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PROCLAMATION of the Portuguese Commander-in-Chief to
the People, on the entrance of the Portuguese Troops into the Province of Monte Video.-November, 1816.
(Translation.) CHARLES FREDERICK Lecor, Lieutenant-General of His Mos! Faithful Majesty's Army, Commander-in-Chief of the Troops enployed in the pacification of the left Bank of the River Plate, Commander of the Orders of San Bento de Avis, and of the Tower and Sword, &c. &c. &c.
People of the left Bank of the River of la Plata,
The repeated wrongs which the peaceable Inhabitants of your Country, and those of Rio Grande, have suffered from the Chiel, Artigas; the absolute prohibition of communication between your Countrymen and the Portuguese on the Frontiers; and lastly, the hostile disposition of his Troops in the neighbourhood of the Rio Pardo; are facts well known, and are more than sufficient to prove his intentions, and evidently to demonstrate, that no stable Government can subsist amongst you, nor the Portuguese Dominions be in security, so long as he oppresses you. A Chief who, appropriating your armed Force to his own purposes, has forced you, at the same time, to follow his opinions,-a Chief, whose conduct has been hostile and suspicious, except in what regards his own private interests, cannot give prosperity to your Country, nor can your Neighbours rely upon any political relations with him.
Let us then, Inhabitants of the Province of Monte Video, put an end to the state of uncertainty that ruins your Country, and disturbs the Frontier of the Kingdom of Brazil. I am sent by my Sovereign with the Troops you behold, and who will be followed by others, to avert so many evils. They do not march to conquer you, nor to destroy your property; on the contrary, their only object is to overcome the Eneiny, to free you from oppression, to re-establish your tranquillity, to abolish the Extraordinary Contributions that have been laid upon you, and to treat every one with kindness, with the exception only of those who dare, henceforward, to disturb the public peace.
Inhabitants to whom the interests of your Country are dear. Remain tranquilly in your houses; trust to the promises which I make to you, in the name of my Sovereign. He has appointed me to be at the Head of a Provisional Government in this Province, and I protest, by the honour of an old Officer, and a faithful Subject, that I will scrupulously ful6l the Orders I have received from that August Lord, all of which are directed towards your happiness.
CARLOS FEDERICO LECOR.
MANIFESTO of The Supreme Director of the United Pro
vinces of South America, on the internal State of the Country.--Buenos Ayres, 14th February, 1817.
(Translation.) The motives, Citizens, which have determined me to issue this Manifesto, are of the most painful description; yet since it is no longer possible for me to bear with the unparalleled insolence by which the Supreme Authority is obstructed in the exercise of its functions, I must raise my voice once for all, in the full confidence that you will do justice to my feelings, and that the importance of the subject will induce you to fix your impartial attention, as well upon those principles which have served as a basis for my conduct in the management of public affairs, as upon the strong measure to which I have just had recourse,
From the first moment of my entering Office, I have employed every means to induce the Malcontents to come to a reconciliation; nor bave any Parties been more free froin the effects of vindictive feelings than my personal Enemies, it being to them, more especially, that I was anxious to give unequivocal proofs of my desire for harmony and concord. I have extended this feeling to every Town and City, but in none have 1 bad so many opportunities of manifesting it as in Buenos Ayres. Amongst those who were personally opposed to me, many have had the generosity to respond to my friendly call, whilst, from others, on the contrary, fresh wrongs have been my only recompense. To rise superior to the latter, however, was not difficult, aster my firmness had enabled me to forgive the former. I considered that my chief object was to prove the sincerity of my promises, and I felt that the sacrifice of my personal feelings was equally compatible with the respect due to my authority, and the preservation of the public tran. quillity entrusted to my care. But experience has shewn, that in these unhappy times such moderation is fraught with danger, and that private batred finds a malevolent gratification in depriving the object of its abhorrence, even of the opportunity of practising the virtues it may possess. I know that, even after the many public and incontestable proofs I have given of my forgiveness of private injuries, the attempt will be made to deprive me of the credit due to examples of forbearance so frequent and yet so difficult; but I glory, Citizens, in such sentiments, nor do I dread the investigation of their origin: the sources of the good that has been effected in my time are not in myself ; -the genius of a Country renowned for its firmness and resolution amidst the most appalling dangers, could not fail to communicate its influence to the Individual who has the direction of its energies.
