Mr. Hides to Mr. Gresham.

No. 482.]

Sir: Late on the evening of Monday, March 27, a report reached Lima that a serious riot had occurred at Mollendo, a small village about 400 miles from Lima, in the south of Peru, in which the American consular agency was sacked and the acting consular agent wounded by a bullet. I at once telegraphed Mr. A. J. Daugherty, consul at Callao, to ask if he had received any report from the consular agent. He had not, and then, at my suggestion, after the arrival of the steamer, he telegraphed the consular agent as follows:

Henry Meier:
Acting Consular Agent, Mollerido:

Are you wounded? Was consulate invaded? Nothing received from you by mail.

Daugherty.

Two holidays intervened when no business was done, and on April 1, Mr. Meier replied:

Bullet in the left leg. Office partly destroyed. Archives saved. Wrote to-day. Feel better.

Meier.

When the next steamer arrives from the south, which will probably be to-morrow, the 4th, Mr. Meier’s report will be received and will then be transmitted to this legation. Pending its receipt I can only wait for further information.

As reported by the newspapers and by the officers of the Masonic grand lodge of Peru, the unfortunate affair is explained in this way: Señor de Cazorla, a prominent Peruvian and member of the Peruvian Senate, a resident of Mollendo, died at La Paz, Bolivia, a short time before, and his remains were brought home and buried. The Masonic lodge at Mollendo, of which Señor de Cazorla had been a member and at the time of his death was the master, made arrangements to pay their respects to the memory of the deceased by public funeral exercises, to be held in the lodge room on Saturday evening, March 25. About 150 persons were present, men and women, composed of some of the leading citizens of Mollendo. A traveling company of musicians, called the Estudiantina Americana, en route to Lima, offered its services and took part in the musical programme of the evening. About 8:30 p.m. the lodge room was attacked by a mob, which threw stones and clubs at the doors and windows, broke up the meeting, drove the audience into the street, and created a period of terror and consternation. As soon as the people had left the Masonic hall the mob entered, took possession of the furniture in the lodge room, as well as the musical instruments of the Estudiantina Americana, and removed the furniture [Page 510]and instruments to the street below, made a bonfire of the whole property, and burned it to ashes. Several houses and offices in the immediate vicinity were sacked in the same manner.

The office of Henry Meier, the acting consular agent of the United States, was near the lodge room and suffered from the attack. Several persons were reported seriously wounded by stones and Mr. Meier is said to be suffering from the effects of a bullet in his leg. One person is said to have been killed.

It is said that the action of the mob grew out of a bitterness felt by the people against the Masonic fraternity, and it is also further alleged that one or more priests were present at the time of the attack and urged the rioters to their work.

It is also further stated in the Lima newspapers that the subprefect of Mollendo was absent at the time and that the police force was limited to seven men, and that these seven men were present at the time of the attack, but did nothing to prevent it.

Without having the official report of the acting consular agent at hand, I am of the impression that the attack was a domestic affair growing out of religious differences, and that the damage or injury to the consular agency was incidental to the attack upon the Masonic meeting.

As soon as the official report is received from Mr. Meier, I shall give it prompt attention.

I am, etc.,

John Hicks.