In spite of his enmity, the Minister of Marine had been officially compelled to write me the following letter:—
“If victories over an enemy are to be estimated according to the resistance offered, or the national advantages obtained, the conquest of Valdivia is, in both senses, inestimable; encountering, as you did, the natural and artificial strength of that impregnable fortress which, till now, had obstinately defended itself by means of those combined advantages. The memory of that glorious day will occupy the first pages of Chilian history, and the name of Your Excellency will be transmitted from generation to generation by the gratitude of our descendants.”
“His Excellency the Supreme Director, highly gratified by that noble conquest, orders me to inform you (as I have now the satisfaction of doing), that he experiences, in his own name, and in that of the nation, the most heartfelt gratification at that signal achievement. The meritorious officers, Beauchef, Miller, Erescano, Carter, and Vidal, and all the other officers and soldiers who, in imitation of your Excellency, encountered such vast dangers, will be brought to the notice of Government, in order to receive a decorative medal, in gratitude for their gallantry, and in proof that Chili rewards the heroes who advocate her cause.”
Our national flag has been displayed
amidst the most festive public
demonstrations, above those of Valdivia and Cantabria, in proof of the
subjection of our enemies.
“I beg, with the greatest
gratification, the honour to announce to you
your letter of the 3rd instant, transmitting those of Major Beauchef and
“God preserve your Excellency many years.”
(Signed) JOSE IGNACIO ZENTENO.
“The Vice-Admiral commanding the Chilian
It is difficult to see how a man who could have written the above letter, even officially, could have become my worst enemy; the reasons for which will, however, develop themselves as we proceed.
As the estate which was conferred upon me at Rio Clara was afterwards taken from me, without reason assigned, I will here give the letter conveying it, as this will again have to be alluded to. The attorney-like cunning of Zenteno prevented its conveyance by any more formal document than the decree conferring it.
“A Decree of this date has
been issued by His
Excellency the Supreme Director, of which the annexed is a