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Dundonald, Thomas Cochrane, Earl of / Narrative of Services in the Liberation of Chili, Peru and Brazil, from Spanish and Portuguese Domination, Volume 2
E-text prepared by Ted Garvin, Graeme Mackreth, and the Project
Online Distributed Proofreading Team



Admiral of the Red; Rear-Admiral of the Fleet, etc. etc.





Brazilian and Portuguese factions--Don Pedro ordered to quit
Brazil--Appointed "Perpetual Protector"--Proclaimed Emperor of
Brazil--Efforts to obtain foreign officers and seamen--The naval command
offered to me--Acceptation thereof--Arrival at Rio de Janeiro--Visit of
inspection to the squadron--Condition of the vessels--Inferiority of
seamen--Imperial affability--Attempt to evade the terms offered me--This
failing, to reduce the value of my pay--Pretended commission
conferred--And refused--The point argued--I decline the command--The
Prime Minister gives in--Explanatory Portaria--Formal commission--Orders
to blockade Bahia--Portuguese faction--Averse to me from the outset.


Attempt to cut off the enemy's ships--Disobedience to orders--Letter to
the Prime Minister--Worthlessness of the men--Their treachery--Blockade
established--Equipment of fireships--Enemy's supplies cut
off--Portuguese untrustworthy--Demonstrations of the enemy--His
pretended contempt for us--The enemy returns to port--Their
consternation at the fireships--Portuguese contemplate attacking
us--Flagship reconnoitres enemy at anchor--Excessive alarm at my
nocturnal visit--Proclamation of the Commandant--Consternation in the
city--The authorities decide on evacuating Bahia--Instructions to the
Brazilian Captains--Warnings addressed to the authorities--Enemy quits
Bahia--Readiness for chase--Numbers of the enemy--Capture of the
Convoy--Prizes disabled--Attempt of troops to escape--Prizes sent to
Pernambuco--Pursuit discontinued--Reasons for going to Maranham--Reasons
for not taking more prizes--Advantages to the Empire.


Capture of the Don Miguel--Summons to the authorities--Reasons for
threats held out--Proposals for capitulation--Proclamations--Terms
granted to Portuguese garrison--Declaration of Independence--Portuguese
troops ordered to embark--Symptoms of disobeying the order--Delight of
the people on becoming free--Election of a Provisional
Government--Letters to the Minister of Marine.


Captain Grenfell sent to summon Parà--The Junta demands the prize
property--My refusal--Imperial approval of my services--Realisation of
prize property--Turi Assu sends in its adhesion--Money captured lent to
the Junta--Its return to the squadron expected--Possession taken of
Parà--Insurrection at Parà--Misconduct of the Maranham Junta--Their
persecution of the Portuguese--Steps in consequence--Manifestation of
the national delight--The Marquisate conferred on me--Vote of thanks by
the Assemblea Geral--My arrival at Rio de Janeiro--Satisfaction with my
services--Lady Cochrane joins me.


First effort to curtail the Imperial power--Portuguese
intrigue--Dismissal of the Andradas--The Assembly dissolved by
force--Exile of the Andradas--Letter to his Imperial Majesty--My advice
partly adopted--and causes ministerial enmity towards me--Ratification
of my patent--I demand the adjudication of prizes--Letter to the
Minister of Marine--Offer of personal advantage to foreign
claims--Squadron remained unpaid--I am appointed a Privy Councillor--The
prize vessels plundered--Shameful treatment of Captain
Grenfell--Troubles in Pernambuco--Hostility of the Prize
Tribunal--Condemns me to the restitution of prizes--Forbids making any
capture at all.


Remonstrance against decree of Prize Tribunal--Settlement of prize
question by the Emperor--His Ministers refuse to conform to
it--Obstacles thrown in the way of equipment--My services limited to the
duration of war--My remonstrance on this breach of faith--Ministers
refuse to pay the squadron anything--A fresh insult offered to me--Offer
to resign the command--My resignation evaded--Letter to the Prime
Minister--Letter to the Minister of Marine.


