Mr. Hovey to Mr. Seward.
Sir: A government de facto has undoubtedly been established in Peru under the assumed presidency of General Pedro Diez Canseco. You may remember that when I arrived in Peru he was, by virtue of his office, (second vice-president,) and the force of other circumstances, the actual President of the republic. (See my dispatch No. 1, dated November 20, 1865.) I then transmitted my letters of credence to him; but, before I could be received, the army proclaimed Prado dictator, and Canseco quietly retired. His constitutional term of office expired in October, 1866. Now he leaps the hiatus, and claims to continue his rights by virtue of his former election, ignoring all that has passed under the government of Prado.
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I have not forgotten to adhere strictly to my original instructions, and to those contained in your dispatch No. 8, dated March 8, 1866, in which you say: “The policy of the United States is settled upon the principle that revolutions in republican States ought not to be accepted until the people have adopted them by organic law, with the solemnities which would seem sufficient to guarantee their stability and permanency.”
With this and my original instructions, with Peru in a state of anarchy, and without any lawful head, I gave my reply to General Francisco Diez Canseco, brother of the new acting President, as stated in my No. 109, of 14th January, 1868.
That reply has caused considerable controversy between the journals of Lima. I enclose the attack upon me, with translations, and the [Page 849] reply made by a Peruvian, also with translation, marked respectively No. 1 and No. 2.
I have had nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with any of these publications.
Should the government feel any interest in this paper controversy, I will have every article touching the question translated and sent forward, only observing that the National is not a national newspaper, but is owned and controlled by English companies.
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On the 28th ultimo I received a circular note from his excellency Doctor Don Juan Manuel Polar, secretary of foreign relations in the new government, in which he informs me that “the power of the constitution of 1860 being re-established in the republic, and with it the legal authority of General Pedro Diez Canseco, the second Vice-President, he (Doctor Polar) had been called to the post of minister of foreign affairs in the formation of the new cabinet.”
In announcing this fact to me, he assures me that he will take pleasure in faithfully interpreting the ideas of his government, which have no further object than to preserve and strengthen the kind and friendly feelings which have united always, and do unite, Peru to the United States. (See inclosure No. 3.) My reply thereto, in which I state that I will communicate the contents of his note to my government, and that my duty will compel me to await its orders, is likewise transmitted herewith. (See inclosure No. 4.)
Every other diplomatic representative here has acknowledged the new order of affairs, and the feeling manifested against me by some persons arose solely because I did not give my unconditional and immediate adhesion to the new government.
A large amount of unsettled claims and recent outrages committed on several Americans will render it necessary soon to have some communication with the government de facto. Mr. Alexander Ruden, a highly respectable and honorable citizen of the United States, taking no part whatever in the politics of the country, has suffered damages, through the destruction of his plantation and crops, amounting to more than ninety-one thousand dollars. Others have been wounded and driven from their employments.
The specific instructions of the government upon this important subject are respectfully solicited.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.