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CHORUS OF GHOSTS.
Come to thy couch of iron rest,
Come share our dreamless bed ;
To lay thy weary head.
Come, thou shalt have a home like ours,
A low and narrow cell ;
For thee the turf shall swell.
Cold are its walls--but not for thee;
Are dark-but thou shalt sleep; Unfelt, the enclosing clods above
Their endless guard shall keep.
'Mid scenes from nature's solitude
Won by assiduous toil,
And sleep in virgin soil.
Yes-o'er thee where thy first strains rose,
Thine earliest haunts to hail,
Bend in the mountain gale.
There, as he seeks his tardy kine,
When flames the evening sky ; With thoughtful look, the cottage boy
Shall pass thy dwelling by.
Why shudder at that breathless sleep,
That night of solid gloom?
Thou'lt find them in the tomb.
Come, we will close thy glazing eye,
Compose thy dying head;
Thy struggling spirit lead.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE POLITICAL SITUATION OF PERU. [The following observations on the political situation of Peru, were written by a gentleman from New York, for many years a resident in that country ; and were addressed in the form of a letter to his friend in this city, by whose kindness we have been enabled to present them to our readers. We regret that want of room has compelled us to defer the publication of a part of it to the next number.]
Lima, Sept. 21st, 1825. MY DEAR SIR-I. take the liberty of presenting to you some observations upon the present political situation of Peru, in connexion with other incidental topics; and if they fail in that interest which the subject might seem to promise, it will not be owing to the shortness of my residence in this country, nor to any want of opportunities of observation, but rather to inattention to events which have been passing before my eyes, and inability to describe them. The colours which every painter uses are the same, but you well know how much depends upon the inanner in which they are disposed.
The hard fought and justly celebrated battle of Ayacucho, the glorious result of which has long since been known in the United States, may be considered as having, in effect, terminated the war with Spain, in South America. It was fought, as you will recollect, on the 9th of December last, on the same ground where Pizarro and Almagro once contended for the sovereignty of Peru. The Spanish army was under the immediate command of the viceroy, La Serna, a distinguished officer; the same who, as lieutenant-general of the Spanish armies, closed the campaign in Alto Peru in 1815, and expelled the before repeatedly victorious armies of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata from that country. He was supported by Canterac, Valda, and every other officer of note belonging to the viceroyalty, and his force was nearly double in number to that of the Patriots, with a numerous corps of cavalry, better disciplined, mounted, and equipped; and besides, his troops were buoyed up by the conscious pride of repeated victories. Heretofore, during this war, from the time of La Serna's usurpation,* of the viceroyalty in 1820, the
* Pezuela was deposed, and La Serna elevated to the viceroyalty by the army. The principal conspirators, as they may be called, were Colonel, now Field Marshal Valdes, Longo, and Garcia Camba—the latter has written “ Notes on the Revolution,” in which he admits the fact, and seems to exult at it, attributing the early successes of San Martin to the imbecility of Pezuela. The latter, upon his return to Spain, published a spirited manifesto against these officers, but whether it met
Spanish troops had been victorious whenever they met the Patriots, except in the single action of Junin, fought under the eye of Bolivar, in August of the last year. And even so late as November last, three months after that signal action, wbich has consecrated the ground on which it was fought as the Bunker Hill of South America-and, in the hyperbolical language of Peru, aroused the ancient Incas from their slumbers
years, to congratulate the fortunate chief, by whose presence it was gained more than 700 of the Patriots, under the command of a Columbian general, were routed by less than 200 of the enemy, on the road between this city and Callao, and almost-I believe I may say altogether-without resistance! More than seventy were killed, and nine even within the walls of the city. The Spanish loss was one, and he was killed by a citizen with a knife, while in the act of plundering an officer whom he had cut down in the streets of Lima. These 700 men were literally rode over by the Spanish cavalry, and speared and cut down in every direction ; no quarter was given, and all who were overtaken were put to death. The fugitives ran through the city in the greatest disorder, and continued their precipitate flight to the distance of 15 leagues, in complete dispersion.
No less shameful was the rout of the expeditions of Tristan in Yea, and Alvarado and Santa Cruz in Alto Peru. After these repeated disasters, manifesting so marked a superiority on the part of the Spanish troops, and chequered by no solitary instance of success, during a three years campaign, except in the single action of Junin, we are left to inquire— by what conjuration, or what mighty magic,” the immortal victory of Ayacucho was achieved ? Was it on the plains of Junin that the charm was broken, or by the immediate interposition of Divine Providence? I have said that this action may be considered as having, in effect, terminated the war. It must be observed, however, that the castles of Callao still remain in the hands of the Spaniards, although included in the capitulation of Ayacucho, and likewise, the Archipelago of Chiloe. I visited, the other day, the advance battery of the Patriots, which is now within 500 yards of the castle, and communicates with the main battery in Bellavista, distant 1000 yards,
with any attention from his Catholic Majesty, I do not know, nor whether he ever actually confirmed La Serna in the station which he had thus notoriously usurped. The fact is, that the power in these remote Spanish colonies, has always rested with the commanders in chief of the troops, and their maxim has invariably been, with respect to the government at home." Procul a Jove, procul a fulmine."
