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


Worn down in health by the harassing duties of the naval, military, and civil departments, the conduct of all these wholly devolving upon me, whilst the Ministry at Rio, by withholding instructions, neither incurred trouble nor responsibility--and aware that my character was being traduced by every species of malignity which could be devised by the party whose views were destroyed by the successful manner in which those duties had been performed, I was heartily sick of the ingratitude and misrepresentation with which the service of having twice secured the Northern provinces to Brazil was met on the part of the Administration, in addition to their now apparent determination that neither myself nor the squadron should reap any benefit from the prize property taken in the preceding year, notwithstanding that, under the Andrada ministry, both had been solemnly guaranteed to the captors.

I was, however, even more annoyed on another account, viz. from being apprised that the vilest misrepresentations of my conduct were being sedulously circulated in England by the partisans of the Administration. Their vituperation in Brazil could, to some extent, be met; but the petty meanness of attacking a man in a distant country, without the possibility of his defending himself, was a matter against which no prudence or foresight could guard.

Determined no longer to contend with an Administration, which could thus conduct itself towards an officer whose exertions had been deemed worthy of the highest honours from the Emperor, and the warmest thanks from the National Assembly, I resolved to request permission from His Imperial Majesty to retire from so unequal a contest, for I did not choose spontaneously to abandon the command, without at least some compensation beyond my ordinary pay. Even setting aside the stipulations under which I had entered and continued in the Imperial service--this was at least due to me from the unquestioned fact that to my twice rendered exertions--first as naval Commander-in-Chief; and, secondly, as a pacificator--the empire owed its unity and stability, even in the estimation of European governments, which, now that the provinces were tranquillized and the empire consolidated, exerted themselves to promote peace between Brazil and the mother country.

Accordingly--on New Year's day, 1825--I addressed to the Emperor the following letter:--


The condescension with which your Imperial Majesty has been pleased to permit me to approach your royal person, on matters regarding the public service, and even on those more particularly relating to myself, emboldens me to adopt the only means in my power, at this distance, of craving that your Majesty will be graciously pleased to judge of my conduct in the Imperial service, by the result of my endeavours to promote your Majesty's interests, and not by the false reports spread by those who--for reasons best known to themselves--desire to alienate your Majesty's mind from me, and thus to bring about my removal from your Majesty's service.

Whilst I have the honour to continue as an officer acting under the authority of your Imperial Majesty, I shall ever perform my duty to your Majesty and to the Brazilian people; and I trust that, up to the present day, your Majesty has not felt any reason to doubt my sincerity and fidelity to your Imperial interests. And if his Excellency the Minister of Marine has failed to lay before the public my despatches, and thereby permitted rumours prejudicial to my character to go forth, I respectfully look up to your Imperial Majesty for justice.

In this hope, I most respectfully entreat permission to refer your Imperial Majesty to my letter No. 271, which I addressed to his Excellency the Minister of Marine, from Pernambuco, early in October, previous to my departure from that port, announcing my intention of proceeding northward, and the necessity of so doing, for the pacification of the northern provinces; also to my letter of the 13th of October (No. 273), written from Rio Grande do Norte; and No. 274, dated October 28th, written from Ceara; all of which letters, explicitly describing my proceedings, intentions, and reasons, were duly transmitted, both in original and duplicate, by different conveyances.

I trust that your Imperial Majesty will please to believe me to be sensible that the honours which you have so graciously bestowed upon me, it is my duty not to tarnish; and that your Majesty will further believe that, highly as I prize those honours, I hold the maintenance of my reputation in my native country in equal estimation.

I respectfully crave permission to add, that--perceiving it to be impossible to continue in the service of your Imperial Majesty, without at all times, subjecting my professional character to great risks under the present management of the Marine department--I trust that your Majesty will be graciously pleased to grant me leave to retire from your Imperial service, in which it appears to me that I have now accomplished all that can be expected from me--the authority of your Imperial Majesty being established throughout the whole extent of Brazil.

I have the honour to be

Your Imperial Majesty's

Dutiful and faithful servant,


The permission to retire was neither granted, nor was the request noticed, yet--notwithstanding that the ministerial organs of the press teemed with matters injurious to my reputation, and displayed the most unfair comments on my proceedings--no complaint was officially made to me, as indeed none could be made; this ungenerous mode of attack being resorted to, whilst the whole of my letters and despatches were withheld from public knowledge.

