H. M. (Henry Marie) Brackenridge.

Voyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) online

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the part of the King of England to acquire any right of
sovereignty over them, or to interfere with their civil,
political, or religious rights." The orders given to Sir
Home Popham, were of a very different kind ; conquest
was the object here ; and having gained a foot-hold, to
prevail on such parts, as they could not hope to subdue,
to throw off their allegiance to the Spanish yoke, and,
mider the guardianship of the invaders, set up govern-
ments of their own. But in the mean time. Generals
"VYhitlock and Crawford, were to make themselves
masters of Buenos Ayres, on the one side of the conti-
nent, and of Valparaiso on the other ; after which, to

and an effectual co-operation by the United States may take place.
In this case I shall be happy, in my official station, to be an instru-
ment of so good a work.

The plan, in my opinion, ought to be a fleet of Great Britain, an
army of the United States — a government for the liberated territories
agreeable to both the co-operators, about which there will be probably
no difficulty. To arrange the plan, a competent authority from Great
Britain to some person here, is the best expedient. Your presence
here will, in this case, be extremely essential.

We are raising an army of about 12,000 men. General Washing-
ton has resumed his station at the head of our armies ; I am ap
pointed second in command.

A^ ith esteem and regard I remain, dear sir.
Your very obedient servant,
(Signed) A. Hamilton.


establish military posts across, and endeavour to become
masters of Peru. The powerful expedition under these
generals, failed entirely, on account of the intention to
make a conquest instead of offering their assistance as
auxiliaries. The following extract from General Whit-
lock's defence, contains an interesting picture of the
state of the country at that time. On perusing it atten-
tively, the reader may form a tolerable idea of the pre-
vailing sentiments of the people at this day, with the
difference which may be supposed to have been produced
by self-government, for nearly ten years.

*' It was known that the people were divided into
factions, and that various causes bad rendered a large
proportion of the inhabitants ripe for revolt ; and great
numbers were anxiously looking to a separation from
the mother country, as the only means of availing
themselves of the natural advantages of their local situa-
tion. It was, therefore, naturally concluded, that people
who feel themselves oppressed rather than protected, as
excluded by restrictions founded upon a narrow and
selfish policy from many commercial advantages, would
gladly change their government ; and if it were once
established in a military post in the country, the above
causes would make it easy to open an extensive inter-
course with the inhabitants, and new channels for trade
and commerce.

" It was supposed, that the character of this country*
for liberality and good conduct towards those who come
under our dominion, ensured us the good wishes of the
greater part, and the co-operation of a large proportion,
at least, of the community. The public hopes and ex-
pectations were raised to the highest pitch, and no sus-

♦ Gicat Biilain.


picion existed that it was possible for the ^eatest part
of the population of South America, to entertain any
other than a just feeling^ of attachment to our govern-
ment ; still less, that it was possible that such a rooted
antipathy could exist against us, as to justify the asser-
tions, (the truth of which has been proved to demonstra-
tion,) that we had not, when I arrived in South America,
among the inhabitants, one single friend in the whole
country. Whether the opinion of the illustrious states-
man,* now no more, who had so frequently turned his
thoughts towards South America, had led him to con-
template the propriety of establishing military posts
there, or the co-operating only with those who would
gladly have followed the example of North America,
and availed themselves of our assistance in establishing
their independence, I have no means of knowing ; but
experience has shown, that any other course of proceed-
ing than that last mentioned, even if most successful,
and almost in proportion to success, must have had the
eifect of placing us at a greater distance than even, from
our ultimate objects, those of friendly intercourse and
trade with the country.

'' It is supposed in my instructions, that after effect-
ing my first object, I might safely part with a propor-
tion of the force under my command, and retain only
about eight thousand ; which, it was supposed, must,
in einy case, in addition to such troops as I might raise
in the country, be amply sufiicient to conquer and keep
possession of the country ; for such had been the misre-
presentations to government upon this subject, that it
was supposed that a considerable force of this descrip-
tion might with safety be established. I was directed.

