No. 122.
Mr. Roberts to Mr. Bayard.

No. 117.]

Sir: Since my dispatch of the 31st ultimo, announcing the existence of the cholera at the hamlet of Santa Maria, Chili, the disease has spread through the larger portion of the province of Aconcagua, comprising the towns and districts of San Felipe, Santa Maria, Los Andes, Pauquehue, Catemu, Tierras Blancas, Nogales, Higuelas, etc., and the towns of Quilpué, Quillote, and Llaillai, the last two in the province of Valparaiso. It is slowly extending along the valley of the Aconcagua, following the course of the river towards the sea, near Valparaiso. It has already appeared at Quillote, a station on the railroad between Santiago and Valparaiso, and about 35 miles from the latter. About six hundred cases have so far been reported, of which about two hundred and fifty have proved fatal. The victims are almost exclusively confined to the poorer class of people.

Every precaution possible has been taken by the authorities to check the spread of the disease, and stringent sanitary measures adopted, especially in the cities of Santiago and Valparaiso, which for the last two months show a death-rate less than has ever been known at this season.

The following dispatch from Iquique, dated January 5, appeared in the press of this city:

The Peruvian Government has decreed to take active measures against the cholera, and has ordered the closing of all her ports against vessels coming from infected countries.

I waited for some days to see if the Government of Chili would succeed in the effort it was making with the Government of Peru to obtain a modification of the order, but having failed, I cabled the following dispatch on the 13th instant:

Bayard, Washington:

Peruvian ports closed against Chili. Stops Panama mails both ways. No cholera Chilian ports.


It is unnecessary for me to point out how very seriously this action of Peru affects our interests. All the steamship lines have been withdrawn from the route between here and Panama, so that the Pacific, from Panama to Cape Horn, is practically closed to our commerce and communication by steam.

The situation at present is suggestive of the very peculiar position we occupy with regard to communication with this hemisphere. All the traffic and mails from this coast have now to go to Europe, and this dispatch will leave Valparaiso on the 18th instant for Lisbon, thence by rail to Paris and Calais, thence to Liverpool and New York, and will probably take fifty days alone in transit. The last dispatch received here was No. 50, and the last papers dated December 8; when I will receive the next mail it is impossible to say.

Since the foregoing was written, a notice appeared in the press that all transit has been forbidden along the frontier between Chili and Peru since the 12th instant.

I have, etc.,

William R. Roberts.