Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Blaine.
Lima, Peru, March 23, 1881. (Received April 16.)
Sir: The new Peruvian Government, having on the 14th instant arranged with the Chilian authorities here to pay down 200,000s. silver, of the million then due for February, according to the Chilian decree, [Page 890] and to pay the balance, 800,000 silver soles, within one month, I here inclose you copy and translation of the decree of this Peruvian Government, dated the 14th, but published only yesterday, for raising the amount in the shape of what is called a loan, and which, so far as the decree shows, would seem to be a voluntary loan; but as it seems to me quite probable that few will come forward voluntarily to take the loan, I presume the government must look to some means to enforce it as a forced loan; if not, I am inclined to think the money will not be raised in time.
The three-and-a-half pence mentioned in the decree is intended as the value of the paper sol, practically the only currency now circulating in Peru, the gold and silver coin having almost entirely left the country, as is usual, if not universal, where an inferior currency is in general circulation.
And Peru, from having formerly been thought the richest country in precious metals in the world, is now probably the poorest for practical purposes, though she still has inexhaustible mines, mostly unworked, in the interior.
I have, &c.,