Mr. Buck to Mr. Bayard.
Lima, Peru, August 7, 1885. (Received September 4.)
Sir: No incident of decisive interest has transpired since my last reference to political conditions. There has recently been published in [Page 606] the Lima papers a long manifesto of General Cáceres, in which he reviews the late attempt at negotiations for peace. He states his ultimatum in substance as follows:
The supreme court shall assume the supreme power of the Republic, with the exclusive object of designating a provisional government which shall be recognized and supported by both Cáceres and Iglesias, and by which general elections shall be called for a constitutional Congress, President and Vice-President of the Republic, and neither of the two generals referred to shall be a candidate; or, Generals Cáceres and Iglesias, exercising authority in the territories over which they govern, shall simultaneously call for general elections, recognizing the status of the present order of things. The constituent Congress to be thus elected shall assemble in some part of the Republic where no armed force belonging to either leader may exist. The Government thus chosen by popular vote shall be recognized by both generals, and they shall deliver over to it all the material they possess. The manifesto is dated Tarma, July 10, 1885. General Cáceres charges that the Government knew in advance his views, and that Señor Tovar’s mission did not cover any real desire or purpose to bring about peace. He reavows his purpose never to lay down arms until Iglesias retires or is driven from power.
The Government, it is thought, was fearful of trusting the army under its old organization after General Mas tendered his resignation; and for the purpose of injecting sufficient fresh and more reliable elements into the ranks, and of re-officering the troops with more trusted servants of its own, withdrew the army to Lima concurrently with the return to the capital of Señor Tovar and General Mas.
Perhaps this purpose has been measurably accomplished 5 and there appears some disposition to reach outward again. Last week upwards of one hundred men were sent to Pisco, something more than a hundred miles southward, and on Saturday last a force under command of General Ramirez, consisting of 80 artillerymen, with four guns and two Gat-ling guns, the battalion “Regeneration” No. 1, and police columns (which, by the way, are Government troops of the line) Nos. 1, 2, and 3, making in all some 1,000 men, embarked for the north, with Truxillo most likely in view as the objective point.
The Government must have about six hundred men already at San Pedro, which is, say, 85 miles distant by land from Truxillo. The latter place is occupied by Cácerestas with a force eight hundred or a thousand strong, and with a guard at Salaverry, its port, distant about 7 miles. They also have a force of perhaps upwards of a hundred men at Chimbote, some 26 leagues south. The port of Salaverry is closed, but not so that of Chimbote. This discrimination in favor of the latter place possibly results, as has been suggested, from the fact that some estates dependent on it as a port are owned by parties near the Government in Lima, and it is necessary to permit access for shipment of their sugar and other products. However this may be, interests in the north center about the important city of Truxillo; and I am given to understand at the palace the Government proposes to recapture the place, and thereby reassume control of the north and relieve foreigners of the exactions of, and outrages perpetrated by, the Monteneros.
Some time ago the foreign citizens at Truxillo, admonished by their experiences when the place was captured before, united, through their consular representatives, in petitioning the commanders of both forces to respect and protect foreign property in case of a battle; but both sides gave them to understand if a battle occurred they would have to take their chances. When the Government took the place in October [Page 607] last there was some bloody fighting, the place was sacked, and many foreigners suffered.
I was today told by Mr. Braun, the Bolivian minister, that arrangements had been effected by which, upon: the giving of guarantees, that goods shipped by way of Mollendo to Bolivia are to go through without stoppage at Arequipa, they shall be exempted from duties both by the Government and Cáceres forces.
Perhaps the position of Bolivia is of too great importance to both parties for either to continue their predatory exactions upon her commerce. It occurs to me there may be something more than mere commercial significance in this, for Mr. Braun remarked at the same time that he thought the civil war would end and matters be settled in two or three months. I have not observed any publication of this important matter in the papers, and the first I heard of it was from the Bolivian minister. This arrangement was effected some eight days ago; and there is at least coincidence between it and the fact that only a few days afterward occurred the embarkation of troops for both the south and the north, as already stated. This is, however, merely an inference of my own.
I have, &c.,
P. S.—August 8, 1885. Since writing the above I find this a.m. that some four hundred troops, possibly more, were sent from here to Chosica last night. There must now be at that point about 1,500 men, if all that have been sent up are still there. The Government permits no communication of news from the other side of Chosica. As the railroad is closed to trains except such as move under orders, nothing is known of what happens beyond.