It was all in vain. San Martin wrote, on the 9th of August, a letter making professions of virtue and acknowledging much personal indebtedness to Lord Cochrane and the fleet, but evading the whole question at issue. "I am disposed," he said, "to recompense valour displayed in the cause of the country. But you know, my lord, that the wages of the crews do not come under these circumstances, and that I, never having engaged to pay the amount, am not obliged to do so. That debt is due from Chili, whose Government engaged the seamen."
Lord Cochrane knew that Chili would decline to pay for work that, if intended to be done in its interests, had been perverted from that intention; and his crews, also knowing it, became reasonably mutinous. After much further correspondence—in which San Martin suggested as his only remedy that Lord Cochrane should accept the dishonourable proposal made to him, and, becoming himself First Admiral of Peru, should induce the fleet to join in the same rebellion against Chili to which the army had been brought by its general, and in which Captains Guise and Spry, always evil-minded, had already joined—Lord Cochrane adopted a bold but altogether justifiable manoeuvre. A large quantity of treasure, seized from the Spaniards, having been deposited by San Martin at Ancon, he sailed thither, in the middle of September, and quietly took possession of it. So much as lawful owners could be found for was given up to them. With the residue, amounting to 285,000 dollars, Lord Cochrane paid off the year's arrears to every officer and man in his employ, taking nothing for himself, but reserving the small surplus for the pressing exigencies and re-equipment of the squadron.
It is unnecessary to detail the angry correspondence that arose out of that rough act of justice. Before the money was distributed, treacherous offers to restore it and enter into rebellious league with San Martin were made to Lord Cochrane; and with these were alternated mock-virtuous complaints and bombastic threats. Both bribes and threats were treated by him with equal contempt.
"After a lapse of nearly forty years' anxious consideration," he wrote in 1858, "I cannot reproach myself with having done any wrong in the seizure of the money of the Protectorial Government. General San Martin and myself had been in our respective departments deputed to liberate Peru from Spain, and to give to the Peruvians the same free institutions which Chili herself enjoyed. The first part of our object had been fully effected by the achievements and vigilance of the squadron; the second part was frustrated by General San Martin arrogating to himself despotic power, which set at naught the wishes and voice of the people. As 'my fortune in common with his own' was only to be secured by acquiescence in the wrong he had done to Chili by casting off his allegiance to her, and by upholding him in the still greater wrong he was inflicting on Peru, I did not choose to sacrifice my self-esteem and professional character by lending myself as an instrument to purposes so unworthy. I did all in my power to warn General San Martin of the consequences of ambition so ill-directed, but the warning was neglected, if not despised. Chili trusted to him to defray the expenses of the squadron, when its objects, as laid down by the Supreme Director, should be accomplished; but, in place of fulfilling the obligation, he permitted the squadron to starve, its crews to go in rags, and the ships to be in perpetual danger for want of the proper equipment which Chili could not afford to give them when they sailed from Valparaiso. The pretence for this neglect was want of means, though, at the same time, money to a vast amount was sent away from the capital to Ancon. Seeing that no intention Existed on the part of the Protector's Government to do justice to the Chilian squadron, whilst every effort was made to excite discontent among the officers and men with the purpose of procuring their transfer to Peru, I seized the public money, satisfied the men, and saved the navy to the Chilian Republic, which afterwards warmly thanked me for what I had done. Despite the obloquy cast upon me by the Protector's Government, there was nothing wrong in the course I pursued, if only for the reason that, if the Chilian squadron was to be preserved, it was impossible for me to have done otherwise. Years of reflection have only produced the conviction that, were I again placed in similar circumstances, I should adopt precisely the same course."
In spite of his treachery to the Chilian Government, General San Martin professed to retain his functions as Commander-in-Chief of the Chilian liberating expedition to Peru; and, accordingly, when he found it useless to make further efforts, by bribes or threats, to seduce Lord Cochrane from his allegiance, he ordered him to return at once to Valparaiso. This order Lord Cochrane refused to obey, seeing that the work entrusted to him—the entire destruction of the Spanish squadron in the Pacific—had not yet been completed.
He determined to complete that work, first going to Guayaquil to repair and refit his ships, which San Martin would not allow him to do in any Peruvian port. He was thus employed during six weeks following the 18th of October, 1821.
On his departure, a complimentary address from the townsmen afforded him an opportunity of offering some good advice on a matter in which his long and intelligent political experience showed him that they were especially at fault. The inhabitants of Guayaquil, like many other young communities, sought to increase their revenues and strengthen their independence by violent restrictions upon foreign commerce and arbitrary support of native monopolists. Lord Cochrane eloquently propounded to them the doctrine of free trade. "Let your public press," he said, "declare the consequences of monopoly, and affix your names to the defence of your enlightened system. Let it show, if your province contains eighty thousand inhabitants, and if eighty of these are privileged merchants according to the old system, that nine hundred and ninety-nine persons out of a thousand must suffer because their cotton, coffee, tobacco, timber, and other productions, must come into the hands of the monopolist, as the only purchaser of what they have to sell, and the only seller of what they must necessarily buy; the effect being that he will buy at the lowest possible rate and sell at the dearest, so that not only are the nine hundred and ninety-nine injured, but the lands will remain waste, the manufactories without workmen, and the people will be lazy and poor for want of a stimulus, it being a law of nature that no man will labour solely for the gain of another. Tell the monopolist that the true method of acquiring general riches, political power, and even his own private advantage, is to sell his country's produce as high, and foreign goods as low, as possible, and that public competition can alone accomplish this. Let foreign merchants, who bring capital, and those who practise any art or handicraft, be permitted to settle freely. Thus a competition will be formed, from which all must reap advantage. Then will land and fixed property increase in value. The magazines, instead of being the receptacles of filth and crime, will be full of the richest foreign and domestic productions; and all will be energy and activity, because the reward will be in proportion to the labour. Your river will be filled with ships, and the monopolist degraded and shamed. You will bless the day in which Omnipotence permitted to be rent asunder the veil of obscurity, under which the despotism of Spain, the abominable tyranny of the Inquisition, and the want of liberty of the press, so long hid the truth from your sight. Let your customs' duties be moderate, in order to promote the greatest possible consumption of foreign and domestic goods; then smuggling will cease and the returns to the treasury increase. Let every man do as he pleases as regards his own property, views, and interests; because each individual will watch over his own with more zeal than senates, ministers, or kings. By your enlarged views set an example to the New World; and thus, as Guayaquil is, from its situation, the central republic, it will become the centre of the agriculture, commerce, and riches of the Pacific."
Lord Cochrane left Guayaquil on the 3rd of December, and cruised northwards in search of the Prueba and the Venganza, the only two remaining Spanish frigates, which had made their escape from Callao and gone in the direction of Mexico. He sailed along the Colombian and Mexican coasts as far as Acapulco, where he called on the 29th of January, 1822, without finding the objects of his search. He there learned, on the 2nd of February, from an in-coming merchantman, that the frigates had eluded him and were now somewhere to the southwards. Upon that he at once retraced his course, and, in spite of a storm which nearly wrecked his two best ships, one of them being the captured Esmeralda, now christened the Valdivia, was at Guayaquil again on the 13th of March. There, as he expected, from information received on the passage, he found the Venganza. Both the frigates had been compelled, by want of provisions, to run the risk of halting at Guayaquil, whither also an envoy from San Martin had arrived, instructed to tempt the Guayaquilians into friendship with Peru and jealousy of Chili. On the appearance of the Spanish frigates, he had persuaded their captains, as the only means of averting the certain ruin that Lord Cochrane was planning for them, quietly to surrender to the Peruvian Government. In this way Chili was cheated of its prizes, although Lord Cochrane's main object, the entire overthrow of the Spanish war shipping in the Pacific, was accomplished without further use of powder and shot. The Prueba had been sent to Callao, and the Venganza was now being refitted at Guayaquil.
Lord Cochrane had now done all that it was possible for him to do in fulfilment of the naval mission on which he had quitted Chili a year and a half before. Proceeding southward, he anchored in Callao Roads from the 25th of April till the 10th of May. San Martin's Government, fearing punishment for their misdeeds, prepared to defend Callao. Lord Cochrane, however, wrote to say that he had no intention of making war upon the Peruvians; that all he asked was adequate payment for the services rendered to them by his officers and seamen. In the same letter he denounced the new treachery that had been shown with reference to the Venganza and the Prueba.
The answer to that letter was a visit from San Martin's chief minister, who begged Lord Cochrane to recall it, and impudently repeated the old offers of service under the Peruvian Government, adding that San Martin had written a private letter to the same effect. "Tell the Protector from me," said Lord Cochrane, "that if, after the conduct he has pursued, he had sent me a private letter, it would certainly have been returned unanswered. You may also tell him that it is not my wish to injure him, that I neither fear him nor hate him, but that I disapprove of his conduct."
