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CHAPTER X I.
WANT OF CORRECT HISTORICAL RECORDS_O'HIGGINS DECLARED SUPREME DICTA.
TOR-RESIGNS IN 1823—COUNCIL OF STATE APPOINTED-GENERAL FREYRE LANDS
AT VALPARAISO-ARREST OF O'HIGGINS-HIS RELEASE-GENERAL RAMON FREYRE
ASSUMES THE GOVERNMENT
RETIRES TO PRIVATE LIFE - ADMIRAL BLANCO
PRESIDENT-BLANCO RESIGNS-SUCCEEDED BY VICE-PRESIDENT-HIS RESIGNATION
FREYRE AGAIN CHOSEN PRESIDENT-FREYRE RESIGNS-PRIETO BECOMES PRESIDENT
-RESIGNS-PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE ACTS-ELECTION HELD_PRIETO ELECTED
REFUSES TO SERVE-VICUNEA PRESIDENT OF SENATE-TROUBLES–JUNTA APPOINTED
-CIVIL WAR-ABANDONMENT OF THE CAPITAL-FREYRE CALLED IN-JOINS THE PRE
SIDENT'S PARTY-BATTLE OF LIRCAI, APRIL, 1830-DEFEAT OF FREYRE-HIS BANISH.
MENT TO PERU-NEW ELECTION -DON FRANCISCO TAGLE RETURNED AS PRESIDENT
-OVALLE AS VICE-PRESIDENT-BOTH RESIGN-PRESIDENT OF SENATE AGAIN ACTS
NEW ELECTION-GENERAL PRIETO ELECTED, JULY, 1831-STATE OF THE COUNTRYHIS ADMINISTRATION-DIEGO PORTALES-SYSTEM OF REFORM-MILITIA SYSTEM
ESTABLISHES PUBLIC CREDIT-CIVIL RULE-TRANSACTIONS WITH PERU-RATIFICA.
TION OF TREATY, AND RECEPTION OF MINISTER-CIVIL WAR IN PERU_DEFEAT OF SALAVERRY-NEW ORGANIZATION OF PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT-RUPTURE BETWEEN CHILI AND PERU-SECRET EXPEDITION UNDER GENERAL FREYRE – INTELLIGENCE OF IT RECEIVED IN CHILI — ACTIVITY OF GOVERNMENT - CAPTURE OF FREYREHIS SECOND BANISHMENT — POPULARITY OF THE ADMINISTRATION - SEIZURE OF PERUVIAN VESSELS - SUSPENSION OF HOSTILITIES -CONVENTION -CHILI REFUSES TO RATIFY THE PROCEEDINGS - CHILI SENDS HER FLEET - CHILI DECLARES WAR - EXPEDITION ORGANIZED – DECREE OF PRESIDENT PRIETO - EXPEDITION FITTED OUT UNDER ADMIRAL BLANCO - TROOPS QUARTERED AT QUILLOTA - PORTALES INSPECTION OF TROOPS – HIS ARREST-VIDAURRE'S MUTINY-ACTA OF OFFICERS NEWS REACHES VALPARAISO-CONSTERNATION-CONDUCT OF MILITIA-VIDAURRE'S
DEMANDS - PORTALES' NOBLE CONDUCT – VIDAURRE'S ATTACK ON VALPARAISO
HIS DEFEAT AND FLIGHT-PORTALES' DEATH-VIDAURRE CAPTURED AND BROUGHT
TO VALPARAISO - TRIAL AND EXECUTION - EXPEDITION SAILS TO PERU - ITS
FAILURE - TREATY OF PAUCARPATA — EXPEDITION RETURNS – BLANCO DEPRIVED OF HIS COMMAND-BULNES--NEW EXPEDITION-ITS DEPARTURE.
CHAPTER X I.
POLITICAL HISTORY OF CHILI.
Of the early political history of Chili, we found it difficult to obtain any correct information. There is no publication existing at this date, which furnishes any satisfactory account of the republic in its first struggles to establish itself.
Nearly all the principal actors in its busy scenes are yet living, and not so advanced in age, but they entertain hopes of a change from day to day, that may restore them to power and importance. These, together with the factions that were connected with them, watch with anxiety every turn of public opinion; and with one or the other of them, most of the educated Chilians, who alone are capable of giving an account, are more or less identified.
