to Mr. Evarts
La Paz , February 3, 1881. (Received April 26.)
Sir: Referring to my dispatch No. 57, of the 17th ultimo, I have the honor to report that Dr. Nuñez del Prado, of whose appointment as minister for foreign affairs ad interim I had advised you, has now entered upon the duties of that office in the full character. * * *
The news of the defeat of Dictator Piérola, of Peru, before Lima, and the capture of that city, at first discredited but within the last days fully confirmed, has so demoralized all classes and parties that opinions as to the probable consequences here are as yet simply speculative, and must remain so until the course of Peru in its defeat, and that of victorious Chili, develops itself.
The foreigners here not represented by ministers, or consuls even, are in the greatest terror since it has become known that Lima would have been pillaged and plundered only for the energetic action of the diplomatic corps, backed by a powerful fleet; and they fear that, if a Chilian force should approach La Paz and the government be compelled to abandon the city, not only the soldiers of the enemy, but also the lower classes of the population here might commit excesses, directed of course mainly against the property and persons of foreigners.[Page 85]
Should this eventuality occur, I hope to be able to save life and property in exerting myself to bring about a peaceful occupation of the city by the enemy, and in organizing an armed city guard of the foreign residents, in imitation of the course taken at Lima.
Allow me to add that I still remain without mail of any kind from the United States.
I have, &c.,