Lord Cochrane's brief stay off Callao sufficed to convince him that, though the people of Peru were being for the time subjected to a tyranny almost equal to that practised by Spain, no one was likely to be long in fear of San Martin, as his treacheries and his vices were already bringing upon him well-deserved disgrace and punishment. To that purport Lord Cochrane wrote to O'Higgins on the 2nd of May. "As the attached and sincere friend of your excellency," he said, "I hope you will take into your serious consideration the propriety of at once fixing the Chilian Government upon a base not to be shaken by the fall of the present tyranny in Peru, of which there are not only indications, but the result is inevitable—unless, indeed, the mischievous counsels of vain and mercenary men can suffice to prop up a fabric of the most barbarous political architecture, serving as a screen from whence to dart their weapons against the heart of liberty. Thank God, my hands are free from the stain of labouring in any such work; and having finished all you gave me to do, I may now rest till you shall command my further endeavours for the honour and security of my adopted land."
LORD COCHRANE'S RETURN TO VALPARAISO.—HIS FURTHER ILL-TREATMENT BY THE CHILIAN GOVERNMENT.—HIS RESIGNATION OF CHILIAN EMPLOYMENT, AND ACCEPTANCE OF EMPLOYMENT UNDER THE EMPEROR OF BRAZIL.—HIS SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF CHILI.—THE RESULTS OF HIS CHILIAN SERVICE.
Lord Cochrane returned to Valparaiso on the 3rd of June, 1822, having been absent more than twenty months. An enthusiastic welcome awaited him. Medals were struck in his honour, and in various ephemeral ways the public gratitude was expressed.
It was, however, only ephemeral. There was no substantial recognition of his great services. His men were left unpaid, and he himself was subjected to further indignities of the sort already described. It is not necessary here to give any detailed account of them, or to enter into a particular rehearsal of his efforts during the next six months to continue his beneficial services to Chili. He had done the great service for which he had been invited to South America. In the course of about three years he had scoured the Pacific of the Spanish ships, which had offered an obstacle too serious for the patriots to overcome by any force or wisdom of their own. He had made it possible for them to assert their independence of a foreign yoke, and, if their patriotism had been genuine enough, to work out internal reforms, by which the sometime colonies of Spain in South America might have been able to vie in greatness with the sometime colonies of England in the northern continent. The benefits which he conferred especially upon Chili were shared by all the liberated communities along the whole Pacific coastline up to Mexico. But all were alike ungrateful, except in fitful words and in sentiments that prompted to no action.
Shortly after his return to Chili, Lord Cochrane went to live upon the estates that had been conferred upon him. Soon, however, he was forced to go back to Valparaiso, there to look after the interests of the officers and crews who had served him and Chili during the previous fighting time. His earnest arguments on their behalf were not heeded. The poor fellows were left to starve and be perished by the cold of a South American winter, against which the pitiful rags in which they were clothed afforded no protection. And before long fresh incidents arose which made it impossible for him to persevere in fighting their battle.
General San Martin, having run his course of petty tyranny in Peru, was soon forced to resign his protectorate and seek safety in Chili. He reached Valparaiso on the 12th of October, and then Lord Cochrane, who had long before seen good reasons for suspecting it, was convinced that Zenteno and many other influential men in Chili were in league with him. He claimed that San Martin should be tried by court-martial for his treasons, known to all the world. Instead of that San Martin was loaded with honours, and fresh indignities were heaped upon his chief accuser. This monstrous action of the ministers led to a revolution, which, if Lord Cochrane had stayed to the end, might have proved much to his advantage. But the revolution, headed by General Freire, an honest man, had for its object the overthrow of O'Higgins, also an honest man, though too weak to withstand the influences brought to bear upon him by the bad men by whom he was surrounded. Lord Cochrane refused Freire's offers to join in opposition to O'Higgins, always, as far as his small powers permitted, his good friend. He preferred to abandon Chili, or rather to allow it to abandon one who had done for it so much and had received so little in return. "The difficulties," he said, in a dignified letter addressed to General O'Higgins, still nominally the Supreme Director, in which he virtually resigned his appointment as Vice-Admiral of the Republic, "the difficulties which I have experienced in accomplishing the naval enterprises successfully achieved during the period of my command as Admiral of Chili have not been mastered without responsibility such as I would scarcely again undertake, not because I would hesitate to make any personal sacrifice in a cause of so much interest, but because even these favourable results have led to the total alienation of the sympathies of meritorious officers—whose co-operation was indispensable—in consequence of the conduct of the Government. That which has made most impression on their minds has been, not the privations they have suffered, nor the withholding of their pay and other dues, but the absence of any public acknowledgment by the Government of the honours and distinctions promised for their fidelity and constancy to Chili; especially at a time when no temptation was withheld that could induce them to abandon the cause of Chili for the service of the Protector of Peru. Ever since that time, though there was no want of means or knowledge of facts on the part of the Chilian Government, it has submitted itself to the influence of the agents of an individual whose power, having ceased in Peru, has been again resumed in Chili. The effect of this on me is so keen that I cannot trust myself in words to express my personal feelings. Whatever I have recommended or asked for the good of the naval service has been scouted or denied, though acquiescence would have placed Chili in the first rank of maritime states in this quarter of the globe. My requisitions and suggestions were founded on the practice of the first naval service in the world—that of England. They have, however, met with no consideration, as though their object had been directed to my own personal benefit. Until now I have never eaten the bread of idleness. I cannot reconcile to my mind a state of inactivity which might even now impose upon the Chilian Republic an annual pension for past services; especially as an Admiral of Peru is actually in command of a portion of the Chilian squadron, whilst other vessels are sent to sea without the orders under which they act being communicated to me, and are despatched through the instrumentality of the governor of Valparaiso [Zenteno]. I mention these circumstances incidentally as having confirmed me in the resolution to withdraw myself from Chili for a time, asking nothing for myself during my absence; whilst, as regards the sums owing to me, I forbear to press for their payment till the Government shall be more freed from its difficulties. I have complied with all that my public duty demanded, and, if I have not been able to accomplish more, the deficiency has arisen from circumstances beyond my control. At any rate, having the world still before me, I hope to prove that it is not owing to me. I have received proposals from Mexico, from Brazil, and from a European state, but have not as yet accepted any of these offers. Nevertheless, the habits of my life do not permit me to refuse my services to those labouring under oppression, as Chili was before the annihilation of the Spanish naval force in the Pacific. In this I am prepared to justify whatever course I may pursue. In thus taking leave of Chili, I do so with sentiments of deep regret that I have not been suffered to be more useful to the cause of liberty, and that I am compelled to separate myself from individuals with whom I hoped to live for a long period, without violating such sentiments of honour as, were they broken, would render me odious to myself and despicable in their eyes."
That letter sufficiently explains the reasons which induced Lord Cochrane to resign his Chilian command. He had, as he said, received invitations to enter the service of Brazil, of Mexico, and of Greece. The Mexican offer he declined at once, as acceptance of it would involve little of the active work in fighting which, if for a good cause, was always attractive to him. Assistance of the Greeks who, a year and a half before, had begun to throw off their long servitude to Turkey, and who were now fighting desperately for their freedom, was an enterprise on which he would gladly have embarked, but the invitation from Brazil was more pressing, and he therefore conditionally accepted it. "The war in the Pacific," he said, on the 29th of November, in answer to two letters written on behalf of the newly-elected Emperor of Brazil, "having been happily terminated by the total destruction of the Spanish naval force, I am, of course, free for the crusade of liberty in any other quarter of the globe. I confess, however, that I have not hitherto directed my attention to the Brazils; considering that the struggle for the liberties of Greece, the most oppressed of modern states, afforded the fairest opportunity for enterprise and exertion. I have to-day tendered my ultimate resignation to the Government of Chili, and am not at this moment aware that any material delay will be necessary previous to my setting off, by way of Cape Horn, for Rio de Janeiro; it being, in the meantime, understood that I hold myself free to decline, as well as entitled to accept, the offer which has, through you, been made to me by his Imperial Majesty. I only mention this from a desire to preserve a consistency of character, should the Government (which I by no means anticipate) differ so widely in its nature from those which I have been in the habit of supporting as to render the proposed situation repugnant to my principles, and so justly expose me to suspicion, and render me unworthy the confidence of his Majesty and the nation."
In accordance with the terms of that letter, Lord Cochrane wrote as we have seen to the Supreme Director of Chili, not completely resigning his employment, but proposing to absent himself for an indefinite period. His proposal was at once accepted by the Chilian Government, to whom his honesty and his popularity with the people made him particularly obnoxious. He thereupon made prompt arrangements for his departure. He quitted Valparaiso on the 18th of January, 1823, in a vessel chartered for his own use and that of several European officers and seamen, who, like him, were tired of Chilian ingratitude, and who begged to be employed under him wherever he might serve.
Of the subsequent occurrences in the Western States, for which he had done so much, and tried to do so much more than was permitted, it is enough to say that Peru, sadly abused by San Martin, and almost won back to Spain, was rescued by the valour and wisdom of Bolivar, and that Chili, destined to much future trouble through the bad action of its false patriots, was temporarily benefited by the successful revolution which placed General Freire in the Supreme Directorship.
