No. 304.
Mr. Phelps to Mr. Frelinghuysen.

No 154.]

Sir: The movements of the Government forces in the north of Peru culminated on the 10th instant in the capture of Trujillo, about five hundred of the combatants having been killed and wounded. Repulsed [Page 434] in the first attack the commander of the Government troops, Lorenzo Iglesias, brother of the President, appears, beyond doubt, to have encouraged his men to renew the attack on the 10th instant by a promise of several hours’ of pillage, and the city was the scene of destruction and plunder accordingly. An American citizen, robbed of money, in his claim refers, as a witness of the act, to the commander of regiment No. 9, to whom appeal for protection was made. There was a small fight at Chiclayo last week. Puga, who was deposed by his officers from the command at Trujillo and was thought to have fled the country, now turns up in the interior in command of four hundred men. There are other people in arms, but mostly are to be regarded as marauding bands, hostile to peace and government. In the interior it would seem that the Government is extending its limits of control, although bands of armed men spring up in unaccountable ways in every direction. A commission has gone, or is to go, south, ostensibly to treat with Caceres, the Government being wholly unequal to an attack upon him at Arequipa. It is altogether probable the purpose of the commission is quite as much to discover and to foment dissensions in that section as to propose terms for a settlement of the unhappy strife in the country. We are favored with long lists of fines imposed by the military commanders upon the inhabitants of towns occupied, and it may be safely asserted that a Government without an influential following in the country—without popularity or public confidence, supported largely by the recent national enemy in supplies of arms, clothing, munitions, &c., and enabled to maintain itself through the general prostration, is pursuing a risky course for the restoration of peace and the consolidation of its power. The events of Trujillo have unquestionably produced a most unfavorable impression in the country and weakened the Government.

I have, &c.,