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


We arrived at Maranham on the 9th of November, and ascertained that the city and province--as had been reported--were in a complete state of anarchy, arising from causes almost incomprehensible. The leaders of the army had risen against the authority of the president, Miguel Bruce, and fighting was going on when we entered the river. The strangest part of the affair was, that both parties declared themselves supporters of the Imperial authority, whilst each accused the other of plotting to form a republic. Bruce kept possession of the city by means of negro troops, from amongst whom he had also picked his officers, conferring upon them regular commissions; the result being, that their excesses kept the respectable inhabitants in a state of constant terror, so that my arrival was hailed with the greatest satisfaction, and addresses of congratulation were sent in from all quarters, even the ladies adopting the unusual course of sending a deputation to welcome me.

I immediately demanded from the president a report of the condition of the province; but before this was presented, memorials from every part put me in possession of the causes of disorder universally prevailing. The general complaint was, that the president had established an autocracy, refusing the co-operation of a council, as required by the constitution, and that under his individual authority, military disorders of all kind prevailed, even to murder, whilst outrages of the most revolting nature were committed amidst cheers of "Long live His Imperial Majesty;" thus using the Imperial name as a sanction to the perpetration of acts the most unlawful and injurious.

The President Bruce was the same individual whom, on the expulsion of the Portuguese in the previous year, I had temporarily appointed President to the first provisional Junta under the Empire, which body was quickly superseded by a Government elected by the people. Possessing influence amongst the Portuguese, of which faction--as afterwards appeared--he was a prominent supporter, he had contrived to get himself reinstated as head of the provincial Government, and was apparently following the policy of the Portuguese faction in power at Rio de Janeiro, viz. that of keeping his province in a state of confusion with a view to disgust the populace with the Imperial rule, and so dispose them, should opportunity offer, to favour the views of the mother country. This policy, as has been said, was marked out by the agents of Portugal; but Bruce, with every disposition to favour the views of the parent state, was not the man to be entrusted with political strategy of this nature. The fact being that, though possessed of a certain amount of cunning, Bruce was unfit to be entrusted with authority at all--much less to exercise that which recognises no control--so that the disorder which prevailed was rather a natural consequence of his own want of capacity, and arbitrary system of government. Finding every one against him, he was gradually throwing himself on the black population for support, promoting emancipated slaves to the rank of officers; and it was generally acknowledged that had it not been for our opportune arrival, both himself and the whites who remained in the city might speedily have fallen a sacrifice to the force which had been organised for his especial protection.

On the other hand, the opponents of the president were not only in arms against him, but there were two or three family parties fighting each other under the Imperial flag! and carrying their revengeful animosities to an outrageous extent, which threatened the extermination of one, at least, of the contending parties, if not the total ruin of the province. To deal with these parties was, from their mutual recriminations, more difficult than had they declared themselves inimical to the Imperial Government. In one thing, however, they were all agreed, viz. in opposition to the president; but as his was the constituted authority, this was precisely what I did not intend to sanction.

It was clear to me that the first remedy was the appointment of a proper military authority, and as none could be trusted, I apprised the president of my intention to assume the chief military command during my stay, or at least until order was restored, issuing a proclamation to that effect.

As hostilities were still going on, I sent an order to both parties to lay down their arms, with which mandate the anti-president party immediately complied, and dispersed; but as the savage blacks under the authority of the president attacked their now unarmed adversaries, and committed great excesses, I seized and put them on board some vessels, anchoring these under the guns of the flagship, and retained the whole as prisoners, thus keeping them out of the way of further mischief.

The surrender of the arms was effected by the following proclamation, which also explains my motives for this measure:--

Whereas, it is essential to the interests of the empire in general and to the province of Maranham in particular, to put an end to all public disturbances, whether arising from the contentions of individuals, or from other causes; and whereas, the Constitution has provided not only for the administration of justice in civil cases, but also for the summary trial of military offences.

Be it henceforth known that--all persons armed, or commanding or acting with men in arms, or aiding and assisting any body of armed men in the support or defence of any persons assuming or pretending to authority as chieftains, or attempting to alter the Constitution by force--are hereby subject to military jurisdiction and shall be tried by military law accordingly. But this regulation is not intended to prohibit individuals from meeting together unarmed, for the purpose of uniting in an application for the redress of grievances, or petitioning His Imperial Majesty on points connected with public or private interests.

And whereas, military arms and ammunition have been obtained, by numerous individuals on the pretext of using them for private defence--it being essential to public tranquillity and general good that people should have recourse to the protection of the laws, and not to violence for their security--notice is hereby given, that all persons in possession of such military arms are to deliver them up to the chief military officers in their respective districts, to be deposited in the public armoury. Whoever shall be found in possession of arms after the termination of this present month of November, shall be judged according to military law.

Given on board the Pedro Primiero this 12th day of November, 1824.


This proclamation is adduced in order to shew the condition of the province on my arrival, which it does more fully than would pages of description. To these difficulties were now added the chagrin of Bruce, at having his military authority superseded, though his civil authority was not only uninterfered with, but supported. Still, having the orders of His Imperial Majesty to use my discretion in tranquillizing the disturbed provinces, it was not my intention to permit His Majesty's views to be frustrated by undue deference to a Governor, whose folly and despotism combined, had been the chief cause of the disturbances, though I well knew that the course I was pursuing, even though approved by His Majesty, would bring down upon me the indignation of the Portuguese faction in power at Rio de Janeiro.

The proclamation had the effect of procuring the surrender of arms to a great extent, followed by the disbandment of all irregular forces collected by the contending chieftains, so that apparent tranquillity was everywhere enforced.