Lord Cochrane had not been absent three months before a new Minister of Marine wrote to inform him of Freire's accession and to solicit his return. From this, however, he excused himself, on the grounds that he had now entered into engagements with Brazil which he was bound to fulfil, and that his past treatment by the Chilian Government discouraged him from renewal of relations which had been so full of annoyance to him. "On my quitting Chili," he said in his reply, "there was no looking to the past without regret, nor to the future without despair, for I had learned by experience what were the views and motives which guided the counsels of the State. Believe me that nothing but a thorough conviction that it was impracticable to render the good people of Chili any further service under existing circumstances, or to live in tranquillity under such a system, could have induced me to remove myself from a country which I had vainly hoped would have afforded me that tranquil asylum which, after the anxieties I had suffered, I felt needful to my repose. My inclinations, too, were decidedly in favour of a residence in Chili, from a feeling of the congeniality which subsisted between my own habits and the manners and customs of the people, those few only excepted who were corrupted by contiguity with the court, or debased in their minds and practices by that species of Spanish colonial education which inculcates duplicity as the chief qualification of statesmen in all their dealings, both with individuals and the public. I now speak more particularly of the persons lately in power, excepting, however, the Supreme Director, whom I believe to have been the dupe of their deceit. Point out to me one engagement that has been honourably fulfilled, one military enterprise of which the professed object has not been perverted, or one solemn pledge that has not been forfeited. Look at my representations on the necessities of the navy, and see how they were relieved. Look at my memorial, proposing to establish a nursery for seamen by encouraging the coasting trade, and compare its principles with the code of Rodriguez, which annihilated both. You will see in this, as in all other cases, that whatever I recommended, in regard to the promotion of the good of the marine, was set at nought, or opposed by measures directly the reverse. Look to the orders which I received, and see whether I had more liberty of action than a schoolboy in the execution of his task. Sir, that which I suffered from anxiety of mind whilst in the Chilian service, I will never again endure for any consideration. To organize new crews, to navigate ships destitute of sails, cordage, provisions, and stores, to secure them in port without anchors and cables, except so far as I could supply these essentials by accidental means, were difficulties sufficiently harassing; but to live amongst officers and men discontented and mutinous on account of arrears of pay and other numerous privations, to be compelled to incur the responsibility of seizing by force from Peru funds for their payment, in order to prevent worse consequences to Chili, and then to be exposed to the reproach of one party for such seizure, and the suspicions of another that the sums were not duly applied, are all circumstances so disagreeable and so disgusting that, until I have certain proof that the present ministers are disposed to act in another manner, I cannot possibly consent to renew my services where, under such circumstances, they would be wholly unavailing to the true interests of the people."
Writing thus to the Minister of Marine, Lord Cochrane wrote also at the same time to General Freire, who, as has been said, asked him to join his revolutionary movement. "It would give me great pleasure, my respected friend, to learn that the change which has been effected in the government of Chili proves alike conducive to your happiness and to the interests of the State. For my own part, like yourself, I have suffered so long and so much that I could not bear the neglect and double-dealing of those in power any longer, but adopted other means of freeing myself from an unpleasant situation. Not being under those imperious obligations which, as a native Chilian, rendered it incumbent on you to rescue your country from the mischiefs with which it was assailed, I could not accept your offer. My heart was with you in the measures you adopted for their removal; and my hand was only restrained by a conviction that my interference, as a foreigner, in the internal affairs of the State would not only have been improper in itself, but would have tended to shake that confidence in my undeviating rectitude which it was my ambition that the people of Chili should ever justly entertain. Permit me to add my opinion that, whoever may possess the supreme authority in Chili, until after the present generation, educated as it has been under the Spanish colonial yoke, shall have passed away, will have to contend with so much error and so many prejudices as to be disappointed in his utmost endeavours to pursue steadily the course best calculated to promote the freedom and happiness of the people. I admire the middle and lower classes of Chili, but I have ever found the senate, the ministers, and the convention actuated by the narrowest policy, which led them to adopt the worst measures. It is my earnest wish that you may find better men to co-operate with you. If so, you may be fortunate and may succeed in what you have most at heart, the promotion of your country's good."
For the real welfare of Chili Lord Cochrane was always eager; but in the treatment which he himself experienced he had strong proof, both during his four years' active service under the republic and in all after times, of the difficulties in the way of its advancement. Not only was he subjected to the contumely and neglect of which he complained in the letters just quoted from: he was also directly mulcted to a very large extent in the scanty recompense for his services to which he was legally entitled, and indirectly injured to a yet larger extent. "I was compelled to quit Chili," he wrote at a later date, "without any of the emoluments due to my position as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, or any share of the sums belonging to myself and the officers and seamen; which sums, on the faith of repayment, had, at my solicitation, been appropriated to the repairs and maintenance of the squadron generally, but more especially at Guayaquil and Acapulco, when in pursuit of the Prueba and the Venganza. Neither was any compensation made for the value of stores captured and collected by the squadron, whereby its efficiency was chiefly maintained during the whole period of the Peruvian blockade. The Supreme Director of Chili, recognizing the justice of payment being made by the Peruvians for at least the value of the Esmeralda, the capture of which inflicted the death-blow on Spanish power, sent me a bill on the Peruvian Government for 120,000 dollars, which was dishonoured, and has never since been paid by any succeeding Government. Even the 40,000 dollars stipulated by the authorities at Guayaquil as the penalty for giving up the Venganza was never liquidated. No compensation for the severe wounds received during the capture of the Esmeralda was either offered or received. Shortly after my departure for Brazil, the Government forcibly and indefensibly resumed the estate at Rio Clara, which had been awarded to me and my family in perpetuity, as a remuneration for the capture of Valdivia, and my bailiff, who had been left upon it for its management and direction, was summarily ejected. Unhappily, this ingratitude for services rendered was the least misfortune which my devotedness to Chili brought upon me. On my return to England in 1825, after the termination of my services in Brazil, I found myself involved in litigation on account of the seizure of neutral vessels by authority of the then unacknowledged Government of Chili. These litigations cost me, directly, upwards of 14,000l., and, indirectly, more than double that amount. Thus, in place of receiving anything for my efforts in the cause of Chilian and Peruvian independence, I was a loser of upwards of 25,000l., this being more than double the whole amount I had received as pay whilst in command of the Chilian squadron."
THE ANTECEDENTS OF BRAZILIAN INDEPENDENCE.—PEDRO I.'s ACCESSION.—THE INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL TROUBLES OF THE NEW EMPIRE.—LORD COCHRANE'S INVITATION TO BRAZIL.—HIS ARRIVAL AT RIO DE JANEIRO, AND ACCEPTANCE OF BRAZILIAN SERVICE.—HIS FIRST MISFORTUNES.—THE BAD CONDITION OF HIS SQUADRON, AND THE CONSEQUENT FAILURE OF HIS FIRST ATTACK ON THE PORTUGUESE OFF BAHIA.—HIS PLANS FOR IMPROVING THE FLEET, AND THEIR SUCCESS.—HIS NIGHT VISIT TO BAHIA, AND THE CONSEQUENT FLIGHT OF THE ENEMY.—LORD COCHRANE'S PURSUIT OF THEM.—HIS VISIT TO MARANHAM, AND ANNEXATION OF THAT PROVINCE AND OF PARA.—HIS RETURN TO RIO DE JANEIRO.—THE HONOURS CONFERRED UPON HIM.
In 1808, King John VI. of Portugal, driven by Buonaparte from his European dominions, took refuge in his great colonial possession of Brazil, and the result of his emigration was considerable enlargement of the liberties of the Brazilians. Thereby the immense Portuguese colony in South America was prevented from following in the revolutionary steps of the numerous Spanish provinces adjoining it. In Brazil, however, during the ensuing years party faction produced nearly as much turmoil as attended the struggle for independence in Chili and the other Spanish, colonies. Those Brazilians who were still intimately connected with the inhabitants of the mother country rallied under Portuguese leaders, and did their utmost to maintain the Portuguese supremacy over the colony. Quite as many, on the other hand, were eager to take advantage of the new state of things as a means of consolidating the freedom of Brazil. Plots and counterplots, broils and insurrections, lasted, almost without intermission, until 1821, when King John returned to Portugal, leaving his son, Don Pedro, as lieutenant and regent, to cope with yet greater difficulties. The Cortes of Portugal, able to get back their king, desired also to bring back Brazil to all its former servitude. So great was the opposition thus provoked that the native or true Brazilian party induced Don Pedro to throw off allegiance to his father. In October, 1822, the independence of the colony was publicly declared, and on the 1st of December Don Pedro assumed the title of Emperor of Brazil.
Only the southern part of Brazil, however, acknowledged his authority. The northern provinces, including Bahia, Maranham, and Para, were ruled by the Portuguese faction and held by Portuguese troops. A formidable fleet, moreover, swept the seas, and the independent provinces were threatened with speedy subjection to the sway of Portugal.
