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


Having been thus unceremoniously dismissed from the Imperial service--without doubt, by order of the Brazilian Ministry to their Envoy in London, I was some months afterwards surprised by the receipt of a letter from the Imperial Government, dated December 21st, 1825, and signed "Visconde de Paranagua," informing me that His Imperial Majesty had ordered all my pay and other claims to be suspended till I should return to Rio de Janeiro to justify myself and give an account of my commission--this being now out of my power, as I had been deprived of command, and the frigate in which I came to England had returned, by order of the Envoy, to Rio de Janeiro.

Without, however, giving me time to do this, I received another letter from the same authority, dated Dec. 30, containing my formal dismission from the service--this shewing that Gameiro had previous instructions to act in the way narrated in the last chapter.

The following is the official letter dismissing me from the command of the Navy, and from the post of First Admiral:--

His Majesty the Emperor, informed of that which your Excellency has set forth in your letter No. 300, dated the 5th of November last, has been pleased to determine that your Excellency shall fulfil the orders already several times transmitted to you, and further in compliance with the order of the 20th inst., a copy of which I inclose, you are to return to this Court, where it is necessary you shall give an account of the Commission with which you were entrusted. His Majesty is much surprised that, after having taken the frigate Piranga to a foreign port, and having there remained in despite of the Baron Itabayana, you should have adopted the extraordinary resolution, not only to abandon that frigate, but also to retire from the service of the Emperor, without having returned to give an account of your proceedings previous to your dismissal from the command of the naval forces, and from the post of First Admiral of the National and Imperial Armada. All which I communicate for the information and execution of your Excellency.

God preserve your Excellency.

Palace of Rio de Janeiro, Dec. 30th, 1825.


To the Marquis of Maranhao.

From this extraordinary document it is plain that Gameiro had written to the Imperial Government the same falsehood, as he had used when endeavouring to seduce Lieut. Shepherd from his duty to me as his Commander-in-Chief; viz. that I had voluntarily retired from the service, because the Admiralty Court having condemned me in L.60,000 damages, I durst not return to Rio de Janeiro! though I announced to him my readiness to sail in the frigate. The Jesuitical nature of the preceding letter amply proves its object and motive. It does not dismiss me--but it calls on me to come and be dismissed! carefully addressing me, however, as "Marquis of Maranhao," and not as First Admiral, thereby intimating that I was already dismissed! As there can be no mistake about the meaning of the document, it is not worth while to discuss it--the reason why it is adduced being to shew that I was not only dismissed by the Envoy Gameiro, but in a little more than a month afterwards by the Imperial Government itself; which for thirty years reiterated in reply to my often pressed claims--that I dismissed myself by abandoning the service of my own accord!

Not a word of acknowledgment was ever given for having a second time saved the Empire from dismemberment, though this service was entirely extra-official, it being no part of my contract with the Brazilian Government to put down revolution, nor to take upon myself the responsibility and difficult labour of reducing half the Empire to the allegiance which it had perhaps not without cause repudiated--at the same time, of necessity, taking the management of the whole upon myself. This had been done at the pressing personal request of His Imperial Majesty, in face of the decree of the Court of Admiralty that no prizes should be made within a certain distance of the shore; so that no benefit, public or private--arising from the operations of war--could result from blockade; yet I had a right to expect even greater thanks and a more liberal amount of compensation in case of success, than from the first expedition. Not a word of acknowledgment nor a shilling of remuneration for that service has ever been awarded to this day; though such treatment stands out in glaring inconsistency with the Imperial thanks and honours--the thanks of the Administration--and the vote of the General Assembly, for expelling on the first expedition enemies not half so formidable as were the revolutionary factions with which I had to contend in the Northern provinces.

