RECORD: A558.1. Hall, B. 1824. Extracts from a journal, written on the coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexica, in the years 1820, 1821, 1822. 2 vols. Edinburgh: Constable, vol. 1.
REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 10.2013. RN1
NOTE: This work formed part of the Beagle library.
ON THE COASTS OF
IN THE YEARS
1820, 1821, 1822,
CAPTAIN BASIL HALL,
AUTHOR OF A VOYAGE TO LOO CHOO.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO. EDINBURGH;
AND HURST, ROBINSON, AND CO. LONDON.
THE following Work is literally what the title-page expresses, Extracts from a copious Journal, written at very momentous periods, during short professional visits to the principal ports on the western coasts of South America and Mexico.
It has no pretensions whatever to be considered as a detailed account of those countries. But, at the present moment, when everything connected with the New World engages so great a share of public attention, it was thought that a few characteristic sketches, by an eye-witness, of the progress of the revolutions, and of the state of society, domestic and political, in
regions so little known, might be favourably received; as tending to give more correct ideas respecting them than have hitherto prevailed.
From various nautical and scientific researches, which have already appeared in the Philosophical Transactions, or formed the subject of official reports to the Admiralty, a short Memoir on the Navigation of those seas has been selected, and added in an Appendix; together with a Chart of his Majesty's ship Conway's tracks during the voyage. These may be found amusing by some readers, and useful to professional men.
|CHILI—Arrival at Valparaiso||6|
|Dances and Music||12|
|Manners of the Chilians||22|
|Effects of the Revolution||24|
|Journey to Santiago||26|
|State of Society||30|
|Appearance of that City||31|
|Communication between Santiago and Buenos Ayres||36|
|Duties of Naval Officers on the South American Station||39|
|Return to Valparaiso||44|
|Arrival of a French Naval Force||ib.|
|Funeral of an American Naval Officer||50|
|Departure from Valparaiso||53|
|REVOLUTIONS IN CHILI||54|
|Battle of Chacabuco||ib.|
|Battle of Maypo||57|
|Capture of Valdivia, by Lord Cochrane||61|
|Expedition against Peru||64|
|First Bulletin of the Liberating Army||66|
|Spaniard and Patriot||68|
|Arrival of the Chilian Expedition in Peru||69|
|Armistice and Conference||ib.|
|Capture of the Esmeralda||72|
|Lord Cochrane's Memorandum||75|
|Progress of the Expedition||81|
|PERU—Arrival at Callao||84|
|Contrast between Peru and Chili||85|
|Limenians distrustful of the English||91|
|Deposition of the Viceroy||94|
|Palace of Lima||95|
|Deposed Viceroy (General Pezuela)||97|
|——— Effects of||101|
|— Remarks on||102|
|Marquis of Montemire||103|
|Manners of the Limenians||105|
|State of Manners||109|
|Distress in Lima||113|
|Proposal to open the Trade of Lima||114|
|Dissentions in Lima||ib.|
|Arrest of Two Officers of the Conway||115|
|Consequent Ferments in Lima and Callao||116|
|Sanguinary Mob of Callao||120|
|Restitution of the Officers||122|
|Examination of Witnesses||123|
|Departure for Chili||126|
|Sketch of Lima||ib.|
|CHILI.—Arrival at Valparaiso||131|
|Excursion to the Interior||133|
|Bridge of Hide-ropes over the Maypo||135|
|Night Scene amongst the Andes||136|
|Chilian Country House||138|
|Arrival at the Chacra||140|
|Selection of Cattle for Slaughter||145|
|Lasso, Description of||146|
|—— Method of using||148|
|—— A necdotes of||152|
|Promesa against Dancing||154|
|Method of Killing Cattle||156|
|Use of the Lasso||158|
|—— of the Luna||160|
|Anecdote of some Boys||162|
|Method of preparing Jerked Beef||165|
|Lake of Aculéo||168|
|Return to Santiago||171|
|Chilian Flower Garden||172|
|Visit to a Waterfall||175|
|Plains among the Andes||176|
|Chilian Country Gentleman||ib.|
|Interference of the Priests with Education||178|
|Comet of 1821||180|
|State of Political Feeling in Chili||181|
|COAST OF PERU.—Departure from Valparaiso||186|
|Singular appearance of the Quebradas||187|
|Arrival at Arica||ib.|
|Instances of Distress||190|
|Valley of Arica||193|
|Departure from Arica||195|
|Appearance of the Andes||196|
|Arrival at Ylo||198|
|Alcaldé of Ylo||199|
|Alcaldé of Mollendo||203|
|Description of Mollendo||ib.|
|PERU.—Progress of the Campaign||206|
|Attempts at an Accommodation||ib.|
|Plan of the Royalists||208|
|Interview with San Martin||210|
|Policy of San Martin||212|
|Agitation in Lima||216|
|Desertion of Lima by the Royalists||218|
|Consequent Panic and Confusion||219|
|Marquis of Montemiré||220|
|Council at the Governor's House||221|
|Letter to San Martin||223|
|San Martin's Answer||224|
|Restoration of Tranquillity||226|
|Interview with San Martin||229|
|Traits of San Martin's Private Character||230|
|Dinner at the Governor's—Guerilla Chief||233|
|Precautions to preserve Order in Lima||235|
|La, Pericholé and the Viceroy||236|
|San Martin's Entry into Lima||239|
|——— — Reception||241|
|Visit to San Martin's Head Quarters||245|
|Levee in the Palace at Lima||247|
|Departure from Lima to Callao and Ancon||248|
|Return to Lima by Land||249|
|Incidents on the Road||250|
|San Martin's Address to the Peruvians||253|
|Declaration of the Independence of Peru||255|
|Ball given by San Martin—Tapadas||259|
|Voyage to Huacho||260|
|Excursion to Huaura||ib.|
|Grecian Forms of Architecture||261|
|Departure from Huacho—Chorillos||265|
|Visit to Lima||266|
|San Martin's Decree||ib.|
|Departure from Lima for Valparaiso||276|
|State of Parties in Lima||277|
|SOUTH COAST OF CHILI.—Departure from Valparaiso||281|
|Benavides, the Pirate||281|
|Ships seized by him||285|
|Proceedings of Benavides||287|
|Voyage to Conception||293|
|Bay of Conception||ib.|
|Desolate State of the Country||297|
|Peasant of Conception||303|
|Chilian Border Warfare||305|
|Children at Penco||306|
|Population, and Climate of Conception||309|
|Defeat of Benavides||310|
|Burning of Arauco||312|
|Chilian Camp at Arauco||314|
|Prisoners put to death by the Indians||315|
|Visit to Conception||317|
|Interview with the Governor||318|
|——— with Peneléo and his followers||319|
|Arrival at Valparaiso||322|
|Arrival at Valparaiso of the Seamen who had been Benavides's Captives||322|
|Chilian Government Gazette, giving an account of the Life, Capture, and Execution of Benavides||323|
PASSAGE OF CAPE HORN—ARRIVAL AT VALPARAISO—
VISIT TO SANTIAGO, THE CAPITAL OF CHILI.
HIS Majesty's ship Conway, under my command, sailed from England on the 10th of August 1820, and having touched at Teneriffe, Rio de Janeiro, and the River Plate, received orders to proceed to Valparaiso, the principal sea port on the coast of Chili.
The passage round Cape Horn has acquired such celebrity in Nautical history, from the difficulties encountered by Anson, that no one, ac-
VOL. I. A
quainted with the popular narrative of his voyage, can approach the spot without some degree of interest. The progress of improvement in navigation and seamanship has, indeed, stripped the Cape of its terrors, and the passage, which formerly cost so much labour and suffering, is now performed with comparative ease and certainty. But there is still left enough of romance about this great promontory to excite no inconsiderable curiosity; and, accordingly, on the evening of the 25th of November, all eyes were anxiously directed towards the west, in which quarter the Cape was situated. Several groups of the more curious amongst the officers were perched at the mast heads, ready, with telescopes and sketchbooks, to take advantage of the first glimpse of the land. Others, whose energy did not equal their curiosity, mounted a few steps of the rigging, and came down again, saying they would see it all in the morning without trouble. The sailors, in the mean time, habitually indifferent to every thing of this nature, amused themselves with a noisy game of leap frog along the deck.
Meanwhile the sun set, and our anxiety lest we
should not discover land before night, increased every moment; but towards the end of the long summer twilight, the looked-for Cape, to our great joy, appeared in the western horizon, where the outline of the land, distant about fifty or sixty miles, was for a short time distinctly pencilled on the sky, still lighted up by the last rays of the setting sun, but was soon lost sight of in the darkness.
The night had no sooner closed in, than a new and unexpected object engaged our attention: a brilliant light in the north-western quarter, shining at regular intervals. At first of a bright red, it became fainter and fainter, till it disappeared altogether; when, after the lapse of four or five minutes, its brilliancy was suddenly restored, and it seemed as if a column of burning materials had been projected into the air. This bright appearance generally lasted from ten to twenty seconds, fading by degrees as the column became lower, till at length only a dull red mass was distinguishable for about a minute, after which it again vanished. Many conjectures were raised as to the cause of this intermitting light. The sea-
men set it down as a revolving light-house, to which, certainly, it bore no inconsiderable resemblance. Others insisted that it must be a forest on fire, accounting for the changes in brilliancy by flaws of wind fanning the flames. But all who examined the light carefully through a telescope agreed in considering it a volcano like Stromboli, emitting from time to time jets of red hot stones, which, falling on the sides of the mountain, retained, for a short space, a visible redness.
The light continued in sight until morning, but faded away with the first appearance of dawn; and although, during the night, it seemed not above eight or ten miles distant, to our surprise, no land was now distinguishable in the direction of the volcano, and we found, by means of bearings taken with the compass, that it actually was upwards of a hundred miles from the ship, on the main land of Tierra del Fuego. It is not improbable, that a similar volcano may have led Magellan to give the title, "Land of Fire," to this desolate region.
By six o'clock in the morning of the 26th November, we had approached within ten or twelve
miles of Cape Horn, and in sailing round to enter the Pacific, had an opportunity of seeing it on a variety of bearings. Under every aspect, it presents a bold and majestic appearance, worthy of the limit to such a Continent. It is a high, precipitous, black rock, conspicuously raised above all the neighbouring land, utterly destitute of vegetation, and extending far into the sea in bleak and solitary grandeur.
As the general reader cannot be supposed to take much interest in the details of a voyage unaccompanied by hardships or dangers, it may be sufficient to state that, after struggling for a fortnight against the prevalent westerly winds, during which we reached at one time the latitude of 62° south, we succeeded in getting sufficiently far into the Pacific, to be able to steer a direct course for Chili, without apprehension of being again driven towards the land about Cape Horn, an embarrassment in which the early voyagers were frequently involved.
In justice, however, to those persevering men, it is right to explain, that in their day the state of nautical science was such, that the most able and
vigilant navigator could do little more than guess his place on the globe, and, therefore, was at all times liable to commit the most fatal errors in shaping his course. But, in consequence of the more extended application of astronomy to navigation, the use of time-keepers, and the great improvement of instruments, the modern seaman is enabled to traverse the ocean with confidence, and without risk of being misled by currents and other sources of erroneous reckoning which perpetually distracted voyagers of old.
On the 19th of December we anchored in the Bay of Valparaiso, the principal port on the coast of Chili, having occupied thirty-eight days in the passage from the River Plate.
After a perilous and protracted voyage seamen are ready to consider any coast delightful, and it was probably from such a cause that the early Spanish adventurers named this place the Vale of Paradise, a designation which its present appearance, at least, by no means justifies. The Bay is of a semicircular form, surrounded by steep hills, rising nearly to the height of two thousand feet, sparingly covered with stunted shrubs, and thinly strewed
grass. The town is built along a narrow strip of land, between the cliffs and the sea; but as this space is limited in extent, the buildings have straggled up the sides and bottoms of the numerous ravines which intersect the hills. A suburb called the Almendral, or Almond Grove, larger than the town itself, spreads over a low sandy plain about half a mile broad, at the upper or eastern side of the Bay. In the summer months, from November till March, Valparaiso is a safe and pleasant anchorage; but during winter, especially in June and July, is subject to hard storms, blowing from the north, in which direction it is open.
We were fortunate in having reached Valparaiso at a moment when the Christmas festivities were at their height, and multitudes of people had been attracted from the country to witness the bull-fights and other shows. On the evening of Christmas day, which corresponds nearly with our midsummer, every body seemed to be abroad enjoying the cool air in the moonlight. Groups of merry dancers were to be seen on every hand—and crowds of people listening to singers bawling out their old romances to the sound of a guitar; gay parties
sauntered along, laughing and talking at the full stretch of their voices; wild-looking horsemen pranced about in all quarters, mixing amongst the people on foot, drinking and talking with them, but never dismounting. From one extremity of the town to the other, along the base of the cliffs, and all round the beach of the Almendral, was one uninterrupted scene of noise and revelry.
The bull-fights, which took place about four o'clock in the day, resembled any thing rather than fights; but they made the people laugh, which was the principal object; and by bringing a crowd together in a merry mood, contributed quite as much to the general happiness as if they had been exhibited in the usual sanguinary manner.
The area in which the bulls were baited, for they were not killed, was a square enclosure, formed by a temporary building about fifty yards across, rudely constructed of posts driven into the ground, wattled with green boughs, and roofed with planks. Over two sides of the square was erected a second story, divided into compartments
by flags, and left open at top, and in front; these were crowded with ladies and children, all in their gayest attire, and seated with much formality and decorum to witness the show. The scene in the ground-floor, which was divided into booths called Ramadas, was of a very different description—here was dancing, singing, drinking, and all kinds of noise and bustle. Previous to the commencement of the bull-fight, the area was filled with people, some lounging about smoking their segars, and admiring the ladies' dresses, and some risking their money at Rouge et Noir, for which there were many tables brought from the booths into the open air. But the chief interest lay within the Ramadas, in each of which was to be found a band of musicians and dancers hired to attract company. Their instruments were invariably a harp, a guitar, and a sort of drum. The harp is held in a different manner from ours; for, instead of standing erect, it is kept in a horizontal position, the top of the instrument resting on the lap of the player, who sits on a low stool. The drum is made of a piece of wood hollowed out, and covered at one end
with raw hide. This stands on the ground, and is patted with the fingers, while the wrist rests upon the rim. At times the end of the harp, or the empty guitar box, is used as a substitute, or any thing, indeed, which gives a clear hollow sound. The players in general are also singers, and the voice mingles more or less, at all times, with the instrumental music. They sing mostly in a high shrill tone, disagreeable at first to a stranger, but in the course of a little time it recommends itself to his ear, in a manner which his judgment scarcely allows to be just. Occasionally they sing in a lower tone, when the notes are very sweet and pleasing; but we had reason to suspect, that this was due to the accidental good taste of the singer, rising superior to the general practice of the country.
The bull-fights were very boyish exhibitions, and deserve no particular description. The animals, in fact, were never killed, but merely teased by horsemen, who goaded them with blunt spears, or distracted by men on foot who waved flags in their faces, and, when the bulls were irritated, escaped over the railings into the Ramadas.
The chief interest, to us at least, lay in the peo-
ple, whose various dresses we were never tired of looking at, while the interpretation of their strange language gave us ample occupation; for although they all professed to speak Spanish, their dialect was strongly marked with a local idiom and pronunciation. But although every thing was new to us, and partook more or less of a characteristic air, it is not easy to describe, chiefly from its want of resemblance to any thing we have before witnessed.
I met at the Ramadas, one evening, a family to whose attentions I am much indebted, especially for their assistance in explaining the native customs. We visited together many of the booths, and had an opportunity of seeing more of the dancing than on the first night. One of their favourite figures begins in a manner not unlike our minuet, with slow and apparently unpremeditated movements; the parties approaching and receding from each other, occasionally joining hands, swinging themselves round, and sometimes stooping so as to pass under each other's arms. These figures admit the display of much ease and grace, but inevitably betray any awkwardness of manner.
The slow movements last a minute or two, after which the measure suddenly changes from a dull monotonous tune to a quick and varied air, loudly accompanied by the drum and all the voices. At this instant the dancers commence a sort of shuffling step, during which the feet do not slide along the ground, but make, with great rapidity, a number of short stampings. At the moment of this change in time, the dancers dart forward towards each other, waving their handkerchiefs affectedly before them. They do not actually meet, but, when almost touching, pass, and continue to revolve round each other, in circles larger or smaller, according to the space allowed, accompanying these rotatory motions by various gesticulations, especially that of waving their handkerchiefs over their partner's head. There was a striking difference between the manner in which these dances were performed by the town's people and by the Guassos or countrymen, the latter having always the advantage both in skill and in elegance.
These amusements lasted throughout the night, and, although the people are naturally temperate,
it was evident, that towards morning the dances were apt to acquire a more savage character, and the songs to become licentious. But there were very few instances of intoxication or riotous behaviour. No women, except those professionally attached to the band of music, ever dance; but as the men of all classes join occasionally, the floor is seldom long unoccupied, no more than one couple ever standing up at the same time. Each figure lasts about three or four minutes, after which the music stops for a few seconds, and is then resumed, this being always repeated three times. The fondness of the populace for this amusement is so remarkable, that I have often returned to one of the Ramadas after an interval of several hours, and found the same people still looking on at the same dance with undiminished pleasure.
The climate, during these festivities, was generally agreeable; in the day-time the thermometer ranged from 62° to 64°; and at night, from 59° to 62°; between half past ten and three in the day it was sometimes unpleasantly hot. Whenever the morning broke with a perfectly clear
sky, and the sun rose unconcealed by haze, and the horizon in the offing was broken into a tremulous line, a very hard southerly wind might be expected to set in about one o'clock, and blowing directly over the high ridge of hills encircling the town, was forced into eddies and whirlwinds, which bore the sand in pyramids along the streets, forced it into the houses, and sometimes even reached the ships, covering every thing with dust. About sunset these troublesome winds gradually died away, and left a calm, which lasted during the night. From sunrise till the hour when these gales commenced, there never was a breath of wind, or if the surface of the bay was in the least ruffled, it was only here and there by little transient puffs, which seamen distinguish by the name of cats-paws.
When the morning broke with clouds and haze, a breeze generally followed during the day, sometimes from one quarter, sometimes from another; but on such occasions we were spared the annoyance of the southerly gales.
These varieties take place only in summer. During the winter months, that is, when the sun
is to the northward of the Equator, the weather is very unsettled. Hard northerly gales blow for days together, accompanied by heavy rains, and a high swell, which, rolling in from the ocean, renders the anchorage unsafe for shipping, and, by raising a vast surf on the beach, cuts off all communication between the shore and the vessels at anchor. At that season the air is cold and damp, so that the inhabitants are glad to have fires in their houses. Charcoal is used generally, in large polished braziers placed in the middle of the floor, round which the family range themselves, with their feet resting on the edge. In the houses of the English, and other foreign residents, fireplaces have been substituted for the braziers, and coal fires are used. Of this material there is an abundant supply from Conception, a port situated about 200 miles to the southward of Valparaiso. At present it is taken from a thick seam which crops out at the surface, and, as the quality is good, it will probably, at some future period, be turned to great account.
30th Dec.—As there was much to be learnt of the habits of the people at the night assem-
blies in the Ramadas, I made a practice of going there every evening. It was particularly amusing to watch, unobserved, the groups round the gambling tables in the middle of the area. A single candle, placed on the table, threw a light on the picturesque dresses and countenances of the players, which exhibited, in a striking manner, the variety of expression peculiarly belonging to such scenes. A party of these gamblers detected me upon one occasion, and insisted good humouredly that I should try my fortune. By accident the ball rested several times successively on the same square, which raised the odds on my casts to a considerable amount; and, in the end, I won a handful of silver, principally from the people who had been most active in persuading me to play. Their companions joined me in laughing at them a little; but I thought it better, all things considered, to insist upon returning the money.
A Chilian gentleman of my acquaintance lived close to the bull-ring, and parties used frequently to be made up at his house to go to the Chinganas, the name given to the scenes described above. After chatting together for some
time one evening, the gentlemen of the party went off to the bull-ring, while the ladies excused themselves for not accompanying us. But within a quarter of an hour afterwards, while we were lounging about in one of the most noisy of the Ramadas, it was intimated to me privately, by a gentleman in the secret, that three of the ladies we had left were actually in our company, but so completely metamorphosed, that, even when pointed out, they were with difficulty recognised. Thus made party to the joke, I found they came as spies upon the proceedings of the master of the house, the husband of one of these Tapadas, as they called themselves. There had been a feud, it seemed, between these ladies and some others of their acquaintance, and the object of this escapo, or frolic, was to watch how the gentleman would deport himself towards their foes. They had, accordingly, the satisfaction, or the mortification, to detect him in treacherous flirtation with the enemy, and then allowing themselves to be discovered, to the confusion of the unsuspecting parties, they immediately disappeared. The
VOL. I. B
next day we learnt that the ladies had returned in about ten minutes, differently disguised, and had amused themselves in watching the motions of such of us as had been formerly admitted to their confidence, and who were still chuckling over the success of the first exploit. I attempted, next evening, to pass a similar jest upon them, and disguised myself with great care, but their practised eyes were not to be deceived, and they saw through it all at the first glance.
The merchants and other principal inhabitants reside in the houses built along the base of the cliffs in Valparaiso, and along the streets of the Almendral. But the poorer people live chiefly in the Quebradas, or ravines. This class of society had been the least affected by the changes in the political state of the country, and retained, as we were informed, the same manners and habits as before; a circumstance which gave them a higher interest to us, and we frequently roved about, in the cool hours of evening, amongst their ranchas, or cottages, and were everywhere received with the utmost frankness, and, as far as the simple means of the inhabitants went, with hos-
pitality. They were chiefly brickmakers, day-labourers, and washerwomen, who were always gratified by the interest we took in their affairs, replying readily and cheerfully to our inquiries. Their first anxiety was that we should be seated, in order, to use their phrase, that we might feel ourselves in our own house; their next wish was, that we should taste something, no matter how little; some offered us spirits, or milk and bread; others, who could afford nothing else, presented a cup of water. Yet, however wretched the cottage, or poor the fare, the deficiency was never made more apparent by apologies. With untaught politeness, the best they had was placed before us, graced with a hearty welcome.
These ranchas, as well as the houses in the town, are built of large flat bricks dried in the sun, and thatched with broad palm leaves, the ends of which, by overhanging the walls, afford shade, as well as shelter from the rain. Each cottage is divided into two rooms; one for the beds, the other as a dining-room, a portion of the mud floor of which is always raised seven or eight inches above the level of the other parts, and
being covered with mats, serves as a couch for the siesta sleepers after dinner.
In one cottage we found a young woman grinding corn in a very primitive mill, consisting of two stones, one a large grooved block placed on the ground, the other a polished piece about twice the size of her hand. The unground corn appeared to be baked till it would crumble into powder between the finger and thumb, and the coarse flour, when mixed with water, made an agreeable drink called Ulpa.
In some of the Quebradas, we occasionally discovered houses of a better class, generally occupied by elderly ladies of slender incomes, who had relinquished the fashionable and expensive parts of the town, for more remote, though not less comfortable dwellings. Nothing could exceed the neatness and regularity which reigned in these houses, where we were often received by the inmates with a politeness of manners, indicating that they had known better days. These good ladies generally entertained us with the celebrated Paraguy tea, called Mattee, a beverage of which the inhabitants are passionately fond. Before infusion
the Yerba, as it is called, has a yellow colour, and appears partly ground, and partly chopped; the flavour resembles that of fine tea, to which, indeed, many people prefer it. The mattee is made in an oval-shaped metal pot, about twice as large as an egg, placed nearly full of water, on the hot embers of the brazier, which stands at all seasons of the year in the middle of the parlour; when the water begins to boil, a lump of sugar burnt on the outside is added. The pot is next removed to a filagree silver stand, on which it is handed to the guest, who draws the mattee into his mouth through a silver pipe seven or eight inches in length, furnished, at the lower extremity, with a bulb pierced with small holes. The natives drink it almost boiling hot, and it costs a stranger many a tear before he can imitate them in this respect. There is one custom in these mattee drinkings, to which, though not easily reconcilable to our habits, a stranger must not venture to object. However numerous the company may be, or however often the mattee pot be replenished, the tube is never changed; and to decline taking mattee, because the tube
had been previously used, would be thought the height of rudeness. A gentleman of my acquaintance, becoming very fond of this beverage, bought a tube for himself, and carried it constantly in his pocket;—but this gave so much offence that he was eventually obliged to relinquish it.
The people in general, and particularly the peasantry, and the lower orders in the outskirts of the town, appeared to us much better bred than the correspondent ranks in other countries. In their domestic circles, they were at all times remarkably polite to one another, the children being respectful and attentive, and the parents considerate and indulgent. But this was conspicuous only at home; for, when abroad, the men were very negligent of good manners, and, although actual rudeness was contrary to their nature, they were, in general, careless of the wishes of the women, and never sought opportunities of obliging them, nor seemed to take any pleasure in being useful on trivial occasions. This habitual inattention on the part of the young men rendered the women, in some degree, distrustful of the
civility with which strangers, as a matter of course, treated them; and, at first, we often observed a look of embarrassment when we paid them ordinary attention.
The state of education at Valparaiso was very low, and in this respect the men had the advantage. The refinement, however, was all with the other sex; in knowledge of the world, in sound judgment, and in everything relative to manners, they were clearly superior to the men.
For sometime after arriving at Valparaiso, our attention had been so much engrossed by the scenes at the bull-fights, that we became well acquainted with the habits and opinions of the lower classes; for as there seemed little probability of such an opportunity occurring again, all of us who took an interest in such inquiries mixed with the natives every evening. This was the more agreeable, as there was nothing coarse or vulgar in their manners; on the contrary, a bold and rather graceful address characterised all their deportment. To us they were uniformly respectful, and always willing to communicate or receive information.
Our curiosity was naturally directed towards politics, and, knowing that we should eventually have ample opportunities of learning the state of feeling in the upper classes, we occupied ourselves, upon this occasion, in ascertaining the sentiments of the peasantry. At first we felt disappointed with their calmness, and wondered to hear them speaking with so little enthusiasm, and in terms so little vindictive, of the Spaniards; while the upper classes, in the same town, were filled with animation when the subject was mentioned, and never allowed themselves to think of their ancient rulers without expressing the bitterest animosity.
It must, however, be remembered that, with regard to the effects of the Revolution, the upper and lower classes were differently circumstanced. The peasant's station in society had not been materially changed by the subversion of the Spanish authority; while that of his landlord was essentially altered in almost every point. The lower orders here, as in all countries, are not those who feel the oppression of bad government most sensibly; and although, unquestionably, their pro-
sperity must, in process of time, be greatly augmented by the operation of such wholesome changes, their immediate advantage cannot be so direct or manifest as that of the upper classes.
In Chili, while the peasant remains where he was, his superior has gained many advantages. He has obtained political independence; he is free, and secure in his person and property; for the first time in his life, he has a share in the government of his country; he may aspire to the highest offices of profit or distinction; the value of his property is enhanced by the market which has been opened to carry off its produce; and he feels no reserve in displaying his wealth, or in expressing his opinions;—in short, he is in possession of civil liberty.
The benefits resulting from free trade, as compared with the restrictions and monopolies of old, are those which come home the soonest to the apprehension of all ranks; and, although it cannot be denied, that even the lowest peasant in the country has felt the change which the Revolution has produced on the price of goods, yet the advantage to the upper classes has been much
more extensively felt, for they are not only greater purchasers, but have more home produce to give in exchange. All classes, therefore, both high and low, share, though not equally, in the benefits resulting from the change of government; and this universality of advantage is the characteristic circumstance which, with one exception, distinguishes the South American revolutions from all others with which we are acquainted. These are real and solid advantages. That they should be fully understood, or even appreciated at once, is too much to expect; and many errors and extravagances will be committed before such blessings can have their full exercise; but as they are of a nature to work themselves clear, if left alone, every successive hour of freedom will have the effect of enlarging the circle of knowledge and virtue throughout the country.
On the 6th of January 1821, I set out for Santiago, the capital of Chili, in company with a naval officer, who, having been several years on the South American station, proved a most useful guide, both from his knowledge of the country, and from his general information. As the
roads in Chili are unfit for carriages, all travelling is on horseback; and the ordinary pace being a hard gallop, the changes are necessarily frequent. The only wheeled vehicle in use is a large lumbering cart, or waggon, drawn by six or eight oxen, at a very slow rate; but the transport of goods from the port to the capital, and thence all over the country, is performed by mules of an excellent breed.
Our journey was injudiciously arranged, for, instead of taking one half of it early in the morning, and the other in the evening, we travelled in the middle of the day, when the heat, to which we were exposed, was intense. The whole country seemed burnt up; the sun flamed out, as it were, with a bright glare over everything, raising hot air from the ground like the breath of an oven; not a blade of grass was anywhere to be seen; not a drop of moisture; everything was parched and withered along the baked ground, which was riven into innumerable crevices; no breeze of wind came to relieve us, and the oppression of the climate was almost intolerable.
In the course of the morning we passed seve-
ral ridges of hills, and here and there the eye was gladdened by the sight of a slender strip of green, pointing out the course of some mountain stream. Between the ridges, which rose to the height of several thousand feet, we observed plains, surrounded by the high grounds, suggesting the idea of lakes having once stood there.
On crossing one of these ranges, we discovered a party of muleteers, who had sought shelter from the heat of the sun, under a grove of lofty trees, on a patch of grass by the side of a rivulet, which dashed from rock to rock, and gave a delicious freshness to the air. Their mules, to the number of fifty, were arranged in a circle, each tied by the halter to his load, placed on the ground. The muleteers begged us to dismount and join their party, giving us, at the same time, some of their cool ulpa to drink, and endeavouring to dissuade us from proceeding till the sun should be lower,—an advice we ought certainly to have followed, for we suffered severely by the heat before reaching Bustamante, where we dined. This being one of the post-houses, the people were prepared to receive us, and placed
our dinner table in the door-way, that we might enjoy the cool draught from the breeze just then setting in. Our repast consisted of large black figs, and a tumbler of cold lemonade, the fragrance of which filled the whole house, besides newly baked snow-white bread, with fine fresh butter; and instead of wine, when the cloth was removed, we sipped a pot of mattee. The kind people of the cottage entreated us to take our siesta before going farther, but having resolved upon reaching the capital that evening, we denied ourselves a luxury, more tempting at this moment than ever. About an hour before sunset we reached the summit of the last pass, whence we commanded a full view of the Andes. We had previously seen their snowy peaks only, and from a great way off, at sea; but had now the satisfaction of viewing them from top to bottom, at a distance calculated to give full effect to their height. As the plain from which the mountains take their rise is not much elevated above the sea, none of their altitude is lost, as when the surrounding country is itself very high, and we could count the various ranges, five or six in
number, towering one above another, in magnificent irregularity. Nothing in mountain scenery could be finer, or leas within the reach of verbal description.
On our way across the plain towards the city, we overtook a party of soldiers conducting a number of Spanish prisoners of war towards the capital. They had been recently taken in battle in Peru, then the seat of war between the Chilians and Royalists. As there will be occasion, in the next chapter, to give some account of the rise and progress of the Chilian expedition against Peru, it is needless to dwell upon it at present. The pleasing train of reflections, however, suggested by the first near view of the Andes, was dispersed by this disagreeable and unexpected sight It is painful, at all times, to see men in chains, be the punishment ever so well merited; but it is peculiarly so in the case of prisoners of war; and it is impossible not to feel for men, whose only crime consists in having faithfully adhered to the cause of their king.
We found the state of society in Santiago, as might be expected, superior to that of the Port.
The inhabitant are more wealthy and better educated, and know more of what is passing in other parts of the world; their manners are more polished; their dress is in better fashion, and they are much more commodiously lodged. They resemble the inhabitants of Valparaiso, however, in their kindness to strangers, and, above all, in their indulgence and consideration for those who speak the language imperfectly. The city is divided into quadras, or solid squares, by streets crossing one another at right angles; the houses are flat roofed, and of one story only, with a neat parapet running along the front above the cornice; they are all white-washed, and the streets being kept perfectly clean, nothing can exceed the neatness of this most regular town. The houses are quadrangular, and all the rooms may be entered from a square court in the middle, called the Patio, or by doors of communication from one to the other. The entrance from the street is by a broad, and generally an ornamental porch, on either side of which are the stables and coach-house. The drawing and dining room occupy that side of the Patio fronting the entrance to the court,
and the bed-rooms and counting-house the other two sides. In the hot season, an awning is drawn over the patio, which contributes greatly to the coolness of the rooms. Behind every house lies a garden, beyond which runs a clear rapid stream.
7th Jan.—I was introduced to a family this morning, long known to strangers for their hospitality and useful friendship: They were seated in the corner of a room, kept almost dark, with a view to the exclusion of the heat. It is the fashion of the country for the ladies to crowd into corners, or to plant themselves in determined lines along the walls, not a little formidable to strangers. Upon the present occasion, one of the ladies perceiving the conversation to be hurt by this arrangement, rose and went to the piano forte; the rest remained at their needle, as formal as ever, but presently some other visitors coming in, the parties became intermixed, and the stiffness, which had chilled us at first, yielded to a more cheerful and familiar intercourse, which the young ladies encouraged with much spirit. Just as matters had fallen into this agreeable train, a merry-looking old gentleman came skipping into
the room with a jest in his mouth, and the easy familiarity of a privileged person. He was a clergyman of seventy, but possessed of the health and animation of seventeen, and cracked his jokes to the right and left without mercy, seeming to set the whole company at defiance. For some time, he carried all before him, and the manner in which he quizzed the company was every way diverting. At length, however, some of the young ladies rallied, and being rather nettled, as it seemed, at some of his sarcasms coming rather too near the truth, retorted smartly, and with interest. The good natured father was enchanted with their vivacity, and stimulated them to fresh attacks by an affectation of suffering from their severity, and at length took his leave, though unanimously entreated to remain.
We were curious to know who this old gentleman was, and learnt that he had been for upwards of fifty years the pastor of a remote Indian village, where he had acquired, by his talents and his virtues, an extensive and important influence over the natives, whose condition he had greatly improved, by converting them to
VOL. I. C
Christianity, and introducing education, together with the arts of civil life.
In the evening, about sunset, every one flocked to the Alameda, or public walk, called also the Tajamar, from one of its aides forming an embankment to prevent the inundation of the river Maypocho, a stream, insignificant in winter, but a violent torrent when the snows of the Andes begin to melt This promenade consists of a wide and finely kept carriage way, with a broad walk on each side of it, shaded by double rows of lofty poplars. Under the trees there stretches a low wall, on which the ladies, who generally appear in full dress, spread then-handkerchiefs with great care, and affected formality, before they venture to sit down. Every part of the walk commands a view of the Andes, which, though not less than fifty or sixty miles distant, seem to overhang the town.
On the 9th of January, the capital was thrown into commotion by the arrival of news from the army in Peru, stating, that various successes had been gained over the Royalists; and such, it appeared, had become the popularity of the Indepen-
dent cause, that a whole regiment of the King's troops had passed over from Lima in a body, and offered their services to the Patriots.' So completely were all people's minds in Santiago engrossed by this news, that nothing was thought of for several days but the Peruvian expedition. This state of things furnished us with frequent opportunities of discovering the public feeling on the general question of the Revolution, for every one was delighted to converse on the subject, and the enthusiasm of the moment made it the most popular topic in all companies. The principal object of their thoughts, or that which they dwelt upon with the steadiest determination, was the preservation of their independence; the next, a bitter animosity against their former rulers, the Spaniards; a feeling sometimes carried to a most unjust and unreasonable length. They often, for instance, blamed living individuals, and classes of individuals, for faults and errors with which they were in no respect chargeable, but which resulted from the slow operation of centuries of misrule. They even took delight in fostering and encouraging these prejudices, knowing them to be such
a species of wilful self-delusion, which, although indefensible in particular instances, may, nevertheless, in the long-run, contribute essentially to the great cause of their country. The spirit which originally roused the South Americans to throw off the Spanish yoke is kept alive and active by such antipathies, and the people are thus prevented by their passions, as well as their interests, from slumbering at their posts, while their liberty and honour are still in hazard.
