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posed to serious inconvenience from the desertion of their crews to join the privateers, which is as injurious to commerce as it is demoralizing to the seamen. We
were fortunate in meeting a young man who was going ' up in a small brig to Buenos Ayres, and who cheer- fully consented to take us as passengers, otherwise,
it is probable, we should have been detained here for some time.*
On the evening of the twenty-sixth of February, we got all our baggage on board, and embarked, Our Argo would have caused uneasiness, even to Charon and his ghosts; it was certainly much better suited for crossing the river Styx, than the river La Plata. She was a hermaphrodite brig called the Malacabada, or unfinished; the hand of time, however, had nearly completed what had been left undone by the shipbuilder. The deck had not been swabbed for a year. There had been putrid grain in the hold, which had bred insects and vermin, and sent forth a most disagreeable effluvia; the cabin, which was very small, contained several women, who were going to Buenos Ayres. The sails and rigging corresponded with the rest; by way of ballast, she had several puncheons of water in her hold, which kept a constant dashing and splashing, to our great annoyance. Thus crowded together on deck, with scarcely room to turn round in this crazy vessel, no one, would have suspected that the Malacabada carried a mission from the great republic of the north, to the rising republic of the south.
* Captain Hickey arrived at Buenos Ayres several days before us, and announced our coming. We afterwards learned, that it
had been in contemplation to send down a government vessel for · us, but we arrived before it was made ready to sail.
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The owner, a worthy young man, apprehensive that we might feel some uneasiness, lest we should be overtaken by a pampero, gave us the cheering information, that she had been twice overset without any material injury; he was lavish in her praise, as a swift sailor, a sea boat, and as good a piece of stuff as ever breasted the briny surge. She was built in Paraguay, he knew not how many years ago, of the best wood that province could afford, and which is even superior to the wood of Brazil. This young man had spent some years in the United States, spoke very good English, was a native of Monte Video, but bis family, whom I afterwards found highly respectable, had removed to Buenos Ayres. * He was a great patriot, and took delight in giving information on a thousand matters necessary to be learned, in order to understand other things of more intrinsic importance. The particulars I drew from him, gave me a more favorable opinion of his countrymen than I had before entertained, for having heard little else than the most unfavorable ac. counts, my mind was not entirely free from prejudice; slander may soil the purest character, even when it cannot destroy; much greater is the injury that it can do, where there happens to be real defects, susceptible of exaggeration. I collected from bim, what I consi. dered the popular opinions of the day. I was pleased with the warmth and zeal with which he spoke; it was precisely as a young American of the north,t
* The population of this province has much increased, and is still increasing, by emigrations from nearly all the other provinces, from Banda Oriental as well as from Peru.
† They call us Americans of the north Americanos del norte; and themselves, Americanos del Suel.
would speak of his own country. He professed to be acquainted with state measures, state affairs, and to give, unreservedly, the character of the leading men of the country. San Martin was pre-eminent; Pueyrredon was now very popular, although not so at first; but his energy had established order, without infringing the liberty of the state; I could not but remark the constant recurrence of this expression, whereas on the opposite side, it is never used; it is the country of Artigas, his people, his war with the Portuguese, his enmity to Buenos Ayres, &c.; the substance and language of despotism, wanting nothing but the form. Of the private character of general Carrera and his family, he gave an account which surprised me nui a little, as it was similar to what I had read in the letter of Laváyssé, published in this country, and which I had considered as a gross slander. He also spoke of Carrera as an instrument in the hands of the Portuguése, who were disposed to do, in a clandestiné mánner, all the injury they could to the government of Buenos Ayres. I inquired of him why Càrrera was not permitted by the government of Buenos Ayres, to go to Chili with the expedition fitted out by him in the United States. He said that he had gone to the Uni. ted States without any means; that the two vessels were fitted out by persons, who had given instractions to their agent, the naval commander, not to deliver themí until paid for; that instead of going to the coast of Chili, they had come to Buenos Ayres, when a s quarrel had ensued between them, Carrera insisting that the property had been obtained on his credit, and that he had a right to do as he pleased with it, and.. the other refusing to deliver it to him. With this
quarrel the government had nothing to do. He had rendered himself odious to the people of Buenos Ayres, by his conduct on his arrival, which happened to be during the moment of anxious solicitude for the success of San Martin, who had then crossed the mountains; Carrera every where declared that his attempt was madness and folly, and that he would certainly be cut off and destroyed; but when news had arrived of his success, his rage and disappointment knew no bounds; he called San Martin a scoundrel, and talked of his ambitious designs on the liberties of Chili. His conduct afterwards, was such, that
the government was induced to order him out of the · country. His two brothers, however, and the rest of his family, with a number of other Chilians, who had received protection from Buenos Ayres, after the conquest of their country by the Spaniards, were permitted to remain, but that they had taken advantage of the circumstance to undermine the government, as well as to plot insurrections in Chili; that they were internal enemies, more to be dreaded than the old Spaniards. He said that the two brothers of Carrera, had been imprisoned for issuing commissions to persons in Chili, as well as on various other charges. He thought, also, that the Carreras very much overrated their own consequence there, that they had, no doubt, a considerable party in their favor, but that by far the most numerous and virtuous, portion of the community, were unfriendly to them. I state this conversation, chiefly, on account of having heard the same things, and many others, at Buenos Ayres, from persons who possessed better information, and more intelligence; from which, I was induced to believe this a current opinion, and
the opinion of the whole community is entitled to con
siderable respect. - There were several passengers on board, besides ourselves, inhabitants of Buenos Ayres. As we expected not to remain out more than one night, we made up our minds to be reconciled to our miserable accommodations. We wrapped ourselves in our great coats, for the evening was extremely cool, and slept as well as we could. Next morning we came in sight of the southern shore, at the distance of some miles; it appeared to be a mere line along the surface of the water, and some solitary trees at a distance, looked as if they grew in this element. Towards the middle of the day, we suffered considerably from the heat, being without any shelter. In the mean while, in order to make the best of my situation, I resolved to strike up an acquaintance with mes compagnons de voyage, which was not difficult to be done. Finding that I spoke their language, they soon became communicative, but, with the exception of one amongst them, who appeared to įbe a merchant's clerk, returning from Monte Video, where he had been on some business, their information was limited; they seemed to listen to the clerk, a sprightly fellow, with some attention, and when appealed to now and then, they confirmed what he said. It was important to know the sentiments of these people, as the presumption is, that these were not so much individual and peculiar, . as common to the class, or portion of society to which they belonged. Politics, and national events, appeared to be the favorite topics; they were highly elated with the mission from the United States, from which, they presaged some great good to their country. They