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Title: Peru in the Guano Age - Being a Short Account of a Recent Visit to the Guano - Deposits With Some Reflections on the Money They Have - Produced and the Uses to Which it has Been Applied
Author: Duffield, Alexander James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.






     TO THE





     Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen


                Señor Don Juan Espinosa y de Maldonado,
                  _Estimado y distinguido Amigo mio_:

It would be most pleasant to continue this letter in the language in
which it begins and which you taught me some five and twenty years ago,
but I wish others to read it as well as yourself.

I dedicate this little book to you for several reasons: not because
of our common friendship, extending now over more than a quarter of a
century, nor yet for the confidence which you have reposed in me under
many trying circumstances during that long period, but rather because
you are much interested in the country which the book describes, are
intimately acquainted with all the questions it raises, and more than
all because you have a thorough knowledge of Peru--its people and
history;--because further, it was you who first taught me how to regard
your countrymen, opened my eyes to their good and other qualities, and
because also you know that here I have set down nought in malice, have
said nothing that you do not know to be true, and drawn no inference
from the facts of past times or the doings of living men which you
would not sanction and endorse.

With one exception.

I am quite aware that you do not share in what I have said at page
118, but this is not my own opinion--it is the candidly expressed view
of the leading men of Lima. I know that you have always insisted upon
Peru paying her debts, not merely because you well know that she can
pay quite easily, but also because the effect on the moral life of
the country, if she should prove a defaulter, will be most disastrous.
It is pitiable beyond the power of human expression to find a single
thoughtful Peruvian holding a contrary opinion.

Since the following chapters were written several things have taken
place which have corroborated some of my statements, and fulfilled
more than one of my predictions. As you are aware a public meeting
was held, a month after my departure from Lima, at the Treasurer's
Office; at which were present the Minister of Finance and Commerce,
the Chief Accountant, and many other officers of departments, for the
purpose of receiving a communication from two Englishmen, setting forth
the discovery of fresh guano deposits on the coast, in the province
of Tarapaca. From all that could be gathered these new deposits may
be fairly estimated as containing three million tons of guano. This
confirms what I have said at page 101.

And yet we have heard nothing new from Peru regarding the payment of
her liabilities, nor has any official communication been made by the
Government regarding this important discovery. If General Prado does
not take care he will have his house pulled about his ears. One of
the most interesting revolutions yet to be made in Peru is one in the
interest of its honour and uprightness. If your friend General Montero
appeals to the country in that cause he might immortalize his name and
bring in the New Era. From the little I know of the General, however,
I should say that such a task is too much for him. It requires a man
broad of chest, of constant mind, of unimpeachable honour and absolute
unselfishness to make a revolution of that sort. Still it is a good
cry, and if Prado does not take it up himself he may come to grief when
he least expects it.

By the issue of Mr. Marsh's report from the British Consulate at Callao
you will notice how the Consul confirms what I have said about the
British sailor in Peru. Excessive drinking, licentious living, and
exposure are set forth as the main causes of a deterioration in our
merchant seamen which should attract the notice of Parliament. To send
unseaworthy ships to sea is to bring disgrace on the national name. The
national disgrace of sending unworthy seamen to sea appears to attract
little notice.

The chapter I read to you in MS. on 'Commercial Enterprise in Peru'
I have purposely omitted, as also my report on the riches of its Sea.
It will be time enough to talk of these things when the Chinese get a
firmer footing in the country than they have at present, or when the
Mormons have established themselves there.

Let me ask you to treat with leniency any unintentional wrong thinking
or wrong writing, but anything you discover here to be purposely
vulgar, purposely bad, or unjust, treat it as you would treat the creed
of a Jesuit, or a priest, or any other evil thing.

          Believe me to be,
              My dear Don Juan,
                  Your faithful friend and servant,
                    A. J. Duffield.

    Savile Club,
      _February, 1877_.

P. S. Let me publicly thank you for introducing to English readers
the works of RICARDO PALMA, certainly the best writer Peru has
produced, and eminently its first satirist. As you will see, I have
translated one of his _Tradiciones_. Some readers at first sight might
naturally feel inclined to suggest a transposition of the chapters
in the 'Law-suit against God,' or to look upon the second chapter as
altogether irrelevant to the story. But we who are in the secret know
better, and that the official corruption which is there set forth
is intimately connected with the catastrophe which follows, and is
a faithful representation of public life and morals, not only in old
Peru, but also in the Peru of the Guano Age.

          _Hasta cada rata._



Although Peru may boast of its Age of Guano, it has had its Golden
Age. This was before any Spaniard had put his foot in the country, and
when as yet it was called by quite another name. The name of Peru,
which signifies nothing, arose by accident or mistake. It was first
of all spelled Piru, no doubt from Biru, the native name of one of its
rivers. Time and use, which establish so many things, have established
Peru; and it is too late to think of disestablishing it for anything
else: and though it is nothing to boast of, let Peru stand. The country
had its Stone Age, and I have brought for the Cambridge antiquaries a
fair collection of implements of that period, consisting of lancets,
spear-heads, and heads for arrows, exquisitely wrought in flint,
jasper, opal, chalcedony, and other stones. They were all found in
the neighbourhood of the Pisagua river. It is to be regretted that no
material evidence of equal tangibility is forthcoming of the Age of
Gold. This is generally the result of comparison founded on historical

In the Golden Age Peru had--

I. A significant name, a well-ordered, fixed, and firm government,
with hereditary rulers. Only one rebellion occurred in twelve reigns,
and only two revolutions are recorded in the whole history of the Inca

II. The land was religiously cultivated.

III. There was a perfect system of irrigation, and water was made the
servant and slave of man.

IV. The land was equally divided periodically between the Deity, the
Inca, the nobles, and the people.

V. Strong municipal laws enforced, and an intelligent and vigorous
administration carried out these laws, which provided for cleanliness,
health, and order.

VI. Idleness was punished as a crime; work abounded for all; and no one
could want, much less starve.

VII. No lawsuit could last longer, or its decision be delayed more,
than five days.

VIII. Throughout the land the people everywhere were taught such
industrial arts as were good and useful, and were also trained by a
regular system of bodily exercises for purposes of health, and the
defence of the nation.

IX. Every male at a certain age married, and took upon himself the
duties of citizenship and the responsibilities of a manly life: he
owned his own house and lived in it, and a portion of land fell to him
every year, which was enlarged as his family increased.

X. Great public works were every year built which added to the strength
and glory of the kingdom.

XI. Deleterious occupations or such as were injurious to health were

XII. Gold was used for ornament, sacred vessels of the temple, and
the service of the Inca in his palaces. There is a tradition that this
precious metal signified in their tongue '_Tears of the Sun_.' Whether
this be an ancient or a modern tradition no one can tell us. It may be
not more than three and a half centuries old.

XIII. A man ravishing a virgin was buried alive.

XIV. A man ravishing a virgin of the Sun, that is, one of the vestal
virgins of the Temple, was burnt alive.

XV. It was accounted infamous for a man or woman to wear other people's
clothes, or clothes that were in rags.

XVI. Roads and bridges were among the foremost public works which bound
the vast country together.

XVII. Public granaries, for the storing of corn in case of emergency,
were erected in all parts, and some very out-of-the-way parts of the

XVIII. Woollen and cotton manufactures were brought to great
perfection. Examples of these remain to this day and will bear
comparison with those of our own time.

XIX. A thief suffered the loss of his eyes; and a creature committing
the diabolical act of altering a water-course suffered death.

And to sum up, here is the true confession of Mancio Sierra Lejesama,
one of the first Spanish Conquistadores of Peru, which confession he
attached to his will made in the city of Cuzco on the 15th day of
September, 1589, before one Geronimo Sanches de Quesada, escribano
publico, and which has been preserved to us by Espinosa in his
'People's Dictionary,' art. 'Indio.'

'First of all,' says the dying Lejesama, 'before commencing my will
I declare that I have much desired in all submission to acquaint His
Catholic Majesty, the King Don Philip our Lord, seeing how Catholic and
Christian he is, and how jealous for the service of God our Saviour,
of what touches the discharge of my soul for the great part I took in
the discovery, conquest, and peopling of these kingdoms, when we took
them from those who were their masters, the Incas, who owned and ruled
them as their own kingdoms, and put them under the royal crown. And
His Catholic Majesty shall understand that the said Incas governed
these kingdoms on such wise that in them all there was no thief or
vicious person, nor an idle man, nor a bad or an adulterous woman, [if
such there had been, be sure the Spaniard would have been the first
to find it out,] nor were there allowed among them people of evil
lives: men had their honest and profitable occupations, in all that
pertained to mountain or mine, to the field, the forest, or the home,
as in everything of use all was governed and divided after such sort
that each one knew and held to his own without another interfering
therewith: nor were lawsuits known among them: the affairs of war,
although not few, interfered not with those of traffic, nor yet did
these conflict with those of seed-time and harvest, or with other
matters whatsoever. All things from the greater to the less had their
order, concert, and good management. The Incas were dreaded, obeyed,
and respected by their subjects, for the greatness of their capacity
and the excellence of their rule. It was the same with the captains
and governors of provinces. And as we found command, and strength,
and force to rest in these, so had we to deprive them of these by the
force of arms to subject them to, and press them into, the service of
God our Lord, taking from them not only all command but their means
of life also. And by the permission of God our Lord we were able to
subject this kingdom of many people, and riches, and lords, making
servants of them as now we see. I trust that His Majesty understands
the motive which moves me to this relation, that it is for the purging
of my conscience by the confession of my guilt. We have destroyed
with our evil example people so well governed as these, who were so
far from being inclined to wrongdoing or excess of any sort--both men
and women--that an Indian with a hundred thousand dollars in gold and
silver in his house, would leave it open, or would place a broom, or
small stick across the threshold to signify that the owner was not
within, and with that, as was their custom, no one would enter, nor
take thence a single thing. When they saw us put doors to our houses,
and locks on our doors, they understood that we were afraid of them,
not that they would kill us, but that perhaps they might steal our
things. When they saw that we had thieves among ourselves, and men who
incited their wives and daughters to sin, they held us in low esteem.
So great is the dissoluteness now among these natives, and their
offences against God, owing to the evil example we have set them in all
things, that from doing nothing bad they have all--or nearly all--been
converted in our day into those who can do nothing good. This touches
also His Majesty, who will take care that his conscience has no part in
allowing these things to continue. With this I implore God to pardon
me, Who has moved me to declare these matters, because I am the last
to die of all the discoverers and conquistadores; for it is notorious
that now there exists not one other of their number, but I only either
in this kingdom or out of it, and with that I rest, having done all I
am able for the discharge of my conscience.'

This might be called the epitaph of the Golden Age, written by one who
knew it, and who helped to destroy it.