16th Jan.—I had occasion to send a dispatch to the naval commander-in-chief, Commodore Sir Thomas M. Hardy, Bart., K. C. B., by an express which, it appeared, might be expected to reach Buenos Ayres from Santiago in twelve days, although it was said the journey has, on some occasions, been made in eleven. The distance is 1365 miles, so that the courier must travel, upon an average, about 114 miles a-day. The communication between Buenos Ayres and Chili has for some years been open; and post-houses having been established along the whole line of road, the only difficulties in the journey arise from fatigue, bad lodging, and bad fare. At these stations hor-
ses are kept in constant readiness; the supply being maintained from the multitudes of wild droves covering the Pampas, or plains of Buenos Ayres, which extend from the sea to the base of the Andes. When gentlemen travel on this road, it is usual to make that part of the journey between the mountains and Buenos Ayres, along the level Pampas in a carriage; but the part lying amongst the Andes can be performed only on horses, or on mules. These couriers, who are bred to their business, as an exclusive occupation, are generally small and active men; temperate in all their habits, and possessed of a spirit of enterprise and energy, which distinguishes them from the rest of their countrymen.
As soon as the dispatches were sent off, I paid a visit to a Chilian family of my acquaintance, and immediately on my entering the drawing-room, the lady of the house, and one of her daughters, each presented me with a rose, apologizing, at the same time, for having omitted to do so before. This custom of presenting strangers with a flower prevails in all Spanish countries, and is one of an extensive class of minute attentions, which the
Spaniards and their descendants understand better than any other nation. The favour itself is nothing; indeed, it seems essential to the civility that it should be a mere trifle; the merit lies in the unaffected and simple expression of good will and kindness which, while it really obliges, is of a nature to impose no obligation.
Whilst we were thus establishing an agreeable acquaintance with the inhabitants of the capital, our intercourse was suddenly cut short by a circumstance which obliged me to return to the Port. Accounts had reached Santiago, that a French line-of-battle ship and a frigate had touched at Conception, and intended soon to visit Valparaiso. The arrival of such a force, at this moment, excited a considerable sensation amongst the Chilians, and many people entertained apprehensions of their object being hostile. Whatever might be the intentions of the French admiral towards the Chilians, I felt anxious to be on board the Conway at the time of his arrival, and therefore lost not a moment in returning to Valparaiso. To quit the capital at this rime was to me matter of considerable regret, less on ac-
count of its agreeable society, than of the importance of cultivating the personal acquaintance of men with whom I was likely afterwards to hold official intercourse.
The independence of the South American states was not acknowledged by England, neither had any consuls, nor accredited political agents, as yet been sent out The commercial intercourse, however, between the two countries being already very extensive, and every day increasing, points of doubt arose, and it became necessary to open frequent correspondence of a diplomatic and commercial nature with the local governments. The only constituted authority on the part of England, in that quarter of the globe, being the naval commander-in-chief, upon him necessarily devolved the whole responsibility of these discussions. The task was one of great difficulty and importance, chiefly from the vast extent of his command, and the uncertainty and delay of all communications. The varying nature also of every political relation in those countries—the instability and inexperience of the governments—the agitated state of the public mind, with the consequent absence of mercantile
confidence—the novelty, in short, of every institution, all conspired to complicate, in a remarkable degree, a subject at no time simple, or of easy management. Owing to the difficulty of communication between the different parts of the station, it became impossible for the commander-in-chief to attend to the details of business at more than one spot; the ships of the squadron were therefore distributed at those points where the presence of a British authority was most essentially required, namely, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil; Buenos Ayres in the River Plate; Valparaiso in Chili; Lima in Peru; and San Blas on the coast of Mexico. There were, besides, many intermediate ports where the activity of our merchants had found means to introduce a taste for our manufactures; and all these places required to be occasionally visited, that the British interests might not want protection.
Without going into details, which might seem tedious, it would be difficult to give a comprehensive view of the various duties which at this juncture devolved upon the captains of his Majesty's ships stationed along the coasts of South America
and Mexico. It may be sufficient to mention, that as the whole of the consulate affairs fell to their charge, every dispute which arose between British subjects and the local governments was necessarily discussed through them—rather a new class of obligations for naval officers, but one which, from their being the only disinterested individuals on the spot, they alone were qualified to undertake. The greater number of these misunderstandings arose out of commercial regulations which the merchants complained of as oppressive; sometimes they originated in the actual seizure of English vessels, on the plea of their endeavouring to introduce goods without paying the duties; sometimes the merchants were accused of concealing Spanish property in their ships; at other times the laws of the port, or of the country generally, were said to be infringed, the imputed delinquency being followed by imprisonment, or by confiscation of property. On these and many other occasions appeals to government, from the captains of his Majesty's ships, were expected; it being, however, their especial duty merely to remonstrate, and, if possible, to arrange matters amicably, but
on no occasion to threaten or to act hostilely without instructions from the Commander-in-chief, in reply to the representations made to him of all the circumstances. But, in almost every case, it was of immediate consequence to the advancement of the commercial interests, that such disputes as have been alluded to should be settled at the moment. The state of trade, and, indeed, of every political circumstance in those countries, was liable to such perpetual fluctuation, that, long before an answer could be received from the Commodore, everything material in the case might have changed. The impossibility of foretelling changes, or of estimating, with any precision, the probable effect of the great political convulsions by which the country was torn, rendered it a matter of extreme difficulty for the Commander-in-chief to give instructions to his officers, for whose proceedings he was officially responsible. Still less, it may be supposed, could his Majesty's Government at home have any clear conception of the details of management, in the midst of such a prodigious confusion of circumstances, varying every hour. The consequence was, that the off-
cers were made well acquainted with the general principles by which their conduct was to be regulated, and were afterwards left, as a matter of absolute necessity, to act to the best of their judgment and ability, in the spirit of their instructions. With every possible care, however, cases would sometimes occur, so difficult and complicated as to seem utterly incapable of adjustment, without an extension of their powers. On such occasions, a reference to higher authority became indispensable.
The Port duties, on the other hand, were of an easier nature, relating chiefly to matters of difference between our own countrymen, and regulated, to a certain extent, by established written authorities, which might be easily referred to. As the number of ships in harbour was generally considerable, these discussions became very engrossing, and, when superadded to the ordinary professional avocations, left little leisure for attending to the novel scenes of a local and characteristic nature, daily passing around us.
It will be readily understood how materially our objects, in the official intercourse above allud-
ed to, were likely to be forwarded by a previous personal acquaintance with the parties on both sides of the question. For it happened almost invariably that both were so much to blame, and the only mode of adjustment therefore was by compromise, through the instrumentality of a disinterested third party, the success of whose interference would evidently depend very much upon his knowledge of the respective characters of the disputants. It was on this account, chiefly, that I wished to have remained longer in the capital, to see more of the different members of Government, as well as to extend my acquaintance amongst the English residents.
I reached Valparaiso, before the French ships made their appearance, and was much struck with the ill-suppressed anxiety with which the inhabitants awaited the event. National pride forbade the expression of any alarm, but a knowledge of their own inability to resist such a force filled them with very natural anxiety. Nothing, however, as the event proved, could be more unnecessary than such fears; for the Frenchmen, after a short and friendly visit, sailed away again,
carrying off the hearts of half the ladies of the Port.
Previous to their departure the governor gave a grand ball to the French admiral and his officers; and, without considering the size of his rooms, invited the whole beauty and fashion of the Port to meet them. Many of the company, well known to be in indigent circumstances, and whose ordinary style of living was of the humblest description, appeared in rich dresses, and wore jewels of considerable value. There is nothing, indeed, upon which the women of this country, especially those who are the least able to afford it, so much pique themselves as being able, upon great occasions, to dress splendidly; and it is alleged that they often submit to many severe privations to attain this grand object of their vanity.
In the course of the evening, the room becoming close, I was glad to seek fresh air on the platform surrounding the governor's house. Returning to the ball, I perceived an open door leading to a room separated from the principal apartment by the hall where the music was stationed. On en-
tering the room, I was struck by the appearance of several remarkably lady-like young women standing on chairs and straining their eyes, as they looked over the heads of the servants and musicians to catch a glimpse of the strangers in the ball-room, from which they appeared to be excluded Seated on a sofa in the corner near them were two stately old ladies, simply though elegantly dressed, who did not appear to sympathize with their children in eagerness about the ball, but sat apart quietly conversing together. In their countenances, which retained traces of considerable beauty, there dwelt a melancholy expression, while their demeanour indicated an indifference to all that was passing. On inquiry, it appeared that they were old Spaniards, who, under the former administration of the country, had been persons of wealth and consequence, but whose existence was now scarcely known. The recent revolution having stripped them of their fortune and rank, they were now living in such poverty and obscurity, as not to be thought worthy of an invitation to the ball.
Even so trifling an accident as this, if duly
considered, leads the mind to reflect on the inevitable consequences of all violent political changes. On first arriving in South America, one is apt to be dazzled by the brilliancy of the spectacle, and to imagine the good arising from the emancipation of the people is without alloy. This delusive veil the successful party are extremely desirous of throwing over every thing. Experience, however, soon shows the bitter workings of fortune under a great variety of shapes, and it is a wholesome exercise, both to the understanding and to the heart, to view such examples attentively when they happen to occur. In revolutionary times, especially, we may rest assured, that, in the midst of the most enthusiastic rejoicings, there will always be much secret grief entitled to consideration and respect. The incident above related was the first of its kind we had seen, and, on that account, perhaps, appeared more striking than the numberless instances of unmerited ruin and distress which we afterwards met with, every where following the footsteps of Revolution.
18th Jan.—I went in the evening to visit a family in the Almendral, or great suburb of Val-
paraiso. The ladies were ranged, as usual, along the wall, in a compact line, with their shawls drawn over the head and across the chin, so as nearly to conceal the face. One young lady played the harp, another the guitar, while some occasionally joined with their shrill voices, in singing the patriotic songs of the day. Others were chatting, or working, and the evening was passing away pleasantly enough, when, without any apparent cause, the whole party jumped up, cast away their music and work, and flew in the most frantic style out of the house, screaming aloud, Misericordia! misericordia! beating their breasts at the same time, and looking terrified beyond description. I was astonished at all this, but followed the company into the street, calling out Misericordia as loud as any of them. It was a bright moonlight evening, and the street, from end to end, was filled with people; some, only half dressed, having just leaped from their beds—children, snatched from their sleep, were crying in all directions—many carried lights in their hands—in short, such a scene of wild confusion and alarm was never seen, and all apparently oc-
casioned by a spontaneous movement, without any viable motive. After standing in the street for about a minute, the whole crowd turned round again andran into their houses, so that, in the course of a few seconds, the hubbub was stilled, and not a mortal was to be seen. I now begged to know the cause of this amazing commotion, having a vague idea of its forming some part of a religious ceremony, when, to my surprise, I learned that it had been produced by an earthquake, so severe, that the people had been afraid of the houses tumbling about their ears, and had run into the open street to avoid the danger; for my part, I was totally unconscious of any motion, nor did I hear the sound, which they described as unusually loud. On mentioning this fact afterwards in company, I was assured, that for a considerable period after the arrival of foreigners, they are in like manner insensible to shocks, which a native can at once distinguish. It may be mentioned also, as an unusual effect of experience, that the sensation of alarm, caused by feeling an earthquake, goes on augmenting instead of diminishing, and that one who at first ridicules the
VOL. I. D
terrors of the inhabitants, comes eventually to be even more frightened than they are.
19th Jan.—An officer of the American frigate Macedonian having died at Valparaiso, and there being no ship of war of that nation in port to pay the accustomed honours to his remains, I conceived it right to supply the place of his absent countrymen, by going with the officers of the Conway, and great part of the crew, in procession to the grave; accompanied by all the Americans, English, and other foreigners, without distinction, who happened to be on the spot. In places remote from home, an incident of this nature makes every stranger feel more strongly the insulated nature of his situation, and in the absence of his natural friends, disposes him to cling to those about him, who, being equally desolate with himself, are ready to sympathize with him.
On reaching the grave, even the most unreflecting were shocked to find that the body was to be laid in unconsecrated ground; for the Spaniards, it appeared, had systematically denied to all foreigners, not Catholics, the privilege of Christian burial. But it is gratifying to
learn, that the new government have since, in a spirit worthy of the times, expressed the utmost readiness to grant a spot of ground to be consecrated and set apart for this purpose.
21st Jan.— The Chilians are fond of making pic-nic parties, to dine in the country, at any spot which may suit them during an excursion, and to-day I happened to fall in with some friends bent on such an expedition, all crowded into a careta or covered waggon, on its way to the hills: as they wanted one more cavallero, I was well pleased to be permitted to join them. We reached the destined spot in safety, though sufficiently jolted, and well nigh deafened by the creaking sound of the wheels, which, like those in Spain, are kept purposely without grease, in order, it is said, by this clumsy device, to prevent smuggling —since no cart or waggon can pass within half a league of a customhouse officer without calling his attention to the spot. Here we found ourselves seated in the cool verandah of a neatly built cottage, and the sea breeze setting in, proved delightfully refreshing after our dusty drive in the careta. Our situation on the side
of the mountain commanded a full view of the bay and shipping, as well as the long line of houses skirting the shore; and the cottage being surrounded by fruit trees, such as figs, apples, peaches, and oranges, and shaded by lofty tamarinds, the name given to the valley by its discoverers appeared no longer inappropriate; and was still further justified by our discovering afterwards, when rambling amongst the hills, undoubted traces of an ancient forest. We pleased our imaginations by looking forward to the time when industry and wealth should again restore the whole of this uncultivated scene to its former beauty.
Our pic-nic differed greatly from the repasts under that name which I have shared in other countries, for here we partook of at least a dozen dressed dishes, with all the formalities of a dinner, not followed, however, by the customary siesta, a most remarkable omission. The party being in a merry mood, voted that, instead of sleeping, we should go to a flower garden about a mile distant, and the proposal being carried by acclamation, we set out, and having sauntered up
and down the cool walks for an hour, returned to the town loaded with roses and sweetbriar.
On the 22d of January his Majesty's ship Owen Glendower arrived at Valparaiso, and the Conway being ordered to proceed to Peru, sailed on the 27th for Callao, the sea-port of Lima.
NOTICE OF THE REVOLUTIONS IN CHILI—GENERAL SAN MARTIN—ARRIVAL OF LORD COCHRANE—TAKING OF VALDIVIA—OPERATIONS OF THE EXPEDITION SENT AGAINST PERU—CAPTURE OF THE ESMERAL-DA FRIGATE.
CHILI first threw off the Spanish yoke in July 1810, but the national Independence was not fully established till April 1818. During the intermediate period, the dissensions of the different parties, their disputes as to the form of Government, and the law of election, with other distracting causes, arising out of the ambition of turbulent individuals, and the inexperience of the whole nation in political affairs, so materially retarded the union of the country, that the Spaniards, by sending expeditions from Peru, were
enabled, in 1814, to regain their lost authority in Chili.
Meanwhile the Government of Buenos Ayres, the independence of which had been established in 1810, naturally dreaded that the Spanish arms would not long be confined to the western side of the Andes, but would speedily make a descent upon the provinces of the River Plate, of which Buenos Ayres is the capital. In order to guard against this formidable danger, they resolved themselves to become the invaders, and by great exertions equipped an army of 4000 men. The command of this force was given to General Don Jose de San Martin, a native of the town of Yapeyú in Paraguay, a man greatly beloved by all ranks, and held in such high estimation by the people, that to his personal exertions the formation of this army is chiefly attributable.
With these troops San Martin entered Chili by a pass over the Andes heretofore deemed inaccessible, and on the 12th of February 1817, attacked and completely defeated the Royal army at Chacabuco. The Chilians, thus freed from the immediate presence of the enemy, again assembled in
congress, and having established a new form of government, consisting of a director and five senators, unanimously elected General San Martin as their chief,—an honour, however, which he resolutely declined, proposing, at the same time, that General Don Bernardo O'Higgins, his constant companion in arms, should be elected. This was accordingly done, and that meritorious officer, an Irishman by descent, though born in Chili, has ever since remained at the head of the government.
The remnant of the Spanish army took refuge in Talcuhuana, a fortified sea-port near Conception, on the southern frontier of Chili. Vigorous measures were taken to reduce this place, but, in the beginning of 1818, the Viceroy of Peru, by draining that province of its best troops, sent off a body of 5000 men under General Osorio, who succeeded in joining the Spaniards shut up in Talcuhuana. Thus reinforced, the Royal army, amounting in all to 8000, drove back the Chilians, marched on the capital, and gained other considerable advantages, particularly in a night action at Talca, on the 19th March 1818, where
the Royalists almost entirely dispersed the Patriot forces. San Martin, however, who, after the battle of Chacabuco, had been named Commander-in-chief of the united armies of Chili and Buenos Ayres, and who seems to have possessed in a remarkable degree the confidence of both countries, succeeded, in conjunction with Generals O'Higgins and Las Heras, in rallying the troops, augmenting their numbers, and inspiring them with fresh resolution. These exertions on the part of the generals were admirably seconded by the in-habitants of Santiago, who, seeing the necessity of making an extraordinary effort, not only subscribed their money, but gave up all their plate and jewels, for the good of their country. This timely supply enabled San Martin to re-equip the army with amazing celerity, and to bring it again into the field better appointed than before; so that, on the 5th of April 1818, only seventeen days after his defeat, he engaged, and after an obstinate and sanguinary conflict, completely routed the Spanish army on the plains of Maypo.
From that day Chili may date her complete independence, for, although a small portion of the
Spanish troops endeavoured to make a stand at Conception, they were soon driven out, and the country left in the free possession of the Patriots, or, as their expressive language calls them, Hijos del Pays, The Sons of the Land.
Having now time to breathe, the Chilian Government, aided by that of Buenos Ayres, determined to attack the Royalists in their turn, by sending an armament against Peru—a great and bold measure, originating with San Martin, who saw that the independence of neither of these countries could ever be secure, whilst a great Spanish force maintained itself in their neighbourhood, backed by the wealth and resources of Peru.
Had this expedition sailed at once, there could have been little doubt of its immediate and complete success; for Peru, in fact, had been left nearly defenceless, by the efforts she had made to repress the Revolutionary spirit of Chili; and, from this exhausted situation, she did not recover for some time. Chili, however, and Buenos Ayres being both, in a great degree, similarly circumstanced, were not, at first, equal to the great ex-
ertions necessary to send out an expedition;—the difficulty of providing ships, arms, and other requisites, and the indolent habits acquired under their former rulers, prevented any real progress being made in the expedition, till about March 1820, two years after the battle of Maypo. They had, however, an animating cause before them; they were quickened by success, and strongly stimulated, both by the hopes of securing their independence, and by the dread of sinking under the ancient yoke.
The Spanish naval force in the Pacific was at this time considerable; and although the Chilians had made great exertions to equip a squadron, and had distinguished themselves at sea on more than one occasion, they could not for a long time have gained such a command of the sea coast, as was essential to the grand project above mentioned, had not Lord Cochrane, fortunately for the Independent cause, accepted an invitation from the Chilian government, to take the command of their navy.
The great influence which Lord Cochrane's renown, his matchless intrepidity, and his inexhaus-
tible resources in war, have had on the fate of those countries, render some account of his proceedings an important part of this sketch.
His Lordship arrived in Chili in November 1818, when he was immediately appointed Commander-in-chief of the squadron. A number of English officers, and many English and American seamen, attracted by the celebrity of his name, and the romantic nature of the cause, eagerly flocked to his standard. By their united exertions the Chilian fleet was so greatly augmented in numbers and efficiency, that, in September 1819, a gallant attack was made on the batteries and shipping at Callao, which, although not followed by any important success, gave practical confidence to the fleet, while it alarmed the Spaniards, by displaying an extent of naval power, of which they had previously no conception. His Lordship, after this attack, went to Guayaquil, where he surprised and captured a number of valuable Spanish ships, laden with timber and naval stores; then sailed from the coast of Peru, apparently with the intention of returning to Valparaiso; instead of which, he proceeded, with a celerity
and decision perfectly incomprehensible to his dilatory enemies, to Talcuhuana, the port of Conception, a frontier town of Chili. Here General Freyre, commanding the district, reinforced his Lordship with a detachment of troops, and he sailed for Valdivia, an important and strongly fortified Spanish town in the south. On the 2d of February 1820, Lord Cochrane succeeded, by a characteristic combination of cool judgment and impetuous gallantry, in possessing himself of all the enemy's batteries, one after the other; and, subsequently, of the town and province. As this is one of the most important achievements of the war, a translation of Lord Cochrane's own letter, detailing the event, will, I think, prove interesting.
"Dispatch from Lord Cochrane to the Minister of War and Marine of the Government of Chili.
On board the Montezuma,
Valdivia, 4th February 1820.
SIR,—I had the honour to inform you from Talcuhuana, that, taking advantage of the oppor-
tunity which presented itself of communicating with Colonel Freyre on the means most effectual towards expelling the enemy from the south of Chili, and freeing the country from future incursions, I availed myself of the assistance of that zealous and active officer, who supplied me, on the 28th ult., with the troops and other assistance I required. The O'Higgins, Intrepid brig, and Montezuma schooner, sailed with a fair wind, and on the 2d inst. arrived at the preconcerted rendezvous, ten leagues to the southward of Valdivia. All the troops were then embarked in the small vessels; and, leaving the O'Higgins outside, we stood in for the Aguada Ingles, where we anchored at a moderate distance from the battery and fort of San Carlos. The troops were disembarked at sunset; but this was not effected before the castle commenced a fire upon us; and, in consequence of the heavy surf retarding the disembarkation, the enemy gained time to collect a considerable force behind the precipices which line the beach.
Nevertheless, the marines of the O'Higgins and Intrepid, with the military, having reach-
ed the shore, put the enemy to flight; and, pursuing them to the forts of Aguada Ingles and San Carlos, immediately took possession of the first; the second was taken by assault after dark, in spite of all the efforts the enemy made to defend it. The rapidity with which we took the forts and batteries of Avanzado, Barro, Amagos, and Chorocomago, can only be compared with the valour and resolution of the officers and men who entered the Castle of Corral along with the enemy, whom they were pursuing to this last point that remained to them. In this manner fell all the batteries and forts on the southern bank, whose artificial strength is nothing when compared with their advantageous natural situation.
I inclose you the letters of Major Beauchefs, who commanded the brave detachment of 250 men with which the patriot Colonel Freyre supplied me, and of Major Miller, who commanded the marines. Of the gallant conduct of these two officers, and that of Captain Erezcous, who commanded the detachment from the Intrepid, as of all the rest, I can say nothing in praise
adequate to their merit, and, consequently, I shall recommend them, in expressive silence, to the consideration of his Excellency the Supreme Director.
I had almost forgotten to mention, that these forts and batteries mount seventy pieces of cannon, and that we have taken in the port the ship Dolores."
While Lord Cochrane was thus harassing the enemy at every point of the coast where they still maintained a footing, and pursuing their ships whenever he could gain intelligence of them, the government of Chili was not inactive. The resources of the country were industriously called forth, troops were embodied and disciplined, and every preparation made for the great expedition against Peru. The executive government also removed from the capital to Valparaiso, in order to co-operate more effectually with the indefatigable San Martin in organizing the army, and Lord Cochrane, as soon
as the necessary arrangements were made for the new administration of Valdivia, returned to Valparaiso, where he devoted himself, with unremitting assiduity, to the equipment of the fleet destined to accompany the expedition. Under his hand all things prospered, the confined naval resources of the country were turned to the greatest account, with a dexterity and professional skill which astonished every one; nor was his Lordship less successful in. producing, out of the incongruous materials under his command, a thorough union of hearts and hands in execution of the great task he had undertaken.
The expedition was finally reported ready for sailing on the 15th August 1820; the troops, which had been encamped in readiness in the neighbourhood, were marched into Valparaiso on the 18th, and immediately embarked from the arsenal under the superintendence of General Las Heras; when it was admitted, by men experienced in the embarkation of regular European armies, that their appearance and discipline were worthy of any country. Their numbers amounted to 4400 men, exclusive of 500 who subsequently joined
VOL. I. E
the expedition as it passed Coquimbo. Fifteen thousand stand of arms, with a proportionate quantity of ammunition and clothing, were shipped for the purpose of organizing fresh corps of the Peruvians, who, it was expected, would flock to the Independent standard as soon as the expedition landed. General San Martin was named Commander-in-chief, and Captain-general of the United Liberating Army of Peru.
The fleet under Lord Cochrane consisted of the O'Higgins, of 50 guns, bearing his Lordship's flag at the main; the San Martin, 60; the Lautaro, 40; Independencia, 24; and three smaller vessels. The transports were twenty in number, chiefly prizes captured from the Spaniards.
The first bulletin of the Liberating Army opens with the following words, which state the object of the expedition briefly and with some spirit:—
Valparaiso, 13th August 1820.
In the tenth year of the South American Revolution, and the three hundredth of the conquest of Peru, a people, whose rank in the social
scale has been hitherto rated below its destiny, has undertaken to break those chains which Pizarro began to forge, with his blood-stained hands, in 1520.
The government established in Chili, since its restoration, having conceived this great design, deems it right that it should be carried into execution by the same person,* who, having twice promised to save his country, has twice succeeded.
An expedition, equipped by means of great sacrifices, is, at length, ready to proceed, and the army of Chili, united to that of the Andes, is now called upon to redeem the land in which slavery has longest existed, and from whence the latest efforts have been made to oppress the whole Continent. Happy be this day on which the record of the movements and the actions of the expedition commences.
The object of this enterprise is to decide, whether or not the time is arrived, when the in-
* San Martin, in 1817, at Chacabuco, and in 1818 at Maypo, completely defeated the Spaniards.
fluence of South America upon the rest of the world shall be commensurate with its extent, its riches, and its situation."
As there will be occasion to make frequent use of the terms Spaniard and Patriot, it may prevent misapprehension to state, that, by the word Spaniard is exclusively meant a person born in Old Spain, and by Patriot one born in South America, and attached to the Independent cause. Persons born in the colonies of Spanish parents are, in Europe, usually termed Creoles, but the use of this word is avoided, as a little offensive to South American ears, probably from its having been the appellation given them during their dependent state. In speaking of themselves, they use the word American, or Patriot; but as the former might lead to confusion with the inhabitants of the United States, it seems least objectionable to use Patriot, when speaking of persons born in the country, though descended from Spaniards. The term Patriot, indeed, in its strict sense, does not describe what, in speaking of the South American states, it is applied to; but it has, of
late years, been so universally adopted to designate all descriptions of adherents to the cause opposed to the Spanish authority in South America, that I shall constantly use it in this sense, in preference to any more exact, but less generally received appellation. The language, it may be mentioned, spoken all over the country is Spanish, more or less corrupted by local idiom and pronunciation.
The expedition set sail for Peru on the 20th of August, and reached Pisco, a port about 100 miles south of Lima, on the 7th of September, where, by the 11th, the whole army was disembarked. The Spanish troops, stationed in that neighbourhood, had previously fallen back upon Lima, where the Viceroy resolved to collect his whole force. At first, therefore, the Liberating Army encountered no resistance, and on the 26th, an armistice of eight days being agreed to, at the request of the Viceroy Don Joaquim Pezuela, the commissioners of both parties held a conference at Miraflores, a village two or three leagues south of Lima. It was first proposed, on the part of the Viceroy, "That the government and people
of Chili and the army should swear to the constitution of the Spanish Monarchy, and should send deputies to the Sovereign Congress of Spain, for the purpose of availing themselves of the rights and privileges granted to the Colonies by the Cortes."
This proposition the Chilian Deputies declined to discuss, saying, they were not authorized to negotiate on such a basis, and that they could treat only on grounds not at variance with the principles which the free governments of South America had laid down as the rule of their conduct The Royalist Deputies next proposed, "That the liberating army should evacuate the territory of Peru, and return to Chili, under the express engagement, that deputies should be sent with full powers to Spain, to request his Majesty to grant their requests." This new proposal convinced the Chilians, that the Government of Lima had no serious intention of coming to terms; but as the deputies were instructed to leave nothing un-tried, and, if possible, to discover the real extent of the obstacles to peace, they proposed on the part of Chili, "That the liberating army should evacu-
ate Pisco, and retire beyond the river Desaguadero, which lies in lat. 18°south, and forms the bounding line of Chili and Peru, and that the Royal troops should retire behind the limits of the presidency of Chili, as defined in 1810; that the political state of Chili remaining unchanged, should send commissioners with full powers to Madrid, to treat with His Most Catholic Majesty, while hostilities should cease both by sea and land, until three months after the termination of the negotiations; and, finally, that the senior officer of His Britannic Majesty's ships, and the senior officer of the ships of the United States of North America, should guarantee the fulfilment of these stipulations." The Viceroy declined the essential parts of this proposal, namely, the evacuation of the provinces of Potosi, Chuquizaca, Cochabamba, and La Pas, as well as the guarantee of the naval Commanders-in-chief; so that, after a long, but unimportant correspondence between the two parties, the armistice was broken up on the 4th of October, and on the 96th, the expedition proceeded to the northward.
In the meantime, while the liberating army, under San Martin, were removing to Ancon, Lord
Cochrane, with part of his squadron, anchored in the outer Roads of Callao, the sea-port of Lima. The inner harbour is guarded by an extensive system of batteries, admirably constructed, and bearing the general name of the Castle of Callao. The merchant-ships, as well as the men-of-war, consisting, at that time, of the Esmeralda, a large 40 gun frigate, and two sloops of war, were moored under the guns of the castle, within a semicircle of fourteen gun-boats, and a boom made of spars chained together. Lord Cochrane having previously reconnoitred these formidable defences, in person, undertook, on the night of the 5th of November, the desperate enterprise of cutting out the Spanish frigate, although known to be fully prepared for an attack. He proceeded in fourteen boats, containing 240 men, all volunteers from the different ships of the squadron, in two divisions, one under the immediate orders of Captain Crosbie, the other under Captain Guise, both commanding ships of the squadron.
At midnight, the boats having forced their way across the boom, Lord Cochrane, who was leading, rowed alongside the first gun-boat, and, tak-
ing the officer by surprise, proposed to him, with a pistol at his head, the alternative of "Silence or death!" no reply was made, the boats pushed on unobserved, and Lord Cochrane mounting the Esmeralda's side, gave the first alarm. The sentinel on the gangway levelled his piece and fired, but was instantly cut down by the coxswain, and his Lordship, though wounded in the thigh, at the same moment stepped on the deck. The frigate being boarded with no less gallantry, on the opposite side, by Captain Guise, who met Lord Cochrane midway on the quarter-deck, and by Captain Crosbie, the after part of the ship was carried, sword in hand. The Spaniards rallied on the forecastle, where they made a desperate resistance, till overpowered by a fresh party of seamen and marines, headed by Lord Cochrane. A gallant stand was again made for some time on the main-deck, but before one o'clock the ship was captured, her cables cut, and she was steered triumphantly out of the harbour, under the fire of the whole of the north face of the castle. The Hyperion, an English, and the Macedonian, an American frigate, which
were at anchor close to the scene of action, got under weigh when the attack commenced, and, in order to prevent their being mistaken by the batteries for the Esmeralda, showed distinguishing signals; but Lord Cochrane, who had foreseen and provided even for this minute circumstance, hoisted the same lights as the American and English frigates, and thus rendered it impossible for the batteries to discriminate between the three ships, and the Esmeralda, in consequence, was very little injured by the shot from the batteries. The Spaniards had upwards of 120 men killed and wounded, and the Chilians 11 killed and 30 wounded.
This loss was a death-blow to the Spanish naval force in that quarter of the world; for, al-though there were still two Spanish frigates and some smaller vessels in the Pacific, they never afterwards ventured to show themselves, but left Lord Cochrane undisputed master of the coast.
The skill and gallantry displayed by Lord Cochrane, both in planning and in conducting this astonishing enterprise, are so peculiarly his own, and so much in character with the great
deeds of his early life, that a copy of his instructions for the action, and his subsequent dispatch, will be read with much interest.
Copy of Lord Cochrane's preparatory Memorandum to the Chilian Squadron, dated
On board the Chilian State' Ship O'Higgins,
1st November 1820.
The boats will proceed, towing the launches in two lines parallel to each other, which lines are to be at the distance of three boats' length asunder.
The second line will be under the charge of Captain Guise. Each boat will be under the charge of a volunteer commissioned officer, so far as circumstances permit, and the whole under the immediate command of the Admiral.
The officers and men are all to be dressed in white jackets, frocks, or shirts, and are to be armed with pistols, sabres, knives, tomahawks, or pikes.
Two boat-keepers are to be appointed to each boat, who, on no pretence whatever, shall quit their respective boats, but are to remain therein, and take care that the boats do not get adrift.
Each boat is to be provided with one or more axes, or sharp hatchets, which are to be kept slung to the girdle of the boat-keepers. The frigate Esmeralda being the chief object of the expedition, the whole force is fast to attack that ship, which, when carried, is not to be cut adrift, but is to remain in possession of the Patriot sea-men, to ensure the capture of the rest.
On securing the frigate, the Chilian seamen and marines are not to cheer as if they were Chilenos, but, in order to deceive the enemy, and give time for completing the work, they are to cheer 'Viva el Rey!'
The two brigs of war are to be fired on by the musketry from the Esmeralda, and are to be taken possession of by Lieutenants Esmond and Morgell in the boats they command, which being done, they are to cut adrift, run out, and anchor in the offing as quickly as possible. The boats of the Independencia are to busy themselves in turning adrift all the outward Spanish merchantships, and the boats of the O'Higgins and Lautaro, under Lieutenants Bell and Robertson, are to set fire to one or more of the headmost hulks, but
these are not to be cut adrift so as to fall down upon the rest.
The watch-word, or parole and countersign, should the white dress not be sufficient distinction in the dark, are 'Gloria!' to be answered by 'Victoria!'
Whether Lord Cochrane really expected to extend his operations beyond the capture of the frigate, or whether he wished to inspire his people with confidence, by making the main object appear merely a part of the enterprise, is uncertain, but, in either case, the effect could not fail to be valuable. The foregoing memorandum, being addressed principally to Englishmen and North Americans, was written in English. The following letter I have never seen, except in Spanish:
Admiral Lord Cochrane's Dispatch to General San Martin, Commander-in-Chief of the Liberating Army of Peru.
On board the Chilian States' Ship
O'Higgins, before Callao, Nov. 14. 1820.
MOST EXCELLENT SIR,—The efforts of his
Excellency the Supreme Director, and the sacrifices of the Patriots of the South, to acquire the dominion of the Pacific, have hitherto been frustrated, chiefly by the enormous strength of the batteries of Callao, which (being superior to those of Algiers or Gibraltar) rendered every attack against the naval force of the enemy impracticable, with any class or number of ships of war. Nevertheless, being desirous of advancing the cause of rational liberty and political independence, which is the great object your Excellency has in view, and to promote the happiness of mankind, I was anxious to dispel the charm which heretofore had paralysed our naval efforts. With this intention, I examined carefully the batteries, ships of war, and gun-boats in this port; and being satisfied that the frigate Esmeralda could be cut out by men resolved to do their duty, I immediately gave orders to the Captains of the Independencia and Lautaro to prepare their boats, and acquainted them, that the value of that frigate, together with the reward offered in Lima for the capture of any of the ships of Chili, would
be the recompense of those who should volunteer to take port in this enterprise.