That was the state of affairs in the young empire of Brazil during the months in which Lord Cochrane, having destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Pacific, was being subjected to the worst ingratitude of his Chilian employers. Don Pedro and his advisers, hearing of this, lost no time in inviting him to enter the service of the Brazilian nation. Equal rank and position to those held by him under Chili were offered to him. "Abandonnez vous, milord," wrote the official who conveyed the Emperor's message, on the 4th of November, 1822, "a la reconnaisance Bresilienne, a la munificence du Prince, a la probite sans tache de l'actuel Gouvernement; on vous fera justice; on ne rabaissera d'un seul point la haute consideration, rang, grade, caractere, et avantages qui vous sont dus." In yet stronger terms a second letter was written soon afterwards. "Venez, milord; l'honneur vous invite; la gloire vous appelle. Venez donner a nos armes navales cet ordre merveilleux et discipline incomparable de puissante Albion."
Lord Cochrane, as we have seen, accepted this invitation; not, however, without some misgivings, which, in the end, were fully justified. Having quitted Valparaiso on the 18th of January, 1823, he arrived at Rio de Janeiro on the 13th of March. He had not been there a week before he discovered that, while all classes were anxious to secure his aid, the Emperor Pedro I. stood almost alone in the desire to treat him honourably and in a way worthy of his character and reputation. Vague promises were made to him; but, when a statement of his position was asked for in writing, very different terms were employed. He was only to have the rank of a subordinate admiral, with pay of less amount than the Chilian pension that he had resigned. His employment was to be temporary and informal, subjecting him to the chance of dismissal at any moment. When, however, resenting these trickeries, he announced his intention of proceeding at once to Europe, and accepting the Greek service offered to him, a different tone was adopted. Under the Emperor's signature he was appointed, on the 21st of March, First Admiral of the National and Imperial Navy, with emoluments equal to those he had received from Chili.
He did not then know, though he was soon to learn it by hard experience, how strong, even at the imperial court, was the influence of the Portuguese party, and by what meanness and trickery it sought to maintain and augment that influence. "Where the Portuguese party was really to blame," he afterwards said, "was in this,—that, seeing disorder everywhere more or less prevalent, they strained every nerve to increase it, hoping to paralyze further attempts at independence by exposing whole provinces to the evils of anarchy and confusion. Their loyalty also partook more of self-interest than of attachment to the supremacy of Portugal; for the commercial classes, which formed the real strength of the Portuguese faction, hoped, by preserving the authority of the mother country in her distant provinces, to obtain as their reward the revival of old trade monopolies which, twelve years before, had been thrown open, enabling the English traders—whom they cordially hated—to supersede them in their own markets. Being a citizen of the rival nation, their aversion to me personally was undisguised—the more so, perhaps, that they believed me capable of achieving at Bahia, whither the squadron was destined, that irreparable injury to their own cause which the imperial troops had been unable to effect. Had I, at the time, been aware of the influence and latent power of the Portuguese party in the empire, nothing would have induced me to accept the command of the Brazilian navy; for to contend with faction is more dangerous than to engage an enemy, and a contest of intrigue is foreign to my nature and inclination."
Having entered the Brazilian service, however, Lord Cochrane applied himself to his work with characteristic energy and success. He hoisted his flag on board the Pedro Primiero on the 21st of March, and put to sea on the 3rd of April. His squadron consisted of the Pedro Primiero, a fine and well-appointed ship, rated rather too highly for seventy-four guns, commanded by Captain Crosbie; of the Piranga, a fine frigate, entrusted to Captain Jowett; of the Maria de Gloria, a showy but comparatively worthless clipper, mounting thirty-two small guns, under Captain Beaurepaire; of the Liberal, under Captain Garcao. He was accompanied by two old vessels, the Guarani and the Real, to be used as fireships. Two other ships of war, the Nitherohy, assigned to Captain Taylor, and the Carolina, were left behind to complete their equipment, and the first of these joined the squadron on its way to Bahia, which, being the nearest of the disaffected provinces, was the first to be subdued.
The coast of Bahia was reached on the 1st of May, and Lord Cochrane was arranging to blockade its capital and port, on the 4th, when the Portuguese fleet came out of the harbour. It comprised the Don Joao, of seventy-four guns; the Constitucao, of fifty; the Perola, of forty-four; the Princeza Real, of twenty-eight; the Regeneracao, the Dez de Fevereiro, the San Gaulter, the Principe de Brazil, and the Restauracao, of twenty-six each; the Calypso and the Activa, of twenty-two; the Audaz, of twenty; and the Canceicao, of eight; being one line-of-battle ship, five frigates, five corvettes, a brig, and a schooner. Lord Cochrane did not venture with his small and as yet untried force to attack the whole squadron, but he proceeded to cut off the four rearmost ships. This he did with the Pedro Primiero, but, to his disgust, the other vessels, heedless of his orders, failed to follow him. "Had the rest of the Brazilian squadron," he said, "come down in obedience to signals, the ships cut off might have been taken or dismantled, as with the flag-ship I could have kept the others at bay, and no doubt have crippled all in a position to render them assistance. To my astonishment, the signals were disregarded, and no efforts were made to second my operations." The Pedro Primiero, after fighting alone for some time, and during that time even doing but little mischief, by reason of the clumsy way in which her guns were handled, had to be withdrawn.
At that failure Lord Cochrane was reasonably chagrined. Worse than the fact that the Portuguese had escaped uninjured for this once, was the knowledge that he could not hope thoroughly to punish them without first effecting great reform in the materials at his disposal. On the 5th of May he wrote to the Government to complain of the miserable condition of the ships and crews provided for him by the Brazilian Government. "From the defective sailing and manning of the squadron," he said, "it seems to me that the Pedro Primiero is the only one that can assail an enemy's ship-of-war, or act in the face of a superior force so as not to compromise the interests of the empire and the character of the officers commanding. Even this ship, in common with the rest, is so ill-equipped as to be much less efficient than she otherwise would be. Our cartridges are all unfit for service, and I have been obliged to cut up every flag and ensign that could be spared to render them serviceable, so as to prevent the men's arms being blown off whilst working the guns. The guns are without locks. The bed of the mortar which I received on board this ship was crushed on the first fire, being entirely rotten. The fuses for the shells are formed of such wretched composition that it will not take fire with the discharge of the mortar. Even the powder is so bad that six pounds will not throw out shells more than a thousand yards. The marines understand neither gun exercise, the use of small arms, nor the sword, and yet have so high an opinion of themselves that they will not assist to wash the decks, or even to clean out their own berths, but sit and look on whilst these operations are being performed by seamen. I warned the Minister of Marine that every native of Portugal put on board the squadron, with the exception of officers of known character, would prove prejudicial to the expedition, and yesterday we had clear proof of the fact. The Portuguese stationed in the magazine actually withheld the powder whilst this ship was in the midst of the enemy, and I have since learnt that they did so from feelings of attachment to their own countrymen. I enclose two letters, one from the officer commanding the Real, whose crew were on the point of carrying that vessel into the enemy's squadron for the purpose of delivering her up. I have also reason to believe that the conduct of the Liberal yesterday in not bearing down upon the enemy, and not complying with the signal which I had made to break the line, was owing to her being manned by Portuguese. The Maria de Gloria also has a great number of Portuguese, which is the more to be regretted as otherwise her superior sailing, with the zeal and activity of her captain, would render her an effective vessel. To disclose to you the truth, it appears to me that one half of the squadron is necessary to watch over the other half. Assuredly this is a system which ought to be put an end to without delay."
Other indignant complaints of that sort, which need not here be repeated, were reasonably made by Lord Cochrane. The bad equipment of his squadron, both in men and in material, had hindered him, at starting, from achieving a brilliant success over the enemy, and though his subsequent achievements were of unsurpassed brilliance, he was to the end seriously hindered by the wilful and accidental mismanagement of his employers.
Lord Cochrane lost no time, however, in correcting by his own prudent action the evil effects of this mismanagement. Not choosing to run the risk of a second failure, and believing that two good ships would be more serviceable than any number of bad ones, he took his squadron to the Moro San Paulo, where he transferred all the best men and the most serviceable fittings to the flag-ship and the Maria de Gloria. There he left the other vessels to be improved as far as possible, directing that instruction should be given in seamanship to all the incompetent men who showed any promise of being made efficient, and that several small prizes which he had taken on his way from Rio de Janeiro should be turned into fireships for future use. With the two refitted ships he then went back to Bahia, to watch its whole coast and blockade the port.