Neither in Brazil nor in England had I done anything to forfeit my right to the fulfilment of the explicit stipulations set forth in the Imperial patents of March 26th, and November 25th, 1823. His Imperial Majesty had all along marked his approbation of my zealous exertions for the interests of the empire--designating them "altos e extraordinarios servicios."--and desired that I should have the most ample remuneration; having, in addition to every honour in his power to confer, granted me an estate, which grant was by the Portuguese faction strenuously and successfully opposed, and not this only, but every other recompence proposed by His Majesty as a remuneration for my services. The object being to subvert whatever had been effected by my exertions, though, but for these the inevitable consequence would have been the establishment of insignificant local governments in perpetual turmoil and revolution, in place of an entire empire in the enjoyment of uninterrupted repose. Had I connived at the views of the Anti-Imperial faction--even by avoiding the performance of extra-official services--I might, without dereliction of my duty as an officer, have amply shared in their favours; but for my adherence to the Emperor against their machinations, that influence was successfully used to deprive me even of the ordinary reward of my labours in the cause of independence.

As soon as the compulsory deprivation of my command, by the Envoy Gameiro, became known in Rio de Janeiro--where, doubtless, it was expected--a great outcry was raised against me, as though my non-return had been my own act. The press was set in motion, and every effort was used to traduce me in the eyes of the Brazilian people, from whom the truth of the matter was carefully withheld; the whole, eventually, terminating with a mock trial in my absence, when it had been placed out of my power to defend myself. At this trial I was accused of contumacy--stigmatised as a deserter, though, as has just been seen, formally dismissed by the government, in confirmation of my dismissal by the Envoy in England--and not only this, but I was declared by the creatures of the administration in the National Assembly, to merit punishment as a deserter! Such was my reward for first consolidating and afterwards preserving the Empire of Brazil.

Never dreaming of the advantage which might thus be taken by the Administration of the act of their envoy--on the 10th of February, 1826, I drew a bill upon the Brazilian Government for the remainder of my pay up to the period of my dismissal by Itabayana. This was refused and protested, as was also another afterwards drawn.

This course clearly indicated the intention of the Administration not to pay me anything, now that they had dismissed me from the service. To have returned then to prosecute my claims against such judges, would have been an act of folly, if not of insanity; my only alternative being to memorialize the Emperor, which for many successive years I did without effect--the execution of the Imperial will unhappily depending on the decision of his ministers, who, little more than five years afterwards, partly forced, and partly disgusted His Majesty into an abdication in favour of his infant son, Don Pedro de Alcantara, now Emperor of Brazil; committing the guardianship of his family to Jose Bonifacio de Andrada, who, like myself, had been forced into exile from the hatred of the very men who had so bitterly persecuted me, but had been permitted to return to Brazil from which he never ought to have been exiled.

For more than twenty years did I unceasingly memorialize successive Brazilian governments, but without effect. At length the Administration which had so bitterly visited its hatred on me passed away, and it became evident to His present Imperial Majesty, and the Brazilian people, that I had been most shamefully treated. Nearly at the same time I had fortunately succeeded in convincing the British Government that the obloquy for so many years heaped upon me was unmerited; and Lord Clarendon warmly espoused my cause, as did the Hon. Mr. Scarlett, the British Minister at Rio de Janeiro; these excellent personages taking the trouble to investigate the matter, a boon which I had in vain solicited from any of their predecessors; though, had the favour previously been granted, it would have had the effect of explaining my conduct in Brazil as satisfactorily as, I trust, this volume has done to the reader.

The result of this was a commission, appointed by the Brazilian Government, to inquire into the case of the squadron generally. The following is an extract from their report, so far as regards myself:--


The first in rank and title assuredly is Lord Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald, and Marquis of Maranhao, First Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the National Armada during the War of Independence.

The fame of the services rendered by Lord Cochrane in Chili, as Commander-in-Chief of the squadron of that republic induced the Imperial Government to invite him to accept a similar command in Brazil, so long as the War of Independence should last, with the promise of the same advantages which he there enjoyed.