XX. Hospitality was a passion in that time, and what had been enjoined
and practised as a national duty became a private virtue, procuring
intense happiness in its exercise. Instances of this are on record that
are not equalled in the history of any other people.

Lastly--and these characteristics of our Golden Age have been taken
quite at random and as they have come to my recollection--the name by
which the Incas most delighted themselves in being known was that of
'Lovers of the Poor.' In this Golden Age gunpowder was unknown, and the
people for the most part were vegetarians. Animal food was eaten by the
soldiery and the labouring people only at the great religious feasts.
Fish, and the flesh of alpacas, were confined to the Incas and the
nobles. This will account for many things which subsequently occurred,
notably their easy conquest by the fire- and meat-eating Spaniard.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now write down our comparisons of the Age of Guano with the Age
of Gold.

I. The name and form of Government, it is true, are reduced to writing,
but the Government is, and has been from the commencement of its
Republican history, as unstable as water. On the close of the Guano
Age things would appear to be improving: President Pardo has completed
the whole term of his presidential life, and this is only the second
instance of a Peruvian Republican President having done so. It would be
difficult to reckon up the number of revolutions which have taken place
in the Age of Manure.

II. The land is not cultivated: the things, for the most part, which
are taken to market, are those which grow spontaneously, without art or
industry. The people who supply the Lima market are chiefly Italians,
while the greater part of the land is barren and unproductive. Potatoes
and other vegetables, wheat and barley, flour, fruits, and beef, all
come from Chile and Equador, but chiefly from the former.

III. The great water-courses and system of irrigation which marked the
Golden Age are all broken up, and the fructifying water, once stored
for the use and service of man, first became his master, and then his
relentless tyrant.

IV. The land cannot be said to belong to any one. Certainly not to God.
Even the Church, once a great proprietor and holder of slaves, is as
lazy as the laziest drone in any known hive. Many of the large estates
which flourished in the pre-Guano period have perished for lack of
hands. The sugar plantations are exceptions for the present, but what
will happen to them when the Chinese are all free is very uncertain. It
may even be said to be a source of alarm to many thoughtful persons.

V. Of the municipal laws, which provide for cleanliness, health, and
public order, although great progress has been made in Central Lima,
all that need be said is, that it is a wonder the inhabitants have
survived, and that those who were not killed in last year's revolution
have not been carried off by a plague.

VI. Idleness among the upper classes, i.e. the whole white population,
the descendants of Spain--those who supply the Army and Navy with
officers, the Law with judges, the Church with bishops, and the rich
daughters of sugar-boilers with husbands--idleness among these is the
order of the day, and is punished by no one. Even the gods appear to
take no notice of it, being itself a sort of god, so far as the number
of his worshippers are concerned. To-morrow is the everlasting excuse
for almost everybody, and yesterday has done nothing but light fools to
dusty death; the to-morrow in which the useful and the good are to be
done, never comes.

VII. Going to law is not only an infamous passion in this Guano Age,
it is a means of living. There must be few if any people of substance
in Peru who have not known the bitter curse of the law's delay. I have
known lawsuits of the most vexatious and cruel nature, and which, in
any country where civilisation is not a mere name, could never have
been instituted, last, not five days, but five years, and, alas!
even fifteen years. I have myself tasted the bitterness of the law in
this land, and been very near being lodged in a loathsome jail at the
instance of a miscreant who had it in his power to demand my presence
before a bribe-gorged judge. I only escaped paying heavy toll or
hateful imprisonment by my friends obtaining the removal of the judge.
The second was a gross attempt at extortion, from which I was saved by
accident. Both these lawsuits, of the basest sort, had their origin
in an injustice which is ingrained in the complexion of the people.
The captain and crew of the _Talisman_ could bear testimony to the
difference between the administration of law in the Golden Age and in
the Age of Manure.

VIII. The education of the people has never been seriously attempted,
except in carrying a flimsy old musket. The Indians, who form the
great bulk of the population, do not vote. This would involve a slight
cultivation of the Indian's intellect, and he does not know what might
happen to further embitter his lot if he were to discover to his rulers
that he had a mind. He is perhaps the slyest of animals--more sly than
a fox, more obstinate than an English mule, and as timid as a squirrel.

IX. The marriage law is disgracefully abused and neglected for a
country which boasts that its religion is that of the Holy Roman
Apostolical. Civil marriage is illegal, and ecclesiastical marriage but
little observed, except among the Estratocracia, the sugar-boilers,
and such as mix in European society. The subject is one always
difficult for a traveller to handle. To speak plainly and publicly of
what has been acquired in private on this matter would justly provoke
displeasure and disgust, and would not fail to be misrepresented or
misunderstood. It may, however, be said, that if marriage be a public
virtue, large numbers of the Peruvians of the Manure Age are not

X. Of the great public works in Peru, the chief during this time has
been a penitentiary, and a railway to the moon not yet finished, all
built by foreigners and with English money. Emigration was one of
the most important transactions of the Golden Age. There has been no
serious attempt at promoting either emigration or immigration: the
migration of the native races is absolutely beyond the control of the

XI. Of deleterious occupations and

XII. The use of gold, all that need be said is that each man in Peru
does what he likes in his own eyes, and what is allowed in the most
enlightened land under the sun: and in this regard she sins in the
universal company of the wide world; but the comparison with the Golden
Age is not on that account the less painful.

XIII. Incontinence is general, and the number of illegitimate children
greater than those born in wedlock. The crime punishable by the
terrible death awarded to it in the Golden Age has disappeared, for
reasons which need not be further noticed.

XIV. The scandals of the Temple or the Church have likewise changed in
their character. I have known a bishop of the Peruvian State Church,
sworn to celibacy, whose illegitimate children were more numerous than
the years of his life. I have known a parish priest who had living in
several houses more than thirty children by several women. All Peruvian
ecclesiastics are supposed to live celibate lives, bishops, priests,
monks and nuns; and if they do not, the irregularity is winked at, nor
is public morality shocked, however grossly and notoriously immoral the
lives of these persons may be.

XV. The people for the most part are well dressed, but with the
exception of the indigenous races, all wear ready-made clothing. The
dresses of all classes are ill-made, costly, and vulgar. The coffin in
which a Peruvian of the Guano Period is carried to his last home, is
about the best made suit he ever wears, and the best fitting.

XVI. Of roads and bridges of the present day, it would be amusing to
write if the recollection of those I have passed over was not too
painful. No man not born in an Age of Manure, who has travelled a
thousand miles in the interior of Peru, or for that matter a hundred
leagues, will ever wish to repeat the experiment. Many of these roads
are but ruins of roads, and carry the usual aspect of roads which lead
to ruin.

XVII. There are no public granaries. People live from hand to mouth on
what others grow for them and bring to them.

XVIII. There are no woollen manufactories. All the wool of the alpaca,
the llama, and vicuña is sent to England to be made into things which
the growers of the staple never see, much less wear. No Peruvian of
any social standing has had the pluck or the sense to do anything
towards extending the cultivation of alpaca wool. It is well known
that the produce of this beautiful and docile animal might easily
have been increased, just as the yield of merino wool has increased
in Australia, if only brains and industry had been brought to bear
upon the enterprise; and instead of a yearly income of a few thousand
dollars being derived from this source of national wealth, there might
have been, within the limits of the Age of Guano, a net annual income
of £20,000,000. This incredible statement is made by one who passed
four years of his life in studying the subject.

XIX. As for stealing--not that form of it which comes within the range
of petty larceny, but the wider and more awful range of felony--it may
be safely said, that nearly all public men have steeped themselves to
the neck in this crime, and the common people take to it as easily and
naturally as birds in a garden take to sweet berries. Nor is there
sufficient justice in the country to stamp out the offence. If the
punishment awarded to this crime in the Golden Age had been inflicted
in the Age of Guano, there would be a very limited sale for spectacles
in Lima or the cities of the Peruvian coast, or the towns and cities of
the mountains.

XX. It is delightful to turn to something in Peru that merits unlimited
praise. The Golden Age was noted for its hospitality, not only as a
social virtue practised by the people among themselves, but as extended
to strangers. Pizarro had not been so successful in his conquest of
Peru if he had not been so hospitably treated by the noble lady who
entertained him on his first visit to Tumbez. The exhortation of
Huayna Capac to his subjects to receive the bearded men--whose advent
he announced--as superior beings, has been interpreted as the cause
of the Spaniards' sudden success in a country that was well defended
as well by soldiers as numerous fortresses--'Those words,' exclaimed
an Inca noble some years afterwards, 'those last words of Inca Huayna
Capac were our conquerors.' Among themselves it was the custom to eat
their meals with open doors, and any passer by in need was welcomed
in. Princesses and high-born ladies received visits from the mothers
and daughters of the people, who provided the needle-work that was to
occupy the time of the visit. Among English families of the better sort
it is still a habit for a lady visitor to ask for some needle-work
to do during her visit if it lasts more than a day--a custom that
deserves to be enquired into. The prevalence of a similar custom in
our Golden Age increases its importance. The traveller, especially if
he be an Englishman, who has travelled through modern Peru, even in
the Guano Age, who does not bear a lively recollection of kindness
and open-hearted hospitality, is most certainly to be pitied, if
not avoided. I am quite aware that such persons exist. I have myself
travelled in the saddle more than two thousand miles on less than as
many pence. The story of the impostor Arthur Orton at Melipilla is
a case in point, and if the learned counsel who defended him is in
need of a livelihood which cannot dispense with some of the elegances
and charms of life, he cannot do better than follow the tracks of his
client. I have lived in every kind of house, rancho, posta, cottage,
quinta, and mansion, occupied by the various classes which make up the
population of Peru. I have lived with archbishops and bishops, priests
and monks, merchant princes, senators, judges, generals, miners,
doctors, professional thieves, and widows, and I should be an ingrate
indeed if I did not acknowledge with profound gratitude the kindness,
oftentimes the affection, which I received, the liberality with which
I was entertained, and the freedom I enjoyed. Here I am reminded of
an incident which occurred to me in the south of Spain, and as it will
suit a purpose it could not otherwise serve, let me relate it.

