to Mr. Frelinghuysen.
Lima, October 3, 1883. (Received October 27.)
Sir: It seems probable that General Iglesias will reach here by or before the end of this month, the coming from Chili of Mr. Aldunate., with full powers, having quickened the march of events so for as they are dependent upon the Chilians, and that the recognition of Iglesias by nations represented here will be proposed and, at the least expected. I desire to ask instructions and may find it necessary to cable you, but in that event trust this letter will have reached you, as it should be in, Washington by the 24th instant.
With this purpose in view I will endeavor to place before you a statement of the present condition of affairs, and in the same connection invite your attention to the inclosed memorandum of a private conversation with Mr. Aldunate.
Preparations are being made for the evacuation of Lima so soon as the delegate of General Iglesias shall have succeeded in organizing a force of 1,000 men at Ancon, a place upon the sea-coast a few miles north of this city, which has been declared neutral for the purpose. When these men are armed and ready the Chilians will evacuate the city, moving out to Barranca, Chorillos and other neighboring places, and relinquishing the capital to this Peruvian force.
Meanwhile preparations are so far advanced for the movement upon Arequipa that the division to proceed hence by sea to disembark near Mollendo will leave Callao to-day. The total force is to consist of about 9,000 men, moving in three columns, but it is not anticipated that a battle will be necessary, nor is it the purpose to push the movement to that extremity unless the attitude of Montero should make an attack inevitable.
Should Bolivia be disposed, however, to support Montero by sending troops to Arequipa, with which place there is railway communication from Lake Titicaca, the situation would become grave; but such action is not thought probable. There are stories of arms and munitions of war reaching Montero through Bolivia and by way of the Argentine Republic.
The force I have before reported as moving over the Andes upon Ayacucho had arrived in that city. A small force under Caceres is reported to have disbanded on the approach of the Chilians, and the march on towards Cuzco can apparently be continued without molestation by a regularly armed Peruvian force.
The delegate sent by Montero ostensibly to treat with Iglesias will arrive here to witness the energetic preparations for an attack upon Arequipa, and it is presumed the people of that city, learning of this, will revolt, should Montero make it necessary, the feeling there undoubtedly being much in favor of peace, while much discontent is reported on account of Montero’s conduct.[Page 718]
In the department of Junin the people recently rose upon the leaders of a small force, operating ostensibly, and so recognized by the Chilians, in favor of Iglesias, driving them out of the department, the people declaring they did this because the robberies and outrages committed had become insupportable; that they had desired peace and were willingto sustain General Iglesias in his endeavors to secure it; but they had been robbed by Cáceres and other of Montero’s chiefs, then by the enemy, and were now being despoiled of what remained to them in the name of Iglesias.
It is understood that Mr. Aldunate has had frequent interviews with leading citizens here, and he himself informed me that he is much en couraged, while it appears that the peace movement is gaining ground elsewhere.
The Peruvians have been exceedingly slow to learn the lessons of the war or to recognize that they must submit to its results. A change in this respect is apparent, and Mr. Iglesias is likely to come, with a fair proportion of the intelligent people in favor of his movement, but his status will be peculiar and embarrassing. In some towns circular declarations have been signed in favor of the regenerator President, as Peruvian supporters style him. The northern departments generally have apparently submitted to his assumption of governmental powers, but he has there had the Chilian power to support him, making it very doubtful how far the people would have been with him, or how far they would submit to prefects of his appointment, were there no troopsof the enemy near at hand.
Bands of Montoneros still operate in that section, these are unimportant in number and may be set down as engaged in plunder.
The Indian (Inca) population of the interior are firm adherents of Piérola, who styled himself not only dictator, but also protector of the Indians. His partisans support General Iglesias. I infer that the Indians, in number forming the majority of population, so far as their very low degree of intelligence admits, are to be classed as adherents also; at least they have been plundered by Caceres and by Chilians, and can hardly be counted as friends of either. There are many Peruvians who still insist that Chili has no real purpose of making peace; that this determination in favor of Iglesias is only a move to further distract the country and make peace impossible. Many declare an unyielding opposition to a Government thrust upon them by their enemy, and which, so long as it can maintain itself, will be under Chilian domination. Some very old and much esteemed men, as General Echunque, ex-President, and for half a century a leading man of the nation, Dr. Arenas, for many years a noted lawyer and man of public affairs, and others, have visited me, expressing their support of the peace movement.
Besides furnishing arms, &c., to General Iglesias, I am satisfied that Chili is supplying money, but” it is likely this is derived from customs and other dues collected by her officers in Peru. Mr. Aldunate told me, “Iglesias would have plenty of money to come with.”
The situation of Peru itself is that of a state without credit, without arms, and without resources. * * * The entire force of the enemy in the country does not exceed 18,000 men of all arms, a force so small that the weight of numbers, armed only with machetas, would overwhelm it were the Peruvians united and determined, but they are sadly divided, while anarchy and lawlessness has possession over large areas of country.
Under such circumstances, what would be considered sufficient evidence [Page 719]that General Iglesias is so far supported by intelligent Peruvians as to entitle him on taking possession here to the recognition of the United States?
The Chilian authorities will recognize him as the provisional President, and it is expected he will take measures to convene a constituent assembly elected to make peace and establish a Government. A general holding of elections in conformity with this invitation would constitute a direct recognition by the people. It is not improbable that by the time he has reached here there may be evidence that most of the towns have in some manner recognized his authority.
For example, the people of Moquequa pronounced for him when a Chilian force passed beyond their city toward Arequipa. Yet, there the enemy may have exerted pressure. It is expected the citizens of Arequipa will drive out Montero’s adherents, and Cuzco and other towns in the southern and central departments will follow with measures evincing recognition of the general in his efforts for peace.
It is my conviction that, being unable to make war, the only assured way to peace for Peru is by support of Iglesias. As before stated, it is apparent to me the Peruvians, if left free to elect, could not organize a Government for that purpose. Their party antagonisms and personal feuds are too bitter. Peace is the first necessity for them. Under existing conditions, the country is going from bad to worse; it is being utterly destroyed in its industries as well as in its ability to pursue or to protect the ordinary vocations of peace. I feel that what support can be properly given to General Iglesias should be rendered, but I am greatly embarrassed in the expression of an opinion as to how far the United States should go in recognizing him. In the ordinary civil broils of the country it has been the custom to recognize any actual occupant of the palace to whom the people of Lima submit, without too close an inquiry as to how the Presidential chair had been reached. In this instance General Iglesias could not have sustained his undertaking any time had it not been for the military support of the Chilians, and but for their protection it is probable Caceres would have shot him months ago. He is to-day largely sustained by the same power, and will come here because of that support. So far as I hear, he would have been far from the choice of the larger part of the people had there been an opportunity for an election, and this while his integrity of purpose is very generally admitted. Many, however, criticise severely the leaders who are with him.
But two forms of recognition by the people appear to be practicable now—one by declaration of towns in favor, made by signature of leading citizens, or by putting Iglesias men in office; and the other, by an election of an assembly and the choice by that body of Iglesias as the Executive. While it is hardly in accord with Peruvian methods for men in power to do so, it is said to be his intention to resign all power on the assembling of the convention.
The telegraph can therefore be readily used, if necessary, to convey to me your instructions.
I told Mr. Aldunate five days ago that I could not advise the recognition of General Iglesias from what was then known of the circumstances under which he would probably reach here, but that great changes would be imminent at all times now. In the few days since elapsed I have had occasion to verify this statement.
I have, &c.,
P. S.—Since writing the above a newspaper editor states that Iglesias will teach here on the 15th instant, and gives it as official. The general is to land at Ancon.