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 Thomas Cochrane 
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Susan!

Oh dear! One thing I learnt early is that the fact that words were written a long time ago does not mean that they must be true! This is particularly true of Myers.

Myers was TC's business partner and was a complete cynic. He had nothing good to say about anyone (except TC) and his books are blatent propaganda supporting TC's thesis that he was persecuted by everyone and was right in all he did. In my book I frequently compare the demonstrable reality of what happened in S America with Myers distored version.

This is a case in point.

a As I have said, the Chilean blockade (in its initial stages before the gographical limit was modified following Hardy's protest) was too wide in area and WAS illegal in international law. As TC admits, he was later sued in the British and French courts for illegal detention and was found guilty.

b. Hardy told local agents and owners that the blockade was illegal. What annoyed them is that the RN did nothing about it when a ship ws seized except to make a weak paper protest.

c. This compared badly with ships of the USN, who released detained American ships immediately and my force.

d. TC and H were professionals - officials doing their perceived duty by their governements. (Searle broke this convention and was re-called)There was no personal animosity. Indeed, as is clear, H admired TC.

e. What we see here is an indication that TC (through his mouthpiece Myers) was actually worrried by the legality of the blockade and (as usual) is hitting out violently at the slghtest criticism however politely expressed.

Disregard it!!

Brian Vale


in [quote="susan"][size=11]Aha! Google is my friend!

The passage I was thinking of is related to Arica. It's from Vol. II of [i]Travels in Chile and La Plata[/i] (1826) by John Miers.

"...the British agents, fearful of losing their commission, and of displeasing their principals at home, urged the British commodore to adopt hostile measures against the admiral of Chile. Captain Hall, of the Conway, was dispatched to Arica to precede Sir Thomas himself, and to demand explanation...The Conway had been some days in Arica when Lord Cochrane returned in the San Martin from reconnoitring the adjacent coast, and anchored his ship close to the Conway. An order was given by captain Hall to avoid any communication between his officers and crew and those of the patriot man of war. This was at least offensive, as the officers and men of both ships had hitherto treated one another with all possible cordiality, and the best harmony reigned among them. An angry correspondence now took place between captain Hall and Lord Cochrane, in which the latter, well versed in the law of nations, in the practice of the British service, and conscious, moreover, that the eyes of the world were directed towards him, showed the charges raised against him to be frivolous and untrue..."[/size][/quote]


Thu May 01, 2008 11:04 am
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Don!

I am no expert on Napoleon and do not wish to pontificate, but I am happy to share my views.

I do not think the claim about the Napoleon-rescue attempt appears in any book about TC (including his own) before 1978.

The 'guilty man' is of course Thomas, who came up with a story (and quote) from Kitty saying that TC had thought of putting Napoleon on the throne of S America and thought of 'dropping off' at St Helena on the way to Chile to ask 'His Majesty' what he thought about it!!

I am prepared to believe that Thomas did find such a quote: because
a. although I think he was weak on original documents, Thpmas unearthed a vast amount of info from newspapers, leaflets, printed private correspondence: and
b. I can believe that Kitty said it. After TC's death, instead of bitterly criticizing him (as she had when he was alive) she began to laud his achievements. She lived in France with French noble relations where by the middle of the century Napoleon I had been given, for political reasons, (his nephew had become Napoleon III) celebrity-hero-martyr status. Lots of people came forward with claims of involvement in plots to release him - which was obviously an OK thing to have done.

However is this what TC really intended to do: or was it an off hand remark made over breakfast?

Nevertheless, what puzzles me is why Grimble (who had rare access to vast swathes of TC and Kitty private correspondence) does not mention it.

Unfortunately Thomas did not leave it there. He also said that TC was actually preparing a rescue attempt under Colonel Charles in 1821, and that only news of Nap's death stopped it. The news of the death incidentally reached Peru in September 1821.