Accepting the invitation, he was appointed by the decree of the 21st of March, 1823, with the pay of 11.520 milreis, being the same as he had in Chili, conferring upon him, by communication of the same date, the command of the squadron which was being equipped in the port of this city; and by decree of the 23rd of February, 1824, the command-in-chief of the naval forces of the Empire during the War of Independence.

It was afterwards decreed, on the 27th of July, 1824, that he should enjoy the said pay in full, so long as he continued in the service of the Empire; and in case of his not desiring to continue therein after the War of Independence, one half of the said pay as a pension, which, in the event of his decease, should revert to Lady Cochrane.

Lastly, by a portaria of the 20th of December, 1825, it was decreed that all his muniments and rights should be suspended, and he was dismissed by a decree of the 10th April, 1827.

Justice demands that we shall acknowledge (says the Commission) that the services of Lord Cochrane in the command of the squadron, put an end to the war more speedily than had been expected; but if his services were great, it is impossible to conceal that unqualified and arbitrary acts of the most audacious daring were committed by him and by the ships under his command, occasioning to the National Treasury enormous losses, particularly by the heavy indemnification of an infinite number of bad prizes, which it was obliged to satisfy; and truth demands that we should declare that if the pretended claims are suspended, the fault was entirely his own, from having disobeyed the repeated orders of the Imperial Government, which commanded his return to this Court to give account of his commission, aggravated by the crime of having withdrawn himself from the Empire for England with the frigate Piranga, and there remaining with that frigate, notwithstanding the reiterated orders of the Imperial Government, for more than two years, pretending that he had not received the said orders, which at last were ordered to be communicated to him through the Brazilian Minister resident in London.

All this is amply proved by different official documents, some of which documents are from the claimant himself, this justifying the suspension of the payment of his claims, no less than the crime of his obstinate disobedience; and, indeed more by the indispensable obligation by which he was bound to give accounts of the sums which he received on account of prizes to distribute to the squadron under his command, which distribution he himself acknowledged in his letter of the 5th of November, 1825, wherein he says, "I shall forward to the Imperial Government an account of the money received from His Imperial Majesty for distribution to the seamen, as well as other sums to the account of the captors."

Having traced this outline relative to the services and excesses of Lord Cochrane, the Commission now proceeds to discuss his claims.

First,--His annual pay is 11.520 milreis, which was owing to him from the 1st of August to the 10th of November 1825, when he left the service of the Empire. The claimant founds his demand on the decree of the 21st of March 1823, added to and confirmed on the 27th of July, 1824.

The second decree says,--"I deem fit, by the advice of my Council of State, to determine that the said Marquis of Maranhao shall receive, so long as he is in the service of the Empire, the pay of his patent (11.520 milreis), and in case of his not choosing to continue therein after the termination of the present war, the half of the said pay, as a pension, the same being extended, in case of his death, to Lady Cochrane." The said enactment being so positive that at the sight thereof, the Commission declares, that it cannot do otherwise than confirm the right of the claimant to the prompt payment of the pension due to him.

In this report there are many inaccuracies. It is stated that when in Chili I accepted "the Brazilian command during the war of Independence" only.--"Viesse occupar igual commando no Brazil emquanto durasse Guerra da Independencia." This is contrary to fact, as will be seen in the first chapter of this volume, where both the invitation to accept the command, and my conditional acceptance thereof are given. To repeat the actual words of the invitation, "Abandonnez-nous, Milord, a la reconnaissance Bresilienne--a la munificence du Prince--a la probite sans tache de l'actuel Gouvernement--on vous fera justice" &c. &c. It was neither "princely munificence"--"ministerial probity"--nor "common justice," to dismiss me from the service without my professional and stipulated emoluments, or even the arrears of my pay, the very moment tranquillity had been established as a consequence of my exertions, and so far the Commission decided; though they ought to have added, as was well known, that my command in Chili had been without limitation of time, and therefore my Brazilian command, as expressed in the Imperial patents, was not accepted under other conditions. The above opinion, expressed by the Commission, could only have been given to justify the spurious decree of Barbosa, in virtue of which, though set aside by His Imperial Majesty, I was dismissed by Gameiro, that decree--under the hypocritical pretence of conferring upon me a boon--limiting my services to the war, after the war had been terminated by my exertions; the object being to get rid of me, and thus to avoid condemning the prizes captured by the squadron. Nevertheless, the promises held out to me in Chili, were most honourably admitted by His Imperial Majesty and his first Ministry--and were moreover twice confirmed by Imperial patent, counter-signed by the Ministers, and registered in the National Archives. These patents have never been set aside by any act of mine, yet to this day their solemn stipulations remain unfulfilled.

