose Salgado in his stead, a proceeding which was next day confirmed by a decree of the Junta, in conjunction with the Camara.

Addressing a letter to Salgado, I firmly refused to acknowledge him as commandant, telling him, at the same time, that his only means of being recognised as a Brazilian citizen, was by allaying the ferment he had contributed to raise. I wrote also to the Junta and Camara, threatening to act in a decisive manner, if these disgraceful scenes were not instantly put an end to, pointing out to them that, as they were the chief proprietors of houses and stores, so they would be the greatest sufferers from anarchy. This step checked the disturbance, but the Junta granted the riotous military a gratuity, levied on the Portuguese who had been attacked. The more respectable of whom soon after quitted Maranham in disgust.

It must, however, be stated that these disorders admitted of some palliation, from the consideration that hundreds of Brazilians had been transported to Lisbon, by the Portuguese authorities, when in power; whilst hundreds of others were on my arrival imprisoned at Maranham, in the gaols and vessels in the harbour. On my entrance into the city, I released numbers of these, and saved many others from impending incarceration.

By the 18th, though tranquillity was restored, I postponed the election of a general provisional Junta till the 20th of October, hoping that before that period, a reply to my earnest entreaties for instructions, would arrive from the Imperial Government. It was for the sake of preserving order during the interval, that I had announced my intention of taking the Pedro Primiero to Para only, well knowing that a belief in her speedy return to Maranham would have a salutary influence in maintaining public peace.

Intelligence of the reduction of Maranham, and the annexation of that province, together with the province of Para, to the empire, was received at Rio de Janeiro with surprise and delight;--surprise, that, in less than six months, without military force, and, in truth, with one ship of war only, so much had been effected--and delight that the Empire was cleared of its enemies without the expense and uncertainty of expeditions which had been calculated on. All Brazilians were eager to vie with each other in the expression of entire satisfaction with my exertions.

His Imperial Majesty was pleased to reward the services rendered, by creating me Marquis of Maranhao, as the fittest title to commemorate the advantages gained for the empire, at the same time awarding me an estate commensurate with the dignity of the honours conferred; the "Assemblea Geral, Constituente e Legislativa" adding a vote of thanks in the name of the nation. The estate, however, was never given, notwithstanding that, at Maranham, and in other of the Northern provinces, numerous fine properties, appertaining to the Portuguese Crown, were added to the Imperial domain. The inconsistency of this was remarkable, seeing that I had been the means of adding to Brazil a territory larger than half Europe--for which service I was warmly thanked by the Emperor, his Ministers, and also by the General Assembly--the latter body, nevertheless, refusing to confirm the gift of even so minute a portion of the vast territory unexpectedly added to the Empire.

The subjoined is the Imperial order, elevating me to the Marquisate:--

His Majesty the Emperor, taking into consideration the great services which your Excellency has just rendered to the nation by assisting to liberate the city of Bahia from the unjust Lusitanian yoke, and afterwards wisely aiding the honourable inhabitants of the province of Maranham in throwing off the said foreign domination, so that they were enabled, according to their desire, to acknowledge His Majesty as their constitutional Emperor; and desiring to give your Excellency a public testimonial of gratitude for these great and extraordinary services (per estse altos e extraordinarios servicos) on behalf of the generous Brazilian people, who will ever preserve a lively remembrance of such illustrious acts, I deem it right to confer upon your Excellency the title of Marquis of Maranhao. My Secretary of State will expedite the necessary patent which I communicate to your Excellency for your information.

God preserve your Excellency many years.

Palace of Rio de Janeiro, 25th of November, 1823.


The annexed is the vote of thanks awarded by the "Assemblea Geral" which, as has been said, refused to recognise His Majesty's gift of an estate in order to support in a dignified manner the title which His Majesty had graciously been pleased to confer. The reason assigned for this extraordinary proceeding, in a lengthy debate on the subject was, that in granting me an estate His Majesty had exercised a feudal prerogative inconsistent with a free country.

The General Constituent and Legislative Assembly having been officially informed that your Excellency, after having freed the province of Bahia from the oppression of Portuguese troops, and having pursued them beyond the equinoctial line, led the squadron on your own judgment and responsibility to the port of the city of St. Louis of Maranhao, where, with your accustomed valour and singular good judgment, you dislodged the Portuguese troops, who had kept down the patriotism of its generous inhabitants, and accomplished their liberation, so that they proclaimed and spontaneously swore with unanimity their independence of Portugal and their decided union with the Brazilian empire. The General Constituent and Legislative Assembly, acknowledging the importance of these great services has decreed in this day's session that there shall be given to your Excellency in the name of the nation which it represents the thanks due.

