Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Evarts.
Lima, Peru , September 24, 1879. (Received October 15.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 53, upon the question of intervention of foreign powers, I have the honor to state, as having a possible bearing upon that question, the fact, which I have ascertained from the most authentic source, that England, which has already upon this coast the Turquoise, a wooden corvette, and the Triumph, a first-class iron-clad, has ordered another iron-clad to this station, which may soon be expected to arrive.
It is true that England has a larger commerce upon this coast than any other nation, but I have not been able to discover that it has been or is likely to be interfered with by either of the belligerents in violation of any principle of the law of nations. But there may be an apprehension that, under the decree of President Dazo in reference to privateers, there may result injury to British commerce; and though England has no treaty with Bolivia, I have the best evidence that England intends to claim for her commerce the same advantages in this respect secured to the United States by our treaty with Bolivia.
Bolivia, at present, has no port on the Pacific to which prizes made by her privateers (if any) could be brought for adjudication; and Peru, her ally, having become a party to the treaty of Paris against privateering, it becomes a serious question whether she could lend her ports to Bolivia for such purpose.
My opinion is that the increased naval force of England on this coast has reference mainly to this question of privateering.
If the Department has any instructions to give me in reference to the probable questions to arise upon this aspect of affairs, I should be very glad to receive them soon.
I am, &c.,