I was employed to take the level of a railway that was to connect the
Roblé with the shores of the Mediterranean. The proposed line passed
through one of the great estates of the Marquis de Blanco, and the
Marquis gave me a letter to his capitaz or overseer, who occupied a
house, the sight of which would have charmed the soul of an artist, on
one of the overhanging cliffs which rose above el Rio Verde. I arrived
late and, after twelve hours hard work beneath an Andalusian sun. I
was well received by the capitaz and his charming wife Doña Carmen,
who with her own hands and in my presence prepared for my supper a
partridge and other delightful things. If the day had been hot, the
night on the highest point of the royal road to Ronda was cold. A
glorious wood fire added to the universal beauty of everything. A
table was spread for me with a snowy diaper cloth. I can see it now--a
bottle of fine wine, most sweet bread, raisins and what not. Just as
my partridge was ready, a clatter of twenty horses' hoofs was heard
in the patio. The capitaz went out to see the new arrivals, who turned
out to be farmers of the district on their way to the horse fair, which
was to be held in Ronda the following day. In came the twenty pilgrims
to Ronda, to whom I was formally introduced, and Doña Carmen set to
work to prepare an enormous _Olla_ for the whole company. My partridge
was not served until the _Olla_ was ready, when we all set to work
and ate our supper in peace and good-will. An hour afterwards, whether
from the effects of the delightful wine--only to be enjoyed in Spain,
the fumes of my own pipe and the cigarettes of the twenty pilgrims,
the labours of the day, or all combined, I fell a nodding: whereupon
the good-natured capitaz enquired if I would not like to throw myself
into bed. On which I rose, and declared with great solemnity that for
my rudeness in having gone to sleep in such worshipful company, I was
ready to throw myself not only into bed but into the river below.

'Doña Carmen,' said the capitaz, 'shall take you to your room.'

And with a general good-night to the pilgrims and a shake of the hand
with the capitaz, away I went in the wake of Doña Carmen.

It was a spacious room, filled with implements of sport, the walls
adorned with heads of deer and other trophies of the gun, and there
were also unmistakeable signs of its being a lady's room.

'Doña Carmen,' I observed in an imperative tone, 'this is your own
room. I am an old traveller, and can sleep in a hay-loft or on the
floor, with my saddle for a pillow. At any rate, I will not sleep here.
I will not turn you out of your own room.'

'And,' she demanded, 'what would the Marquis say if he knew that you
had slept here in the hay-loft or on the floor, with your saddle for a

Other expostulations followed, which were answered with great eloquence
and stately determination, mixed with that grave humour which can no
more be acquired than can be acquired the wearing of a cloak as it is
worn by an ancient hidalgo, or the arrangement of a mantilla as it is
arranged on the head and shoulders of a high-born lady of Granada.

At last, as I caught up my satchel to leave the room, she caught me by
the arm, and nudging me with her elbow, she said with much archness, 'I
am coming back again,' and with that she swept out of the room, leaving
me no longer with my eyes half closed in sleep.

She never came back. Nor did I ever see her again. She never
intended to come back. Those who think so are incapable of making or
understanding a joke, and will never be able to appreciate the uncommon
wit and humour of Spanish women. That there are shallow fools in the
world who interpret everything they hear in a carnal and literal sense
is the reason why we have so many childish, not to say unpleasant,
stories from Spain and Peru regarding the questionable morals of the
fair sex of those countries. What is meant for fun and drollery is
mistaken for naughtiness, and much that is offered as a spontaneous
natural hospitality has been wilfully or ignorantly misconstrued.
I do not defend the method Doña Carmen took in putting her guest at
his ease, and making him feel at home; I think it was a daring act
of politeness, and it is not pretty to find so much knowledge of the
world in the possession of a woman, however dexterous her use of it
may be. There is, however, another kind of culture besides that which
comes from reading expensive novels, dressing for church or dinner,
and living in a climate somewhat cold, foggy, and changeable. The
ladies of Peru are beautiful, natural, very intelligent, and fond of
living an unconstrained life. Their climate is provocative of freedom,
ease, and delightful idleness. Their fair speech and delightful wit
partake of these characteristics. It is born of these. It can be
misinterpreted--but only by those who know not their language, and do
not respect their ways.

A common source of error on the subject of Peruvian hospitality
arises from the fact that in Lima, for example, a foreigner, even an
Englishman, is rarely or never invited to dine with a native family.
With us, if we meet a man in Bond Street, or anywhere on the wing, whom
we have not seen for a year, we ask him to come and take pot-luck with
us, and if he is a foreigner he generally does--and notwithstanding
the detestable anxiety of our wives, our pot-luck dinners are the best
dinners that we give. What is lacking in the mutton we can and often
do make up with the bottle or the pipe. This is the kind of thing we
expect in return when we visit Lima and pick up a man who has thus
dined with us at home. But the thing is impossible. In Lima a married
man dines with his grandmother, his wife's grandmother, his wife's
father and mother, together with his wife and the children, whom the
old people love to spoil with sugar-plums. The ladies are only half
dressed, the service is somewhat slatternly, the dishes, although
excellent in their way, are such as do not please the weak stomachs
of benighted Englishmen, much less the French, who have not made the
acquaintance of the puchero, the ajijaco, or the omnipresent dulces. In
short, a stranger at a Peruvian family dinner, unexpected and without
a formal preparation, would be as acceptable as a dog at Mass. And
when an Englishman is invited to one of these houses he never forgets
the things done in his honour--the loads of dishes--the floods of
wine--the magnificent dresses of the ladies--the elaborate display of
everything;--and oh! the stately coldness, the searching of dark eyes,
and the awful sense of responsibility which rests on the being for
whom all this has been done, and who is the solitary cause of it all.
He never accepts another invitation. And yet the people have strained
every nerve to please him; they have made themselves ill, have spent
an awful sum of money, and less and less believe in dining a man as the
most perfect form of showing him their respect or esteem.

But out of Lima, in El Campo--the country--where everybody is free as
the air, everything is changed, everybody is happy, nothing goes wrong.
The abundance is glorious, the ease and liberty delightful; there is
nothing to equal it in the riding, dancing, eating, drinking, laughing,
sleeping, dreaming, card-playing, smoking, joking world.

El Señor Paz Soldan, in his 'Historia del Peru Independiente,' says:
'Peru, essentially hospitable, admitted into her bosom from the first
days of her independence thousands of foreigners, to whom she extended
not only the same fellowship she afforded her own children, but such
was the goodness of the country that she considered these new comers
as illustrious personages. Men who in their native country had never
been anything but domestic servants, or waiters in a restaurant,
among whom there might perhaps be numbered one or two who, by their
superior ability, might, after the lapse of twenty years, come to be
master tailors or shop-men, have gained fortunes in Peru all at once,
have won the hand of ladies of fortune, birth, riches, and social
distinction. Those who have entered the army or navy have quickly risen
to the highest posts. If they devote themselves to business, at once
they become capitalists; and in civil and political appointments the
foreigner is hardly to be distinguished from the native. The first
decrees ever issued gave every protection and preference to foreigners
resident in the country. They have the same right to the protection of
the laws as Peruvians, without exception of persons, becoming of course
bound by the same laws, to bear the same burdens, and in proportion
to their fortunes to share in contributing to the income of the
State.... Such as have any knowledge of science, or special industry,
or are desirous of establishing houses of business, can reside in
perfect freedom, and have given to them letters of citizenship. He
who establishes a new industry, or invents a useful machine hitherto
unknown in Peru, is exempt for a whole year from paying any taxes. If
necessary, the Government will supply him with funds to carry on his
art; and it will give free land to agriculturists. And yet, strange
to say, and more painful to confess, many of these foreigners have
been the cause of serious difficulties to the country, plunging it
into conflicts which more or less have taken the gilt off the national
honour. They have wished for themselves certain distinct national
laws. They have thought themselves entitled to break whatever laws they
pleased, and when the penalty has been enforced they have applied to
their Governments, who have always judged the question in an aspect the
most unfavourable to the honour and interest of Peru.'

As regards this hospitality given to English tailors and tailors' sons
by Peru, it is quite true; true is it that they have married the rich
daughters of ancient families, and made marvellous progress in all
things that distinguished Dives from Lazarus. Men who would never have
been anything but lackeys in their own country have become masters of
lands and money in Peru. It is all true. Without wishing to disparage
my own countrymen, and still less my countrywomen, I am bound to
confess that the Peruvians have derived very little edification from
their presence and example. Within the Guano Age a British minister has
been shot at his own table in Lima while dining with his mistress. The
captain of an English man-of-war lying in Callao was murdered in the
outskirts of Lima while on a drunken spree: the murderers in both cases
never being brought to justice.

The English merchants were men noted for neither moral nor intellectual
capacity, utterly innocent of any culture, or regard for it; of no
manners or good customs that could reflect honour on the English name,
and who gained fortunes after such fashion as only the practices of
a corrupt government could sanction or connive at. Few English ladies
have ever been permanently resident in Lima. It has been visited by one
or two showy examples of the money-monger class; but the Lima people
have not had the opportunity of knowing by actual contact in their
own country the gentry of England. This has been a disadvantage to us
and to them of the greatest magnitude: for while we have accepted the
hospitality of Peru, we have not returned it in a manner worthy of the
English name.

Nor can it be said that English travellers who have written on Peru
make any very great figure in the cause of truth and honesty; whilst
the amount of literary pilfering has been almost as notorious as that
of the pillage of the public treasury by native officers of state.

The commanders and petty officers of the Steam Navigation Company in
the Pacific come more in contact with the better class of Peruvians
than any other portion of the English community. Among these numerous
officers there are a few to be met with who can speak grammatical
English. No doubt, grammar to a sailor is an irksome thing, at any rate
it is a thing of minor importance, and we rather like our sailors to
be free of everything except their courage, their gentleness, their
love of truth, and, above all, their glorious self-abnegation. But it
is a pitiable sight to see a British tar with lavender kid-gloves on
his fists, Havannah cigars in his great mouth, widened by an early
love for loud oaths, rings on his fingers, and other apings of the
fine gentleman; and it is disgusting to see him dressed in an authority
he knows not how to adorn, and placed in a position which he can only
degrade. Yet these British tars are looked up to as English gentlemen,
and, what is more, as English captains; and not a few Peruvians come
to the natural conclusion that it is no great thing to be an English
gentleman after all.

It is very grievous to make these remarks; justice demands, however,
that if we would criticise the Peruvians from an English standpoint,
we should take into consideration the English example which has been
placed before them during all the years of an Age of Guano.