The wisdom of this course was at once apparent. Several minor captures were made; the supplies of Bahia were cut off, and the enemy's squadron was locked in the harbour for three weeks. Lord Cochrane went to the Moro San Paulo on the 26th, leaving the Maria de Gloria to overlook the port, and then the Portuguese fleet ventured out for a few days. It dared not show fight, however, and was driven back by the flag-ship, which returned on the 2nd of June. "On the 11th of June," said Lord Cochrane, "information was received that the enemy was seriously thinking of evacuating the port before the fireships were completed. I therefore ordered the Maria de Gloria to water and re-victual for three months, so as to be in readiness for anything which might occur, as, in case the rumour proved correct, our operations might take a different turn to those previous intended. The Piranga was also directed to have everything in readiness for weighing immediately on the flag-ship appearing off the Moro and making signals to that effect. The whole squadron was at the same time ordered to re-victual, and to place its surplus articles in a large shed constructed of trees and branches felled in the neighbourhood of the Moro. Whilst the other ships were thus engaged, I determined to increase the panic of the enemy with the flag-ship alone. The position of their fleet was about nine miles up the bay, under shelter of fortifications, so that an attack by day would have been more perilous than prudent. Nevertheless, it appeared practicable to pay them a hostile visit on the first dark night, when, if we were unable to effect any serious mischief, it would at least be possible to ascertain their exact position, and to judge what could be accomplished when the fireships were brought to bear upon them.
"Accordingly," the narrative proceeds, "having during the day carefully taken bearings at the mouth of the river, on the night of the 12th of June, I decided on making the attempt, which might possibly result in the destruction of part of the enemy's fleet, in consequence of the confused manner in which the ships were anchored. As soon as it became dark we proceeded up the river; but, unfortunately, when we were within hail of the outermost ship, the wind failed, and, the tide soon after turning, our plan of attack was rendered abortive. Determined, however, to complete the reconnoisance, we threaded our way amongst the outermost vessels. In spite of the darkness, the presence of a strange ship under sail was discovered, and some beat to quarters, hailing to know what ship it was. The reply, 'An English vessel,' satisfied them, however, and so our investigation was not molested. The chief object thus accomplished, we succeeded in dropping out with the ebb-tide, now rapidly running, and were enabled to steady our course stern-foremost with the stream anchor adrag, whereby we reached our former position."
That exploit was more daring than Lord Cochrane's modest description would imply; and, though the bold hope that it might be possible for a single invading ship to conquer the whole Portuguese squadron in its moorings was not realized, the effect was all that could be desired. The Portuguese Admiral and his chief officers were at a ball in Bahia while Lord Cochrane was quietly sailing round and amongst their squadron, and the report of this achievement was brought to them in the midst of their festivities. "What!" exclaimed the Admiral, "Lord Cochrane's line-of-battle ship in the very midst of our fleet! Impossible! No large ship can have come up in the dark." When it was known that the thing had really been done, and that the construction of fireships at the Moro San Paulo was being rapidly proceeded with, the Portuguese authorities, both naval and military, considered that it would be no longer safe to remain in Bahia Harbour. They were seriously inconvenienced, moreover, by the success with which Lord Cochrane had blockaded the port and all its approaches. "The means of subsistence fail us, and we cannot secure the entrance of any provisions," said the Commander-in-Chief, in the proclamation intimating that the so-called defenders of the province were thinking of abandoning their post. This they did after a fortnight's consideration. On the 2nd of July the whole squadron of thirteen warvessels and about seventy merchantmen and transports, filled with a large body of troops, evacuated the port.
That was a movement with which Lord Cochrane was well pleased. He had been in doubt as to the prudence of leading his small fleet into a desperate action in the harbour, by which the inexperience of his crews might ruin everything, and which might have to be followed by fighting on land. But now that the Portuguese, both soldiers and sailors, were in the open sea, he could give them chase without much risk, as, in the event of their turning round upon him with more valour than he gave them credit for, the worst that could happen would be his forced abandonment of the pursuit. The valour was not shown. No sooner were the Portuguese out of port, with their sails set for Maranham, where they hoped to join other ships and troops, and so augment their strength, than Lord Cochrane proceeded to follow them and dog their progress.
His scheme was a bold one, but as successful as it was bold. Attended first by the Maria de Gloria alone, and afterwards by the Carolina, the Nitherohy, and a small merchant brig, the Colonel Allen, in which he had placed a few guns, he pursued and harassed the cumbrous crowd of Portuguese warships, troop-ships, and trading vessels, about eighty in all, through fourteen days. The chase, indeed, was practically conducted by his flag-ship, the Pedro Primiero, alone. The other vessels were ordered to look out for any of the enemy's fleet that lagged behind or were borne away from the main body of the fugitives, either to the right hand or to the left. Of these there were plenty, and none were allowed to escape. The pursuers had easy work in prize-taking. "I have the honour to inform you," wrote Lord Cochrane in a concise despatch to the Brazilian Minister of Marine, on the 7th of July, "that half the enemy's army, their colours, cannon, ammunition, stores, and baggage have been taken. We are still in pursuit, and shall endeavour to intercept the remainder of the troops, and shall then look after the ships of war, which would have been my first object but that, in pursuing this course, the military would have escaped to occasion further hostilities against the Brazilian empire."
Most of his prizes and prisoners Lord Cochrane sent into Pernambuco, the port then nearest to him, and he despatched two officers to hold Bahia for Brazil. With his flag-ship he continued his pursuit of the enemy, losing them once during a fog, and, when, he found them, being prevented from doing all the mischief which he hoped, as a calm enabled them to keep close together and present a front too formidable for attack by a single assailant. The Portuguese, however, continued their flight as soon as the wind permitted. Lord Cochrane did not trouble them much during the day, but each night he swept down on them, like a hawk upon its prey, and harassed them with wonderful effect. They were chased past Fernando Island, past the Equator, and more than half way to Cape Verde. Then, on the 16th of July, Lord Cochrane, after a parting broadside, left them to make their way in peace to Lisbon, there to tell how, by one daring vessel, thirteen ships of war had been ignominiously driven home, accompanied by only thirteen out of the seventy vessels that had placed themselves under their protection.
Lord Cochrane would have continued the pursuit still farther, had not some of the troop-ships contrived to escape; and as he was anxious that these should not get into shelter at Maranham, or, if there, should not have time to recover their spirits, he deemed it best to hasten thither. He reached Maranham before them, and thus found it possible to carry through an excellent expedient which he had devised on the way.
Maranham, the wealthiest province of the old Brazilian colony, was best guarded by the Portuguese, and now served as the centre and stronghold of resistance to the authority of the new Emperor. Lord Cochrane's plan had for its object nothing less than the annexation of the whole province singlehanded and without a blow. With this intent, he entered the River Maranham, which served as a harbour to the port of the same name, on the 26th of July, with Portuguese colours flying from the mast of the Pedro Primiero. The authorities, deceived thereby, promptly sent a messenger with despatches and congratulations on the safe arrival of what was supposed to be a valuable reinforcement from Portugal. The messenger was soon undeceived, but Lord Cochrane at once made him the agent of a much more elaborate and altogether justifiable deception Announcing to him that the swift sailing of the Pedro Primiero had brought her first to Maranham, but that she was being followed by a formidable squadron, intended for the invasion of the province, he sent him back with letters to the same effect, addressed to the Portuguese commandant and to the local Junta of Maranham. "The naval and military forces under my command," he wrote to the former, "leave me no room to doubt the success of the enterprise in which I am about to engage, in order to free the province of Maranham from foreign domination, and to allow the people free choice of government. Of the flight of the Portuguese naval and military forces from Bahia you are aware. I have now to inform you of the capture of two-thirds of the transports and troops, with all their stores and ammunition. I am anxious not to let loose the imperial troops of Bahia upon Maranham, exasperated as they are at the injuries and cruelties exercised towards themselves and their countrymen, as well as by the plunder of the people and churches of Bahia. It is for you to decide whether the inhabitants of these countries shall be further exasperated by resistance, which appears to me unavailing, and alike prejudicial to the best interests of Portugal and Brazil," "The forces of his Imperial Majesty," he said to the Junta, "having freed the city and province of Bahia from the enemies of independence, I now hasten—in conformity with the will of his Majesty that the beautiful province of Maranham should be free also—to offer to the oppressed inhabitants whatever aid and protection they need against a foreign yoke; desiring to accomplish their liberation and to hail them as brethren and friends. Should there, however, be any who, from self-interested motives, oppose themselves to the deliverance of their country, let such be assured that the naval and military forces which have driven the Portuguese from the south are again ready to draw the sword in the like just cause, and the result cannot be long doubtful."
Those mingled promises and threats took prompt effect. On the following day, the 27th of July, after a conditional offer of capitulation had been rejected, the members of the Junta, the Bishop of Maranham, and other leading persons, went on board the Pedro Primiero to tender their submission to the Emperor of Brazil. The city and forts were surrendered without reserve, and in less than twenty-four hours from Lord Cochrane's first appearance in the river the flag of Portugal was replaced by that of Brazil. A great province had been added to the dominions of Pedro I. without bloodshed, and with no more expenditure of ammunition than was needed for the volleys discharged in honour of the triumph.