Ministerial malignity towards me--Dangers in Pernambuco--Portuguese
threats--My advice thereon--Failure in Manning the squadron--Plot formed
to search the flagship--Timely warning thereon--I demand his Majesty's
interference--Which was promptly granted--Protest against prize
decisions--My advice sought as regards Pernambuco--Letter to his
Imperial Majesty--Pointing out the annoyance practised--And tendering my
resignation--The Emperor's intervention--His Ministers neglect to fulfil
his engagement--Confirmation of my previous patents--But with an
unjustifiable reservation--Prize money devoted to advance of
wages--Proofs thereof--Baseless imputations on me--Extracts from
log--Further distribution of prize money.


Republican Government proclaimed at Pernambuco--Its Concordat--The
President Carvalho--Threat of Bombardment--A bribe offered to me and
refused--The revolt admitted of palliation--It was fast becoming
general--Intimidation ineffectual--The revolutionists expect Foreign
aid--Pernambuco taken possession of--- Payment of prize money--The
accounts rendered in due course--Orders to put down revolt at
Parà--Character of the revolution--Difficulty in finding proper
Governors--Revolt at Cearà--Steps taken to suppress it--They prove
successful--The insurgent leader killed--Measures for preserving


Arrival at Maranham--Character of disturbances there--I assume the
military command--Proclamation commanding surrender of arms--Condition
of the people--Corruption of the authorities--Murderous
propensities--Difficulty in detecting assassins--Letter to Minister of
Marine--Pacification of Parahyba--Doubts as to the President's
sincerity--He establishes secret agencies--Extraordinary
memorials--Public complaints of the President--Bruce endeavours to
intercept them--My reply to the memorialists--Letter to the Minister of
Marine--Enclosing complaints of the Consuls--Bruce prepares to resist
my authority--Complaints of the British Consul--He considers my presence
necessary--Letter of the French Consul--Detailing shameful
atrocities--Danger of collision with foreign states--Suspension of the
President--Provision for future Government--Conduct of the faction at
Rio de Janeiro--No instructions sent for my guidance--Letter to the
Minister of Marine--The Ministry had previously deposed Bruce--But
turned on me for anticipating their own act.


Misrepresentations made in England--Letter to the Emperor--Tendering my
resignation--Repayment demanded from the Junta--Conduct of the Prize
Tribunal--No adjudication of prizes intended--Letter to the interim
President--Demanding the sums owing to the squadron--Disturbance in
Parà--Statement of Account to the Junta--Offer of compromise--Imperial
decree--Right of the squadron to the claim.


Imperial approval--Continued enmity of the Administration--Junta refuses
to pay the squadron's claim--I persevere in the demand--Junta agrees to
pay the amount in bills--This refused--Arrival of a new President--But
without authority for the assumption--Intrigues to establish him in
office--I order him to quit the province--And send him to Parà--Letter
to the President of Cearà--International animosities--The squadron left
to provide for itself--Abuse of authority--Explanations to Minister of
Marine--Of transactions at Maranham--Letter to Carvalho e
Mello--Anticipating ministerial displeasure--The Junta reimburses part
of its debt.


I quit Maranham for a cruise--Bad state of the frigate--Connivance at
illicit trade--We are compelled to proceed to England--The frigate
reported to the Brazilian Envoy--Who cheats me of £2,000--His assumption
that I had abandoned the service--My contradiction thereof--Order to
return to Rio--Reasons for not doing so--Brazilian Envoy tampers with my
Officer--Who acquaints me therewith--Envoy stops pay and
provisions--Declares that the Brazilian Government will give me
nothing!--Captain Shepherd's reply--I prepare to return to Rio--The
Envoy dismisses me from the service--Without reason assigned--He
declares that I voluntarily abandoned the service--Receipts for accounts
transmitted to Brazil--These denied to have been sent.


I am dismissed the service by the Brazilian Government--Without any
acknowledgment of my services--Inconsistency of this with former
thanks--Though dismissed I am tried as a deserter--And am refused all
compensation--Report of recent Commission on the subject--False
representations--But partially true conclusions--My original patents
never set aside--Untrue assumptions as to my dismissal--My claims
founded on the original patents--Less than half the interest due
paid--Opinions of eminent Brazilians thereon--My services tardily
acknowledged--No act of mine had annulled them--The Estate conferred,
not confirmed--Promises on account of Chili unfulfilled--The whole still
my right.