An English sailor in every part of the commercial world which he visits
is too often a disgrace to himself and a dishonour to his country.
But in Peru he is a standing disgrace to humanity. When on shore, if
he is not drunk, he is kicking up a row. His language is foul, his
manners brutal, his associates the off-scouring of the people, and
his appearance that of a wild beast. We have of late been turning our
attention to unseaworthy ships, and the amount of wise and unwise talk
that this important subject has evoked has been great and surprising.
It is a pity that no one has thought it necessary to take up the
subject of the unworthy sailor, which should include not only the
ignorant, drunken, and grossly depraved seaman, but the oftentimes
illiterate, ill-conditioned, and brutal creature called a captain,
who commands him. There are many considerations why the captain
of a British ship should be a man of good character, and there are
imperative reasons why he should be compelled to earn a certificate of
good conduct, as well as a certificate of proficiency in the science of
navigation. The ability to represent the country whose flag he carries,
as a man well-instructed and of good manners, is not the least of those

I recently had the opportunity of becoming personally acquainted with
nearly five hundred captains of merchant ships in the Pacific. I am
ashamed to confess that the French, the Italian, the North American,
and the Swede were everyway superior men to the English captains.
There were exceptions of course; the superiority was not in physical
force, but in intelligence, in manners, in the cleanliness in which
they lived, and the sobriety of their lives. If the Pabellon de Pica
may be compared to a pig-stye, the British sailors who frequent its
strand may be likened unto swine. Indeed, it is an insult to that
filth-investigating but sober brute to compare him with a being who at
certain times is at once a madman, a drunkard, and not infrequently a
murderer. It is not easy to escape the conviction that captains such
as these must be of use to their employers, and are needed for purposes
for which ordinary criminals would be unfitted. At the Pabellon de Pica
a choice selection of these British worthies may be seen daily getting
drunk on smuggled beer, winding up with smuggled brandy, wallowing
among the filthiest filth of that foul concourse of filthy inhuman
beings, a detestable example to all who witness it; and a living
ensample of what England now is to a guano-selling people.

All this has come of our trying to do some justice to the Peruvians,
and no doubt it will become us as quickly as possible to attend to the
mote which is in our own eye.

It should likewise be borne in mind that the Peruvians have
suffered the greatest indignities at the hands of successive British
Governments. Claims for money of the most vexatious, frivolous and
irritating nature have been pressed upon Peru with an arrogance
equal only to their ridiculous extravagance. When at last, with great
difficulty, our Government has been induced to submit one of these
claims to arbitration, judgment has invariably been given against
us--as it only could, or ought to have been given.

This chapter should not be closed without noticing the fact that
for nearly fifty years the English have had their own burying-place
at Bella Vista, which is midway between Lima and Callao, and their
own church and officiating chaplain. The Jews likewise have their
synagogue, the Freemasons their lodges, the Chinese their temples;
and although liberty of worship is not the law of the land, the
utmost toleration in religious matters exists. The women of Lima, who
have retained the old religion with ten times more firmness than the
men, are the sole opponents of all religious reforms in the Peruvian
Constitution. And because it is the women who stand in front of their
Church, guarding it with their lives, let us have some respect for
them. They are a powerful and determined body, as courageous as they
are beautiful, which is saying much. In times of great excitement
they will take part in the parliamentary debates! Not, indeed, in
a parliamentary and constitutional manner, but in a manner quite
effectual. These fair champions of their Church, when liberty of
worship, or liberty of teaching, or any question that touches the Roman
Catholic faith is being debated in the assembly, proceed thither in the
tapada attire, with only one eye visible, and from the Ladies' Gallery
will throw handfuls of grass to a speaker--intimating thereby his
relationship to one of our domestic quadrupeds--or garlands of tinsel,
just as it pleases them, and as the words of the speaker are for or
against their cause. Our own House of Commons should take knowledge of
this, and pause before they remove the lattice work from before their
Ladies' Gallery!


The Mormons are coming to Peru. Five hundred families of this
formidable sect are formally announced as being on their way to the
land of the Incas, and the Peruvian Government has been very liberal
in its grant of free land: this may be called a revolution indeed.
A Spanish law existed in Peru but little more than half a century
ago, which ran as follows: 'Because the inconveniences increase from
foreigners passing to the Indies, who take up their residence in
seaport towns and other places, some of whom are not to be trusted
in the things of our holy Catholic faith, and because it becomes us
diligently to see that no error is sown among the Indians and ignorant
people, we command the Viceroys, the Audiencias, and the Governors,
and we charge the Archbishops and Bishops that they do all that in them
lies to sweep the earth of this people, and that they cast them out of
the Indies and compel them to put to sea on the first occasion and at
their own cost[1].' We may also note that among these sublime laws one
may be found which absolutely forbade the importation of printed books.

Since then it cannot be denied that Peru has made great progress in the
matter of toleration to foreigners. It has not perpetuated the insane
and suicidal policy of the nation that expelled the Moors, the real
bone and muscle of the country, from its soil. And it may truly be said
that what the Moors were to Andalusia and Southern Spain, Europeans and
Asiatics have been to Peru; supplying it not only with literature and
science, but industry also. All the great estates of Peru are tilled by
foreigners; so are its gardens. All the steam ships on its coast are
driven by foreigners; foreigners surveyed and built their railways,
their one pier, gave them gas, and would give them water if the
Peruvian Government would only be wise. There is nothing of importance
in the whole country that does not owe its existence to foreign capital
and foreign thought, and it cannot be denied that Peru has done much in
making her laws conform to such a state of things. It may yet do more.
Ten more years of peace and tranquillity will work wonders in a land
that at present may be said to be practically unacquainted with both.
Ten years will close the accursed Age of Guano. Practically it may
be said to be closed now. Peru is putting her house in order: she has
learned much in the course of the last four years, and with economy,
persisting in her present course of real hard, honest work, giving
up playing at soldiers, and keeping an expensive navy which is of no
earthly use to her, she may redeem herself from her past degradation,
and become as great as she says she is.

But Mormons!

If there be a country in the teeming world which offers a field for
Mormonism, it is Peru. If Mormonism be a belief that it is the chief
end of man to multiply his species, to replenish the earth, and find
the perfection of his being in subduing it, Peru is the very place for
the Mormons. One might even go the length of saying that it was made on
purpose for them.

Peru, with the immensity of its territory and the riches that are
enclosed in it, requires a people with a religious faith in the
divinity of polygamy and agriculture to make the most of the truly
wonderful land.

Let the Mormons leave the country in which they are at present looked
down upon, for one where they will be welcomed.

Mormonism is not, with the exception of its name, new to Peru.
The Incas were great breeders of men, they pushed their humanising
conquests north and south; not so much by the power of the spear
and the sling, as by building great storehouses of maize. They first
reduced the people whom they would conquer to the verge of starvation,
and then fed them on sweeter food than they had ever tasted before.
Count von Moltke was not the first who reduced a great city by
besieging it, and surrounding it with a vast army. This was done in the
days before the tragedy of Ollanta had been rehearsed in Cuzco. What
the Incas gained by giving corn, they maintained by teaching the people
how to grow and cultivate it. Men had as many wives as they pleased,
provided that they were able to maintain them, and they had no fawning
immoral priests to make women barren and unfruitful; who preached
godliness to the people, but practised devilry themselves.

And here one may be allowed to notice by the way, that it is a
thing altogether singular and inconsistent that these loud-tongued
republicans and apostles of the rights of women, will allow and
tolerate among them a body of men who believe that it is God's will
they should burn and not marry, and cannot think of allowing among
their mighty respectablenesses a people who believe that it is God's
will they should have a plurality of wives. Perhaps when the great
Americans are tired of the vanity of being a hundred years old, and
can find time to look this matter in the face they may reconsider their
Mormon policy, and give up persecuting a people who at least have many
divine examples for their way of life. If Mormonism be good for South
America, why should it not be good for the North? and what will be
nothing less than the blessing of heaven on Lake Titicaca, why should
it be esteemed a curse at the Lake of Salt? Happily the logic of great
events in the lives of nations is more easy to comprehend than the
logic of mere professors.

The history of colonisation in Peru is not interesting reading; much
less so are the personal reports of those who have been connected with
carrying out the various schemes of the Government. There were the
usual delays, the usual difficulty in obtaining the promised funds at
the appointed times, followed by confusion and disaster.

The first colony formed in Peru consisted of Germans, who established
themselves at Pozuzo, a small district formed of mountains and valleys
fifteen days journey north-east of Lima. The proposal was made in
1853, and the first batch of the new comers arrived in 1857. In 1870
they numbered 360 souls, 112 of whom were children. Their progress
had not been very brilliant; among them were carpenters, coopers,
cigar-makers, cabinet-makers, blacksmiths, shoe-makers, tailors,
saddlers, machinists, and tanners. A priest, a grave-digger or clerk, a
schoolmaster and an architect were also among the number. Each colonist
was expected to cultivate a plot of ground measuring 33,000 yards by
13,000 yards, on which they grew tobacco, coca, maize, yuca (a most
delicious farinaceous root), haricot beans, rice, coffee, and garden
stuff. The people lived in wooden houses, and there were among them
all three houses of wrought stone. An enthusiastic Peruvian deputy in
giving a description of this little struggling colony, concluded his
peroration thus: 'We have an eloquent example in the industrious colony
established at Pozuzo, where in the midst of savage nature they have
erected a city which perhaps is on a level with any city of Europe!' On
which it might be remarked that there is a great deal of the perhaps,
but very little of the city in this statement. It is in fact nothing
but a city of the honourable deputy's brain.

The next emigration was from the islands of the South-western
Pacific--subjects of his Majesty the King of Hawaii, whose diplomatic
representative in Lima demanded the return of these people, who did
return in an unexpected manner, to the earth out of which they were
taken. They all died like flies that had been poisoned. The Peruvian
Government then prohibited any further immigration of Polynesians.

It was afterwards discovered that these people had been kidnapped, or,
as the official report says, 'seduced first, and stolen afterwards.'

It had been eloquently preached by many ardent Peruvians, now that the
subject of immigration for a moment or so seized hold of their warm
brains, that all that was needed to fill Peru with happy colonists
was to establish liberty of worship, toleration, a free press,
dignity--moral and intellectual--security to persons and property,
and when these great things were once placed on a firm basis in
Peru the superfluous populations of the world would flock to the
abundance it could offer, together with the warm and delightful sun,
like doves to their windows. These things not having been done, the
other has been left undone--albeit not for that specific reason. The
immigrating class, for the most part, have their own way of procuring
information regarding the country which courts their presence, and
it is quite likely that the glad tidings from Peru still require to
be authenticated. Neither the Irish labourer, nor the Scotch, nor yet
the Welsh have bestowed themselves on Peru, and it is to be hoped they
never will until they can be sure of quick returns. The Cornish miner
is well known in various localities for his drunkenness, his obstinacy,
his cunning, and above all for his untruthfulness.

The Chinese immigration, if such it can be called, is the only
considerable immigration that has ever taken place in Peru. It began
as a commercial speculation; and there are many orthodox and highly
respectable men in Lima who owe their wealth to the traffic in Chinese,
in whose magnificent _salas_ a conversation on China is as welcome as
the mention of the gallows in a family, one of whose members had been

Of the 65,000 Chinese taken from their native land, 5,000 died on their
way to Peru; they threw themselves overboard or smoked a little too
much opium, or were shot, or all these causes were put together. It
was once my lot to be seated in a very small room filled for the most
part with guano men, where I was compelled to listen to the tale of an
Italian who had served as chief mate on a ship freighted with Chinamen.
He thought his life was once in danger.

'And what did you under the circumstances?' enquired some one.