The Commission complains that the Treasury was caused to sustain "enormous losses by the indemnification of an infinite number of bad prizes, which it was obliged to satisfy." I deny that there was one bad prize, all, without exception, being captured in violation of blockade, or having Portuguese registers, crews, and owners. But even if they had been bad--His Majesty's stipulation, in his own handwriting (see page 118), provided that they should be paid by the state. The fact was, as proved in these pages beyond contradiction, that they were given back by the Portuguese members of the Prize Tribunal to their own friends and relations--this alone constituting the illegality of the captures. Some--as in the case of the Pombinho's cargo--were given up to persons who had not the shadow of a claim upon them. The squadron never received a shilling on their account.

Again, the Commission declares that I was dismissed the service on the 10th of April, 1827; whereas I have given the letter of Gameiro, dismissing me, on the 7th of November, 1825, and the portaria of the Imperial Government, dismissing me, on the 30th of December, in the same year! This renewed dismissal was only a repetition of the former unjustifiable dismissals, adding nothing to their force, and in no way alleviating their injustice.

The imputation of "the crime of obstinate disobedience" has been so fully refuted in this volume, that it is unnecessary to offer another word of explanation.

Finally, the Commission decided that the "Imperial act of July 27, 1824, is so positive that, at the sight thereof, the Commission declares it cannot do otherwise than confirm the right of the claimant to the prompt payment of the pension due to him." But if the Commissioners had examined this act of His Imperial Majesty more closely, together with the explanatory letter of Barbosa, accompanying it, they would have seen that the decree of July 27th, 1824, was not only additive to the Imperial patents, but admitted to be confirmatory of them, by Barbosa himself, notwithstanding his own spurious decree, nullified by His Imperial Majesty, but afterwards unjustifiably acted upon. (See page 150.)

If I have any claim at all for the numerous and important services which I rendered to Brazil, it is founded on the original patents granted to me by His Imperial Majesty, without limitation as to time, which I solemnly declare was not even mentioned--much less stipulated--as the patents themselves prove. The decree awarding me half pay as a pension, "in case I did not choose to continue in the service," has no reference to me. I never left the service, but--as even admitted by Gameiro, in his negotiations with Lieutenant Shepherd--was most unjustifiably, and by wilful falsehood, turned out of it, in order to rid the administration of my claims on a hundred and twenty ships, and a vast amount of valuable property captured in lawful warfare, under the express directions of His Imperial Majesty.

Why also is no compensation awarded to me for my extra-official services in putting down revolution in the Northern provinces--an act, or series of acts--in my estimation, of far greater importance and difficulty than the expulsion of the Portuguese fleet and army? Every historian of Brazil has spoken in high praise of my execution of this almost impracticable task--but coupled with the infamous lie derived from the Government that, for my own personal benefit, I robbed the Treasury at Maranham of 106,000 dollars; though in the concluding chapter I will print in full the receipt of every officer under my command for his share of the money returned by the Junta, the original receipts being now in my possession for the inspection of the Brazilian Government, or of any commission or persons it may choose to appoint for that purpose. Were these services nothing, just as half the Empire had declared itself Republican? Was my refusal to accept a bribe of 400,000 dollars from the revolutionary president of Pernambuco the act of a man who would afterwards conduct himself as has been falsely imputed to me? The Brazilian Government cannot refuse to inspect or authorise the inspection of the originals of documents contained in this narrative, and if they consent, I have no fear but that the national honour will yet do me justice.