• Mr. Pitt.


as the court will have observed, to use precaution as to
the raising of this local force ; and, particularly, to take
care that one-third of each rank of officers, should be
British, and to select the description and classes out of
which it was to be framed ; but, subject to these precau-
tions, it was conceived and so stated in my instructions,
that much aid might be derived from this source towards
seciiring his majesty's possessions in that quarter, and
avoiding, at the same time, the necessity of too large
a demand on the regular forces of this countiy, (I use
the very words of the instructions,) such, as the court
will have seen, was the impression in this countiy, on
my appointment to the command. What was the actual
situation of the comitiy on my arrival ?

" I naturally resorted to the very able and experienced
officer who commanded at Monte Video, and who had
diligently employed himself in acquiring every pos-
sible information upon this subject. I found that in the
course of his operations against Monte Video, and after
its capture, he had every reason to believe that the people
were, without exception, inimical to us ; that previous
to the suiTcnder of Monte Video, he could place no con-
fidence in any information he received ; and that, after
its capture, a sullen silence perv^aded every rank. But
he also found reason to believe, that however inimical
they were to us, they were still more so to their present
government ; for upon reports aniving at Monte Video,
which afterwards proved false, of the abolition of the
Court of Audiencia, the setting aside of the king's autho-
rity, and not hoisting the Spanish colours; those who
had appeared hostile and inveterate, now pressed him to
advance a corps to Buenos Ayres, and assured him that
if he would acknowledge their independence, and pro-
mise them the protection of the English goverament, the
place would su])mit.


" The party in power were mostly all natives of Spain,
in the principal offices of church and state, and devoted
to the Spanish government. The second party consisted
of natives of the country, with some Spaniards settled
in it. The disposition of the mother country had made
them most anxious to shake off the Spanish yoke ; and
though from their ignorance, their want of morals, and
the barbarity of their dispositions, they were totally unfit
to govern themselves, they aimed at following the steps
of the North Americans, and erecting an independent
state. If we would promise them independence, they
would instantly revolt against the government, and join
us with the great mass of the inhabitants. The next
jconsideration was, our giving up the footing we had in
South America. On this subject many important consi-
derations presented themselves. First, the situation of
the country, and the nature of our instiuctions. It was
supposed, from the information received by government,
that the country would be conquered and kept in subjec-
tion by eight thousand troops, which was considered as
a large force ; but the information received by govern-
ment upon this subject, must have been founded in igno-
rance of the true state of the country. I found on my ar-
rival, that the resistance we should have to contend with,
far exceeded every calculation ; not a single friend had
we in the country, on the contrary, every inhabitant was
determined to exert his individual strength. Upon this
subject, I rely upon the experience of Sir Samuel Ach-
muty, who stated that double the number of troops I have
mentioned, would be required to conquer and keep pos-
session of the country."

Mr. Poinsett is of opinion, that the expedition under
General Whitlock, assisted by the disposition of the
people, might have secured the emancipation of these
colonies, but was not adequate to transfer the dominion


to the crown of Great Britain. An interesting question
naturally suggests itself; has the policy of England un-
dergone a change as to the emancipation of these coun-
tries from Spain ? That she can have no hope of obtain-
ing any direct dominion over them, is certain ; but, can
Spain give any thing like an equivalent to what England
would gain by the emancipation of the colonies ? Where-
ever the standard of revolution is raised, Englishmen are
crowding in, and introducing their manufactures, their
language, their literature, and their " free-born thoughts;'*
for it is a fact, that whatever the sentiments of English-
men may be at home, they are at heart republicans
abroad. Thej may obtain in this way almost as strong
a hold upon them as the Spaniards. Thousands of Eng-*
lish families will migrate to South America, and become
connected with the natives, by this means introducing
English habits and predilections. The hope of accom-
plishing this, is a permanent advantage of too much im-
portance to be slighted. I must confess, I cannot see
that any thing has occurred to change their policy,
although it may now be necessary to conceal it with a
deeper dissimidation.

