Mr. Hovey to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The 91st article of the constitution of 1860, of the republic of Peru, now proclaimed to be in force, reads as follows:
When the offices of President and first Vice-President of the republic are vacant, the second Vice-President will be encharged with the supreme command, until the person called by the law may be ready to enter upon the discharge of his duties. In ease of a vacancy, he will give, within three days, the necessary orders for the election of a President and first Vice-President, and shall convoke congress for the objects mentioned in article 81 and the following articles.[Page 856]
Canseco arrived in this city on the 15th January, took control of the government immediately, but failed to call an election until the 7th of February, and then refused to recognize the old congress, but called for a new one. The hiatus of Prado’s government was too broad for any one, save the President himself, to leap. On this point all that a discreet Peruvian will say is, “Vamos á vér.” A translation of the “Bando,” calling for the election, is annexed. The officials, expectants, and a few of the lower orders of the people, celebrated for three days the anniversary of Canseco’s birth, with fireworks, cannon, etc.
No notice of this important celebration was given to this legation, and yet I am informed that the new cabinet was greatly enraged because the stars and stripes did not, of their own volition, and in honor of that very great day, ascend to the top of the mast, and wave their ample folds over the American legation.
The struggle for the presidency will shortly begin between the other aspirants and chieftains, amongst whom may be mentioned Balta, Cevallos, Costas, and others, and then more devastation of the property and danger to the lives of foreigners may be reasonably expected.
Should an election take place, the chances of Colonel Balta for the presidency are decidedly the best, but many believe that the Canseco party are now doing all they can to thwart him.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.