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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

Peru,   pp. 855-976 PDF (55.0 MB)

Page 974

974                          FOREIGN     RELATIONS.
occupation insecure, and on this account they may forbid whatever may endanger
safety. In accordance with this rule, established by international law and
by the
practice of nations, you may oppose my having troops and my practicing all
acts of
hostility. Acknowledging this right when my troops at Magdalena were disarmed,
protested against that acti not because I have the right to keep an army,
but because
it violated our pre-existing engagements, and inasmuch as it might imply
a rupture of
relations with me. Bat as you declared that that measure was a purely military
and dictated only by motives of safety, I recognized the force of martial
law, and I
did not insist on my reclamation. I continue, however, occupying without
troops the
zone of Magdalena, Miraflores, and Chorillos, and the authorities appointed
by me are
to this moment at those places, which your troops have not again occupied.
   This fact, apparently insignificant, proves that you and I are perfectly
in accord as
 regards the extent of martial law. I understand that I cannot exercise in
Lima any
 function which may have the character of a public act or of an act of force,
and I ab-
 stain from practicing the same; and you must-be convinced that you cannot
 anyacts outside of that sphere, and for the same reason you have not opposed
my con-
 stituting offices in Lima, transacting business in them, and practicing
in general all
 governmental acts which do not require a public manifestation as an essential
 site for their validity.
   According to these principles, you have had no right to take possession
of the treas-
 ury nor to sequestrate the funds which the government possesses in the Bank
of Lon-
 don, and which proceed from loans made by the bank itself; nor to demand
the sur-
 render of the other offices under my administration. Those establishments
are not of
 a warlike character, and I myself have no war powers, consequently martial
law can-
 not be invoked for such acts. Martial law is not conquest; martial law does
not trans-
 fer Peruvian territory to the Chilian Government, and consequently in spite
of that
 law I can and must exercise my authority, with the limitations indicated;
and the
 offices under my administration should and must continue in operation.
   To these considerations must be added the fact that many foreign nations
have rec-
 ogniz~ed my government as the legitimate government of Peru; and in virtue
of that
 recognition I have contracted with foreigners residing in'this country obligations
 I must fulfill. If those countries had believed that my government could
 by an order from the Chilian authorities, they would have never recognized
me. But
 they have thought that Peru has the right to govern herself, and have established
 lations with me, and have now the right to require the fulfillment of the
 entered into with their nationals.
   I have, however, stated at the beginning of this letter that my resolution
not to
 cede any Peruvian territory as the basis of the treaty of peace is the cause
of the meas-
 ures taken against me. Even under this supposition it will be easy to show
 what is now required of me is not justifiable.
   When my election took place, I received the mission to conclude a treaty
of peace
 with Chili: and from that moment I made efforts not only to know the true
opinions of
 the republic as regards the treaty, but also to study the terms proposed
at Arica, and
 to find out if they were or not reasons strong enough to make them advisable.
It does
 not require a great effort to see that the majority if not the whole of
Peru is opposed
 to the cession of territory, and, this being the fact, the treaty of peace
in which
 that cession were stipulated would produce as a result, not only the overthrow
of the
 government who were to sign it, but also the necessity of undertaking another
   The first of these reasons, which belongs exclusively to the domestic
politics of Peru,
 does not in truth concern the Republic of Chili; :but the second reason
is of serious
 import to Chili. To her and to Peru it is of the highest importance that
the peace
 concluded should be such that it shall not be in future altered, and that
hostilities be
 not again renewed; and as this end cannot be attained by accepting a condition
 peace which the republic rejects, I ought not and must not sign a treaty
in which, un-
 der the name of peace, I should make a legacy of perpetual wars to my country
 to the Republic of Chili.
 The example of what passes in Europe cannot be alleged to destroy the force
of the
 preceding consideration. On the contrary, the extension of frontiers among
the na-
 tions of Europe has been fromthe remotest time, and willcontinue to be in
the future,
 the cause of formidable wars which destroy millions of men. In spite of
the exuberance
 of population and wealth of the European nations, their large permanent
armies are
 the cause of immense evils, and these are the natural consequence of the
wars of fron-
 tiers, boundaries, and conquest. If this system were to be introduced into
America, it
 would produce sooner or later the ruin of the continent. Our republics are
not rich in
 capital or in population, as is proved by the fact that all are in need
of immigration,
 and that the least commotion compels them to raise new loans, and to issue
   If, in consequence of her first war, Chili has been forced to have recourse
to the use
 of paper money, of which she was free, what will happen when she shall be
obliged to
sustain- two or three more wars, or at least to keep up a considerable army
to maintain

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