patriotic stubbornness
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The same patriotic stubbornness of his gauchos in combat was shown by Juan Manuel de Rosas in his later negotiations with the invading powers.

On July 2, 1846, the ship carrying the British envoy Thomas Hood, the Devastation, docked in the port of Buenos Aires. The crown had designated him to reach an agreement as dignified as possible with Rosas and thus withdraw from that unfortunate campaign that had begun with the combat of the Vuelta de Obligado and continued later along the Paraná with the siege of the improvised Argentine militias. against the powerful British and French ships.

The conditions that he brought in his briefcase were:

Rosas would suspend hostilities in the Banda Oriental.

The foreign legions (especially French and mercenaries) that opposed the siege of the Confederation, established by the Restorer to recover the Banda Oriental, ominously ceded by the Rivadavian Unitarians, would be disarmed in Montevideo.

The Argentine divisions would be withdrawn from the siege.

Once this was done, the British blockade of the port of Buenos Aires would be lifted, returning the island of Martín García and the hijacked ships, “as far as possible in the state in which they were”.

It would be recognized that the navigation of the Paraná was exclusively Argentine “as long as the Republic continued to occupy the two banks of said river.”

There would be a general amnesty in Montevideo, excluding “Emigrants from Buenos Aires whose residence in Montevideo could give just cause for complaint”, in reference to the Unitarians who had collaborated with the European intervention.

The Argentine flag would be redressed with 21 cannon shots.

Requirements. It was British claudication, plain and simple. Little and nothing remained of the presumptuous ultimatums and declarations of months before.

But Rosas and his minister Arana went for more: they demanded that the blockade be lifted without waiting for the disarmament of the foreign legions and the consequent withdrawal of the Argentine division. They also understood that the phrase “as long as the Republic continued to occupy the two banks of said river” contained the possibility of an unacceptable independence of Entre Ríos, which had been one of the intentions of the invasion of the Anglo-French armies. He also argued that the agreement should be submitted to the consideration of General Oribe, Uruguayan president according to the Confederation, to whom the Argentine forces would only be “auxiliaries.”

Hood accepted the Argentine impositions and on July 18 an agreement was signed that the Restorer would claim in each of the following negotiations with the European nations. France rejected the agreement, which too resembled a surrender, harassed by reproaches from the chauvinists in Parliament, who did not accept the humiliation suffered. Great Britain was in solidarity with its ally.

They then decided to try their best diplomats: London chose John Hobart Caradoc, Baron Howden, a distinguished member of the House of Peers; Nothing less than Alejandro Florian Colonna, Count of Walewski, son of Napoleon the Great, would go to France.

Arriving at the Río de la Plata in May 1847, they announced to the Chancellor of the Confederation, Felipe de Arana, that they had traveled to put into force the Hood bases adapted to the formalities of European diplomacy style. But Rosas is suspicious and when the minutes are presented to him he reacts furiously: “The projects directed by SS.EE. the diplomatic ministers are so far away, they are so different from the Hood bases, as heaven is from hell”.

The leading role of European diplomats would be assumed by Baron Howden. He set out to make a good impression on the porteños through his informality and frankness by organizing horseback rides to Santos Lugares accompanying Manuelita and dressing as a countryman with a poncho and short-brimmed hat. He rode horses with the Rosas brand that he saddled with Creole messages and implements.

Manuelita had already carried out seduction tasks for the benefit of her father’s strategies. She had done it like that before with the French consul, Mandeville, husband of Mariquita Sánchez, and she would do it now with the baron. The Howden thing was a real “crush” and it didn’t take long for it to manifest itself, becoming the gossip of Buenos Aires. On May 24, 1847, when she turned thirty, the English baron sent her a fiery note: “This day will never leave my memory or my heart.” The exiles in Montevideo and the opponents on Argentine soil followed the ups and downs of the romance between the “federal princess” and the British delegate with understandable concern.

During a Creole excursion to Santos Lugares, when, dressed as a gaucho, Howden galloped through the countryside and, among other rural amusements, found time to shake hands with a group of caciques and Indian chiefs, he proposed to Manuelita, who He replied firmly that he only saw him as a brother.

Negotiations were not advancing because behind the fallacy of “diplomatic language” England and France were not guarantors of the independence of Uruguay, which for the rightly suspicious Restorer meant that attempts at annexation by Brazil would resume very soon.

Nor did it agree to suppress the reparation to the Argentine flag, “essential stipulation because the Argentine government limited the satisfaction due to the honor and sovereignty of the Confederation to that salute, outraged by an armed intervention that captured the Argentine squadron in full peace, took possession by force of its rivers, invaded the territory and destroyed lives and property in a series of unjust aggressions”.

In addition, it should be clearly stated, as stated in his agreement with Hood, that the navigation of the Paraná was exclusively Argentine, subject to its laws and regulations, the same as that of Uruguay in common with the Oriental Republic.

Another key point: expressly mentioning the rejection of the possibility of independence for the Republic of Mesopotamia (Las Misiones, Entre Ríos and Corrientes), one of the objectives of the invasion, without escaping with the phrase “territorial law of the nations”. Howden and Walewski argued that the formula proposed by them “had been the subject of long correspondence between the governments of England and France” and that “various jurists” were consulted.

On June 28, Rosas terminated the negotiations because they dealt with very serious issues where he could not go with “half measures.” It did not seem by chance then that Lord Howden’s romantic ardor gradually calmed down and when, his pacifist mission having failed, he left Buenos Aires on July 18, he wrote Manuelita from Raleigh an affectionate farewell letter, in which he named her as “my life, my good and dear and valued sister, friend and lady”.

England, already anxious to end the international embarrassment, insisted and sent the prestigious diplomat Henry Southern. Rosas, scalded and eager to establish the conditions of what is undisguisably an enemy capitulation, refuses to receive him until he is clear about his intentions.

In London, Prime Minister Lord Aberdeen was outraged before the British Parliament on February 22, 1850: “There are limits to enduring insolence and this insolence of Rosas is the most unheard of thing that has happened to an English minister to date. How long do we have to sit in the waiting room of this gaucho chief? Will we have to wait until he finds it convenient to receive our envoy? It is unheard of insolence.”

As if Don Juan Manuel had read Clemenceau: “You have to fight the war to the end, the true end of the end.” Finally, Mr. Southern and the Restorer will sign the agreement that accepted all the Argentine demands.

The agreement establishes the return of Martín García and the warships; the delivery of merchant ships to their owners; the recognition that the navigation of the Paraná is internal and is only subject to the laws and regulations of the Argentine Confederation, and that that of Uruguay is common and is subject to the laws and regulations of the two republics; and Oribe’s acceptance for the conclusion of the arrangement.

Rosas is forced to withdraw his troops from Uruguay when the French government has disarmed the foreign legion, evacuates the territory of the two republics, abandons its hostile position and celebrates a peace treaty.

Given the excitement of porteños and porteños crowded on the shore, the enemy warships moved away from the Río de la Plata saluting the flag of the Argentine Confederation with twenty-one cannon shots.

France would take time to surrender, since many wanted to continue the war, scalded for the second time since they had already been defeated in the blockade of 1838. An illustrious exile on French soil tried to convince them of the futility of such resistance since “all (the Argentines ) will unite and take an active part in the fight”, so that the invasion would continue “indefinitely”. It was Don José de San Martín.

*Historian.

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