Proclamation for payment of Officers and Men--Log extracts in proof
thereof--The sum given up to the squadron disbursed--Denial thereof by
the Brazilian Government--Though made to serve as advance of wages--The
amount received at Maranham--Fully accounted for--By the receipts of the
Officers--Officers' receipts--Extracts from log in further
corroboration--Up to my arrival in England--All our prizes, monopolized
by Brazil--The conduct of the Brazilian Government unjustifiable.



Although these memoirs relate to personal services in Brazil, it is
nevertheless essential, in order to their comprehension, briefly to
recapitulate a few events which more immediately led to my connection
with the cause of independence in that country.

The expulsion of the Portuguese Royal Family from Lisbon, in consequence
of the occupation of Portugal by the armies of the French Republic, was
followed by the accession of Don John VI. to the throne of Portugal
whilst resident in Rio de Janeiro.

Twelve months previous to my arrival in Brazil, His Majesty returned to
Portugal, leaving his son and heir-apparent, Don Pedro, regent of the
Portuguese possessions in South America, which had been for some time in
a state of disaffection, arising from a growing desire throughout the
various provinces for a distinct nationality. Hence two opposing
interests had arisen,--a Brazilian party, which had for its object
national independence; and a Portuguese party, whose aim was to prevent
separation from the mother country--or, if this could not be
accomplished, so to paralyse the efforts of the Brazilians, that in case
of revolt it might not be difficult for Portugal to keep in subjection,
at least the Northern portion of her South American Colonies. It will be
necessary, in the course of the narrative, to bear these party
distinctions clearly in mind.

As the Regent, Don Pedro, was supposed to evince a leaning to the
Brazilian party, he gave proportionate offence to the Portuguese
faction, which--though inferior in number, was, from its wealth and
position, superior in influence; hence the Regent found himself involved
in disputes with the latter, which in June 1821 compelled him to submit
to some humiliations.

Shortly previous to this, the Cortes at Lisbon--aware of what was going
on in Brazil, and disregarding the temperate views of the King--issued a
declaration inviting the Brazilian municipalities to repudiate the
Regent's authority at Rio de Janeiro, and to adhere to the immediate
administration of the Cortes alone--thus indicating a course to be
pursued by the Portuguese faction in Brazil. The result was--as had been
anticipated--disunion amongst the people, consequent on the formation of
petty provincial governments; each refusing to pay revenue to the
central Government at Rio de Janeiro, for the alleged reason that the
Regent was only waiting an opportunity to invest himself with absolute
power. This opinion was eagerly adopted by the commercial
class--consisting almost exclusively of native Portuguese--in the hope
that the Cortes would reinvest them with their ancient trade privileges
and monopolies, to the exclusion of foreigners, whom they considered as
interlopers--the English especially, who, protected by a treaty of
commerce, were fast undermining the former monopolists. Amidst these
difficulties Don Pedro, though nominally Regent of Brazil, found
himself, in reality, little more than Governor of Rio de Janeiro.

In July 1821, the Lisbon Cortes passed a decree, that thenceforth the
Brazilian and Portuguese armies should form one body; the object being
to ship the Brazilian troops to Portugal, and to send Portuguese troops
to Brazil, thereby ensuring its subjection. The Regent was, moreover,
ordered to return to Portugal.

These rash steps greatly irritated the native Brazilians, who saw in
them a subversion of all their hopes of nationality. With scarcely less
rashness, they issued proclamations declaring Brazil independent, with
Don Pedro as Emperor; but he repudiated the act, and prepared to quit
Brazil in obedience to orders.

The approaching departure of the Regent caused a general ferment, when a
popular leader arose in the person of José Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva,
vice-president of the provisional Junta at San Paulo. Summoning his
colleagues at midnight, they signed an address to the Regent--to the
effect that his departure would be the signal for a declaration of
independence--daring the Cortes at Lisbon to promulgate laws for the
dismemberment of Brazil into insignificant provinces, possessing no
common centre of union; above all, daring them to dispossess Don Pedro
of the authority of Regent conferred by his august father. This address
was conveyed to the Prince by Bonifacio himself, and was shortly
afterwards followed by others of a similar nature from the Southern
provinces, and from the municipality of Rio de Janeiro--all begging him
to remain and avert the consequences of the late decrees of the Cortes.
On more deliberate reflection Don Pedro consented, and was shortly
afterwards invested with the title of "Perpetual Protector and Defender
of Brazil."

