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on Monte Video. In this state of things, the junta was compelled to patch up a kind of truce with Elio, by which it was agreed that, on condition the Portuguese, who had been called in by Elio, should withdraw their forces from the Banda Oriental, the patriots would raise the siege, and retire beyond the Uraguay, into the province of Entre Rios. Rondeau and his troops returned to Buenos Ayres for the purpose of being employed in another quarter, while Artigas remained in the Entre Rios, at the head of his guerillas; here he was supplied with arms and money, but the war in the upper provinces, carried on against the army of Lima, called for all the exertions of this infant republic. If overwhelmed in that quarter, the royalists in all probability, would have formed a junction on the Parana, with the forces of Monte Video, as has been stated by Mr. Poinsett. It was, therefore, equally the interest of Paraguay and Banda Oriental, as well as of Buenos Ayres, that the progress of the Limanian army should be effectually arrested.
The withdrawing of the troops of Buenos Ayres, is said by some to have been the first cause of dissatisfaction to Artigas, who thought the siege ought to have been carried on at all events. It is alleged, that from his limited information and capacity, he was unable to take an enlarged and comprehensive view of the situation and policy of Buenos Ayres; that he was unable to calculate remote consequences, that his mind embraced only the comparatively small district in which he was placed, and could not enlarge itself to the general emancipation of the viceroyalty; without which, it would be in vain to expect emancipation of a particular district. The reverses experienced in
Peru, formed therefore, with bim, no justification for the step which Buenos Ayres had taken. The friends of Artigas allege, that he was disgusted at this time with intrigues, jealousies, and factions, which manifested themselves in the democracy of Buenos Ayres; but these persons do not reflect on the consequences of every military officer, from a commander in chief to the commander of a detachment, taking upon himself to determine whether the government is managed wisely and faithfully, or of his refusing obedience and renouncing its authority. Besides, this plea is made by every traitor, whether it has any foundation or not. Artigas was regarded as an ignorant man, but useful in his way; the hopes of the new republic, however, rested upon men of a very different stamp, upon the · Rondeaus, the Belgranos, the Balcarces, and others of this description, who adhered to the fortunes of their country in the midst of all the turbulence, faction, and changes to which an unsettled republic would unavoidably be subject. These things Artigas could not understand; he was more pleased with that sim. plicity and unity of action which arises from absolute power. Whatever the causes may be, it is certain, that from this time, Artigas manifested symptoms of disaffection and obeyed the orders of the junta with reluctance, and sometimes not at all.
The affairs of Buenos Ayres being placed on a somewhat better footing, a new army, consisting of four thousand men, was again sent over to the Banda Oriental, early in 1812, under the command of Sarratea. The Portuguese alarmed at their approach, accepted the mediation of Lord Strangford, and entered into the armistice of the 10th of June; in pursuance
of which, the Portuguese withdrew from the territory of Buenos Ayres. The truce which had been agreed to with Elio, having been broken, it was resolved by Buenos Ayres, a second time, to besiege Monte Video. The new triumvirate, consisting of Sarratea, Chiclana," and Passo*, sent Rondeau, with three thousand men, to recommence hostilities. On the 31st of the month, this general was attacked by Vigodet, who bad succeeded Elio, and who, on this occasion, was repulsed with considerable loss. Considerable reinforcements were soon after sent from Buenos Ayres, and the town regularly besieged under Sarratea, who superseded Rondeau in the command, the services of this experienced officer being thought necessary in Peru. Great complaints were made by Sarratea, of the insubordination of Artigas and his guerillas. Artigas, at length, entirely refused obedience, and withdrew his people, declaring that unless Sarratea was recalled, he would no longer co-operate with the forces of Buenos Ayres † The difficulty of managing this man was now beginning to be felt, but his services were of such importance, that it was thought necessary to sacrifice a good deal for the purpose of conciliating him. Men of this description are often indulged in a latitude which would be thought entirely inadmissible in
* Not Passos, who was exiled, and afterwards known in this country, by a work on South America, which contains much useful * information.
† There is a story of Sarratea having, by order of the triumvirate, (Chiclana, &c.) attempted to have him assassinated; but I place no reliance upon it. It was related to Mr. Rodney and myself, by a kind of army contractor of Artigas, who supplied him with powder and ball in exchange for hides.
others; but this indulgence generally leads to an unbounded license, and a total disregard of authority. In order to appease this warrior, Sarratea was recalled in February, 1813, and Rondeau, who it was supposed would be acceptable to him, was again placed at the head of this army. He had no pretensions, himself, to the command of any thing but his guerillas; his habits of life and want of education, entirely disqualified him for taking the command of regular troops. With this measure he appeared at first, to be satisfied, and once more returned to his duty; but his subordination was of short continnance; every effort to procure a permanent reconciliation was fruitless; possessing unbounded control, himself, over his guerillas, who idolized him as their chief, he could not brook the idea of being commanded by another. It is probable, also, that at this time, he had formed the design of entirely renouncing the authority of Buenos Ayres; chiefly actuated, I have no doubt, by his impatience of control. An act of a most arbitrary and despotic character, done by him about this time, is related by Funes.*
* Those citizens who loved order, labored with zeal and dexterity to extinguish a flame menacing ruin to the state. This end appeared to be obtained by an Oriental congress, which general Rondeau convened, in the name of the government; for the purpose of nominating deputies for a national congress, and a provincial governor. All was on the eve of being verified, when general Artigas, as chief of the Orientals, commanded, in the name of the same government, that the electors should present themselves at his head quarters, in order to receive înstructions from him. This proceeding, so strongly savoring of despotism, offended every one. The electors assembled in the chapel of Maciel, and fulfilled their trust. The real disposition of general Artigas then discovered itselt; he annulled the congress, thus assuming absolute power;
A criminal correspondence was some time after dis. covered between Otorguese, one of Artigas' chieftains, and Vigodet, the governor of Monte Video; a circumstance which is often alleged, as rendering doubtful the attachment of Artigas to the patriot cause. It is certain, that on this occasion, he deserted Rondeau, with all his guerillas, and betuok himself to the, plains. Rondeau, tbus abandoned by a great proportion of his numerical force, would have found himself in a critical situation, but that, fortunately, the Spaniards mistook the whole for a ruse de guerre.
Rondeau being sent to take the command of the army in Peru, the siege of Monte Video was carried on by Alvear, who was appointed to succeed him. In the mean time, the government of Buenos Ayres had undergone a change. What was called the sovereign assembly had been installed, and instead of a triple executive, a single one was appointed under the title of director, in January, 1813. The choice had fallen upon Posadas, and when the last desertion of Artigas was made known at Buenos Ayres, he proceeded at once to consider him as a traitor, and offer. ed a reward for his apprehension. Funes considers
but this daring measure had no effect upon what this body had done. The selection of deputies, and a governor, was celebrated in all the encampments, and the last named officer began to exercise his functions. General Artigas viewed these measures with a hatred, lively, as dissembled, and prepared to avenge himself. Under various pretexts he withdrew his countrymen, and at last, in the garb of a gaucho, deserted his post, thus leaving exposed the right of our line. This rash proceeding made it apparent, that he preferred his own interests to those of his country; but many officers, and others of the Orientals, did not follow this pernicious ex- ample.”: Funes, p. 63. VOL, 1.