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unfortunately placed one of the most important portions of our country, in the hands of a stranger.
• « With respect to the objects of the mission, I am anxious to meet the wishes of the commissioners in every particular. I hope all forms of diplomacy may be waived ; that all communications may be held as between friends and brothers; that, whenever it may suit the pleasure or convenience of the commissioners, they will address themselves personally to me, or to the secretary of state, who will always be found at leisure to attend to them.”' pp. 273, 4.
Alvarez and Rondeau were among their visiters. The former is described as a man under thirty, of fine appearance and elegant manners, his conversation interesting and intelligent, and his character elevated and manly. He is a native of Arequipa in Peru, has been in the army from his youth, and has several brothers in the Spanish service. He is married to a piece of General Belgrano, who is said to be a very superior woman. Rondeau is a small man, apparently about fifty years of age, of firm and manly carriage. Sarratea, who was formerly a conspicuous member of the government, and afterwards an
agent of the court of London,' is said to be a man of considerable talents ; ' but from all I could learn,' says Mr. B. ' he does not stand high with the government, and still lower
with the people.
Mr. Brackenridge became acquainted with several persons at Buenos Ayres, who carry on a small trade with Artigas: they were of course loud in praise of his good intentions and genuine patriotism. There are other persons also, who, from a factious opposition to the present administration, have of late become bis advocates; and from the same motive, they almost all espouse the cause of Carrera, the Chilian ex-general. Some of these men were extremely virulent in their abuse of the government, and especially of San Martin. The provinces at one time manifested a great jealousy of the ascendancy acquired by Buenos Ayres; and it seems to be admitted, that causes of complaint did exist, both on account of the acts of the government and its agents; but these misunderstandings promise to be now amicably adjusted by the general congress, and Mr. B. considers that the only dispute now lies between Banda Oriental and tbe United Provinces.
• As far as the destinies of the nation can at the present depend on particular men, they apparently rest on three individuals, Pueyrredon, Belgrave, and San Martin, who have a perfect understanding with each other, and are supported by the leading men in the country. With respect to the first two, they have been actors in the scenes of the revolution from the commencement, and have both been abroad. Pueyrredon has been much abused in the United States, but this buse originated with personal enemies. From the most impartial
examination of every thing that has been said of him by friends and foes, I am convinced that he is not only a sincere patriot, but a great man.'
• The great man of the country is unquestionably San Martin, although only acting as a military chief.' He is a native of the missions on the Parana, of respectable connections, but not distinguished. From his youth he possessed a military turn of mind, and in the struggles of Spain against the French, he served on the Peninsula as an aid to one of the Spanish generals, but returned to his own country when his services were required. He first distinguished himself in 1812, in the defeat of the Spaniards, who attempted to maintain a position at San Lorenzo, on the Parana; in this affair, he displayed great boldness and intrepidity, and his success had a happy effect in reviving the drooping spirit of a people whose fortunes were at this time much obscured. San Martin, almost from the moment of his return from Spain, had fixed the attention of his countrymen ; and his reputation made a silent but rapid progress. There are some men, who possess an indescribable something, which commands confidence and respect, even before any thing remarkable has appeared in their actions. His great application to the duties of his profession, his high character for integrity, prudence, and moral rectitude, insured him at once the esteem of the respectable among his fellowcitizens. By foreigners he was still more admired, than by bis own countrymen, as being more free from the vices of the creoles, and having the most enlarged and liberal views. At first, the strict dis. cipline which he introduced, and the great application to study, which he required of the young officers, made him enemies, and afterwards friends. In 1813, he was appointed governor of Cuyo, and at the same time was invested with the military command in this quarter. His strict justice, and his general deportment gained the affections of these people, and when on one occasion there was some idea of removing him, they earnestly remonstrated against it. On the conquest of Chili, the people of Mendoza, apprehensive of the Spaniards, reposed all their hopes of safety on San Martin, who immediately set to work in organizing an army for their defence, and, at the same time, secretly cherishing the design of freeing Chili from her enemies. We have seen that his success was complete. Vol. II. pp. 212–14.
