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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the first session of the forty-seventh Congress, 1880-'81
(1881-1882)

Bolivia,   pp. 76-95 PDF (8.3 MB)


Page 76


76                      FOREIGN RELATIONS.
                             BOLIVIA.
                                No. 55.
                       Mr. Adams to Mr. IEivartM.
 No. 43.]                 LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,
               Ea Paz, November 12, 1880. (Received December 27.)
   Sin: I have the honor to submit herewith a brief report'of the politi-
 cal situation in Bolivia, since my last dispatch upon that subject, No0
 27, dated September 3 last.
   During the absence of the miniSters and myself at AriCa, everything
 was very quiet, especially as it was generally believed that our media-
 tion would certainly bring about peace, if not directly at least by arbi-
 tration.
   In that sense the National Assembly of Bolivia after ca session of five
 months adjourned sine die on October 24, without passing any direct
 laws looking towards an active prOSecution of the war. It gave, how-
 ever, full powers to the President as to the enrollment of troops, the
 raising of a foreign loan, in compliance with which a financial agent has
 already been sent to Europe, the purchase of arms and employment of
 other means for defense; it approved the Bravo concessions- in spite of
 Peru's protest, for the colonization of its eastern territories and build-
 ing of highways, railroads, and canals from the east via the La Plata
 and Amazon Rivers, and it referred the acceptance of the Peru-Bolivia
 confederation to popular vote in the future; so that for the present
 that brilliant idea of Dictator P riola of Peru may be considered a fail-
 ure; it passed an excellent mining law, and in general, being very con-
 servative, may be considered to have worked for the interest of the
 country as best it could.
 The Government of Bolivia having declined to declare commercial
 interdiction with Tacna and Arica at the request of Peru, the prefect
 of the narrow strip of country still nominally occupied by Peruvians
 between the above places, and the borders of Bolivia, had imposed upon
 all goods passing through his jurisdiction a transit duty in itself for-
 bidding all trade, and had actually seized goods then en route for non.
 pajvment, which action excited the public feeling here very much. and
 came near leading to a rupture, but the Peruvian minister at La Paz
ordered the goods released and a compromise was effected, whereby
an additional 5 per cent. duty is to be paid to Peru, so that with the
duties to Chili, Peru, and Bolivia, about 65-per cent. ad valorem, and
the enormous costs of transpOrtation prices of even the necessaries of
life and especially clothing have risen to extreme figures, while money
,-retains its full valueexchange being almost at par.
  When the failure of the conferences became known here, the Presi-
dent made a spirited address to the troops in public; but'the people
are very dejected, an invasion is feared, and especially the inhabitants
of this city already see their property burned and destroyed, and them-
selves fleeing from the cruelty and brutality of the enemy, their only
hope being still that in some way or other the United States will inter-
vene in what is now considered by all the most cruel and barbarous
war of devastation, vandalism, and conquest on the part of the enemy,
and that no mercy need be expected.
  *'Minister Carrillo informed me yesterday that he, with his colleagues


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