No. 453.
Mr. Phelps to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

[Extract.]
No. 14.]

Sir: From trustworthy foreigners coming last week from Trujiilo I have received information independent of Chilian sources.

The point of most consequence, and in which all concur, is that Iglesias has no real party support in the north, and that the sentiment in Trujiilo itself is decidedly against him. The explanation of this in part is the absence of prestige-, and that those who prior to the war were not being supported by the Government, for here was the curious spectacle of a Government supporting its people largely, not the people the Government, and those not governed by fears for property, do not so much desire peace as to forget the character of Chili’s demands, which are considered [Page 722]intolerable. Many of opposing parties who submit to a call by him of a constituent assembly hold themselves in readiness for war upon him. I note that those most likely to be objects of special distrust on Mr. Iglesias coming are leaving Lima.

Mr. Gibbs reached Arequipa on the 27th ultimo and left on the 5th instant for La Paz. He had interviews with Government officials and others, and Montero breakfasted with him. He declared his intention to fight the Chilian force proceeding against him, and stated that General Cáceres has a better force than he had before the battle of Hua-machuco.

The masses in Arequipa are tired of the war and want peace. They are hopeless, Mr. Gibbs Says, respecting the future, and, in his judgment, great harm would arise unless the people of Arequijm get rid of Montero.

Bolivia has rather gained than suffered by the war, and Mr. Gibbs. anticipates, from what was said, that should Iglesias, who is regarded as an enemy of Bolivia, succeed in making the proposed treaty, those who are allies now will take advantage of the defenseless condition in which Peru will be left, and will seize Arequipa and Mollendo, with the railroad from Puno, on Lake Titicaca, thus securing an outlet independent of Chilian territory.

He was informed that Bolivian troops were marching to the aid of Arequipa, and Peruvians here believe the story. I hardly credit it nor do I think Montero will bring matters to the issue of a battle.

A steamer, chartered for six days, left yesterday to bring General Iglesias and followers to Ancon. Men are being impressed for military service by agents of the coming government, their operations being carried on under the Chilian flag. Doubtless such recruits will be favorable guardians, but, like those of Arequipa, must be locked up at night.

The appointed alcalde of this city cannot have much faith, as he desired to have the “guardia urbana” called out for the public safety. This guard is formed of organizations of foreigners, designed for self-defense and protection, and can only rightfully use their arms when all native authority has failed in power to prevent pillage and outrages. It saved Lima when left without a government after the battle of Mira-flores, and, in fact, surrendered the city to the Chilians.

The urgent haste to get Mr. Iglesias here will not probably much hasten peace. In any event, several months will be required to elect and bring together the delegates to the convention, and, in the disturbed condition of the interior, it may be anticipated some delegates will never reach Lima.

While I think the Chilians will succeed in establishing Iglesias for their purposes, there are very intelligent people, foreigners and others, who maintain that the effort will prove an entire failure. I cannot think so. While Chili insists upon the conditions contained in the Iglesias peace protocol, I can see no other way to peace except through him. But I think Mr. Aldunate does not quite appreciate the difficulties in the way.

There is an evident sullen discontent amongst a large and dangerous class, and to-day there is great apprehension and excitement in both Lima and Callao because of the coming evacuation of the cities by the Chilian forces and the defenseless condition in which they are likely to be left. It is difficult to see how the Chilians are to assist Peruvian soldiers in putting down an uprising in the cities while a state of war exists between the two nations.

I have, &c.,

S. L. PHELPS.