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and your assent given. No Army, either of Portugal or of any other Nation, shall set foot upou this Territory, without meeting with the most vigorous resistance. War shall even be declared against the Banda Oriental itself, and the Foreigners shall speedily be driven a way froin the Districts avd Towns which they occupy, unless we are fully convinced that their remaining there is consistent with our interests and our honour. Be assured that the Government has made no Com pact whatever, with any Power on the face of the Globe, and that, so far as the Portuguese are concerned, Affairs are, upon the whole, promising : but owing to the machinations of the Demagogues, it has been unable to obtain all the necessary information with respect to their intentions. Such is the embarrassing and painful uncertainty in which the Sovereign Congress, its most excellent Committee, and myself are at present placed, in consequence of suspicions, want of confidence, and calumpies, having compelled the Government to relinquish several steps which were most essential to its purposes, that it might not find itself forced to adopt the measure which has already cost so much to its feelings. Be yourselves the judges, whether it is for this that you have confided to me the Supreme Authority, and whether amidst such obstacles I or any other Man can accomplish aught for your advantage and happiness. Let your own interest render you more prudent, and let me not have fresh cause for afflicting my heart by resorting to severe punishments. Those who talk of Revolutions, do not so talk because they are persuaded of the perfidy of the Government; believe me, they know full well that there exists not an Individual in the Province who is capable of conducting a plan of this nature without its being discovered, and without your full and just vengeance falling on the head of the Delinquent who could so infa. mously abuse your confidence: they are fully aware that a single Individual, however capable of such dark designs, could never realize them without the co-operation of a certain number of Accomplices, that secrecy is impossible, and the project consequently impracticable. What kind of wickedness is it which employs pretexts such as these in order to produce a Revolution? If it were produced by such pretexts, what innocent blood would not be shed, what families ruined, what deserving Citizens assassinated or proscribed ? I shudder Citizens, even to think of it; and for this reason alone am I resolved sooner to cease to exist than permit the ambitious and the lawless to triumph.
Such are the sentiments of the Government, such the motives of my public conduct, and such the reasons which have decided me to decree the punishment which the guilty have drawn upon their own heads, and which was undoubtedly mild in comparison with the treatment they had reserved for their victims. Citizens, order is re-established, do all in your power to preserve it from being again disturbed. A second time, I offer to throw a veil over all the past without any
other condition, than that no new excesses may require to be punished. Let us preserve our Country, threatened as it is with dangers the most imminent. Be assured that I shall henceforth more freely devote my. self to this object, in which are alike involved our preservation, our power, and our glory. Buenos Ayres, 14th February, 1817.
JUAN MARTIN DE PUEYRREDON.
DECREE of the Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese
Forces, for the Punishment of Disturbers of the Peace in the Province of Monte Video.—Monte Video, 15th February, 1817.
(Translation.) Charles FREDERICK Lecor, Lieutenant General of the Royal Armies of His Most Faithful Majesty, Kuight Commander of the Orders of San Bento de Avis, and of the Tower and Sword, Commander-in. Chief of the Sea and Land Forces, on the Eastern Bank of the River Plate, &c., &c., &c.
Being desirous to put a stop to the disorders, robberies, and outrages, of every description, which are committed by roving Parties of the Enemy, upon the peaceable Inhabitants of small Towns unprovided with a Portuguese Garrison; and considering, moreover, that all the well disposed Inhabitants, who are oppressed by their own unnatural Countrymen, have a lawful claim to the proffered protection of the Army, which His Most Faithful Majesty has been pleased to place under my orders for the pacification of this Province; I have thought fit to determine as follows:
Art. I. The lodividuals belonging to any Band or Party of the Enemy, which shall rob or ill use any peaceable or defenceless Inhabitant or Juhabitants, in his or their house or houses, or in the neighbourhood thereof, shall be treated, not as Prisoners of War, but as Highway Robbers and Disturbers of the public order and tranquillity.
II. When the Bands or Parties aforesaid, after having been guilty of any outrage against the peaceable or defenceless Inhabitants of the Towns, which are under the protection of the Portuguese Arms, cannot be apprehended, the severest reprisals shall be made upon the families and property of the Leaders and Followers of such dispersed Parties; for which purpose strong Detachments from the Portuguese Army shall proceed to burn their dwellings, and conduct their families on board the Portuguese Squadron.
III. A sufficient number of trustworthy Persons shall be employed to watch over the security and tranquillity of the Inhabitants, each of which Persons shall transmit a Separate Report to the nearest Of ficer in Command, (who in his turn shall forward the same to flead Quarters,) of every excess committed by detached Parties of the Enemy against the peaceable Luhabitants, and of the Persons who compose them, in order that the necessary measures may be forthwith taken with respect to them.
IV. The present Decree shall be transmitted to, and published in, all the Towns which are under the protection of the Portugese Arms. Given at the Head Quarters of Monte Video, 15th February, 1817.
CARLOS FEDERICO LECOR.
CORRESPONDENCE between the Government of Buenos
Ayres and the Portuguese Commander-in-Chief, relative to the Occupation of the Province of Monte Video by the Portuguese Forces.—1816, 1817.
(Translation.) (1.)-Don Martin de Pueyrredon to General Lecor.