The great point was to establish permanent order, which, had we gone away, would soon have been broken. As, since the reduction of Pernambuco, there was no other field for my active services, and as I had no instructions how to dispose of the squadron, I determined to remain at Maranham, and employ myself in consolidating the good already produced, till further commands from His Imperial Majesty; for having in the preceding year expelled the Portuguese from the province, its welfare was a matter of interest to me, and I felt assured that were His Majesty acquainted with the want of unity existing, authority would be given to carry out my views.

In Maranham, as in the other Northern provinces of the empire, there had been no amelioration whatever in the condition of the people, and without such amelioration, it was absurd to place reliance on the hyperbolical professions of devotion to the Emperor which were now abundantly avowed by those who before my arrival had been foremost in promoting and cherishing disturbance.

The condition of the province--and indeed of all the provinces--was in no way better than they had been under the dominion of Portugal, though they presented one of the finest fields imaginable for improvement. All the old colonial imposts and duties remained without alteration--the manifold hindrances to commerce and agriculture still existed--and arbitrary power was everywhere exercised uncontrolled; so that in place of being benefited by emancipation from the Portuguese yoke, the condition of the great mass of the population was literally worse than before.

To amend this state of things it was necessary to begin with the officers of Government, of whose corruption and arbitrary conduct, complaints--signed by whole communities--were daily arriving from every part of the province; to such an extent, indeed, was this misrule carried, that neither the lives nor property of the inhabitants were safe, where revenge, or baser motives, existed for the exercise of acts of oppression[1].

[Footnote 1: Numerous original, but lengthy, documents are in my possession proving all these facts.]

I therefore addressed a letter to the president, warning him that such things ought not to be tolerated; that reports of excesses committed by those under his authority were reaching me from all quarters, the perpetrators deserving the most severe and exemplary chastisement; that I had determined to investigate these matters; and under the reservation made--of personally acting under extraordinary circumstances--would visit these cases with severe punishment, should the reality come up to the representations made.

The recklessness of human life was amongst the more remarkable features of these excesses. Only a short time before this, I had granted a passport to Captain Pedro Martins, as the bearer of an offer from an insurgent party to lay down their arms, but he was murdered on his return. This atrocious act, perpetrated, as I had reason to believe, by some factious adherents to the president's party, from motives of revenge, was unfortunate, as affording a pretext for others who were ready to submit, to continue in arms for their mutual protection. I therefore directed that all troops under the authority of the president should remain where they were until further orders from me; and demanded of His Excellency to use every endeavour to apprehend the parties guilty of an act so disgraceful to the Imperial cause, that they might meet with due punishment.

Finding no effort made to apprehend the murderers, I addressed to Bruce the following letter:--

It is with great regret that I have learned the atrocious act committed by your soldiers against an officer having my passport for the purpose of endeavouring to tranquillize the province, by inducing the dissentient party to lay down their arms. This is a matter so disgraceful to the cause of those by whom it has been perpetrated, that I must enforce on your attention the necessity of exertion to apprehend all persons who may be suspected of having committed this crime, and send them immediately, prisoners, to this city.

I have further to direct, in the name of His Imperial Majesty, that the troops under your command shall remain where they are until further orders from me, as Commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces of this province, notwithstanding any authority or order which you may heretofore have received, or which you may hereafter receive--except from me--to the contrary.


It is almost needless to say that the guilty parties--though doubtless well known--were permitted to escape with impunity; the president alleging as his excuse, "the insufficiency of the regular troops to preserve the tranquillity of the city;" this remark being intended to throw upon me the responsibility of having secured on board the black savages whom he had organized. My reply was, that--"for what I had done, I was responsible to the supreme Government and the public, and if he could not find means to preserve the public tranquillity, I must do so; as he must be sensible that I had acted with propriety in relieving him from a portion of the labour and responsibility which he had hitherto sustained."

On the 28th of November, I forwarded to the Minister of Marine, at Rio de Janeiro, a full report of these transactions, from which the subjoined are extracts:--

The completion of the task of tranquillizing Ceara in a manner I trust satisfactory to His Imperial Majesty, was, in a great measure, effected by the pardon promulgated in the name of His Majesty--consigning to oblivion those occurrences which would otherwise have agitated the public mind. The only exception made was the intrusive President Araripe, and this, because, instead of availing himself of the first proclamation of amnesty, in which he was included, he retired into the interior with a band of robbers, in order to excite further disturbance. The consequence of this obstinate perseverance in disobedience on the part of Araripe, has been his death, and the capture of all his followers.

The restoration of Ceara to its allegiance and tranquillity having been thus accomplished, we proceeded to Parahyba, where all was tranquil, the inhabitants having unanimously declared His Imperial Majesty Constitutional Emperor, the moment that they became free from the terror of their more powerful and military neighbours at Ceara. Some dissensions, however, remained in the province. With respect to Maranham, things are different: no republican flag has been displayed--nor, as far as I can learn, did any intention exist on the part of the inhabitants of raising the standard of rebellion; the state of civil war in which we found the presidency arising from personal animosities amongst some of the principal families, especially between those families and that of His Excellency the President. Certain it is, that all were united against the President, who, to protect himself, had recourse to the assistance of the lowest classes of the community, even to emancipated slaves. The result has been, military disorders of all kinds--and there is no outrage which has not been perpetrated.

The general complaint against the President is, that the constitution has in no way been put in practice; that he has not established any lawful council; and that he has been guilty of arbitrary acts. The original documents relating to these matters are enclosed for the judgment of His Imperial Majesty.

I humbly hope that His Imperial Majesty will perceive that, although I had no express authority to interfere in internal disputes, yet it became my duty--on finding the province in a state of civil war--without any General-at-Arms, or other military officer of sufficient authority or capacity, to restore public peace--to take upon myself powers which I trust have been used for the benefit of His Imperial service. In order that the Imperial Government may judge of my proceedings, I have the honour to enclose copies of proclamations, and other documents relative to my transactions.


