to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Lima, September 23, 1883. (Received October 16.)
Sir: In various ways efforts are being made to bring the United States to the recognition of General Iglesias on his coming from Truxillo to Lima, these efforts originating in Chili. Our newspapers, and those published here, are furnished with cablegrams, that they may appear in print to encourage the friends of the Chilian programme with assurances of the favor the United States will show General Iglesias as President of Peru from the time he enters this city. Mr. Lavalle, named by Iglesias as minister of foreign affairs, spoke lately with confidence that such would be the course of our Government, and was surprised to hear it questioned.
The arrival here, under the safeguard and protection of Chili, of a self-constituted leader, with a so-called cabinet, not in office by any procedure recognized by the nation, having already established doubtful prefectures in some departments and collected 1,500 or 2,000 armed men, measures taken and accomplished for the most part immediately under the direction and force of Chilian arms, would hardly be held to clothe that individual with national authority or with a representative character. He would be wanting even in the semblance of an election, such as Mr. Calderon enjoyed at the hands of a quorum of an already expired Congress.
As illustrating the measures adopted in support of Iglesias, I refer to the inclosed copy of a letter from Vice-Consul Lapoint, giving an account of the Chilian commander’s action at Chiclayo, and also to a copy of the Chilian version, not materially differing from the consul’s statement.
General Lynch has found it necessary to re-enforce his men in the north, where, as in other sections, rapine and robberies, carried on in pretended support of one or the other of the factions, have become notorious.
Notwithstanding, I am persuaded that in the end Iglesias will enter Lima, will assemble a convention which, at least in number, will have a quorum, in some degree will be representative in character, and that this convention (or congress) will elect a President. The government so established may in due time be recognized with reasonable propriety; but it would be highly imaginary to anticipate an existence for it beyond the departure of the Chilians.[Page 715]
A number of months must elapse before the measures necessary to-secure this result can be accomplished, and meanwhile many changes of popular sentiment may intervene and any circumstance may give a new turn to the course of action of the more cultivated people, just as now it is apparent that a check has befallen the tide of sentiment that seemed to be setting in Iglesias’ favor.
This tide may set in again at any moment. Then, too, should the mission to Arequipa, which I reported as having left here, result favorably, it might greatly hasten the creation of a government to make peace, as also might the capture of Arequipa by the Chilians, an event quite probable.
I hear of one public man now prominent who appears to be actuated by patriotic motives, that man being Iglesias, and a certain sympathy must be felt with and for him. But, apart from any sentiment of that kind, I am persuaded that Chili, to make peace, must insist upon its proposed government, since the Peruvians do not appear capable themselves of creating one. And yet nearly all thinking Peruvians and many resident foreigners believe that it is not the purpose of Chili to make peace, but rather to justify permanent occupation, through a demonstrated inability to find or to create a government with which to negotiate one, and what I should consider a worse fate is more than likely to befall the country. There certainly exist grounds for such doubts, and perhaps nothing is regarded as more conclusive proof than the toleration by Chili of Montero at Arequipa. But, on the other hand, the apparent anxiety of Chili to establish the Iglesias government and to secure its prompt recognition by the United States would indicate an earnest desire for peace. The battle of Huamachuco, fought to save Iglesias, cost Chili many lives, but it swept away what claim the Montero government had for recognition.
The present movement of a large force over the mountains in the direction of Ayacucho can be viewed only as a support to Iglesias in the central departments, and as such it becomes a well-considered and powerful demonstration, while it is probable the final purpose is to send this force on to Arequipa, another column to be pushed towards the same place from Tacna, upon the opposite side.
The annihilation of what remains of the Montero government would doubtless quicken the acceptance by Peru of the bitter burdens imposed by her implacable enemy. Of the conditions none appears more galling than the government being forced upon the country.
In conversations with my colleagues I find few decided anticipations of a prompt peace. The German minister frankly told me his instructions respecting the recognition of a government were to follow the lead of the United States. The French minister as well as the Spanish concur in the views expressed herein.
The former has instructions similar to mine respecting the protocol signed by Iglesias. The Brazilian representative alone takes active part as a supporter of the Iglesias movement. The other missions, except that of Salvador, are filled just now by persons in temporary charge.
I have, &c.,