'I shot two of them down, _sacramento_,' answered the
villainous-looking wretch; on which there was a burst of laughter that
did not seem to me very appropriate.

'And what was done with _you_?' I enquired in no sympathising tone.

'Senor,' replied the assassin, 'the Captain, Senor Venturini,
accommodated me with a passage in his gig to the shore, where I
remained to make an extended acquaintance with the Celestial Empire.'

The cold insolence of this criminal suggested to me that I had just as
well keep my troublesome tongue as still as possible.

The Chinese question, as is natural that it should, has agitated the
public mind in Lima not a little. At one time it assumed such alarming
features that it was seriously proposed in Congress to expel the free
Chinamen from Peru, or compel them to contract themselves anew[2]. It
was known that the free Chinamen stirred up their enslaved brethren to
revolt; explained to them--which was perfectly true--that according to
Peruvian law they could not be held in bondage, and if they escaped
they could not be recaptured. Many attempts at escape were made and
many murders were the result.

According to the Peruvian author quoted above, the Chinamen brought to
the dung heaps of Peru, or its sugar plantations, are selected from the
lowest of their race. 'The planters promote the natural degeneration
of their Chinese labourers; they lodge them in filthy sheds without
a single care being bestowed upon them, while they are condemned to a
ceaseless unremitting toil, without a ray of hope that their condition
will be ever bettered. For the enslaved Chinaman the day dawns with
labour; labour pursues him through its weary hours, a labour which
will bring no good fruit to him, and the shadows of night provide him
with nothing but dreams of the tormenting routine which awaits him
to-morrow. In his sickness he has no mother to attend him with her
care; he has not even the melancholy comfort that he will be decently
buried when he dies, much less that his grave will be watered with
the sacred tears of those who loved him. Of the meanest Peruvian the
authorities know where he lived, when he died, and for what cause, and
where he is buried. But the Asiatics are disembarked and scattered
among numerous private properties, their existence is forgotten,
they do not live, rather they vegetate, and at last die like brutes
beneath the scourge of their driver or the burden which was too heavy
to bear. We only remember the Chinaman when, weary of being weary, and
vexed with vexation, he arms himself with the dagger of desperation,
wounds the air with the cry of rebellion, and covers our fields with
desolation and blood.'

The great distance, observes the same author, of the private estates
from the centre of authority, is one of the securities of their owners
that their abuse of their Chinese slaves will neither be corrected or
chastised. On the contrary, his influence with the local authorities
is oftentimes such as to make them instruments of his designs. Between
the master and the slave respect for the law does not exist, and the
consequence is, that the one becomes more and more a despot, and the
other more and more insolent and vicious.

Escape for the Chinaman is next to impossible; he can only free himself
from the horrible condition in which he finds himself by using his
braces or his silken scarf for a halter, or the more quiet way of an
overdose of opium.

Treat the Chinaman well, and he is a valuable servant, and happily
many thousands of such are to be found along the coast, in several of
the great haciendas, and in Lima. The wages of a Chinese slave are 4
dols. a month, two suits of clothes in the year, and his keep. A free
Chinaman as a labourer earns a dollar a day, and of course 'finds'
himself. Now and then one hears strange phrases at the most unexpected
time, and one's ears tingle with words that an Englishman knows how to
meet when compelled to hear them.

'How did you manage to do all that work?' was a question put at a
dinner-table one night in Lima, when I was partaking of the awful
hospitality of an English-speaking capitalist.

'Well,' was the reply, 'I bought half-a-dozen Chinamen, taught them
the use of the machine, which the devils learned much quicker than I
did, and in less than three months I found that I could easily make ten
thousand dollars a month,' etc.

'I bought half-a-dozen Chinamen!' They might have been so many sacks
of potatoes, or pieces of machinery, and the ease and familiarity with
so repulsive a commerce which the speech denoted, proved too well the
contempt which such familiarity always breeds.

The Chinaman is not only very intelligent, he is even superior in
his personal tastes to many of those who pride themselves on being
his masters. If he has time and opportunity he will keep himself
scrupulously clean in his person and dress. After his day's work, if he
has been digging dung for example, he will change his clothes and have
a bath before eating his supper. He is polite and courteous, humorous
and ingenious. He is by no means a coward, but will sell his life to
avenge his honour. It is always dangerous for a man twice his size
to strike a Chinaman. The only stand-up fight I ever saw in Lima, was
between a small Chinaman and a big Peruvian of the Yellow breed; and
the yellow-skinned 'big 'un' must have very much regretted the insult
which originated the blows he received in his face from the little one.
The Chinamen of the better class, the Wing Fats; Kwong, Tung, Tays;
the Wing Sings; the Pow Wos; the Wing Hing Lees, and Si, Tu, Pous,
whose acquaintance I made, are all shrewd, courteous, gentlemanlike
fellows, temperate in all things, good-humoured and kind, industrious,
and exquisitely clean in their houses and attire. It was an infinitely
greater pleasure to me to pass an evening with some of these, than with
my own brandy-drinking, tobacco-smoking, and complaining countrymen,
whose conversation is garnished with unclean oaths, whose Spanish is a
disgrace to their own country, and their English to that in which they

My Chinese friends were greatly puzzled at the answer I gave to their
questions why I had come to Peru, or for what purpose; they could not
believe it, any more than they could believe that an English gentleman
drank brandy for any other reason than that it was a religious

'And why came you to Peru?' I enquired in my turn.

'To make money,' was the candid reply.

'For nothing else?' I insisted.

To give emphasis to his words Wing Hi rose from his seat, paced slowly
up and down the room clapping his hands now behind his back, and
now below his right knee: 'For nothing, nothing, nothing else,' he
exclaimed, and laughed.

'Do you like Lima pretty well?' I enquired with some care, for a
Chinaman resents direct questions; and the answer invariably was--

'No. Lima is no good, there is no money;' which many other shopkeepers
not Chinamen can swear to, and their oaths in this instance are
perfectly trustworthy.

'You do not give credit I suppose?' and I kept as solemn a face as
possible in putting the question. My solemnity was speedily knocked out
of me by the burst of boisterous laughter which greeted my question.

Wishing to cultivate these delightful heathens, I purchased from time
to time a few things, all good, all very reasonable in price. These
were chiefly fans, pictures, paper-knives, neckties, and boxes. Some
of their ivory carving was a marvel of patience and keen sight. I
was assured that one piece, for which they asked the price of 300
dols., took one man two years to make. That one statement made it
an unpleasant object to behold. The porcelain brought to Lima is of
the gaudiest and most inferior kind. I insisted on this so much that
at last they confessed it to be true. 'But then the price,' they
suggested.--A pair of vases that would sell in Bond Street for £150,
can be purchased in Lima for less than £20.

One day I picked up a New Testament in Chinese, and after staying one
evening with my celestial friends for an hour, I took it out of my
pocket and asked them to be kind enough to read it for me, and tell me
what it was about, for that in my youth my parents had not taught me
that language and I was too old to learn it now. The next night our
conversation was renewed, all being for the most part of the purest
heathenism. They made no allusion to my New Testament; they evidently
preferred to talk of other things, or to sell fans. At last in a
tone of indifference I asked after my book, which one of their number
produced out of a sweet-scented drawer.

'We do not know,' they said, 'what the book is about'; and therefore
they could not tell me. They had read it? 'O yes; it was not a cookery
book, nor a song book, nor a book about women; but seemed to be a
pot of many things not well boiled.' There was no laughter, all was
as serious as melancholy itself. I was a little disappointed, and
came away without buying anything. It must require great gifts to be
a missionary to the heathen, and especially the heathen Chinese. I
should be inclined to think it to be as easy to bring a rich Chinaman
to repentance as a rich Jew. The failure of my New Testament to make
itself understood was a great blow to me. They might probably have
understood some portions of the Book of Genesis better; but to my
regret I had not the means of putting that to the test.

The mention of the Old Testament reminds me of a trivial incident
which occurred one night in a magnificent sala in Lima, where were a
good sprinkling of Spanish-speaking gentlemen and ladies, Italians
and Germans, I being the only Englishman present. In course of the
conversation it was demanded by some one, what were the two creatures
first to leave the Ark: and it was at once answered by several voices
'the dove and the deer.' This appeared rather unsound to me, and
I questioned the statement. So hot did the debate become, that it
ended in a willing bet of £20, when after some difficulty a Bible was
procured, and the dove and the raven won. The consternation was great.
One man was candid enough to confess that he was an ass of no small
magnitude for not reflecting that under the circumstances it could not
well be a deer; but he had heard that such was the case, and because it
was in the Bible felt bound to believe it.

Among all the classes of immigrants in Peru, or in Lima its capital,
the English stand first and highest. They are certainly better
represented than they were twenty years ago, but there is still much to
improve. One great drawback to the English is the absence of a home, or
the means of making one. The construction of the houses is one cause.
There are no snug corners sacred to quiet and repose, and if the house
be not a convent, it is something between a theatre and a furniture
shop. Domestic servants are another fatal drawback, but the rent is
the greatest of them all. The rents of some of the dingiest houses in
the back streets are higher than those in Mayfair in the season, while
the principal houses in the chief street are treble the amount. If I
have elsewhere spoken sharply of my countrymen, it is because I think
much of the land which gave them birth. It does not by any means follow
that because a Peruvian child fifty years of age sells his soul to the
devil, that an Englishman of four hundred should follow his example. It
should be quite the other way.

The hotels are not, under the circumstances, unreasonable; a bachelor
can live very well for thirty shillings a day, including fleas. Washing
is a serious item in a city where there is much sun, much dust, little
water, and the _lavendera_ is the companion of 'gentlemen.'

New books are not remarkably dear, but the assortment is limited to
theology and medicine. There are half-a-dozen daily newspapers, which
cost half-a-crown a day if you buy them all. Their joint circulation
will not reach more than fifteen thousand copies, while of their
number only two may be said to pay their expenses; only one to make any
profit. This is not to be wondered at. I tried my best to get into a
controversy with them, by rousing them to jealousy. I publicly stated
that if the guano deposits had been in Australia, or even in Canada,
at a time when so much doubt was thrown on the quantity of guano
they might contain, some newspaper would have sent off its special
correspondent to make a report. The _Comercio_, the chief of the press,
replied, with charming _naivete_: 'Why should we go to the expense of
making a special report for ourselves when the Government will supply
us with as many reports as we like?' The supply of English literature
is very poor. Harper's Magazine appears to be in greatest demand, and
certainly for the price of forty cents it is a marvel of cheapness.
It is well printed, profusely and often well illustrated, and the
numbers for the present year contain lengthy instalments of _Daniel
Deronda_, and one or two original novels by American writers. There
was not a single decent edition of the Don Quixote in any language to
be found in all the shops of the city. There is evidently a brisk sale
for very indecent photographs, and cheap editions of the Paul de Kock
school. The number of new books printed in Lima is miserably small. The
last, which has been very well received, is 'Tradiciones del Peru,'
por Ricardo Palma, third series. It is exceedingly well written, and
consists of a series of short stories illustrating the manners and
customs of the early days. Here is one which for many reasons is worth
doing into English. It is called 'A Law-suit against God,' and exhibits
much of the old Spanish meal, and not a little of the new Peruvian
leaven. It purports to be a chronicle of the time of the Viceroy, the
Marquis de Castil-dos-Rius.