On the 4th of December I was not a little surprised at receiving from President Bruce a letter requiring me to banish certain persons obnoxious to himself, amongst others Francisco de Moraes, who had been the first to set the example of submission to the proclamation issued on my arrival. This most unreasonable request I refused--writing to Bruce that dissensions were not likely to be healed by punishing those who had laid down their arms on the faith of a proclamation issued in the name of His Imperial Majesty; further assuring him that, if he did his duty, he would not find me remiss in endeavours to relieve the province and himself from the miseries and difficulties with which he had been surrounded.

On the 5th of December I had the satisfaction of receiving a deputy from Parahyba, assuring me of the perfect pacification of the town and province. On receipt of this gratifying intelligence I transmitted to Parahyba a general amnesty, coupled with advice as to the folly "of rebelling under erroneous impressions of circumstances with regard to His Imperial Majesty, which could not come within the sphere of their personal knowledge, and hoping that, for the future, they would duly appreciate the beneficence of a sovereign who desired that his authority --limited by the Constitution--should be felt by his people only through the exercise of justice and benevolence."

It was a vexatious task to be thus constantly exhorting the disaffected in the Northern provinces to confidence in the Imperial Government, because I knew that they had but too good reason to be dissatisfied--not with the Emperor--but with his administration, whose hopes were founded on anarchy and intrigue. It was therefore my practice to exhort them to rely on His Imperial Majesty--it not being within the scope of my duty to draw the distinction between the Imperial wishes and the sinister practices of those by whom His Majesty was surrounded.

During the period of my absence I had been pressing upon the Department of Marine at Rio de Janeiro the necessity of a speedy adjudication of the prizes belonging to the squadron, according to the written order of His Imperial Majesty. On the 5th of December I received an evasive reply from the Auditor of Marine, stating that "he did not consider himself in possession of all the laws and regulations whereon his judgment should be founded in regard to seizures made or vessels captured by the naval forces of Brazil." A miserable subterfuge!--as though it were any part of my duty to supply an official with "laws and regulations" on such a subject. It was quite evident to me that, despite His Majesty's orders, no adjudication was intended, nor was any afterwards made; but in order to prevent complaint of neglect on my part. I transmitted, on the same date, to the auditor the whole of my documents, with a request that they might be returned.

From the state of the province on my first arrival, I had entertained suspicions as to the President's sincerity; and as outbreaks were again of frequent occurrence, notwithstanding the general desire for pacification, an investigation into the causes of these elicited the fact that he was secretly sending agents to promote disturbance, for the purpose of revenging himself upon those now disarmed, who, before my arrival, had opposed his arbitrary authority.

To such an extent was this carried, that memorials reached me begging my interference, as the memorialists could not now defend themselves. Two of these memorials, signed by upwards of three hundred of the respectable inhabitants of the province, were of such a nature as to render hopeless the perfect restoration of order so long as the President was permitted to exercise the autocracy, which, contrary to all the principles of the constitution, he had irresponsibly assumed.

In order to account for a step which I subsequently considered it my duty to adopt, it is necessary to give some extracts from one of these memorials, signed by a hundred and fifty-two of the most respectable inhabitants in a distant part of the province:--

"That the most demoralizing excesses are permitted amongst the soldiery, and, in order to preserve his influence with the troops, the President permits them to murder with impunity--even Europeans; the perpetrators of these acts being not only unpunished, but rewarded, whilst military commandants and others attempting to repress these disorders are dismissed; so that absolute authority is established--the public money being squandered on the soldiery, in order to support a criminal despotism.

"Your Excellency must have witnessed the state to which the province was reduced on your arrival, the people being compelled to have recourse to arms in order to ward off a multitude of vexations. Your Excellency must also have observed how quickly they laid down their arms at your summons, of which circumstance the party of the President availed themselves to sack and plunder the towns and villages everywhere in the country; the tears, desolation, and misery of so many villages and estates, accompanied by the blood of the murdered and wounded, remaining eternal monuments of these crimes.

"The President and his followers, convinced of the abhorrence with which such atrocities were viewed, availed themselves of the false pretext that such acts were necessary for the Imperial service, the people being in rebellion against him.

"At the present moment he has given out that he has three thousand men ready to support him in the Presidency against the measures of your Excellency, and it is a fact that, in various parts of the province, he has troops, militia, and arms; whilst the commandants, appointed by himself, are all ready to execute his measures.

"If your Excellency should unhappily quit the province, whilst matters are in this state, it will be totally desolated--its commerce annihilated--and its agriculture abandoned; confiscation and terror will be everywhere established, accompanied by rebellion towards the Emperor. If you will remain, we, the undersigned, undertake to support the squadron, in the absence of funds from the Imperial treasury.

"To terminate these evils, we beg to represent to your Excellency that there is only one remedy. President Bruce must be deposed and sent to Rio de Janeiro, with his coadjutors, who are well known, in order that his acts may be lawfully investigated, and punished as justice demands; and that, in the interim, there should be elected by your Excellency, from amongst the more respectable inhabitants of this province, a person to represent to His Imperial Majesty the horrible state of things here existing, and to implore His Imperial Majesty's interposition for its salvation--your Excellency, in the meantime, assuming the civil and military government of the province, until His Imperial Majesty's pleasure can become known. And we further beg of your Excellency that you will name able magistrates, of known probity, to the respective districts, and cause oaths to be taken, in order that the respective Camaras may proceed to the work of saving the province from tumult and anarchy, by observing faithful obedience to His Imperial Majesty and by the administration of laws for the government of the people.

"Maranhao, Dec. 11, 1824."

Signed by one hundred and fifty-two of the principal inhabitants of the province.

