The treasure-vessel having been crippled, and the gun-boats beaten off, we left off firing and returned to our former anchorage, Lady Cochrane again coming on deck. As soon as the sails were furled, the men in the tops, and the whole crew on deck, no doubt by preconcerted arrangement, spontaneously burst forth with the inspiring strains of their national anthem, some poet amongst them having extemporized an alteration of the words into a prayer for the blessing of Divine providence on me and my devoted wife; the effect of this unexpected mark of attachment from five hundred manly voices being so overwhelming as to affect her Ladyship more than had the din of cannon.
RETURN TO CALLAO—LIMA ABANDONED—HESITATION
OF GEN. SAN MARTIN TO
OCCUPY THE CITY—LOSS OF THE SAN MARTIN—EXCESSES OF THE
SPANIARDS—PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE—SAN MARTIN ASSUMES AUTOCRATIC
POWER UNDER THE TITLE OF PROTECTOR—MY REMONSTRANCE—HIS REPLY—MUTINOUS
STATE OF THE SQUADRON FROM NEGLECT.
We arrived at Callao on the 2nd of July, when learning that Lima was no longer tenable from want of provisions, and that an intention existed on the part of the Viceroy to abandon it, I forebore to make any hostile demonstration which might interfere with such decision, and withdrew to a distance from the port, awaiting the result, which could not be far distant, as the people had become clamorous, and all hope of assistance from Spain was abandoned.
Having, however, learned, on the 5th of July, that an attempt was being made by the Viceroy to obtain a still further prolongation of the armistice, I again entered the bay with the San Martin—my former flag-ship, the O’Higgins, being absent on the coast.
On the 6th the Viceroy abandoned the city, retaining, however, the fortresses at Callao, the garrison of which was reinforced from the troops which had evacuated Lima; a large quantity of warlike stores being also deposited in the forts, thus securing greater efficiency than before.
To the astonishment of the Peruvians and Chilenos, no movement was made by the liberating army to take possession of the Capital; and as the Spanish troops were withdrawn, whilst no government existed, serious disorders were anticipated, so that the Cabildo applied to Capt. Basil Hall, then in command of the British ship of war Conway, for his assistance to maintain tranquillity and protect public and private property. Captain Hall immediately despatched a party of marines, who contributed to maintain order.