The first of these volumes forms a history of the consolidation of Chilian independence, and of the subsequent liberation of Peru—through the instrumentality of the Chilian squadron under my command; a service which called forth from the Governments and people of the liberated states the warmest expressions of gratitude to the naval service collectively, and to myself personally, as having planned and conducted the operations whereby these results were attained.
It records also the strangely inconsistent fact that—beyond these marks of national approbation—neither Chili nor Peru ever awarded to the squadron or myself any more substantial reward—though, in a pecuniary sense, deeply indebted to us; for, during the greater portion of the war of independence, the subsistence of the crews, and the repairs and equipment of the Chilian squadron were solely provided for by our own exertions, without cost to the Government; since, in addition to the capture of Spanish ships-of-war and merchant vessels—money, provisions, and stores to a great extent fell into our hands; all of which—though our own stipulated right—were voluntarily devoted to state exigencies, in the full conviction that, at the expiration of the war, the value of our sacrifices would, as a point of national honour, be returned to us by Chili. As regards Peru, our still unpaid for captures of ships-of-war formed her first naval force, for which the only requital has been, a vote of her first National Assembly—almost its inaugural act—ascribing to me the double praise of her liberation from the Spanish yoke, and of her subsequent deliverance from an intolerable military tyranny.
The volume contains another point, which forms a yet stranger sequel to my services on the Western shores of South America. After the expiration of thirty years, Chili granted me the absurdly inadequate sum of L.6,000 in full of all my claims! And this, with the knowledge that, after my return to England I was involved in litigation on account of the legal seizure of vessels under the orders of her former Government—by which I was subjected to a loss, directly and indirectly, of more than three times the amount. The Chilian portion of this history, therefore, resolves itself into the fact, that not only did I reap no reward whatever, for the liberation of Chili and Peru, but that the independence of both countries was achieved at a heavy pecuniary sacrifice to myself! in compensation for which, as well as for my recognised services—Chili has thought its national honour sufficiently vindicated by allotting me one-third of my losses only, without other compensation of any kind! I regret to add, that my necessities at the time, arising for the most part from the pecuniary difficulties to which I had been subjected on Chilian account, compelled me to accept the amount tendered.