In the archives of what was once the Real Audiencia de Lima, will be
found the copy of a lawsuit once demanded by the King of Spain, which
covers more than four hundred folios of stamped paper, from which with
great patience we have been able to gather the following--


God made the good man: but it would seem that His Divine Majesty threw
aces when He created mankind.

Man instinctively inclines to good, but deceit poisons his soul and
makes him an egotist, that is to say, perverse.

Whosoever would aspire to a large harvest of evils, let him begin by
sowing benefactions.

Such is humanity, and very right was the King Don Alonso the Wise, when
he said--'If this world was not badly made, at least it appeared to be

Don Pedro Campos de Ayala was, somewhere about the year 1695, a
rich Spanish merchant, living in the neighbourhood of Lima, on whom
misfortunes poured like hail on a heath.

Generous to a fault, there was no wretchedness he did not alleviate
with his money, no unfortunate he did not run to console. And this
without fatuity, and solely for the pleasure he had in doing good.

But the loss of a ship on its way from Cadiz with a valuable cargo,
and the failure of some scoundrels for whom Don Pedro had been bound,
reduced him to great straits. Our honourable Spaniard sold off all he
possessed, at great loss, paid his creditors, and remained without a

With the last copper fled his last friend. He wished to go to work
again, and applied to many whom, in the days of his opulence, he had
helped, and solely to whom they were indebted for what they had, to
give him some employment.

Then it was he discovered how much truth is contained in the proverb
which says '_There are no friends but God, and a crown in the pocket_.'

Even by the woman whom he had loved, and in whose love he believed like
a child, it was very clearly revealed to him that now times had indeed

Then did Don Pedro swear an oath, that he would again become rich, even
though to make his fortune he should have recourse to crime.

The chicanery of others had slain in his soul all that was great,
noble, and generous; and there was awakened within him a profound
disgust for human nature. Like the Roman tyrant, he could have wished
that humanity had a head that he might get it on to a block; there
would then be a little chopping.

He disappeared from Lima, and went to settle in Potosi.

A few days before his disappearance, there was found dead in his
bed a Biscayan usurer. Some said that he had died of congestion, and
others declared that he had been violently strangled with a pocket

Had there been a robbery or the taking of revenge? The public voice
decided for the latter.

But no one conceived the lie that this event coincided with the sudden
flight of our Protagonist.

And the years ran on, and there came that of 1706, when Don Pedro
returned to Lima with half a million gained in Potosi.

But he was no longer the same man, self-denying and generous, as all
had once known him.

Enclosed in his egotism, like the turtle in his shell, he rejoiced that
all Lima knew that he was again rich; but they likewise knew that he
refused to give even a grain of rice to St. Peter's cock.

As for the rest, Don Pedro, so merry and communicative before, became
changed into a misanthrope. He walked alone, he never returned a
salutation, he visited no one save a well-known Jesuit, with whom he
would remain hours together in secret converse.

All at once it became rumoured that Campos de Ayala had called a
notary, made his will, and left all his immense fortune to the College
of St. Paul.

But did he repent him of this, or was it that some new matter weighed
heavily on his soul? At any rate, a month later he revoked his former
will and made another, in which he distributed his fortune in equal
proportions among the various convents and monasteries of Lima; setting
apart a whole capital for masses for his soul, making a few handsome
legacies, and among them one in favour of a nephew of the Biscayan of
long ago.

Those were the times when, as a contemporary writer very graphically
says, 'the Jesuit and the Friar scratched under the pillows of the
dying to get possession of a will.'

Not many days passed after that revocation, when one night the Viceroy,
the Marquis de Castil-dos-Rius, received a long anonymous letter which,
after reading and re-reading, made his excellency cogitate, and the
result of his cogitation was to send for a magistrate whom he charged
without loss of time with the apprehension of Don Pedro Campos de
Ayala, whom he was to lodge in the prison of the court.


Don Manuel Omms de Santa Pau Olim de Sentmanat y de Lanuza, Grandee
of Spain and Marquis de Castil-dos-Rius, was ambassador in Paris when
happened the death of Charles II, and which involved the monarchy in a
bloody war of succession. The Marquis not only presented to Louis XIV
the will in which the Bewitched one carried the crown to the Duke of
Anjou, but openly declared himself a partisan of the Bourbon, and also
procured that his relatives commenced hostilities against the Archduke
of Austria. In one of the battles, the firstborn of the Marquis de
Castil-dos-Rius died.

It is well known that the American Colonies accepted the will of
Charles II acknowledging Philip V as their legitimate sovereign. He,
after the termination of the civil war, hastened to reward the services
of Castil-dos-Rius, and he named him Viceroy of Peru.

Señor de Sentmanat y de Lanuza arrived in Lima in 1706, and it could
not be said that he governed well when he began to raise his loans
and impose taxes on private fortunes, religious houses, and capitular
bodies: but by this means he was able to replenish the exhausted
treasury of his king with a million and a half of crowns.

Among the most notable events of the time in which he governed may be
reckoned the victory which the pirate Wagner gained over the squadron
of the Count de Casa-Alegre, thereby doing the English out of five
millions of silver travellers from Peru. This animated the other
corsairs of that nation, Dampier and Rogers, who took possession
of Guayaquil, and squeezed out of that municipality a pretty fat
contribution. In trying to restrain these marauders, the Viceroy
spent a hundred and fifty thousand dollars in fitting out various
ships, which sailed from Callao under the command of Admiral Don Pablo
Alzamora. Everybody was anxious for the fray, even to the students of
the colleges, all burning to chastise the heretics. Fortunately, the
fight was never begun, and when our fleet went in search of the pirates
as far as the Galapagos islands, they had abandoned already the waters
of the Pacific.

The earthquake which ruined many towns in the province of Paruro was
also among the great events of the same period.

Among the religious occurrences worthy of mention were the translation
of the nuns of Santa Rosa to their own convent, and the fierce meeting
in the Augustine chapter-room between the two Fathers, Zavala the
Biscayan, and Paz the Sevillian. The Royal Audiencia was compelled
to imprison the whole chapter, thereby suppressing the greatest of
disorders, and after a session of eighteen hours and a good deal of
scrutiny Zavala triumphed by a majority of two votes.

The venerable Marquis de Castil-dos-Rius was an enthusiastic cultivator
of the muses; but as these ladies are almost always shy with old men,
a very poor inspiration animates the few verses of his excellency with
which we happen to have any knowledge.

Every Monday the Viceroy had a reunion of the poets of Lima in the
palace; and in the library of the chief cosmographer, Don Eduardo
Carrasco, there existed until within a few years a bulky manuscript,
_The Flower of the Academies of Lima_, in which were guarded the acts
of the sessions and the verses of the bards. We have made the most
searching investigations for the hiding place of this very curious
book, fatally without any result, which we suppose to be in possession
of some avaricious bookworm, who can make no use of it himself, nor
will allow others to explore so rich a treasure.

The little Parnassus of the palace, which after the manner of Apollo
was presided over by the Viceroy, was formed of Don Pedro de Peralta,
then quite a youth; the Jesuit José Buendia, a Limeño of great talent,
and prodigious science; Don Luis Oviedo y Herrera, also a Limeño, and
son of the poet Count de la Granja (author of a pretty poem on Santa
Rosa); and other geniuses whose names are not worth the trouble of

It was during the festivities held in honour of the birth of the
Infanta Don Luis Fernando, that the little Parnassus was in the height
of its glory, and the Viceroy, the Marquis de Castil-dos-Rius, gave
a representation at the palace of the tragedy of Perseus, written
in unhappy hendecasyllables, to judge by a fragment which we once
read. The principal of the clergy and aristocracy assisted at the

Speaking of the performance, our compatriot Peralta, in one of the
notes to his _Lima fundada_, says, that it was given with harmonious
music, splendid dresses, and beautiful decorations; and that in it the
Viceroy not only manifested the elegance of his poetic genius, but also
the greatness of his soul and the jealousy of his love.

It appears to us that there is a good deal of the courtier in that

Castil-dos-Rius had hardly been two years in his government before
they accused him to Philip V of having used his high office for
improper purposes, and defrauded the royal treasury in connivance
with the _contrabandistas_. The Royal Audiencia and the Tribunal of
Commerce supported the accusation, and the Monarch resolved upon at
once dismissing the Governor of Peru from his office; but the order
was revoked, because a daughter of the Marquis, one of the Queen's
maids of honour, threw herself at the feet of Philip V, and brought
to his recollection the great services of her father during the war of

But although the King appeased the Marquis in a way by revoking
the first order, the pride of Señor de Olim de Sentmanat was deeply
wounded; so much so that it carried him to his tomb, April 22nd, 1710,
after having governed Peru three years and a half.

The funeral was celebrated with slight pomp, but with abundance of good
and bad verses, the Little Parnassus fulfilled a duty towards their
brother in Apollo.


The anonymous letter accused Don Pedro Campos de Ayala of assassinating
the Biscayan, and stealing a thousand ounces, which served for the
basis of the great fortune he acquired in Potosi.

What proofs did the informer supply? We are unable to say.

Don Pedro being duly installed in the Stone Jug, the Mayor appeared to
take his declaration; and the accused replied as follows:

'Mr. Mayor, I plead not guilty when he who accuses me is God himself.
Only to Him under the seal of confession did I reveal my crime. Your
worship will of course represent human justice in the case against me,
but I shall institute a suit against GOD.'

As will be seen, the distinctions of the culprit were somewhat
casuistical, but he found an advocate (the marvel would have been had
he not) prepared to undertake the case against God. Forensic resource
is mighty prolific.

For the reason that the Royal Council sought to wrap the case in the
deepest mystery, all its details were devoured with avidity, and it
became the greatest scandal of the time.

The Inquisition, which was hand and glove with the Jesuits, sought
diligently for opportunities, and resolved to have a finger in the pie.

The Archbishop, the Viceroy, and the most ingrained aristocrat of Lima
society took the side of the Company of Jesus. Although the accused
sustained his integrity, he presented no other proof than his own word,
that a Jesuit was the author of the anonymous denunciation and the
revealer of the secret of the confessional, instigated thereto by the
revocation of the will.