It is not justice to have awarded to me the above-named pension merely--even on the assumption of the Commissioners that I did leave the service of my own accord--for that sum is less than one half the simple interest of the amount of which for thirty years I was, even by their own admission, unjustly deprived. This may be a cheap way of liquidating obligations, but it is not consistent with the honour of a nation thus to delay its pecuniary obligations, and then pay the principal with less than half the interest! I feel certain that when making an award--which they admit could not be avoided--the Commissioners inadvertently lost sight of this obvious truth.

Let me refer the Brazilian Government to the officially recorded opinions of honourable men on the Commission, or "Seccoes," when commenting upon this very inadequate reward about to be given after the lapse of thirty years of unmerited obloquy, which would have sunk any man unsupported by the consciousness of rectitude to a premature grave.

Senor Alvez Bhanco E Hollanda declared that "as a commemoration of the benefits which Brazil had derived from Lord Cochrane, there was no other conclusion than that he ought to be paid the whole sum which he claimed, for which the 'Assemblea Geral' should ask a credit."

Senor Hollanda Cavalcante, in taking into account the requisition of Lord Cochrane, was "altogether of the opinion expressed by Senor Alvez Branco--that his Lordship as well as others should have the whole amount claimed."

Viscount Olinda, in the Council of State, gave his opinion that "Lord Cochrane shall be paid the various demands he has made. He repeated his opinion that this course alone was consistent with the dignity of the Government, or the services of the Admiral. He (Viscount Olinda) well remembered the great services of Lord Cochrane, and these ought not to be depreciated by paltry imputed omissions. It appeared to him little conformable to the dignity of Brazil, to enter, at this distance of time, into questions of money with one to whom they owed so much."

Viscount Parana "was of opinion that no responsibility for captures rested on the officers who had made them, they acting under the orders of the Government, which took the responsibility on itself. Justice demanded this view of the matter, and even the acquittal of many of the prizes might be attributed to a change of Ministerial policy."

Senor Aranjo Vicuna. "There is no necessity for continuing the suspension of Lord Cochrane's pay. It ought to be paid as remuneration for important services, the benefits whereof were not diminished by any subsequent conduct on the part of His Lordship."

"It was the opinion of the Council that Lord Cochrane's pension ought to be paid, notwithstanding any question as to the limitation of prizes, or any defects in the prize accounts."--Correio Mercantil, Aug. 29, 1854.

Yet notwithstanding these expressions of opinion, less than half the interest of even the limited sum admitted to be due to me was awarded.

The Commissioners admit in the preceding Report that my speedy annexation of the Portuguese provinces was unexpected, and this alone should have made them pause ere they awarded me less than half the interest of my own money, withheld for 30 years--themselves retaining the principal--the amount received, being, in reality, insufficient to liquidate the engagements which I had of necessity incurred during the thirty years of neglect to satisfy my claims--now admitted to be beyond dispute. Their admission involves the fact that the "unexpected" expulsion of the Portuguese fleet and army saved Brazil millions of dollars in military and naval expeditions against an organised European power, which only required time to set at complete defiance any efforts which Brazil herself was in a condition to make. It was, in fact, a question of "speedy" annexation, or no annexation at all, and it was this consideration which impelled me to the extraordinary measures adopted for the intimidation of the enemy, in the absence of means for their forcible expulsion. But is it generous to reward a service of such admitted importance, by giving me less than half the interest of a sum--acknowledged as a right which could no longer be withheld?

Is it not ungenerous to exclude me from my share of the prize-money taken in the first expedition, though a prize tribunal is at this moment sitting in Rio de Janeiro to consider the claims of officers and men, nine-tenths of whom are dead? Is it not ungenerous to have engaged me in the extra-professional service of putting down revolution and anarchy in the Northern provinces, and when the mission was successfully accomplished, to have dismissed me from the Imperial service without one expression of acknowledgment or the slightest reward?