Some apparent confusion prevails in the political di-
visions of the United Provinces ; a few explanatory re-
marks may be necessary. This confusion arises from
the mistake of confounding some of the smaller subdivi-
sions or jmisdictions, with those which properly come
under the denomination of provinces, and considered
members of the union, governed in the manner prescribed
by the provisional statute. It must be borne in mind,
that the viceroyalty was divided into two audiencias, four
intendencies included in each ; four in the lower country,
and the like number in Upper Peru. Each of the eight
intendencies, had its subordinate jurisdictions, with lieu-
tenant-governors and sub-delegadoes.



In the audiencia of Buenos Ayres, the term intendency,
is no longer used> that of province having taken its
place ; and at the same time, the number of provinces
were increased in 1814, after the capture of Monte Vi-
deo, by the division of some of the intendencies. For
instance, Cuyo and Tucuman were taken from Cordova;
Santa Fee, Monte Video, and Corrientes, were taken
from Buenos Ayres.

Five new provinces were therefore laid off; making the
present number nine (including Paraguay), instead of
four. They are Salta, Tucuman, Cordova, Cuyo, Bue-
nos Ayres, Paraguay, Santa Fee, Corrientes, and Monte

They are called free provinces, because the Spanish
authorities have ceased to exist, although, during the
contest, Salta and Tucuman were, for a short time, the
seats of war ; but for the last three or four years, the
Spanish arms have been confined to Upper Peru.

The Portuguese, in their war with Artigas, have taken
possession of part of the province of Monte Video, but
with the avowed intention of refraining from hostilities
against those provinces which are at present united.

Of the nine provinces, all are united except Para-
guay, Santa Fee, Corrientes, and Monte Video. ITie
first entered into an amicable arrangement with Buenos
Ayres, at the commencement of the revolution, but has
since resolved to keep aloof from all parties ; and is,
therefore, to be regarded as a neutral, excepting so far as
respects Spain. Since Santa Fee has withdrawn itself,
the tovm and immediate vicinity only, have been free
from the jurisdiction of Buenos Ayres, as all the rest of
the province has been subjected to the controul of the
general government. Part of the Entre Rios was under the
jurisdiction of Corrientes, and part of Santa Fee. The peo-
ple, however, of Santa Fee, Entre Rios, and Monte Video,


are in favour of joining the confederacy, when they can
do it on such terms as they think to their interests, what-
ever may be the intentions of Artigas, who at present
governs them. What may be the ultimate wish of Para-
guay, is not known.

Mistakes have been occasioned, by the circumstance
of some of the subordinate districts being entitled to one
or more representatives in congress, and, on that account,
considered as provinces, by persons not acquainted with
the nature of these divisions. They are, for all the pur-
poses of municipal government, dependent on some pro-
vince, or member of the union. Thus Catamarca and
Jujuy are subordinate jurisdictions of Salta, and San
Juan and San Fernando, subordinate to Cuyo.

The comparative importance of the provinces, in point
of number and extent of territory, which compose the
union, with those not included, may be seen by the fol-
lowing table ; but the difference in point of information,
public spirit, wealth, commerce, agriculture, and what-
ever contributes to the respectability of a people, is still
greater in favour of the provinces of the union.

With respect to Paraguay, the estimate only includes
those coming under the denomination of Spaniards ; the
Indians civilized or uncivilized, are excluded in this in-
stance as well as in the others.




Free Provinces,

Chief Towns.

Buenos Ayres 120,000 Buenos Ayres . . . 60,000

Cordova 75,000 Cordova 6,000

Tucuman 60,000 Tucuman 5,000

Salta 60,000 Salta. 6,000

Cuyo 75,000 Mendoza 8,000

Districts not included • • • • 75,000



Paraguay • • ><>•••.

Missions • « .

Santa Fee ••
Entre Rios
Banda Oriental


100,000 Assumption*

• • • • ^
ntal 3



Santa Fee


-190,000 Monte Video • • 7,000


The five provinces of the union contain four hundred
and fifty thousand souls, exclusive of Indians, and about
six hundred thousand square miles ; little short of the
whole extent of our old thirteen states.

Those not of the union, but friendly, one hundred and
forty thousand souls, and seventy-five thousand square

Those not of the union, and unfriendly, fifty thousand
souls, and one hundred thousand square miles ; parts of
the territory and population, under the Portuguese.

