You enjoyed honours, rank, and fortune, amidst a people the most distinguished in Europe. You generously abandoned ease and comfort in order to aid in the attainment of our liberty, and you have been the chief instrument which has enabled us to achieve it. The whole world is acquainted with your gallant efforts to abolish tyranny and give liberty to South America. The people of this Republic are full of the most lively gratitude, and are grieved that it is not in their power to give you an effectual proof of their deep attachment. This Province, holding valour and merit in estimation, idolizes you, whilst it holds in abhorrence and detestation the tyrant “Liberator of Peru!” who has stained our soil with tears of blood shed for his pretended services. Chacabuco would have terminated the war throughout the Republic, had it not been deemed necessary to foster its continuance for the interests of this individual.
This Province (Conception) having been completely sacrificed, has arrived at the point of exasperation. Its inhabitants are unanimously determined on a change and a reform of Government, and declare that in Arauco they will breathe the air of liberty, and that they will perish in the field of battle to obtain it. This is the decision universally adopted without exception. This is the determination of the gallant troops which I have the honour to command, and of their valiant officers, and is moreover sanctioned by the holy orders of the clergy.
Compromised by these declarations, what am I to reply to them? Must I profess my sympathy and accordance of opinion with them, and admit to you, that, though yesterday a private citizen, with a heart burning to be freed from fetters, I must to-day gird on the sword. May Heaven favour my lot in the absence of personal merit! To my country I owe my life and the position I hold—from having contributed to its welfare—can I then neglect the duty that I owe to it? No, my dear friend, far be that course from me. Freire has sworn to live or perish for the liberty of his native country, and he now repeats that solemn oath, grieved at the cause which compels him to renew it, but trusting in the hope that God will avert the effusion of blood in the accomplishment of the object.
I know that you are deeply interested in securing the liberty of Chili, for which you have so gloriously contended. I know you will deeply feel the privation of hope—for neither in your generous heart, nor in mine, can such events be received with indifference. Let us then pursue a course in uniformity with the glory of Chili, and the opinion of the world. Let us listen to the voice of the country, which calls us to avert evils when repose might have been anticipated. I count, together with the whole Province, on your co-operation to avert mischief and advance the good of the country.
Act as you judge best, but for the promotion