Consequent upon my refusal to comply with his wishes the Protector shortly afterwards, unknown to me, despatched Colonel Paroissien and Garcia del Rio to Chili with a long series of the most preposterous accusations, in which I was represented as having committed every species of crime, from piracy to petty robbery; calling on the Chilian Government to visit me with the severest punishment.
On the 8th of May, the schooner Montezuma, which had been lent to General San Martin by the Chilian Government, entered Callao under Peruvian colours. The insolence of thus appropriating a vessel of my squadron was too great for forbearance, so that I compelled her to come to an anchor, though not before we were obliged to fire upon her. I then turned all the officers ashore, and took possession of her; the Protectoral authorities, by way of reprisal, detaining a boat belonging to the flag-ship, and imprisoning the men; but, rightly calculating the consequences of such a step, they were soon set at liberty, and the boat was, on the same night, permitted to return to the ship.
On the 10th of May we quitted Callao, and arrived at Valparaiso on the 13th of June, after an absence of a year and nine months, during which the objects of the expedition had been completely accomplished.
Having satisfied myself, that, from the oppression practised, the Protectoral Government could not endure longer than the first favourable opportunity for a general revolt which might present itself to the Limenos, and judging that the fall of San Martin might involve serious consequences to Chili, I had addressed the following letter to the Supreme Director:—
Private and confidential.
Callao Roads, May 2, 1822.
Most Excellent Sir,
You will perceive by my public despatches the points of most interest as regards the proceedings of the squadron, and the result of our pursuit of the enemy’s frigates, Prueba and Venganza, both of which I have embargoed, the one at Guayaquil and the other here, until your pleasure shall be known, whatever that may be, whether to give up the squadron of Chili, or to bring those vessels to you, shall be alike obeyed.
San Martin has now laid down the external pomp of Protector, and, like Cincinnatus, has withdrawn to retirement, but not with the same view. This modesty is to captivate the crowd, who are to call on him to convert the ploughshare into an Imperial sceptre! I have excellent information to this effect, having found means to obtain it from behind the scenes of this political actor.
Great hopes are entertained, from the mission to Chili, that the squadron will at least be withdrawn, and that when the sun of Peru shall rise on the ocean, the star (the national emblem of Chili) which has hitherto shone, will be for ever eclipsed! Some spots have, however, appeared on the sun’s surface. Two thousand men