But this genius, which, in well-ordered States, causes the Public Authority to be respected, is, in Countries convulsed, like ours, con
tipually opposed by habits of insubordination, by ennity, ambitior, envy, and licentivusness. All these passions craftily disguising thesselves under the mask of patriotism, conspire to sap the foundations of the Government, by individually attacking the character of every Hember of its Administration, calumny taking the field, and reckoning for its protection upon the patience and forbearance of its victims.
What I here speak of is matter of common notoriety. Every Citizen, who takes the slightest interest in, or who is in the smallest degree connected with, Public Affairs, can testify that an Insurrection against the Government is daily expected, and that, as each morning dawns, the only wonder is, that it has not yet burst forth. The cry, that a Revolution is at hand, is re.echoed from the centre of the Capital to the remotest parts of the Country, the lists of proscription are drawn up, the means ready, the causes assigned, the plans arranged, and confiscation, imprisonment, and death prepared. The Newspapers conceal, with more or less ability, the venom of their malice, while innumerable Agents of discord and misrule are employed in giving the most odious application to expressions, upon which the Writer, when it serves his purpose not to be fully understood, can put the most barmless and inoffensive construction. Corrupting, by arts such as these, the public mind, or employing them to prevent its being undeceived, these Journals exercise over it a moral despotism, using, as their weapon, a right which is the inheritance of liberty itself.
I appeal to you, O People, whether it be not true that, when reading or listening to such invectives, you have pot actually believed that the Government, and those connected with it, were implicated in treasonable and perfidious plots, concocted with the Portuguese, or some other Power, for the purpose of selling the Country, or subjecting it, without your concurrence, to conditions the most humiliating ? Say, is it not true, that you have frequently heard, -that every sacrifice should be made, every risk be run, in order to get rid of an inefficient and perfidious Government; that similar language, the concomitants of which have been the grossest calumnies, has inspired you with the worst of fears, and that, in your despair, you have resolved to adopt the plans of those who have filled your bosoms with so much mistrust, with so many base and unworthy suspicions ?
How could it be expected that the Government, whiclı, having its attention awakened by these alarms, was fully occupied in providing for its own safety, and in counteracting the efforts of the discontented at Home, could maintain a respectable attitude in Foreign Affairs; or that, the Public Authority being degraded, and impotent for the preservation of internal order, it could make itself feared by external Enemies? Informed, step by step, of the machinations in progress, the Government was convinced that the sole result of a perseverance in them would be the punishment of their contrivers: from day to
day it has awaited the failure of the most nefarious designs, nor can the public imagine the confusion which this state of things has caused, so far as the subject which now chiefly occupies our attention,-the Portuguese Invasion,-is concerned. If you have done me the cruel injustice to believe that I am capable of coming to terms with Tyrants, Usurpers, and such as reckon upon your humiliation,-if you can so far mistrust your own firmness and ancient valour, as no longer to be certain of confounding, in one energetic moment, all the plots traiterous, outlawed, and recreant Leaders,— wait but a very few days, and you will witness the overthrow of all those who have tried to deceive you, by infusing into your minds the blackest suspicious against your Government. Unless you are metamorphosed into a gang of Slaves, you have nought to fear : it is not a few treacherous Magistrates that can intimidate you. Let it at the same time be remembered, that, in order to penetrate the views of the Portuguese, and to decide, once for all, upon the line of policy to be pursued towards that Nation, an infinite number of important and delicate arrangements are necessary, which it is impossible for the Government to adopt, unless it possess the public confidence. If every operation is to be construed into a collusion with the Enemy,-if it be made to serve as a pretext to Conspirators for bringing contempt upon the Constituted Authorities, and for giving effect to their calunnies,-how, let