Mr. Hovey to Mr. Seward.

No. 113.]

Sir: Several American citizens have presented claims to me against the government of Peru for alleged injuries. They state that in Chiclayo, where the revolutionary army under Balta had control, every foreigner had to flee for his life. Particular attention is called to the communication of Consul Montjoy, and the consular protest, herewith transmitted.

Claims are also made by persons in Lima for injuries to person and property.

Several hundred thousand dollars, the property of Americans, was lost in Callao when Prado’s forces entered and sacked that city in 1865. In reference to these last, the government of Prado made arrangements, through congress, to adjust them; but now, as all of Prado’s acts are declared null and void, these claims will, in all probability, meet with the same fate.

I most earnestly desire the advice and instructions of the department on this very important and delicate question. As yet, I have made no diplomatic claims of any kind, as the government of Colonel Prado promised me, unofficially, to fairly adjust all claims of American citizens without resorting to diplomatic correspondence.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,


Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Montjoy to Mr. Hovey.

Honorable Sir: Since my last, the sacking and burning of Ulates and Torms, in this province, has been continued systematically and deliberately by armed parties that formed part of the army of Colonel Balta in Chiclayo, and commanded by governors and other officials appointed by him, and arrived to such an extent that, in view of the depredations committed upon foreigners and upon foreign capital, the foreign consuls have considered it necessary to protest against such acts in the name of their respective governments, and in the name of the citizens and subjects of all other nations who have been or may be injured in person or property in such a cruel and wanton manner, that the republic of Peru may be held responsible for the act of its public officers.

The greater part of the devastation has been committed since official notice has been received of the change of government in Lima, and that Colonel Balta has ordered or permitted these excesses is proved by his appointment as sub-prefect, of Tomas Sello, in this city, who publicly receives and banquets the leaders and officers of these marauders.

The estate of Mr. Alexander Ruden has been utterly destroyed, his loss amounting, I am told, to more than $60,000. I have advised many other Americans to apply to you for redress, as I am powerless to assist them.

I inclose with this dispatch a copy of protest, also a dispatch for “Decano,” of diplomatic corps, with copy of the same to be made public in the manner that body may determine. I request you to cause it to be delivered.

I have the honor to be your excellency’s very obedient servant,

S. C. MONTJOY, United States Consul.

His Excellency Major General A. P. Hovey, &c., &c., &c.

[Page 847]


In the city of Lambayeque, capital of the province of that name, in the department of La Libertad, Peru.

On the 14th day of January, 1868, the consular body, resident in this city, met, under the presidency and in the office of its dean, the consul of the United States, with the object of taking into consideration the burning and sacking of valuable property belonging to foreigners, and to Peruvians, committed before the public as witnesses, and before the constituted authorities, by forces, armed, which sallied from the towns near to the places burned, those forces being commanded by officers of their own and by some of the political authorities of the district; that when the immediate solution of the conflict at Chiclayo was confidently hoped for, and the re-establishment of order in these provinces, together with the reassertion of the guarantee covering life and property, a fatal overturning of the social order followed, destroying property, signalized by the sacking and burning of the establishment of the foreigners, Solf & Co., of Chiclayo, Santiago Feely in Jayanca, and of the farms Viña, Balangrande, and Chocofe, the property of Peruvians, in which many foreign employe’s lost all of their possessions; that moreover, this city, the farm of Errepon, Patapo, Molina de Sta Lima, and others, the property of foreigners, are threatened with a like fate; that such a state of things forms now the most disconsolate and horrid picture; offering to Peru and to the civilized world the most difficult and exceptional situation in which a country could be placed after the effervescence of the political crisis has passed by. In such a situation the consular corps, composed of the undersigned, resolved—

First. To protest, as it does protest, against the above mentioned acts, and against the violation of the guarantees expressed in existing treaties, in the name of their respective governments, and in the name of all foreign citizens, who have been injured or who may be, in their persons or in their property; and declares that it believes the government of Peru to be responsible for the depredations committed by its subordinates and its armed forces.

Second. To send a copy of this protest to the dean of the diplomatic corps, resident in Lima, that he may inform the government of Peru of its contents; and also may inform the other foreign representatives.

Third. That copies be likewise sent to each one of the ministers or diplomatic agents of the countries represented by the undersigned.

SANTIAGO C. MONTJOY, Consul of the United States.
JUAN J. TIRADO Y PORTE, Consul of the United States of Venezuela.
MANUEL DE NECO, Consul of the United States of Colombia.