Charged as organs to transmit this resolution to your Excellency, we fulfil the task with pleasure, and have the honour to lay the same before your Excellency.

God preserve your Excellency.

Palace of the Assembly, Oct. 3, 1823.




This vote of thanks by the Assembly contains a remarkable error, by averring that I "led the squadron" to Maranhao, whereas I had only a single ship, and with her singly performed all for which I received the thanks of the nation.

In the interval between this recognition of my services and my return to Rio de Janeiro, an unfortunate change had taken place in the Councils of His Imperial Majesty, introductive of persons more favourable to the interests of Portugal than to furtherance of the judicious measures contemplated by His Majesty for the consolidation of the newly-constituted empire. To the obstructive aspirations of these persons--in ill-concealed concert with the designs of the parent state--my annexation of the Northern provinces necessarily proved fatal; and they ever afterwards regarded me with an animosity which appeared to increase as the empire became, by these, and my subsequent exertions, more firmly established.

Sailing from Maranham on the 20th of September, the Pedro Primiero arrived at Rio de Janeiro on the 9th of November--the Emperor doing me the honour to come on board to welcome me. I immediately forwarded to the Minister of Marine a recapitulation of all transactions since my departure seven months before; viz. the evacuation of Bahia by the Portuguese in consequence of our nocturnal visit, connected with the dread of my reputed skill in the use of fireships, as arising from the affair of Basque Roads; the pursuit of their fleet beyond the Equator, and the dispersion of its convoy; the capture and disabling of the transports filled with troops intended to maintain Portuguese domination in Maranham and Para; the device adopted to obtain the surrender to the Pedro Primiero alone of the enemy's naval and military forces at Maranham; the capitulation of Para with the ships of war to my summons sent by Captain Grenfell; the deliverance of the Brazilian patriots whom the Portuguese had imprisoned; the declaration of independence by the intermediate provinces thus liberated, and their union with the empire; the appointment of Provisional Governments; the embarkation and final departure of every Portuguese soldier from Brazil; and the enthusiasm with which all my measures--though unauthorised and therefore extra official--- had been received by the people of the Northern provinces, who--thus relieved from the dread of further oppression--had everywhere acknowledged and proclaimed His Imperial Majesty "Constitutional Emperor."

The powers which I had taken upon myself to exercise during this eventful period, were, no doubt; in excess of those conferred by my orders, but, knowing that everything depended upon the annexation and pacification of the Northern provinces by the expulsion of the enemy--setting aside my own interests--I considered it better for the welfare of the empire to exceed my instructions, than to entail the continuance of civil war by confining my operations within their scope. In the exercise of this self-imposed duty it may be said that I had also exercised Imperial functions, but this was only in the unavoidable absence of Imperial instructions, which it was my constant endeavour to anticipate rather than to exceed; that I judged and acted rightly, the elevation to the title of Marquis of Maranhao, before reaching Rio de Janeiro--the vote of thanks of the legislature, and the warm acknowledgment of His Imperial Majesty on landing, sufficiently testify. In addition to the gracious reception accorded by His Majesty, I received from his own hands a decoration of the Imperial Order of the Cruizeiro, and, though a foreigner, was subsequently nominated to the high office of Privy Councillor--the greatest honour in the Imperial gift to bestow.

During my absence from Rio de Janeiro, Lady Cochrane--ignorant of my having quitted Chili--was on her way to rejoin me at Valparaiso, but the vessel in which she embarked, having fortunately put into Rio de Janeiro, she was at once made acquainted with my change of service, and remained in the capital till my return. The most hospitable attention was paid to her by the Royal family, the Empress conferring upon her the appointment of Lady of Honour to Her Majesty. The relief to my mind on finding Lady Cochrane at Rio de Janeiro was very great, for, as there had not been opportunity to apprise her of my departure from Chili in time to prevent her return thither, it had been a constant source of regret to me that she would have to endure the discomfort of two tedious voyages round Cape Horn before she could join me in Brazil. The fortunate circumstance of putting into Rio happily terminated the embarrassment.

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