Buenos Ayres, 31st October, 1816. Most ILLUSTRIOUS AND Most ExcELLENT SIR,
As, by the sovereign will of the United Provinces of South America, I find myself charged with the Direction of the State, I cannot be an indifferent Spectator of the smallest danger that threatens the immunity of the rights belonging to it. For a long time past, Advices to be depended upon, from the Court of Rio de Janeiro and from different parts of Europe, have informed me of preparations for a Military Expedition of Portuguese Troops, appointed to take possession of the Eastern Territory of the River of La Plata : its Cantonment in the Island of St. Catherine, and its advance to Rio Grande in order of Campaign, lest no roon for doubt respecting the accuracy of the information; and Reports, indicating the mysterious object of such movements, coupled with the fact of the relations between Spain and Portugal having been drawn still closer, cast vehement suspicion of duplicity upon the affected preventive employment of the Troops under Your Excellency's command.
Nevertheless, the good understanding which bas hitherto been preserved between this Government and that of His Most Faithful Majesty, the loyalty of his respectable Administration, and the obligations of the Armistice, concluded on the 26th May, 1812, between the Supreme Government of the United Provinces of the River of La Plata, and the Envoy of His Most Faithful Majesty, Lieutenant Colonel Don John Rademaker, inspired a rational confidence in the solidity of that Compact; and, being bound on my part to avoid every act inconsistent with the subsisting relations of friendship between the 2 States, I have waited until the progressive movements of your Excellency should tear the veil that appeared to disguise the intentions of your Court.
The attack of Fort Santa Theresa by one Portuguese Division, the incursiou of another into the Cerro Largo, and the arrival of a Squadron of the same Nation at the Port of Maldonado, show with irresistible evidence that the Plan of hostilities, which begins to unfold itself, is to force the Frontiers of the Eastern side, notwithstanding the preservation of the respective Limits of the Territory guaranteed by the Armistice, especially in the 3rd Article thereof, unless preceded by the fulfilment of what was agreed to in the 2nd Article; and, whilst the Government of these Provinces las scrupulously observed the Stipula. tions of that Armistice in every respect,—whilst the accidental difference supposed to exist between the one and other Bank does not weaken the common connexion of both People for the defence of their liberty,--and whilst their reciprocal agreement respecting the pretensions of America identify the principles and objects of the endeavours of the 2 Territories,—there can scarcely exist the means either of misunderstanding the aggression, or of calming the general alarm that it has caused in the United Provinces.
Considering the serious compromise which has been produced by the military operations of Your Excellency beyond the Limits of the Portuguese Frontier, and considering that you must be furnished with sufficient Instructions from your Court, to explain the motive and object of the infraction of the Armistice, under which the security of the Eastern Territory was established; I hope that Your Excellency will be pleased to make known to me, definitively, your intentions, that I may regulate my Decrees accordingly, and satisfy the anxiety of the People, who, determined to support the Independence which they have proclaimed, conceive themselves to be unjustly provoked to War, by a Nation whose friendship they have cultivated, and which will therefore be responsible for the evils of a Rupture. In order to avert that misfortune, I call upon your Excellency, immediately to take measures to suspend the march of the Portuguese Army, and to retire within your frontier, as the means are preparing, in an active manner, by the Inhabitants, for a vigorous cooperation in the heroical desence of the Eastern Bank.
It is with this intention that I address this Communication to your Excellency, by the Colonel of Cavalry, Don Nicholas de Vedia, who is charged to return with your Answer; and who, I promise myself, will meet from your Excellency the same favourable reception as that which, in similar cases, Portuguese Officers bave experienced from this State.
God preserve Your Excellency.
DON MARTIN DE PUEYRREDON. The Most Illustrious and Most Excellent
(2.)-General Lecor to Don Martin de Pueyrredon.
[See Vol. 1818, 19. Page 697.]
(3.)-Don Martin de Pueyrredon to General Lecor.
Buenos Ayres, 1st February, 1817.
[See Vol. 1818, 19. Page 697.]
(4.) General Lecor to Don Martin de Pueyrredon.—(Translation.) Most Excellent Sir,
Monte Video,--February, 1817. At the moment I was dispatching to your Government a Communication dated the 30th of January, I received your Excellency's Letter of the 1st instant: and, although the veheinence with which your Excellency expresses yourself, might be considered as a Declaration of War, wbich would put an end to all relations between the 2 Countries, I bave thought it right, nevertheless, to intreat your Excellency, before you induce your Countrymen to renounce the advantages they derive from Peace with the Kingdom of Brazil, and expose them to the incalculable evils which, under their present circumstances, a rupture with a neighbouring Power must produce, to permit me to observe to you, in reply to your last Dispatch, that my Letter of the 27th November, and the Proclamation which accompanied it, assuring your Excellency that my march would be continưed, could not have given you any reason to suppose that it would be suspended.
As my operations were proceeding in a Territory, which is acknowledged by this Government to be independent, and without any federatire connections with your Provinces; at open War with your Capital and its Dependencies; and under the influence of a dreadful Anarchy, which had already compromised the security of the Portuguese Frontier ; it cannot be said, with truth, that the Army under my command attacks the Neutrality stipulated by the Armistice of the 26th May, 1812, that it violates the integrity of the United Provinces, or is in any respect in contradiction to the principles of the Law of Nations, when all its operations tend to arrest the progress of that Anarchy which might have been fatal to our own Territory, if His Most Faithful Majesty, authorized by the circumstances, had not determined to prevent, by His Arms, those dangers from which your Excellency cannot secure him.
The absolute Independence of the Eastern Bank, recently confirmed by the ineffectual efforts made by your Excellency and the Deputies of the Government of this City to effect its incorporation with the other Provinces, excludes your Excellency from all intervention in this matter, and leaves very little foundation for your assertion, that the Territory forms a constituent part of your State, when, even in its greatest dangers, it has refused to belong to your Confederation, or to submit itself to the authority of your Government.