No. 275.
Mr. Phelps to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No. 51.]

Sir: Little change has occurred since my last report upon the situation.

It appears to be settled that Caceres is determined to maintain his position and pretensions, in consequence of which Iglesias’ officials cannot assume authority beyond those places accessible to, and under threat of visitation by, Chilian troops, an occurrence not at all relished by Peruvian communities.

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The rainy season upon the eastern side of the Cordillera gives Caceres security from serious attack by the enemy, while apart from them he would be more than a match anywhere for Iglesias’ troops.

On the 13th instant elections for deputies are to begin and may extend at each of the polls over a period of twelve days. So far the civil party proper seems disposed not to take part, but it is understood General Iglesias is urging some of the leaders to become Government candidates, and all well-wishers of the country may hope he will be successful. Such men are needed in the Government, and the adhesion of very few would have a wide influence.

Chilian forces continue to occupy the vicinity of Lima, Arequipa, Puno, and the line of the Aroya (Transandino) Railway to the frontier of Junian, and while, by declaration, at peace with the established Government of Peru, exercise most of the powers of actual warfare and are waging war with Caceres on the other side of the mountains. The Government of Iglesias is a de facto one over the larger part of the country, is seemingly accepted by a respectable proportion of the people, and yet behind it and over it is always seen the shadow of the protecting arms of Chili. The position is peculiar and full of embarrassing questions.

Caceres is reported to have exercised remarkable influence over the most savage of the Indian tribes and to have put an end to their disorders within the extent of country under his control. Iglesias has still to contend with Puga and other like petty chiefs in the north. Reports of their complete overthrow are constantly made and as frequently they reappear upon the scene.

I am told it is the purpose of General Iglesias to have twelve thousand troops under arms by the 1st March, the date fixed for the meeting of the assembly, probably for the purpose of maintaining himself if elected president pro tempore. But I would do him the justice to say that he will submit himself entirely to the assembly. His officials and followers will send most of the delegates, and elections will not be the subject of minute inquiries.

How the Government is supported is to me quite a mystery, but many of its expenses remain unpaid.

I have, &c.,