But to put generosity out of the question--is it wise so to do? That, says Burke--"can never be politically right which is morally wrong." Brazil, doubtless, expects other nations to keep faith with her, and it is not wise on her part to afford a precedent for breaking national faith. The Amazon is a rich prize, and may one day be contested. What reply would Brazil give to a power which might attempt to seize it, under the argument that she broke faith with those who gave her the title to this, the most magnificent river on the face of the earth, and that therefore it was not necessary to preserve faith with her? It would puzzle Brazilian diplomatists to answer such a question.

From what has been adduced in this volume, it must be clear to all who have perused it with ordinary attention that Brazil is to this day in honour bound to fulfil the original stipulations solemnly entered into with me, and twice guaranteed under the Imperial sign manual, with all the official ratifications and formalities usual amongst civilized states. This I claim individually; and further--conjointly with the squadron--my share of the prize-money conceded to the captors by Imperial decree, without which customary incentive neither myself, nor any other foreign officer or seaman, would have been likely to enter the service. My individual claim, viz. the pay stipulated in the Imperial patents, was agreed upon without limitation as to time, as is clear from the expression that I should receive it whether "afloat or ashore," "tanto em terra como no mar," i.e. whether "actively engaged or not"--whether "in war or peace." I have committed no act whereby this right could be cancelled, but was fraudulently driven from the Imperial service, as the shortest way of getting rid of me and my claims together. These are no assertions of mine, but are the only possible deductions from documents which have one meaning, and that incontestible.

I claim, moreover, the estate awarded to me by His Imperial Majesty, with the double purpose of conferring a mark of national approbation of my services, and of supporting the high dignities to which--with the full concurrence of the Brazilian people and legislature--I was raised as a reward for those services, the magnitude and importance of which were on all hands admitted. To have withheld that estate, after the reasons assigned by His Imperial Majesty for conferring it, was a national error which Brazil should not have committed, and which it should, even now, be careful to efface; for by approving the dignities conferred, and withholding the means of supporting them, it has pronounced its highest honours to be worthless, empty sounding titles, lightly esteemed by the givers, and of no value to the recipient. Had this estate cost anything to the Brazilian nation, a miserable economy might have been pleaded as a reason for withholding it; but even this excuse is wanting. Any territorial grant to myself could only have been an imperceptible fraction of the vast regions, which, together with an annual revenue of many millions of dollars--my own exertions, without cost to the Empire, had added to its dominions "unexpectedly" as the Commission appointed to investigate my claim felt bound to admit. If Brazil value its national honour, that blot upon it should not be suffered to remain.

With regard to the sum owing to me by Chili, for which, in the event of its non-payment, both His Imperial Majesty Don Pedro I. and his Minister Jose Bonifacio de Andrada made the Brazilian nation responsible. The discussion in the National Assembly testifies to the validity of the claim, which therefore rests upon the generosity no less than the good faith of Brazil, for whose interests, in accordance with the most flattering promises, I was induced to quit Chili. To this day, Chili has not fulfilled her obligations to me; the miserable pittance of L.6000, which--by some process I do not now care to inquire into, she has fixed upon as ample remuneration for one who consolidated her liberties and those of Peru, supporting her navy at its own expense during the operation--constituted no part of my admitted claim for the capture of Valdivia and other previous services, involving no dispute. Payment of this sum (67,000 dollars) was promised at the earliest possible period by the then Supreme Director of the Republic--but to this day the promise has never been redeemed by succeeding Chilian Governments. With regard to this claim, founded on the concessions of His late Imperial Majesty and his Minister, I am content, as before said, to leave the matter to the generosity of the Brazilian nation. The other, and more important claims, I demand as a right which has never been cancelled, and which a strict sense of national honour ought not longer to evade. If it be evaded, the documentary history of the whole matter is now before the world--and let the world judge between us. I have no fears as to its decision.

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