The liberation of Maranham was publicly celebrated on the 28th of July, and on the following day the Portuguese troops embarked for Europe, special concessions being made to them by Lord Cochrane, who deemed it well that they should be out of the way before the device by which he had outwitted them was made known. No resentment was to be expected from the civilians, as even those most hearty in their adherence to the Portuguese faction in Brazil would not dare to offer direct opposition to the sentiments of the majority. But Lord Cochrane wisely set himself to conciliate all. "To the inhabitants of the city," he said, "I was careful to accord complete liberty, claiming in return that perfect order should be preserved and property of all kinds respected. The delight of the people was unbounded at being freed from a terrible system of exaction and imprisonment which, when I entered the river, was being carried on with unrelenting rigour by the Portuguese authorities towards all suspected of a leaning to the Imperial Government. Instead of retaliating, as would have been gratifying to those so recently labouring under oppression, I directed oaths to the constitution to be administered, not to Brazilians only, but also to all Portuguese who chose to remain and conform to the new order of things; a privilege of which many influential persons of that nation availed themselves."
With the capture of Maranham alone, however, Lord Cochrane was not satisfied. Without a day's delay, he despatched a Portuguese brig which he had seized in the river and christened by its name, under Captain Grenfell, to follow at Para, the only important province of Brazil still under the Portuguese yoke, the same course which he had just adopted with such wonderful success. He himself found it necessary to remain at Maranham for more than two months, where he had to curb with a strong hand the passions of the liberated inhabitants, eager to use their liberty in lawless ways and to retaliate upon the Portuguese still resident among them for all the hardships which they had hitherto endured.
On the 20th of September, having heard that Captain Grenfell had entirely succeeded in his designs on Para, he started for Rio de Janeiro, and there he arrived on the 9th of November. "I immediately forwarded to the Minister of Marine," he said, "a recapitulation of all transactions since my departure seven months before; namely,—the evacuation of Bahia by the Portuguese in consequence of our nocturnal visit, connected with the dread of my reputed skill in the use of fireships, arising from the affair of Basque Roads; the pursuit of their fleet beyond the Equator, and the dispersion of its convoy; the capture and disabling of the transports filled with troops intended to maintain Portuguese domination on Maranham and Para; the device adopted to obtain the surrender, to the Pedro Primiero alone, of the enemy's naval and military forces at Maranham; the capitulation of Para, with the ships of war, to my summons sent by Captain Grenfell; the deliverance of the Brazilian patriots whom the Portuguese had imprisoned; the declaration of independence by the intermediate provinces thus liberated, and their union with the empire; the appointment of provisional governments; the embarkation and departure of every Portuguese soldier from Brazil; and the enthusiasm with which all my measures—though unauthorised and therefore extra-official—had been, received by the people of the northern provinces, who, thus relieved from the dread of further oppression, had everywhere acknowledged and proclaimed his Majesty as constitutional Emperor."
Lord Cochrane's services had, indeed, been, many of them, "unauthorised and therefore extra-official." He had been sent out merely to recover Bahia; but, besides doing that, he had gained for Brazil other territories more than half as large as Europe. For this, however, nothing but gratitude could be shown, and the gratitude was, for the time at any rate, unalloyed. On the very day of the Pedro Primiero's return, the Emperor went on board to offer his thanks in person. Further, thanks were voted by the legislature, and tendered by all classes of the people.
"Taking into consideration the great services which your excellency has just rendered to the nation," wrote the Emperor on the 25th of November, "and desiring to give your excellency a public testimonial of gratitude for those high and extraordinary services on behalf of the generous Brazilian people, who will ever preserve a lively remembrance of such illustrious acts, I deem it right to confer upon your excellency the title of Marquis of Maranham." The decoration of the Imperial Order of the Cruizeiro was also bestowed upon Lord Cochrane, and on the 19th of December he was made a Privy Councillor of Brazil, the highest honour which it was in the Emperor's power to grant. On the same day he also received from the Emperor a charter confirming his rank and emoluments as First Admiral of Brazil, "seeing how advantageous it would be for the interests of this empire to avail itself of the skill of so valuable an officer," and in recognition of "the valour, intelligence, and activity by which he had distinguished himself in the different services with which he had been entrusted."
THE NATURE OF THE REWARDS BESTOWED ON LORD COCHRANE FOR HIS FIRST SERVICES TO BRAZIL.—PEDRO I. AND THE PORTUGUESE FACTION.—LORD COCHRANE'S ADVICE TO THE EMPEROR.—THE FRESH TROUBLES BROUGHT UPON HIM BY IT.—THE UNJUST TREATMENT ADOPTED TOWARDS HIM AND THE FLEET.—THE WITHHOLDING OF PRIZE-MONEY AND PAY.—PERSONAL INDIGNITIES TO LORD COCHRANE.—AN AMUSING EPISODE.—LORD COCHRANE'S THREAT OF RESIGNATION, AND ITS EFFECT.—SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH'S ALLUSION TO LORD COCHRANE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
All the rewards bestowed upon Lord Cochrane for his wonderful successes in the northern part of Brazil, except the confirmation of his patent as First Admiral, be it noted, were unsubstantial. He had for ever crushed the power of Portugal in South America; he had added vast provinces to the imperial dominion, and had thus augmented the imperial revenues by considerably more than a million dollars a-year, besides the great and immediate profits of his prize-taking. And all this had been done with a small fleet, poorly equipped and unpaid. The ships entrusted to him had been rendered efficient by his own ingenuity, unaided by the Government, and with scant addition to his resources from the numerous captures made by him. In excess of his instructions, and with nothing but cheap compliments and cheaper promises to encourage him, he had acquired Maranham and Para, and all the provinces dependent upon them, as well as Bahia. Relying on the honour of his employers, he had pledged his own honour, that on their returning to Rio de Janeiro, his crews, who were clamouring for some part, at any rate, of the wages due to them, should be fully recompensed, and he had the reasonable expectation, that, out of the abundant wealth that he had gained for Brazil, he himself should receive his lawful share of the prize-money gained by his exertions. Instead of that he and his subordinates, both officers and men, were subjected to an unparalleled course of meanness, trickery, and fraud.
This partly resulted from an unfortunate change in the Government that had occurred during his absence. When he left Rio de Janeiro, Pedro I.'s chief secretary of state had been Don Jose Bonifacio de Andrada y Silva, a wise and patriotic Brazilian. The Emperor and his minister had all along been seriously crippled in fulfilment of their good purposes by subordinates of the Portuguese faction, who persistently twisted their instructions, when they did not act in direct opposition to those instructions, so as to promote their own and their countrymen's selfish and unpatriotic objects; but there had been hope that the zeal of Pedro and Jose de Andrada would overcome these evil devices, and secure the healthy consolidation of the empire. When Lord Cochrane returned, however, he found that the honest minister had been deposed, that his party had been ousted, and that the Emperor was surrounded by bad counsellors, who, unable to pervert his judgment, were strong enough to restrain its action, and who were robbing him, one by one, of all his constitutional functions, and doing their best to bring Brazil into a state of anarchy, with a view to the re-establishment of Portuguese authority in its old or in some new but no less obnoxious form. The Emperor, desiring to do well, had hardly improved his position, a few days before the Pedro Primiero's arrival, by violently dissolving the Legislative Assembly, banishing some of its members, and threatening to place Rio de Janeiro itself under military law.
That was the state of affairs when Lord Cochrane entered the port. Only five days afterwards, on the 14th of November, 1823, he wrote a bold letter to the Emperor. "My sense of the impropriety of intruding myself on the attention of your Imperial Majesty on any subject unconnected with the official position with which your Majesty has been pleased to honour me," he said, "could only have been overcome by an irresistible desire, under existing circumstances, to contribute to the service of your Majesty, and the empire. The conduct of the late Legislative Assembly, which sought to derogate from the dignity and prerogatives of your Majesty, even presuming to require you to divest yourself of your crown in their presence—which deprived you of your Council of State and denied you a voice in the enactment of laws and the formation of the constitution—and which dared to object to your exercising the only remaining function of royalty, that of rewarding services and conferring honours—could no longer be tolerated; and the justice and wisdom of your Imperial Majesty in dissolving such an assembly will be duly appreciated by discerning men, and by those whose love of good order and their country supersedes their ambition or personal interests. There are, however, individuals who will wickedly take advantage of the late proceedings to kindle the flames of discord, and throw the empire into anarchy and confusion, unless timely prevented by the wisdom and energy of your Imperial Majesty. The declaration that you will give to your people a practical constitution, more free even than that which the late Assembly professed an intention to establish, cannot—considering the spirit which now pervades South America—have the effect of averting impending evils, unless your Imperial Majesty shall be pleased to dissipate all doubts by at once declaring—before the news of the recent events can be dispersed throughout the provinces, and before the discontented members of the late congress can return to their constituents—what is the precise nature of that constitution which your Imperial Majesty intends to bestow. As no monarch is more happy or more truly powerful than the limited monarch of England, surrounded by a free people, enriched by that industry which the security of property by means of just laws never fails to create, permit me humbly and respectfully to suggest, that if your Majesty were to decree that the English constitution, in its most perfect practical form—which, with slight alteration, and chiefly in name, is also the constitution of the United States of North America—shall be the model for the government of Brazil under your Imperial Majesty, with power to the Constituent Assembly to alter particular parts as local circumstances may render advisable, it would excite the sympathy of powerful states abroad, and the firm allegiance of the Brazilian people to your Majesty's throne. Were your Majesty, by a few brief lines in the 'Gazette,' to announce your intention so to do, and were you to banish all distrust from the public mind by removing from your person for a time, and finding employment on honourable missions abroad for, those Portuguese individuals of whom the Brazilians are jealous, the purity of your Majesty's motives would be secured from the possibility of misrepresentation, the factions which disturb the country would be silenced or converted, and the feelings of the world, especially those of England and North America, would be interested in promoting the glory, happiness, and prosperity of your Imperial Majesty."