On the following day, a number of volunteers, including Captains Forster, Guise, and Crosbie, with other officers, offered their services, the whole amounting to a force sufficient for the execution of the project Everything being pro-pared, in the night of the 4th inst. the boats were exercised in the dark, and the night of the 6th was chosen for the attack.*
Captain Crosbie had charge of the first division, consisting of the boats of the O'Higgins, and Captain Guise of the second, which was formed of those of the other ships. At half-past ten, we rowed in two lines towards the enemy's anchorage, and at twelve forced the line of gun-boats guarding the entrance; and the whole of our force boarded the Esmeralda at the same mo-
* This night was not fixed on accidentally, or, if so, Lord Cochrane knew how to tarn even each a trifle to account. He addressed a few words to his people, before setting out in the boats, and concluded by saying, he had purposely chosen the 5th of November—"and now, my lads, we shall give them such a Gunpowder Plot as they will not forget in a hurry!"
ment, and drove the enemy from the deck, after an obstinate resistance.
"All the officers employed on this service have conducted themselves in the most gallant manner. To them, and also to the seamen and marines, I feel under extreme obligations for their activity and seal in boarding the Esmeralda.
I was sorry that the necessity of leaving at least one Captain in charge of the ships, prevent-ed my acceding to the wishes of the captain of the Independencia, who accordingly remained with the squadron. I have also to lament the loss we have sustained. That of the Esmeralda cannot be exactly ascertained, on account of the wounded and others who leaped overboard; but we know that, out of 330 individuals originally on board, only 204 have been found alive, including officers and wounded men. The Esmeralda mounts 40 guns, and is not in a bad state, as was represented, but, on the contrary, very well found and perfectly equipped. She has on board three months' provisions, besides a supply of cordage and other articles for two years. A gun-boat of four guns, which lay directly in the
passage of oar boats, was boarded and towed out on the following morning.
I hope the capture of the flag-ship Esmeralda, secured by booms, batteries, and gun-boats, in a situation always before deemed impregnable, and in sight of the capital, where the fact cannot be concealed, will produce a moral effect, greater than might be expected under other circumstances.
I have great satisfaction in sending you the flag of Admiral Vacaro, that you may be pleased to present it to his Excellency the Supreme Director of the Republic of Chili.
While the spirits of the Chilians were raised to a high pitch by this splendid naval exploit, equal success crowned their exertions by land. Colonel Arenales, with a body of 1000 men, had been sent from Pisco, with orders to strike into the country across the Andes, and to proceed by a circuitous route round Lima, till he rejoined the army. This march was to be made through a country occupied by the Spaniards, and had for
VOL. I. F
its principal object to discover the state of political feeling in the several districts surrounding the capital. The service was performed in a masterly manner by Arenales, who accomplished the object of rousing the inhabitants of those districts to assert the cause of independence, and gained also high military renown for the Liberating Army. On his march he was met by a strong division of the Royal troops, expressly sent against him from Lima; these he totally defeated in a pitched battle, killing or taking prisoners the General and the whole of the division. These various successes gave so much splendour and popularity to the Independent cause, that, on the 3d of December, a whole regiment of the Royalist army left the Spanish camp, marched over with their colonel at their head, and actually volunteered to serve under the standard of the Liberating Army.
After a short stay at Ancon, San Martin, in the end of 1820, proceeded with the army to Huara, a strong position near the port of Huacho, lying seventy-five miles to the northward of Lima, where the expedition remained for upwards of six
months, without performing any other brilliant service. San Martin, indeed, having shown sufficiently what his army and fleet were capable of, chose to rely less on military achievements, than on the effect of disseminating the principles of freedom throughout the country. By means of political publications, aided by the exertions of numerous able and active agents, he carried his intrigues not only into the provinces, but into the very heart of the capital; the Indian tribes of the Andes were speedily gained; in process of time he acquired sufficient influence in the surrounding districts, to cut off the principal supply of provisions to the capital by land; and the port of Callao, being also closely blockaded by Lord Cochrane, the inhabitants of Lima were reduced to the greatest extremity, while every other part of the country was enjoying freedom and plenty.
FIRST VISIT TO LIMA, WHILE PERU WAS STILL IN
POSSESSION OF THE SPANIARDS.
ON the 5th of February 1821, after a passage of nine days from Valparaiso, we anchored in Callao Roads, the port of Lima, from which it is distant about six miles.
At the time of our arrival, the state of Peru, both domestic and political, was highly interesting, though differing in almost every particular from that of Chili.
There is no moral circumstance which distinguishes travels by land, from voyages by sea, more than the different manner in which new
countries are brought under notice. When travelling, we ore to gradually introduced to new scenes, as scarcely to be aware that we have passed a frontier; for the manners of the adjacent countries blend themselves so insensibly into one another, that their essential distinctions are sometimes hid by superficial resemblances. When countries, on the other hand, are approached by sea, the case is different; for we are abruptly introduced, while the impressions of the country we have come from are fresh in our recollection, to a totally new set of objects, which we are thus enabled to compare with those we have left. Even when the two countries are in a great measure similarly circumstanced, as in the case of the different South American states, there will always be found a sufficient number of distinctions, arising out of climate and other local causes, to diversify the picture.
In Chili, as we have just seen, national independence had been for several years established, and a free and extensive commerce had, as a natural consequence, speedily sprung up; knowledge was gradually making its way; the moral and political bonds in which the minds of the people had been
so long bound were broken asunder, and the consequences of such freedom were rapidly developing themselves in a thousand shapes. In Peru, on the contrary, the word Independence was now heard for the first time, but as yet only in whispers, under the protection of San Martin's cannon. In Lima, where such free sentiments were still deemed treasonable, prejudice and error had established their head-quarters, and the obstinate bigotry with which old customs and opinions were adhered to, was rather strengthened than diminished by the apprehension of a total subversion of the whole system. The contrast between the two countries, Chili and Peru, as it met our eyes, was most striking, and if due justice could be done to the description of each, a pleasing inference would be drawn by every Englishman in favour of the popular side of the question.
The contrast between a country in a state of war, and one in a state of peace, was, perhaps, never more palpably displayed than upon this occasion; so that, besides the interest arising out of such contrast, as applicable to the states of peace
and war, the view was curious, as displaying the rapid effect produced by a change in the government of one of the two countries. As long as both were similarly administered, Peru had an infinite advantage over Chili in wealth and importance, but as soon as Chili became independent, she at once assumed the superiority.
We left Valparaiso harbour filled with shipping, its custom-house wharfs piled high with goods, too numerous and bulky for the old warehouses; the road between the port and the capital was always crowded with convoys of mules groaning under every kind of foreign manufacture; while numerous ships were busy taking in cargoes of the wines, corn, and other articles, the growth of the country; and large sums of treasure were daily embarked for Europe, in return for goods already distributed over the country. A spirit of intelligence and inquiry animated the whole society; schools were multiplied in every town; libraries established, and every encouragement given to literature and the arts; and as travelling was free, passports were unnecessary. In the manners, and even in the step of every man, might
be traced the air of conscious freedom and independence. In dress also a total change had very recently taken place, and from the same causes; the former uncouth, and almost savage costume of the ladies, and the slovenly cloaks invariably worn by the men, had given way to the fashions of Europe: and, although these may be deemed circumstances almost too minute to mention, they are not unimportant when connected with feelings of national pride, heretofore unknown. It is by these, and a multitude of other small changes, that the people are constantly reminded of their past compared with their present situation; and it is of essential use to their cause, that they should take delight in assimilating themselves, in however slight a degree, with other independent nations of the world.
No such changes, and no such sentiments, were to be found as yet in Peru. In the harbour of Callao, the shipping were crowded into a corner, encircled by gun-boats, close under the fort, with a boom drawn round them. The customhouse was empty, and the door locked; no bales of goods rose in pyramids on the; no
loaded mules covered the road from Callao to Lima; nor during the whole ascent was an individual to be seen, except, perhaps, a solitary express galloping towards the fortress. In Luna itself the difference was as striking; jealousy and distrust of one another, and still more of strangers, filled every breast; disappointment and fear, aggravated by personal inconvenience and privation, broke up all agreeable society, rendering this once great, luxurious, and happy city, one of the most wretched places on earth.
Lima was not, however, on this account, the less interesting to a stranger; and although we often regretted not having seen it in its days of glory, we could not but esteem ourselves fortunate in having an opportunity of witnessing the effect of a combination of circumstances, not likely to be met with again. The immediate cause of this unhappy state of things was the spirit of independence which had recently burst forth in South America; and it may be remarked, that none of the free states achieved their liberty without first running a similar course of suffering, a sort of ordeal to purify them from the contamination of their former degradation.
Lima had, up to this period, been exempted from the sufferings of the countries by which she was surrounded. There had been, indeed, wars, of a revolutionary character, in the interior of Peru, but their desolating effect had not till now reached the capital, the inhabitants of which went on in their usual style of splendid luxury, in thoughtless ease and security, till the enemy came and knocked at the "silver gates of the city of the kings," as Lima was proudly called in the days of her magnificence. San Martin's expedition took the Limenians quite by surprise; for they had always held Chili in contempt, as a mere appendage to Peru, from which no attack could be apprehended. The attack, however, was made, by land and by sea; and, while San Martin was making head steadily with his troops, drawing nearer and nearer to the capital, cutting off its supplies, and gaining over to his cause all the districts through which he passed. Lord Cochrane swept the sea of Spanish ships blockaded the Peruvian ports, and carried off their finest frigate, from under the guns of their strongest fort.
The violent irritation produced in Lima by these operations of the enemy was quite natural; for the fortunes of the inhabitants, accustomed for ages to revel in luxury and wealth, were now reduced to the lowest ebb, and the Spaniards, proud by birth and education, were cut to the soul by such humiliating reverses, of which these unaccustomed privations made them only the more sensible. As they were aware, that Lord Cochrane and the greater part of his officers and crew were English, it was to be expected they would be jealous and distrustful of all Englishmen, however unconnected with the Chilians, or however circumspect in their conduct. A person professing neutrality is placed in an awkward situation, between two contending parties; his indifference is ascribed to ill-will—the slightest expression which escapes him in favour of the other party is resented as hostility—and any agreement, on a single point, is instantly seized upon as an indubitable proof of his friendly disposition.
To a mere traveller, this state of things might have been amusing enough, but to us, who had a particular line of conduct prescribed to us, and a
number of objects to attend to, it was frequently the source of considerable embarrassment. We were obliged, occasionally, to communicate with both parties on business relative to commerce, and other matters affecting the British interests; and as the nature of the subject often required personal intercourse, we were inevitably led, at times, to a greater degree of apparent familiarity with one party than the other could allow to be consistent with our professed neutrality; although each, in turn, invariably forgot this reflection, when the intercourse happened to lie with themselves; so that, to maintain our neutral character on these occasions, and not, at the same time, to give offence, required some address. With the Chilians, who were advancing, it was not so difficult as with the Spaniards, who stood in need of countenance; as the Chilians believed that we wished them success on account of our trade, and of the sentiments expressed on the question in England. But with the Spaniards, who were sinking in the world, it was otherwise; nothing would satisfy them but a declaration of cordial adherence to their cause, and hatred to that of the Insur-
gents, as they called the Patriots in the bitterness of their hearts. At the same time, they always affected to despise their enemies, and to be perfectly indifferent to our opinion, yet, with the perversest spirit of inconsistency, occupied themselves in watching us, and misinterpreting all our actions and expressions to such a degree, that nothing was too extravagant to be told and believed respecting our breaches of neutrality. It was in vain, by a frank and open behaviour, to hope to escape suspicion; for it had become a sort of disease amongst the Spaniards to suspect the English, and its symptoms were aggravated every moment by the increasing distresses to which they were exposed. It will be easily conceived, that, under such circumstances, we had not much enjoyment in visiting Lima, and that, situated as I was, especially, with many anxious duties to attend to, I could find little leisure to attend to peculiarities of society and manners.
Even when we did go into society, no great pleasure was to be derived from it, as the people would discuss no other topic than their own apprehensions and sufferings. The undisturbed quiet
which they had BO long enjoyed, made them only more sensible to the present evil, and all was doubt and despair. In former times, said the Limenians, our city was that in which pleasure held her court, wealth and ease were our attendants, enjoyment was our only business, and we dreamt of no evil but an earthquake. They had yet to learn that there are moral and political, as well as physical earthquakes, which, though they leave churches and dwellings undestroyed, may lay the whole fabric of society in ruins.
The army, in common with the people, referred, as usual, every evil to the mismanagement of the executive government, and having decided, in their summary way, that the Viceroy was unfit to reign, forthwith deposed him at the point of the bayonet, and raised one of their own Generals in his place. This strong measure bad been carried into effect a few days before we arrived, and we found the city in considerable bustle, preparatory to the festivities usual on the installation of a new Viceroy. The soldiers, of course, were confident the change would immediately turn the fortunes of the day, and, even in
the city, A faint hope for a moment animated the inhabitants; but most reflecting persons saw clearly, that these violent proceedings only betrayed to the enemy their own want of union and discipline.
As we were not, and, indeed, could not be supposed competent judges of these proceedings, and were not accredited to any particular government or person, we were always left free to take things as we found them, and to communicate with the person at the head of the government, for the time being, whoever he might be, and without inquiring how he got there. It thus became my duty to wait upon the new Viceroy, General La Serna, as it would have been to have waited on his predecessor, General Pezuela, had I arrived a few days sooner.
The palace had a good deal the air of a native court in India, exhibiting the same intermixture of meanness and magnificence in style, which, while it displays the wealth and labour it has cost, betrays, at the same time, the want of taste and judgment in the design. There was no keeping amongst the parts, so that the shabby
and the gorgeous were blended, and one was never sure that any thing pleasing would not be found contiguous to something offensive. The entrance was by a dirty court, like that of a stable-yard, leading to a staircase, on the steps of which the soldiers of the guard, in ragged shabby uniforms, were seen lounging about, smoking their segars at their ease, and making way for no one. A long and narrow set of winding passages brought us to a suite of waiting rooms, filled with many weary supplicants, amongst whom the etiquette of precedence was not forgotten, the poorest and most hopeless being left in the outer apartments, and those who possessed most confidence and authority approaching the nearest to the audience chamber, in the room adjoining which, accordingly, we saw only the priesthood and military; for, in these turbulent seasons, the value of a sword is estimated, at least, at its due weight Our interview, being merely ceremonial, was short, and led to nothing worth relating.
In the evening I was introduced to several families, all of which were more or less cast down by the circumstances of the day, and all their
good breeding was insufficient to conceal their suspicions of our neutrality. Next morning we called upon the deposed Viceroy, rather as a civility than a duty, for his authority was utterly destroyed, and he had retired to his country seat, not far from Lima. He was more dejected than we thought a haughty grandee ought to have been, which he explained by saying, he felt deeply for this lost country, which could never prosper under rebellious guidance. But instead of his being afflicted at the change, it is probable he secretly rejoiced at his dismissal from the command. He had done his duty, by making a respectable stand against the enemy, and it was clear, that he must, ere long, have yielded up the capital, not so much to the superior force of San Martin's army, as to the overwhelming influence of public sentiment, the tide of which had decidedly turned, and was, at this time, flowing directly against the Spanish authority.
During the first few days, our thoughts were so much taken up with official duties, that little time was left for observing either the town or the society. We became, every day, more and more sensible
VOL. I. G
of our precarious footing, and the necessity of observing the greatest circumspection in dealing with these strangely jealous people. Living altogether on board ship would have confirmed at once all their suspicions of our favouring the enemy, whose squadron was anchored in the outer Roads; while residing entirely at Lima might have been attributed to our wish to spy into the nakedness of the land. The course we did follow, of being at Lima, or at Callao, or on board, as circumstances required, though it did not exempt us from suspicion, was the only one we could adopt, and we hoped, by caution and forbearance, to avoid giving cause of offence; but in this we found ourselves much mistaken.
Being desirous of ascertaining, by every means, the real state of popular feeling, which generally developes itself at public meetings, I went to one of the bull-fights, given in honour of the new Viceroy's installation. It took place in an immense wooden amphitheatre, capable of holding, it was said, twenty thousand people. As we had been disappointed at Valparaiso by a sham bull-fight, we hoped here to witness an exhibition
worthy of the mother country. But the resemblance was not less faulty, though in the opposite extreme, for the bulls were here put to death with so many unusual circumstances of cruelty, as not only to make it unlike the proper bull-fights, but take away all pleasure in the spectacle from persons not habituated to the sight. These exhibitions have been described by so many travellers, that it is needless here to do more than advert to some circumstances peculiar to those of Lima.
After the bull had been repeatedly speared, and tormented by darts and fire-works, and was all streaming with blood, the matador, on a signal from the Viceroy, proceeded to dispatch him. Not being, however, sufficiently expert, he merely sheathed his sword in the animal's neck without effect. The bull instantly took his revenge, by tossing the matador to a great height in the air, and he fell apparently dead in the area. The audience applauded the bull, while the attendants carried off the matador. The bull next attacked a horseman, dismounted him, ripped up the horse's belly, and bore him to the ground, where he was not suffered to die in peace, but was
raised on his legs, and urged, by whipping and goading, to move round the ring in a state too horrible to be described, but which afforded the spectators the greatest delight The noble bull had thus succeeded in baffling his tormentors as long as fair means were used, when a cruel device was thought of to subdue him. A large curved instrument called a Luna was thrown at him from behind, in such a way as to divide the hamstrings of the hind legs; such, however, were his strength and spirit, that he did not fall, but actually travelled along at a tolerable pace on his stumps, a most horrible sight! This was not all, for a man armed with a dagger now mounted the bull's back, and rode about for some minutes to the infinite delight of the spectators, who were thrown into ecstasies, and laughed and clapped their hands at every stab given to the miserable animal, not to kill him, but to stimulate him to accelerate his pace; at length, the poor beast, exhausted by loss of blood, fell down and died.
The greater number of the company, although females, seemed so enchanted with the brutal scene passing under their eyes, that I looked
round, in vain, for a single face that looked grave; every individual seeming quite delighted; and it was melancholy to observe a great proportion of children amongst the spectators, from one of whom, a little girl, only eight years old, I learned that she had already seen three bull-fights; the details of which she gave with great animation and pleasure, dwelling especially on those horrid circumstances I have described. It would shock and disgust to no purpose to give a minute account of other instances of wanton cruelty, which, however, appeared to be the principal recommendation of these exhibitions.
The reflections which force themselves on the mind, on contemplating a whole population frequently engaged in such scenes, are of a painful nature; for it seems impossible to conceive, that, where the taste is so thoroughly corrupted, there can be left any ground-work of right feelings upon which to raise a superstructure of principle, of knowledge, or of just sentiment.
After seeing these savage exhibitions, and the more than savage manner in which they were received, it was impossible to help feeling, in spite
of our much-talked-of neutrality, that any change which would put a stop to such proceedings was greatly to be wished. In every instance in South America, where the cause of independence has succeeded, two measures have been invariably adopted as matters of course: one the abolition of the slave-trade, and as far as possible of slavery; the other, the relinquishment of bull-fights. With respect to the slave question, most people think alike; but many hesitate as to the propriety of doing away the bull-fights, especially those who have witnessed them in Spain only, or who have never witnessed them at all; but it is rare to hear any one condemn the measure after he has once been present at those of Lima.
I heard a Chilian gentleman offer a curious theory on this subject. He declared, that the Spaniards had systematically sought, by these cruel shows, and other similar means, to degrade the taste of the Colonies, and thereby more easily to tyrannize over the inhabitants. The people, he said, first rendered utterly insensible to the feelings of others, by a constant familiarity with cruelty and
injustice, soon became indifferent to the wrongs of their country, and lost, in the end, all feeling for and motive to generous exertion in themselves.
An excellent old Spanish gentleman in Lima, of whom I shall have occasion to speak hereafter, stated, that these bull-fights were totally different from what are exhibited in Spain; so much so, that even he, accustomed, from his infancy, to see them at home, could not bring himself to look upon those of Lima; nor, he added, had he ever yet met an Englishman who could be prevailed upon to visit the amphitheatre a second time. He ridiculed the theory of the Chilian above mentioned, though he acknowledged, with shame, that these scenes, horrible as they were, had always been encouraged by the Viceroys, and other Spanish rulers of the country.
In the evening I went in company with a young Spaniard to be introduced to a fine old nobleman, the Marquis of Montemire, uncle of the Duke of San Carlos, who was in England for some time as minister from the Court of Madrid He was eighty years of age, and appeared much broken down by the climate; but still possessing, in
a remarkable degree, the cheerfulness of youth; indeed, his thoughts and the turn of his expressions were so juvenile, that he wanted nothing but bodily strength to take an active port in the bustling scenes of the day.
At the Marquis's we met a heavy-looking elderly priest, who put a thousand idle questions to us respecting the news from Europe. In the course of this conversation, my malicious companion, in order to plague his reverend friend, whispered to me to say the Inquisition had been reestablished in Spain. Accordingly, upon the first opportunity, I said something bearing this interpretation. The effect was amusing enough, for the old father, who, it seems, had been the chief inquisitor, clapped his hands, and, with a sparkling eye, shouted, "Bravo! I thought it must be so!" but perceiving his young friend smiling, he first looked angry, and then laughed, calling him a sad "picaro."—"Nevertheless," added he, in a lower tone, with his fist clenched, and his teeth closed, "though it be not yet re-established, it soon will."
Everything connected with the recently abo-
lished Inquisition was viewed at Lima with a degree of scorn and hatred, very remarkable in a city so crowded with clerical establishments, and where the observances of the church form so great a part of the business of the people. But whatever be the cause of this unmeasured detestation, nothing can be more determined than it is, and our portly friend, the ex-inquisitor, must, I fear, be content to follow the stream, and give up his chance of again tormenting his countrymen.
A story was told of this priest, however, which shows he was not quite hardened by the duties of his former office, but that he mingled his natural feelings with those proper to his calling, in a manner rather amiable for an inquisitor. Happening one day to visit a house where four or five Englishmen were dining, he joined in conversation with them, and was so much pleased with his company, that he turned round to a friend, and exclaimed, "Oh! what a pity it is that such fine rosy-looking, good young men, should all necessarily and inevitably go to the Devil!" (a log infiernos.)
The domestic manners of the society here dif-
fer from those of Chili, almost as much as the dresses. Instead of meeting at balls, concerts, and tertulias or parties, the women associate very little with one another; there are few dances, very little music, and, except at the bull-fights or the play, and sometimes in the country, they rarely assemble together. But they are all extremely regular in their Attendance upon mass; indeed, the women in these countries form the congregations almost exclusively. At the houses where we called in the morning, we usually found the ladies dressed very gaily to receive visitors, that is, male visitors, for we seldom observed any but the ladies of the house on these occasions. In the evening, the same thing takes place, generally, and our chance of meeting the gentlemen of the family, had we wished it, was always least at their own home.
In the cool part of the day, for about an hour and a half before sunset, the ladies walk abroad, dressed in a manner probably unique, and certainly highly characteristic of the spot. This dress consists of two parts, one called the Saya, the other the Manto. The first is a petticoat,
made to fit the body so tightly, that, being at the same time quite elastic, the form of the limbs is rendered distinctly visible. The Manto, or cloak, is also a petticoat, but, instead of hanging about the heels, as all honest petticoats ought to do, it is drawn over the head, breast, and face, and is kept so close by the hands, which it also conceals, that no part of the body, except one eye, and sometimes only a small portion of one eye, is perceptible. The effect of the whole is exceedingly striking; but, whether its gracefulness— for, with the fine figure of the Lima women, and their very beautiful style of walking, it is eminently graceful—be sufficient to compensate for its undeniable indelicacy to a European eye, will depend much upon the stranger's taste, and his habits of judging of what he sees in foreign countries. Some travellers insist upon forcing everything into comparison with what they have left at home, and condemn or approve, according as this unreasonable standard is receded from or adhered to. To us, who took all things as we found them, the Saya and Manto, as the dress is called, afforded much amusement, and, sometimes, not a lit-
tle vexation; for it happened, occasionally, that we were spoken to in the streets by ladies, who appeared to know as well, but whom we could not discover, till some apparently trivial remark in company, long afterwards, betrayed the Tapadas, as they call themselves. Ladies of the first rank indulge in this amusement, and will wear the meanest Saya, or stoop to any contrivance, to effect a thorough disguise. I myself knew two young ladies, who completely deceived their brother and me, although we were aware of their fondness for such pranks, and had even some suspicions of them at the very time. Their superior dexterity, however, was more than a match for his discernment, or my suspicions, and so completely did they deceive our eyes and mislead our thoughts, that we could scarcely believe our senses when they, at length, chose to discover themselves.
Lima has been described as the "Heaven of women, the purgatory of men, and the hell of jackasses," and so, perhaps, it may be in times of peace; but the war had now broken down such distinctions, and all parties looked equally miserable; or, if there were any advantage, it lay with
the donkeys, who, from the absence of all business, were, for the first time in their lives, exempted from labour. The men were miserable from unwonted privation, apprehended loss of fortune, and wounded national pride. But the ladies, however annoyed by these circumstances, in common with the rest of the world, still maintained their prerogative of having their own way, a right which, when acting in co-operation with the impenetrable disguise of the Saya and Manto, gave to manners a tone and character that may be imagined, but cannot well be described. Neither would it be fair for a passing and busy visitor, like myself, with his thoughts and attention occupied by other objects, to give general opinions upon the habits of a great city. But even had our opportunities and leisure been greater, the moment was singularly unpropitious, since scarcely any circumstance in society occupied its wonted place. Even in families, the effect of the times was deeply felt: a particular view of politics was adopted by one member, the opposite by another; some acted from principle, some from interest, others from fear; thus, sincerity and confidence were banished, just at the moment
when the pressure of the war was moat urgent, and when a cordial union was the only safeguard against the ruin and misery of the whole house.
Had my attention been less occupied in preserving a prudent and circumspect line of conduct, I might, undoubtedly, have noticed many incidents, which, in description, would have served to characterize the singular state of Lima at the moment: but this being impossible, I could only hope to catch occasionally some minute, though sufficiently portentous, symptoms of the times.
We of course paid our respects to the venerable Archbishop of Peru, who professed himself much attached to the English, and entertained us with a discourse on the advantages of free commerce, and the just exercise of other civil rights. This surely was ominous. From the Archbishop's palace, we crossed the square to an old lady's house, whom we found with her daughter and in deep grief. The cause we did not inquire, having for some days known, although it had been concealed from her, that her son, who had betrayed his allegiance to his King, and gone
over to the Patriots, had been taken prisoner, and shot as a traitor.
A lady applied to me for a passage to Chili, where her husband then was, a prisoner of war: she had succeeded, she said, after much trouble, in obtaining permission from the government to leave Lima; for such were the suspicions of every one, that even a wife's motives for joining her husband in prison were looked upon with distrust, and made matter of long debate in council. So little accustomed of late was the poor woman to being treated with any confidence or consideration, that when I frankly promised her a passage, she could scarcely believe it possible, and burst into tears.
Very different tears, I suspect, were shed by another lady whom we called upon immediately afterwards. News had just arrived of her husband, the Marquis of Torre Tagle, (afterwards a leading public character,) having gone over from the Royalist cause to that of the Patriots, while she, good lady, remained in the power of the Royalists. Both she and her husband being natives of Lima, and persons of wealth and high rank, their politics had long been suspected to have a tendency to the Independent side, and
many people deemed the fair lady's sorrow was not so deep-seated as her tears implied. But hypocrisy was the ruling sin of the hour, and we soon learned to distrust all appearances, however specious or natural.
I dined one day with a party of gentlemen at a pleasant country house in Miraflores, a fashionable bathing place, six miles south of Lima. Villas and ornamented cottages were thickly scattered around us, but, instead of being filled with company as in times of peace, no one was now to be seen, although this was the height of the season; the sea broke idly on the beach without a single bather; and not a guitar, nor a song, nor the merry sound of a dance, was heard in any of the bowers or shady verandahs; no groupes were seated on the neat stone benches, tastefully fitted up round the houses; and the fine gravel walks in the numerous gardens round the villas were quite deserted, and all running into weeds. The gay multitude, who formerly gave animation to this spot, were all drawn into the capital, the only place where they could feel secure, and where they derived, or sought to derive, consolation from companionship, and soon forgot, in the pressure of
want, and the apprehension of violence, those enjoyments once deemed necessaries of life.
From the highest to the lowest person in society, all felt the increasing evils that crowded round the sinking state. Actual want had already begun to pinch the poor; the loss of almost every comfort affected the next in rank; and luxuries of all kinds were discarded from the tables of the highest class. Military contributions were heavily exacted from the monied men; the merchants lost their commerce; the shopkeepers their wonted supplies. Even the Viceroy himself held his power by no enviable tenure, being surrounded by a suspicious and turbulent population, and by an army, to whose criminal insubordination alone he owed his authority. To wind up the evils of Lima, it was invaded by a cautious and skilful general on land, and blockaded by an enterprising commander at sea.
To add to the unhappiness of this ill-fated city, many of those men from whose steady and sincere support much might have been expected, were wasting their time in useless reproaches and recriminations. Two years antecedent to this period, when an attack from Chili
VOL. I. H
was first seriously apprehended, it had bam suggested by some clear-headed individuals, that the trade of Lima should be thrown open, whereby the treasury, filled by the increased receipts of the customs, would be able to meet the expences of a defensive war. As these very persons were amongst the number who derived the greatest benefit from the existing monopoly, it was much to the credit of their sagacity, that they foresaw more ample personal profits from a fair competition, than from their portion of monopoly. Simple and effectual as the above proposal seemed, as far as the immediate security of the state was concerned, the local authorities hesitated to adopt it without licence from Spain; and every one acquainted with the subject foresaw the issue of an appeal to that quarter, on a question of free colonial trade. The Chilian squadron, in the meantime, closed the discussion by enforcing the celebrated Spanish code, the "Laws of the Indies," as to the Lima trade; the port was blockaded, and the treasury remained empty. The consequent bitter reproaches and taunts, now it was too late, took a still more virulent character from the state of af-
fairs, so that these and similar topics were discussed in a temper little suited to lead to useful conclusions, even in theory, still less to that practical cordiality so essential to the welfare of the state.
These ruinous dissensions were still further fomented by the new spirit of independence, which, early in the campaign, pervaded the country, but had not heretofore attained the same height in Lima as in other parts of South America; owing, perhaps, to its containing a far greater proportion of old Spaniards of wealth and consequence. Be the cause what it may, the vigilance of government had hitherto succeeded in keeping down the expression of such feelings; but now this was no longer possible, as everyday raised the hopes, and added to the numbers, of the Independent party.
18th Feb.—I learned this morning, when at Lima, that two officers of my ship had been arrestee) at Callao en the evening before, and were imprisoned in the castle on suspicion of being spies from Lord Cochrane's squadron, though landed by my boat In ordinary times, had such a mistake happened, it would have been easily explained; but at a moment of such popular fer-
ment, especially as the English were held in universal distrust, it was likely to prove a serious affair. All Lima was thrown into commotion by this circumstance; every one implicitly believed the story, and at Callao, the uproar was described as infinitely worse. At the time of receiving a report of this transaction from the ship, a letter from the Viceroy was put into my hands, stating that two persons, giving themselves out as officers of the Conway, had landed in my boat, and that, as five men at Callao had recognized and sworn to their having belonged to Lord Cochrane's ship, they had been confined in the Castle, and the formal declarations of the witnesses were to be taken preparatory to the trial of the prisoners. I immediately waited on the Viceroy, and assured him there must be some misunderstanding; but, in order to prevent all further mistake, before making an official requisition to the government for the officers to be delivered up, I wished to have access to them at Callao. This, however reasonable, was objected to at first, on the ground of improper communication; but as I merely asked to have the means of identifying the officers, an or-
der was given for that purpose, which I carried with me to the Castle.
The ferment at Callao, a place at all times liable to violent popular commotion, was supposed to be so great on this irritating occasion, that many people counselled me not to excite the mob to greater fury by showing myself amongst them. But it was obvious that my delaying to visit my officers in confinement at this particular moment, would tend directly to confirm all the suspicions against them, and possibly lead to their being sacrificed to the fury of the populace. The executive government, it was to be feared, possessed at this critical season no very great authority, and as the military partook deeply of the wild opinions of the people, their subordination, especially in a popular point like this, could not be relied on. I saw, too, with much regret, that whatever might be the issue of this affair, all chance of our remaining on any good understanding with the Spaniards was gone.
On reaching Callao, I rode slowly through the streets, which were filled with people, over whose countenances hung a scowl that spoke anything
but civility or welcome; there was also some little murmuring, and an occasional appearance of surprise at my presence, but no violence of any kind was offered.
The Spaniards are so devoted to form, that my order for admission to the prisoners was required to pass through innumerable hands, before I was permitted to look at them; and then not to speak a word: this done, the prison, doors were again locked, and I returned to Lima to make an official application to the government for the individuals who had been arrested, and whom I had now identified as my officers.
There is some reason to think that the peaceable reception I met with at Callao was owing to a mere accident. All commercial intercourse between Chili and Peru having been cut off from the moment the expedition sailed, the only mode of communication between Valparaiso and Callao was by means of the British men-of-war; and as, in former times, there had been a constant intercourse between these two ports, and numerous connections bad been formed between their respective inhabitants, the effects of the war were
now severely felt in the interruption of correspondence. I have stated, that, at Valparaiso, I sometimes amused myself by going into the cottages to observe the habits of the lower classes, and as it happened that most of those people had some relative or connection settled at Callao, I was charged, on sailing, with many messages and letters, all of which, it may be mentioned, as characteristic of the times, they insisted on my reading in their presence, lest they should contain political matter prejudicial to their correspondents, or to the bearer. Shortly after my arrival in Peru, I took care to deliver all these letters and messages in person. The letters were few, but the neighbours flocked in on hearing that tidings had come from Valparaiso, and though many were disappointed, many also were made happy by hearing of their friends, from whom they had received no direct communication for some time. I had fortunately taken the precaution to write the different messages from the people at Valparaiso in my pocket-book, so that, when these little memorandums were torn out and given to the parties, they became a sort of letter,
and were prized as such by the receivers. For my own part, I was well satisfied with seeing people so easily made happy, and thought no more of the matter. Just now, however, when I had become an object of suspicion, and when the lives of two of my officers were at stake, it was of some consequence to maintain any good will that accident might have gained for me amongst the mob—a mob, it may be added, of a notoriously sanguinary character, since, on a recent occasion, they had actually put a whole boat's crew to death, in a popular tumult. This occurred a few days after the capture of the Esmeralda, in consequence of an idea, equally preposterous with that which possessed them now, that the American frigate Macedonian had co-operated with Lord Cochrane upon that occasion.
As I was mounting my horse, on coming out of the castle after seeing the officers, a crowd rapidly collected around me, seemingly in no cordial mood. I walked my horse deliberately to the nearest of the houses to which any letter or message from Valparaiso had been delivered, and, under pretence of asking for a glass of water, stop-
ped at the door. The people of the house came running out to receive me, and one of them said, in a tone partaking both of kindness and reproach, "Oh, Senor, I did not think you would have allowed spies to land in your boat." "And I, my good lady," said I, "never could have supposed you would allow such an absurd suspicion to enter your head." The crowd had, by this time, collected in great numbers round us, listening to all that passed, and many of my old acquaintances came forward to renew the subject of their Valparaiso friends. In this way the conversation went on for about ten minutes, after which I turned my horse towards Lima, the crowd opened a passage for me, and I was never afterwards molested or threatened in the slightest degree, though I passed through Callao several times every day during the next week.
