Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Blaine.
Lima, Peru , March 23, 1881. (Received April 16.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 263, I have the honor to inclose to you an extract from an editorial in the Actualidad, the Chilian Government [Page 889] organ here, of March 21, with a translation, showing that the Chilian commanders claim, as conquerors, the right to take the apparatus of the School of Arts, as well as books, scientific apparatus, and paintings; that they place all the public buildings, including the palace of government, ending with the last hut or tent of the guards, and all public works, the railroads, with all the bridges over water courses crossing public roads, on the same ground.
That you may understand the full significance of this, I will say that the Orden, the only paper here published in the interest of the new Peruvian Government, had complained in a very mild and subdued form of the taking of libraries, scientific apparatus, and the property of schools and colleges; and this editorial in the Actualidad (the whole of which is very severe) makes this answer.
It is true they place the right claimed upon the ground of indemnifying themselves for the expenses of war, and compelling the enemy to put an end to the war. But it is easy to see that this pretext may always be put forth with equal justice, and thus the obligation to respect libraries, paintings, works of science and art, as well as schools, colleges, and public buildings, may always be evaded, if it can be in the present case.
I have, &c.,