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mantic scenery. Along the whole extent of the western borders of the bay, the banks rise several hundred feet high. They are only here and there accessible for man or beast. At intervals of about a quarter of a mile, are cavities formed by a stream of water, as it de scends the hills, along which are foot-paths which mules ascend with ease. The ascent on foot is not a little fatiguing, but having accomplished it, you are rewarded for your pains. On the summit, to the whole extent of the peninsula, is a large and fertile plain, skirted with rich and beautifully diversified shrubbery. The trees are not lofty or large, but they are thickly set, and of the richest foliage; the sides of the hills also are covered with verdant plants and shrubs, and the path way up, is often one continued grotto of fragrant evergreen.' p. 55.
There is nothing very inviting in the first appearance of Concepcion. Its inhabitants are at ordinary times estimated at 17,000. It was half in ruins, when our Traveller visited it, the city having been desolated by repeated revolutions. When the Patriots last retreated, they left not a chair or a table in their own houses; and the houses and furniture of the Royalists, they completely destroyed. News was expected every day, of the utter discomfiture of the Patriots; and many persons had already sailed from Concepcion, in the hope that Santiago and Valparaiso had been taken by the Royalists. It soon afterwards appeared, that the army under. Ordonez had passed the river Maule about 70 miles from Concepcion, without opposition from the Patriots, who were encamped a few leagues distant. Some skirmishing took place in the afternoon of that day, and towards night, they both retired to encamp. At about eight o'clock, Ordonez surprised the Patriots, as they were serving out their suppers and liquors, and completely defeated and dispersed them. The royal army marched on to Santiago, and every one believed, that the fate of Chili was decided for ever.
Such, however, is the instability of human affairs, that the Patriots, who had fled, dispersed in every direction, soon reunited, and entered Santiago with considerable reinforcements. Osorio followed them at leisure, and on the 5th of April, within two leagues of the city, the Patriots gave him battle. The result of this conflict was, the almost entire annihilation of the royalist army.
They engaged in two divisions, Osorio commanding one, and Ordonez the other. The former escaped with fifteen or twenty guards to Talcahuano, worn out with fatigue, and in the most miserable plight of fugitives. The defeat is acknowledged to have been complete: so much so, that scarcely 200 men have escaped. The battle was fought on the 5th of April. Thus, the royalist army,
amounting to 5000 men, a part of whom were veterans from Europe, was, in the space of three hours, so completely cut to pieces, that not three hundred stragglers have escaped. Both armies fought with desperation. pp. 73, 4
Our Traveller and his party were offered by Don Antonio Sosa, a residence at his estancia or country-house, about forty miles from the port, where the Author had an opportunity of witnessing a singular custom prevalent in Chili, but not peculiar to that province; that of converting the death of a relation into a scene of mirth and festivity. The steward of the estancia, having lost his only child, gave a fandango, at which his friends and neighbours were treated with music and dancing, wine and supper, and the whole night was dedicated to mirth and conviviality. The corpse of the infant was all the while exposed in the most conspicuous part of the room. This celebration, however, is not kept up on the death of an adult. It is only observed at the death of children under seven years of age. The reason assigned for it is, that El angelito (the little angel) has died in innocence and gone to heaven; we ought then to rejoice, and not to weep.'
The Estancia in which I am,' continues the Writer, may be taken as a fair sample of the better order of country-houses in this part of the province. The house is about eighty feet in length by twenty-five in breadth, with a broad corridor, and three quartos, little apartments attached to the house for sleeping-rooms. The walls are of sun-burnt brick, three feet thick, with two large doors opposite each other, and one small window; the roof thatched with reeds, and covered with takas made of clay, burnt, in form semi-cylindrical, lapping over each other in rows, alternately concave and convex, and thus acting as spouts for the water. The floor is rough and uneven earth. There are few houses water-proof. They are generally twelve feet high, and with no other ceiling than the roof. The women sit on a raised platform, covered with rugs or a Turkey carpet. Every house is furnished with chairs, but I never saw a woman seated in one.'
pp. 103, 4.
In September 1818, Osorio embarked from Talcahuano, with all the ships of war and merchant-men in the port, having on board about 300 troops and most of the royalist families who could raise sufficient money to embark. All the remnants of royalty assembled in the city of Los Angelos, or at various pasts on the southern side of the Biobio, from which, on the approach of the Patriots, they could pass through the territories of friendly Indians to Valdivia and Chiloe. In the mean time, Talcahuano, once the scene of commercial and naval bustle, was left silent and deserted: not a ship, launch, or boat had floated in the bay since Osorio's departure. On
the 20th of October, a Spanish frigate and a large transport anchored off the port, and in a few days two other vessels arrived from Cadiz. From the four ships, about 600 troops were landed, and brought a most unlooked-for reinforcement to the slender army which had been left by Osorio. A short time afterwards, arrived the Maria Isabella, a large frigate from Cadiz, and bound to Lima, having on board several civil officers of the Lima government, a son of the viceroy, who. had been educated in old Spain, and many military officers of rank with their families. The four royal vessels in the port, had sailed, on the day of her arrival, for Lima. After remaining there for a few days, and having obtained every requisite supply, the Maria Isabella prepared to depart; when, on the morning of the 6th of November, two other large ships appeared in sight and standing for the bay. They displayed the patriot flag. After a slight shew of resistance from the Maria, the two vessels, one the San Martin of 60 guns, the other the Lantaro of 40, poured a broadside into the royal frigate, which immediately struck her colours. Her captain and officers, and a great part of her crew, pushed off for the shore in boats, and escaped with nothing more than the clothes upon their backs. The Patriots soon took possession of their prize, which had considerable treasure on board, and, the next morning, sailed with her to Valparaiso, where she arrived in safety. Shortly after this affair, Sanchez, who had been left with his scanty garrison in charge of the city, commenced his march with the few who were fit for that service towards the Spanish frontiers.
