Finding that I was indisposed to acknowledge his self-assumed authority, and still less to contribute to measures which would, in effect, have deprived Chili of the Navy, which by her patriotic sacrifices had been created, the Protector issued a proclamation, again promising the payment of arrears to the seamen, and a pension for life to the officers, acknowledging them as officers of Peru! No inference can be drawn from this other than a direct intimation to the officers to desert from the Chilian service.
The following are extracts from the proclamation, which was published in a Gazette Extraordinary of August 17th, 1821:—
“The Army and Squadron of Chili united, have, at last, completed the oath which they took, to liberate Peru, and have raised it to the rank which justice and the interests of the world demand. Their constancy and heroism will hand them down to posterity with gratitude. I should be deficient in my political duty, did I not manifest the appreciation due to their transcendent deeds, promoting the interests of both hemispheres.”
“1. The State of Peru
acknowledges as a national debt the
arrears of the Army and Squadron, as well as the promises made by
me to both.”
“2. All the property
of the State, and also twenty per cent, on
the revenue, are pledged to the extinction of these debts.”
“3. All the officers
of the Army and Squadron who sailed with
the liberating expedition, and now remain in them, are acknowledged
as officers of Peru.”
“4. Those comprehended in the preceding articles, and those employed in the said cause, shall receive, during the period of their lives, a pension of half their full pay, awarded on leaving Valparaiso, which pension shall be paid even in the case of their settling in a foreign country.”
“5. All shall receive a medal,” &c, &c.
Not a penny of the arrears and the other emoluments promised, was, however, paid to the squadron; nor was any intended to be paid, the object being to get the officers quietly to transfer themselves from the Chilian squadron to the service of the Protector, on the strength of the promises made: and, in this, he was ably seconded by his instruments, Guise and Spry, who, in defiance of their desertion, and the sentence of court-martial on the latter, had been retained near his person for the accomplishment of this object.
One of the most fearless opponents of the Protector was the Archbishop of Lima, an excellent man, much beloved by the people—who made no secret of his indignation at the usurpation which had taken place, despite all the promises of Chili, declared “before God and man”—as well as those of the Protector himself, to “leave the Peruvians free as regarded their own choice of Government.” As the honest prelate denounced, in no measured terms, the despotism which had been established in the place of the liberty guaranteed, it was determined to get rid of him.