Where the Portuguese party was really to blame, consisted in this,—that seeing disorder everywhere more or less prevalent, they strained every nerve to increase it, hoping thereby to paralyse 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, thereby 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, not all the so-called concessions made by De Andrada 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 was alike foreign to my nature and inclination.
ATTEMPT TO CUT OFF THE ENEMY’S SHIPS—DISOBEDIENCE TO ORDERS—LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER—WORTHLESSNESS OF THE MEN—THEIR TREACHERY—BLOCKADE ESTABLISHED—EQUIPMENT OF FIRESHIPS—ENEMY’S SUPPLIES CUT OFF—PORTUGUESE UNTRUSTWORTHY—DEMONSTRATIONS OF THE ENEMY—HIS PRETENDED CONTEMPT FOR US—THE ENEMY RETURNS TO PORT—THEIR CONSTERNATION AT THE FIRESHIPS—PORTUGUESE CONTEMPLATE ATTACKING US—FLAGSHIP RECONNOITRES ENEMY AT ANCHOR—EXCESSIVE ALARM AT MY NOCTURNAL VISIT—PROCLAMATION OF THE COMMANDANT—CONSTERNATION IN THE CITY—THE AUTHORITIES DECIDE ON EVACUATING BAHIA—INSTRUCTIONS TO THE BRAZILIAN CAPTAINS—WARNINGS ADDRESSED TO THE AUTHORITIES—ENEMY QUITS BAHIA—READINESS FOR CHASE—NUMBERS OF THE ENEMY—CAPTURE OF THE CONVOY—PRIZES DISABLED—ATTEMPT OF TROOPS TO ESCAPE—PRIZES SENT TO PERNAMBUCO—PURSUIT DISCONTINUED—REASONS FOR GOING TO MARANHAM—REASONS FOR NOT TAKING MORE PRIZES—ADVANTAGES TO THE EMPIRE.
On the 3rd of April, we put to sea with a squadron of four ships only, viz. the Pedro Primiero, Captain Crosbie, Piranga, Captain Jowett, Maria de Gloria, Captain Beaurepaire, and Liberal, Captain Garcao—two others which accompanied us, viz. the Guarani, Captain de Coito, and Real, Captain de Castro, were intended as fireships. Two vessels of war, the Paraguassu and the Nitherohy, being incomplete in their equipment, were of necessity left behind.