The delay of a Spanish pleyto, or cause, is, above all others, proverbial, and, therefore, it was not matter of surprise, however it might be of vexation, that the release of my officers was not obtained at once. An official letter was written to government to require their restitution, as
they had been identified by me, and I pledged myself, of course, to the truth of this statement. The difficulty was to determine the value of my word, as opposed to the oath of no less than five men at Callao, who had sworn, it seems, most positively, that they had seen these very officers doing duty, recently, on board Lord Cochrane's ships; whereas, in point of fact, neither of them had ever set their foot on board any one of the Chilian squadron. The Viceroy admitted that the character of the witnesses was utterly worthless, but he did not, or, perhaps, could not, do me the justice to act upon that admission. It was clear enough that he doubted his own power over the people, for he said very candidly, that the tide of popular feeling could not be safely resisted, without a little delay. This want of confidence on the part of the executive government was a real source of alarm; and I was made still more uneasy by learning that the officers were to be tried by a military commission, an ominous court at best, and one, in such times, of a nature not to be trusted.
The Viceroy told me, at this interview, that he
had just received advices of ten or twelve deserters from the Chilian squadron, having arrived, whom he had ordered to Callao, that their evidence might also be taken in the case of the officer. The testimony of these men, he thought, would probably not agree with that of the first five witnesses, who might well be suspected of having concerted their story. This seemed sensible enough; but the manner in which the scheme was carried into execution was highly characteristic. The government considered that they had done everything towards the advancement of justice, in originating the idea of this cross evidence, and, therefore, merely gave an order for the deserters to be sent to Callao, without stating that they should be kept apart from the first witnesses; so that they absolutely were placed, for a whole night, in the same room with the very men whom they were sent to confront.
I attended next morning, along with the officers, whilst the declarations of all the witnesses were taken, by the commission appointed for that purpose, when fifteen men swore on the cross to the
fact of these two gentlemen, whom they pointed out, having served upwards of two years with Lord Cochrane. They were all men of the most abandoned character, and well known at Callao as such; but that circumstance mattered little, as their evidence ministered to the heated imaginations and violent prejudices of the people: as far, therefore, as this sage inquiry went, it would certainly have left matters worse than it found them, had not three Spanish gentlemen voluntarily come forward, greatly to their honour, in the very face of the popular clamour, and, in a manner, well deserving our acknowledgments. Two of them were naval officers, the other a respectable merchant, all three had been prisoners of war on board Lord Cochrane's ship at the time specified by the witnesses; and they swore positively, that neither of the prisoners had then been on board the flag ship, nor in any other of the Patriot squadron.
Had not the latter witnesses fortunately come forward, there is no saying what might have been the result of the inquiry. The military commission, however, appointed to consider the
evidence, after a violent discussion, in the course of which it was seriously proposed to hang the officers as spies, agreed, by a small majority, to liberate them, and a dispatch was written to me, stating that such was their decision, in consequence of the pledge I had given on my word of honour that the individuals were not spies from the Chilian squadron, but officers holding commissions in his Britannic Majesty's service.
They also took occasion to recommend to government, not to allow any stranger to land from the foreign ships in the roads, during these turbulent times; and as this part of the dispatch is curious, from showing the state of feeling at the moment, I subjoin a translation of it. "And in order to maintain the friendship and harmony so valuable to both nations, to place out of reach all motive of dissension, and to avoid misunderstandings between the English and Spaniards, which, in consequence of the opinions held at Lima, and still more at Callao, neither the prudence, the foresight, nor the zeal of the commanders can prevent; it seems necessary to the government, under existing cir-
cumstances, the port being blockaded by the Chilian squadron, under Lord Cochrane, that all strange ships should anchor outside of the line, and that no individuals, of whatever class and condition they be, shall come on shore." On the 23d February, we accordingly embarked, and, for the present, took leave of Lima, without any great regret, for the period of our visit had been one of constant irritation and difficulty.
Lord Cochrane, who had been at sea for some time, rejoined the blockading squadron in the roads just before the above discussion ended, and on the 24th, I had an interview with his Lordship, on board his flag ship, the San Martin.
On the 25th his Majesty's ship Andromache returned to the anchorage, and on the 28th, with a ship full of passengers, we sailed for Chili.
The city of Lima has been described so often, and so minutely, by well known authors, that a very few words respecting it will be sufficient is this place. The road from Callao to Lima is six miles long, perfectly straight, and the rise so gradual, as to be almost imperceptible, although the city is elevated above the level of the sea more
than sir hundred feet. When seen from Callao Roads, or even from a nearer distance, no town has a more splendid appearance, owing to its numerous domes and spires, rising from so elevated a situation, and wearing a strange and rather Moorish aspect. As we approached the city, everything spoke of past splendour and present wretchedness. At the top of the road, we passed along an approach a mile in length, between two double rows of fine trees, with public walks, stretching on either hand, and elegant ornamental stone seats, all in ruins, and choked up with weeds and shrubs. The principal entry to Lima was at the end of this grand approach through a gorgeous triumphal arch, tawdry and falling to decay, with the crown of Spain mouldering on the top.
No traveller, it is said, ever entered a great town without feeling some disappointment, and the capital of Peru furnishes no exception to the observation. The churches, which, at a distance, make so splendid a show, turn out, on closer inspection, to be very paltry structures, overlaid with fantastic and tasteless stuceo work and tinsel ornaments; the effect, therefore, which the mag-
nitude of the buildings might have produced, if quite destroyed by the meanness of the details. The lower part only of these great churches is built of stone, the spires and domes being formed of wood plastered over, which, though certainly a wise precaution, is fatal to their magnificent effect. This proceeds not from economical motives, but from the recollection of many fatal catastrophes which have taken place in churches built of stone, in consequence of earthquakes, to which Peru is unfortunately very liable.
Lima, like all the Spanish towns in this country, is divided by parallel streets, with others crossing at right angles, into quadras or solid squares of houses, about a hundred and twenty yards in length on each face; and a very considerable proportion of the whole town is occupied by convents and churches. Along the middle of all the streets there runs a stream of water, into which all rubbish is ordered to be thrown; but as this is seldom duly attended to, the streets become receptacles of filth from one end to the other.
The pavements, both of the carriage-way and the footpaths, have been allowed to go out of re-
pair, a circumstance the lees attended to, perhaps, from there being few wheeled carriages, all heavy work being done by asses and mules.
The Theatre, which was opened during the festivities upon the accession of the new Viceroy, was of rather a singular form, being a long oval, the stage occupying the greater part of one side, by which means the front boxes were brought close to the actors. The audience in the pit was composed exclusively of men, and that in the galleries of women, a fashion borrowed, I believe, from Madrid, the intermediate space being divided into several rows of private boxes. Between the acts, the Viceroy retires to the back seat of his box, which, being taken as a signal that he may be considered as absent, every man in the pit draws forth his steel and flint, lights his segar, and puffs away furiously, in order to make the most of his time, for when the curtain rises, and the Viceroy again comes forward, there can no longer be any smoking, consistently with Spanish etiquette. The sparkling of so many flints at once, which makes the pit look as if a thousand fire-flies had been let loose, and the cloud of smoke rising immediately
VOL. I. I
afterwards and filling the house, are little circumstances which strike the eye of a stranger, as being more decidedly characteristic, than incidents really important I may add, that the gentlemen in the boxes also smoke on these occasions; and I once fairly detected a lady taking a sly whiff behind her ran. The Viceroy's presence or absence, however, produces no change in the gallery aloft, where the goddesses keep up an unceasing fire during the whole evening.
ARRIVAL AT VALPARAISO—SANTIAGO—EXCURSION TO THE INTERIOR—DESCRIPTION OF THE LABSO OR NOOSE—SOUTH AMERICAN METHOD OF CATCHING AND BILLING CATTLE—MODE OF PREPARING JERKED BEEF—BALL—LAKE OF ACULEO—INTERFERENCE OF THE PRIESTS IN THE EDUCATION OF THE WOMEN—STATE OF POLITICAL FEELING IN CHILI.
VALPARAISO, 19th March 1821. We anchored here yesterday evening, in eighteen days from Lima, which is considered a good passage, the average for ships of war being somewhat more than three weeks. I landed in the evening to deliver letters and messages, being principally in answer to those we had carried on sailing from Valparaiso, and already alluded to in the account of our proceeding at Callao. Many of the people at Valpa-
raiso would scarcely believe that we had been in Peru at all, not being acquainted with the expeditious manner in which passages are now made. We had been absent only seven weeks, whereas, in old times, as many months, at least, would have been required to have performed the same service. At the first house for which I had letters, the family received me with a look of disappointment, and begged, reproachfully, to have the letters returned, not supposing it possible that I could have delivered them; but when they beheld the answers, their joy and gratitude knew no bounds; the news of our arrival spread rapidly, and in ten minutes, the house was filled with people beseeching for letters. In no country could a more lively interest be expressed than by these people for their absent friends, and it furnishes a complete answer to the statements often made of their coldness and indifference in their domestic relations. After delivering all my letters and messages, I was overpowered by questions from the ladies as to the appearance, manners, and various other qualities of persons whom they had not seen, but who had married into the
families of their relatives in Peru. This was a hard task; but the little I recollected was extremely well bestowed, and it was pleasing to observe the effect which all this produced in developing character; for many people, who had always been cold and formal before, came up, and offered their hands with a cordiality and frankness quite contrary to what had seemed their natural disposition, but which proved ever afterwards sincere and steady.
Just as I was leaving the house to return on board, two young men came to inquire for their sister, a widow lady, of whom they had not heard for more than a year. It so happened that this very person was one of my passengers, and nothing would satisfy the brothers and their wives, and two or three more, but going on board the Conway instantly, though it was near midnight. Accordingly, I stowed the whole party in my boat, and carried them off, to the great joy and astonishment of the widow.
As the Commander-in-chief was at the capital, I proceeded there on the 23d to make my report. On the 28th of March, I set out from Santiago.
accompanied by one of the English residents and a young officer of my ship, to pay a visit to a Chilian gentleman who resided about eighteen leagues in the interior. The day was well advanced before we started, and we pursued our way at a rapid pace over the great plain of Santiago, apparently a dead flat, but which we discovered, upon looking back at the city, to have a considerable ascent; so that we were now several hundred feet above the highest churches, without having perceived that we had been gradually rising.
In a country, the character of which is quite new, we are always liable to err in the ideas we form of the scenery around us. Amongst the Andes this is particularly the case; for the scale of everything is so great, that our previous conceptions are unequal to grasp the scene before us, and we run almost necessarily into mistakes respecting heights and distances, which nothing but experience can rectify. It is not at first that one is conscious of the deception, and the interest of a journey, made under such circumstances, is greatly heightened by the growing conviction that our senses are unequal to the task of duly es-
timating what in before us—the reality, in short, on these occasions, often outstrips the imagination.
We crossed the river Maypo, by a bridge made of hide ropes, near the scene of the battle fought by San Martin on the 5th of April 1818, already alluded to in the account of the revolutions in Chili.
This bridge is curious from its simplicity, and from the close resemblance it bears to the chain bridges recently introduced into England, to which, in principle, it is precisely similar. It consists of a narrow road-way of planks laid crosswise, with their ends resting on straight ropes, suspended by means of short lines, to a set of thicker ropes drawn across the stream from bank to bank. These strong sustaining ropes are six in number, three at each side of the bridge, and hang in flat curves, one above another, the short vertical cords supporting the road-way being so disposed as to distribute the weight equally. The main or suspending ropes are firmly secured to the angles of the rock on one side at the height of thirty feet
from the streams; but the opposite bank being low, the consequent inclination is, in some degree, corrected by carrying the ropes over a high wooden pier, and attaching them afterwards to trees, and to posts driven into the bank. The clear span from the pier on one side, to the face of the rock on the other is one hundred and twenty-three feet. The materials being very elastic, the bridge waved up and down, and vibrated from side to side in so alarming a manner, that, at the recommendation of the guide, we dismounted and drove our horses, one by one, before us, neither man nor horse appearing, however, much at case during the passage.
Shortly after crossing the Maypo we reached the lowest range of the Andes, round the base of which the road wound amongst immense masses of rock, precipitated from the ridges above, and occasionally passed through a belt of trees, growing like a fringe to the skirt of the mountains. It soon became dark, and if in broad daylight the character of the scenery was so new and stupendous as to defy all our attempts to estimate distances and proportions, much greater was our
perplexity now, In an unknown country, the traveller's fancy is curiously worked upon, at such moments, by the indistinct images which rise before him at every step. He sees, for example, what he takes to be a precipitous cliff, which, judging from his experience in daylight, he fancies many a league off, but in the midst of his admiration, he thrusts his head amongst the branches of an olive tree, the dark outline of which he had mistaken for that of one of the Andes. Or, being anxious to inquire his road, and seeing what he conceives to be a peasant's hut some fifty yards before him, he hastens forward to inquire the way, but, at length, to his amazement, discovers that this fancied hut is some far distant peak! In short, he is perplexed and bewildered at every step.
The day had been calm and sultry, but the evening no sooner closed in, than we were cheered by a cool and reviving breeze, blowing gently from the mountains, like the land-winds from off the coasts of hot countries; and, no doubt, from the same cause, the difference of temperature between the mountains sad the plain.
The stars shone out with singular brilliancy, and we rode on in pleasing uncertainty of what was to come next. The fancy, at such a season, is very apt to wander; and, under the influence of the surrounding scenery, we fell into a pleasing reverie, on the romantic history of the conquest, and the gorgeous descriptions we had read of the Andes; till the silence we had, for some time, maintained was suddenly interrupted by one of the party calling out; that we were entering the grounds of a gentleman who would furnish us with another guide for the remainder of the journey.
We dismounted at the door, and were shown into a bleak comfortless room, with a mud floor, a rude unfinished roof, and lighted by a solitary black tallow candle, all of which made us feel instinctively sure of a cold reception. In this, however, we were much mistaken, for the master of the house no sooner saw who we were, than he begged us to walk into his sala or drawing-room, a very different apartment from the first, for, as we entered, we could scarcely stand the glare of light from a dozen wax candles. The floor was covered with
a rich carpet, the roof and cornices were neatly finished, and the walls ornamented with mirrors and pictures. At the upper end of the room stood a grand piano-forte, by Broadwood, and, at the tea-table, near it, the lady of the house and her daughters received us most kindly. We soon became acquainted; and while one of the young ladies went out to gather some flowers for us, another opened the piano-forte, at our request, and played very good-naturedly, while we sat chatting with the old people, who entreated us to stay the night. There was something so unexpected in this kind of reception, and the people themselves were so obliging and agreeable, that I, for one, was very reluctant to quit such good quarters; it was necessary, however, to go on, and we mounted our jaded horses again with a very bad grace.
But the charms of the night scene were now gone, and the wild embellishments with which fancy had, an hour before, dressed up the scenery, were supplanted by the dark and comfortless reality: everything seemed to go wrong; the road was full of holes; the travellers weary of them-
selves and of one another, and the journey was never to be at an end! But, at length, after a tedious ride, we reached the Chacra, or farm, and had proceeded about half-way up the approach, when we were overtaken by two riders, one of whom proved to be the matter of the house, who welcomed us to the country with a frankness of manner, and a kindliness of tone peculiarly pleasing to an uninvited visitor. The ladies of the family, they said, were just behind, the whole party being on their return from a dance in the neighbourhood; so we hurried on, sad had our horses put sway in time to hand the ladies from their careta.
29th March.—When we met the next morning, every one looked well pleased to find himself in the country free from the bustle and distraction of the capital. The fresh feeling, always produced by the free air of the fields, was increased on this occasion by their being covered with vines and olive trees, and sweet-scented shrubs, and decked out with all sorts of gay blossoms. There is a genial influence in the country, in all climates, under which the frost of etiquette melts away, the
natural character comes into view, and many amiable qualities, heretofore unobserved, are discovered and acknowledged. But we missed the sociability of the breakfast party, for in these countries the family seldom assemble till the dinner hour, which is generally before two. We found, however, ample objects to interest us during the early part of the morning, but the heat of the sun drove us into the house long before our curiosity was satisfied.
We sat down to dinner, a very merry party, the master of the house insisting upon my taking the head of the table; a custom, he said, that could by no means be dispensed with. The first dish which was placed on the table was bread soup, exceedingly good, and cooked either with fish or meat, a distinction so immaterial, we thought, that our surprise was considerable when we observed a gentleman of the party start up, and, with a look as if he had swallowed poison, exclaim, "O Lord, there is fish in the soup!" and while we were wondering at this exclamation, our friend ran off to the kitchen to interrogate the cook. He returned with a most woe-begone look, and finished
his plate of soup as if it had been the last he was ever to taste. A feeling of delicacy prevented our asking questions, although our curiosity was raised to the highest pitch, by observing the gentleman touch nothing else, but literally go without his dinner. It was Friday, and it was in Lent, which might have accounted for his horror at meat; but it was fish which had shocked him; besides, we saw the rest of the company eating both without scruple, which puzzled us exceedingly, and the more so as the self-denying individual was a very sensible man, and showed no other symptoms of eccentricity. We at last discovered that he had, for some reason or other, come under a religious engagement not to eat both fish and flesh, though the South Americans are permitted to do so, by an express bull in their favour, and it so happened, that he had set his fancy this day most particularly on a meat dish close to him, never dreaming of what had been put into the soup; fish once tasted, however, his feast was at an end, and he kept his vow in a manner worthy of an anchorite.
We had then the Olla, a dish celebrated in all
lands where Spanish is spoken. It consists of boiled beef, piled round with all sorts of vegetables, and well covered with a large yellow pea, called a Garbanza; and so inseparable is this union, that our "beans and bacon" is not better known in English, even in a proverbial sense, than "Olla con Garbanza" is in Spanish. Besides these dishes, we had various rich stews, and, last of all, a dish of roast beef, not in the smallest degree resembling, however, the glorious roast beef of Old England; but a long thin strip of dry burnt-up meat, without a single bone to give it a shape, and with every bit of fat cut away. Meanwhile, we finished our dinner, and partook of a capital dessert of cool bursting figs, fresh from the trees within sight of the table; as were the luscious sweet grapes, the pride of our host's heart; and, lastly, the enormous purple water melon, the staff of life amongst the poorer classes in this country: to all which was added a pleasant small wine, manufactured by the hands of our absent hostess.
The whole scene was characteristic of the country. We sat in the cross draught of two
doors and numerous windows, enjoying the balmy air as it passed through house, whisking, in its course, the dried fig and vine leaves along the floor. On one side, we could see along the gravel walks of the garden, stretching under trellised vines, and shaded by a broad belt of lofty walnut trees, which formed a grateful skreen between us and the fiery glare of the western sky. On the other hand, our view extended as far as the Andes, fifty or sixty miles off, indistinctly seen through the waving haze, caused by the fierceness of the sun's rays striking on the arid low grounds; neither bird nor beast was to be seen, nor the least speck of a cloud in the sky—the tyranny of the sun was complete. There was a solemn tranquillity in this, which, while it disposed the mind to thought, took nothing from its cheerfulness. But we were soon left to enjoy it alone, as the company dropped off, one by one, to take their siesta; the landlord only remained, but evidently out of civility to his guests; we, therefore, took an opportunity of slipping off to our rooms also, that he might retire.
Our host was a native Chilian, but of Span-
ish descent. He was a considerable landed proprietor, who passed the greater part of his time on his estate, and who, from his knowledge of farming, cattle-breeding, and the cultivation of the vine, had been enabled not only to turn his property to good account, but to obtain great influence in the country. By kindness and hospitality he drew people to his house, while his talents and information rendered him an invaluable neighbour. His wife was absent in the city for her confinement, but her father and two sisters were of our party.
Between four and five o'clock, the siesta being over, our friends, rubbing their eyes, gradually made their appearance; by half past five, we were all assembled. The careta, which is merely a covered cart, and well supplied with mats and straw in place of springs, was ordered for the ladies, who set out to pay what they were pleased to call "unas visitas campestres;" in plain English, gossiping country visits.
The gentlemen rode in another direction to see the cattle selected for next day's Matanza or slaughter. We were guided, by a cloud of
VOL. I. K
dust, to the spot where the country people had collected the drove, and hemmed them into a corner. The master of the house, accompanied by the principal horseman of his farm, rode amongst the beasts, and fixing his eye upon the fattest, pointed it out to the attendants, who soon separated it, by means of their goads, from the rest. In this way fifteen were selected, and being surrounded by about a dozen horsemen, were driven slowly towards the house, and finally into an adjoining Corral or inclosure.
On our way homeward our host entertained us, by making his people show us the South American method of catching cattle. The instrument used is called in English a Lasso, from the Spanish Lazo, which signifies slip-knotor noose, and the operation of using it is called Lassoing. It consists of a rope made of strips of untanned hide, varying in length from fifteen to twenty yards, and is about as thick as the little finger. It has a noose or running-knot at one end, the other extremity being fastened by an eye and button to a ring in a strong hide-belt or surcingle, bound tightly round the horse. The coil is grasped by
the horseman's left band, while the noose, which is held in the right, trails along the ground, except when in use, and then it is whirled round the head with considerable velocity, during which, by a peculiar turn of the wrist, it is made to assume a. circular form; so that, when delivered from the hand, the noose preserves itself open till it falls over the object at which it has been aimed.
The unerring precision with which the lasso is thrown is perfectly astonishing, and to one who sees it for the first time, has a very magical appearance. Even when standing still it is by no means an easy thing to throw the lasso; but the difficulty is vastly increased when it comes to be used on horseback and at a gallop, and when, in addition, the rider has to pass over uneven ground, and to leap hedges and ditches in his course; yet such is the dexterity of the guassos, that they are not only sure of catching the animal they are in chace of, but can fix, or, as they term it, place their lasso on any particular part they please; over the horns, round the neck, or the body, or they can include all four legs, or
two, or any one of the four, and the whole with such ease and certainty, that it is necessary to witness the feat to have a just conception of the skill displayed; which, like that of the savage Indian in the use of his bow and arrow, can only be gained by a whole life's practice. It is, in fact, the earliest amusement of these people, and I have often seen little boys just beginning to run about, actively employed in lassoing cats, and entangling the legs of every dog that was unfortunate enough to pass within reach. In due season they become very expert in their attacks on poultry, and afterwards in catching wild birds; so that, by the time they are mounted on horseback, which is always at an early age, they begin to acquire that matchless skill from which no animal,. of less speed than a horse, has the slightest chance of escaping.
Let us suppose that a wild bull is to be caught, and that two mounted horsemen, guassos, as they are called, undertake to kill him. As soon as they discover him, they remove the coil of the lasso from behind them, and, grasping it in the left hand, prepare the noose in the right, and dash
off at full gallop, each swinging his lasso round his head. The first who cornea within reach aims at the bull's horns, and, when he sees, which he does in an instant, that the lasso will take effect, he stops his horse, and turns it half round, the bull continuing his course, till the whole lasso has run out from the guasso's hand. The horse, meanwhile, knowing, by experience, what is going to happen, leans over, as much as he can, in the opposite direction from the bull, and stands in trembling expectation of the violent tug which is given by the bull when brought up by the lasso. So great, indeed, is the jerk which takes place at this moment, that, were the horse not to lean over, he would certainly be overturned; but standing, as he does, with his feet planted firmly on the ground, he offers sufficient resistance to stop the bull as instantaneously as if it had been shot, though at full speed; and, in some cases, the check is so abrupt and violent, that the animal is not only dashed to the ground, but rolls along at the full stretch of the lasso, while the horse, drawn sideways, ploughs up the earth with his feet for several yards. This, which takes so long to de-
scribe, is the work of a few seconds, during which, the other horseman gallops past, and, before the bull has time to recover from the shock, places the lasso over his horns, and continues advancing till it also is at the full stretch. The bull, stupified by the fall, sometimes lies motionless on the ground; but the horsemen soon rouse him up, by tugging him to and fro. When on his legs he is like a ship moored with two cables, and however unwilling he may be to accompany the horsemen, or however great his struggles, he is irresistibly dragged along by them in whatever direction they please. If the intention be to kill the animal for the sake of the hide and tallow alone, as is often the case, one of the guassos dismounts, and, running in, cuts the bull's hamstrings with a long knife, which he always wears in his girdle, and, instantly afterwards, dispatches him, by a dexterous cut across the back of the neck. The most surprising thing is, the manner in which the horse, after being left by his rider, manages to preserve the lasso always tight; this would be less difficult if the bull were to remain steady, but it sometimes happens, that he makes violent strug-
gles to disentangle himself from the lassos, rushing backwards and forwards in a furious manner; the horse, however, with wonderful sagacity, alters his place, and prances about, as if conscious of what he is doing, so as to resist every movement of the bull, and never allowing the lasso to be relaxed for a moment.
When a wild horse is to be taken, the lasso is always placed round the two hind legs, and, as the guasso rides a little on one side, the jerk pulls the entangled horse's feet laterally, so as to throw him on his side, without endangering his knees or his face. Before the horse can recover the shock, the rider dismounts, and snatching his poucho or cloak from his shoulders, wraps it round the prostrate animal's head; he then forces into his mouth one of the powerful bridles of the country, straps a saddle on his back, and, bestriding him, removes the poucho; upon which, the astonished horse springs on his legs, and endeavours, by a thousand vain efforts, to disencumber himself of his new master, who sits quite composedly on his back, and, by a discipline which never fails, reduces the horse to such complete obedience, that he is soon train-
ed to lend his speed and strength in the capture of his wild companions.
During the recent wars in this country, the lasso was used as a weapon of great power in the hands of the guassos, who make bold and useful troops, and never fail to dismount cavalry, or to throw down the horses of those who come within their reach. There is a well authenticated story of a party of eight or ten of these men, who had never seen a piece of artillery, till one was fired at them in the streets of Buenos Ayres; they galloped fearlessly up to it, placed their lassos over the cannon, and, by their united strength, fairly overturned it. Another anecdote is related of them, which, though possible enough, does not rest on such good authority. A number of armed boats were sent to effect a landing at a certain point on the coast, guarded solely by these horsemen. The party in the boats, caring little for an enemy unprovided with fire-arms, rowed confidently along the shore. The guassos, meanwhile, were watching their opportunity, and the moment the boats came sufficiently near, dashed
into the water, and, throwing their lassos round the necks of the officers, fairly dragged every one of them out of their boats.
In the evening we were engaged in amusements of a very different description. Our party repaired to the house of a neighbour, an old lady, whose great delight it was to see her friends happy about her. We were soon joined by several other families, and there being a piano-forte in the room, the sure consequence was a dance. If it be difficult to describe the lasso, it is quite impossible to describe the Spanish country dance, which bears no resemblance to anything in England. It consists of a great variety of complicated figures, affording infinite opportunities for the display of grace, and for showing elegance of figure to the greatest advantage. It is danced to waltz tunes, played in rather slow time; and, instead of one or two couples dancing at once, the whole of the set, from end to end, is in motion. No dance can be more beautiful to look at, or more bewitching to be engaged in; yet there is no denying, that admirable though it be for those warm regions, it is of a character unsuited to the climate and
habits of England. Dancing and walking, for the last is equally looked upon as an accomplishment, are taught with great care, and I do not remember to have seen any lady who did not do both well. Differences in the figure and in the taste of the individual will, of course, make distinctions quite as remarkable as in other countries; but still the universality of good dancing, and more particularly of graceful, or it may be called elegant walking, is a very remarkable feature, and well deserving of notice. As all the ladies have, more or less, a taste for music, and can play on the piano-forte, there seldom arises, on such occasions as this, a difficulty in finding a player. But I was surprised, and somewhat disappointed, to see a young lady, one of the gayest and best dancers in Chili, place herself at the instrument. The gentlemen loudly appealed against this proceeding; but she maintained her place resolutely, declaring she would not dance a single step. I saw there was some mystery in this, and took an opportunity of begging to know what could have induced a person, of so much good sense and cheerfulness, and so fond of dancing,
to make so very preposterous a resolution. She laughed on hearing the subject treated with such earnestness, and confessed that nothing was farther from her own wishes than her present forbearance, but that she was bound by a promise not to dance for a whole year. I begged an explanation of this singular engagement, when she told me, that, during the recent confinement of her sister, our host's wife, at a moment when her life was despaired of, her mother had made a vow, that, if she recovered, not one of the unmarried girls should dance for twelve months. Her younger sister, however, was dancing; and I found she had managed to evade the obligation by an ingenious piece of casuistry, arguing that, as the promise had been made in town, it could never be intended to apply to the country. The good-natured mother, who probably repented of her absurd vow, allowed that a good case of conscience had been made out; and the pretty Rosalita danced away with a spirit which was taken up by the whole room, and a more animated ball was never seen.
30th March.—Before breakfast to-day, we wit-
nessed the South American method of killing cattle, a topic which, at first sight, must appear no very delicate or inviting one; but I trust it will not prove uninteresting, or disagreeable in description.
The cattle, as I before mentioned, had been driven into an inclosure, or corral, whence they were now let out, one by one, and killed; but not in the manner practised in England, where, I believe, they are dragged into a house, and dispatched by blows on the forehead with a pole axe. Here the whole took place in the open air, and resembled rather the catastrophe of a grand field sport, than a mere deliberate slaughter. On a level space of ground before the corral were ranged in a line four or five guassos on horseback, with their lassos all ready in their hands; and opposite to them another line of men on foot, furnished also with lassos, so as to form a wide line, extending from the gate of the corral to the distance of thirty or forty yards. When all was prepared, the leader of the guassos drew out the bars closing the entrance to the corral; and, riding in, separated one from the drove,
which he goaded till it escaped at the opening. The reluctance of the cattle to quit the corral was evident, but when, at length, forced to do so, they dashed forwards with the utmost impetuosity. It is said that, in this country, even the wildest animals have an instinctive horror of the lasso; those in a domestic state certainly have, and betray fear whenever they see it. Be this as it may, the moment they pass the gate, they spring forward at full speed, with all the appearance of terror. But were they to go ten times faster, it would avail them nothing against the irresistible lasso, which, in the midst of dust, and a confusion seemingly inextricable, were placed by the guassos with the most perfect correctness over the parts aimed at. There cannot be conceived a more spirited, or a more picturesque scene than was now presented to us; or one which, in the hands of a bold sketcher, would have furnished a finer subject. Let the furious beast be imagined driven almost to madness by thirst, and a variety of irritations, and in the utmost terror at the multitude of lassos whirling all around him; he rushes wildly forward, his eyes flashing
fire, his nostrils almost touching the ground, and his breath driving off the dust in his course:—for one short instant he is free, and full of life and strength, defying, as it were, all the world to restrain him in his headlong course; the next moment he is covered with lassos, his horns, his neck, his legs, are all encircled by these inevitable cords, hanging loose, in long festoons from the hands of the horsemen galloping in all directions, but the next instant as tight as bars of iron; and the noble animal lies prostrate on the ground, motionless and helpless. He is immediately dispatched by a man on foot, who stands ready for this purpose with a sharp knife in his hand; and as soon as the body is disentangled from the lassos, it is drawn on one side, and another is driven out of the corral, and caught in the same manner.
On begging to know why so many lassos were thrown at once on these occasions, we learned that the first rush of the beast, when driven out of the corral, is generally so impetuous, that few single ones ire strong enough to bear the jerk without breaking. As an experiment, a cow, in a very
furious state, was let out, and directions given for only two men to attempt to stop her. The first lasso fell over her head, and drew it round, so that the horns almost touched her back, but the cord snapped without stopping her; the second was intentionally placed round the fore part of the body, but it also broke without materially checking her progress. Away went the cow, scouring over the country, followed by two fresh horsemen standing erect in their stirrups, with their lassos flying round their heads, and their pouchos streaming out behind them; an animating and characteristic sight. The cow galloped, and the horses galloped, and such is the speed which cattle acquire when accustomed to run wild, that at first the horses had but little advantage. The ground being covered with shrubs and young trees, and full of hollow places, and sunk roads, the chace was diversified by many leaps, in which, although the poor cow did well at first, the horses, ere long, gained upon her, and the nearest guasso perceiving that he was just within reach, let fly his lasso. The cow was at such a distance that it required the whole length of the lasso to reach her,
and the noose had become so contracted by the knot slipping up, that it was barely large enough to admit the horns; had the cow been one foot more in advance, the circle would have become too small. When the rider saw the noose fixed, he stopped and turned his horse, upon which the poor cow, her head nearly wrung off, was cast to the ground with great violence. The second horseman dashed along, and on passing the cow, instead of throwing his lasso, merely stooped on one side, and laid the noose, which he had contracted to a small circle, over her horns. This done, the guassos turned their horses' heads and trotted back with their unwilling prize, not having been more than four or five minutes absent from the ground.
There is another method of arresting the animal's progress without using the lasso, which is said to require even more skill and presence of mind than that formidable instrument itself. A horseman is stationed a little way from the entrance of the corral, armed with an instrument called a Luna, which consists of a steel blade about a foot long, and curved, as its name implies,
in the form of a crescent, sharpened on the concave edge, and having a pole ten or twelve feet king screwed into the middle of the blunt or convex aide; so that, when held horizontally, the horns of the crescent point forward. The rider carries this luna in his right hand, couched like a lance, the blade being then about two feet from the ground, in advance of the horse, while the staff is kept steady by passing it under the arm. Having allowed the animal to rush past, he puts spurs to his horse, gallops after, and on coming close up, places his weapon in such a situation, that when the animal's right hind leg is thrown backwards, it shall enter the fork or crescent of the luna, and by striking against the edge, which is made as sharp as a razor, divide the tendon. The weapon is then quickly transferred to the left leg, where, in like manner, the least touch properly applied divides the other tendon. We saw this cruel feat performed by the principal guasso on our host's estate, who was described as being the best rider and the most expert man in that part of the country. The ground was very dry and dusty, so that, by the
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time he overtook the bullock he was in chace of, there was such a cloud raised by the animal's feet, that we could scarcely see what was doing. The guasso contrived, however, to cut both hamstrings, but his horse becoming confused, fell over the bullock, and we were in considerable alarm lest the man should be cut in two by his own weapon, or be transfixed by the beast's horns: but he never lost his self-possession, and having first flung the instrument high into the air, raised both himself and horse from the ground, and rode out of the cloud unhurt, and without having ever lost his seat.
While this more serious business was going on, a parcel of mischievous boys had perched themselves on a pile of firewood close to the corral, and being each armed in his way, with a lasso made of a small strip of hide, or of whip cord, had the first chance to noose the animals as they rushed out They seldom failed to throw successfully, but their slender cords broke like cobwebs. One wicked urchin, however, more bold than the rest, mounted himself on a donkey that happened to be on the spot; and taking the lasso which
belonged to it, for no description of animal that is ever mounted is without this essential equipment, and placing himself so as not to be detected by the men, he threw it gallantly over the first bullock's neck; but as soon as it became tight, away flew the astonished donkey and his rider: the terrified boy soon tumbled off; but poor Neddy was dragged along the ground, till a more efficient force was made to co-operate with his unavailing resistance.
When a sufficient number of bullocks had been killed, they were dragged away by means of a small car, to which the heads were tied, with the bodies trailing behind on the ground. The corral or place to which they were removed was an inclosure from fifty to sixty yards square; the inner half, or that farthest from the entrance, being left open to the sky, while the other half was shaded with a rude sort of roof consisting of branches of trees, and long broad leaves, placed on trellis-work, forming a texture sufficiently close to exclude the sun, but affording no defence from rain; for in these countries, it must be recollected, the wet and dry seasons recur at such stated intervals, that the inha-
bitants can regulate the periods of their different occupations with a much greater degree of certainty than can be done in Europe.
