Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Blaine.
Lima, Peru , March 16, 1881. (Received April 11.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 254 (last paragraph), I have the honor to inform you that since that I have ascertained that, even be fore that letter was written, the whole of the public library known as “Biblioteca de San Pedro,” in Lima, belonging to the Government of Peru, and the largest and most valuable in South America, had already been taken by the Chilians and put on board the fleet to be sent to Chili.
And before and since that dispatch they have, as I am informed, also taken from the exposition grounds and buildings belonging to the Benevolent Society of Lima all the paintings and pictures in the buildings on those grounds, all the collection of animals (a menagerie of them), and everything of value that could be taken; the laboratory and the appurtenances of the School of Medicine, amounting to over half a million of dollars, and everything that could be moved from the School of Arts in Lima, consisting of models, machinery, &c., for teaching in the arts and sciences and in the various trades. This School of Arts belonged to the Government of Peru.
For myself, I look upon this as a violation of the rules of civilized warfare, which calls for an earnest protest on behalf of all civilized nations; and I have been in favor of such protest being made by the diplomatic corps here. I am satisfied that the large majority of the corps would join in it; but there are some who, while agreeing that it is contrary to the modern principles of warfare, yet, for reasons of policy, think it not best to make the protest, lest it might prejudice the Chilian Government against neutrals here.
A meeting of the diplomatic corps was held yesterday at my suggestion, made the day before. But I was taken sick the night before and was totally unable to attend; and I understand no action was taken by the corps upon this point.
I have, &c.,
P. S.—If I thought the failure of protest could in any manner operate as an acquiescence in the propriety of such acts on the part of Chili, I should protest against them, though I might stand alone. But as I am not accredited to Chili, I do not suppose that my neglect to protest can be construed into an approval by my government.