On the 3rd of January, intelligence was received that an outbreak had occurred at Caixas, promoted by the adherents of Bruce on learning the fact of his suspension from the presidentship. The interim-president, Lobo, was anxious to re-arm the disbanded troops against them, but this I forbade, telling him that, "in my opinion a military mode of governing was neither suited to the maintenance of tranquillity nor the promotion of obedience to the law, and that it would be better to give the civil law a trial before proceeding to extremities; and that although some outrages had occurred in the heat of party spirit, yet they would probably cease on the intelligence that President Bruce had embarked for Rio de Janeiro." The result was in accordance with these anticipations, for, on learning this fact, the insurgents immediately laid down their arms--being only too glad to escape further notice.

In the expectation that His Imperial Majesty would approve of the act, and that his ministers could offer no opposition, I considered it my duty to the officers and seamen of the squadron, no less than to myself, to obtain repayment from the Junta of Maranham--at least in part--of the sums temporarily left for their use in the preceding year.

It will be remembered that after the expulsion of the Portuguese from Maranham in 1823, considerable sums of money and bonds had been taken in the treasury, custom-house, and other public offices, together with military and other stores--and the value of these, though guaranteed by His Imperial Majesty to the captors, had, with the consent of officers and seamen, been temporarily lent to the then Provisional Government, for the double purpose of satisfying the mutinous troops of Ceara and Piahuy, and carrying on the ordinary functions of Government--there being no other funds available!

At the period of this temporary surrender of the prize property to state exigencies, it was expressly stipulated and fully understood that, as soon as commerce had returned to its usual channels, and with it the customary revenues of the province, the whole should be repaid to the account of the captors. This had not been done, and the officers and men were still losers to the amount, in addition to the non-adjudication of their prizes generally by the Portuguese tribunal at Rio de Janeiro, which, in unprincipled violation of the express decrees of His Imperial Majesty--asserted that "they knew nothing of prizes, and did not know that Brazil was at war with Portugal!" though, in the Imperial order of March 30th, 1823--given for the vigorous blockade of Bahia, His Majesty had explicitly ordered the Portuguese to be considered as "enemies of the empire."--"Distruindo ou tomando todas as forcas Portuguesas que encontrar e fazendo todas damnos possives a os inimigos deste Imperio."

It was further pretended by the tribunal that Bahia and Maranham were not foreign ports, but parts of the Brazilian empire, though, at the time of my appearance before them, both provinces were then, and ever had been, in possession of Portugal; the tribunal, nevertheless, deciding with equal absurdity and injustice, that captures made in those ports, or within three miles of the shore, were unlawful--this decision including, of necessity, the unaccountable declaration, that His Majesty's orders to me to blockade the enemy's port of Bahia, and to take, burn or destroy all Portuguese vessels and property--were also unjust and unlawful! although this was the very purpose for which I had been invited to quit the Chilian service. Yet, notwithstanding this Imperial decision, the tribunal also most inconsistently condemned all ships of war taken (as droits) to the crown, without the slightest compensation to the captors.

But there was still a more flagrant injustice committed, viz. that whilst the officers and seamen were thus deprived of the fruits of their exertions, they became liable to about twenty thousand milreas in the prosecution of their claims; for no other reason than the unwillingness of the prize tribunal to order condemnations injurious to their friends and native country; for as has been said nine out of the thirteen members of the tribunal were Portuguese!

It had, therefore, been long apparent that no adjudication in favour of the squadron was intended, and that its services in having united the empire and saved it from dismemberment, would only be met by continued injustice.

As the property left with the Provisional Government of Maranham had been used for the benefit of that province, and as no part of it had ever been repaid, I determined that those to whom it was due should not, at least, be defrauded of that portion of their claims, or of a reasonable compromise thereof; and therefore I addressed to the interim-president the following letter:--




The public duties which I had to perform for the service of His Imperial Majesty, and the pacification of this province, being now happily brought to a termination, it becomes my duty, as Commander-in-chief, to call your Excellency's attention to some facts concerning the interests of the officers and seamen under my command.