On entering this court we looked along a wide passage leading into the uncovered part; on the right hand of the passage there stood a double line of posts, joined by cross bars, and on the left were five separate cells, formed of posts and cross bars, six or eight feet wide, and twelve or fourteen long. The rest of the ground under cover was slightly divided, by cross bars, into different compartments, with passages leading amongst them. Beyond the railings on the right hand ran a stream of clear water shaded by some large walnut trees, the branches of which reached to the ground, and mingled their leaves with a crowd of wild flowers, the commonest weeds, we were told, of the climate; some of which we recognized as the cherished plants of our greenhouses.
The heat, in the outer space where we had witnessed the lassoing, had become so great, that we were glad to seek shelter in this cool and quiet spot. We had not been there long, before five
of the bullocks which had been killed were dragged in, and placed in order, one before each of the cells described above.
Immediately three men applied themselves to each carcase, and with much dexterity, and in an incredibly short time, stripped off the hides, which were carried off to the open part of the inclosure, preparatory to their being staked out and dried in the sun. I observed that the principal guasso allowed none of these hides to pass him without first cutting off a thong and trying its strength; if it broke easily he took no further notice, but if it proved tough, he ordered the hide to be put by for making lassos, always the uppermost thought in a guasso's mind. After removing the skin, the fat and tallow were cut carefully off, and the muscles detached from their several seats, with the exact situation of which the men seem perfectly acquainted. But although their knives flashed about with great celerity, no fibres were cut across, but all the muscles were slipped out of their natural places, with a sleight of hand, which nothing but long and constant practice can teach. As fast as a portion was detached, it was carried into the adjoining cell,
where it was hung on a part of the railing expressly appropriated to it, every separate portion of the animal being arranged in a certain order. The head, feet, and refuse, were carried to the other side of the passage, and placed on a thick layer of green boughs, along the margin of the stream, by this time all discoloured and blood-stained. So quickly was the carcase separated into different parts, and with so little noise or violence, or apparent effort, that an active fancy might have supposed it had melted away. There was nothing in the whole course of this process at all calculated to disgust; no hacking,—or hewing,—or sawing,—each joint being dislocated, as if by magic, at the first touch of the knife. The bones also had distinct places allotted them, as well as the fat, not the slightest vestige of which was anywhere allowed to remain attached to the meat; and when everything was completed, and the ground clear, the leading man of each set went carefully round his cell to see that the whole was in order, and that each piece of meat was hung up correctly: the exact number of pieces I omitted to record, but it is always the same, and if any one be missing,
or misplaced, it is immediately remarked by the man who inspects the cell. The head, the backbone, and the legs, were then chopped into small pieces, and thrown into the boilers, that not a particle of fat might be lost, and I observed they even took the pains to strip off a thin skin from each of the ribs. The finer parts of the tallow were now spread out on a frame in the shape of a boy's kite, and hung up in one of the minor divisions.
The three men who had been employed in cutting up the bullock now commenced an operation, peculiar, I believe, to South America, namely, the preparation of what is called by us jerked beef, a term probably derived from the local name charqué. The men seated themselves on low stools in the different cells, and began cutting each of the detached portions of meat into long stripe, or ribbands, uniform in size from end to end, some of them cut from the large pieces being several yards in length, and about two inches in width. To perform this operation neatly requires considerable expertness. The piece of meat is held in the left hand, and at each cut is hitched round so as to offer a new place to the knife,
and in this way the strip of meat seems to unwind itself, like a broad tape from a ball, till at last nothing remains. We tried to perform this ourselves, but continually cut the strip across before it had attained any length. When the whole has been cut in this manner, it is allowed to hang under cover for a certain rime, during which it acquires a black colour, and owing to the heat and dryness of the air, speedily loses much of its moisture. The strips are afterwards exposed to the sun till thoroughly dried, and then being made up into great bales, strongly tied round with a net-work of thongs, become the jerked beef of commerce.
After breakfast we varied our amusements, by forming a party to ride to the Lake of Aculéo. We had to wind for some time among the ridges of the lower Andes, before reaching the Lake, which lay placidly in the middle of the mountains. Perhaps it is the smoothness and delicacy of finish, as it were, of a mountain lake, together with its unassuming solitude, compared with the bold and rugged majesty of the surrounding scenery, which give it so much grace and beauty. It may
be, too, that a scene like this, altogether without artificial embellishment, is more engaging, upon the whole, than one enriched with towns, and ornamented with villas and gardens, in the brilliant manner of the Italian Lakes.
In strictness, however, the Lake of Aculéo is not altogether desolate, for we could see here and there a cottage amongst the luxuriant groves skirting its margin on every side. But these served rather, I fancied, to augment the solitude, and the eye wandered more frequently to the lofty snow ridges above, and to the vast flocks of undisturbed wild fowl floating on the breast of the lake, than to these faint traces of population. One of the company, who possessed an active fancy, entertained us by drawing a lively picture of what the lapse of a century might produce here, if the country continued to prosper. He planted villages along the banks, cut commodious roads on the sides of the mountains, and covered the lake with boats; substituting the busy hum of man for the present silence of the scene. While our ingenious friend was thus enlarging on the possible effects of these anticipated improvements, another gen-
tleman, who cared little for such speculations, wan bitterly lamenting that we had not brought our guns, as the birds, which showed no alarm at our presence, allowed us to pass quite close; so close, indeed, that we could distinguish wild ducks, swans, and flamingoes, besides many others of which we knew nothing; and once we were startled by the sudden appearance of a flock of wild parrots, which passed close over-head, screaming most discordantly, while their beautiful plumage flashing in the sun, was the most brilliant sight imaginable. The flamingo we recognized by the delicate pink colour under the wings. In travelling, there often arises a peculiar interest in circumstances, which, however trivial in themselves, distinctly speak to the senses of a new and foreign land: thus, what the Andes had failed to do, the sight of a single bird effected at once. A lofty snow ridge is, comparatively speaking, a familiar object, and associates itself with European recollections; but we feel, at once, that a bird so remarkable in its appearance as the flamingo, can belong only to a foreign and different climate.
In the evening most of the ladies whom we had met at the dance last night, came to the house in which we were living; but their hilarity seemed to have fled with the sound of the music, and nothing more formal or prim than they were can be easily imagined. They ranged themselves along the wall in so determined a manner, that it would have tried the skill of the most hardy tactitian to have broken their line. Presently, however, an accidental opening weakened their position, and at once did the business. In the end, the ladies confessed themselves well pleased, that we had thus forced them, in spite of themselves, to show how agreeable they could be, even without the aid of a fiddle.
31st.—Our country-party broke up to-day to the great regret of us strangers, at least. The old gentleman, with his eldest daughter, and our friend of the tender conscience, together with my young officer and myself, formed the riding party to the city. The day was comparatively cool, so that our journey was most agreeable, and to us it had a double interest, since we now passed those places in daylight, over which we had before
travelled in the dark; and it was curious to observe, how very erroneous all our impressions had in consequence been, of every feature of the landscape. In such company, the road, formerly so tedious, was reduced to nothing, and before we thought half the distance accomplished, we discovered that we were entering the grounds of our hospitable friends who entertained us so kindly a few evenings before. The lady of the house had, on that occasion, more than once lamented that, owing to its being dark, she could not show us her garden, the pride of her life; she was, therefore, delighted to have caught us on our return, and showed the way with great glee to her favourite spot. It certainly was a brilliant spectacle, for in these climates where nature does so much, the least assistance multiplies the effect in a manner, of which, in cold regions, we have no conception. But our good dame, who thought of nothing less than letting nature have her course, had planted her flowers, and cut her walks and borders into the form of beasts, birds, and fishes; not only had she displayed the figures of the animals in a sort of relief, but she had attended mi-
nutely to the appropriate colours of each, by the careful distribution of the proper flowers; and, to do her justice, the spot looked more like a menagerie than a garden.
We reached the bridge of Maypo at noon, and having made preparations for dining on the road, resolved to stop, during the heat of the day, at the Post House on the top of the bank. Our dinner was plain and good, and we were merrily eating our olla, when a new guest stepped in;—a coarse, loud-talking impudent sort of personage, who seated himself unceremoniously at a vacant corner of the table, displayed his wallet, and drew forth a handful of charqué, or jerked beef, and a great lump of cheese: the beef he sent out by one of the guassos to be pounded between any two stones on the road; and while the charqué was undergoing this primitive cookery, cut up his cheese, and handed it round with the air of a man at the head of his own table. For my part, I was greatly diverted with the fellow's ease and impudence; but my friends, especially the young lady, were shocked that I should witness such an intrusion, which they could not prevent; for al-
though the table was theirs, it is the privilege in this country of travellers to associate with, and claim assistance from one another on the road, without regard to distinctions of rank.
When dinner was over, and the table was removed, the floor was spread with mattresses and beds preparatory to the siesta. There were not beds enough for every one, and this being the only room in the house, a momentary dilemma arose, but was soon settled by the lady taking the upper station next the wall, and placing her father next her, and so on with the rest of the party. Our self-elected companion, seeing a vacant space, spread out one of his horse-cloths, and drawing his saddle under his head, was asleep in a moment—an example soon followed by the others.
The sun went down while we were still a league or two from the city, and his rays, by passing through the thick haze, before described, shed a remarkable gold-coloured light on the spires and domes of the churches, whilst the tops of the mountains, the highest of which were covered with snow, still retained the clear bright sunshine. In
a short time, however, the light began to fade, even on the highest peaks, and at every successive moment a change took place in the colour of the different ranges; the lower ones first catching the golden tint, which was soon changed for a variety of pink, and lastly, for a dull cold grey colour; so that the whole view in the eastern quarter was variegated in the most singular manner, according to the height. Each ridge of hills was thus prominently distinguished from all the others, and its outline most distinctly displayed. It was rather a disappointment to discover that our fair companion, with all her good sense, had not much feeling for the magnificent beauties of her native spot In reply to our reproaches on her insensibility, she said it might be very wrong not to admire what she saw, but as she had never been out of the valley in her life, and, consequently, had no other scenery to compare with this, she was, at least, unconscious of its superiority to the rest of the world.
3d April.—I rode this morning from the city in company with two English gentlemen, to see a waterfall. To attain our object, we had climb-
ed from the plain on which Santiago stands, by a long and steep path, to the height of about four hundred feet. We imagined ourselves to be mounting the side of a steep ridge, and that on reaching the top we should look down the other side over the plain beyond. But, instead of this, we found ourselves on the skirts of a great plain joining that which we had left, and which appeared to be exactly upon the same level with it, notwithstanding the additional altitude we had gained. This singular optical deception must have been caused by the regularity of the slope in the direction we were looking, from the point we had attained to the plain we had started from, together with the enormous scale of everything around, with the dimensions of which we were yet far from sufficiently familiar, to appreciate either heights, distances, or levels.
One of the party happening to descry, at a distance, the country-house of a friend, we agreed to try our fortune there, as we had been disappointed with the waterfall, which proved quite contemptible. The master of the house, an old Spaniard, was delighted to see us, and very kind-
ly took us over his vineyards, and his olive groves. His vines, which were loaded with fruit, were planted in the manner of those at the Cape of Good Hope, in rows like gooseberry bushes, and supported only here and there as occasion required. He showed us also his wine-presses, and his immense cellars, along which were ranged many hundreds of Botijas, or gigantic jars, capable of holding, at least, a tun each. He had been a naval captain in his day, but having become disgusted with the service, and being of a quiet disposition, he had bought this place, married, and given up all thoughts of honour and glory; so that we found him most amiably ignorant of all that was passing beyond the boundaries of his estate: but with respect to machinery, the manufacture of wine, or the culture of olive trees and vines, he was full of information, and caught eagerly at any hints for their improvement.
In the evening we called on several families to take leave, it being our intention to return immediately to Valparaiso. At one house we were the only visitors; at another we could scarcely get in, owing to the crowd of company, and when, at
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length, we gained a seat near the ladies, we found it not easy nor agreeable to convene in our lame Spanish before so great an audience of natives. Our reception at the first house was much warmer, and proved more satisfactory, and more useful to those who were anxious to improve themselves in the language. At the other we saw more company, but made fewer and less valuable acquaintance. In both, however, and I may say in-all houses, there seemed to prevail but one kindly disposition to treat us with attention and hospitality, and to assist us, with the most polite, friendly, and patient assiduity, in acquiring their language; a remark which may be extended to the whole coast which we visited.
The following anecdote was, at this time, current in the city; and from all we heard during our short stay at Santiago, we were satisfied that the influence of the priests had been gradually on the decline, and that a more liberal spirit, especially in matters of education, had recently been introduced, and was fast spreading over the country.
A gentleman had thought fit to commence in-
structing his daughter in French,—a circumstance which the girl, unconscious of any crime, mentioned in the course of her confession to the priest, who expressed the greatest horror at what he heard, denounced the vengeance of Heaven upon her and her father, refused to give her absolution, and sent the poor creature home in an agony of fear. The father soon discovered the cause, and after some correspondence with the confessor, went to the head of the government, who sent for the priest, questioned him on the subject, and charged him with having directly interfered with the letter and spirit of the constitution, which gave encouragement to every species of learning. The priest affected to carry matters with a high hand, and even ventured to censure the director for meddling with things beyond his authority. This was soon settled: a council was immediately called, and the next day it was known throughout the city, that the priest had been seen crossing the frontiers, escorted by a military guard. An account of the whole transaction, with the correspondence between the parent and the confessor, were also published officially in the Gazette,
and full authority given, in future, to every person to teach any branch of knowledge not inconsistent with morals and religion.
From the 5th of April to the 26th May, we remained at Valparaiso; but our occupations, however interesting to ourselves, were not of a nature to be here detailed. The few leisure moments, which our professional avocations left us, were employed in making surveys; and in astronomical observations, principally on a comet which remained in sight from the 1st of April to the 8th of June; and in experiments with Captain Kater's pendulum, the object of which was to determine the figure of the earth.
The observations on the comet were successful, as they furnished data for the computation of its orbit; a task performed by Dr Brinkley of Dublin, and the results of which have been published, together with the original observations, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1822.
The experiments with the pendulum were of a more delicate and complicated nature, and required much more care and exclusive attention. The circumstances under which we were placed
also deprived us of that degree of leisure and abstracted thought, which this difficult and extensive problem requires. In all its details, however, it carries along with it the liveliest interest; and only those who have been similarly employed can have a correct idea of the cruel disappointment which a cloudy night, or any other interruption, produces in the midst of a series of observations. On such occasions, when all our hopes were gone, and our day's labour wasted, for want of a few clear hours of star-light, we used to employ the unwished for leisure in visiting our neighbours near the observatory, or in calling on the English residents, and other well-informed persons, particularly the governor of the port, a shrewd man, who had travelled much over the interior of the country. In this manner we were enabled to form a tolerable estimate of the state of political feeling at Valparaiso, where the intercourse with strangers was the greatest; and, by comparing it with that at Santiago, of which, also, we had now seen a good deal, to draw conclusions on the grand question of the effect of the Revolution on public opinion throughout the country.
At the port, in consequence of the number of arrivals, there is certainly to be found, occasionally, more exact information on particular points of foreign news than in the capital; but, in the latter, there is much more general information, owing, no doubt, to the more extensive diffusion of knowledge and intelligence amongst the inhabitants than at the port. They know, accordingly, with tolerable precision, not only what is passing in other parts of South America, but have a more distinct idea of European affairs than I had been led to expect; for they begin to be fully sensible of their own importance in the world, and to see the necessity of being acquainted with the proceedings of other states. To this incipient feeling of national dignity, they add a deep-seated and resolute enthusiasm in favour of independence.
Of civil liberty, I am not sure that the Chilians have, as yet, equally clear and correct notions; but nothing is more decided than their determination not to submit again to any foreign yoke; and I should conceive, from all I have been able to learn, that, under any circumstances, the Spanish party in Chili would be found small
and contemptible. Every day deepens these valuable sentiments, and will render the re-conquest of the country more and more remote from possibility. The present free trade, above all, maintains and augments these feelings; for there is not a single arrival at the port which fails to bring some new article of use, or of luxury, or which does not serve, by lowering the former prices, to place within reach of the lower orders many things known before only to the wealthy; to extend the range of comforts and enjoyments; and to open new sources of industry.
Amongst a people circumstanced as the South Americans have been, debarred for ages from the advantages of commerce, this change is of the last importance; and it is pleasing to reflect, that, while our merchants are consulting their own interests, and advancing the prosperity of their country, they are, at the same time, by stimulating at once and gratifying the wants of a great people, adding incalculably to the amount of human happiness. By thus creating higher tastes, and new wants, they produce fresh motives to exertion, and give more animating hopes to whole nations, which, without
such powerful and immediate excitements, might, for aught we know, have long remained in their ancient state of listlessness and ignorance. Every man in the country, rich or poor, not only practically feels the truth of this, but knows distinctly whence the advantage is derived; and it is idle, therefore, to suppose that blessings which come home so directly to all men's feelings, and which so manifestly influence their fortunes and happiness, can be easily taken from them.
There are, no doubt, many defects in the administration of affairs in Chili, occasional bad faith, and occasional oppression, and sometimes very inconvenient disturbances, and partial political changes; but these are of no moment in so vast a question. The barrier which has so long dammed up the tide of human rights, and free action, has been at length removed, and the stream is assuredly not to be stopped by anything from without; and what is internal, that might produce mischief, is rapidly improving as men advance in intelligence, and acquire a deeper interest in good order. An invasion, indeed, might cause much misery and disorder, and tend, for
a time, to keep back the moral and political improvement of the country; but the reaction would be inevitable, and, ere long, the outraged country would spring forwards to life and liberty, with tenfold vigour.
By means of foreign intercourse, and by the experience and knowledge of themselves, acquired by acting, for the first time, as freemen, they will come to know their own strength; by learning also to respect themselves, which they could hardly have done before, they will be ready to respect a government formed of themselves; and, instead of despising and hating their rulers, and seeking to counteract their measures, will join heartily in supporting them when right, or in exerting a salutary influence over them when wrong. At all events, even now, all parties would unite upon the least show of an attack; and so the result will prove, should anything so wild and unjust be attempted.
ON the 26th of May we sailed from Valparaiso, and proceeded along the coast to Lima. During the greater part of this voyage the land was in sight, and we had many opportunities of seeing not only the Andes, but other interesting features of the country. The sky was sometimes covered by a low dark unbroken cloud, overshadowing the sea, and resting on the top of the high cliffs which guard the coast; so that the Andes, and, indeed, the whole country, except the immediate shore, were then screened from our view. But at some places this lofty range of cliffs was intersected by deep gullies, called quebradas, connected with extensive vallies stretching far into the interior.
At these openings we were admitted to a view of regions, which, being beyond the limits of the cloud, and therefore exposed to the full blaze of the sun, formed a brilliant contrast to the darkness and gloom in which we were involved. As we sailed past, and looked through these mysterious breaks, it seemed as if the eye penetrated into another world; and had the darkness around us been more complete, the light beyond would have been equally resplendent with that of the full moon, to which every one was disposed to compare this most curious and surprising appearance.
As the sun's rays were not, in this case, reflected from a bright snowy surface, but from a dark-coloured sand, we are furnished, by analogy, with an answer to the difficulties sometimes started, with respect to the probable dark nature of the soil composing the moon's surface.
7th June.—We anchored off Arica about midday, and on landing found the town almost completely deserted, and exhibiting in every part marks of having been recently the scene of military operations. The houses had been broken open and pillaged, the doors were mostly unhinged and gone,
the furniture was destroyed, the shops and storehouses were empty. The first house we went to was that of the person styled Governor: he was stretched on a mattrass laid on the floor, for no bedstead or other vestige of furniture was left; and he was suffering under the cold fit of an ague. His wife and daughter were in an adjoining room, where they had collected a few friends; but they looked most disconsolate and miserable. The town had been attacked by a Patriot force, and had, as usual, suffered by being made the scene of conflict. Most of the people had fled to the interior, and the empty streets and houses gave a silent desolation to the place, which was very striking. Such of the inhabitants as were obliged to remain, either from sickness or from other causes, were reduced to severe privations. We saw some families that had not a table or a bed left, nor a chair to offer us when we entered, and the governor's wife declared she had not a change of dress; her daughter was in the same distress, a pretty little round-faced modest girl, whose attempts to tie a piece of a handkerchief round her neck, in the absence of all her wonted finery, was af-
fecting enough. The people in general were silent, with an air of deep settled anger on their countenances. That species of grief which breaks out in fretfulness and complaint is not characteristic either of the Spaniards or their descendants; and I have invariably observed amongst both a great degree of composure in their sorrow.
An English gentleman, who was passenger in the Conway, having letters to deliver to a Spanish merchant, we hunted long for him amongst the desolate streets, and at length learned that he, like the rest, had fled to the interior. We had some difficulty in getting mounted, but at length set off in quest of the Spaniard up the valley of Aries, the country round which is, in the truest sense of the word, a desert; being covered with sand as far as the eye can reach, without the slightest trace or hope of vegetation. The ground is varied by high ridges, immense rounded knolls, and long flat steppes, and far off, we get occasional glimpses of the lower ranges of the Andes, but high and low, they are all alike; one bleak, comfortless, miserable, sandy waste. The colour of the ground is sometimes black, generally of a dark brown,
and here and there a streak of white occurs; but nothing more barren, forlorn, or uninhabitable, was ever seen. Nor can it be well conceived without being witnessed; at least all the ideas I had formed of such a scene fell infinitely short of the reality, which had the effect of depressing the spirits in a remarkable degree, and inspiring a horror which it is difficult to describe or account for.
In the middle of the valley ran a small stream of water, accompanied in its course through the desert by a strip of rich green, infinitely grateful to the eye, from the repose it afforded, after looking over the surrounding country. The road was judiciously carried amongst the trees, near the margin of the stream, and so luxuriant was the vegetation, that we fairly lost sight of the neighbouring hills amongst the great leaves of the banana, and the thick bushy cotton trees, the pods of which were in full blossom.
Being in quest of adventures, we rode up to the first house we came to, which we found occupied by a respectable old Don, a merchant of Aries, who had been totally ruined by the recent events of the war. He described the battles to
us, and in very affecting terms recounted his own misfortunes, and what seemed to distress him more, the loss of a great quantity of property belonging to others, entrusted to his care. His family were about him, but they were equally destitute, and the picture was every moment heightened by some little touch of distress, too trifling to be described, or to be thought much of at a distance. There is a romantic or picturesque sort of interest which belongs to well described distress, that has no existence in the reality. In the one case, a multitude of small circumstances, by giving force and truth of effect to the picture, render it pleasing; but the very same circumstances, in the other case, produce a totally opposite emotion. The universal look of sorrow, for example, the total discomfort, the pitiable make-shifts, the absence of ease and cheerfulness, the silence, the disordered aspect of everything, the misplaced furniture, the neglected dress, and innumerable details, all produced at the time a degree of sympathy and deep pity for the sufferers, which no description can inspire. We were thus made more than ever sensible, how very different a thing it is
to view the distresses of war and to read about them.
After a long search we discovered the house of the Spaniard we were in quest of; an elderly man, who laughed and joked about the recent disasters in a manner that surprised us exceedingly at first; but it was the wild mirth of despair, a sort of feverish delirium, for he, too, was utterly ruined and broken-hearted, and soon relapsed, from the excitement our presence had caused, into a gloomy despondency. Whilst he and the gentleman, who had brought him letters, were discussing their business, I made acquaintance with a damsel, upon whom the distress of the times had fallen but lightly, for she smiled through all, and seemed very happy. She was a clever and conversible person, but resisted, with great adroitness, all our attempts to make out in what relation she stood to the master of the house, leaving us in doubt whether she was his wife, his mistress, his daughter, or his maid. She showed us over the beautiful garden and dressed grounds round the house, and we were well pleased to have our thoughts taken off the painful stretch in which they had
been kept all day by the contemplation of so much wretchedness and unmerited calamity.
On returning to the town, we paid a visit to the curate, who showed us the church which had been sacrilegiously broken open: the whole place, in fact, exhibited such misery and confusion, that we were very glad to get on board again to a scene of order, and peace, and comfort
8th June.—A party was again made to visit the valley, and we rode several leagues farther than we did yesterday, the people everywhere receiving us with kindness and hospitality; and the farther we receded from the town, where the resistance had been made, we found fewer symptoms of the war. They entertained us generally with delicious fruits, and a small clear white wine made on the spot; they placed before us also olives, some fresh, and others salted, but both in their ripe state, and full of oil; these are eaten with bread, and small slices of raw onions. At another house they gave us water melons of the richest and juiciest kind, which they eat along with cheese and a sour kind of plum. Their tables were placed in a verandah, or in a cover-
VOL. I. N
ed court, left open on all sides, and here and there in the roof also, to allow the breeze to pass freely through. The houses were built of sun-dried bricks, plastered with mud, and thatched with palm leaves; and their external appearance was shabby enough, which we regretted the more, from their being so beautifully situated, generally under the shade of some great tree, and thickly begirt with bananas, figs, and other tropical fruit trees, and guarded by hedges of magnificent aloes, and nopals, or prickly pears. The gentle stream of water hissed along the sand in its course through the grounds, which owed all their fertility and beauty to its influence. Ten minutes walk on either side of the rivulet brought us to the edge of the desert, condemned, for want of moisture, to perpetual sterility; and, indeed, along the whole coast of Peru, no rain ever falls, though at some few places the soil is occasionally refreshed by mists and dews.
The tract of country, which is an irremediable desert, may be said to extend for more than sixteen hundred miles along the shores washed by the Pacific; that is, from Coquimbo in Chili, nearly to
the entrance of Guayaquil River, or from 4° to 30° south latitude. This vast and desolate region lies between the great chain of the Andes and the sea, varying in breadth from thirty to a hundred miles, having very few rivers, and none of any magnitude; but wherever a stream does occur, the adjacent soil of the valley becomes capable of the highest cultivation; and except at these rare spots, no trees are found, and the scenery is everywhere uninteresting. The barren high country along the inner margin of this uninterrupted desert is rich in mineral treasures; and there prevails, in consequence, an idle notion in the country, that nature, in such cases, capriciously withholds her treasures from the surface, and conversely, when the country is capable of high cultivation, denies to it the riches of the mine. Such is the stubborn nature of prejudice and error once admitted, that although this absurd notion is contradicted by a thousand well known facts, the multitude still go on repeating the fallacy, and reasoning upon it with the same confidence as if it were true.
On the 9th of June we sailed from Arica, and
steered along shore to the north-west. In the evening of that day we had a fine view of the Cordillera, or highest ridge of the mountains, not less than between eighty and a hundred miles off. It was only when the ship was at a considerable distance from the shore that the higher Andes came in sight; for when near to it, the lower ranges, themselves of great height, intercepted the remote view. But when we stretched off thirty or forty miles, these intermediate ridges sunk into insignificance, while the chain of snowy peaks rose in great magnificence behind them. It sometimes even happened that the lower ranges, which had entirely obstructed the view of the Cordillera, when viewed at no great distance from the coast, were actually sunk below the horizon, by the curvature of the earth, when the distant ridges were still distinctly in sight, and more magnificent than ever. We were occasionally surprised, when we had little expectation of seeing the Cordillera, to behold their snowy tope towering above the clouds, and apparently so close, that it required a considerable degree of experience, and a strong effort of reason, to re-
move them in imagination to their real distance. At first we were disappointed to find them so much lower than we had anticipated; but this arose from a misconception of their distance, and gave way gradually to the highest admiration, when we became sensible by measurements, and by due reflection, how far they were from us.
The pleasure which these constant observations on the Andes afforded is not to be described; and we watched every morning for the day to break with the greatest anxiety, certain of the highest gratification. Our enjoyment from this source was at times very short lived, at others it lasted throughout the whole day. We were mortified one morning when the day dawned, to see no mountains in the eastern quarter, since we were not above a hundred miles from the shore; no land, however, could be distinguished. Presently the sun began to show himself above the horizon, and I cannot tell the degree of interest which was excited, when we discovered on his disk, as he rose, the outline of a distant summit of the Cordillera clearly and sharply traced, but which was so tar removed as
to be totally invisible, except at the moment when, being interposed between us and the sun, it intercepted a portion of his light, betrayed its situation for a few seconds, and then vanished again into thin air.
Our thoughts, however, were at this stage of the voyage called off from matters of taste and curiosity, by a series of anxious official duties connected with the British trade on this part of the coast. As I do not feel myself at liberty, however, to enter into any of the details of these proceedings, I shall omit all mention of them, and pass on to matters, perhaps, of less interest, but more immediately characteristic of the country and times.
On the 12th June we anchored at Ylo, a town which, as well as Arica, is often celebrated in the voyages of Dampier and the old Buccaneers. We landed at a little sandy beach, sheltered from the swell of the sea by a reef of rocks, on which the surf broke with prodigious violence, and covered half the bay with foam. We were greeted by two men and a woman; the lady was evidently a native, and her two companions were deeply dyed
with aboriginal blood; one was a young and active man, the other an old ragged beggar-like person. I asked the first to point out the Alcaldé's house. "This is the Alcaldé himself," said he, pointing to his aged companion, and certainly of all the constituted authorities whom we had to deal with on the shores of the Pacific, the Alcaldé or mayor of Ylo was the least like what the imagination conceives of a chief magistrate. But things must be judged with reference to their mutual fitness, and in this view, our shabby Alcaldé was appropriate to his office, for in his town we encountered only three living things, a half-dressed wild-looking Patriot soldier—an Indian from the mountains, asleep in the middle of the street—and a lean, half-starved, solitary jackass. Most of the houses were without doors, so that the sand drifted through them at every blast of the sea-breeze, which had just set in. A walk of five minutes, however, brought us to an olive grove, under the shade of which we trod on a rich coating of grass; and after wandering onwards, we soon reached a little rivulet completely arched over by trees, the branches of which meeting above the stream,
were interlaced and matted together by innumerable creepers, and overlaid with so thick a mantle of leaves and blossoms, that not a single ray of the son was permitted to reach the water. A little path conducted us to an opening in this screen, where a rude bridge, formed of two trees, laid from side to side, invited us to cross, although we saw no house, nor living creature. We had hardly reached the opposite bank, when a cock crowed, and we found ourselves, in the next moment, close to a cottage completely enveloped in the luxuriant foliage I have been describing. A fine old dame presented herself, and although, no doubt, somewhat surprised at the sight of visitors so unexpected, she welcomed us with that intuitive sort of politeness which characterize the whole population of the South American coast Having spread mats on the grass for us, she sent her sons to collect guavas, and brought out a little bottle of aguardiente, that we might refresh ourselves after our walk; and all with such simple earnestness of good will, that we knew not how to express our obligations, or to offer any adequate return.
On our way back, the Alcaldé told us the cause of the present deserted state of the town, and described the miseries of the war in language which showed him worthy of a higher office. We invited him to go on board the Conway, but could not prevail upon him to accompany us.
In the evening we got under weigh, and, in the course of the night, stole gently along shore by means of the land-wind, which was just sufficient to fill the sails, dripping wet with the heavy dew. In the morning of the 13th June we anchored in the open roads of Mollendo, for there are no harbours on this coast; a circumstance quite immaterial, since the wind is always so gentle, that ships anchor and lie exposed in perfect security. The water being deep, vessels are obliged to approach the shore, within a quarter of a mile, before they can find anchoring ground; and, as there is nothing to break the prodigious swell which rolls in from the Pacific against the rocky coast, a surf is caused of enormous magnitude, which dashes up and roars along the base of the cliffs in the most terrific manner, trying the nerves of stran-
gers, who, in spite of their conviction that all is safe, and that no storm will occur, cannot at once divest themselves of the most disagreeable associations, connected with a shore so formidable in appearance.
The operation of landing, at such a place, is both difficult and dangerous, especially at the full and change of the moon, when the swell is always much increased, a remark which applies to the whole coast. I had been told that ships' boats seldom succeeded in crossing the surf, and that the balsa, or canoe of the country, was the proper thing to use; I made the experiment, however, in my own boat, which was accordingly swamped, and I got soundly ducked for my pains. The balsa, which we employed ever afterwards, is made of two entire seal-skins inflated, placed side by side, and connected by cross pieces of wood, and strong lashings of thongs; over all a platform of cane mats forms a sort of deck, about four feet wide, and six or eight feet long. At one end the person who manages the balsa kneels down, and by means of a double-bladed paddle, which he holds by the middle, and strikes alternately
on each side, moves it swiftly along; the passengers, or goods, being placed on the platform behind him. The buoyancy of these balsas enables them to cross the surf in safety, and without wetting the passengers, at times when an ordinary boat would inevitably be swamped. All the goods which go to the interior, at this part of the coast, are landed in this manner. The great bars of silver, and the bags of dollars also, which are shipped in return for the merchandise landed, pass through the surf on these tender, though secure conveyances.
The Alcaldé, or governor, was a more dignified personage than our friend at Ylo, in as much as he had under him a guard of six soldiers, and a population of nearly one hundred souls. As he treated us in the best manner he could, it was but common civility to give him and his friends a dinner in return. Such grotesque-looking company, however, having rarely been seen before to enter the cabin, many a smile was raised on board the ship at the expence of the captain and his guests.
The town of Mollendo, which is the sea-port
of the great city of Arequipa, sixty miles inland, consists of forty or fifty huts built of reed mats, but without any coating of mud, as the climate requires no exclusion of air; each hut has a deep shady verandah round it, with a flat cane roof; there are no windows, and, of course, no chimneys, and the doors, like the walls, are of basketwork; the original ground, with all its inequalities, forms the floors, so that, I suppose, a more primitive town was never built The inhabitants of this rude sea-port were kind, and remarkably gentle in their manners; the women were small, but elegantly formed, with very fine black eyes and a bright copper complexion, very Peruvian-looking; and, though extremely lively, and even merry when encouraged, they seemed so timorous and sensitive, that at first we were afraid to speak to them, lest they should fly off like so many startled deer.
We wished next day to walk over the country, and, if possible, to reach the top of one of the hills in the neighbourhood; but the ground being covered with a snow-white powder, threw up so disagreeable a reflection, that we were forced to re-
turn half blinded by the glare, and choked with dust This powder, which, we were informed, was many years ago thrown out from the great volcano of Arequipa, covers the whole country to a considerable extent
On the 20th we left Mollendo, and sailed along the coast with a fresh and fair wind, till the evening of the 24th June, when we anchored in Callao Roads, after a passage of twenty-nine days from Valparaiso.
ARRIVAL AT LIMA—DISTRACTED STATE OF AFFAIRS—SAN MARTIN—ABANDONMENT OF LIMA BY THE ROYALISTS—SAN MARTIN ENTERS LIMA—DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE—HUACHO—SAN MARTIN ASSUMES THE TITLE OF PROTECTOR—POLITICAL STATE OF PERU.
IN our absence, the campaign had made considerable progress in Peru, and the Viceroy, pressed severely by want, and menaced by the growing enmity of the districts surrounding the capital, had requested an armistice. This was agreed to by San Martin, and hostilities had ceased for two months, during which the respective deputies frequently met, and many projects for an accommodation were discussed, without any satisfactory
result. The object which the Spaniards seemed desirous of attaining was, that an appeal to the mother country should be made by the Colonists, and that, in the mean time, a truce should be agreed upon, until the Cortes had considered the petition of the inhabitants. San Martin, on the other hand, considered the independence of the country a sine quâ non, which must precede any other arrangement whatsoever. The expedition entrusted to his command, he said, had the independence of Peru for its express object, and he could never allow that point to be relinquished or modified in any shape. If this were once admitted by the Spaniards, and received throughout the country, San Martin declared himself ready to enter into any terms, and even offered to go in person to Spain, as one of the deputies, to treat with the Cortes. The Viceroy also, to prove an equal anxiety that some terms of accommodation should be arranged, offered to give up the castle of Callao as a guarantee for his sincerity, in the event of his proposal for a truce being agreed to.
