At this juncture Freire commenced his march towards the capital, at the same time sending Captain Casey to Valparaiso with an armed merchantman, to ascertain the effect of his last letter to me. Without coming to an anchor, Captain Casey sent a boat on board the O’Higgins to ascertain my sentiments, but meeting with a refusal to acquiesce in the revolution, he again sailed. The ministers, however, judging me by themselves, and suspecting that I was about to become a party to General Freire’s designs, began to withdraw the ships from my command, on the pretence of repairs or converting them into store-ships, several being thus taken from the squadron. I was also ordered to place the O’Higgins and Valdivia under the charge of the Commandant of Marine, to be repaired, and to make a store-ship of the Lautaro, and being thus deprived of the slightest authority over them, I was now considered as a sort of state prisoner; but in pursuing this course, the little schooner Montezuma, which I had rescued from Peru, had been overlooked, and on board of her I hoisted my flag.
The Galvarino was now sent to sea without my permission, and without an Englishman in her. The Lautaro, the pretended store-ship, was also being got ready for sea, when I addressed the following note to Captain Worcester, who commanded her:—
Having received directions from the Supreme Government to cause the Lautaro to be placed as a store-ship, under the command of the Governor, and observing that the said order is in process of violation by the preparations making for sea; you are hereby required and directed to hoist my flag, and obey all such orders as you shall receive from me on the service of the State.
Given under my hand this 8th day
of January, 1823, on board
Tired of this heartless ingratitude, and disgusted with the suspicion that I was about to join General Freire with the squadron—an idea which could only have arisen from the expectation that I should thus resent the injuries inflicted on me—I resolved to accept the invitation from His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil, leaving all which the Chilian Government owed me to the honour of a juster and more enlightened administration. Accordingly I addressed to the Supreme Director the following letter:—
Valparaiso, Jan. 8, 1822.
Most Excellent Sir,
The difficulties which I have experienced in accomplishing the naval enterprizes successfully achieved during the period of my command as Admiral of Chili, have not been effected without responsibility such as I would scarcely again undertake, not because I would hesitate to make any personal sacrifice in a cause of so much interest, but because even these favourable results have led to the total alienation of the sympathies of meritorious officers, —whose