A similar document, signed by upwards of a hundred and fifty of the respectable inhabitants of Alcantara--upon whom excesses had been committed in no way less reprehensible than at Maranham--had been forwarded to me on the 6th of December; but, as the complaints were of the same nature, it is unnecessary to do more than advert to the circumstance. In addition to these, I received a statistic list of the murders and robberies perpetrated throughout the province, under the agency of those placed in authority by the President. The whole of these documents were retained by me as a justification of any contingency that might arise, and are still in my possession.

The Maranham memorial reached me on the 14th of December, and had scarcely been placed in my hands, when a letter arrived from President Bruce, deprecating its reception, thus shewing that he had previously been made aware of the contents, and--as I had afterwards reason to believe--had attempted to intercept the memorial, but had failed in so doing. After glancing at the contents, I made him the following reply:--


I have this moment been honoured with the receipt of your Excellency's letter, and have to state that the document to which you allude had not been delivered to me five minutes previous to your Excellency's communication, and that I have not yet had time to read it.

Your Excellency may, however, rest assured that if the said paper contains any thing injurious to the interests or dignity of his Imperial Majesty, I shall not fail to take such steps as the occasion may require. All papers that have been presented to me, it is my intention to transmit to Rio de Janeiro, where the Imperial government will judge of the motives of the writers, and of the contents of their communications.


Dec. 14, 1824.

My reply to the memorialists was as follows:--

Maranham, Dec. 18,1834.


I have read your memorial with attention, and regret that you should have occasion to detail complaints of so painful a nature, the more so as I do not know whether I am authorised to remedy the evils otherwise than by such measures as have been already adopted.

According to the Constitution, you ought to find a remedy in the laws; but if any authority, commissioned by His Imperial Majesty, has improperly placed obstacles in the way of law, to His Majesty only can an appeal against such conduct be made, for they who attempt to redress evils arising from a breach of the Constitution, by violating that very Constitution place themselves in an equally disadvantageous position with the object of their accusation.

As regards the deposition of the President, which you request, I frankly confess to you, Gentlemen, that whatever may be my private opinion as to the course most advantageous to you and the province in general--and even to the President himself--I should feel extremely reluctant, except in a case of manifest and extreme necessity, to take upon myself a responsibility which might possibly subject me to the displeasure of His Imperial Majesty, and would most certainly expose me to be continually harassed by prejudicial reports and false accusations, supported by artful intrigues, against which neither prudence nor rectitude could effectually avail.

To mention an instance of this, within your own knowledge, you all know that, last year, when this province was annexed to the empire, the property of Brazilians under the flag of Portugal, and of all resident Portuguese, was by me respected and unmolested. You know, too, that all the public property of the Portuguese Government in the arsenals and magazines was left untouched, and it is equally true that upwards of sixty contos of reis (60,000 dollars) in specie, and one hundred and forty contos (140,000 dollars) in bills taken in the Portuguese treasury and custom house, were left by me in the hands of the Government of Maranham, for the payment of the army. Yet, notwithstanding these notorious facts, it has been audaciously declared by the Portuguese authorities composing the prize tribunal at Rio de Janeiro, that that very army--which I had thus left the means to pay--had served disinterestedly at their own expense, and that I was a mercenary and a robber! I may add, too, that the Junta of Maranham contributed in no small degree to this calumny, for, after they had secured the money, they refused to give me a receipt, though the sum I had so lent for the use of the army was, and still is, the indisputable property of the officers and men of the ships of war who were instrumental in freeing this province from a colonial yoke.

In short, great as is my desire to render you every service in my power, I am not willing to interfere in matters over which I have no express authority--because I do not like to risk the displeasure of His Imperial Majesty, attended, as it might be, not only with sudden dismissal from my official situation, but even with heavy fines and imprisonment; not to mention the sacrifice of all those pecuniary interests which I possess at Rio de Janeiro, where I have enemies eagerly watching for a pretence to deprive me of all to which I have a claim. Neither am I disposed to afford to those persons any opportunity of giving plausibility to those calumnies which they are ever so ready to utter, nor to be under the necessity of placing myself on my defence before the world against their false accusations.

I have the honour, GENTLEMEN, &c. &c.


The memorial of the inhabitants of Maranham was, together with other complaints, forwarded by me to the Imperial Government, accompanied by the following letter to the Minister of Marine:--

December 16th, 1824.


My letters 278-279, will have acquainted your Excellency of our proceedings here up to their respective dates, and will also have afforded the Imperial Government such information as I could collect regarding the origin and progress of the disputes which have so unhappily prevailed.

It was my hope that--by taking their implements of war from the hands of the contending parties, and removing the most disorderly portion of the military--the public mind would have subsided into tranquillity. It appears, however, that--from the constant alarm occasioned by the "Pedestres," and other irregular troops lately maintained by the President--the public still continue in dread of being exposed to outrages, similar to those lately committed on their persons and property. The terror excited is universal, and as the people must be well acquainted with the character and conduct of persons with whom they have been bred up, I cannot bring myself to believe--however desirous to support a President nominated by His Imperial Majesty--that all the respectable portion of the population, without exception, entertain fears that are groundless. Indeed, from all that I have seen or heard, there is but little reason to hope that his Excellency the President has any intention to govern this province on any other system than that of the Captains-General, under the old Portuguese government; that is to say, rather according to his own will than in conformity with the dictates of justice or equity.

Certain it is, that, up to the present moment, the Constitution has never been put in practice, and even military law has not been adhered to. Numerous persons have been banished without accuser or declared crime--others have been thrown into gaol--and the greater portion of the principal people who remained had--previous to our arrival--fled to the woods, to avoid being the objects of the like arbitrary proceedings.

