Mr. Seward to Mr. Hovey.
Sir: Your dispatch of the 28th of January, No. 113, has been received, with its accompaniment, which is a copy of a report that was made to you on the 18th of January by Mr. Montjoy, United States consul at Lambayeque. There is annexed to the copy of the consul’s report an account of certain proceedings of foreign consuls, residing in Lambayeque, held on the 14th of January. In this dispatch you inform me that several American citizens have presented claims to you against the government of Peru for alleged spoliations committed in Chiclayo, which constitute the subject of the consul’s report. You also inform me that claims are presented to you by persons residing at Lima, for injuries to person and property, and you call my attention also to the fact that several hundred thousand dollars, the property of Americans, were lost in Callao when President Prado’s forces entered and sacked that city in 1865, and that the congress which convened under President Prado’s administration made arrangements to adjust the last-mentioned claims, but that now, inasmuch as all President Prado’s acts are declared null and void, those claims will in all probability fall into abeyance.
Upon this statement of facts, you properly ask the instruction of this department. By the President’s direction I now comply with that request.
You will receive such claims as citizens of the United States may present, together with such evidence on the subject as may be offered, and will transmit the same to this department, with a report upon the merits of each. It is indispensable that the department be fully informed concerning the status of citizenship, domicile, and duration of residence, the occupation and employment of each claimant. Those claims will be carefully examined here, and made the subject in every case of explicit instruction. In the mean time you will present no claims to the government of Peru, unless in some special case, which may have arisen subsequent to the 28th of January last, and which in your judgment will not admit of delay for further examination. In any such special case you will report your proceedings to this department.
It is the policy of this government, as far as possible, not to embarrass, but to favor reorganization and restoration in the American republican states where administration has been deranged by foreign intervention or civil war.
The Peruvian minister residing here will be informed of the contents of this dispatch, and you will ask leave to give a copy of the same informally to the de facto government of Peru.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Alvin P. Hovey, Esq., &c., &c., &c.