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on receiving the despatches containing them, far from , giving vent to indignation at this insulting treatment, proved that he was willing to make any sacrifice that might conduce to the restoration of peace and harmony; and at the same time to furnish a practical refutation of the charge alleged against him in the treaty, he ratified it without a moment's delay. Assembling at his place of residence, the cabildo and the principal magistrates of the city, he read to them the despatch he had just received, and after a few observations, in which he modestly explained his conduct, he tendered them his resignation. But as there was some doubt, whether it could be accepted, according to an article in the provisional statute, without the concurrence of the junta of observation, they at first declined to accept his offer.* The junta being called in, however, it was received, and they jointly proceeded to a new election of a director, pro. tempore. The choice fell upon general Antonio Balcarce; the conduct of Al. varez on this occasion, drew forth a vote of thanks from the national congress, then recently organised at
Tucuman. Alvarez resumed his place as colonel in the service, and is still in the confidence both of the government and the people.
General Antonio Balcarce being elected to fill the
their proceedings, in my possession. I heard the same slanders of him while at Buenos Ayres, but happened to inquire into the character of his slanderers. From no one did every person belonging to the mission, receive greater marks of civility, than from Alvarez, during our stay at that place. .
* The paper contained, in its preamble, the following insulting language respecting the director: "whereas, in order to put an end to the civil war in which this province has been involved by the are bitrary and despotic conduct of the director, Ignatio Alvarez, &c.”
vacancy, made an attempt to settle the dispute with Artigas, but with no better success than his predecessors. The installation of the congress at Tucuman, had put an end to the unfortunate dissentions which manifested themselves in Cordova, and in some of the upper provinces.. All but the city of Santa Fee, and the Entre Rios, of which Artigas claimed the protectorship, had submitted to the general congress, which declared independence in July, 1816. A deputation was sent to the chief of the Orientals, but he evaded any negotiation.* So favorable an occasion of furthering their views with respect to the Banda Oriental, was not to be neglected by the Portuguese; an army was assembled in the neighboring province of Rio Grande, and marched into the country in three divisions. The sober inhabitants, who had thus far submitted to the sway of Artigas from the hope that it would not be of long continuance, now became alarmed at the prospects of being permanently transferred to the dominion of Portugal; they were, also, anxious to take advantage of the opportunity to unite themselves with the confederacy of La Plata. In Monte Video, and other towns, they formed themselves into volunteer corps, or civicos, the force of Artigas being fit for nothing but skirmishing and partisan war, and, therefore, of no use in opposing masses of troops in an open country.f The opportunity was siezed by Pueyrredon, who was now at the bead of affairs of the
* Thus stated in the manifesto of the congress of the 17th of October, 1817.
† The war between Buenos Ayres and Artigas, in which the latter was victorious, was carried on in the Entre Rios; chiefly a wooded country.
united provinces, since the declaration of independence. He protested against the Portuguese invasion, and insisted that general Lecor should withdraw; but received in answer the letter of this general dated the 27th November, 1816, in which he states that he has no hostile intentions against the territories of Buenos Ayres, that the country he had invaded had declared itself independent. The director, at the same time, opened a correspondence with Artigas, and proposed a reconciliation. But, “to speak of reconciliation with Artigas," says Funes, was to speak to the desert, his obduracy could neither be softened by compassion, nor his pride humbled by dangers, Although he received the donations,* he heard the proposal with displeasure, preferring that history should accuse him of having sacrificed the occasion to his private hatred, his duties to his caprice, and his country to his interests." A struggle ensued between those in favor of the union, and the partisans and followers of Artigas; but the latter prevailed; "it was well known," says Funes, “that Artigas would annihilate any one who would oppose his authority.” The Portuguese took possession of Monte Video, and other principal
places, with scarce an opposition. Many of the most · respectable inhabitants, as well as the regiment of
Libertos, having agreed to a reconciliation with the government of Buenos Ayres, contrary to the wishes of the chief of the Orientals, pow crossed the river and joined the standard of the united provinces, leaving Artigas to pursue his own inclinations. · The Portuguese invasion, every thing considered,
* A supply of arms sent by the director.. VOL. I.
was probably a fortunate circumstance; it gavė em. ployment to Artigas and his guerillas, and enabled the government of Buenos Ayres, to pursue, without vexation and interruption, those more extensive plans, which have resulted it events of so much importance. It was' enabled to strengthen the army in Pero, and gradually to recover itself in that quarter, after having been brought almost to the brink of ruin, by the defeat at Sipe-sipe. It had been enabled to carry its arms across the mountains into Chili, and to convert a country, from whence La Plata was continually harrassed by enemies, into an ally, furnishing additional i strength and security, and holding out new hopes to the philanthropist, of the ultimate success of the great cause of South American emancipation. La Plata, perhaps too much elated by good fortune, thought of rogaining the provinces which Artigas had invaded, and placed under his protection. The Entre Rios is, itself, of but little moment, containing hardly any population but Indians, excepting on the borders of the Parana; but the town of Santa Fee, on the south side of the river, is a point of importance, as by holding possession of it, Artigas might be prevented from crossing over, disturbing the back country of Buenos Ayres, and spreading the contagion of mischief and licentiousness among the gauchos of the pampas; or of intercepting, by means of his roving bands, the trade carried on by the city of Buenos Ayres with the interior. Two expeditions, one under Montes de Oca, and the other under Balcarce, proved equally unfortunate; they, in both instances, fell into ambuscades, composed of Indians and gauchos. The further prosecution of this design is, for the present at least, abandoned.
The commerce of the Banda Oriental, may almost be said to be at an end. The Portuguese have possession of all the ports where it was carried on, on this side of the River la Plata. Besides holding this .
place, Colonia, an inconsiderable village, was block. · aded, the island of Goritti was in their possession,
and several of their ships of war anchored in the harbor of Maldonado. The town of Maldonado, at the distance of two or three miles from the beach, had been abandoned by the Portuguese; and English or American vessels were permitted to carry on a trade with the inhabitants. The whole coast was, in fact, under the control of the Portuguese, and was maintained by not less than eight or ten vessels of war. The Banda Oriental does not even own a single ton of shipping, and I question much whether Artigas has half a dozen seamen in the whole extent of his government. Since my return to this country, I saw in the newspapers the names of several ports under his jurisdiction; but I beard nothing of them while I was there. Some trade up the Uruguay, is carried on in small sloops, by individuals from Buenos Ayres, under a kind of special license and favor from Artigas, and winked at by the government of that place. They ascend this river to the Rio Negro, which is mentioned as one of the ports of Artigas. It is probable, that in the interior, there may be small craft and canoes, but this is the extent of the Oriental navy. That these people are capable of making a long and desperate resistance, from the nature of the country, there can be no doubt. Azara informs us, that the conquest of the Charna Indians, who inbabited from Maldonado to the Uruguay, cost the Spaniards more bloodshed