The representations which I now enclose to your Excellency as a sample of the numerous documents of a similar nature addressed to me, will, at least, lead His Imperial Majesty to the conclusion that such complaints could not have arisen, and continued under the government of a person calculated to preside over the interests of so important a province.

Your Excellency will find a memorial from the French Consul, marked No. 7, and the other Consuls have only been restrained from sending similar representations from the consideration that, on the squadron quitting this port, the consequences might be highly prejudicial to their interests and those whom they represent.

I would further state to your Excellency the remarkable fact that the President--after having continued a high pay to the soldiery during the existence of those disorders of which they were the instrument--did, at the moment of my taking the command, send me an old order respecting the diminution of the pay of the troops, which order he himself had never put in execution. And it is still more extraordinary, that he since refused any pay whatever, to the small number of troops of the line, who are continued in service for the preservation of the tranquillity of the city.

Since my last letters, I have been using all possible diligence to get the remainder of the firearms out of the hands of the lower classes of the population. Many, however, have been withheld--a circumstance which gives additional importance to the extraordinary fact, which I have only by accident learned--that the Junta of Fazenda, acting under the President, issued an order on the 6th of December (an attested copy of which is enclosed), authorising the sale of powder, and that too, under the false pretence that "all motives for suspending the sale of powder had ceased." I have not words in which to express the astonishment I felt at this extraordinary proceeding. I shall only add that, as soon as it came to my knowledge, I gave orders that such sale should not be permitted, and I have since directed the whole of the powder in the magazines at Maranham to be embarked and deposited in a vessel near the anchorage of the ships-of-war; by which precaution I consider the security of the white population to be in a great measure secured, till His Imperial Majesty shall be enabled to take such steps as in his judgment may appear necessary.

Were I to detail to your Excellency all the facts that lead my mind to a conclusion that this province will be entirely lost to the empire unless a speedy remedy be applied to the evils which here exist--it would be necessary to trespass upon you at very great length; but as the brother of the Secretary of Government proceeds to Rio de Janeiro by the same conveyance as this, your Excellency and colleagues will be able to obtain from him such further information as may satisfy your minds regarding the state of this province.


It was not long before I learned that in many parts troops were being secretly organised to support the President's authority against me, but this was met by removing from command those officers who had either permitted or encouraged military insubordination; supplying their places with others upon whom I could better rely.

An occurrence, however, now took place which threatened to involve Brazil in serious difficulties. From the indiscrimination of Bruce's troops in their career of injury and plunder, some renewed outrages had been committed on French subjects; for which the French consul required reparation from me, as having assumed the chief authority; at the same time again demanding passports for himself and the whole of the French residents, in case of my intention to quit the city and leave Bruce again in power. The British consul also forwarded additional complaints of similar outrages against his countrymen; but, in place of requiring reparation at my hands, he forwarded representations to his own government, requesting protection against the acts of Bruce, at the same time communicating the fact of these representations to me, but declining to furnish me with a copy of his despatch, as I had no direct appointment from the Imperial Government for the authority I was exercising. The demands of the French consul were, however, pressing; but I could only reply with regard to the outrages committed against French subjects by the adherents of the President:--"I was sorry that it was not in my power to remedy past evils; but that such steps had been taken as would prevent their recurrence for the future."

The subjoined is one of the letters of the British Consul:--

British Consul's Office,

Maranhao, Dec. 17, 1824.

My Lord,

Understanding that your Lordship has an intention of soon withdrawing your presence from this province, I am forced, as the official and responsible protector of British interests in this quarter, to make the following statement, leaving it to be proved by the facts therein set forth that I am, by this course, adopting the only means within my reach, of providing for the interests confided to my attention, a satisfactory security! and that I am, by so doing, not departing from that line of conduct which, as a neutral officer, I am bound to observe.

By this time your Lordship must be fully aware of the violent character and desolating effects of the late civil commotions throughout this province. These commotions unhappily existed during a protracted period, and whilst they were raging, the regular pursuits of the community were either interrupted by violent party intrigues--suspended by a barbarous warfare--or totally stopped by merciless outrages.

Notwithstanding this disjointed state of society, and the consequent inefficiency of all constituted authority, the resident British, by general and firm perseverance in a strictly neutral line of conduct, and by calm endurance of not a few unavoidable ills--succeeded in averting from themselves the chief weight of those evils to which all the remaining population were exposed.

But though they now feel grateful at having escaped outrage and have passed unhurt amidst general anarchy, still, they recollect, that while by their conduct they were entitled to protection, they nevertheless continued in a painful anxiety for their safety.

In this state of uncertain security the resident British continued for several months, and when at last intrigue attempted to force them into the general scene of distress--some being openly threatened--your Lordship's providential arrival averted the destruction of many inhabitants, and the dangerous condition of all.

Into this critical situation were British interests at this place thrown by violent party spirit. That spirit, though at present smothered, cannot be totally extinguished without time. It has unsettled the community at large, and disorganised all the military establishments of the province.

After this exposition of facts, I may be allowed to assert, without thereby offering the least disrespect to any constituted authority, that your Lordship's presence in this province for the time being is indispensable for the tranquillity and security of all its inhabitants-- because the only means by which legal control can be revived, and consequently an occurrence which must be as desirable and needful to all public functionaries, as I frankly avow it to be to one, who has the honour to declare himself

Your Lordship's

Most obedient and humble servant,


His Britannic Majesty's Consul.

To the Right Hon. Lord Cochrane,

Marquis of Maranhao, Admiral, &c. &c.

The letter of the French Consul is even more precise, and therefore I subjoin that also:--

Vice Consulate of France at S. Louis de Maragnon,

Monsieur le Marquis, Dec. 4, 1821.

