No. 547.
Mr. Christiancy to Mr. Blaine.

No. 286.]

Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 285, I have the honor to inclose to you an editorial from the Actualidad, the Chilian Government paper in Lima, together with a translation.

This article foreshadows in very plain terms what has for some time been suspected as to the real designs of Chili towards Peru.

It is, however, possible that it is written more for the purpose of driving the Peruvian people into the support of the provisional government with which Chili believes she can settle peace on her own terms. We shall soon see.

I have, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 286.—Cuttings from Actualidad and translation.]

The comedy follows.

Peru continues presenting to the world the most sorrowful spectacle that any nation ever presented in the hour of sacrifices and trial, when passion ought to be suppressed by the realization of great national calamity and to be concealed like a filthy leper, to give place to the noble and elevated efforts of those who seek the salvation of the country, inspiring all for good, for the common safety, and happiness.

Far from this, acts of disorganized anarchy from day to day give new confirmation and emphasis in terms which even now cannot be doubted for a moment that their only hope is for the retirement of the Chilian forces from Lima and Callao that they may unchain, as a final curse, a spontaneous social cataclysm, in which there shall be seen to arise from the lowest depths of society all the bad passions to float on the surface and to burst forth in a dizzy and devastating career like the “trompa marina,” which makes whirls on the surface of the ocean.

Let us see what is passing. The government of Garcia Calderon orders the municipality of Lima to be prosecuted judicially for rebellion.

The ex-dictator, from his oriental mansion of Jauja, is issuing circulars to the diplomatic corps, accusing it (the provisional government) of usurping powers which belong exclusively to him as proprietor, as if the sovereignty of a nation was but merchandise which could be bought or seized from the country by violence, and which claims to receive a species of consecration from divine right.

The prefect, Solar, on the other hand, without circumlocution, and not to lose time in fabricating circulars, declares the government of Calderon traitors and condemns them to death.

On the other side, Señor Garcia Calderon addresses to Solar a paternal philippic to attract back to the fold this stray ewe.

Surely we have in this comedy the actors beating each other in fine style, with or without reason.

Señor Garcia Calderon (strikes) the municipality; Piérola, Garcia Calderon; the latter hits Solar, and Solar strikes at all the world.

Involuntarily there occurs to our memory that passage of Don Quixote—

“And as the saying runs, the cat went for the rat, the rat for the cord, the cord for the stick; the muleteer was beating Sancho, Sancho the girl, and the girl returned the compliment; the landlord beat the girl, and they were going at it so freely that they really took no time for rest. The best work came in when the landlord’s candle went out, and as they were left in the dark the beating went on all around indiscriminately, and without compassion, so much so that wherever they dropped their hands nothing was left entire.”

Nothing less is passing among the men who still hold in their hands some fragments of the extinguished power of the nation.

It appears that with them the lamp of intelligence has been extinguished, and they give thrusts and counter-thrusts, like the blind, striking right and left, disconcerting the few feeble elements with which they might yet strengthen the action of the government, which seeks to combine all the scattered elements to give them unity under [Page 899] a single hand, and to place them at the service of the single work worthy of engaging the efforts of the whole country at this time, the organization of an administration which shall run no risk of being overwhelmed in the chaos of anarchy, which would endanger safety of the little which the war has left intact.

This continual conflict between the men who have remained in a situation to employ in the salvation of their country the few resources saved from shipwreck, if it shall continue longer, there will remain, no doubt, that Peru goes through a crisis in which the standard of judgment of those who still hold the last remain of military power is lost, and the inspirations of patriotism extinguished, goes on submitting, of its own accord, to a system of tutelage which is gradually imposed upon them by the very nature of coming events, and which acts foreshadow, merely, the rapidity with which the national dissolution of Peruvian personality is taking place.

All this comes amidst the perplexity produced by the stupefaction from great calamities; amidst the intoxication of political passions; amidst diplomatic circulars, judgments, philippics, excommunications, charges of treason, and fulminating decrees of death.

In the mean time, however, aside from the efforts of Mr. Garcia Calderon, there is not a great action, not a civic virtue which rises to the height of the situation in order to mitigate reciprocal hatred, and to place in a single hand, in the hand guided by common sense, the last floating plank of the great national shipwreck.

The curtain of the comedy is still raised, and Chili, impassible, quiet, serene, with folded arms, contemplates from her box the combat of decrees and circulars, where projectiles are crossing each other like a real bombardment.

At the most she says to herself, before locking up the insane and non compotes in the asylum, the sane must name guardians for the administration of their property.