by an open trench.* The balls were passing over me from the main battery, but at this time were seldom returned, The Patriots have two mortars in the trench, bedded in the earth, but having few or no shells, they fire stones in their stead. No shells have been thrown from the castle for about two months, and very few shot.
few shot. It occurred to me, that a few of our sharp shooters at this advance post, or nearer-for they might almost choose their own distance without danger-could pick off every man who appeared at a gun on the ramparts, or in the town. I saw many walking about, apparently unconcerned, having become indifferent to that danger to which they have been so long exposed. The speedy surrender of these castles is considered here as inevitable; indeed, it is looked for every hour. No supplies, in any quantity, have entered them since January last, and the consequence must be--and so the deserters report—that the garrison is reduced to the greatest extremity. Besides, the place is extremely unhealthy, having a low and marshy situation, and it is said that numbers die daily of disease. What may be their ultimate hopes of relief I do not know, unless they are mad enough to expect it from Spain, or, perhaps, from the Holy Alliance. In contemplating the distress which must now be suffered in this devoted spot, against which the finger of Heaven has often been pointed, and which must now have become little better than an earthly Pandemonium, it is consoling to reflect, that the aged and infirm, the women and children, have been allowed freely to pass to Lima.t Some time since, crowds of these half-starved wretches, who had followed the beggarly fortunes of their tyrants on their evacuation of the capital, were to be seen daily entering the city, presenting a spectacle of haggard want, which could not be heightened; and as they crawled through the streets, with famine pictured in their cadaverous countenances, they were greeted by the unfeeling canaille with every opprobrious taunt that the language could supply.
* This trench was dug by the peones, or common labourers of the city, who were pressed by the soldiers, and driven down to the work by hundreds at a time, at the point of the bayonet.' Great numbers of them have been mutilated and killed by the shot and shells from the castles ; they were carelessly exposed to the greatest danger, as their lives were considered to be of little worth, while the soldiers were kept cooped up in their barracks.
# The first groupe of these miserables, who were driven out of Callao by Rodil, because they had nothing to eat, were stopped by the advanced guards of the Patriots, and kept, during a whole day, between the two fires, on the plain before Callao. One woman was killed by a cannon shot. The next day they were marched in triumph to Lima.
The obstinacy of Rodil, the commander, in holding out these castles against even the most distant hope of relief, and the express stipulations of the capitulation of Ayacucho, and even in firing on flags of truce, sent to propose the most liberal terms of surrender, is only surpassed by his utter disregard of human suffering and of human life, which Cain himself, when life in this world was the rarest, could hardly bave possessed. On one occasion, he shot thirty-six of his men before breakfast, and on the massacre being reported to him by his provost marshal,* he sat down to his meal with the most pleasant unconcern imaginable. He gave the order for this butchery of at least half a company of his men, while smoking a segar. These miserable wretches, being principally negroes and Indians, were shot with less ceremony than, with us, we should shoot a dog. At another time he shot sixteen, and at another six ; and alto
her, has probably kept about an equal pace with pestilence, and the sword of his enemy, in reducing the number of his garrison. I know him well, and believe I can say with truth, that the present
age has not produced so blood-thirsty a tyrant. To take the life of a fellow creature, seems to be, with him, only an idle pastime, to be indulged as the humour suits him, in sport, in caprice, or in passion; and that it is not the fixing the irrevocable doom of an immortal soul. One might be led to think, from his wasteful prodigality of human life, that in his conception, it is a thing which may be taken away to-day, and be restored to-morrow--may set with the setting sun, and rise again in the lapse of a few fleeting hours.
On Rodil's entry into Lima, (June, 1823,) he wore a beard of some two years growth, under a vow never to shave until the Patriots were subdued ; and if, perchance, he did not possess the heart, he at least exhibited the aspect, of a bandit. On this memorable occasion, he issued a decree, that unless about a million of dollars, in goods and cash, were paid by the citizens by four o'clock, P. M. of the same day, the ancient
* The name of this personage is Villason ; the same who compelled the crew of the American ship China, of New-York, when imprisoned in these castles, to labour even on Sundays; and who repeatedly flogged them ; besides threatening the chief officer, on different occasions, with either being hung or shot, and offering him his choice. When this crew were first imprisoned, they were kept between three and four days entirely without food, and then marched out by this adjunct of Rodil, with a horsewhip in his hand, to be examined on empty stomachs. I have myself seen him at Rodil's door, knock down a female who came with some petition, and afterwards kick her with his spurs ! VOL. II.