La position difficile dans laquelle je me suis trouve depuis trois mois--la delicatesse de celle dans laquelle je suis place maintenant vis-a-vis M. le President de la province de Maragnon, m'imposant le devoir de porter a la connoissance de votre Excellence les justes motifs de plainte que j'ai a lui exposer centre la conduite de M. le President Bruce envers un Agent de Sa Majeste le Roi de France, et venir a ce titre reclamer un appui que je ne puis plus dorenavant attendre de sa part. La confiance que m'inspire le caractere dont votre Excellence est revetue, et la certitude qu'elle n'ignore pas les intimes relations qui lient la France a l'Empire du Bresil, me font qu'elle saura apprecier les consequences graves que doivent entrainer l'avance faite ici aux sujets de mon Souverain, et le silence meprisant que garde a cet egard le President depuis un mois que je lui ai demande la participation du resultat d'une enquete qu'il m'assura avoir ete ordonnee par lui. Sans m'entendre sur les evenements facheux qui ont desole cette province depuis cinq mois, pour etre hors du but que je me propose je me bornerai a parler de ceux dont je puis garantir l'authenticite et de l'influence du Gouvernement de M. Bruce pendant cet intervalle sur le bien-etre de mes nationaux.

Lors des premieres armamens faits dans la province, pour opposer des forces a une expedition supposee de la part du Portugal, un Francois etabli a Caixas, compris dans une mesure generale fut oblige d'autorite de delivrer une partie d'armes dont il ne recut jamais la valeur, malgre un sejour prolonge de plusieurs mois dans le meme endroit. Quelque modique que soit la somme qu'il s'est vu dans la necessite de venir reclamer ici, elle est proportionnee a ses moyens. C'est un tort evident fait a cet homme qui ne put continuer a exercer son industrie dans le lieu qu'il avoit choisi, et fut contraint a un deplacement couteux qui doit lui retirer toute confiance a l'avenir.

L'arrivee des troupes envoyees par le President pour reprimer un mouvement dans l'interieur immediatement apres le depart de M. Jose Felix Burgos, ne fut signalee dans la ville d'Alcantara que par des desordres, les Etrangers meme n'y furent pas respectes dans cet endroit, qui n'etoit pas encore le theatre des hostilites. Un homme de ma Nation y exercant paisiblement son commerce fut attaque chez lui, eut les portes de sa maison enfoncees par les soldats, fut temoin deux fois du pillage de sa boutique et force pour sauver ses jours d'aller sejourner dans le bois; ce malheureux n'a d'autre ressource maintenant que le travail de ses mains, ce fait contre lequel il eut ete de mon devoir de reclamer vient seulement de parvenir a ma connoissance.

Les Francois etablis en cette ville avoient joui jusqu'a l'arrivee dans l'ile des troupes armees contre le President d'une trop grande securite, pour ne pas revailler contre eux toute la haine dont avoit eut fait preuve deja les Portugais avant l'adhesion de cette province a l'Empire du Bresil. Un acte emane de leur despotique Junte avoit malgre les traites fait fermer les loges Francoises jusqu'a la reception des ordres precis de leur gouvernement, qui desapprouvait hautement cette mesure. Ces memes Portugais oubliant la generositie avec laquelle les commandants de trois batimens de Sa Majeste le Roi de France venoient de sauver un grand nombre de leurs compatriotes lors des derniers troubles du Para, n'ecoutant que leur jalousie ne s'efforcerent qu'a nous perdre dans l'opinion publique par le plus noires inculpations. Je les considere comme ayant influe puissament sur le malhereux evenement que j'ai eu a deplorer. Malgre l'avertissement que j'avois donne huit jours auparavant au President de la menace qui etoit faite aux Francois de leur faire subir le genre d'assassinat usite ici, le 21 Septembre, quatre Francois ete surpris par des assassins, deux furent tres maltraites, l'un atteint de plusieurs blessures a la tete et au bras fut reconduit chez lui baigne dans son sang; ses blessures au bras, fracture en deux endroits laissent encore douter apres 70 jours de douleurs aigues s'il ne devra par subir l'amputation. Le meme jour a la meme heure, un Francois fut attaque chez lui malgre le signe de reconnaisance qui distingue depuis les troubles les maisons des Francois; des pierres lancees dans sa porte et ses fenetres pendant un long espace de temps, l'obligerent a venir lui-meme dissiper par des menaces une troupe d'hommes qu'il esperoit ne pas voir echapper a la surveillance d'un porte militaire a proximite de sa maison.

M'etant rendu chez le President, lui demander d'abord la punition de ce crime atroce, il eut l'inconvenance de m'objecter que la conduite des Francois etoit tres reprehensible, je remarquoi ces paroles et le lui fis observer; elles ne pouvoient s'appliquer d'ailleurs qu'a deux individus passes au service du parti oppose, que j'etois venu desavouer lui en demandant expulsion. Le President repondant se rendit a ma demande, et me donna l'espoir d'avoir une satisfaction, tant pour l'attentat a la vie des quatre individus de ma Nation, que pour l'attaque du domicile d'un Francois.

Neanmoins les jours suivants les desordres continuerant, les Francois etoient outrages publiquement; un soldat eut l'audace de poursuivre mon negre dans la maison Consulaire et de l'y frapper en se repondant en invectives contre les Francois; un enfant de neuf ans fut horriblement maltraite par des soldats, jusqu'aux negres osoient lever la tete, et nous insulter. Mr. Bruce avoit-il pris du mesures de repression? Est-ce la protection que devoit en attendre l'Agent d'une puissance amie du Bresil? En butte a l'animositie d'une soldatesque indisciplinee, nous courumes pendant quinze jours le danger le plus imminent, nous attendant a tout instant a voir se realiser ses menaces de venir nous massacre dans nos maisons.