It is necessary to observe that, with respect to the po-
pulation, as no census has ever been properly taken, the


estimates differ exceedingly. From the imperfect data
on which these estimates are founded, in all the Spanish
colonies, nothing else could be expected ; both Depons
and Humboldt, have lamented this defect, and both seem
to agree, that the population is, invariably, underrated.
It is also to be remarked, that in the ordinary esti-
mates, the civilized Indians are frequently omitted,
and the uncivilized never noticed at all. Of those
who are counted as Spainards, there is a considerable
proportion of the mixed race, as by the laws of the
Indies, after the fifth remove, they are enrolled in the
class before-mentioned ; but in their features, com-
plexion, and habits of life, there is little or no dif-
ference between them and the immediate descendants
of European Spaniards : unless it be, that they generally
display more genius and native energy of character. In
Paraguay, for instance, the Guarany language may be
said to predominate. " Throughout the Spanish settle-
ments in Paraguay, Guarany is the language which
children learn from their mothers and their nurses ;
and which, owing to the great mixture of native blood,
and the number of Indians in slavery, or in service,
is almost exclusively used. Even in the city of As-
sumption, sermons were better understood in Guarany
than in Spanish ; and many women of Spanish name and
Spanish extraction, did not understand the language of
their fathers." The foregoing was written nearly a cen-
tury ago; but, according to Azara, the change which
has taken place has not been great. " Those who in-
habit the province of Buenos Ayres, are more properly
composed of continual accessions from Europe, than
from a mixture with the Indians ; who, in this part of the
country, never were numerous ; it is on this account they
speak Spanish. On the contrary, the Spaniards of


Paraguay, and their neighbours, the inhabitants of the
city and district of Corrintes, are the offspring of the in-
termarriage of their forefathers with the Indian women,
and, in consequence, speak Guarany; and it is only
those who receive an education, or the men of the city
Curruguaty, who understand Spanish." At Assump-
tion, there is also a proportion, not small, who are of
Portuguese descent. This mixed race, like the Pau-
listas, have shewn themselves greater oppressors of
the uncivilized Indians, than the Europeans.* The
cities of Cordova, Tucuman, Salta, Mendoza, Santa

* May not the revolutionary decrees of Buenos Ayres, giving
equal rights and liberty to the poor Indian, as well as to the
Spaniard, have produced an unfavourable effect with the wealthy
and influential inhabitants of Paraguay ? Indian aiavety has been
abolished in that province, I believe ; but there is still Indian ser-
vitude ! The difference in the language of this province from the
others, may, also, be a reason for their not joining with them. Mr.
Bland, in his Report, page 42, labours under the common error,
when he speaks of " the Paraguay agriculturist, with his smatter-
ing of letters and his Jesuit habits. " The Jesuits had no influence
in Paraguaj', on the contrarj', the influential clergy, the Francis-
cans and Dominicans, were their deadly enemies ; and had the
Spaniards on their side. The bishop Cardenas succeeded in pro-
curing their expulsion, and it required the greatest exertions on
the part of the civil authorities, to protect them. The Jesuits
were extremely unpopular, excepting among their Indian con-
verts in one corner of the province, separated by deserts from the
Spanish inhabitants, with whom they wished to avoid all inter-
course. I refer the reader to the 3d vol. of Southey's Brazil, Azara,
and Wilcock's Buenos Ayres. What I have said of the Jesuits, pro-
ceeds from no partiality to their society, but from a desire to give
every one his due. The Jesuits could not have acted otherwise, in
the circumstances in which they were placed. Whether they would
have pursued a different course if it had been in their power, is
another question.

Vol. II. E


Fee, and some others, have a population similar to
that of Buenos Ayres.

The uncivilized Indians are not taken into the] esti-
mate. Several subordinate districts of the union, I
was informed by the gentleman from whom I procured
my estimate, were not included, from his being unable
to obtain information on which he could rely. The
statement agrees tolerably^ well with that given by
Mr. Graheon.