That advice, in the main adopted by the Emperor, led to a reconstruction of the Brazilian Constitution in its present shape, and so added another to the many great benefits which Brazil owes to Lord Cochrane. But the whole, and especially the last part of it, being directly at variance with the plans and interests of the Portuguese faction, it won for him much hatred and many personal troubles.
"That I, a foreigner, having nothing to do with national politics," he said, "should have counselled his Majesty to banish those who opposed him, was not to be borne, and the resentment caused by my recent services was increased to bitter enmity for meddling in affairs which, it was considered, did not concern me; though I could have had no other object than the good of the empire by the establishment of a constitution which should give it stability in the estimation of European states."
Consequently, in return for the great services he had conferred to Brazil, he received, as had been the case in Chili, little but insult and injury, the course of insult and injury being hardly stayed even during the period in which he was needed to engage in further services. The Emperor honestly tried to be generous; but he could not rid himself of the Portuguese faction, generally dominant in Brazil, and his worthy intentions were thwarted in every possible way. With difficulty could he secure for Lord Cochrane the confirmation of his patent as First Admiral, which has been already referred to. No great resistance was made to his conferment of the empty title of Marquis of Maranham, but he was not allowed to make the grant of land which was intended to go with the title and enable it to be borne with dignity. Prevented from being generous, he was even hindered from exercising the barest justice.
The injustice was shown not only to Lord Cochrane, but also to all the officers and crews who, serving under him, had enabled Brazil to maintain its resistance to the tyranny of Portugal, though not to shake off the tyranny of the faction which still had the interests of Portugal at heart. It is not necessary to describe in detail the long course of ill-usage to which he and his subordinates were exposed. Part of that ill-usage will be best and most briefly indicated by citing a portion of an eloquent memorial which Lord Cochrane addressed to the Imperial Government on the 30th of January, 1825.
The memorial began by enumerating the achievements of the fleet at Bahia, Maranham, Para, and elsewhere. "The imperial squadron," it proceeds, "made sail for Rio de Janeiro, in the full expectation of reaping a reward for their labours; not only because they had been mainly instrumental in rescuing from the hands of the Portuguese, and adding to the imperial dominion, one half of the empire; but also because their hopes seemed to be firmly grounded, independently of such services, on the capture of upwards of one hundred transports and merchant vessels, exclusive of ships of war, all of which, they had a just right to expect, would, under the existing laws, be adjudged to the captors. The whole of them were seized under Portuguese colours, with Portuguese registers, manned by Portuguese seamen, having on board Portuguese troops and ammunition or Portuguese produce and manufacture. On arriving at Rio de Janeiro, there was no feeling but one of satisfaction among the officers and seamen, and the Brazilian marine might from that moment, without the expense of one milrei to the nation, have been rapidly raised to a state of efficiency and discipline which had not yet been attained in any marine in South America, and which the navies of Portugal and Spain do not possess. It could not, however, be long concealed from the knowledge of the squadron that political or other reasons had prevented any proceedings being had in the adjudication of their prizes; and the extraordinary declaration that was made by the Tribunal of Prizes,—'that they were not aware that hostilities existed between Brazil and Portugal'—led to an inquiry of whom that tribunal was composed. All surprise at so extraordinary a declaration then ceased; but other sentiments injurious to the imperial service, arose,—those of indignation and disgust that the power of withholding their rights should be placed in the hands of persons who were natives of that very nation against which they were employed in war. His Imperial Majesty, however, having signified to this tribunal his pleasure that they should delay no longer in proceeding to the adjudication of the captured vessels, the result was that, in almost every instance, at the commencement of their proceedings, the vessels were condemned, not as lawful prizes to the captors, but as droits to the Crown. His Majesty was then pleased to desire that the said droits should be granted to the squadron, and about one-fifth part of the value of the prizes taken was eventually paid under the denomination of a 'grant of the droits of the Crown.' But when this decree of his Imperial Majesty was promulgated, the tribunal altered their course of proceeding, and, instead of condemning to the Crown, did, in almost every remaining instance, pronounce the acquittal of the vessels captured, and adjudged them to be given up to pretended Brazilian owners, notwithstanding that Brazilian property embarked in enemy's vessels was, by the law, declared to be forfeited; and that, too, with such indecent precipitancy that, in cases where the hull only had been claimed, the cargo also was decreed to be given up to the claimants of the hull, without any part of it having, at any time, been even pretended to be their property. Other ships and cargoes were given up without any form of trial, and without any intimation whatever to the captors and their agents; and, in most cases, costs and quadruple damages were unjustly decreed against the captors, to the amount of 300,000 milreis. That the prizes of which the captors were thus fraudulently deprived, chiefly under the unlawful and false pretence of their belonging to Brazilians, were really the property of Portuguese and well known so to be by the said tribunal, has since been fully demonstrated, by the arrival in Lisbon of the whole of the vessels liberated by their decisions. Thus the charge of a system of wilful injustice, brought by the squadron against the Portuguese Tribunal of Prizes at Rio de Janeiro, is established beyond the possibility of contradiction."
It was only an aggravation of that injustice that, when Lord Cochrane claimed the prompt and equitable adjudication of the prizes, an attempt was made to silence him on the 24th of November by a message from the Minister of Marine, to the effect that the Emperor would do everything in his power for him personally. "His Majesty," answered Lord Cochrane, "has already conferred honours upon me quite equal to my merits, and the greatest personal favour he can bestow is to urge on the speedy adjudication of the prizes, so that the officers and seamen may reap the reward decreed by the Emperor's own authority."
A hardship to the fleet even greater than the withholding of its prize-money was the withholding of the arrears of pay, which had been accumulating ever since the departure from Rio de Janeiro in April. On the 27th of November, three months' wages were offered to men to whom more than twice the amount was due. This they indignantly refused, and all Lord Cochrane's tact was needed to restrain them from open mutiny.
In spite of the Emperor's friendship towards Lord Cochrane, or rather in consequence of it, he was in all sorts of ways insulted by the ministry, the head of which was now Severiano da Costa. A new ship, the Atulanta, was on the 27th of December, without reference to him, ordered for service at Monte Video. He was on the same day publicly described as "Commander of the Naval Forces in the Port of Rio de Janeiro," being thus placed on a level with other officers in the service of which, by the Emperor's patent, he was First Admiral, and no notice was taken of his protest against that insult. On the 24th of February he was gazetted as "Commander-in-Chief of all the Naval Forces of the Empire during the present war," by which his functions, though not now limited in extent, were limited in time. At length, reasonably indignant at these and other violations of the contract made with him, he offered to resign his command altogether. "If I thought that the course pursued towards me was dictated by his Imperial Majesty," he wrote to the Minister of Marine on the 20th of March, "it would be impossible for me to remain an hour longer in his service, and I should feel it my duty, at the earliest possible moment, to lay my commission at his feet. If I have not done so before, from the treatment which, in common with the navy. I have experienced, it has been solely from an anxious desire to promote his Majesty's real interests. Indeed, to struggle against prejudices, and at the same time against those in power whose prepossessions are at variance with the interests of his Majesty and the tranquillity and independence of Brazil, is a task to which I am by no means equal. I am, therefore, perfectly willing to resign the situation I hold, rather than contend against difficulties which appear to me insurmountable."[A]
[Footnote A: See Appendix (III).]