Harvey then took over the story and elaborated it further - even claiming that the rescue party actually reached St Helena, but alas, too late!

My views are these:
The idea of making Napoleon Emperor of S America is ridiculous. Why not King of the United States. Or Emperor of Africa?

The notion of stopping off at St Helena on the way to Chile is equally unlikely. TC was in a hurry to get to Chile (and the Chileans to get him there) because of the critic situation. Likewise the wind system in the S Atlantic is anti-clockwise which meant that all ships going to the southern hemispere whether the Pacific or India would cross the Equator then head west to the NE tip of Brazil, then go down to Argentine waters, then south or east to their true destinations. For the Rose to get to St Helena (which lies to the east) would have involved following this circuitous route to west and south, then heading east for the Cape of Good Hope than north again for St Helena. It would have taken weeks if not months.

You will have seen from my book what TC was up to in 1821. He was busy! He had just captured Esmeralda, and the invasion and blockade of Peru against an enemy superior in number of troops was in full swing with the result by no means certain. In August TC was violently quarrelling with San Martin over tactics and money, and TC himself was preparing to sail on a six month cruise to the Gulf of Panama in search of 2 missing Spanish frigates. Even IF he had the motive to spring Napolen, he had neither time nor opportunity.

And, of course, at that time Colonel Charles had been dead for 18 months.

Finally, the Chilean government, short of cash, its ships daily deteriorating, and locked in the final stages of a life and death struggle with Spain, would never have allowed or paid for such bizarre venture.

These are my feelings. However if you have unearthed any other verifiable info to the contrary, I would be glad to hear of it. We are all seekers after truth!

Brian Vale


Thu May 01, 2008 12:19 pm
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Brian Vale wrote:
I do not think the claim about the Napoleon-rescue attempt appears in any book about TC (including his own) before 1978.

The 'guilty man' is of course Thomas, who came up with a story (and quote) from Kitty saying that TC had thought of putting Napoleon on the throne of S America and thought of 'dropping off' at St Helena on the way to Chile to ask 'His Majesty' what he thought about it!! ...


Brian,
Thanks for the background. I wasn't suggesting that there was a plot, I was more curious about how such a story got started, embraced by some biographers and totally ignored by others.

Don Seltzer


Thu May 01, 2008 12:50 pm
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Don.

I understand.

To complete my story, Richard Dale included reference to the Napoleon plan in his book. But that was because, although as an economist he was able to produce a compelling reconstruction of the Stock Exchange business, he was forced to rely on 1970s books like Thomas's to summarize TC subsequent career. I mention it, but only as an example of the supporting myths which TC's life had genrated. David Cordingly - so I understand - omitted it for reasons of space and becasue it had been challenge enough describing what TC did without talking about what he did not.

regards

Brian Vale


Thu May 01, 2008 3:59 pm
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Brian Vale wrote:
Myers was TC's business partner and was a complete cynic. He had nothing good to say about anyone (except TC) and his books are blatent propaganda supporting TC's thesis that he was persecuted by everyone and was right in all he did. In my book I frequently compare the demonstrable reality of what happened in S America with Myers distored version.

This is a case in point.

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your comments.

From the bits that I had read, I gathered that Myers was a supporter of Cochrane because of the rah-rah tone. I am interested in reading the book from the beginning, now. However, I will definitely keep in mind what you have said about his bias.

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susan


Thu May 01, 2008 4:01 pm
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Post Re: Thomas Cochrane - a forthcoming exhibition
While looking at something else on the National Museum of Scotland's website I noticed an announcement about Cochrane.

The National Museum of Scotland, on Chambers Street in Edinburgh, is putting on a special exhibition about Admiral Lord Cochrane. It will be on from 7th October 2011 until 19 February 2012, and entry will be free!

Put it in your diaries.

Martin


Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:03 pm
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Post Re: Thomas Cochrane
Martin, thanks for posting the information about the exhibit. Looks like an interesting one!

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susan


Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:24 pm
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