The important services of this chief in the British Navy are well known during the European war which ended in 1815.
He was a post captain, not in active service, when the squadron of his country was reduced to the peace establishment, and he accepted the invitation which was made to him in London by the Chilian agent, to enter the service of this country, and came to take the command of our naval forces, bringing in the prestige of his name, his great skill and intelligence, his active and daring spirit,—a powerful contingent to that struggle of such vital importance for our independence, the dominion of the Pacific.
In how far the well-founded hopes in the cooperation of Lord Cochrane were realised by the able direction which he knew how to give to our maritime forces, are facts which have been judged by the world at large and history. Still alive in our memory is the taking of Valdivia, the feats at Callao, the bloody and splendid triumph of the Esmeralda, the taking of the Spanish frigates Prueba and Venganza on the coast of the Ecuador, and the complete annihilation of the power of Spain in these seas executed by our squadron under the command of Lord Cochrane; and this Chief upon leaving the service of Chili in January 1823, and when he delivered over to Government, when there were no longer any enemies to contend with, the triumphant insignia of his rank, he might with justice and truth have said, “I return this into your hands when Chili has ensured the dominion of the Pacific.”
Chili at the same time that she resists unjust and exaggerated pretensions, has always been proud of her desire to reward, in a dignified and honourable manner, the services of illustrious foreigners who have assisted us in the glorious struggle for our independence. This noble and spontaneous sentiment of national gratitude was what dictated the law of 6th October, 1842, incorporating, during his life with the full pay of his rank, General D. Jose San Martin, even when he might reside in foreign parts; and it is the same sentiment which induces me to propose to you at present, and with consent of the Council of State, the following project of law:—
Sole Article.—Vice-Admiral Thomas Lord Cochrane, now Earl of Dundonald, is to be considered during the term of his life as in active service of the squadron of the Republic, with the full pay of his rank, even although he may reside without the territory of Chili.
Santiago, July 28, 1857.
Jose Francisco Gana.
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Lord Dundonald’s reply to the preceding.
To His Excellency the President in Council and Congress of Chili.