All these different propositions, however, led to nothing, and the armistice was dissolved about
the time of our arrival. The first news we heard was, that the Royalist army meant to abandon the capital, and to retire to the interior, where they were more certain of supplies. The truth probably was, that the Revolutionary principles disseminated by San Martin had taken such deep root in Lima, and the surrounding country, that the Viceroy felt himself insecure in that quarter, and was willing to try a different mode of warfare, after having in vain endeavoured to stem the torrent of new opinions which the expedition had introduced. He well knew, that San Martin's great art consisted in winning to his cause all persons within the reach of his intrigues, and in stimulating them to assert their claim to independence. The policy of the Royalists, therefore, required that some change of plan should be adopted, and it was resolved to yield for the present to the storm. Whether these were the Viceroy's real motives or not is immaterial. I had better and more frequent opportunities of hearing what were General San Martin's views, and I therefore give them with more confidence. How far his professions were sincere, or, if sin-
cere, his plans were wise, it is very difficult to say. They certainly appeared to many people very judicious at the time, as they were uniformly followed by the success which he anticipated; and I am free to confess, that whatever may have been his subsequent conduct, his measures, at this juncture, seemed to me to be marked with much sagacity, prudence, and foresight. The political maxims, by which he professed to be guided, will be given in detail, as well as his subsequent conduct; and although it be true, that they were not eventually found consistent with each other, his original plans and professions were not, on that account alone, the less judicious or appropriate to the particular times. It is my present purpose to describe merely what I actually saw, accompanied by such reflections only as seem calculated to give clearness to that description, without the most distant view to the advancement of any party-question, or political controversy. Even had my opportunities enabled me to collect adequate information respecting all that was passing at the moment, I
VOL. I. O
must still have left the inquiry incomplete, on quitting the spot.
25th June.—I had an interview this day with General San Martin on board a little schooner, a yacht of his own, anchored in Callao Roads for the convenience of communicating with the deputies, who, during the armistice, had held their sittings on board a ship in the anchorage.
There was little, at first sight, in his appearance to engage the attention, but when he rose up and began to speak, his superiority was apparent. He received us in very homely style, on the deck of his vessel, dressed in a loose surtout coat, and a large fur cap, and seated at a table made of a few loose planks laid along the top of some empty casks. He is a tall, erect, well-proportioned handsome man, with a large aquiline nose, thick black hair, and immense bushy dark whiskers, extending from ear to ear under the chin; his complexion is deep olive, and his eye, which is large, prominent, and piercing, is jet black; his whole appearance being highly military. He is thoroughly well-bred, and unaffectedly simple in his manners, exceedingly cordial
and engaging, and possessed evidently of great kindliness of disposition; in short, I have never seen any person, the enchantment of whose address was more irresistible. In conversation he went at once to the strong points of the topic, disdaining, as it were, to trifle with its minor parts; he listened earnestly, and replied with distinctness and fairness, showing wonderful resources in argument, and a most happy fertility of illustration, the effect of which was, to make his audience feel they were understood in the sense they wished. Yet there was nothing showy or ingenious in his discourse, and he certainly seemed, at all times, perfectly in earnest, and deeply possessed with his subject At times his animation rose to a high pitch, when the flash of his eye, and the whole turn of his expression, became so exceedingly energetic as to rivet the attention of his audience beyond the possibility of evading his arguments. This was most remarkable when the topic was politics, on which subject, I consider myself fortunate in having heard him express himself frequently. But his quiet manner was not less striking, and indicative of a mind of no ordinary stamp; and he
could even be playful and familiar, were such the tone of the moment; and whatever effect the subsequent possession of great political power may have had on his mind, I feel confident that his natural disposition is kind and benevolent.
During the first visit I paid to San Martin, several persons came privately from Lima to discuss the state of affairs, upon which occasion his views and feelings were distinctly stated, and I saw nothing in his conduct afterwards to cast a doubt upon the sincerity with which he then spoke. The contest in Peru, he said, was not of an ordinary description—not a war of conquest and glory, but entirely of opinion; it was a war of new and liberal principles against prejudice, bigotry, and tyranny. "People ask," said San Martin, "why I don't march to Lima at once; so I might, and instantly would, were it suitable to my views, which it is not. I want not military renown, I have no ambition to be the conqueror of Peru, I want solely to liberate the country from oppression. Of what use would Lima be to me if the inhabitants were hostile in political sentiment? How could the cause of independence be
advanced by my holding Lima, or even the whole country, in military possession? Far different are my views. I wish to have all men thinking with me, and do not choose to advance a step beyond the gradual march of public opinion: the capital being now ripe for declaring its sentiments, I shall give them the opportunity of doing so in safety. It was in sure expectation of this moment that I have heretofore deferred advancing; and to those who know the full extent of the means which have been put in action, a sufficient explanation is afforded of all the delays that have taken place. I have been gaining, indeed, day by day, fresh allies in the hearts of the people. In the secondary point of military strength, I have been, from the same causes, equally successful in augmenting and improving the liberating army; while that of the Spaniards has been wasted by want and desertion. The country has now become sensible of its own interest, and it is right the inhabitants should have the means of expressing what they think. Public opinion is an engine newly introduced into this country; the Spaniards, incapable of di-
recting it, have prohibited its use, but they shall now experience its strength and importance."
On another occasion, San Martin explained the peculiar necessity there was for acting in this cautious, and, as it were, tardy manner, in revolutionizing Peru. Its geographical situation had, in his opinion, great influence in continuing that state of ignorance so favourable to the mistaken policy of the Spaniards, long after the other countries of South America had awakened from their apathy. Buenos Ayres, from its vicinity to the Cape of Good Hope, and the facility of intercourse between it and Europe, had many years before acquired the means of gaining information, which had not yet reached Peru. Chili originally derived her knowledge through Buenos Ayres, but more recently by direct communication from England and North America. Colombia, although the scene of terrible wars, had the advantage of being near the West Indies and North America; and Mexico was also in constant communication with those places, as well as Europe. Thus they had all more or less enjoyed
opportunities of obtaining much useful knowledge, during times little favourable, it is true, to its culture, but which did not—indeed, could not, prevent its influence from being salutary. In Peru, however, unfortunately cut off by nature from direct communication with the more enlightened countries of the earth, it was only very recently that the first rays of knowledge had pierced through the clouds of error and superstition, and the people were still not only very ignorant of their own rights, but required time and encouragement to learn how to think justly on the subject. To have taken the capital by a coup de main, therefore, would have answered no purpose, and would probably have irritated the people, and induced them to resist the arms of the Patriots, from a misconception of their real intentions.
The gradual progress of intelligence in the other states of South America, said San Martin, had insensibly prepared the people's minds for the revolution. In Chili and elsewhere, the mine had been silently charged, and the train required only to be touched;—in Peru, where the materi-
als were yet to be prepared, any premature attempt at explosion must have been unsuccessful. The privilege which our neutral character gave us of examining both sides of the question in person, was turned to great account at this period; for immediately after conversing with San Martin, I landed and went to Lima, where I had an interview, within the same hour, with the Viceroy, and returned in the evening to my ship, anchored not very far from Lord Cochrane's fleet
On going to Lima next day, I found it in the most singular state of agitation. It was now generally known that the Royalists meant to abandon the city to its fate, and it was clear, that whatever happened, a violent revulsion must take place; but as no one knew, or could guess, what its extent might prove, every one deemed the crisis full of danger and difficulty. The timorous were distracted by the wildest fears; the bold and steady knew not how to apply their courage; and the irresolute were left in the most pitiable state; but the strangers, unwilling to offend
either side, did wisely by putting a good face on the matter and taking their chance. The female part of the community were much embarrassed, but behaved better than the men; they displayed more fortitude, were less timorous, less querulous under suffering, in general saw things in a brighter point of view, and did not distress themselves, or those about them, by needless complaints and anticipations of evil. On every successive day things became worse, and towards the close of the week, the terrors of the people assuming the character of despair, it was utterly useless to reason with them, or to attempt impressing upon their minds the value of calmness and patience at such an alarming moment.
On the 5th July the Viceroy issued a proclamation, announcing his intention of abandoning the city, and pointing to Callao as an asylum for those who felt themselves insecure in the capital. This was the signal for immediate flight, and a rush was made towards the Castle by multitudes, who, when questioned as to their reasons for leaving the city, could give none but that of fear; and, indeed, the majority acted from mere panic,
which spread amongst them in the most extraordinary manner.
I had gone to the ship in the morning, but hearing that the capital was certainly to be deserted by the Royalists next day, and wishing to be near the British merchants, whom I had recommended, come what might, to stay by their property quietly in Lima, I landed, and proceeded along the Callao road. It was, however, with no small difficulty that I could make head against the crowd of fugitives going in the opposite direction; groups of people on foot, in carts, on horseback, hurried past; men, women, and children, with horses and mules, and numbers of slaves laden with baggage and other valuables, travelled indiscriminately along, and all was outcry and confusion. In the city itself the consternation was excessive; the men were pacing about in fearful doubt what was to be done; the women were seen flying in all directions towards the convents; and the narrow streets were literally choked up with loaded waggons and mules, and mounted horsemen. All night long the confusion continued, and at daybreak the Viceroy marched
out with his troops, not leaving even a single sentinel over the powder magazine. Up to this moment many people, with a strange degree of incredulity, arising out of long cherished prejudice and pride, would not believe that such events were possible; but when the moment actually arrived, their despair became immeasurable, and they fled away like the rest For an hour or two after the Viceroy's departure the streets were filled with fugitives, but by mid-day scarcely an individual was to be seen, and in the course of the afternoon I accompanied one of the English merchants, during a walk of more than a mile, through the most populous parts of Lima, without meeting a single individual; the doors were all barred, the window-shutters closed, and it seemed, indeed, some vast city of the dead. An indistinct dread of some terrible catastrophe was the cause of this universal panic; but there was also a definite source of alarm, which contributed considerably to the strange effect which I have been describing. This was a belief, industriously propagated, and caught up with the diseased eagerness of fear, that the slave population
of the city meant to take advantage of the absence of the troops, to rise in a body and massacre the whites. I could not, for one, bring myself to suppose this was at all probable, for the slaves had never any leisure to plan such a measure; and their habits were not those of union or enterprise, being all domestic servants, and scattered over an immense city, with very rare opportunities of confidential intercourse. Had the panic been less general, and not spread itself over all classes, from the highest to the lowest, there might have been some grounds to apprehend a riot, or other mischief, from the mob attacking the houses of obnoxious individuals; but, all being equally under the influence of terror, there was no one left to take advantage of the moment
The Viceroy, on leaving Lima, had nominated the Marquis of Montemire as governor of the city; and the selection was a judicious one, for this old nobleman, independently of being a native of the place, was so universally esteemed, that his influence was likely to prove most beneficial to the city at this juncture. In
the course of the day, he sent for such of the principal inhabitants as had not fled to Callao, in order to consult with them on the measures to be taken for securing the peace of the town. As the British merchants had no trifling interest in this question, I considered it right to be present at this meeting, where I found a strange assembly of people. Some came to learn the news, others to suggest plans; and all to talk, smoke their segars, and do nothing.
Many whose politics had obliged them to keep out of sight for a long time, now came forward from their places of concealment; and many whose authority had a few days before carried all before it, now looked sadly crest-fallen. Some expressed the greatest alarm, some sorrow, others were exulting and congratulating one another on the consummation of their political hopes; and some bustled about amongst the crowd, merely to say how very much they were in doubt what ought to be done. My old acquaintance, the ex-inquisitor, whom I had met in the same house in February last, was there amongst the rest, but was treated with a contempt that very clear-
ly proved his occupation to be gone. On the other hand, I recognized a strange little man, folded up in an old dingy Spanish cloak, with a broad brimmed yellow hat, hooked loosely on one corner of his small square head, and shadowing a face plastered all over with snuff, which, in the vehemence of his agitation, he flung at his nose in handfuls; but through this forbidding exterior it was easy to perceive, by the flash of his eye, and the sarcastic turn of his expression, a promise of intellect far beyond that of the people about him. He had been formerly pointed out to me in the streets as a furious republican, who had been with difficulty restrained by his friends from breaking out too soon; and his active intrigues, it was also said, had essentially contributed to that revolution in public sentiment which had been gradually accomplished in Lima.
Among Spaniards no business is ever done on such occasions without much talk, the tendency of which generally is to avoid meeting the question. Accordingly, the state of the times was canvassed and recanvassed, but the main point at issue, namely, what was to be done, was
perversely kept on one side. By an unanimous vote, however, the late rulers of the city were stigmatized, in no very measured terms, as having proved themselves traitors to their country.
In the midst of this universal confusion and doubt, the minutest points of etiquette were not forgotten, and the new governor had to receive a visit of ceremony from the Cabildo, or town-council; from the Consulado, or commercial board; and so on through all the public bodies, or, at least, from as many of them as remained in the city. In these idle forms much time was lost, and the day was wearing fast away, when the necessity of doing something, and that speedily, became too obvious to be longer neglected, even by men never known to act promptly in their lives; and at the suggestion of the little republican, whose indignation at these absurd delays was roused to the highest pitch, a short letter was written to San Martin, inviting him to enter the city, to protect it from the imminent dangers by which it was threatened. It was not only of the slaves and of the mob that people were afraid; but with more reason, of the multitude of armed Indians surrounding
the city, who, although under the orders of San Martin's officers, were savage and undisciplined troops, and very likely to enter the place in a body at soon as the Spaniardshadgone. These Indian auxiliaries were so near that we could see them distinctly from the streets, perched along the heights overhanging the town. The rest of the Patriot army, also in sight, from Lima, formed a semicircle round the northern side of the city, ready to march in at a moment's warning.
The most profound stillness reigned over the capital during the night, and next morning the same party assembled at the governor's as on the preceding day, in order to receive San Martin's answer. It was brief, but admirably in point, stating merely the terms upon which he was willing to enter the city with his army, should it be the real wish of the inhabitants to declare their independence. He had no desire, he told them, to enter the capital as a conqueror, and would not come unless expressly invited by the people themselves. In the meanwhile, however, to prevent any disturbance in the city, and to give the inhabitants leisure to consider in security the terms he now put
to them, he added, that orders had been sent to the troops surrounding Lima to obey implicitly the directions of the governor, who might dispose of all or any part of the forces as he pleased, without reference to himself.
This conduct, it may be said, was evidently the most judicious, on every account, that could have been adopted; but it is so seldom that men in real life recollect, on such tempting occasions, those maxims at other times so obvious, which stand between them and a display of their power; that the Limenians were quite taken by surprise, and could scarcely believe it possible that they should be so treated by a man whom they had been taught to consider as an enemy. His answer, therefore, was considered as somewhat chivalrous, and certainly it was very considerate of the feelings of the citizens. But after discussing it for some time, a doubt was started as to its sincerity, and one of the company went so far as to suggest that the whole was a mockery of their distress, and that, in a few hours, he would be entering the city at the head of his troops to pillage and lay it waste. Upon this notion being suggested, the lit-
VOL. I. P
tle old gentleman who had been so active during the consultations of yesterday, proposed that the matter should be put to the proof by the governor sending an order to some of the troops investing the town, and the result would at once show on what ground they stood. Accordingly, an order was written by the governor to the commanding officer of a regiment of cavalry, stationed within a mile of the gates, desiring him instantly to remove his regiment one league further from the city. Considerable anxiety prevailed during the absence of the messenger, and great surprise and satisfaction when he returned to say, that the officer, immediately on receiving the order, broke up his quarters, and never halted till he had reached the required distance. The news of this delegated power being in the hands of the governor, and the ready obedience of the troops, flew rapidly through Lima, and put an end to every idea of insurrection among the slaves, or of riotous behaviour on the part of the mob. It instantly restored confidence to every one, and put the whole society into good humour with San Martin. For although it was obvious that the governor could not turn the
power thus placed in his hands to any improper use, yet every one felt there was something noble and generous in this show of confidence in people so recently his foes, and so completely at his mercy. His subsequent forbearance in not marching the army into the city was a measure no less courteous and judicious; for it not only spared the inhabitants the humiliation of a triumph, but kept his own troops out of the reach of temptation at a moment the most dangerous of all perhaps to good discipline. It was not, indeed, until the city had been completely tranquillized, a vigorous police established, and many small parties of chosen soldiers introduced under the command of careful officers, that the body of the troops were permitted to come near, or even to hold any communication with the city.
In a day or two everything was restored to its ordinary state; the shops were again opened; the women were seen in every quarter stealing out of the convents; the men ventured forth to smoke their segars in the Plaza; the streets were lined with people returning to their homes, and with loaded mules bringing back trunks, boxes, and house-
hold articles of all kinds; the mass-bells were Again tinkling; the street-cry ere bawling as heretofore; and the great city once more restored to its wonted noise and bustle.
During nearly two days the apparent desertion was more complete than I could have supposed possible in so large and populous a place; and as the majority of the inhabitants, notwithstanding the flight to Callao, were certainly still in the city, it was inconceivable how so many people could have remained locked up for such a period, without being once tempted to peep out, especially when the danger was by no means pressing or certain. We fancied that the slaves were more cheerful than usual, but this probably was a deception, arising from our contrasting their undisturbed gaiety with the doubt and gloom which had beset every other mind. It may be mentioned here, that one of San Martin's first proclamations declared the freedom of every person born after the 15th of July, the day on which the independence of Lima was first announced, and that every slave voluntarily enlisting into his army should become from that instant a free citizen; measures which
at once gave a death-blow to the whole system of slavery.
When all was quiet in the capital, I went to Callao, and hearing that San Martin was in the roads, waited on him on board his yacht. I found him possessed of correct information as to all that was passing, but he seemed in no hurry to enter the city, and appeared, above all things, anxious to avoid any appearance of acting the part of a conqueror. "For the last ten years" said he, "I have been unremittingly employed against the Spaniards, or rather, in favour of this country, for I am not against any one who is not hostile to the cause of independence. All I wish is, that this country should be managed by itself, and by itself alone. As to the manner in which it is to be governed, that belongs not at all to me. I propose simply to give the people the means of declaring themselves independent, and of establishing a suitable form of government; after which I shall consider I have done enough, and leave them."
On the next day, a deputation of the principal persons from Lima were sent to invite San Martin formally to enter the capital, as the inhabitants
had agreed, after the most mature deliberation, to the terms proposed. To this requisition he assented, but delayed his entry till the 12th, some days after.
It is proverbially difficult to discover the real temper and character of great men, and I was therefore on the watch for such little traits in San Martin, as seemed to throw a light on his natural disposition, and I must say, that the result was most favourable. I took notice, in particular, of the kindly and cordial terms upon which he lived with the officers of his own family, and all those with whom his occupations obliged him to associate. One day, at his own table, after dinner, I saw him take out his segarero, or pouch, and while his thoughts were evidently far away, choose a segar more round and firm than the rest, and give it an unconscious look of satisfaction;—when a voice from the bottom of the table called out, "Mi General." He started from his reverie, and holding up his head, asked who had spoken. "It was I" said an officer of his establishment who had been watching him; "I merely wished to beg the fa-
vour of one segar of you. "— "Ah ha!" said he, smiling good-naturedly, and at once tossed his chosen segar with an assumed look of reproach to the officer. To every body he was affable and courteous, without the least show or bustle, and I could never detect in him the slightest trace of affectation, or anything, in short, but the real sentiment of the moment. I had occasion to visit him early one morning on board his schooner, and we had not been long walking together, when the sailors began washing the decks. "What a plague it is," said San Martin, "that these fellows will insist upon washing their decks at this rate."— "I wish, my friend," said he to one of the men, "you would not wet us here, but go to the other side." The seaman, however, who had his duty to do, and was too well accustomed to the General's gentle manner, went on with his work, and splashed us soundly. "I am afraid," cried San Martin, "we must go below, although our cabin is but a miserable hole, for really there is no persuading these fellows to go out of their usual way." These anecdotes, and many others of the same stamp, are very trifling, it is true;
but I am much mistaken if they do not give more insight into the real disposition, than a long series of official acts; for public virtue is unfortunately held to be so rare, that we are apt to mistrust a man in power for the same actions which, in a humble station, would have secured our confidence and esteem.
On our way back to Lima we were threatened with an attack from a body of a dozen robbers, all negroes, let loose upon society by the events of the day. Our party consisted of four gentlemen, each armed with a pistol. As we rode up the great approach of the city, we saw the robbers pull three people off their horses, and strip them of their cloaks, after which they formed a compact line across the road, brandishing their cudgels in defiance. We cantered on, however, right against them with our pistols cocked, and held in the air. The effect was what we expected: an opening was made for us, and the robbers, seeing their purpose frustrated, turned about, and became suddenly wonderfully good patriots, calling out, "Viva la Patria! Viva San Martin!"
On the 10th July, I dined with a small party
at the Marquis of Montemire's. Whilst we were at dinner a soldier entered with a letter, which he delivered to the old Governor. He was a short, round-faced, daring-looking fellow, dressed in a shaggy blue jacket, and trowsers of immense width, with a blue cloth cap on his head, encircled by a broad silver band. By his aide was hung a huge broad-sword. His manners were somewhat free, but not vulgar or offensive, and there played about his eyes and his mouth an expression of coarse broad humour, which a glass or two of wine and a little encouragement might, not improbably, have ripened into impertinence. The old Marquis, whose heart was open with excess of glee at the events of the day, was delighted with his new guest, and rising from the table embraced the astonished soldier, who was standing most respectfully behind his chair. I was seated near a friend who, though by birth a Spaniard, was a thorough Patriot at heart, and from being long resident in Lima, had become acquainted with every distinguished or notorious individual it contained. I observed him fall back in his chair, and in vain try to suppress a laugh on seeing the
Marquis embrace the bearer of the dispatch. He told me that our new friend was no other than one of the most noted robbers in the country, who, not many months since, had been condemned to be hanged, but had escaped with a sound whipping through the streets of Lima. San Martin had heard of him as a man of talents and enterprise, and had given him the command of a band of Partidos, or Guerrillas, composed chiefly of Indians.
I was much amused with this account of our new companion, who had, by this time, been urged by our host to take his seat at the table, where he made himself quite at home in a very short time. This was just the sort of man to flourish in a revolution, and we found him a very shrewd person, and well adapted to his situation in the event of any desperate service being required. He was asked if he had come alone, or whether he had thought of bringing some of his people with him to assist in guarding the city at this critical moment. "Don't mention such a thing," cried he; "they are the greatest set of villains in Peru, and would
cut the throats of half Lima before morning if they were trusted within the walls."
The streets were this evening scoured in every direction by mounted patroles, consisting of ten or a dozen gentlemen each, who allowed no one, without special permission, to remain out of doors after eight o'clock. These precautions were taken by the inhabitants, in consequence of the tumultuous assemblages of people in the streets the night before, shouting "Viva la Patria! Viva la Independencia!" and making a furious riot, which was greatly assisted by the incessant ringing of all the church bells. Several shops were broken open, and one or two people were shot. Some judicious persons at last obtained an order that the bells should cease ringing, after which the mob soon retired to rest. In the midst of the confusion a violent shock of an earthquake was felt, but I missed this by having gone on board my ship in the evening.
11th July.—The patroles did their duty so effectually last night, that, after it was dark, there was hardly a soul in the streets, and not a door was open, except here and there, where a single
drinking-house was allowed by the patrole; the solitary mirth from which proved the real repose of the city more than if every house had been rigorously blocked up. I walked, in company with a gentleman, over great part of the town, without meeting any one except the patrole, to whom we were known. As we were returning through the Plaza, or great square, the deep silence was suddenly broken by the clank of a hand-bell rung in front of the cathedral. Presently there issued from the palace, which occupies another side of the square, a great lumbering old-fashioned gilt coach, which drove to the entrance of the cathedral, and having received the priest charged with the Host, or consecrated wafer, moved slowly away to the house of some dying person. The Host is usually carried in procession on foot; but a carriage has been appropriated to this duty in Lima, in consequence of a curious circumstance, the details of which were related to me by a person who delighted in anything tending to make the past times look ridiculous.
It seems that a certain Viceroy, some years ago, had become deeply enamoured of a celebrated
actress, named La Pericholé, and as vice-monarchs, like real monarchs, seldom sigh in vain, La Senora Pericholé soon became mistress of the palace, where, besides spending large sums of the public money, she succeeded in making her viceregal admirer even more contemptible than he bad been before. Every request she chose to make was immediately granted to her, except in one trifling case; and she, therefore, of course, resolutely set her heart upon attaining this object. Her whim was not of any great consequence, it might be thought, since it was merely to be allowed, for once, to drive in a carriage of her own through the streets of Lima. Now this, which to us seems the simplest thing in nature, is looked upon in quite a different light in the capital of Peru, for although any one might ride about as long as he pleased in a gig, or a calesh, or in a balancin, no one ever presumed to dream of entering a coach but a grandee of the highest class. The Viceroy tried every argument to free La Pericholé's head of this most unreasonable fancy, but all in vain; and at length he was obliged to set public opinion at defiance, and, at the risk of a rebellion, to
order a coach to be made for the lady, whose folly was destined to render them both ridiculous. How to traverse the streets without being mobbed, was now the grand difficulty, for the Viceroy was pretty sure that he should never behold the fair Pericholé again if she went alone; to go in the same carriage, however, was too scandalous an abomination to be thought of,—besides, it was not what the lady wanted, who must needs go in her own carriage. In the end, it was arranged that the Viceroy should lead in his coach of state, and that La Pericholé' should follow, while the usual train of carriages brought up the rear, with the body-guard surrounding all. It is even said the Viceroy had a window cut in the back part of his carriage, for the express purpose of keeping an eye on his lady; be that as it may, it so happened that the mob were amused with the ridiculous nature of the procession, and followed with huzzas the delighted Pericholé, while she crossed and recrossed the city. On returning towards the palace, she drew up before the cathedral, and stepping out, declared that her ambition once satisfied, she had no fur-
ther occasion for the coach, and would, therefore, in gratitude to Heaven, devote it to the service of the church, and desired that henceforward it might always carry the Host wherever the sacrament of extreme unction was to be administered.
12th July 1821.—This day is memorable in the annals of Peru, from the entry of General San Martin into the capital. Whatever intermediate changes may take place in the fortunes of that country, its freedom must eventually be established; and it can never be forgotten, that the first impulse was due entirely to the genius of San Martin, who planned and executed the enterprise which stimulated the Peruvians to think and act for themselves. Instead of coming in state, as he was well entitled to have done, he waited till the evening, and then rode in without guards, and accompanied by a single aid-de-camp. Indeed, it was contrary to his original intention that he came into the city on this day, for he was tired, and wished to go quietly to rest in a cottage about half a league off, and to enter the town before daybreak next morning. He had dismounted, accordingly, and had just nestled himself into
a corner, blessing his stars that he was out of the reach of business, when in came two friars, who, by some means or other, had discovered his retreat. Each of them made him a speech, to which his habitual good nature induced him to listen. One compared him to Cæsar, the other to Lucullus! "Good Heavens!" exclaimed the General, when the fathers left them, "what are we to do? this will never answer. "— "Oh! Sir, " answered the aid-de-camp, "there are two more of the same stamp close at hand. "— "Indeed! then saddle the horses again, and let us be off."
Instead of going straight to the palace, San Martin called at the Marquis of Montemire's on his way, and the circumstance of his arrival becoming known in a moment, the house, the court, and the street, were soon filled. I happened to be at a house in the neighbourhood, and reached the audience-room before the crowd became impassable. I was desirous of seeing how the General would behave through a scene of no ordinary difficulty; and he certainly acquitted himself very well. There was, as may be supposed, a
large allowance of enthusiasm, and high-wrought expression, upon the occasion; and to a man innately modest, and naturally averse to show, or ostentation of any kind, it was not an easy matter to receive such praises without betraying impatience.
At the time I entered the room, a middle-aged fine-looking woman was presenting herself to the General: as he leaned forward to embrace her, she fell at his feet, clasped his knees, and looking up, exclaimed, that she had three sons at his service, who, she hoped, would now become useful members of society, instead of being slaves as heretofore. San Martin, with much discretion, did not attempt to raise the lady from the ground, but allowed her to make her appeal in the situation she had chosen, and which, of course, she considered the best suited to give force to her eloquence; but he stooped low to hear all she said, and when her first burst was over, gently raised her; upon which she threw her arms round his neck, and concluded her speech while hanging on his breast. His reply was made with suitable earnestness, and
VOL. I. Q
the poor woman's heart seemed ready to burst with gratitude for his attention and affability.
He was next assailed by five ladies, all of whom wished to clasp his knees at once; but as this could not be managed, two of them fastened themselves round his neck, and all five clamoured so loudly to gain his attention, and weighed so heavily upon him, that he had some difficulty in supporting himself. He soon satisfied each of them with a kind word or two, and then seeing a little girl of ten or twelve years of age belonging to this party, but who had been afraid to come forward before, he lifted up the astonished child, and kissing her cheek, set her down again in such ecstasy, that the poor thing scarcely knew where she was.
His manner was quite different to the next person who came forward; a tall, raw-boned, pale-faced friar, a young man, with deep-set dark-blue eyes, and a cloud of care and disappointment wandering across his features. San Martin assumed a look of serious earnestness while he listened to the speech of the monk, who applauded him for the peaceful and Christian-like manner of his en-
trance into this great city, conduct which, he trusted, was only a forerunner of the gentle character of his future government. The General's answer was in a similar strain, only pitched a few notes higher, and it was curious to observe how the formal cold manner of the priest became animated under the influence of San Martin's eloquence; for at last, losing all recollection of his sedate character, the young man clapped his hands and shouted, "Viva! viva! nuestra General!"—"Nay, nay," said the other, "do not say so, but join with me in calling, Viva la Independencia del Peru!"
The Cabildo, or town-council, hastily drawn together, next entered, and as many of them were natives of the place, and liberal men, they had enough to do to conceal their emotion, and to maintain the proper degree of stateliness, belonging to so grave a body, when they came, for the first time, into the presence of their liberator.
Old men, and old women, and young women, crowded fast upon him; to every one he had something kind and appropriate to say, always going beyond the expectation of each person he addressed. During this scene I was near enough to watch
him closely, but I could not detect, either in his manner or in his expressions, the least affectation; there was nothing assumed, or got up; nothing which seemed to refer to self; I could not even discover the least trace of a self-approving smile. But his manner, at the same time, was the reverse of cold, for he was sufficiently animated, although his satisfaction seemed to be caused solely by the pleasure reflected from others. While I was thus watching him, he happened to recognize me, and drawing me to him, embraced me in the Spanish fashion. I made way for a beautiful young woman, who, by great efforts, had got through the crowd. She threw herself into the General's arms, and lay there full half a minute, without being able to utter more than "Oh mi General! mi General!" She then tried to disengage herself, but San Martin, who had been struck with her enthusiasm and beauty, drew her gently and respectfully back, and holding his head a little on one side, said, with a smile, that he must be permitted to show his grateful sense of such good will by one affectionate salute. This completely bewildered the blushing beauty, who,
turning round, sought support in the arms of an officer standing near the General, who asked her if she were now content: "Contenta!" she cried, "Oh Senor!"
It is perhaps worthy of remark, that, during all this time, there were no tears shed, and that, even in the most theatrical parts, there was nothing carried so far as to look ridiculous. It is clear that the General would gladly have missed such a scene altogether, and had his own plan succeeded he would have avoided it; for he intended to have entered the city at four or five in the morning. His dislike of pomp and show was evinced in a similar manner when he returned to Buenos Ayres, after having conquered Chili from the Spaniards, in 1817. He there managed matters with more success than at Lima; for, although the inhabitants were prepared to give him a public reception, he contrived to enter that capital without being discovered.
13th.—Next morning I rode with two gentlemen to San Martin's head-quarters, a little beyond the city walls on the Callao road. He had come to this place, on the evening before, from the Mar-
quis of Montemire's, instead of going to the palace, where he dreaded a repetition of the same bustle. He was completely surrounded by business, but attended to it all himself; and it was curious to observe every one coming out of his presence pleased with the reception he had met with; whether he had succeeded or not.
We no sooner entered than he recognized one of my companions, who was an excellent draughtsman, and whom he had seen on board the schooner a fortnight before. He had heard how much the jealousy of the Spaniards had interfered with my friend's amusements, and told him he might now sketch away as much as he pleased, and might have an escort, if he had any wish to extend his researches into the country.
An old man came in at this moment with a little girl in his arms, his only object being that the General should kiss the child, which he good naturedly did, and the poor father marched off perfectly happy. The next person who entered delivered a letter to the General in a manner somewhat mysterious, and we found, on inquiry, that he was a spy who had been sent to the ene-
my's camp. A deputation from the city followed, to speak about removing the situation of a military-hospital from the village of Bellavista, which was within range of cannon-shot from the castle of Callao. In this way he passed on from one thing to another with wonderful rapidity, but not without method, and all with great patience, and courtesy to every one. This might be useful at first, but if a commander-in-chief were to undertake to manage permanently so many details in person, he would waste his time to very little purpose; so, perhaps, the General thought, for, in the course of the day, he shifted his head-quarters to the palace, and in the evening held his first levee in this ancient abode of the Spanish Viceroys. It was not crowded, being intended for the heads of departments only. The great audience-gallery is lighted, by windows opening into a long passage, or verandah, overlooking the garden, which fills up the quadrangle of the palace. During the levee these windows were filled with anxious crowds of women straining their eyes to catch a glimpse of San Martin. On passing one of these groups, they petitioned me to bring the General, if pos-
sible, towards their window. Accordingly, having consulted with one of the aids-de-camp, we contrived between as to get him into conversation about some dispatches I was sending off, and to draw him, in the meantime, towards our friends. When we had nearly reached the spot he was about to turn round, which obliged us to tell him our plan; be laughed, and immediately went up to the ladies, and having chatted with them for some minutes, left them enchanted with his affability.
Having at this time no business of any consequence to transact in Lima, I went on board, and removed the Conway from Callao roads to the harbour of Ancon, lying about twenty miles to the northward of Lima, in order to be near the English merchant-ships, all of which had recently gone to that port. The Spaniards, on abandoning Lima, retained possession of Callao, which, being impregnable, was for the present merely blockaded by sea and land, and all its supplies being cut off, there was an expectation that the garrison would eventually be starved into submission. While things were in this situation, no intercourse
could be allowed with Callao, and the merchant-vessels went to Ancon to land their cargoes. I anchored there also on the 17th July, and, having remained two days, was obliged to return by land to Lima, to arrange some business relating to the detention of two English ships by the Chilian squadron.
I rode to the capital in company with several gentlemen, and do not remember to have made a more fatiguing journey, although the distance was little more than eight leagues. At first, the whole country was a sandy desert, like that described at Arica; and as nothing can be conceived more irksome than travelling over such ground, the relief was very great when we reached the hard road, after riding eight or ten miles through deep sand. As we approached the great valley of Lima, the country gradually improved; at first, we could discover, at long intervals, a few blades of grass; then a little tuft here and there; then a shrub, next a tree, and by and bye, a hedge of aloes; but the most pleasing object of all was a sparkling stream, winding along the plain, and accompanied in its course by a slender belt of
bright green. When we had fairly entered the valley of Lima, the whole scene was changed; fields of sugar-cane, maize, rice, and various grains, appeared on every side, and we rode through lanes of thickset trees, over substantial roads, that eventually led us to the sharp crest of a range of hills deeply indented by the road. From this gorge we had a view of the immense valley, with the river Rimac, which divides Lima into two parts, running through it, and lending its waters to fertilise the surrounding plain.
