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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the forty-fifth Congress, 1877-'78
(1877-1878)

Peru,   pp. 433-450 PDF (8.5 MB)


Page 450


450                     FOREIGN RELATIONS.
one of the squares in Valparaiso, and, by proper management and atten-
tion, could have been taken by the .Pacific Mail Company years ago.
   In reading over articles in our newspapers on American commerce
 abroad, and particularly in South America, I am convinced that there
 is only one way to get a hold in this country, and that is by Americans
 doing as the English have done, to come with their capital and start
 large houses here on this coast, and not wait for orders, as we have to
 competewith an established power that has every convenience and
 facility with the great European commercial center, London.
   There are about 2,000 British subjects ifl Peru connected with com-
merce, steamship companies, railroad and gas companies. Theprincipal
founderies and plumbing establishments are-carried on by Englishmen.
  The most numerous of immigrants that have arrived in this country
are the Italians, and also the same in the other South American countries.,
This is easily accounted for by the similarity of religion, the facility
of
acquiring the language, which is of the same basis as their own, and
the mildness of the climate.
  There are in Peru some 17,000 Italians, in. this city about 7,000, and
the
neighboring port, 4,000. They are industrious, law-abiding, peaceable,
and a moral class of immigrants, at this time there being in the peniten.
tiary only three Italians serving sentences for crime. There are some com-
mercial houses, of large capital, and many small tradesmen well to do.
Nearly all the small grocery stores Of Limal Callao, and the more impor-
tant towns are owned by them- The principal flour-mills are owned and
run by Italians, a prominent-branch of industry, wheat being free, and
mostly imported from Chili, while flour pays duty-a discrimination
against the many to protect the interest of afewmill-owners. Restau-
rants and eating-houses are owned by theni, and many fishermen along
the coast are of this nationality. The Chinaman, with his slow, steady,
plodding manner, has encroached greatly on the Italian's field of corner
groceries and small eating houses, and generally remains master. There
is one small colony of Italians in the interior, at Chauchamayo, and I
have heard it is in a prosperous condition.
  *The Germans are next in uumber, there being about 3,000. Some are
first.class merchants, and have commercial houses of more or less im-
p)ortance in all of the large cities and in the towns along the coast.
Here in Lima the greater part of. the bakers, blacksmiths, and cabinet-
makers, are"Germans. All of the brewers' (quite an increasing busi-
ness) are of this nationality. At Pazuzo there is a small thriving
colony of Germans, and they have a monthly line of steamers from
(Callao to Hamburg, touching at Valparaiso, Montevideo, and Havre.
The French number about 2,800, and are mostly located in this city and
Callao, nearly all shop-keepers and small traders ; very few in the interior.
  Our countrymen are not emigrants in the true sense of the word; the
United States offering such immense fields for their enterprise, the few
who go abroad go more for the love of adventure, a roaming disposi-
tion, or with an idea of making a fortune within a short time. For
these reasons I doubt if there are over 500 in all Peru. The greater
part of these came as employds and builders of railroads under the
direction of Mr. Meiggs. O'f American commercial houses, I only know
of one old house long established on this coast and two smaller ones of
a later date; but there is room for others, and I doubt not that with
some convenient, secure, and cheaper means of transpQrt than we have
now, the product of Americau i d.ustries would soon supplant the infe-
rior English class that have a monopoly of this whole coast.
       1 am, &!c.,
                                               RICHARD GIBBS.


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