There are some traits in his character, which I shall, however, notice. His self-denial in refusing any promotion, had its effect, where every one was striving for it, without regard to his merits, and became a malcontent if disappointed. The fact of many officers of superior rank serving under him, is a proof that this compliment is due to his personal merit ; and it must be admitted, that the circumstance is either a very extraordinary one, or a very high testimony in his favour. After the battle of Chacabuco, when the Spaniards were driven out of Chili, the supreme director promoted him to the rank of major-general, but he declined accepting, having already publicly declared, that he would accept no higher rank, than that which he held. The affair was referred to the congress, which decided that for
this time, San Martin should have his own way; but if, on a future occasion, his services to the country should be such as to merit promotion, it would be his duty to accept. After the battle of Maipu, he was accordingly promoted. When we consider the necessity of checking that vicious impatience for promotion, by examples of self-denial and noble disinterestedness, the conduct of San Martin will be viewed in a more favourable light. He has publicly declared his determination to accept of no civil office whatever, and to renounce his military situation, as soon as country her independence. I have no doubt, that the examples of self-denial, set by Belgrano, San Martin, and recently by Pueyrredon, will have the most happy effects on the character of the people. The pains taken by San Martin to avoid all public demonstrations of gratitude for his services, I have been told by persons well acquainted with him, proceeds from natural plainness and simplicity of manners. It was not possible for him to avoid them; and to none of the chiefs of the revolution, have such honours been paid by every description of people,' pp. 214, 15.
• Towards the latter part of our stay the affairs of the country wore a most gloomy aspect. Accounts were daily received that the Spanish army was continully advancing towards Santiago. The uneasiness of the public mind cannot well be conceived. But when the news arrived of the dispersion of the army of San Martin at Talca, the effect was such as to produce a kind of settled gloom over the city. The streets were almost deserted, and an anxiety prevailed among all classes which could not have been greater if their own fate had been at issue. The enemies of San Martin were busily at work ; placards were stuck up, it was supposed by the old Spaniards, and the friends of Carrera experienced a secret satisfaction, which they could with difficulty conceal. Before this they represented San Martin as a deep designing man, who made a tool of O'Higgins, they now spoke of him as an imbecile pretender; and one of them observed to me, “ If he can get out of this scrape, I will acknowledge that he is a clever fellow," They told me that he had resigned the command of the army to general Brayere, on finding himself entirely incompetent to the task, and had resolved to fight at the head of cavalry. If true, the fact only proved, that he was actuated by a hlgher motive than selfish pride. A few days, however, brought the account of the splendid victory of Maipu. I shall not attempt to describe the sensation produced in the city by this important event, and which greatly surpassed all expression of popular feeling I had ever witnessed. “ The capital," says Funęs, “ from its extreme depression was now elevated to the highest pitch of joy. The streets, before silent and fearful, were suddenly filled by the inhabitants ; like the blood, which after some moments of deep suspense, and anxious fear, rushes again from the heart to the extremities of the body. The scenes which ensued, can only be conceived by those who have witnessed the sublime effusion of popular feeling, when each thinks his own happi. ness that of his posterity, his friends, and his country are entirely nyolved. There was a general and almost universal exclamation,
AT LAST WE ARE INDEPENDENT! While San Martin was hailed as the genius of the revolution.”? pp. 224-26.
The Commissioners remained at Buenos Ayres till the latter end of April, and then took their departure on board the Congress. After touching at St. Salvador, they anchored off the island of Margaritta. Here they went on shore, and near the town of Assumption, which is some miles in the interior, were shewn the valley where Morillo had been defeated, with the loss of fifteen hundred men. When we consider,' says our Author, that this victory was achieved by peasants, the greater part of whom were armed only with stones, it deserves to rank with • those of the days of William Tell.' They paid a visit to the governor, Gomes, ' a kind of Indian, about seven feet high ;' and some of the party accepted an invitation to dine with general Arismendi. The next morning they returned on board the Congress.