About a league and a half from the city, we passed one of the Patriot out-posts, consisting of Montaneros, or hill soldiers, guarding a depôt of horses and mules. They are wild, bold-looking men, rather short, but well set and athletic. They were scattered about in groups on the grass, in the fields along with the horses. The sentinels, who paced the walls by the road side, formed on the sky-line the most picturesque figures imaginable. One of them, in particular, caught our notice: on his head he wore a high conical cap, made out of a whole sheep's skin; and over his shoulders a large white cloak of blanket stuff,
reaching to his knees, and hanging loosely over his arms, planted akimbo; his long sword, pulled somewhat in front, dangled about his ancles, round which he had laced pieces of raw horse hide instead of boots: in this garb he strode along the parapet, with his musket over his arm, the very beau-ideal of a Guerrilla. On hearing the tramp of our horses' feet, he turned round, and perceiving we were officers, saluted us with all the respectfulness of a disciplined soldier, and at the same time with the air of a freeborn son of the hills. As for the rest, they were like so many Scythians, and they stared at us with an interest at least equal to that which they inspired.
Nothing else of particular interest occurred in our journey, except that, when we reached the outskirts of Lima, we observed a dead body placed by the road side, with a small cross laid on the breast. Upon inquiry, we were told that this was the corpse of some unknown person, exposed until money enough should be received from charitable passengers to pay for its interment.
On reaching the city, we found that the ebullition caused by the recent events had by no means subsided. Doubts and difficulties present-
ed themselves in fearful array before the eyes of the inhabitants. The Spaniards, who formed the wealthy class, were sadly perplexed. If they declined entering into San Martin's views, their property and their persons were liable to confiscation; if they acceded to his terms, they became committed to their own government, which, it was still possible, might return to visit them with equal vengeance. The natives, on the other hand, who had better reason to be confident, were even more alarmed at the consequences of their present acts. Many doubted San Martin's sincerity; many his power to fulfil his engagements. To most of the inhabitants of Lima such subjects were quite new, and it was, therefore, to be expected, that alarm and indecision should fill every breast.
In the midst of this general doubt and difficulty, perhaps the least at ease was the great mover of the whole, to whom every one, of whatever party, looked up for protection—the confident and the doubting—the Patriot as well as the Spaniard; and it required a skilful hand, indeed, to steer the vessel of the state at such a moment.
The difficulties of San Martin's situation, and, in general, the nature of the duties which now devolved upon him, are so clearly pointed out in an address to the Peruvians, which he published about this time, that an extract will be read with interest, especially as it is free from what has been well called revolutionary jargon, in the use of which the Spaniards, and their South American descendants, are great adepts.
"The work of difficulty, and that which must be courageously, firmly, and circumspectly undertaken, is to correct the vague ideas, which the farmer government has left impressed on the minds of the present generation. It is not to be supposed, however, that this difficulty consists so much in the want of acquaintance with the adequate means, by which the end is to be accomplished, as in the dangerous precipitancy with which new governments reform the abuses which they find established. Beginning with liberty, the most ardent of our wishes, that must be bestowed with caution, (sobriedad,) in order that the sacrifices which are made for the purpose of gaining it be not rendered useless. Every civilized
people is in a state to be free; but the degree of freedom, which a country can enjoy, ought to bear an exact proportion to the measure of its civilization: if the first exceed the last, no power can save them from anarchy; and if the reverse happen, namely, that the degree of civilization goes beyond the amount of freedom which the people possess, oppression is the consequence. If all Europe were suddenly to be put in possession of the liberty of England, the greater part of it would present a complete chaos of anarchy; and if, instead of their present constitution, the English were to be subjected to the charter of Louis XVIII., they would consider themselves enslaved. It is right that the governments of South America be free; but it is necessary they should be so in the proportion stated: the greatest triumph of our enemies would be to see us depart from that measure.
"In every branch of the public welfare, even in that of domestic economy, great reforms are necessary. It may be said generally, without risk of error, although the expression may look like prejudice, that it is essential to strip our institu-
tions and customs of all that is Spanish, and, according to the expression of the great Lord Chatham, on another occasion, 'to infuse such a portion of new health into the constitution, as may enable it to bear its infirmities.' To make these reforms abruptly, and without discreet reflection, would be also a Spanish error, and one into which the Cortes have, at this moment, (1821,) fallen, by too precipitately changing the religious and political state of the Peninsula. We, on the other hand, ought to avoid running into such mistakes, and to introduce, gradually, such improvements as the country is prepared to receive, and for which its people are so well adapted by their docility, and the tendency to improvement, which mark their social character."
As a measure of primary importance, San Martin sought to implant the feeling of independence, by some act that should bind the inhabitants of the capital to that cause. On the 28th of July, therefore, the ceremonies of proclaiming and swearing to the Independence of Peru took place. The troops were drawn up in the great square,
in the centre of which was erected a lofty stage, from whence San Martin, accompanied by the governor of the town, and some of the principal inhabitants, displayed, for the first time, the Independent flag of Peru, calling out, at the same time, in a loud voice, "From this moment Peru is tree and independent, by the general wish of the people, and by the justice of her cause, which God defend!" Then waving the flag, he exclaimed, "Viva la Patria! Viva la Libertad! Viva la Independencia!" which words were caught up and repeated by the multitude in the square, and the adjoining streets, while all the bells in the city rung a peal, and cannon were discharged amidst shouts such as had never been heard in Lima.
The new Peruvian flag represents the rising sun appearing over the Andes, seen behind the city, with the river Rimac bathing their base. This device on a shield, surrounded with laurel, occupies the centre of the flag, which is divided diagonally into four triangular pieces, two red and two white.
From the stage on which San Martin stood, and from the balconies of the palace, silver medals
were scattered amongst the crowd, bearing appropriate mottoes.
On one side of these medals was, "Lima libre juró su Independencia, en 28 de Julio de 1821;" and on the reverse, "Baxo la proteccion del exercito Libertador del Perú mandado por San Martin." Which may be translated thus: "Lima being liberated, swore its Independence on the 28th of July 1821; under the protection of the Liberating Army of Peru, commanded by San Martin."
The same ceremonies were observed at the principal stations of the city, or, as they were termed in an official proclamation, "In all those public places where, in former times, it was announced to the people that they were still to wear their miserable and heavy chains."
After making the circuit of Lima, the General, and the persons who accompanied him, returned to the palace to receive Lord Cochrane, who had just arrived from Callao.
The ceremony was rather imposing. San Martin's manner was graceful and easy throughout, unaccompanied by anything theatrical or affected;
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but it was a business of show and effect, and quite repugnant to his taste. I sometimes thought, there might be detected in his face a momentary expression of impatience, or contempt of himself for engaging in such mummery; but, if it really were so, he? ?peedily resumed his wonted look of attention, and of good-will to all around him.
Next day, Sunday, 29th July, Te Deum was sung, and High Mass performed in the cathedral by the Archbishop, followed by a sermon suitable to the occasion by a Franciscan Friar. As soon as the church service was over, the heads of the various departments assembled at the palace, and swore "to God and the country, to maintain, and defend, with their opinion, person, and property, the independence of Peru from the government of Spain, and from any other foreign domination." This oath was taken and signed by every respectable inhabitant of Lima, so that, in a few days, the signatures to the declaration of Peruvian independence amounted to nearly four thousand. This was published in an extraordinary Gazette, and diligently circulated over the country, which not only gave useful publicity to the
state of the capital, but deeply committed many men, who would have been well pleased to have concealed their acquiescence in the measure.
In the evening, San Martin gave a ball at the palace, in the gaiety of which he joined heartily himself; took part in the dances, and conversed with every individual in the room with so much ease and cheerfulness, that, of all the company, he seemed to be the person least burdened with cares or duties.
A strange custom prevails everywhere in this country at balls, public as well as private. Ladies of all ranks, who happen not to be invited, come in disguise, and stand at the windows, or in the passages, and often actually enter the ball-room. They are called Tapadas, from their faces being covered, and their object is, to observe the proceedings of their unconscious friends, whom they torment by malicious speeches, whenever they are within hearing. At the palace, on Sunday evening, the Tapadas were somewhat less forward than usual; but at the Cabildo, or magistrates' ball, given previously, the lower part of the room was filled with them, and they kept up a constant fire
of jests at the gentlemen near the bottom of the dance.
31st July.—I was under the necessity of leaving Lima at this interesting moment, for the purpose of going to Huacho, a small port to the northward, to complete the stock of water in the Conway, preparatory to proceeding to Valparaiso; for during the siege, the watering-place at Callao was inaccessible, and not a drop was to be found, without going nearly sixty miles along shore for it.
2d August.—As the wind on this coast blows always from the south, it is easy to make a passage to the northward, and we reached Huacho in a few hours. While the ship was taking in water and fresh provisions, of which, owing to the war, we had not been able to get any supply at Lima, I rode, with one of my officers, to Huaura, a town on the banks of the river of the same name. This spot was interesting, from having been the head-quarters of San Martin's army for nearly six months. Our road lay through a highly cultivated country, a new sight to us, heartily tired as we were of comfortless deserts and barren cliffs. The pleasing distinction enjoyed by this district
is attributable to irrigation from the river Huaura, the waters of which are distributed over a considerable extent of country. The unvarying heat of the climate, and the abundant supply of water, produce a surprising luxuriance of vegetation. We were shaded, during our ride, by arches of foliage formed of the branches of trees meeting over the road; while the underwood was so thickly matted together, that sometimes we could not distinguish the houses, till within a few yards of them.
These dwellings bore a rude resemblance in design, to a Grecian temple; they were oblong, nearly flat roofed, and ornamented with a row of columns along the front. The walls, which were about twelve feet high, were composed of strong canes placed upright, and wattled across with reeds. The columns were generally made of posts, encased by small rods placed close together, so as to resemble the Gothic clustered column: others were left hollow, being formed of rods alone. Most of the pillars swelled out at bottom, like a tree: nature, in this instance, as in many others of architectural design, having probably suggested the original idea. Each wall was surmounted by a sort
of entablature, consisting of a rude wooden frieze, and a cornice carved with the knife. Ornamental tracery in wicker-work, and of a Gothic form, ran along the tops of the houses, and over most of the gates.
This taste for architectural ornament in wicker is found in other uncivilized countries, at a distance from, and holding no communication with, one another. In Java, in Manilla, and in Ceylon, and probably at other places in the Eastern seas, the natives are in the practice of erecting temporary triumphal arches, which exhibit a great variety of very elegant forms, of a purely Gothic character. In Ceylon, large buildings, entirely of canes and basket-work, are sometimes erected, of a highly ornamental description. The bamboo and rattan are generally used; but the willow, or any pliable material possessing elasticity, seems to afford, in the hands of these ingenious people, an endless profusion of beautiful forms. In Java, where there are a great number of such arches, it is rare to observe exactly the same tracery repeated, although a striking consistency of character pervades the whole.
It is interesting to trace, in such remote regions,
the same analogies which, in Europe, have been conceived to afford some explanation of the origin, and consistency of principle of the two finest styles of architecture, the Grecian and the Gothic. The theory of Vitruvius receives all the confirmation it could desire from these humble structures at Huaura; while that of Sir James Hall, in the case of Gothic architecture, derives no less support from the wicker forms above mentioned. And these instances, as far as they go, seem to possess a peculiar value from being found amongst rude nations, separated far from one another, and holding little or no intercourse with those countries in which architecture has made the greatest progress: they help to support the idea, that there may be an intrinsic or natural beauty in certain classes of forms, which afterwards in the hands of persons of higher powers of execution, and more cultivated taste, may not only have afforded a ground-work, but have given consistency to future architectural systems.
On returning from Huaura, we lost our way by making a wrong turn up one of the innumerable lanes which intersect the country in every di-
rection. By following one of these, we were eventually brought to the very edge of the desert, and found ourselves once more in a sea of sand. On another occasion, we came to a road filled two feet deep with running water, and upon afterwards observing the others more attentively, we discovered that our supposed roads or lanes were only so many water-courses, and as each field required one, the cause of their numbers was explained. The hedges appear to be planted merely to give stability to the embankments; although their shade must also have the beneficial effect of preventing evaporation. Wherever a river, or even the smallest stream occurs, the inhabitants gladly profit by it, and nothing can exceed the fertility of the soil which this irrigation produces: but it is the misfortune of the western side of America to have very few rivers at that part of the coast which is never visited by rain.
At Huacho, we found the governor at dinner with two or three friends. He was of the aboriginal race of the country, spoke a little Spanish, and was probably a discreet and clever fellow, otherwise he would not have been left in a com-
mand by San Martin. The dinner was placed on a low table in the middle of a shop, and the whole party forked their meat out of one dish. It was interesting, on looking round the shop, to observe the effect of the recent political changes. A roll of English broad-cloth, was resting on a French wine case, marked MKDOC; on the table stood a bottle of champagne; the knives and forks were marked "Sheffield," and the screen which divided the apartment was made of a piece of Glasgow printed cotton.
We sailed for Lima again on the 4th of August, but it was not till late at night of the 7th that we reached Chorillos, an open roadstead in front of a small town about ten miles to the southward of Lima. This spot, in times of peace a favourite bathing-place for the gay world of the capital, was now a military outpost. Sentinels paced along the heights, parties of soldiers occupied the beach, and all the neat villas and ornamental cottages being turned into guard-houses and stables, the beauty and comfort of the spot were destroyed. As no one was allowed to proceed without a passport, I was forced to wait till a messenger went
to Lima, and returned, and thus lost the whole of the 8th.
9th Aug.—On reaching the city, we learned that General San Martin had taken upon himself the title of Protector, thus uniting in his own person both the civil and military authority of the liberated provinces.
The proclamation which he issued on this occasion is curious; it has but little of the wonted bombast of such documents, and though not sparing of self-praise, is manly and decided, and, as I fully believe, from a number of collateral circumstances, perfectly sincere.
By Don Jose de San Martin, Captain-General, and Commander-in-Chief of the Liberating Army of Peru, Grand Cross of the Legion of Merit of Chili, Protector of Peru.
When I took upon me the important enterprise of liberating this country, I had no other motive than a desire to advance the sacred cause of America, and to promote the happiness of the Peruvian people. A very considerable part of
these objects has already been accomplished; but the work would remain incomplete, and my wishes imperfectly accomplished, were I not to establish permanently both the security and the prosperity of the inhabitants of this region.
From the moment of my landing at Pisco, I announced that the imperious necessity of circumstances obliged me to vest myself with the supreme authority, and that I held myself responsible to the country for its due exercise. Those circumstances have not varied, since there is still in Peru a foreign enemy to combat, and, consequently, it is a measure of necessity that the political and military authority should continue united in my person.
I hope that, in taking this step, I shall have the justice done me to have it believed, that I am not influenced by any ambitious views, but solely by such as conduce to the public good. It is abundantly notorious that I aspire to tranquillity alone, and to retirement from so agitated a life; but I bear upon me a moral responsibility which requires the sacrifice of my most earnest desires. Ten years of experience in Venezuela, Cundinamarca,
Chili, and the united provinces of the river Plate, have taught me to know the evils which flow from the ill-timed convocation of congresses, while an enemy still maintains a footing in the country. The first point is to make sure of independence, and afterwards to think of establishing solid liberty. The religious scrupulousness with which I have kept my word in the course of my public life, gives me a right to be believed, and I again pledge it to the people of Peru, by solemnly promising, that the very instant their territory is free I shall resign the command, in order to make room for the government which they may be pleased to elect. The frankness with which I speak ought to serve as a new guarantee of the sincerity of my intentions.
I might have settled things in such a manner, that electors, named by the citizens of the free departments, should point out the person who was to govern until the representatives of the Peruvian nation might be assembled; but as, on the one hand, the repeated and simultaneous invitations of a great number of persons of high character and decided influence in this capital, make me certain
of a popular election to the administration of the state; and as, on the other hand, I have already obtained the suffrages of those places which are under the protection of the liberating army, I have deemed it more fitting and decorous to follow an open and frank line of conduct, which ought to tranquillize those citizens who are jealous of their liberties.
When the time comes that I shall have the satisfaction of resigning the command, and of giving an account of my actions to the representatives of the people, I am certain they will not discover, during the period of my administration, any of those traits of venality, despotism, and corruption, which have characterized the agents of the Spanish Government in South America. To administer strict justice to all, by rewarding virtue and patriotism, and to punish vice and sedition wherever they may be found, is the rule which shall direct all my actions whilst I remain at the head of this nation.
It being conformable, therefore, to the interests of the country that a vigorous government should be appointed to guard it from the evils which war, licence, and anarchy, might produce.
I declare as follows:
1mo, From this day forwards the supreme political and military command of the free departments of Peru shall be united in me, under the title of Protector.
2do, The Minister of Foreign Affairs shall be Don Juan Garcia del Rio, Secretary of State.
(And so on with the other officers of government)
Given in Lima, 3d August 1821, Second Year of the Liberty of Peru.
(Signed) "JOSE DE SAN MARTIN."
I am tempted to insert another proclamation which appeared on the following day, and which is characteristic not only of San Martin, but of those distracted times. It gave the poor Spaniards a shock from which they never recovered: indeed, from the hour it was published, they dated the death of all their hopes, and one and all seriously prepared to quit the country. Such an effect, most probably, San Martin wished to produce, for he knew the Spaniards too well to believe they could ever cordially associate
with the natives on equal terms, under a free government, independent of Spain.
PROCLAMATION addressed to the European Spaniards.
I have promised to respect your persons and property: I have fulfilled that promise, and none of you can as yet doubt my word. Nevertheless, I know that you murmur in secret, and that some of you maliciously propagate the idea that my intention is to abuse your confidence. My name is too celebrated for me to stain it with a breach of my promises, even where, as a private individual, it might be supposed I should be justified in doing so.
However, I now finally publish the following articles, to confirm the guarantees which I have formerly given:
1st, Every Spaniard, who, confiding in the protection of my word, continues peaceably in the exercise of his industry, swearing to the Independence of the country, and respecting the new government and the established laws, shall be protected in person and property.
2d, Those who do not confide in it are to present themselves, within the space of time formerly pointed out, to request their passports, and are to leave the country with all their moveable property.
3d, Those who remain, professing their confidence in government, and at the same time secretly working against it, as I have information that some do, shall feel the whole rigour of the laws, and shall be deprived of all their possessions.
Spaniards! You know well the state of public opinion to be such, that, even amongst yourselves, there is a great number who pry into and observe your conduct. I know whatever passes in the most retired corners of your houses. Tremble, if you abuse my indulgence! Let this be the last time I shall remind you that your destiny is irrevocable, and that you ought to submit to it, as the only mode by which you can reconcile your interests with those of justice.
Given in Lima, the 4th of August 1821.
(Signed) "SAN MARTIN."
Such being the extraordinary state of affairs in
Lima, I regretted much that my orders rendered it necessary for me to leave this part of the coast, at the very moment when the interest, of the political scene had reached its highest point. I wished, above all, to have seen the effect of these two decrees, respecting the policy of which the opinions of the inhabitants were much divided: it would also have been peculiarly interesting to have marked the progress of improvement under the new system. The necessity of our departure, however, prevented our doing so; and we were thus made to feel one of the severest drawbacks on the pleasures of a naval life. We have, undoubtedly, great opportunities of seeing distant places, sometimes at moments of extraordinary public interest, and generally without the difficulties encountered by other travellers. We have also the advantage of being everywhere well received, as our situation is an universal introduction to the confidence and hospitality of the inhabitants. On the other hand, our means are always much cramped by want of time, our thoughts being necessarily taken up with a variety of duties having no reference to the inter-
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eating parts of the scene. Thus it frequently happens, as on this occasion, that, during our stay, we are too busy to remark properly what is passing; and that we are called away just at the moment when the interest is greatest, and when a traveller, whose time was at his own disposal, would determine to remain. Indeed, it was often matter of regret to us, that so many interesting and important events should be lost to the world, for want of a disinterested spectator, having leisure to note them down as they occurred.
San Martin certainly did wisely to assume the supreme command, circumstanced as he was, especially with an enemy's force still in the country. Under whatever name he might have chosen to mask his authority, he must still have been the prime mover of everything; for there was no individual in the country who had any pretensions to rival him in talents, or who, admitting that he possessed equal talents, could hope to gain so completely the confidence of the army, and of the Patriots. It was more creditable to assume the full authority in a manly and open manner, than to mock the people with the
semblance of a Republic, and, at the same time, to visit them with the reality of a despotism. He knew, from personal experience, the mischief attending the precipitate establishment of free representative governments in South America: he was also aware, that previous to raising any enduring political superstructure, he must gradually clear away the prejudice and error which overspread the land, and then dig deep into the virgin soil for a foundation. At this time there was neither knowledge nor capacity enough amongst the population to form a free government, nor even that love of freedom, without which free institutions are sometimes worse than useless; since, in their effects, they are apt to fall short of expectation, and thus, by their practical inefficacy, contribute to degrade, in public opinion, the sound principles upon which they rest.
Unfortunately, also, the inhabitants of South America are apt at first to mistake the true operation of such changes, and to conceive that the mere formal establishment of free institutions, will at once ensure their being duly understood
and enjoyed, whatever may have been the state of society antecedently. That a taste for liberty will eventually spring up with the judicious establishment of free institutions, and with the power to enjoy civil rights, is unquestionable: the mistake lies in supposing, that this will take place immediately: with this taste will come the ability to take further advantage of the opportunities for asserting these valuable privileges, and of securing them by correspondent institutions. In process of time, mutual confidence, and mutual forbearance, which it was the narrow policy of the former government to discourage, will of course be developed; and society will then act in concert and consistently, instead of being, as heretofore, like a rope of sand, without strength or cohesion.
At the time I left Lima to return to Valparaiso, in Chili, which was on the 10th of August, the Royalist army, under the Viceroy La Serna, having proceeded some way to the southward, had struck into the interior, in order to join the other divisions of the army under Generals Cantera and Caratalá, in the valley of Jauja, a district
in which the rich silver mines of Pasco are included.
The Viceroy's ultimate intentions were not known; but it was supposed, that, after recruiting his army, he would return upon Lima, with a view to expel San Martin: a project he was the more likely to undertake, as the castle of Callao, an impregnable fortress, was still under the Spanish flag. It became, therefore, of great importance to San Martin to gain possession of it, and he put in motion every engine of strength or policy in his power to accomplish this vital object: and at the time I left Peru, well grounded hopes were entertained of its speedy surrender.
Meanwhile, Lima was in a strange state of confusion. The effects of the shock which society had received, by the abrupt nature of the revolution, could not be expected to subside for some time; while the incongruity of the materials of which it was composed, offered an effectual bar to real cordiality. The old Spaniards feeling themselves to be objects of suspicion and distrust, would willingly have retired from a place where they were considered as intruders. But
this was not so easily accomplished, without incurring such losses as overbalanced the danger and discomfort of remaining. Most of them had large capitals embarked in commerce; many had considerable property in the country; many also had wives and families in Lima, or were otherwise bound to the soil; and it became a severe sacrifice to leave their present enjoyments, for the uncertain security held out by Spain, at that moment not in a much quieter state than the colonies. Their best and surest policy would have been to follow the fortunes of the country, and to engage heartily in the new cause. But this was too much to expect from men bred up in the very hot-bed of monopoly and prejudice; and there were consequently few Spaniards who did not look to the return of the Royal army with great anxiety, and still fewer who placed any real confidence in San Martin, or who took sufficient pains to conceal their dislike. This led afterwards to a series of despotic measures on the part of the Protector, by which nearly all the Spaniards were ruined, and eventually banished from the country.
With respect to society, the most conspicuous traits which the extraordinary nature of the times developed, were a constant apprehension of further change, and an engrossing selfishness; feelings, natural enough, perhaps, during the panic which at first overspread the city; but which ought to have subsided when the immediate danger was gone, and a new and secure system established. It was quite otherwise, however; and the reason may be, that the Limenians, long pampered by luxury and security, and now for the first time fairly awakened to the real miseries and dangers of life, could not, all at once, acquire the faculty of balancing motives, or of distinguishing what was useful and secure in their new state, from what was ruinous or degrading. In short, the circumstances to which they had been suddenly brought were so totally new, that, considering all things, their selfishness and alarm were very excusable. As these feelings were not confined to any one class, but pervaded the whole, social intercourse was at an end; and we took leave of Lima, for the second time, without much regret. We had now seen it in all the miseries of a siege,
and again, in all the distraction and exultation of the first moments of a revolution, before anything had settled into its proper station, and before confidence had again sprung up, in place of the universal distrust which preceded the catastrophe.
CRUISE TO THE SOUTH COAST OF CHILI, TO INQUIRE IN-
TO THE PROCEEDINGS OF BENAVIDES THE PIRATE.
ON the 1st of October 1821, we sailed from Valparaiso for Conception, the frontier town on the coast, at the distance of two hundred and twenty miles to the southward. Our object was to discover what had become of certain English and American seamen lately made prisoners by a piratical chief of the name of Benavides, whose head-quarters were at Arauco, the capital of an unconquered Indian district of the same name. It is situated on the coast opposite the Island of St Mary's, one of the stations to which American and English ships repair to catch seals, and recruit their stock of wood and water. Benavides had,
in the first instance, succeeded in entrapping the American whaling ship Hero, which he surprised in the night-time; and, with the boats and arms of his prize, he contrived to capture two other American vessels, the Ocean and Herselia, and finally, the English whale ship Perseverance.
The history of Benavides is curious. He was a native of Conception, and served, for some time, in the Chilian army, from which he deserted to the Royalists, but was retaken at the battle of Maypo in 1818. He was of a ferocious character, and as, in addition to the crime of desertion, he had committed several murders, he was sentenced to death, along with his brother and other delinquents. Accordingly, the whole party were brought forth in the Plaza of Santiago and shot. Benavides, who, though terribly wounded, was not killed, had sufficient fortitude to feign himself dead. The bodies being dragged off, were left without burial to be destroyed by the Gallinazos, a species of vulture. The sergeant who superintended this last part of the ceremony was personally inimical to Benavides, for murdering some of his relations,
and to gratify his revenge, drew his sword, and while they were dragging the body of his foe to the pile, gave it a severe gash across the neck. The resolute Benavides bore this also, without flinching, and lay like a dead man amongst the others, until it became dark; he then contrived to extricate himself from the heap, and in a most miserable plight crawled to a neighbouring cottage, the generous inhabitants of which received and attended him with the greatest care.
General San Martin, who was at that time planning the expedition to Peru, and was looking about for able and enterprising individuals, heard of Benavides being still alive, and knowing his talents and courage, considered him a fit person to serve some of his desperate purposes in those trying times, when, to gain the great objects in view, there was little scrupulousness about the means. It is even said that the bold ruffian himself gave information of his being alive, and invited San Martin to hold a secret conference at midnight, in the centre of the great square of Santiago. The appointed signal was to strike fire from their flints three times; a
mark sufficiently conspicuous for the purpose of distinction, yet of a nature calculated to excite no suspicion. San Martin accordingly, alone and provided with a brace of pistols, went to the spot, where he encountered Benavides similarly armed. After a long conference with the desperado, whom he finally engaged in his service, he settled that Benavides should, for the present, serve in the Chilian army, employed against the Araucanian Indians in the south; but should be ready to join the army in Peru, when the expedition sailed. This was ill judged in San Martin; for Benavides soon quarrelled with the Chilian General, and once more changed sides, offering his services to the Indians, who were delighted to obtain so brave and unrelenting an associate. In a short time, his experience and congenial ferocity gave him so great an ascendancy amongst this warlike race, that he was elected Commander-in-chief. He soon collected a respectable force, and laid waste the whole of the Chilian frontier, lying along the right bank of the great river Biobio, to the infinite annoyance of the Chilians, who could ill afford troops, at that moment, to repel these inroads,
nearly the whole resources of the country being required to fit out the expedition against Peru.
Benavides, taking advantage of this favourable moment, augmented his authority amongst the Araucanians, by many successful incursions into Chili; till, at length, fancying himself a mighty monarch, he thought it becoming his dignity to have a fleet as well as an army. Accordingly, with the help of his bold associates, he captured several vessels. The first of these was the American ship Hero, which he surprised in the night, as she lay at anchor off the coast. His next prize was the Herselia, an American brig, which had sailed on a sealing voyage to New South Shetland, and after touching there, had come on to the Island of St Mary's, where she anchored in a small bay exactly opposite to the town of Arauco, the capital of the country, and the well known scene of many desperate contests between the old Spaniards and the unconquered Indians of that territory.
While the unconscious crew were proceeding, as usual, to catch seals on this island, lying about three leagues from the main land of Arauco, an
armed body of men rushed from the woods, and overpowering them, tied their hands behind their backs, and left them under a guard on the beach. These were no other than the pirates, who now took the Herselia's own boats, and going on board, surprised the captain and four of his crew, who had remained to take care of the brig; and having brought off the prisoners from the beach, threw them all into the hold, closing the hatches over them. They then tripped the vessel's anchor, and sailing over in triumph to Arauco, were received by Benavides, with a salute of musquetry fired under the Spanish flag, which it was their chief's pleasure to hoist on that day. In the course of the next night, Benavides ordered the captain and his crew to be removed to a house on shore, at some distance from the town; then taking them out one by one, he stripped and pillaged them of all they possessed, threatening them the whole time with drawn swords and loaded musquets. Next morning, he paid the prisoners a visit, and having ordered them to the capital, called together the principal people of the town, and desired each to select one
as a servant. The captain and four others not happening to please the fancy of any one, Benavides, after saying he would himself take charge of the captain, gave directions, on pain of instant death, that some persons should hold themselves responsible for the other prisoners. Some days after this they were called together, and required to serve as soldiers in the Pirate's army; an order to which they consented without hesitation, knowing well, by what they had already seen, that the consequences of refusal would be fatal.
About a month afterwards, Benavides manned the Herselia brig, partly with his own people, and partly with her original crew, and dispatched her on a mission to the Island of Chiloe, to solicit assistance from the Spanish authorities there. The brig was placed under the command of the mate, who was given to understand, that, if he betrayed his trust, the captain and his other countrymen would be put to death. This warning had its effect; the brig went, and returned as desired, bringing back a twenty-four pound gun, four six pounders, and two light field pieces, with a quantity of ammunition, besides eleven Spanish
officers, and twenty soldiers; together with the most complimentary and encouraging letters from the governor of Chiloe, who, as a good and loyal Spaniard, was well pleased to assist any one who would harass the Patriots, without thinking it his business to inquire very strictly into the character and habits of his ally. Shortly afterwards, the English whale ship Perseverance was captured by Benavides; and, in July, the American brig Ocean, having on board several thousand stand of arms, also fell into his hands. The Ocean was bound, it was said, from Rio de Janeiro to Lima, but running short of water and fuel, had put into the Island of St Mary's, where she was surprised by Benavides. This great accession of ships, arms, and men, fairly turned the pirate's head, and, from that time, he seriously contemplated the idea of organizing a regular army, with which he was to march against Santiago, while his fleet was to take Valparaiso; and thus Chili was to be reconquered, without loss of time. He was thwarted a good deal, however, in the outset, by the difficulty of making the sailors useful; one of the most difficult tasks in the world
being that of converting Jack into a soldier. The severity of his discipline, however, struck such terror into the seamen's minds, that be not only made them handle a musket, and submit to the drilling and dressing, practices utterly repugnant to their habits, but, for a time, entirely stopped desertion. He first put the captain of the Perseverance to death for having attempted to escape; and some time afterwards, having caught one of the seamen who had deserted, he inhumanly ordered the poor fellow to be cut to pieces, and the mangled body to be exhibited as a warning to the others.
Benavides, though unquestionably a ferocious savage, was, nevertheless, a man of resource, full of activity, and of considerable energy of character, He converted the whale spears and harpoons into lances for his cavalry, and halberts for his sergeants; and out of the sails he made trowsers for half his army: the carpenters he set to building baggage carts, and repairing his boats; the armourers he kept perpetually at work, mending muskets, and making pikes; managing, in this way, to turn the skill of every one of his prisoners to some useful account. He treated the officers,
VOL. I. T
too, not unkindly, allowed them to live in his house, and was very anxious, on all occasions, to have their advice respecting the equipment of his troops. Upon one occasion, when walking with the captain of the Herselia, he remarked, that his army was now almost complete in every respect, except in one essential particular; and it cut him, he said, to the soul, to think of such a deficiency: he had no trumpets for the cavalry, and added, that it was utterly impossible to make the fellows believe themselves dragoons, unless they heard a blast in their ears at every turn; and neither men nor horses would ever do their duty properly, if not roused to it by the sound of a trumpet; in short, he declared, some device must be hit upon to supply this equipment. The captain, willing to ingratiate himself with the pirate, after a little reflection, suggested to him, that trumpets might easily be made out of the copper sheets nailed on the bottom of the ships he had taken. "Very true," cried the delighted chief, "how came I not to think of that before?" Instantly all hands were employed in ripping off the copper, and the armourers
being set to work under his personal superintendence, the whole camp, before night, resounded with the warlike blasts of the cavalry.
It is difficult to conceive how this adventurer could have expected his forced auxiliaries, the Americans and English, to be of much use to him in action; for he never trusted them even on a march without a guard of horsemen, whose orders were to spear any one who attempted to escape: in this way he afterwards carried them many a weary league over the country.
The captain of the ship, who had given him the brilliant idea of the copper trumpets, had, by these means, so far won upon his good will and confidence, as to be allowed a considerable range to walk in. He, of course, was always looking out for some plan of escape, and at length an opportunity occurring, he, with the mate of the Ocean, and nine of his own crew, seized two whale boats, imprudently left on the banks of the river, and rowed off. Before quitting the shore, they took the precaution of staving all the other boats, to prevent pursuit, and, accordingly, though their escape was immediately discovered,
they succeeded in getting so much the start of the people whom Benavides sent after them, that they reached St Mary's Island in safety. Here they caught several seals, upon which they subsisted very miserably till they reached Valparaiso. It was in consequence of their report of Benavides's proceedings made to Sir Thomas Hardy, the Commander-in-chief, that he deemed it proper to send a ship, to rescue, if possible, the remaining unfortunate captives at Arauco. I was ordered on this service, and the senior officer of the squadron of the United States having no ship to spare at that moment, I was directed to use equal exertions to liberate the seamen of that nation. The captain and mate of the Herselia, who had recently escaped, offered me their services as pilots, and I was afterwards much indebted to them for their zeal and local knowledge.
It ought to Have been mentioned before, that Benavides sometimes, when it suited his purpose, affected to call himself a Spanish officer, and often hoisted a Spanish flag; though, in general, he carried colours of his own invention, as chief of the Araucanian nation, and totally independent
of Spain. The circumstance of his sometimes calling himself a Spaniard, together with his having received assistance from Chiloe, made it rather delicate ground for neutrals to tread on, and I was instructed to avoid any measures likely to embroil us with the contending parties; but to recover the seamen, if possible, without offending either.
As the wind, at this season of the year, blows almost constantly from the southward, the passage from Valparaiso to Conception was very tedious; for, though the distance be little more than two hundred miles, it occupied us seven days before we came in sight of the high lands over the town. As we approached the shore we were cheered with the appearance of hills wooded from top to bottom, a sight to which we had long been strangers. The Bay of Conception is a large square inlet, open on the north, while the south and the west sides are formed by a high promontory jutting out from the main land, and bending into the shape of an elbow; each side being three or four leagues long. Talcuhuana, a miserable town, with a dilapidated fort, is the sea-port of Conception, and occupies the south-western angle of the
square. The present city lies a league farther inland, about five or six miles distant from Talcuhuana.