J'ai eu depuis a reclamer contre le violation d'un batimen du commerce Francois. Malgre trois gardes de la Douane, cinq soldats armes furent envoyes a son bord a neuf heures du soir; je les fis retirer le lendemain; ce dernier acte du President qui des lors commenca a ne plus garder aucuns menagemens avec moi, faisant incarcerer un des mes nationaux sans m'en donner avis ainsi que des motifs qui l'y portoient; le pavilion du Roi place au dessus de l'Ecusson de France, que je trouvai lacere, me firent prevoir que je n'avois plus rien a attendre de la protection de l'autorite.

Monsieur le Marquis, je me suis maintenu a mon poste malgre les dangers tant que j'ai eu l'espoir que l'arrivee de Votre Excellence si desiree de la population entiere de la province, viendroit nous delivrer de ce deplorable etat de choses. Sans connaitre les intentions de Votre Excellence, je vois Mr. Bruce encore president, non-seulement il ne m'a donne aucune satisfaction, mais encore apporte dans sa conduite, le mepris le plus marque par un fileure qui ne pent s'interpreter autrement.

C'est donc contre lui, Monsieur le Marquis, que je vieus en solliciter une aujourd'hui pour ce total oubli de ses devoirs envers un Agent de Sa Majeste tres Chretienne; cette conduite emporte le refus d'aucun appui de sa part pour l'avenir; d'ailleurs mon caractere publique m'impose de ne pas m'exposer a un outrage, et l'interet que je dois a mes nationaux de les soustraire a son implacable vengeance. Si Votre Excellence ne jugeoit pas convenable d'user de ses pleins pouvoirs pour m'accorder la seule garantie qui puisse me permettre de sejourner plus longtemps ici, je viens lui demander de proteger mon embarquement et celui des Francois qui restant encore a Maragnon.

Je suis, avec respect, Monsieur le Marquis, de Votre Excellence le tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur,


A son Excellence LORD COCHRANE, Marquis de Maragnon, Premier Amiral du Bresil, &c. &c.

The steps alluded to were such as I considered most essential for the safety of the as yet unacknowledged empire; which, through the folly of a provincial Governor, was in danger of being jeopardised by collision with powerful European states. As stated to the Maranham memorialists, I did not adopt the extreme measure of deposing Bruce from the presidential authority, but resolved to suspend him therefrom till the pleasure of His Imperial Majesty as regarded his conduct should be made known. Accordingly, on Christmas day, 1824, I addressed to him the following letter;--

Maranham, Dec. 25,1824.


It is with extreme regret that I feel myself under the necessity of acquainting your Excellency that it is impossible for me to withdraw the squadron from Maranham, so long as your Excellency continues to exercise the functions of President of this province; because it is evident that if your Excellency is left in authority, without the aid of the squadron, you must again have recourse to the assistance of the lowest order of the people, whom, on my arrival here, I found in arms in support of your Excellency, against nine-tenths of the upper classes of society, who continue to entertain the greatest terror of being left under the authority of your Excellency.

To prevent the recurrence of so lamentable a state of things--the loss of lives--and the calamities of every kind which would inevitably ensue, I would respectfully suggest to your Excellency the necessity of your withdrawing from office, until the determination of His Imperial Majesty can be obtained.

I can, with great truth, assure your Excellency that my intentions are not in any degree dictated by any feelings of personal ill-will towards your Excellency. On the contrary, I have a wish to rescue you from a situation of great jeopardy, and it is chiefly with a view of avoiding to do anything that might appear derogatory to your Excellency, that I am desirous the change so necessary to be effected should proceed from your Excellency's voluntary resignation. But I regret to add that so pressing is that necessity, that it is quite essential that your Excellency's determination should be immediate, and therefore I hope to be favoured with your Excellency's reply in the course of the present forenoon.

Permit me to assure you that if it should be your desire to continue in this city in the character of a private gentleman until the determination of His Imperial Majesty, with respect to your resumption of office, or otherwise, shall be known, no impediment to your Excellency's wishes will originate with me; or, if you should think proper to proceed at once to the Court of Rio de Janeiro, a commodious conveyance shall be provided for the accommodation of your Excellency, and of those whom you may deem it convenient to accompany you.


Bruce did not resign, preferring to accept my offer of conveyance to Rio de Janeiro, there to await His Majesty's decision. Complete tranquillity being thus restored to the province of Maranham, and not to that only, but also to the adjoining provinces, which had more or less entered into the existing disorders, either as adherents of the insurgent chiefs, or of the President, it became requisite to organize a government. Not deeming it politic to elevate to power any member of those families of distinction whose feuds were only dormant on compulsion, I appointed Manuel Telles de Silva Lobo, the Secretary of Government, as interim President; he being entirely unconnected with family factions, well acquainted with the details of government, and of unimpeachable integrity. At the same time I caused the Camaras to be re-assembled, so that the administration of law and public affairs might be carried on according to the forms and intentions of the constitution.

This suspension of the President was afterwards fully approved of by His Majesty, and the more patriotic of his advisers, as only anticipating their intentions, it being a remarkable fact that, at the very time I was suspending him, an order from His Majesty was on its way to supersede him; information of his proceedings having previously reached Rio de Janeiro, so that in what had been done, I had only carried out the intentions of His Majesty.

Nevertheless, the occasion--as affording a good opportunity to traduce me--was afterwards eagerly seized by the Portuguese faction in the administration. All attempts to injure me in the estimation of the population at Rio de Janeiro--which was firmly attached to the Emperor, and grateful to me for my services--had signally failed; but on his arrival at Rio de Janeiro the representations of the ex-president whose mal-administration I had summarily checked, were published in every possible shape, whilst the Minister of Marine unwarrantably withheld my despatches from the public, as well as from His Majesty, the consequence of which was that the prejudicial representations of what were termed my arbitrary acts had full effect. It was represented that I, a foreigner, had dared, unauthorised, and on false pretences, to seize on the person of a gentleman occupying the highest position in one of the most important provinces, and had sent him to Rio de Janeiro as a prisoner, whilst it was I who deserved to be brought to condign punishment for the outrage; and had I at the moment been within reach of the Portuguese faction at the capital, which was embittered against me for establishing order, when to further their own anti-Imperial designs disorder was alone wished--a summary end might have been put to my efforts for preserving and consolidating the integrity of the Brazilian empire.

