“On my entry into Lima, I will punctually pay to all foreign seamen who shall voluntarily enlist into the Chilian service, the whole arrears of their pay, to which, I will also add to each individual, according to his rank, one year’s pay over and above his arrears, as a premium or reward for his services, if he continue to fulfil his duty to the day of the surrender of that city, and its occupation by the liberating forces.”
(Signed) JOSE DE SAN MARTIN.
This proclamation had the desired effect, and the crews of the ships were immediately completed.
The Chilian force amounted to 4200 men, General San Martin, to the great disappointment of General Freire, being nominated Captain-General—the force under his command was designated the “liberating army” (Exercito Libertador). Whilst the expedition was in process of formation, the Supreme Director had apprised the Peruvian people of its object, and lest they should entertain any jealousy of its presence uninvited, had declared his views in a general proclamation, from which the following is an extract:—
“Peruvians—Do not think we shall pretend to treat you as a conquered people? such a desire could have entered into the heads of none but those who are inimical to our common happiness. We only aspire to see you free and happy; yourselves will frame your own government, choosing that form which is most consistent with your customs, your situation, and your wishes. Consequently, you will constitute a nation as free and independent as ourselves.”
This, and subsequent proclamations, will require to be borne in mind, as the result by no means corresponded with the intentions of the Supreme Director, whose honesty of purpose was afterwards set at nought by those in whose estimation Peru was only a field for the furtherance of their own ambition. The Chileno officers, both native and foreign, certainly believed in the sincerity of their leaders, but were subsequently doomed to be miserably disappointed as regarded the chief of them.
On the 21st of August, 1820, the squadron sailed amidst the enthusiastic plaudits of the people, who felt proud that in so short a time the power of Spain had not only been humbled, but that they were enabled to despatch an army to liberate her principal remaining State.
On the 25th, the squadron hove to off Coquimbo, taking on board another battalion of troops. On the 26th we again sailed, when General San Martin made known to me his intention of proceeding with the main body of the army to Truxillo, a place four degrees to leeward of Lima, where the army could have gained no advantage, nor, indeed, have found anything to do, except to remain there safe from any attack by the Spaniards, who could not approach it by land, whilst the squadron could protect it by sea.