We found in the harbour a ship from Lima, full of Chilian Royalists, unhappy people who had emigrated to Peru, when their country had been rendered independent by the arms of San Martin. Being followed to Lima, however, by their evil genius, they had resolved to return to their native place, and throw themselves on the mercy of their countrymen the Patriots. These poor people, strangers in their own land, had found, as they expected, their possessions in the hands of others, and scarcely knew whither to bend their steps.
I landed with one of the midshipmen, intending to ride to Conception, and on the beach met the captain of the ship which had brought the passengers. I had known him in Lima a most staunch Royalist, and was amused to find him here transformed into just as staunch a Patriot. The truth is, that he, like many others we met with, whose sole object was gain, cared very little for either side; and though he had the art to seem
thoroughly in earnest in his politics, never thought seriously of anything but of his freight. He introduced us to the Governor of Talcuhuana, who received us with a stateliness of manner worthy of the insignificance of his situation; and when we spoke to him about horses, said very pompously, he would most gladly use his influence to get us mounted. In the meantime, we strolled over the town and decayed fortifications, lately, we were told, in perfect repair; but the rains are here so hard, that exposure to a few wet seasons soon demolishes any work not built of stone. On returning to the government-house, we found no horses, nor could we hear any tidings of our obliging friend his Excellency the Governor. We therefore cast about for some other assistance, and at last, tired of waiting, walked into a house, where we observed a gentleman reading, and some ladies sitting at work. We sat down and chatted for some time with them, and on communicating our distress, the worthy master of the house being pleased, as he said, with our attention in visiting him, and gratified, perhaps, by the attention we paid to his good
lady, who was neither young nor handsome, said he would lend us his own horses, whispering mysteriously in our ears at the same time, that the governor's offer was merely un chasco—a humbug!
Talcuhuana is described in books as being strongly fortified; and it certainly is capable of being rendered very formidable; but the works have been allowed to go to decay, and all that now remains is a ditch of no great width or depth. Over this is thrown a drawbridge, which we crossed on horseback in fear and trembling, lest it should break down. The sentinel who guarded it was a rough, half-dressed, donkey boy, who staggered under the weight of a musket, on the lock of which we read the word TOWER.
After passing the barrier, we rode over a swamp of some length, along a hard well-made road, which brought us to some low grassy hills, from whence we had a fine view of the country. In the interior, the mountains were clad in the richest verdure, with many extensive and beautiful openings, exposing to view banks of rich grass, and long vistas in the forests, varied by masses of light
and shade; the whole prospect bringing to our recollection some of the most carefully managed park scenery of England. The scale, it is true, is here somewhat more extensive, although the resemblance is equally striking when the landscape is examined in detail.
These reflections led us to question our guide as to the causes of the deserted appearance of so magnificent a country. He was an intelligent man, and gave a melancholy account of the destructive wars, of which this country had been the theatre for some years past; first when the Chilians were struggling against the Spaniards for their liberty, and lately between the Chilians and the Araucanian Indians under the outlaw Benavides. Sometimes one party were masters of the country, sometimes the other, but to the poor inhabitants it mattered little which, since both armies drove away the cattle and the sheep, and not unfrequently the inhabitants themselves, burning their dwellings, destroying their inclosures, and laying the whole country waste.
In the course of our ride, we passed over many
leagues of country, once evidently covered with habitations, but now totally deserted, and all the cottages in ruins. Rich pastures, and great tracts of arable land of the finest quality, were allowed to run to weeds; without a single individual to be seen, or a cow, or a sheep, or, indeed, any living thing. The absence of peace and security had thus in a few years reduced this fertile country to a state of desolation, as complete, for all the purposes of life, as that of the deserts on the coast of Peru.
When we came within half a league of the town of Conception, we first saw the great river Biobio, at that place about two miles wide, and flowing past in majestic style. From a neighbouring height could be traced the windings of this grand stream for many leagues up the country, till lost sight of amongst the mountains. The town of Conception, even at a distance, partook, in its appearance, of the character of the times; for the churches were all in ruins, and the streets in such decay, that we actually found ourselves in the suburbs before knowing that we had reached the town, so complete had been the destruc-
tion. Whole quadras, which had been burnt down and reduced to heaps of rubbish, were now so thickly overgrown with weeds and shrubs, that scarcely any trace of their former character was distinguishable. The grass touched our feet as we rode along the footpaths, marking the places of the old carriage ways. Here and there parts of the town had escaped the ravage, but these only served to make the surrounding desolation more manifest. A strange incongruity prevailed everywhere: offices and court-yards were seen, where the houses to which they had belonged were completely gone; and sometimes the houses remained, in ruins indeed, but everything about them swept away. Near the centre of the town a magnificent sculptured gateway attracted our attention: upon inquiry, we found it had been the principal entrance to the Bishop's Palace, of which there was not a vestige left, although the gateway was in perfect preservation. Many of the houses which did remain were uninhabited; and such is the rapidity with which vegetation advances in this climate, that most of these buildings were completely enveloped in a thick
mantle of shrubs, creepers, and wild flowers, while the streets were everywhere knee-deep in grass and weeds.
The Plaza, or great square, generally the resort of a busy crowd, was as still as the grave. At one end stood the remains of the cathedral rapidly crumbling to dust; the whole of the western aisle had already fallen in, and the other parts, built of brick, and formerly covered with polished cement, stood bare and nodding to their fall. A solitary peasant, wrapped in his poncho, stood at the corner of the square, leaning against the only remaining angle of the cathedral; and in a dark corner, amongst the ruins of the fallen aisle, were seated four or five women round a fire cooking their meat, by hanging it in the smoke over the embers.
In some of the smaller streets, however, there were many more people; for the town, though stripped of its wealth and importance, was not altogether depopulated. The few remaining inhabitants had drawn together for mutual support and consolation in these sorrowful times. The children were almost all handsome, and had the appearance of belonging to a fine race:
unlike their parents, they were unconscious of the evils by which their country had been overwhelmed, and though doubtless often hungry and cold enough, looked as happy and merry as their elders were despondent and miserable.
The governor received us courteously, and gave us all the information he possessed. Accounts, he said, had been received of Benavides having crossed the river Biobio at a place called Monterey, twenty-five leagues above Conception. He had marched upon Chilian, a town about thirty leagues off, in a N. N. E. direction; and had with him thirteen hundred followers, including the English and American seamen taken at Arauco. A considerable force, he told us, had recently marched from Conception, and succeeded in getting between Benavides and the river Biobio; there being also a well appointed force in Chilian, it was next to impossible, he thought, that the outlaw could now escape. Benavides, it seemed, never gave quarter, but the governor assured me that, as the Chilians did not retaliate, the seamen were not in danger on this account. I was
anxious to engage some Indian messenger, to communicate either with the pirate himself, or with his captives; but the governor drew up at this, and expressed some surprise at my thinking it either proper or possible to negotiate with this desperate outlaw, who was, he said, little better than a wild beast, and approachable only by force.
As correct information respecting the further proceedings of Benavides would probably reach the local government in the course of a couple of days, I determined to wait for the courier, and to employ the interval in examining the bay of Conception. I accordingly sent an officer, with boats, to survey and sound all the different anchorages, while I proceeded in the ship to several small ports lying round the bay. The first of these was Penco, a town built on the site of the old city of Conception, which was swept away by a great wave, that accompanied the earthquake of 1751. When the city was to be rebuilt, a more inland situation was chosen, but as it stands at present on low ground, it is questionable whether an earthquake wave of any
magnitude might not still reach it. As we had heard of coal being in this district, we engaged a guide to show us where it was to be found, and had not walked a mile into the country before we reached some excavations at the surface of the ground, from which the coal is worked without any trouble. The seam is thick and apparently extensive, and might, probably, with due care and skill, be wrought to any extent.
In the course of our walk to the coal-pits, we fell in with an intelligent native, who offered to accompany us, and interested us a good deal, by his account of the past and present state of the country. He had been cattle-keeper, he said, to a farmer, and, at one time, had charge of two hundred beasts; but that his master had not one left, and was now as poor as himself. His master's fields had formerly produced many thousand fanegas (150 lb.) of wheat, which had served to maintain a considerable population. "But," added he, "the fields are now grown up with long grass; all the inclosures, and all the houses gone; the cattle entirely driven off; and the inhabitants dispersed, no one
knows where. Who will rear cattle, or sow grain, if not sure of the herd, or the harvest? and so," added he, "it will continue till these sad wars and incursions are put a stop to, and property be made secure; for nobody will remain, even in this fertile and beautiful country, in such times as the present." The correct feeling which this rude peasant displayed for the natural beauties of his native spot was very remarkable, for he was never tired of expatiating on the picturesque graces of the landscape; and was perpetually calling our attention, as we walked along, to some new and more pleasing aspect which the scenery had assumed. He was so much delighted with our admiration of his country, that he forgot, in our praises of its beauty, the calamities under which it was labouring; and having, probably, rarely met with such sympathy before, he scarcely knew how to thank us for our companionship in sentiment.
The natives of the southern provinces of Chili have always been described as a bold and hardy race of men; but they are not so warlike as their southern neighbours, the Indians
of Arauco, who, though often conquered in single battles, were never completely, subdued by the Spaniards. Whenever a judicious president happened to be at the head of the government of Chili, a treaty was generally entered into between that state and the Araucanians; but, although these alliances proved invariably advantageous to both parties, the next governor would, in all probability, go to war, considering it unworthy to remain on good terms with a set of savages. From that moment, a miserable conflict was commenced of inroads on one side, and hard fighting on the other, equally mischievous to Chilians and to Araucanians. These wars generally began by the Spanish disciplined troops entering the Indian territory, and possessing themselves of the capital, Arauco, and other towns; but, ere long, they were always forced to retire before the bravery and numbers of the Indians; who, in their turn, entered and laid waste the Chilian frontier, drove off the cattle, and dispersed the inhabitants, acting pretty much in the style of our Borderers of old. However spirited and romantic such a state of things may sound
VOL. I. U
in poetical description, it is very melancholy to witness in real life. Indeed, while this poor peasant was detailing to us the ruin and misery which had befallen his country, from this profitless and barbarous system of warfare, and when his narrative was confirmed by every circumstance around us, we felt somewhat ashamed of the lively and pleasing interest with which we had recently listened to an account of the very same transactions, at a distance, and before we had witnessed the reality.
On returning to the beach, we were assailed by a number of little girls, six or seven years of age, each with a fowl in her arms, and all beseeching us to purchase. The children here are pretty, and their cheeks, unlike those of children between the tropics, chubby and rosy; their hair, resembling that of their Spanish and Indian ancestors, is long, glossy, and black, hanging over their brows, till smoothed back by the hand, to disclose their still blacker eyes. When the little monkeys looked up in our faces, and smiled, so as to show their beautiful white teeth and dimpled cheeks, there was no resisting the appeal;
and we bought a boat-load of poultry more than we had any use for.
We laid in a supply of coals and firewood at this place. The coals, which were brought for us to the beach, cost twelve shillings per ton, every thing included. The firewood cost about four shillings per carga of three hundred and sixty billets, two and a half feet long each, weighing in all 1300 lbs.
From Penco we sailed along the eastern side of the bay till we reached Tomé, a small snug cove in the most picturesque situation, surrounded by rocks and magnificent trees, with a little village at the upper corner, almost hid in the foliage. A party of us landed at some distance from the houses, to walk along the beach; but we were soon benighted, and our course being interrupted by a creek, we were reduced to a considerable dilemma, until the natives, hearing us shout to them for assistance, came in their canoes and ferried us over to the village, where a great crowd soon assembled to see the strangers, and to offer their timber for sale.
While our bargains about the logs of wood were
going on, we turned to look at the moon, nearly at the full, which had just risen above the trees, accompanied by the planets, Jupiter and Saturn; and we were admiring the same scenery, now brightly illuminated, which we had passed through in the dark, when one of the natives, somewhat to our surprise, left his logs, and looking up, asked us what we thought of it; of course we answered, it was most beautiful. "Si Senores," replied he, quite delighted, "Resplandeciente!" as if he were not less struck than ourselves with the beauty of the sight. I mention the circumstance, as affording another instance, among these rude people, of a degree of taste and feeling for the beauties of nature, which we never met with in any other part of South America.
After purchasing the timber we spoke to a wild-looking Indian, who had joined the group, with a mule-load of wine in skins for sale. It was of good quality, though rather sweet, and cost about twopence halfpenny a bottle; exactly double the proper price, as we discovered afterwards. We bought seven logs of wood, each twenty-one feet long, and twelve inches square, for nine dollars,
which is about five shillings each. The wood, called Linie, was as good as ash, and answered well for building boats. We learned afterwards that we had paid about one fourth too much. There was a great variety of timber for sale, adapted to different purposes, but this, which was the dearest, appeared to be much the best.
The district of Conception, as far as natural advantages go, is much richer than any other part of Chili: it possesses also a hardy and intelligent population, a delightful climate, and a soil of the most fertile kind, capable of producing the finest wheat, vines, olives, and the richest pasture: it is covered with extensive forests of valuable timber, contains coal in abundance, as well as freestone and limestone close to the shore, and besides being furnished with excellent ports, and numberless small streams, is intersected by a large river, navigable for upwards of a hundred miles. Notwithstanding all these advantages, it is almost entirely depopulated, and the whole country allowed to run to waste. It is to be hoped, however, that the spirit which animates the regenerated country will soon lead to some new system of
political measures, either for the defence of this magnificent district against the inroads of the Indians; or, what would be infinitely better, for making peace with them, on terms which would render it their interest to preserve a lasting and cordial friendship with their neighbours.
On the morning of the 12th of October, authentic accounts arrived of Benavides having been defeated near Chilian, and his army dispersed, while he himself had escaped across the frontier accompanied only by a few followers: by the same opportunity, we were informed that the Chilian sloop of war Chacabuco, without waiting for the troops sent by land to co-operate with her, had made an unsuccessful attack upon the Indian capital of Arauco.
Having previously obtained information, that two of the American seamen, captives with Benavides, had succeeded in escaping from the camp, and in getting on board the Chacabuco, I immediately proceeded in quest of that vessel, being most desirous of seeing these men, in order to learn the fate of their companions. Without some such information, it was obviously impossi-
ble to know where they were, or how to assist them. I therefore made the best of my way to the anchorage of Arauco, but, to my mortification, no vessel of any kind was there, and I proceeded on to the southward, having reason to think the Chacabuco had gone in that direction. After two days search, I fell in with her at anchor between the mainland and the island of Mocha. This island is overrun by horses and pigs, both of which are used as fresh stock by the whaling and sealing ships in the Pacific.
The two American seamen were immediately sent to me, and it appeared from their statement, that when Benavides marched from Arauco a month before, he had left Mr Moison, captain of the brig Ocean, together with several American and English seamen, to fit out the ship Perseverance; but that all the rest of the captives had been forced, at the point of the bayonet, to accompany the army. During the march they had been so strictly guarded by a body of cavalry, it was not until after they had crossed the river Biobio an opportunity occurred for these two men to effect their escape, and after suffering many
hardships to reach Conception. This information decided me to return immediately to Arauco, for the purpose of making an attempt to rescue Captain Moison and the seamen, should they still be on the spot. I had little hope of success, indeed, since hearing of the Chacabuco's attack on the place; for it seemed probable, that, on that occasion, the prisoners would be sent off to the interior. On entering the bay, I had the mortification to perceive, by various symptoms, that we were too late; for, on the bar of the river Toobool, which passes near the town, one of the prizes was in flames; behind the high grounds forming the harbour rose a great column of smoke, from another burning ship; and the town of Arauco itself as also on fire. All this showed that an attack had been made, and that the Indians had fled; since it is their invariable practice to burn their towns, and everything they cannot carry with them, whenever they are obliged to retreat. I anchored off the flaming town, late in the evening, and having communicated with the Chilian ships lying there, learned that the Araucanians, under one of Benavides' officers, had been attacked on that morning, but had speedily given
way, and fled to the woods, after setting fire to the town and all the ships.
On the morning of the 19th of October I landed at Arauco, to make, if possible, some arrangement with the commander of the Chilian expedition, in the event of any of the prisoners effecting their escape, and reaching his camp. We found the head-quarters established in the centre of the capital, which had consisted of fifty-six houses, arranged in rows: nothing now remained but a number of black square marks, except where a few houses had been more substantially built than the rest. Part of the walls of Benavides' own house were still standing, but the rafters and the door-posts were burning en the floor when we visited it. On the walls we could see the names of some of the captives who had been confined there, traced with charcoal, or scratched with a knife. Captain Sheffield of the Herselia, who had accompanied us from Valparaiso, carried us through the town, where he had been so long a prisoner, and over the smoking ashes of which he looked with malicious satisfaction. This diminutive capital was about three hundred yards square, enclosed by a wall twelve feet high,
and guarded by towers at two of the angles, with one of its sides resting against a small steep hill, about a hundred and fifty feet in height. Though insignificant in size, it is nevertheless a classical city, and well known in Spanish song and history. It was from this place that the celebrated Valdivia made his last march, and it was afterwards the principal station of the great savage general, Lautaro. Arauco was often taken and retaken by the Spaniards and Indians in old times; and by a curious anomaly in the history of this country, these very Araucanians, who, for three centuries, have been fighting desperately, and not unsuccessfully, against the Spaniards in Chili, now, when the common enemy is driven out, and liberty proclaimed, take up arms under a renegade Spanish officer, and fight against the liberated Chilians.
On going to the top of the hill, we commanded a view of a country, as rich in fine woods, lawns, and rivers, as that near Conception, and could not help lamenting, that the profuse gifts of Nature should be thus utterly wasted. The Chilian camp presented a very cu-
rious scene: the soldiers, on entering the town, had found, in the half-burnt storehouses, and in cellars cut in the rocks, various articles taken out of the prizes; some of them were loaded with plates, dishes, and cooking utensils; others with books and charts; one man had got hold of a broken quadrant, which puzzled him exceedingly; another was stirring up his fire with a long whale harpoon, and one poor fellow came running up to us with a bundle of the Tract Society's publications, which he had just found, but was greatly disappointed when we declined becoming purchasers.
Before I returned on board, the commander of the Chilian forces told me, that a party of Indian auxiliaries under his orders had that morning taken three Araucanian prisoners; two of whom they had put to death, and had sold the third to himself for four dollars. We expressed great horror at this anecdote, but he said it was absolutely out of his power to control these Indians, who made it a condition of their service, that they should never be denied the privilege of cutting the throats of their prisoners. Besides these
three prisoners, it appeared that there had been a fourth, a young woman, the wife of one of the men butchered in the morning. The commandant, however, had accidentally omitted to tell me this circumstance, which I did not learn till late in the evening, after I had gone on board. He had, in vain, tried to prevail upon Peneléo, the Indian in command of the auxiliaries, to release her; but this savage, after putting her husband to death before the poor woman's face, refused to give her up for a less ransom than thirty dollars—a sum which no one in the camp was willing to advance. It was provoking not to have heard of the circumstance during the morning, since, had she been liberated, she might have been employed to carry a letter to the captives I was in quest of, who, I had now no doubt, were removed into the interior by the Araucamians, when they fled to the woods.
20th Oct.—I went on shore as soon as it was day-light, but my vexation and disappointment were extreme, on learning that Peneléo, with his troop of Indiana, had set out on their return to Conception two hours before, taking the poor
widow along with them. While we were speaking on the subject, a soldier who had met the Indians rode into the camp. On being interrogated about the woman, in whose fate we began to take great interest, he said, she would probably never reach Conception alive, as he had heard Peneléo threaten, that, unless she left off crying, he would certainly kill her, as he had killed her husband the day before.
As Conception lay directly in our way to Valparaiso, I determined to call there, not only to concert some measures respecting the captive seamen, should they make their appearance, but also, if possible, to rescue this poor woman from the Indians. Accordingly, after waiting another day at Arauco, and seeing no hope of gaining intelligence of the prisoners, we sailed for Port St Vincent, a small secure harbour, not far from the bay, and rather nearer than Talcuhuana to the town of Conception. I lost no time in riding to the city, along with one of the officers, but our haste was needless, for we were stopped at the gate of the government-house by a domestic, who, closing his eyes, and reclining his head on one hand,
whispered that his Excellency was taking his siesta, and could not be disturbed. Nothing, as all the world knows, puts a man more out of humour than interrupting his siesta; and, as we wished to solicit his favour for our countrymen, we thought it prudent not to urge the point on the attendants, who shuddered at the very thoughts of it. Meanwhile we strolled along the banks of the magnificent river Biobio, which washes the walls of the town. In our walk we observed many black-eyed dames, sitting rurally enough at their doors, spinning with distaff and spindle, while their children played about them in the street. They wore flowers in their hair in the Chinese fashion, and were dressed with great neatness: we found them quite willing to make acquaintance, and to chat with the strangers.
In process of time we saw the Governor, who obligingly allowed us to go to the Indian quarters; but he smiled incredulously, and shook his head at our Quixotical project of rescuing the distressed damsel, saying it was quite useless to attempt treating with Peneléo, who had scarcely anything human about him.
We made our visit to the Indians at a most unpropitious hour, for they had just finished their dinner, and were all more or less tipsy. On our entering the court-yard of their quarters, we observed a party seated on the ground, round a great tub full of wine; they hailed our entrance with loud shouts, or rather yells, and boisterously demanded our business, to all appearance very little pleased with the interruption. The interpreter now became alarmed, and wished us to retire, but this I thought imprudent, as each man had his long spear close at hand, resting against the eaves of the house; and we must have been taken, and possibly sacrificed, by these drunken savages, had they become irritated. Our beat chance seemed to be in treating them without any show of distrust, and we, therefore, advanced to the circle with a good humoured confidence, which appeased them considerably. One of the party rose and embraced us in the Indian fashion, which we had learned from the gentlemen who had been prisoners with Benavides. After this ceremony they roared out to us to sit down on the ground along with them, and with the most
boisterous hospitality insisted on our drinking with them, a request which we cheerfully complied with; so that their previous anger vanished, and was succeeded by mirth and satisfaction, which speedily became as violent as their displeasure had been at first. Seizing a favourable opportunity, we stated our wish to have an interview with their chief; upon which a message was sent to him, but he did not think fit to show himself for a considerable time, during which we remained with the party round the tub, who continued swilling the wine like so many hogs. Their heads soon became affected, and their obstreperous mirth increasing every minute, we felt our situation by no means agreeable.
At length Peneléo's door opened, and the chief made his appearance; he did not condescend, however, to cross the threshold, but leaned against the door-post to prevent failing, being, by some degrees, more drunk than any of his people. A more finished picture of a savage cannot be conceived. He was a tall, broad-shouldered man, with a prodigiously large head, and a square-shaped bloated face, from which peeped out two very small eyes, partly hid by an immense superfluity
of black, coarse, oily, straight hair, covering his cheeks, and hanging over his shoulders, rendering his head somewhat of the size and shape of a beehive. Over his shoulders was thrown a poncho of coarse blanket-stuff. He received us very gruffly, appearing irritated and sulky at having been disturbed; and was still more offended when he learned that we wished to see his captive. We endeavoured to explain our real views, but he grunted out his answer in a tone and manner which deterred us from pressing the matter further, especially as his spear was within his reach, and we had already heard too much of his habits to disregard his displeasure.
Whilst we were in conversation with Peneléo, we stole an occasional glance at his apartment. By the side of a fire, burning in the middle of the floor, was seated a young Indian woman, with long black hair reaching to the ground; this, we conceived, could be no other than the unfortunate person we were in search of, and we were somewhat disappointed to observe, that the lady was neither in tears nor apparently very miserable; so that we came away impressed with the unsentimental ides,
VOL. I. X
that the amiable Peneléo had already made some impression an the young widow's heart.
Two Indians, who were not so drank as the rest, followed us to the outside of the court, and told us, that several foreigners had been taken by the Chilians in the battle near Chilian, and were now safe. The interpreter hinted to us, that this was probably invented by these cunning people, on hearing our questions in the court; but he advised us, as a matter of policy, to give them each a piece of money.
On the 23d of October we sailed from Conception, and on the 26th anchored at Valparaiso.
About a fortnight after our return, we were greatly rejoiced by the arrival of Captain Moison, and the seamen, so long captives with Benavides. They had been removed, as we formerly conjectured, to a considerable distance inland, when Arauco was attacked. It was very satisfactory, however, to learn, that all the prisoners had succeeded in making their escape after the battle in which Benavides was routed near Chilian. They had found their way to different parts of the coast, and, after many difficulties.
had reached Conception, where they procured a passage in a ship coming to Valparaiso.
As the Conway did not again visit Chili, after leaving it at this time, I found some difficulty in discovering what had become of Benavides at last. Fortunately, however, I obtained possession of a Chilian Government Gazette Extraordinary, published officially at Santiago, which gives a history of the rise, progress, and close of his career.
I insert a translation of this document, as it is curious, and shows the singular state of the Chilian frontier at that time, and helps, in some degree, to fill up the foregoing incomplete sketch.
SANTIAGO, SATURDAY, 23D FEBRUARY 1822.
CHILIANS who are interested in the glory of your country—all men who watch the conduct of the South Americans—know that the execution which you have witnessed to-day is nowise derogatory to the punctiliousness (delicadeza) with which Chili has recognised the rights of all parties engaged in the war, so vigorously sustained
by her against the pertinacious interference of the usurpers. This outlaw, whom you have seen executed, Vicente Benavides, son of Toribio, jailor in Quirihue, in the province of Conception, was a foot soldier in the Patriot army, and had attained the rank of serjeant of grenadiers at the time of our first Revolution. He deserted to the enemy at Membrillar, and in the memorable action at that place, under General Makenna, was taken prisoner, and was brought, by the corps de reserve, along with the army, which were marching on that side of the river Maule, to be tried by a Court Martial. Near the city of Linares, he set fire to a storehouse and fled, taking advantage of the army making preparations for a vigorous night attack. He continued in the employment of the tools (serviles) of Ferdinand, until he was again taken prisoner, on the glorious 5th of April 1818, on the plains of Maypo. He was kept as a prisoner until he was sentenced, by a military tribunal, to be shot as a deserter; but having survived the execution, in the most extraordinary manner, he presented himself to the General of the army, offering his services to dissuade the Indians and the other inhabitants on the southern
bank of the river Biobio from lending themselves to the desperate and illegal war, in which the Spaniards wished to engage them. His offer was accepted I passports were given him, and other documents relative to his commission. He went to the town of Los Angeles, and from thence to Nacimiento, where he persuaded Don Juan Francisco Sanchez, Commander of the Spanish troops, that he possessed ability to maintain the desolating war, which was about to cease on the southern frontier of Chili. The Commander accordingly retired to Valdivia, leaving Benavides as Commander-in-chief of the whole frontier. He commenced his authority by a most scandalous action, decidedly against the laws of war. He attacked an officer of the name of Riveros, who commanded a party in the fort of Santa Juana, and took him prisoner, with fourteen soldiers who were saved from the bloody attack. It was deemed proper to propose to exchange for this officer the wife of Benavides, then a prisoner in the city of Conception; and for this purpose, Lieutenant Don Eugenio Torres was sent with a flag of truce. Benavides agreed to the proposition; but his depraved disposition inspiring him with dis-
trust, he detained the flag of truce and the soldiers, and sent back the officer Riveros alone. The officer of the advanced guard applied for Torres, who had borne the flag of truce, stating, that Benavides' wife had already been sent from the fort of San Pedro; nevertheless, with an excess of ferocity, unheard of in this enlightened age, that very night he ordered the officer's throat to be cut who had brought the flag of truce, although he had actually supped in his company. The fourteen soldiers, who had been made prisoners, were also put to death that night.
His subsequent proceedings were marked by a similar spirit; even the instructions which he gave to the commanders of his guerrillas seemed to be written with blood, for, in them, he consigns to death 'every insurgent, whatever might be his offence;'—orders which were executed with an exactness that characterises the vile instruments of cruelty. These murderous agents were in the habit of offering to the peaceable peasants the terrible alternative of following them, or of being put to death. They slaughtered children, women, and old men, to prevent information being given of the road they had taken, or of the
mountain in which they had hid themselves. In the month of July 1820, when General Freire was passing through the Hacienda of Totoral, on the banks of the river Itata, a widow presented herself to him; her husband, she said, had been killed, a few days before, by the captain of a guerrilla party, for having given information that the party had been in his house. Actions similar to this were innumerable, and quite notorious in the districts of Chillan and Rere. At a place called Cajon de Palomares, a party of the enemy found an old man of sixty years of age, his wife, his daughter, and three nephews, all poor people, and having robbed them of all they had, finished by murdering them; their bodies were afterwards carried to the burying-place of Conception, in April 1821.
In this manner the contest was maintained ever since the year 1819—very much in the manner that the war has been carried on by the Spaniards in all parts of South America.
Sometimes the Intendant of Conception, Commander-in-chief of the army of the south, by authority of government, put the law of retaliation in force; but with characteristic moderation,
and with the sole view of repressing these violations of the laws of war. At other times this conduct was changed, and offers of pardon, approved by his Excellency the Supreme Director of the Republic, were made to those who should give themselves up; and these promises were held sacred even with the most atrocious. The commanders and officers of the Chilian army were restrained from exercising the just resentment inspired by the fall of their companions, so inhumanly murdered; but nothing could mitigate the insane fury of this monster, and his iniquitous associates, (inicuos satélites.) He took prisoner, in an action on the 23d September 1820, Don Carlos Maria O'Carrol, and ordered him to be shot immediately. On the 26th, on the banks of the river Laja, he attacked three hundred men of the Coquimbo battalion, No. 1, and some militia, which had been sent to reinforce the head-quarters; the action was so sharply maintained, that his dastardly person was in some danger. At eight o'clock next morning he addressed a dispatch to Major-general Don Andres Alcazar, offering to spare the lives of all those who should give themselves up unarmed. It happened that this worthy veteran had run short
of ammunition, and his people were worn out with fatigue; he therefore capitulated, giving up at once his arms and his life. The officers were immediately shot, without being allowed the consolations of religion: one person only escaped by accident, Friar N. Castro, of the order of Hermits. Major-general Alcazar, and Sergeant-major Ruiz, were then delivered over to the Indians, that they might be speared to death, along with three hundred families who had assembled on the island of Laja.
He lost no opportunity of destroying every town he came near, burning as many as he possibly could. And, not deeming all this sufficient to glut his insatiable disposition, he opened a communication with Carrera, one of the chiefs of the anarchists, who was laying waste the province of Mendoza, and invited him to take a share in these devastations.
He was at length defeated at Conception on the 27th of November 1820, upon which he proposed terms of peace, only for the purpose of being more perfidious. He sent the Presbyter Ferrebú with the dispatch containing his proposals. His messenger, of course, enjoyed the
immunity which the rights of war gave him, but, at the very same time, the chief who sent him took advantage of the moment, and ordered a squadron of horse to continue the hostilities. Eventually he threw off the mask of the king's authority altogether, since, when Brigadier Prieto informed him of the fall of Lima, upon which Benavides had formerly declared himself dependent, he displayed his true character in his answer, declaring that he would make war against Chili to the last soldier, even if its independence were acknowledged by the king and the whole Spanish nation.
It was natural that one crime should lead to others. He had either been accustomed to pay no respect to the laws of nations, or he hoped to conceal those actions from his government: be this as it may, he did everything to establish the character of a pirate. He equipped a Corsair to cruise on the coast of Chili, giving the commander instructions to respect no flag whatever, 'and to put to death the crew of every insurgent vessel he should meet with, and of every vessel which he might even suspect to belong to insurgents.' By what law of war can this be justified?
The situation of Arauco, so directly opposite the Island of Santa Maria, where vessels, having doubled Cape Horn, stop for refreshments, gave him an opportunity of capturing the ships Hero, Arsella, Perseverance, and another, exclusive of the boats belonging to ships which he could not capture. These vessels were the property of English and North Americans; the captains were shot secretly, and the crews were made to serve along with his troops. How came he to express so energetically in his confession, 'that these people had caused him an infinite deal of mischief?'—but it does not belong to Chili to inquire into this matter.
At length, in the end of December 1821, discovering the miserable state to which he was reduced, he entreated Brigadier Don Joaquin Prieto, Intendant of Conception, that he might be received, on giving himself up along with his partisans. This generous chief accepted his offer, and informed the supreme government; but, in the meantime, Benavides embarked in a launch at the mouth of the river Lebo, and fled, with the intention of joining a division of the enemy's army, which he supposed to be at someone of the
ports on the south coast of Peru. It was, indeed, absurd to expect any good faith from such an intriguer, for, in his letters at this time, he offered his services to Chili, and promised fidelity, while his real intention was still to follow the enemy. He finally left the unhappy province of Conception, the theatre of so many miserable scenes, overwhelmed with misery which he had caused, without ever recollecting that it was in that province he had first drawn his breath.
His despair made his conduct in the boat insupportable to those who accompanied him, and they rejoiced when they were obliged to put into the harbour of Topocalma in search of water, of which they had run short. On the 1st of this month, (February 1822,) he ordered a soldier to swim on shore to look for a supply. At daylight on the following morning, the tide admitted of his boat approaching the shore, when he landed under the pretext of procuring a messenger to carry dispatches to the Supreme Director, which he said he had brought from Conception. He concealed his name, but the patriotic individuals, Don Francisco Hidalgo, and Don Ramon Fuensalida, proprietors of the neighbouring grounds,
being informed who he really was, by the soldier who swam ashore the day before, arrested him on the beach.
From the notorious nature alone of his deeds, even the most impartial stranger would have condemned him to the last punishment; but the supreme government wished to hear what he had to say for himself, and ordered him to be tried according to the laws. It appearing on the trial that he had placed himself beyond the laws of society, such punishment was awarded to him as any one of his crimes deserved. As a deserter to the enemy, he merited death—as a frequent violator of all the laws of war, he had forfeited every military claim to be considered as a prisoner of war—as a pirate, and a barbarous destroyer of whole towns, it became necessary to put him to death in such a manner as might satisfy outraged humanity, and terrify others who should dare to imitate him. In pursuance of the sentence passed on the 21st of this month, he was this day dragged from the prison, in a pannier tied to the tail of a mule, and was hanged in the great square. His head and hands were afterwards cut off, in order to their being placed on high poles, to point out the places
of his horrid crimes, Santa Juana, Tarpellanca, and Arauco.
By the sentence of the 21st, it had been directed that he should be executed on the 23d, thus expressly allowing him three days to avail himself of that religious consolation which this faithful vassal of his Most Catholic Majesty denied to General Alcazar, Don Gaspar Ruiz, Captain O'Carrol, to all the officers of the Coquimbo battalion, and to many others.
The generosity of free states is not to be found in the corrupted hearts of those who serve tyrants.
Every person, in the least acquainted with public rights, knows, that in war, the law of retaliation applies equally to both parties, and that Chili is at perfect liberty to make equivalent reprisals upon the domineering Spaniards, for their actions towards the Patriots. But his Excellency the Supreme Director, wishing to draw a veil over the past, has ordered that the rigour of the law be directed against Benavides alone, and that the lives of his followers be spared, though justly forfeited; and he extends the same mercy to others, who, from holding communication with the outlaw,
merited, if not the same, at least nearly the same punishment."
This singular official document winds up with the following four lines of doggerel, in prominent characters.
Esos monstruos, que cargan consigo
El caracter infame, y servil
¿ Como pueden jamás compararse
Con los Héroes del cinco de Abril?
Those monsters, who bear about with them
A character infamous and servile—
How can they ever compare themselves
With the Heroes of the 5th of April?
The 5th of April, the anniversary of the battle of Maypo, is an era introduced on every occasion, whether appropriate or not.
END OF VOLUME FIRST.
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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