Meanwhile the Cortes, confident in their own power, were enforcing their
obnoxious decrees by the despatch of ships of war and troops to the
Northern provinces. As the intention of this step was unmistakeable, His
Royal Highness the Protector promptly issued a manifesto, declaring the
wish of Brazil to maintain an amicable union with Portugal, but at the
same time calling on the Brazilians to secure their independence by
force, if necessary. In furtherance of this determination, an attack was
made by the Brazilian troops upon General Madeira, the Portuguese
commandant at Bahia, but from want of proper military organization, it
proved unsuccessful.

Despatches now arrived from Portugal, which cut off every hope of
reconciliation, and on the 12th of October, Don Pedro was induced to
accept the title of "Constitutional Emperor of Brazil," with Bonifacio
de Andrada as his Minister of the Interior, of Justice, and of Foreign

The Southern provinces gave in their adhesion to the Emperor, but all
the Northern provinces--including Bahia, Maranham, and Parà--were still
held by Portuguese troops; a numerous and well appointed squadron
commanding the seaboard, and effectually preventing the despatch of
Brazilian forces to those localities by water; whilst by land there were
neither roads, nor other facilities of communication with the Northern
patriots, who were thus isolated from effectual aid, could such have
been rendered from Rio de Janeiro.

His Imperial Majesty saw that, without a fleet, the dismemberment of the
Empire--as regarded the Northern provinces--was inevitable; and the
energy of his minister Bonifacio in preparing a squadron, was as
praiseworthy as had been the Emperor's sagacity in determining upon its
creation. A voluntary subscription was enthusiastically entered into;
artisans flocked into the dockyard; the only ship of the line in the
harbour required to be nearly rebuilt; but to man that and other
available vessels with native seamen was impossible--the policy of the
mother country having been to carry on even the coasting trade
exclusively by Portuguese, who could not now be relied on by Brazil, in
the approaching contest with their own countrymen.

Orders were consequently sent to the Brazilian _chargé d'affaires_ in
London, to engage officers and seamen there; and to stimulate these, a
decree was, on the 11th of December, 1822, issued by His Imperial
Majesty, to sequestrate Portuguese property throughout the Empire, and
also another, _that all prizes taken in the war should become the
property of the captors_, which decrees must be borne in mind.

His Imperial Majesty, having ascertained that the War of Independence in
the Pacific had been brought to a successful conclusion by the squadron
under my command, ordered his minister, Bonifacio, to communicate with
me, through the Brazilian Consul at Buenos Ayres; judging that, from the
termination of hostilities in the Pacific, I might be at liberty to
organize a naval force in Brazil, which--if properly conducted--might
successfully cope with the Portuguese fleet protecting the Northern
harbours of the Empire.

Accordingly, whilst residing on my estate at Quintera, in Chili, I
received from Antonio Manuel Correa, the Brazilian Consul at Buenos
Ayres, a letter on the part of His Imperial Majesty, inviting me to
accept service under the Brazilian flag, guaranteeing moreover rank and
position in no way inferior to that which I then held under the Republic
of Chili; the Consul exhorting me, in addition, "to throw myself upon
the munificence of the Emperor, and the undoubted probity of His
Majesty's Government, which would do me justice." The following is one
of the letters of invitation:--

_Le Conseiller Agent du Brésil, près le Gouvernement de Buenos Ayres
à l'Amiral Lord Cochrane, Commandant-en-Chef les forces navales de
la République du Chili._


Le Brésil, puissance du premier ordre devint un nouvel empire, une
nation indépendente sous le légitime héritier de la monarchie,
Pierre le Grand, son auguste defenseur.

C'est par son ordre--c'est de sa part, et en vertu des dépêches
ministériales, que je viens de reçevoir de Monseigneur Joseph
Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva, Ministre de l'Intérieur et des
Relations Extérieures du Brésil, en date du 13 Septembre
dernier--que j'ai l'honneur de vous adresser cette note; en laquelle
votre Grace est invitée, pour--et de part le Gouvernement du
Brésil--à accepter le service de la nation Brésilienne; chez qui je
suis dûment autorisé à vous assurer le rang et le grade nullement
inférieur à celui que vous tenez de la République.