That letter was answered with complimentary phrases, and Lord Cochrane was induced to continue in the employment from which he could not be spared; but there was no diminution of the ill-treatment to which he was subjected. One special indignity was attended by some amusing incidents. On the 3rd of June, while he was residing on shore, it was proposed to search his flag-ship, on the pretext that he had there concealed large sums of money which were the property of the nation. "Late in the evening," he said, "I received a visit from Madame Bonpland, the talented wife of the distinguished French naturalist. This lady, who had singular opportunities for becoming acquainted with state secrets, came expressly to inform me that my house was at that moment surrounded by a guard of soldiers. She further informed me that, under the pretence of a review to be held at the opposite side of the harbour early in the following morning, preparations had been made by the ministers to board the flag-ship, which was to be thoroughly overhauled whilst I was detained on shore, and all the money found taken possession of. Thanking my friend for her timely warning, I clambered over my garden fence, as the only practicable way to the stables, selected a horse, and, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, proceeded to San Christoval, the country palace of the Emperor, where, on my arrival, I demanded to see his Majesty. The request being refused by the gentleman in waiting, in such a way as to confirm the statement of Madame Bonpland, I dared him at his peril to refuse me admission, adding that the matter on which I had come was fraught with grave consequences to his Majesty and the empire. 'But,' said he, 'his Majesty has retired to bed long ago.' 'No matter,' I replied; 'in bed or not in bed, I demand to see him, in virtue of my privilege of access to him at all times, and, if you refuse to concede permission, look to the consequences.' His Majesty was not, however, asleep, and, the royal chamber being close at hand, he recognized my voice in the altercation with the attendant. Hastily coming out of his apartments, he asked what could have brought me there at that time of night. My reply was that, understanding that the troops ordered for review were destined to proceed to the flag-ship in search of supposed treasure, I had come to request his Majesty immediately to appoint confidential persons to accompany me on board, when the keys of every chest in the ship should be placed in their hands and every place thrown open to inspection, but that, if any of his anti-Brazilian administration ventured to board the ship in perpetration of the contemplated insult, they would certainly be regarded as pirates and treated as such; adding at the same time, 'Depend upon it, they are not more my enemies than the enemies of your Majesty and the empire, and an intrusion so unwarrantable the officers and crew are bound to resist.' 'Well,' replied his Majesty, 'you seem to be apprised of everything; but the plot is not mine, being, as far as I am concerned, convinced that no money would be found more than we already know of from yourself.' I then entreated his Majesty to take such steps for my justification as would be satisfactory to the public. 'There is no necessity for any,' he replied. 'But how to dispense with the review is the puzzle. I will be ill in the morning; so go home and think no more of the matter. I give you my word, your flag shall not be outraged.' The Emperor kept his word, and in the night was taken suddenly ill. As his Majesty was really beloved by his Brazilian subjects, all the native respectability of Rio was early next day on its way to the palace to inquire after the royal health, and ordering my carriage, I also proceeded to the palace, lest my absence might seem singular. On my entering the room,—where the Emperor was in the act of explaining the nature of his disease to the anxious inquirers,—his Majesty burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, in which I as heartily joined, the bystanders evidently, from the gravity of their countenances, considering that we had both taken leave of our senses. The ministers looked astounded, but said nothing. His Majesty kept his secret, and I was silent."
That anecdote fairly illustrates the treatment adopted towards Lord Cochrane, and the straits to which the Emperor was reduced in his efforts to protect him from his enemies in power. The ill-treatment both of himself and of the whole fleet continuing, he addressed an indignant protest to his Majesty in July. "The time has at length arrived," he there said, "when it is impossible to doubt that the influence which the Portuguese faction has so long exerted, with the view of depriving the officers and seamen of their stipulated rights, has succeeded in its object, and has even prevailed against the expressed wishes and intentions of your Majesty. The determined perseverance in a course so opposed to justice must come to an end. The general discontent which prevails in the squadron has rendered the situation in which I am placed one of the most embarrassing description; for, though a few may be aware that my own cause of complaint is equal to theirs, many cannot perceive the consistency of my patient continuance in the service with disapprobation of the measures pursued. Even the honours which your Majesty has been pleased to bestow upon me are deemed by most of the officers, and by the whole of the men, who know not the assiduity with which I have persevered in earnest but unavailing remonstrance, as a bribe by which I have been induced to abandon their interests. Much, therefore, as I prize those honours, as the gracious gift of your Imperial Majesty, yet, holding in still dearer estimation my character as an officer and a man, I cannot hesitate in choosing which to sacrifice when the retention of both is evidently incompatible. I can, therefore, no longer delay to demonstrate to the squadron and the world that I am no partner in the deceptions and oppressions which are practised on the naval service; and, as the first and most painful step in the performance of this imperious duty, I crave permission, with all humility and respect, to return those honours, and lay them at the feet of your Imperial Majesty. I should, however, fall short of my duty to those who were induced to enter the service by my example or invitation, were I to do nothing more than convince them that I had been deceived. It is incumbent on me to make every effort to obtain for them the fulfilment of engagements for which I made myself responsible. As far as I am personally concerned, I could be content to quit the service of your Imperial Majesty, either with or without the expectation of obtaining compensation at a future period. After effectually fighting the battles of freedom and independence on both sides of South America, and clearing the two seas of every vessel of war, I could submit to return to my native country unrewarded; but I cannot submit to adopt any course which shall not redeem my pledge to my brother officers and seamen."
That and other arguments contained in the same letter, aided by inducements of a different sort, to be presently referred to, had partial effect. A small portion of the prize-money and wages due to the squadron was issued, and Lord Cochrane remained for another year in the service of Brazil. His weary waiting-time at Rio de Janeiro, however, extending over nearly nine months, was almost at an end. On the 2nd of August he left it, never to return.
While the ingratitude shown to him in Brazil was at its worst it is interesting to notice that a few, at any rate, of his own countrymen were remembering his past troubles and his present worth. On the 21st of June, Sir James Mackintosh, in one of the many speeches in the British House of Commons in which he nobly advocated the recognition of the independence of the South American states, both as a political duty and as a necessary measure in the interests of commerce, made a graceful allusion to Lord Cochrane. "I know," he said, "that I am here touching on a topic of great delicacy; but I must say that commerce has been gallantly protected by that extraordinary man who was once a British officer, who once filled a distinguished post in the British navy at the brightest period of its annals. I mention this circumstance with struggling and mingled emotions—emotions of pride that the individual I speak of is a Briton, emotions of regret that he is no longer a British officer. Can any one imagine a more gallant action than the cutting out of the Esmeralda from Callao? Never was there a greater display of judgment, calmness, and enterprising British valour than was shown on that memorable occasion. No man ever felt a more ardent, a more inextinguishable love of country, a more anxious desire to promote its interests and extend its prosperity, than the gallant individual to whom I allude. I speak for myself. No person is responsible for the opinions which I now utter. But ask, what native of this country can help wishing that such a man were again amongst us? I hope I shall be excused for saying thus much; but I cannot avoid fervently wishing that such advice may be given to the Crown by his Majesty's constitutional advisers as will induce his Majesty graciously to restore Lord Cochrane to the country which he so warmly loves, and to that noble service to the glory of which, I am convinced, he willingly would sacrifice every earthly consideration."
THE INSURRECTION IN PERNAMBUCO.—LORD COCHRANE's EXPEDITION TO SUPPRESS IT.—THE SUCCESS OF HIS WORK.—HIS STAY AT MARANHAM.—THE DISORGANISED STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THAT PROVINCE.—LORD COCHRANE's EFFORTS TO RESTORE ORDER AND GOOD GOVERNMENT.—THEIR RESULT IN FURTHER TROUBLE TO HIMSELF.—HIS CRUISE IN THE "PIRANGA," AND RETURN TO ENGLAND.—THE FRESH INDIGNITIES THERE OFFERED TO HIM.—HIS RETIREMENT FROM BRAZILIAN SERVICE.—HIS LETTER TO THE EMPEROR PEDRO I.—THE END OF HIS SOUTH AMERICAN EMPLOYMENTS.
The political turmoils which Lord Cochrane found to be prevalent in Rio de Janeiro, on his return from Maranham, were, as he had anticipated, very disastrous to the whole Brazilian empire. The unpatriotic action of men in power at head-quarters encouraged yet more unpatriotic action in the outlying and newly-acquired provinces. Portuguese sympathizers in Pernambuco, in Maranham, and in the neighbouring districts, following the policy of the Portuguese faction at the centre of government, and acting even more unworthily, induced serious trouble; and the trouble was aggravated by the fierce opposition which was in many cases offered to them. Before the end of 1823 information arrived that an insurrection, having for its object the establishment in the northern provinces of a government distinct from both Brazil and Portugal, had broken out in Pernambuco, and nearly every week brought fresh intelligence of the spread of this insurrection and of the troubles induced by it. The Emperor Pedro I. was eager to send thither the squadron under Lord Cochrane, and so to win back the allegiance of the inhabitants; and for this Lord Cochrane was no less eager. To the Portuguese partizans, however, whose great effort was to weaken the resources of the empire, the news of the insurrection was welcome; and perhaps their strongest inducement to the long course of injustice detailed in the last chapter was the knowledge that by so doing they were most successfully preventing the despatch of an armament strong enough to restore order in the northern provinces. Herein they prospered. For more than six months the Emperor was prevented from suppressing the insurrection, which all through that time was extending and becoming more and more formidable. Not till July was anything done to satisfy the claims of the seamen for payment of their prize-money and the arrears of wages due to them, without which they refused to return to their work and render possible the equipment and despatch of the squadron; and even then only 200,000 milreis—less than a tenth of the prize-money that was owing—were granted as an instalment of the payment to be made to them.