I hold the residence of San Martin
in any part of Chili as suspicious
and dangerous. Let him be off to make some other quarter happy,
where he can sell his protection to the ill-fated inhabitants.
I hope my intentions meet your approbation,
and will be seconded
by the officers of the squadron.
I trust you will receive this as
the sincerest proof that I can give
of the high consideration with-which I am
Your most faithful and unchangeable
To Vice-Adm. Lord Cochrane,
Commanding the squadron of Chili.
I did not reply with promptitude, for I felt that it was no part of my mission to mingle in civil warfare. This letter, however, corroborated my opinion as to the fact of San Martin’s influence over the Supreme Director, and the recent coolness in his conduct towards me. If General Freire’s information was correct, there was evidently a desire to restore San Martin to the Empire of Peru! when possession could be got of the squadron, and he in return had deluded General O’Higgins into the plot by promise of support. Whether this was so in reality is problematical, but there is General Freire’s letter, for the first time published, and the Chilian people can thence draw their own conclusions.
Fortunately an occurrence took place, which relieved me from the dilemma in which I was placed, as will be narrated in the succeeding chapter.
THE SQUADRON TAKEN FROM ME—I ACCEPT INVITATION FROM BRAZIL—LETTER TO THE SUPREME DIRECTO—– SAN MARTIN QUITS CHILI—HIS PRUDENCE—OPINION OF HIS AIDE-DE-CAMP—MINISTERIAL NEGLECT—PERMISSION TO QUIT CHILI—LETTER TO GENERAL FREIRE—FOR THE FIRST TIME MADE PUBLIC—LETTER TO THE CAPTAINS AND OFFICERS—TO THE CHILIAN PEOPLE—TO THE FOREIGN MERCHANTS—TO THE PRESIDENT OF PERU—SAN MARTIN ACTUATED BY REVENGE—THIS SHEWN FROM HIS LETTERS.
The event alluded to in the last chapter was the arrival of an express from the Brazilian Charge d’Affaires at Buenos Ayres, with a request from the Imperial Court at Rio de Janeiro, to the effect that, as by my exertions the Spaniards had now been driven from the Pacific, I would accept the command of the Brazilian navy, for the purpose of expelling the Portuguese, who still maintained their hold upon the greater portion of that side of the South American Continent. As acquiescence in this offer would relieve me from the embarrassing situation in which I was placed in Chili, I began seriously to consider the expediency of accepting it.