Abandonnez vous, Milord, à la reconnaisance Brésilienne; à la
munificence du Prince; à la probité sans tache de l'actuel
Gouvernement; on vous fera justice; on ne rabaissera d'un seul point
la haute considération--Rang--grade--caractère--et avantages qui
vous sont dûs.

(Signé) ANTONIO MANUEL CORREA DA CAMARA, Consul de l'Empire du
Brésil, à Buenos Ayres, 4 Novembre, 1822.

Annoyed by the ingratitude with which my services were requited in
Chili, and disliking the inaction consequent on the capture of Valdivia,
followed by the annihilation of the Spanish naval force at Callao, and
elsewhere in the Pacific--whereby internal peace had been obtained for
Chili, and independence for Peru--I felt gratified by the further terms
of invitation, contained in a second letter--"Venez, milord, l'honneur
vous invite--la gloire vous appelle. Venez--donner à nos armés navales
cet ordre merveilleux et discipline incomparable de puissante Albion"
--and on mature consideration returned the following reply:--

Valparaiso, Nov. 29, 1832.


The war in the Pacific having been happily terminated by the total
destruction of the Spanish naval force, I am, of course, free for
the crusade of liberty in any other quarter of the globe.

I confess, however, that I had not hitherto directed my attention
to the Brazils; considering that the struggle for the liberties of
Greece--the most oppressed of modern states--afforded the fairest
opportunity for enterprise and exertion.

I have to-day tendered my ultimate resignation to the Government of
Chili, and am not at this moment aware that any material delay will
be necessary, previous to my setting off, by way of Cape Horn, for
Rio de Janeiro, calling at Buenos Ayres, where I hope to have the
pleasure of meeting you, and where we may talk further on this
subject; it being, in the meantime, understood that I hold myself
free to decline--as well as entitled to accept--the offer which
has, through you, been made to me by His Imperial Majesty. I only
mention this from a desire to preserve a consistence of character,
should the Government (which I by no means anticipate) differ so
widely in its nature from those which I have been in the habit of
supporting, as to render the proposed situation repugnant to my
principles--and so justly expose me to suspicion, and render me
unworthy the confidence of His Majesty and the nation.

(Signed) COCHRANE.

Consul at Buenos Ayres.

Having obtained the unqualified consent of the Chilian Government--there
being now no enemy in the Pacific--- I chartered a vessel for my own
conveyance, and that of several valuable officers and seamen who,
preferring to serve under my command, desired to accompany me. Knowing
that the Portuguese were making great efforts to re-establish their
authority in Brazil, no time was lost in quitting Chili.

We reached Rio de Janeiro on the 13th of March, 1822, barely six months
after the declaration of Independence. Despatching a letter to the Prime
Minister Bonifacio de Andrada--reporting my arrival in conformity with
the invitation which His Imperial Majesty had caused to be transmitted
to me through his Consul-General at Buenos Ayres--I was honoured by the
Imperial command to attend His Majesty at the house of his Minister,
where a complimentary reception awaited me. The Emperor assured me that,
so far as the ships themselves were concerned, the squadron was nearly
ready for sea; but that good officers and seamen were wanting; adding,
that, if I thought proper to take the command, he would give the
requisite directions to his Minister of Marine.

On the following day, the Prime Minister--after a profusion of
compliments on my professional reputation, and an entire concurrence
with the invitation forwarded to me by the Consul at Buenos Ayres--which
invitation he stated to have arisen from his own influence with the
Emperor--desired me to communicate personally with him, upon all matters
of importance, the Minister of Marine being merely appointed to transact
subordinate business. As nothing more positive was said in relation to
my appointment, it struck me that this also might be included amongst
the subordinate duties of the Minister of Marine, to whose house I
repaired; but he could say nothing on the subject, as nothing specific
had been laid before him. Being desirous to come to a proper
understanding, I wrote to the Prime Minister, that the officers who had
accompanied me from Chili would expect the same rank, pay, and
emoluments as they had there enjoyed; that, as regarded myself, I was
prepared to accept the terms offered by His Imperial Majesty, through
the Consul at Buenos Ayres, viz. the same position, pay, and emoluments
as had been accorded to me by the Chilian Government; and that although
I felt myself entitled to the customary remuneration in all
well-regulated states for extraordinary, as well as ordinary, services,
yet I was more anxious to learn the footing on which the naval service
was to be put, than the nature of any stipulations regarding myself.