That this vituperation and hostility would be the result I well knew; but as the Portuguese party in the administration could scarcely treat me worse than they had done, I had made up my mind to encounter their displeasure. Of His Majesty's approval I felt certain; and, in return for the uninterrupted favour and reliance, which, notwithstanding the self-interested hostility of his anti-Brazilian Ministers, I had uniformly experienced at his hands, I had all along resolved to secure that which I knew to be His Majesty's earnest wish--the unity of the empire by the pacification of the Northern provinces. All attempts to thwart this on the part of the Portuguese faction were futile, and even unconsciously favourable to the course I was perseveringly pursuing, though all my despatches to the minister remained unanswered, and no instructions were sent for my guidance.

Notwithstanding the neglect of the administration to supply the squadron with necessaries, and myself with instructions, in a position foreign to my duties as naval Commander-in-Chief, and which I had only accepted at the earnest wish of His Imperial Majesty--I carefully kept the Government advised of all that took place. The same ship which conveyed the ex-president to Rio de Janeiro, carried also the following despatch to the Minister of Marine:--

Maranham, December 31st, 1824.


I have to acquaint your Excellency that a belief that the squadron was about to withdraw and leave the abandoned and disorderly military of this place under the feeble control of his Excellency the President, excited a degree of dread in the public mind amounting almost to a state of frenzy--and convinced me that I had no alternative, but either to abandon the principal inhabitants, and, indeed, the whole white population, to the fury of mercenary troops and blacks--or to remain with the squadron until another President should be nominated by His Imperial Majesty.

This last measure, however, upon mature consideration, appeared to be wholly incompatible with the interests of His Imperial Majesty, not only on account of the violent animosities subsisting between President and people, which, notwithstanding the utmost vigilance on my part, daily disturbed the public tranquillity--but because the presence on shore of nearly the whole of the seamen in the ships of war is requisite to counterbalance the influence and power which the President has obtained over the soldiery and irregular bands, by the impunity with which he has suffered them to act, and by rewards bestowed on persons in the ranks, or of the lowest orders of society. The continued absence of seamen from the ships would, it is evident, endanger the safety of the latter; besides which, the season is now approaching when diseases incident to the climate become prevalent, and would not fail considerably to thin the small force at my disposal.

The necessity of adopting some decided measure became every day more urgent. Representations continued to pour in from all quarters against the conduct of the President. The Consul of His Britannic Majesty, moreover, having heard that the squadron is about to depart, has written me a letter, of which I enclose to your Excellency a copy.

I am aware that it is difficult to follow a course, under the circumstances in which I am placed, that when judged of at a distance, and merely on such evidence as can be conveyed by writing, will leave no room for persons to contend that a different line might have been followed with greater advantage; and I am perfectly aware that whether I had left this province, and anarchy had followed, or whether by remaining I had succeeded in preventing that anarchy, I should equally be exposed to the cavils of those who are always disposed to reprobate the measures actually adopted, whatever they may be.

Having, therefore, but a choice of evils with respect to myself, I have--without further care as to my personal responsibility--pursued that course which, on full consideration, appeared to me to be most conducive to the interests of His Imperial Majesty, and best adapted to secure the tranquillity of this province; and I have reserved for my own security such original documents as will satisfy the mind of His Imperial Majesty on the subject of my conduct in suspending the functions of the President of Maranham.

A few of the many reasons which have induced me thus to take upon myself a heavier responsibility than would have attached to the adoption of either of the measures before alluded to, will be found on the printed paper which I enclose. In that paper, however, I did not consider it proper to set forth all the facts which have come to my knowledge; such as his tampering through various agents with the troops, artillery, and police, and above all with the disbanded "Pedestres;" and the sending of emissaries to the distant quarters of the province to excite the people again to rise in arms for his support--though no legal prerogative which the President does, or ought to possess, had been in any way infringed by me or any person acting under my authority. The fact is, that this gentleman, bred up under the despotic Captains-General, accustomed to their arbitrary proceedings, to the mal-administration of colonial law, and the absence of everything like fair trial, cannot brook any limitation to his power, and has demonstrated his desire, if not to establish an independent sway, at least to act solely according to his will and pleasure. I am anxious to ascribe his faults rather to the circumstances under which he has unfortunately been brought up, and to his advanced age, than to premeditated evil intentions.

I have the satisfaction of adding, that, by the course I have adopted, a desolating civil war has been terminated--the treasury saved further expenditure--and the persons and property of the people have been rescued from destruction, and placed under the protection of the laws.


Such was the history of an affair, which would not have been thus minutely detailed, but for the obloquy against me to which it subsequently gave rise; the ministry afterwards declaring that, to serve my own purposes, I had deposed Bruce, and appointed Lobo in his place--the facts being, that I never deposed him at all, but suspended his functions merely till His Majesty's pleasure should be known--and that, at the very period when this took place, the Administration, unknown to me, had deposed him for the same causes which led me to suspend him! as will appear in the next chapter. Nevertheless, when they found that--acting under the discretion accorded to me by His Imperial Majesty--I had partially only anticipated their own act, and that vituperation against me in my absence might be turned to their own account, they took up the cause of the very man whom they had deposed, and loaded me with abuse for having outraged the feelings and position of a most excellent person nominated by His Majesty to one of the highest offices in the state.

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