We have had occasion to advert to the flippancy, the consequential tone, and the republican slang into which Mr. Brackenridge has sometimes fallen. It is but just to bear in mind, that he is an American, writing for the American public. He is very evidently a young man, and an intelligent young man; but his studies have been confined, we suspect, to a limited circle, and he has unhappily received, like most of his countrymen, the infection of tbe shallow vulgar philosophy of the American oracle, Tom Paine. We respect his love for his country, but regret that it should assume at times, so braggart, and intolerant, and offensive a character. Whether self-conceit is the root or the offspring of that nationality in which our Author glories as the distinguishing characteristic of his countrymen, it appears to be so intimately blended with it as to make even their patriotism seem ridiculous. The reiteration of tirades against kings and nobles, looks like the operation of a sore feeling which philosophical republicans should think it beneath them to betray. Why ean they not be happy without boasting so continually of their happiness? Mr. Brackenridge can at times write much more sensibly; and had he observed a little more method, a little more conciseness, and a little more modesty in that portion of the volumes before us in which he bas displayed his authorship, we should have been able without qualification to recommend them to the attention of such readers as are desirous of becoming better acquainted with South American affairs. The following remarks do bien credit.
• I have frequently repeated, that it would be folly to look here for a state of things any way approaching that of the United States, in correct practical ideas of civil liberty. The government is not to be compared with ours or that of Great Britain, as to the security of per. sonal rights, and the impartial administration of the laws. A com.
parison may be drawn with that of ancient Greece or Rome, with Switzerland, Holland, or with the Italian states. France was never more despotically ruled than under the reign of the jacobins: and we have too many false brethren of the republican pariy, who in heart and spirit are jacobins; who delight in mean detraction and slander of those above them in worth and merit, and yet prove the worst of tyrants, if by chance they find themselves clothed with authority." Vol. II. p. 205.
I was not disappointed in the progress made here since the revolution. To criticise their institutions as though they were of some of our neighbouring territories, shows a most pitiful narrowness of mind. To look here for liberty with all its proper guards, at a season like the present, is childish, and more especially, if some par. ticular spot of the earth, be selected as the model by which to try their institutions. The manners, habits, and previous education of a people are to be considered, and until these are changed, nothing can be said to be changed; for in spite of the visionary projects of paper constitution men, no matter what form be adopted, or what it, may be called, despotism will still have sway and break any restraint attempted to be imposed on it. The forms of free government will only be so far operative as the people are fitted for freedom, and if they are fitted for a government in some measure free, its adoption will in time fit them for one still more free. Such is the present state of Buenos Ayres ; their present constitution is even more free in theory than in practice, and why? Because the great body of the people are indifferent about the details of government. They have been accustomed to be ruled by men, and they have not yet learned that reverence is alone due to the laws. In our country I would ask, if there be not such shades of difference in the character of the different states, as unavoidably to produce a variety in the state constitutions ? Would the constitution of Massachusetts and Virginia, suit every other state in the union? They certainly would not. Why then must we insist on the South Americans establishing a government precisely like ours, before we can extend to them our friendship? They must form their goverments as they build their houses ; with the materials they have at hand. There is no doubt it will be essentially republican, but will also differ considerably from ours."
p. 206, 7.
• The downfall of Napoleon had a most happy effect on political opinion in South America, as well as over the whole of the civilized world. This effect was to bring the solid pyramid of republicanism into higher repute. The splendid monarchy established by this man, seemed to deride the poverty and plainness of popular government; but its fall clearly proved that monarchs are much more easily overturned than nations. The European sovereigns, by shewing that the mightiest throne which ever existed, could be overturned, did much more in favour of republicanism, than our example or principles. Since that time, the nations of Europe have regarded our institutions with a degree of admiration which before they did not feel ; and if in South America, there had been any intention to follow the