On the occasion of my former visit, in 1823, which was so happily instrumental in rescuing this province from the yoke of Portugal and annexing it to the Empire, I was desirous of rendering the service performed still more grateful to the people by voluntarily granting, in the conditions of capitulation, not only my guarantee for the inviolability of all Brazilian property then under the Portuguese flag, but also of all the property belonging to resident Portuguese who should subscribe to the independence of the Empire, and the authority of His Imperial Majesty. These conditions were most scrupulously observed and fulfilled on my part, without the slightest infringement in any one instance.

But--on the other hand--it was expressly set forth in the terms of capitulation, that all property belonging to those who remained in hostility--that is to say, property belonging to the crown or government of Portugal, or to absent Portuguese (though with respect to the latter a commutation was subsequently consented to) being, according to the laws of war, subject to condemnation to the captors --should be delivered to the captors accordingly, to be, by themselves, subjected to the customary investigation in the prize tribunals of His Imperial Majesty.

Amongst other articles of property of this description were, of course, included the money due on the balance of public accounts to the crown of Portugal, and this amount--partly in specie and partly in bills--was held in readiness by the capitulating authorities to be delivered when required. But, as my attention was for some time solely directed to the arrangement of public affairs, I neglected to call for the said balance until the new Junta of Government, chosen under my authority, had taken possession of their office, and obtained the control of the public moneys.

After several applications on my part to the said Junta, and as many evasions on their part, I had, at last, a personal conference with them on the subject--on which occasion they solicited, as a particular favour, that I would permit the amount to remain in their hands, for the purpose of satisfying the claims of the troops of Piahuy and Ceara, whom they represented as being clamorous for their pay. To this request I agreed, under the assurance that I should receive bills from the said Junta for the amount. These, however, they not only evaded granting, but, when afterwards called upon for a receipt, they declined giving any acknowledgment.

To the truth, however, of the main fact, viz., the claims of myself, and the officers and men under my command, your Excellency has now the power of satisfying yourself by a reference to the official documents that passed between the functionaries of government and myself, both previous and subsequent to the surrender of the Portuguese authorities in this province.

The conduct of this Junta has proved to be merely a type of that which we have since experienced on a larger scale at the hands of the supreme tribunal of justice at Rio de Janeiro. But there is a point beyond which forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and I now call upon your Excellency to direct that the Junta of Fazenda, who so unjustly and deceitfully withheld from the officers and men the property above described, shall, with all convenient despatch, proceed to the adjustment of the claim in question.

An attested copy of the accounts, signed by the members of the late Portuguese Junta of Government--being in my possession, I enclose a copy thereof, which your Excellency can cause to be compared with the original treasury and custom-house books. I likewise enclose to your Excellency a copy of a gracious communication which I received from His Imperial Majesty--the original of which, in His Majesty's own handwriting, is now in my possession.

This will enable your Excellency to judge as to what the understanding and intentions of His Imperial Majesty really are, with respect to the claims of the squadron--when influenced by the dictates of honour and his own unbiassed judgment.

Nevertheless--should your Excellency consider it necessary, Ihave no objection to prosecute the claims of the officers and seamen to the balance before alluded to--in the Court of Admiralty which your Excellency is about to convene. But I beg it may be distinctly understood that I hold myself bound not to relax in any way from my determination that these accounts shall be settled, so as to enable me to fulfil the duty which I am engaged to perform to those under my command.


To my annoyance Para became the scene of renewed disturbance, and even the life of the President was threatened. This was disheartening, as evincing a desire on the part of the provinces to pursue--each its own separate course; proving the deep hold which the counsels of Palmella had taken to promote anarchy by fostering provincial pride--as a means to promote discord, and thus to reduce the newly-formed empire to insignificance and ruin,--from the same cause which had befallen the liberated provinces of Spanish America.

Not having been furnished with troops, it was difficult to spare a force to meet this new emergency. There was no time, however, for hesitation, so I despatched the Atalanta to Para, with a detachment of the best seamen, under the command of Lieutenants Clarence and Reed, upon whose zeal every reliance was to be placed; at the same time sending a recommendation to the President to use the force for the purpose of remitting to me those who had threatened his life, and of overawing those who had been endeavouring to subvert his authority.

