Exposicion que hace el Señor Brigadier D. Carlos Alvear General en Xefe del Exercito sitiador de Montevideo, de su conducta en la rendición de esta Plaza. Vulnerada por las falsas imputaciones de su Gobernador D. Gaspar Vigodet. (Dated 29 November 1814.)
Buenos Aires, Imprenta de Niños Expositos, 1814.
Folio. 42 pp., (1) f. with errata. Wrappers.
Despite Buenos Aires having declared independence, Montevideo remained loyal to the Spanish crown, but in October 1812 the city was besieged by the Latin American patriots, a siege which lasted until June 1814. In May 1814 the ambitious Carlos Maria de Alvear, President of the General Constituent Assembly of the United Provinces, “was sent over with fresh troops to take command of the siege of Montevideo . . . He landed with one thousand five hundred fresh men, and on the 17th of May took over from the general who had, in almost two years of siege, prepared the victory that Alvear’s uncle Posadas was presenting to his ambitious nephew . . . Vigodet was . . forced to send emissaries to Buenos Aires to sue for peace . . . But he was refused in his turn, and the city had to go through the terrors of a siege to the bitter end. Alvear was given full powers to negotiate on the spot with the Spanish authorities, and on the 5th of June he offered to listen to Vigodet’s proposals . . . Alvear was keenly alive to the danger of allowing any connection to grow up between the Orientals and the royalists, and he simply cut off the negotiations at once. He tricked Artigas and Otorgués, isolated Vigodet, and then on the 19th of June received new proposals, unaccountably from Montevideo. He freely agreed to honourable terms for the royalists (and that) all the interests of the people of Montevideo would be respected, the Spanish troop would be sent back to Spain, and the city would be left with arms, munitions and warlike stores intact . . . The treaty was ratified on the 20th of June, and on the 23rd the city was handed over . . . As soon as he was safely in possession Alvear repudiated the treaty, on the pretext that it had not been ratified; and in fact none of the terms was kept. He had done what he did simply to gain possession of the city quickly and without loss. Montevideo became an enemy city occupied by an army bent on repressing any possible reaction . . . The patriot occupation of Montevideo (resulted) merely in the continuation of the split between the city and the rest of the province . . . Alvear acted with the coldest treachery . . . He assembled all the arms in the city and sent off to Buenos Aires a magnificent collection of over eight thousand rifles and three hundred and thirty-five guns, together with the royalist flotilla and other war material. Even the press, Princess Carlota Joaquina’s gift, was packed up and sent to Buenos Aires. Montevideo was completely despoiled” (Street, Artigas and the Emancipation of Uruguay, Cambridge 1959, pp. 199-202). In this Exposición Alvear justifies his actions and sets out the terms of the rendition, as he views the matter. According to H.M. Brackenridge (Voyage to South America, v. 2, p. 139 [London 1820]) it was written by Manuel José Garcia, “one of their best writers.” Following a military and political career, Alvear was later in 1837 appointed as the first (and controversial) Ambassador of Argentina to the USA. A facsimile edition was printed in 1914.
Palau 10073. Furlong 3070. Zinny 1814, no. 22, who reproduces part of the Exposición. Mallié VI, No. IV, pp. 105-147, who reproduces the document. Not in Copac.