me ask, will the Government be enabled to direct the public business? Even within these few days, I have had reason deeply to lament the disastrous consequences, resulting from those obstacles by which I am continually embarrassed in the exercise of my functions; and I assure you that, but for my having resolved to sacrifice my existence, if necessary, to the just and faithful fulfilment of the duties of my Station, I should, ere this, have abandoned my Post to the fury of the Enemies of order, and have sought a refuge where no tidings of the ruin of my Country could have reached me; but my resolution, calmly and deliberately formed, is fixed. I have caused the most active and dangerous of the disaffected to be removed out of the Country, a measure which, after having explained the motives of it, I am fully authorized in adopting, by virtue of the powers with which I am invested. It was but for want of power that the degraded parties so punished did not carry into 'execution their criminal intentions : sone time may yet, perhaps, elapse ere they can wield so formidable a weapon ; but, in the interim, they will seize every opportunity of tempting, seducing, and corrupting all the grades of the Army, and even private Citizens, in the hope of making them the instruments of their dark projects. The blow has only fallen upon the Chiefs, and upon those who were resolved, at any hazard, to plunge the State into all the horrors of anarchy. Many misguided Individuals, mistaking the patience of the Government for weakness, were disposed to follow the banners of those who threatened them with assassination. Yes, my misled Fellow-Countrymen, I know
this to be the fact, nor are you ignorant that I do know it. Reflect whether you have not exposed yourselves to great risk, seeing, as you now do, that the Government is determined to act and to maintain or. der and tranquillity to the last extremity. Should proceedings be instituted for the conviction of crimes, the Government could not protect you from the vengeance of the Laws. It is far from the wish of the Government to be the destruction of those who, in other respects, have rendered their Country distinguished services: too much have my feel. ings already experienced from my inability to prevent the punishment of those who deserved it, and 100 painsul has been the reflection that their innocent families have necessarily participated in their sufferings. Summary modes of procedure, are, however, in these times, ill-calculated for the discovery of crimes of this description. During a Revolution, one half of the population are congregated together by motives either of ambition, or resentment, and most of them by fear. It is by no means easy to ascertain and classify the causes which bave induced them to become accomplices; and the only result of making public the successive steps by which they have, day by day, been led on to revolutionary projects, would be to leave Society without Friends, and to deprive the Government of zealous Citizens, ready to warn it, at all times, of the approach of danger. That hopes were entertained of the immediate outbreak of a Revolution, and that the same means as those which had caused the success of former ones were employed, on this occasion, was notorious; the Citizens lately banished boasted of their enterprize at the moment of arrest, and they even afterwards gåve vent to all their malignity, involuntarily vomiting forth the venom which they had nourished.
Citizens, one Revolution more would plunge the State into barbarism. I am resolved either to prevent it, or not to witness the horrors that it must inevitably produce. I am willing to throw a veil over all the past, if the misguided, however criminal they may be, will return to the path of duty; but if their present impunity should embolden them to fresh atrocities, painful as is the declaration to me, my Oath will compel me to be no longer indulgent.
Serious dangers threaten us, and a vast field is open for the display of our valour and resolution. The Portuguese are not desirous of War: their wish is that the United Provinces should remain indifferent during the aggression made upon one part of our Territory; but War will become inevitable, if they do not quickly satisfy this Government as to their intentions, and if the incursion of Foreign Troops, (and these are more dangerous than any other, inasmuch as they belong to a neighbouring Power,) be not proved to be compatible with our entire liberty and our absolute Independence.
Fellow-Citizens, no Definitive Treaty shall be entered into with the Portuguese, to which your attention has not been previously called