I hope that in your correspondence with Sir Thos. Hardy, all difficulties will be smoothed in a manner satisfactory to both. I understand that he is desirous to accord to our flag all that justice demands and the policy of England will permit. On these points I confide in your prudence.
Never doubt, my Lord, of the sincere
friendship with which I am
JOSE DE SAN MARTIN.
It is so utterly incredible that a man entertaining such opinions of me should believe in the charges he afterwards made against me, with regard to acts occurring long previous to this period, even to accusing me of “endangering the safety of the squadron from the first moment of our quitting Valparaiso,” that I will not weary the reader’s patience in commenting further upon them.
FREIRE MARCHES ON VALPARAISO—ELECTED SUPREME DIRECTOR—HE BEGS OF ME TO RETURN—MY REPLY—SUBSEQUENT LETTER TO GENERAL FREIRE.
On the 18th of January, 1823, I hauled down my flag, hoisted in the Montezuma schooner—the only vessel which the suspicious jealousy of the Chilian ministers had left me—and sailed for Rio de Janiero in the chartered brig, Colonel Allen, though my brother’s steamer, the Rising Star—or rather the Chilian Government’s steamer, upon which he had a lien for money advanced for its completion and equipment—was lying idle at Valparaiso. Could I have taken this vessel with me to Brazil, on the refusal of Chili to repay the sums which my brother had advanced on the guarantee of its London envoy Alvarez—the Brazilian Government would have eagerly availed itself of an advantage to which the Chilian ministry was insensible: though recently by the exertions of Admiral Simpson, and the more enlightened views of the present Government, Chili is now beginning to appreciate the advantage of a steam marine, which, at the period of her liberation, she so perversely rejected by refusing to honour the comparatively trifling pecuniary engagements of her minister in London. The probable reason why the Chilian Government refused to acknowledge these obligations was—that the war being now ended by the annihilation of the Spanish naval power in the Pacific through the instrumentality of sailing ships alone, there was no necessity for a steam ship of war—the narrow-minded policy of the ministers who have figured in these pages never conceiving that to maintain maritime preponderance is scarcely less difficult than to achieve it. Hence, to get rid of the paltry sum of L13,000 due—and still due—to my brother for his advances on the ship, she was rejected; the consequence was, that after my departure, the independence of Chili was again placed in jeopardy, whilst Peru was only saved from a Spanish reconquest by the intervention of the Colombian liberator, Bolivar.