The Junta of Fazenda having now assembled, I transmitted to them the following;


Of the money and other property claimed by the squadron on the surrender of the Portuguese authorities of Maranham; in conformity to the laws relative to matters of prize, and the gracious decrees of His Imperial Majesty:--

Together with this statement of account, I forwarded the following offer of compromise, on the part of the squadron, for the payment of one-fourth only:--

His Imperial Majesty, having--by decree of the 11th of December, 1822--commanded the seizure and confiscation of all merchandise in the custom-houses of Brazil belonging to Portuguese subjects--all merchandise so belonging, or the proceeds thereof, in the hands of merchants--and all vessels or parts of vessels belonging to such subjects--I, therefore, in conformity with the said decree, having, on the occasion of the capitulation of Maranham, directed, that all persons having property in their hands of the nature set forth in the said decree, should deliver in an account of the same; and the bills and papers herewith annexed having been given up by their respective holders as Portuguese property of the description set forth, the said bills and papers are now laid before the Court of Vice-Admiralty, in order to the adjudication thereof in conformity to the said decree.

But, whereas, the said Imperial decree could not be enforced at Maranham in the ordinary manner, by means of civil officers acting under the authority of His Imperial Majesty, by reason of the port and province being under the authority and government of Portugal; And whereas, His Imperial Majesty, in consideration of the annexation of the said port and province to the Empire, by the naval means under my command--and generally of other important services--was graciously pleased, by virtue of a grant in his own handwriting, bearing date the 12th day of February last, to accord the value of the seizures to the officers and men as a reward for their exertions and services; the said officers and men agree to surrender these bills and the property, as set forth in the annexed list, amounting to 484,196,461, together with all other claims, for the sum of one-fourth, or 106,000, to be paid by the Treasury of Maranham by instalments, within the period of thirty days from the date hereof.


The following is the Imperial decree alluded to in the preceding letter:--


It being obvious that the scandalous proceedings and hostility manifested by the government of Portugal against the liberty, honour, and interests of this Empire, and by the captious insinuations of the demagogical congress of Lisbon, which--seeing it impracticable to enslave this rich region and its generous inhabitants--endeavours to oppress them with all kinds of evils, and civil war, which has occurred through their barbarous vandalism. It being one of my principal duties, as Constitutional Emperor and Defender of this vast Empire, to adopt all measures to render effective the security of the country, and its defence efficient against further and desperate attempts which its enemies may adopt; and also to deprive, as far as possible, the inhabitants of that kingdom from continuing to act hostilely against Brazil--tyrannizing over my good and honourable subjects-- deem it well to order that there be placed in effective sequestration,

1st. All goods and merchandise existing in the custom-houses of this Empire, belonging to subjects of the kingdom of Portugal.

2nd. All Portuguese merchandise, or the value thereof, which exists in the hands of subjects of this Empire.

3rd. All real and agricultural property, held under the same circumstances.

4th. Finally, all vessels or parts of vessels, which belong to merchants of the said kingdom. There being excepted from this sequestration, bills of the national bank, banks of security, and those of the Iron Company of Villa Sorocaba.

Joseph Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva, of my Council of State, Minister of the Interior, and of Foreign Affairs, shall cause the execution of this decree.

Given in the Palace of Rio de Janeiro, December the Eleventh, 1822, first of the Independence of the Empire.

With the Rubrica of His Imperial Majesty,


These documents--coupled with the decree of Dec. 1822, awarding theabove confiscations to the captors--shew so clearly the right of the squadron's claim, and the injustice of the course pursued by the prize tribunal at Rio de Janeiro, in refusing to adjudge Portuguese property to the captors, that further comment is unnecessary. In order, however, to give every possible information relative to a matter which has been, to me, a cause of so much obloquy, I subjoin my letter to the interim President, accompanying the preceding documents:--


I have the honour to enclose to your Excellency, two hundred and sixty obligations seized under the orders of His Imperial Majesty--dated the 11th December, 1822--which I request you will be pleased to cause to be laid before the Junta of Fazenda, together with the papers enclosed, in order that the Junta may take the necessary steps to the liquidation of the just and moderate claims of the officers and seamen. I further beg your Excellency will be pleased to intimate to the Junta, that I cannot abstain from taking whatever measures may be necessary to prevent the violation of the laws and regulations of the military service--the infraction of the express engagement of His Imperial Majesty--and the consequent disorganization of the squadron, so essential for the maintenance of tranquillity, and the preservation of the independence of the Empire.


20th Jan. 1825.

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