On his part the nephew of the Biscayan claimed the fortune of the
murderer of his uncle, while the trustees of the various hospitals and
convents defended the validity of the second will.

All the sucking lawyers spent their Latin in the case, and the air was
filled with strange notions and extravagant opinions.

Meanwhile the scandal spread; nor will we venture to say to what
lengths it might have gone, had not His Majesty Don Philip V declared
that it would be for the public convenience, and the decorum of the
Church as well as for the morality of his dominions, that the case
should be heard before his great Council of the Indies in Spain.

The consequence was that Don Pedro Campos de Ayala marched to Spain
under orders, in company with the voluminous case.

And as was natural, there followed with him not a few of those who were
favourably mentioned in the will, and who went to Court to look after
their rights.

Peace was re-established in our City of Kings, and the Inquisition had
its attention and time distracted by making preparation to burn Madam
Castro, and the statue and bones of the Jesuit Ulloa.

What was the sentence, or the turn which the sagacious Philip V gave
to the case? We do not know; but we are allowed to suppose that the
King hit upon some conciliatory expedient which brought peace to all
the litigants, and it is possible that the culprit ate a little blessed
bread, or shared in some royal indulgence.

Does the original case still exist in Spain? It is very likely that it
has been eaten of moths, and hence the pretext and origin of a phrase
which with us has become so popular.

It is said of a certain notary who much troubled the Royal Council in
the matter of a will and its codicils, that when the custodian of such
things at last produced something which looked like the original, he
said, 'Here it is, but the moths have sadly eaten it.'

'Just our luck, my dear sir,' said an interested one, who was none
other than the Marquis of Castelfuerte. And ever since, when a thing
has disappeared we say 'No doubt the moths have eaten it.'

       *       *       *       *       *

So much for the lawsuit against GOD, which only a Spaniard could have
conceived and a Peruvian satirist report.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a commercial father sees his eldest son, on whom he has lavished
much care and money that he might learn mathematics and such an amount
of classics as will stand him in good stead at the fashionable training
grounds of the world's gladiators, and the boy is seen to forsake
figures and take to poetry, to prefer the gay science to that which
would enable him to master the money article of the _Times_, that
father will feel as great a pang as when a giant dies.

The same feeling may actuate many a Peruvian bondholder when he is told
that the Peruvians are beginning to cultivate literature. Many city
men will disregard the thing altogether, or disdain to take notice of
it. Many will treat it with resentment and contempt. What right have
people who are in debt to busy themselves in writing books, in amusing
themselves when they should be at work, and in writing poetry when
they should be making money. And yet the cultivation of literature for
its own sake by any people ought not only to be viewed with favour,
it should be carefully watched, to see if it be a real national growth
or only a momentary effort which cannot last. If it be the former, we
shall see it in an improvement of public morals and manners; in the
quickening of the national conscience and chastening the public taste,
in an elevation of character and in fresh dignity being imparted to the
common things and duties of everyday life.

Peru possesses a history as well as a country. The one remains to be
written, and the other to be described by a Peruvian genius who shall
do for Peru and Peruvian history what Sir Walter Scott did for his
native land and its records.

It is now high time that Peru produced her popular historian. One who
can fire the intellect of his countrymen while he provides them with an
elevating pastime, who can point out the way they should or should not
go by showing them the ways they have hitherto travelled. If the work
has been delayed, it is because the people have too long retained the
spirit of the former times to make it possible for them to profit by
any explanation of the past. Monarchists yet, because they have never
known better, they have not been taught to hate the hateful kings who
ruled them in selfishness and kept them in ignorance, while they have
not learned to love with devotion and intelligence the freedom they
possess but know not how to use.

When books are found in hands till then only accustomed to carry
muskets, and the pen is handled by those who have hitherto only
believed in the power of the sword, we may rest assured that an
important change has set in, a silent revolution has begun, which will
make all other revolutions very difficult if not impossible.


     [1] As early as 1614 we find Cervantes writing of these
     countries as the 'refugio y amparo de los desesperados
     de España, Yglesia de los alçados, salvoconducto de los
     homicidas, pala y cubierta de los jugadores (á quien llaman
     ciertos los peritos en el arte) añagaza general de mugeres
     libres, engaño comun de muchos, y remedio particular de
     pocos'--or, in plain English, the Indies are the 'refuge and
     shield of the hopeless ones of Spain, the sanctuary of the
     fraudulent, the protection of the murderer, the occasion
     and pretext of gamesters (as certain experts in the art
     are called), the common snare of free women, the universal
     imposture of the many and the specific reparation of the
     few.'--_El Zeloso Estremeño_. In _La Española Inglesa_ he
     calls the Indies 'el comun refugio de los pobres generosos,'
     he had himself sought service in the colonies, but anything
     in the form of favour from the Spanish court never fell to
     the lot of Cervantes. And all men of brave hearts and high
     courage may thank God that royal people were as powerless to
     spoil or to help men of genius then as they are still.

     [2] See a useful work 'La Condicion Juridica de los
     Estrangeros en el Peru,' per Felix Cipriano C. Zegarra.
     Santiago, 1872. p. 136.


Whether it be true, or only a poetical way of putting it, that Yarmouth
was built on red herrings, Manchester on cotton, Birmingham on brass,
Middlesborough on pigs of iron, and the holy Roman Catholic Church in
China on Peruvian bark, it is true that the Government of Peru has
for more than a generation subsisted on guano, and the foundations
of its greatness have been foundations of the same[3];--the ordure of
birds--pelicans, penguins, boobies, and gulls of many kinds, and many
kinds of ducks, all of marine habits, and deriving their living solely
from the sea and the sky which is stretched above it.

This precious Guano, or Huano, according to the orthography of the
sixteenth century, had long been in use in Peru before Peru was
discovered by the Spaniards. It was well enough known to those famous
agriculturists, the Incas, who five centuries ago used it as a servant.
With the change which changed the Incas from off the face of the earth,
came the strangest change of all,--Guano ceased to be the servant
or helper of the native soil; it became the master of the people
who occupy it, the Peruvian people, the Spanish Peruvians who call
themselves Republicans.

No disgrace or ignominy need have come upon Peru for selling its guano
and getting drunk on the proceeds, if it had not trampled its own
soil into sand, and killed not only the corn, the trees, and flowers
which grow upon it, but also the men who cultivate those beautiful and
necessary things[4].

During the time that Peru has been a vendor of guano, it has sold
twenty million tons of it, and as the price has ranged from £12 to
£12 10_s._ and £13 the ton, Peru may be said to have turned a pretty
penny by the transaction. What she has done with the money is a very
pertinent question, which will be answered in its right place.

The amount of guano still remaining in the country amounts to between
seven and eight million tons. There are men of intelligence even in
Peru who affirm that the quantity does not reach five million tons.
One of my informants, a man intimately connected with the export and
sale of this guano, assured me that there are not at this hour more
than two million tons in the whole of the Republic, and he had the best
possible means at his disposal for ascertaining its truth. I have since
discovered, however, that men who deal in guano do not always speak
with a strict regard for the truth.

As this is one of the vexed questions of the hour to some of my
countrymen, the violent lenders of money, Jews, Greeks, infidels and
others; although I have no sympathy with them, yet on condition that
they buy this book I will give them a fair account of the guano which
I have actually seen, and where it exists.

I was sent to Peru for the express purpose of making this examination.
I may therefore expect that my statements will be received with some
consideration. They have certainly been prepared with much care, and,
I may add, under very favourable circumstances.

My visits to the existing guano deposits were made after they had
been uncovered of the stones which had been rolled upon them by the
turbulent action of a century of earthquakes, the sand which the
unresisted winds of heaven for the same period had heaped upon them
from the mainland, and the slower but no less degrading influences of
a tropical sun, attended with the ever humid air, dense mists, fogs
and exhalations, and now and then copious showers of rain. Moreover, my
visits were made after a certain ascertained quantity of guano had been
removed, and my measurements of the quantity remaining were therefore
easily checked.

Last year the Pabellon de Pica was reported to contain eight million
tons of guano. At that time it was covered from head to foot with
more than fifty feet of sand and stones. The principal slopes are
now uncovered. Before this painful and expensive process had been
completed, various other courageous guesses had been made, and
the Government engineers were divided among themselves in their
estimates. One enthusiastic group of these loyal measurers contended
for five million tons, another for three million five hundred and
twenty thousand six hundred and forty, and another, unofficial and
disinterested, placed it at less than a million tons.

My own measurements corroborate this latter calculation. There may be
one million tons of guano on the Pabellon de Pica. The exact quantity
will only be known after all the guano has been entirely removed and

The Pabellon de Pica is in form like a pavilion, or tent, or better
still, a sugar-loaf rising a little more than 1000 feet above the
sea which washes its base. It is connected by a short saddle with the
mountain range, which runs north and south along the whole Peruvian
coast, attaining a height here of more than 5000 feet in isolated
cones, but maintaining an average altitude of 3000 feet.

When a strong north wind rages on these sandy pampas, the dust, finer
than Irish blackguard, obscures the sky, disfigures the earth, and
makes mad the unhappy traveller who happens to be caught in its fury.
A mind not troubled by the low price of Peruvian bonds, or whether even
the next coupon will be paid, might imagine that the gods, in mercy to
the idleness of man, were determined to cover up those dunghills from
human sight; and hence the floods, and cataracts of sand and dust which
have been poured upon them from above.

If it could be conceived that an almighty hand, consisting of nineteen
fingers, each finger six hundred feet long, with a generous palm
fifteen hundred feet wide, had thrust itself up from below, through
this loaf of sugar, or dry dung, to where the dung reaches on the
Pabellon, some idea might be formed of the frame in which, and on which
the guano rests.

The man who reckoned the Pabellon to contain eight million tons of
guano, took no notice of the Cyclopean fingers which hold it together,
or the winstone palm in which it rests. There are eighteen large and
small gorges formed by the nineteen stone fingers. Each gorge was
filled with a motionless torrent of stones and sand, and these had to
be removed before the guano could be touched.

So hard and compact had the guano become, that neither the stones nor
the sand had mixed with it; when these were put in motion and conducted
down into the sea below, the guano was found hard and intact, and it
had to be blasted with gunpowder to convey it by the wooden shoots
to the ships' launches that were dancing to receive it underneath.
The process was as dangerous as mining, and quite as expensive, to
the Peruvian Government; for, although the loading of the guano is
let out by contract, the contractors--a limited company of native
capitalists--will, as a matter of course, claim a considerable sum for
removing stones and sand, and equally as a matter of course they will
be paid: and they deserve to be paid. No hell has ever been conceived
by the Hebrew, the Irish, the Italian, or even the Scotch mind for
appeasing the anger and satisfying the vengeance of their awful gods,
that can be equalled in the fierceness of its heat, the horror of
its stink, and the damnation of those compelled to labour there, to a
deposit of Peruvian guano when being shovelled into ships. The Chinese
who have gone through it, and had the delightful opportunity of helping
themselves to a sufficiency of opium to carry them back to their homes,
as some believed, or to heaven, as fondly hoped others, must have had
a superior idea of the Almighty, than have any of the money-making
nations mentioned above, who still cling to an immortality of fire and

Years ago the Pabellon de Pica was resorted to for its guano by a
people, whoever they were, who had some fear of God before their eyes.
Their little houses built of boulders and mortar, still stand, and so
does their little church, built after the same fashion, but better,
and raised from the earth on three tiers, each tier set back a foot's
length from the other. It is now used as a store for barley and other
valuable necessaries for the mules and horses of the loading company.