The Subject of the foregoing Chapter continued,

Alto Peru, or the audiencia of Los Charcas, it will
be recollected, is the sixth natural division of the terri-
tory of the viceroyalty of La Plata. What a train of
thought is inspired by the name of Peru ! The seats
of civilization in the new world— an innocent and in-
dustrious people, living under a mild and paternal go-
vernment, a prey to merciless robbers, obeying the dic-
tates of no law but their avarice and cruelty ; a people
who, after being deprived of every thing, were com-
pelled by strangers to wear the chains of slavery in their
own country. The wrongs of the injured Peruvians can
never be atoned. The Jews, in their Egyptian bond-
age, were in a land of strangers, but the children of
the Incas, were enslaved in their native land, and
compelled, in the sight of objects calculated to awaken
the most sorrowful recollections, to do the bidding of
their relentless task-masters. How aflfectingly are these
feelings expressed by Garcilasso, a descendant of the
Incas, in a few simple words — " my grand-uncle/'
says he, " often related these things to me, when a
child, and then he would weep." To the present
day they cherish a melancholy remembrance of their
former state ; and, it is said, have become habitually
sad and mournful.

^* O could the ancient Incas rise again,

How would they take up Israel's taunting strain !



Art thou too fallen, Iberia? Do we see

Tiie robber and the murderer weak as ice P

Thou that has wasted earth, and dared despise

Alike, the wrath and mercy of the skies ;

Thy pomp is in the grave, thy glory laid

Low in the pits thy avarice has madeJ"


But, with the greater part of mankind, the name of
Peru is associated with other ideas. Here is the
principal fountain of that golden stream which has
given life 2uid vigour, at once to the virtues and the
vices of mankind — which has fomented wars of in-
terest and ambition, and kindled the worst of passions —
at the same time that it has animated commerce and
its attendant train, has excited and rewarded indus-
try, fostered science, improved the condition of man>
and civilized the world. Who has not heard of Peru,
and the riches of Potosi? And who can calculate
the effects of the golden stream on the condition and
character of mankind, throughout every region of the
earth? Here then is the prize for which the infant Ar-
gentine republic, I have just described, and the once
mighty, but now decaying strength of Spain, are con-
tending ? Can the civilized world remain indifferent spec-
tators of the issue ? I propose, in this chapter, to take
a rapid survey of these important provinces.

In order to convey a more clear idea of their situa-
tion, it is necessary to bestow some remarks on the
disposition or arrangement of the two 'principal ranges
of mountains. The two great ridges which run along
almost the whole longitude of South America, and
very nearly in parallel lines, give a character to the
country which lies between them, scarcely resembling
any other in the world. The snowy summits of these
parallel ranges of mountains, from the seventeenth to
the ^twenty-fourth degrees, south, (that is, from the


Disaguadero to Jujuy,) are, generally, distant from
each other about one hundred and fifty miles ; the
ground between them is greatly elevated above the
level of the sea, and above the track which lies be-
tween the base of the western ridge, and the Pa-
cific ; hence, it is called the alto Peru, (high Peru,) to
distinguish it from lower Peru, or the provinces whose
elevation above the level of the sea is not so great.
The general elevation of this zone, or track, between
the snowy Andes, is, at least, twice that of the highest
siunmits of our AUeganies ; but varies considerably, as
within the enclosed space the mountains have a more
gradual slope, which is also the case to the east ; but
on the west they rise like a vast wall, to be descried


** Many a league at sea."

The description of a celebrated French philosopher*
of the alto Peru, will convey a clearer idea. " After
having scaled one of these mountains, whose aspect
is so frightful, one would naturally expect to be com-
pelled, by the inclemency of the skies, to descend on
the other side into deep glens and forests, such as he
has left ; it can never enter his mind that beyond these
mountains there are others of equal height, and that
both appear only designed to conceal that happy coun-
try where nature traces in her liberality, or more
properly speaking, in her perfection, the image of a
terrestrial paradise " This description is correct, al-
though the high region, as well as the lower, is covered
with verdure and magnificent forest trees, and presents
a great number of savannas, and is also occasionally
intersected with deep valleys. There are also trans^

Online LibraryH. M. (Henry Marie) BrackenridgeVoyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) → online text (page 4 of 25)