On the following day His Imperial Majesty invited me at an early hour to
the palace, in order to accompany him on a visit to the ships of war,
with some of which I was much pleased, as demonstrative of the exertions
which must have been made within a short time to get them into such
creditable condition. Great care had evidently been bestowed upon the
_Pedro Primiero_, rated as a 74--though in the English service she would
have been termed a 64. She was evidently a good sailer, and was ready
for sea, with four months provisions on board, which scarcely half
filled her hold, such was her capacity for stowage; I had therefore
reason to be satisfied with my intended flagship.

Another showy vessel was the _Maria da Gloria_--a North American
clipper; a class of vessels in those days little calculated to do
substantial service, being built of unseasoned wood, and badly fastened.
Though mounting 32 guns, she was a ship of little force, having only
24-pounder carronades, mixed with short 18-pounder guns. As a redeeming
feature, she was commanded by a Frenchman, Captain Beaurepaire, who had
contrived to rally round him some of his own countrymen, mingled with
native Brazilians--in which he displayed considerable tact to free
himself from the unpromising groups elsewhere to be selected from.

The history of this vessel was not a little curious: she had been built
in North America at the expense of the Chilian Government, and sent to
Buenos Ayres, where an additional 40,000 dollars was demanded by her
owners. Payment of this was demurred to, when, without the slightest
consideration for the expense incurred by Chili in her building and
equipment, her captain suddenly got under weigh, and proceeding to Rio
de Janeiro, sold her to the Brazilian Government.

I was further much pleased with the _Piranga_, a noble frigate mounting
long 24-pounders on the main deck. Not to enter into any further
details, with regard to the ships, a brief notice must be taken of the
men, who, with the exception of the crew of the _Maria da Gloria_, were
of a very questionable description,--consisting of the worst class of
Portuguese, with whom the Brazilian portion of the men had an evident
disinclination to mingle. On inquiry, I ascertained that their pay was
only eight milreas per month, whereas in the merchant service, eighteen
milreas was the current rate for good seamen,--whence it naturally
followed that the wooden walls of Brazil were to be manned with the
refuse of the merchant service. The worst kind of saving--false
economy--had evidently established itself in the Brazilian Naval

The captains complained of the difficulties they had to contend with as
regarded the crews, particularly that the marines were so much gentlemen
that they considered themselves degraded by cleaning their own berths,
and had demanded and obtained attendants to wait on them! whilst they
could only be punished for offences by their own officers! or, to use
the words of one of the captains, "They were very much their own
masters, and seemed inclined to be his!" It was, indeed, evident to me
that neither seamen nor marines were in any state of discipline.

Not having as yet had experience of political party in the Empire, it
struck me as an anomaly that Portuguese should be employed in such
numbers to fight their own countrymen, though I afterwards became but
too well acquainted with the cause of a proceeding at the time beyond my
comprehension. In the course of our visit of inspection, the phrase
"attacking the Portuguese parliamentary force," was frequently used by
the Emperor, and was no less singular, as implying that the Brazilian
Government did not make war against the King or country of Portugal,
but merely against the Cortes; the distinction, as regarded the conduct
of hostilities, being without a difference.

A curious circumstance occurred after this visit of inspection. On
landing--hundreds of people of all ages and colours, crowded round to
kiss His Majesty's hands--paternally extended on both sides to rows of
devoted subjects, who, under no other circumstances, could have come in
such familiar contact with royalty. To this ceremony the Emperor
submitted with the greatest possible good humour and affability, his
equanimity not even being ruined by familiarities such as I had never
before seen taken with King or Emperor.

On the 17th, a visit was paid to me by the Minister of Marine, Luiz da
Cunha Moreira, relative to the terms of my appointment, he being
evidently desirous that my services should be obtained at as cheap a
rate as possible, notwithstanding the concurrence of the Prime Minister
with the offers which had been made through the Consul-General at Buenos
Ayres. The pay now offered was that of an admiral in the Portuguese
service,--notoriously the worst paid in the world. On enquiring what
this might be, I found it less than half what I had received in Chill!
My pay there being 8000 dollars per annum, with permission from the
Supreme Director to appropriate another 4000 from the Government moiety
of captures made.

