The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, G.C.B., Admiral of the Red, Rear-Admiral of the Fleet, Etc., Etc.
Thomas Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald

Part 6 out of 6

d'outre source que l'ambition sordide de quelque intrigant," I shall
not now enter into them again at any length, as much that I have
already written tends to refute your excellency's notions on the
subject. That such abuses do really exist I have proved beyond the
power of contradiction; and that they are at least tolerated by
those--whoever they may be--who possess without exercising the means
of preventing, does not require the ingenuity of an "intrigant" to
discover, as the fact is self-evident. I cannot, therefore, admit that
either my complaints or suspicions are "tout a fait imaginaires,"
or that they are "des petitesses," as your excellency is pleased
contemptuously to term them; but whatever they are, they originate in
my own observation, without any assistance from the spectacles of
an "intrigant," with which I am so gratuitously accommodated by your

In still further proof, however, of the real existence of the evils
in question, I may just observe that since the return of the _Pedro
Primiero_, that ship has been kept in constant disorder by the delay
in commencing and the idle and negligent mode of executing even the
trifling alterations in the channels, which were necessary to enable
the rigging to be set up, and which, after the lapse of upwards of
five months, is now scarcely finished, though it might have been
accomplished in forty-eight hours. Even the time of caulking was
spun out to a period nearly as long as was occupied last year in the
accomplishment of that thorough repair which the ship then underwent;
and the painting is far from being completed after sixteen or eighteen
days' labour, though a British ship of war is usually painted in a
day. Even my own cabin is in such a state that when I am on board
I have no place to sit down in. All these things may appear to your
excellency as "des petitesses," or even "tout a fait imaginaires,"
but to me they appear matters of a serious nature, injurious and
disgraceful to the service.

I may not, perhaps, succeed in convincing your excellency, but I have
the satisfaction of being inwardly conscious that, independent of my
natural desire to obtain justice for myself and for all the officers
and men of the squadron, no small part of my anxiety for the
fulfilment of the engagements of the Government proceeds from a desire
to see the navy of his Imperial Majesty rendered efficient; which it
can never be unless the same good faith is observed with the officers
and men as is kept between the Government and navy of England, and
unless indeed many other important considerations are attended to,
which appear to have hitherto escaped the regard of the Imperial
Government. Why, for instance, is there that indifference in regard
to the clothing of the men? What but discontent, debasement, and
enervation, can be the effects of that ragged and almost naked
condition in which they have so long been suffered to remain,
notwithstanding the numerous applications that have been made for the
necessary clothing? I would also inquire the reason that officers and
men, strangers to each other, and destitute of attachment and mutual
confidence, are hastily shipped together in vessels of war going on
active service, when better arrangements might easily be made. What
can be expected from the vessels of war just gone out, in case they
should meet with any serious opposition, but disgrace to those by whom
they were so imperfectly and improperly equipped?

If this communication were not already too long, or if, after the
letter I have received from your excellency, it were possible for me
to continue my representations in the hope of redress, I could add to
the list of those causes of complaint which I have already pointed out
many particulars which none but those who are blindly attached to that
wretched system which has been so injurious to the marine and kingdom
of Portugal could consider either trifling or imaginary. But as my
present object has been chiefly to repel those imputations in which
your excellency has so freely indulged, and believing that I have
fully succeeded in that object, and have shown clearly that your
excellency has unjustly and untruly accused me of encouraging
talebearers, making unfounded complaints, and of being of a nature so
avaricious as never to be satisfied--which latter, by-the-by, is
an extraordinary accusation to prefer against me--a man whom your
excellency must know has not hitherto been benefited, after being
more than a year in the service, to the amount of one shilling for the
important services he has rendered, but who, on the contrary, as
he can show by his accounts, has necessarily expended more in his
official situation than he has received in the service; so that the
"remercimens" and the "satisfaction," which your excellency accuses
him of being deficient in, can scarcely yet be due, unless it is
proper to be satisfied and grateful too for less than nothing--having,
I say, fully repelled and refuted these unjust accusations, I shall
avoid troubling your excellency with any further detail. But I repeat
that your excellency has my free consent to cause the whole of my
official correspondence to be published; for in all that I have
advanced with respect to the violations of contracts, and on the
subject of the unsatisfied claims of the squadron, and relative to
the ill-usage of officers under arrest, and to the misconduct of the
judges of prizes, and of those who have the management of the civil
department of the marine,[A] and in all matters whatever in question
between the Government of Brazil and myself, I am confident I may
safely rely on the decision of the public. And if, at the same time,
your excellency can give a satisfactory explanation of the motives of
that line of conduct on the part of the ministers and council, which,
without such explanation, would have the appearance of originating in
bad faith, the publication would be doubly beneficial by placing the
conduct and character of all parties in a proper point of view.

[Footnote A: Also Portuguese.]

I have the honour to be, Most excellent sir, Your respectful
and most obedient Servant, COCHRANE AND MARANHAM.

His Excellency, Joao Sereriano Maciele da Costa, Secretary of
State for the Home Department, &c., &c., &c.




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