For this reason, only partial statements can be obtained from any of them. Those who keep aloof from party, are too timid to express any opinion on political subjects, as it might involve them in difficulty. The few foreigners whose long residence in the country would enable them to furnish facts, are so biassed by their prejudices towards different administrations, that no dependence can be placed upon their statements. The inequality of rule of the Chilian administrations makes it difficult to follow their history, and one is left to the barren sources of information afforded by government proclamations, and the official reports of the day, always more or less erroneous and exaggerated, in favour of the ruling party. Under these difficulties, it will not be surprising if the following outline of its history for the last twenty years, should in a few particulars be erroneous; it is, however, believed to be correct, having been drawn from sources that are most to be relied on and entitled to credit, and that were at the time attainable. After the battle of Chacabuco and Maypo, in which O'Higgins
commanded, he was unanimously proclaimed Supreme Director of Chili, in April, 1817. He continued to fill the situation until 1823, when, in consequence of his allowing great abuses to exist in the subordinate branches of government, and not listening to the respectful remonstrances sent him from all quarters of the country, a meeting of the principal inhabitants of the capital and neighbourhood took place at the town hall.
The subject was discussed freely, and his deposition was determined upon. It was agreed, however, to notify him, for few men were more esteemed than O'Higgins. He received the commission courteously, and when satisfied that they really expressed the voice of the people, he without hesitation resigned his power, and departed for Valparaiso, with the intention of proceeding to Peru. A council of state was named by the assembly at Santiago, composed of three distinguished citizens, until the supreme power could be disposed of.
When O'Higgins arrived in Valparaiso, he found General Ramon Freyre had landed from Concepcion, with three hundred men, having come up from the south to depose him.
Although the latter was no longer in his way, he arrested him on the plea of making him give an account of his administration. This step was not popular. The Junta in Santiago directed his release, and ordered Freyre to furnish him with the necessary passport. This was done in the most complimentary manner; and this distinguished individual, admitted by all to be the first soldier of his country, departed for Peru, without complaint. There honours were showered upon him as testimonials of his worth, and what was far better, the Peruvian government gave him a hacienda.
He still lives in Lima, respected by every one, not having engaged in politics since his retirement from Chili. He has been invited back, but refuses to come. He was succeeded by Ramon Freyre, considered as the champion of liberal institutions, who was named Supreme Director and Captain-General, 31st March, 1823. He resigned in July, 1826, retiring to private life, after a popular rule. His opposition to O'Higgins is justified by its being said that he was left to perish from want of supplies to his troops on the frontier. Though he had been constant in his representations of the fact to O'Higgins, he had been neglected, and was compelled to appear himself and claim attention. There is believed to be much truth in this—O'Higgins having many corrupt creatures about him, who are said to have been the cause of it. Freyre is much respected, though not considered a man of talent. He never mixed in public life after the resignation of his dictatorship, unless when called on as a mediator.
Admiral Blanco was next named President by the Congress then in session, and Don Augustin Azyguine Vice-President. Blanco was one of the vainest of men. Fortunately for the country, he was so much mortified at the opposition shown to some of his fancies, that he resigned, two months and three days after his appointment. The Vice-President succeeded him. Such dissensions, however, prevailed, that he also became disgusted and resigned. Pinto was charged with the presidency, which he exercised from the 5th of May, 1827, till 14th July, 1829, when, on the plea of ill health, he resigned, and went to his estate.
In conformity with a law of 1826, the President of the Senate acted as president until the middle of October, when the elections took place, and General Pinto was returned to the office. During his acting presidency, two military revolts had occurred, and the country was full of factions. As the elections to Congress were considered to have been illegally conducted, the general opposition to its measures was ascribed to that cause. Pinto, therefore, on being elected, informed them, that he would only accept on condition that the Congress should be dissolved, and that new elections, according to the constitution, should take place. They did not concur in this, when he declined occupying the office, and it went begging again. Vicunea, President of the Senate, entered upon the duties of President; the clamours throughout the country increased; the whole population was in movement, a party behind pushing it on. Town meetings were held, and representatives sent to Santiago.
The government refused to receive their committee, and on this being communicated to the meeting, a junta gobernativa was appointed, and the country was pronounced to be against the Congress, as an unconstitutional body. Collecting a great number of all classes, they again went to the President's house, and found he had set out in the night, with all his ministers, for Valparaiso. The greatest confusion prevailed in the capital; orders were received at the public offices from the Junta and from the acting President, both claiming to be representatives of the people. In the mean time, the southern army, under General Prieto, approached the city. It had declared for the Juntă. The troops in the city, under General Lastra, considered themselves subject to the order of the President for the time. The armies met on the field of Ochagavia, and the first blood in civil war was shed. Both parties claimed the victory, after a sharp contest. convention was, however, entered into, and Freyre was again called forward, to aid in restoring tranquillity to the country. Nothing satisfactory grew out of this arrangement. Freyre became disgusted