By way of reply, I produced a letter from the Chilian Minister of
Marine, counter-signed by the Supreme Director, acknowledging the
receipt of an offer subsequently made to the Chilian Government
voluntarily to give up to public exigencies a portion of my pay greater
than the amount now tendered--at the same time telling the Minister,
that by accepting such an arrangement I should lose more annually by
entering the Brazilian service than the whole sum offered to me. Without
condescending to chaffer on such a subject, I added that His Imperial
Majesty had invited me to Brazil on specific promises, which, if my
services were required, must be strictly fulfilled; if not, it would be
candid in him to say so, as it was not the amount of pay for which I
contended; but the reflection, that if the first stipulations of the
Brazilian Government were violated, no future confidence could be placed
in its good faith. If the State were poor, I had no objection,
conditionally, to surrender an equal or even a greater proportion of pay
than I had tendered to the Chilian Government; but that it was no part
of my intention to be placed on the footing of a Portuguese admiral,
especially after the terms, which, without application on my part, had
been voluntarily offered to induce me to accept service in Brazil.

The Minister of Marine seemed hurt at this, and said the State was not
poor, and that the terms originally offered should be complied with, by
granting me the amount I had enjoyed in Chili; a decision the more
speedily arrived at, from an intimation on my part, of referring to the
Prime Minister, as requested in cases of difficulty. This the Minister
of Marine begged me not to do, saying that there was no occasion for it.

He next proposed that, as my Brazilian pay was to be equivalent to that
which I received in Chili, it should he numerically estimated in Spanish
dollars, at the rate of 800 reis per dollar--though the Brazilian mint
was then actually restamping those very dollars at the rate of 960 reis!
thus, by a manoeuvre, which reflected little credit on a Minister,
lessening the pay agreed on by one-fifth. To this proposition I replied
that there was no objection, provided my services were also revalued--as
he seemed disposed to revalue his dollar; so that, setting aside the
offers which had induced me to leave Chili, I would make a new offer,
which should not only compensate for the difference in dispute, but
leave a considerable surplus on my side into the bargain. Alarmed at the
sarcasm, and perhaps judging from my manner, that I cared little for a
service in which such petty expedients formed an important element, he
at once gave up the false value which he had attached to the dollar, and
agreed to estimate it at 960 reis--a microscopic saving, truly!

As such a mode of proceeding had been adopted towards me, it became
necessary on my part to look well after the interests of the officers
who had accompanied me under the assurance that their position in Brazil
should be at least equal to that which they had held on the other side
of the continent. This was not more a duty than a necessity, for I saw
that, unless supported by officers upon whose talent and courage
reliance could be placed, it would be out of my power individually to
accomplish any enterprise satisfactory to myself or beneficial to
Brazil. I therefore required and obtained the same stipulations with
regard to their respective rank and pay as had, in my own case, been
insisted on. Of these, Admiral Grenfell is the only survivor.

On the 19th, a writing on a common sheet of letter paper was forwarded
to me by the Minister of Marine, purporting to be a commission, with the
rank of admiral; stating, however, inaccurately the amount of pay and
table money agreed upon, by transposing the one for the other,--so that
the table money was figured as pay, and the pay as table money; the
effect being, that when on shore, my pay would have amounted to exactly
one half of the sum stipulated! This proceeding could not be tolerated,
so on the following morning I returned the commission to the Minister of
Marine, who hastened to assure me that it was a mistake, which should be

This pretended commission was accompanied by the following order to take
command of the squadron:--

His Imperial Majesty--through the secretary for naval
affairs--commands that the Admiral of the Imperial and National
Marine--Lord Cochrane--shall take command of the squadron at anchor
in this port, consisting of the ship _Pedro Primiero_; the frigates
_Unao, Nitherohy_, and _Carolina_; the corvettes _Maria de Gloria_
and _Liberal_; the brig _Guarani_, and the schooners _Real_ and
_Leopoldina_; hoisting his flag aboard the line-of-battle ship: the
said Admiral having, at his choice, the whole--or any of the said
vessels, for the purpose of the expedition about to sail.

Palace of Rio de Janeiro, March 19, 1823.