The city and province of Concepcion were left equally defenceless. The condition of this devoted country was now truly wretched. Guerillas in the service of the king, whose duty it was to gather supplies for the Royalists, to act as videttes, and to watch suspected persons, reinforced by some veterans from Spain, men nursed in blood, and grown grey in rapine and devastation, soon became objects of the utmost dread to the miserable unarmed inhabitants, whom they pillaged without mercy. Few estancias in the country escaped their visitation. As the Americans were held in great suspicion and odium by the Royalists, our Author's party began to be apprehensive of the guerillas; and the more so, as the estancia in which they had taken refuge, was on the main road, and the family who resided in it, had always been suspected of patriotism. Under these circumstances, they determined to retire to the mountains, and having first concealed every thing valuable that belonged to them, passed the month of November in the depths of a forest, about half a league from their estan
cia, preparatory to executing their final resolve. But having received credible information, that the Patriots were near at hand, and that the last of the guerillas had actually passed for the frontiers, they left their retreat, and returned to the estancia, where, having dined with more than usual satisfaction, they retired to take their siesta in peace and tranquillity.
Our rest,' says the young American, was of short duration. About three o'clock, we were awakened by the alarm of a guerilla, and on looking out, we discovered the soldiers galloping towards the estancia. The two young men of the family, confiding in their knowledge of the country and its intricacies, immediately fled. I trusted to my neutral character as a protection, and remained. In a few minutes, the guerillas came up; one half of the company was ordered to pursue the fugitives, the other took possession of the house. This they searched with a scrutiny which nothing that pleased their eye could possibly escape. Whatever was of the slightest value, was deemed lawful prize. About half an hour afterwards, the party sent in pursuit of the fugitives returned, but not empty handed. They came back loaded with trunks and baggage belonging to the estancia, much of which was my own property. My little box, containing papers, money, and trinkets, they had completely rifled.
They then proceeded to the examination of my papers, and as the commander of the guerilla could neither read nor write, a Spanish soldier, who pretended that he knew all the languages of Europe, was appointed to that office. After turning over many of my papers, his attention was at last fixed upon a policy of insurance, headed, in large letters, "Fire and Marine Insurance Company," This he gravely translated into a marine commission in the service of the patriots, and the interpretation was eagerly adopted by the others. The commander now informed me, that his instructions obliged him to make me a prisoner, and that we must depart immediately to the frontiers. My conveyance was a mule for my trunks, and the skeleton of a horse, old and lame, with a wooden saddle, a sheep-skin, and a halter, for myself.
The frontier was upwards of 70 leagues distant. Thus mounted and thus guarded, I commenced my dreary expedition. The road for the first ten leagues, was little better than a continued succession of precipitous mountains, and dark and dismal forests. Ten leagues was the appointed stage for the night. During the long and dreary way, no cottage light gleamed through the foliage, the thickness of which frequently shut out, for miles together, the feeble rays of a waning moon. No symptom of man or human habitation was visible. More than once, the wretched animal on which I was mounted, sank exhausted to the ground: and on these occasions, the assistance that was ordered me, was afforded in the midst of curses and impre cations. More than once too, it was a subject of warm debate among them, whether, knowing me to be a patriot, it was not best to make away with me at once and thus avoid the delay and difficulties I
might occasion on the road. One man only among them, seemed to take a favourable interest in me. He was a peasant of the militia, who had lately joined the guerilla. To one who has never been reduced to a state so perilous and disconsolate, it is inconceivable how sweet the voice of kindness and sympathy sounds at such a moment, In whatever place, and in whatever circumstances, I might meet this man again, I should embrace him with the warmth and affection of a brother. He related to me afterwards, the full extent of the designs harboured against me.' pp 162–166.
We cannot follow our American adventurer through his interesting journey, many of the incidents of which are almost romantic, but are related with the most unaffected simplicity. In the meanwhile, the inactivity of the patriot army seems to remain a complete mystery. Nine months had now elapsed since Osorio's defeat. Had the Patriots followed up their success with spirit and expedition, and marched into the province, they might, with a mere handful of men, have taken unresisted possession of Talcahuano, preserved its fortifications entire, and intercepted several richly laden vessels in the harbour. Instead of this, they permitted Osorio to collect the remains of his scattered force, to send despatches to Lima, to demolish the fortifications of Talcahuano, and to embark the greater part of the artillery with all the population and wealth he could transport. Even after Osorio's departure, they allowed time to Sanchez to organize the militia of the province, to assemble the regular troops, to treat with the Indians, and to retreat to the frontiers with a strength sufficient to impede the advance of the Patriots, if not ultimately to prevent their occupation of the province.
It was not till January, that the patriot army, amounting to about 3000 men, left Santiago; they entered the province withoutopposition, and marched upon Chilian, about 20 leagues from Los Angelos, where they expected to meet Sanchez and decide the contest. Sanchez had advanced thus far, but had retired upon Los Angelos again, leaving 400 soldiers and a body of Indians to check the advance of the Patriots. These soon retreated; the Patriots pursued them, and arrived at Los Augelos before Sanchez could cross the Biobio, The Patriots came upon them in the act of crossing, and a dreadful carnage ensued. Sanchez retreated with a great loss of baggage and military stores towards the Indian territories. The Patriots entered Los Angelos, where they found abundance of provision, and numerous flocks and herds in the neighbouring pastures. Thus ended all resistance to the patriot cause in Concepcion.
The battle of Maypu appears to have been decisive of the