In this letter he repudiates all connection with Chili, though he had sworn fidelity to the republic as its Captain General. He denies ever having engaged to pay the squadron their wages, though on no other condition had it put to sea from Valparaiso, and his own handwriting to this specific promise was accepted as the inducement. Though himself an officer of Chili, he treats Chili as a state with which he had nothing to do, whose debts he declares that he will not pay, as he had previously told me on the 4th of August; finally, he says that he will propose to Chili to pay its own seamen! As to his promises to give the men a twelvemonths’ pay in acknowledgment of their services, this was neither intended nor given; whilst, as to the 50,000 dollars promised to the captors of the Esmeralda, which he is “endeavouring to collect,” he had long before “collected” many times the amount from the old Spaniards—who had offered a similar reward for the capture of any vessels of the Chilian squadron—and kept it. Fortunately, his own letters prove these matters, which otherwise I should have hesitated to mention, unsupported by testimony so irrefutable.
General San Martin afterwards denied to the Chilian Government that he refused, on the 4th of August, to pay the squadron. Here is the same assertion, in his own handwriting, on the 9th! During the whole of this time the squadron was in a state of literal destitution; even the provisions necessary for its subsistence being withheld from it, though the Protector had abundant means of supplying them; but his object was to starve both officers and men into desertion—so as to accelerate the dismemberment of the squadron which I would not give up to his ambitious views.
The sound advice contained in my letter General San Martin never forgave—and he afterwards fell exactly as I had predicted—there was no merit in the prophecy, for similar causes lead to like effects. Adhering to my own duty, I felt that I was free from his command, and determined to follow no other course than to carry out, as far as lay in my power, the pledge of the Chilian Government to the Peruvian people.
Concealing for the present his resentment, and reflecting that the forts of Callao were still in the hands of the Spaniards, the Protector endeavoured to explain away the disagreeable nature of our interview on the 4th of August, by asserting, “that he only said, or meant to say, that it might be interesting to Chili to sell some of her vessels of war to Peru, because the latter wanted them for the protection of her coasts;” adding, that “the Government of Chili would at all times devote their squadron to the furtherance of the cause of Peru.” He repeated, that the arrears of pay to the squadron should be liquidated, as well as the rewards which had been promised.