There was, however, another point still less satisfactory. The
commission conferred upon me the rank of Admiral, but of what grade was
not specified. On pressing the Minister of Marine, he admitted that it
was only intended to give me the rank of Junior Admiral,--there being
already two Admirals in the service, whose functions would not, however,
interfere with me, as their duties were confined to the ordinary
administration of a Board of Admiralty. I at once told him that for me
to serve under such naval administrators was out of the question. As the
Minister of Marine professed want of sufficient power to warrant him in
altering the commission, I announced my intention of taking it to the
Prime Minister, and respectfully restoring it into his hands. The
Minister of Marine again begged me not to do so, as an alteration might
be made, if I would consent to go at once on board the _Pedro
Primiero_--on board which ship my flag had been directed to be hoisted
at mid-day! This, it is needless to add, was declined, not only by
myself, but by the officers who had accompanied me from Chili.

The Minister of Marine affected to be surprised at my want of confidence
in the Government, but I explained that this was not the case. "It was
quite possible that a Congress might at any time be convened which would
be less liberally inclined than the present ministry, and that
acceptance of an appointment so loosely made might afford the admirals
placed over me, not only a control over my movements, but an easy and
convenient mode of getting rid of me after I had done their work; and
this without any imputation of injustice on their proceedings. The
fact, indeed, of a Cortes being about to assemble, and the possibility
of their interfering with me, was sufficient to fix my determination to
have nothing to do with the command, under any circumstances, save those
set forth in the tender made to me by command of His Majesty."

To this the Minister replied, that, "if I could be thus dismissed, the
Government must likewise fall--because to suppose that a popular
assembly could dictate to His Majesty in such a case was to suppose the
Government no longer in existence."

I then frankly told the Minister, that "my experience as a naval
officer--founded upon many years' practical observation, had taught me
that, in engagements of this nature, it was necessary to be clear and
explicit in every arrangement. I did not mean to insinuate anything
disrespectful to the ministers of His Brazilian Majesty, but knowing
that a Senate was about to assemble, and having reason to believe that a
majority of the members might differ from the ministerial views, and
might--when the work was done--take a fancy to see the squadron
commanded by one of their own countrymen--a step which would leave me no
alternative but to quit the service--it was much better for all parties
to put our mutual engagements on a firm basis."

The Minister continued to argue the point, but finding argument of no
avail in altering my determination, he insinuated--though not stating as
much in positive terms--that he had no prospect of any arrangement
being effected regarding my rank other than that which had been

Determined to be no longer trifled with--on the following morning I
waited on the Prime Minister, Bonifacio de Andrada, whom I found in high
dudgeon at what he termed the unreasonableness of my demands; stating,
moreover, that the Consul at Buenos Ayres had exceeded his authority by
writing me a bombastic letter, though but a few days before, Andrada not
only expressed his entire concurrence in its contents, but stated that
the letter had been written through his influence with the Emperor!

To this I replied that, "be that as it might, it was absurd to suppose
that I should have given up my position in Chili for anything less in
Brazil, and that all that had been offered by the Consul, or desired by
me, was simply an equivalent to my Chilian command, with adequate
reimbursement of any losses I might sustain by quitting Chili so
abruptly, before the settlement of my affairs with that country. This
offer had been made on behalf of His Imperial Majesty, under the express
authority of the Prime Minister himself, as set forth in the Consul's
letters, and for this I held the Government responsible. But, at the
same time, I informed the Prime Minister that if he were disinclined to
fulfil his own voluntary obligations, I would at once free him from them
by declining the proffered command, and therefore begged of him to take
back his commission, about which I would hold no further parley."

This step was evidently unexpected, for, lowering his tone, Bonifacio
assured me that "good faith was the peculiar characteristic of the
Brazilian Administration;" and to prove this, he had to announce to me
that a Cabinet Council had that morning been held, at which it was
resolved that the newly created honour of "First Admiral of Brazil"
should be conferred upon me, with the pay and emoluments of Chili, as
stipulated through the Consul at Buenos Ayres. He then asked me if I was
content, to which I replied in the affirmative; pointing out, however,
how much better it would have been to have taken this course at first,
than to have caused such contention about a matter altogether
insignificant, as compared with the work in hand.

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Main -> Dundonald, Thomas Cochrane, Earl of -> Narrative of Services in the Liberation of Chili, Peru and Brazil, from Spanish and Portuguese Domination, Volume 2