If the bondholders of Peru, or others, have any desire to know
something of public life on this now celebrated dunghill, they may turn
to another page of this history, and Mr. Plimsoll, or other shipping
reformer, may learn something likewise of the lives of English seamen
passed during a period of eight months in the neighbourhood of a
Peruvian guano heap. In the meantime we are dealing with the grave
subject of measurable quantities of stuff, which fetches £12 or so a
ton in the various markets of the cultivated world.

The next deposit--of much greater dimensions, although not so well
known--is about eight miles south of the Pabellon, called Punta
de Lobos. This also is on the mainland, but juts out to the west
considerably, into the sea. I find it mentioned in Dampier--'At Lobos
de la Mar,' he says, vol. i. 146, 'we found abundance of penguins, and
boobies, and seal in great abundance.' Also in vol. iv. 178 he says,
'from Tucames to Yancque is twelve leagues, from which place they carry
clay to lay in the valleys of Arica and Sama. And here live some few
Indian people, who are continually digging this clayey ground for the
use aforesaid, for the Spaniards reckon that it fattens the ground.'
The fishing no doubt was better here than at the Pabellon, which
would be the principal attraction to the Indians. The Indians have
disappeared with the lobos, the penguins and the boobies.

One million six hundred thousand tons of guano were reported from Lobos
last year by the Government engineers. The place is much more easy of
access than the Pabellon, and no obstacle was in the way of a thorough
measurement, and yet the utmost carelessness has been observed with
regard to it. It may safely be taken that there are two millions and
a half of tons at this deposit, or series of deposits, ten in number,
all overlooking the sea. The guano is good. If the method of shipping
it were equally good the Government might save the large amount
which they at present lose. I have no hesitation in saying, that for
every 900 tons shipped, 200 tons of guano are lost in the sea by bad
management, added to the dangers of the heavy surf which rolls in under
the shoots. As at the Pabellon de Pica, so here the principal labourers
are Chinamen, and Chilenos, the former doing much more work than the
latter, and receiving inferior pay. Many of the Chinamen are still
apprentices, or 'slaves' as they are in reality called and treated by
their owners.

At Punta de Lobos I discovered two small caves built of boulders,
and roofed in with rafters of whales' ribs. The effect of the white
concentric circles in the sombre light of these alcoves had an oriental
expression. The number of whales on this coast must at one time have
been very great. They are still to be met with several hundred miles
west, in the latitude of Payta. No doubt for the same reason that the
lobos and the boobies have gone, no one knows where, so the whales have
gone in search of grounds and waters remote from the haunts of man and

A singular effect of light upon the bright slopes of dazzling sand
which run down from the northern sides of the Point, was observed from
the heights: when the shadows of the clouds in the zenith passed over
the shining surface they appeared to be not shadows, but last night's
clouds which had fallen from the sky, so dense were they, dark, and
sharply defined. [It frequently happens in Peru, that what appears to
be substantial, is nothing better than a morning cloud which passes

Huanillos is another deposit still further south, where the guano
is good but the facilities for shipping it are few. Here are five
different gorges, in which the dung has been stored as if by careful
hands. The earthquake however has played sad havoc with the storing.
From a great height above, enormous pieces of rock of more than a
thousand tons each have been hurled down, and in one place another
motionless cataract of heavy boulders covers up a large amount of

The quantity found here may be fairly estimated at eight hundred
thousand tons.

It was easy to count ninety-five ships resting below on what, at
the distance of three miles, appeared to be a sea without motion or
ripple. At the Pabellon de Pica there were ninety-one ships, and at
Lobos one hundred and fourteen ships, all waiting for guano: three
hundred ships in all, some of which had been waiting for more than
eight months; and it is not unlikely that the whole of them may have
to wait for the same length of time. An impression has got abroad
that the reason of this delay is the absence of guano. It is a natural
inference for the captain of a ship to draw, and it is just the kind
of information an ignorant man would send home to his employers. It
is however absolutely erroneous; the delays in loading are vexatious
in the extreme, but being in Peru they can hardly be avoided. Their
cause may be set down to the sea and its dangers, the precipitous rocky
shore, the ill-constructed launches and shoots, and now and then to the
ignorance, stupidity, and obstinacy of a Peruvian official, called an

Chipana, six miles further south of Huanillos, is another considerable
deposit. But as this had not been uncovered, and the place is
absolutely uninhabited and without any of the common necessaries of
life, which in Peru may be said to be not very few, I did not visit it,
and am content to take the measurement of a gentleman whom I have every
reason to trust, and on whose accuracy and ability I can rely as I have
had to rely before.

The amount of guano at Chipana may be taken at about the same as
Huanillos. If to this be added the deposits of Chomache, very small,
Islotas de Pajaros, Quebrada de Pica, Patache, and all other points
further north, up to la Bahia de la Independencia, we may safely
declare that among them all will be found not less than five million
tons of good guano.

Before proceeding to give an account of the deposits in the north, it
may be well to allude to a question of considerable importance to some
one, be it the Government of Peru, or the house of Messrs. Dreyfus
Brothers, the present financial agents of Peru. The only interest which
the question can have for the public, or the holders of Peruvian bonds,
arises from the fact of this question involving no less a sum than
£1,500,000 or even more; and if the Government of Peru has to pay it,
so much the worse will it be for its already alarmed and disappointed
creditors. Many of the three hundred ships lying off the three
principal deposits of the South, have been there for very long periods
of time, and a considerable bill for demurrage has been contracted.
The question is who is to pay the shipowners' claim, and probably the
law courts will have to answer the question. It would appear at first
sight that this charge should be paid by Dreyfus. According to the
first article of the contract between that firm and the Government of
Peru, Dreyfus was to purchase two million tons of guano, and to pay
for the same two million four hundred thousand pounds sterling. Here is
a distinct act of purchase. The guano is the property of Dreyfus. The
second article of the contract would appear to provide especially for
the case in point: 'Los compradores enviarán por su cuenta y riesgo, á
los depositos huaneros de la Republica, los buques necesarios para el
transporte del huano' [the purchasers shall send, _at their own cost
and risk_, the necessary ships to the guano deposits of the Republic
for the purpose of transporting the guano].

This would seem to be plain enough: but these ships, or the greater
part of them, came chartered by Dreyfus, not to any deposit of guano,
in the first instance, but to Callao, where they collected in that
bay, notorious now for many reported acts of singular heroism, and
other acts of a very different nature. The ships were finally detained
by command of the President of the Republic, who, acting on certain
subterranean knowledge, refused to despatch the ships, or to allow
them to proceed to the deposits. Dreyfus, the President insisted, had
already taken away all the guano that belonged to them, and therefore
the ships which they had chartered for carrying away still more should
not be allowed to go and load. At last the President appears to have
discovered his mistake, and the ships, to the amazement of the Lima
press, were allowed to depart; some to the Pabellon de Pica, where they
still are; others to Lobos, and the rest to Huanillos. In the meantime
the following circular appeared.

     'The Lima press has commented in various articles on the
     conduct of our house with respect to the export of guano,
     and we have been charged with endeavouring to appropriate
     a larger quantity than that which is stipulated in our
     contracts as sufficient to cover the amounts due to us by the
     Supreme Government.

     These false and malevolent assertions render it necessary for
     us to satisfy the public and inform the country of the state
     of our affairs with the Supreme Government.

     We trust that dispassionate people who do not allow their
     opinions to be based on partial evidence, will do our
     house the justice to which we are entitled by these few
     particulars, the truth of which is proved by facts and
     figures that can be authenticated by application to the
     offices of the Public Treasury.

    Balance in favour of our house on June
      30, 1875, as per account delivered,
      embracing 1,377,150 tons of guano                     $.24,068,156

    Expenses since that date for monthly
      instalments, loading, salaries in Europe,
      etc.                                                   $.2,390,000
    Balance in favour of our house                          $.26,459,156

    From this sum there is to be deducted
      the value of cargoes despatched up to
      June, 300,092 tons at 30 soles            9,002,760

    Vessels now loading, 394,966 tons at
      30 soles                                  4,849,000

    [A]Vessels detained in Callao 110,657 tons
      at 30 soles                               3,319,710
                                              -----------   $.24,181,470
    Which shews a balance in our favour of                   $.2,286,686

    Adding to this sum interest in account
      current since June                        1,500,000

    [B]Cost of loading ships at the deposits
      and in Callao                             1,500,000
                                              -----------      3,000,000

    Shewing a clear balance in our favour of                 $.5,286,686

     We have taken thirty soles as the average value of guano of
     different qualities.

     These figures prove that our house not only has not received
     more than it is entitled to, even if all the vessels had left
     which are at the deposits as well as those in Callao, but
     that there is still a heavy balance due to us.

     With respect to questions now pending, no one possesses the
     right to consider his opinions of more value than those of
     the tribunals of justice before which they now are, without
     the least opposition on our part.

                        DREYFUS, HERMANOS, & CO.

     _Lima, Dec. 31, 1875._

It appears from this statement [A], that Dreyfus had already put in
their claim for the detention of the ships. What is meant by the last
item marked with a [B] is uncertain; no ships are loaded in Callao. If
the Government can sustain its suit against Dreyfus on that part of the
second article of the contract mentioned above, instead of its owing
Dreyfus the 'clear balance of 5,286,686 dols.' Dreyfus is in debt to
the Government.

But there is another item in the second article which appears to
override the first: viz. 'y este (guano) será colocado por cuenta y
riesgo del gobierno abordo de las lanchas destinadas a la carga de
dichos buques' [or, in plain English, 'this guano shall be placed
on board such launches as are appointed to carry it to the ships, on
account and at the risk of the Government'].

Well, it is absolutely certain that the guano was not _colocado_, or
placed on board the appointed launches; not because the launches were
not there; not because there was no guano at the deposits;--but simply
because the Government had not, for some reason or other, fulfilled its
own part of the contract.

No answer was made by the Government to Dreyfus' circular, and the
obsequious Lima newspapers were as silent upon it as dumb dogs. I have
since heard, on high authority, that the reply of the Government is
prepared, and that it disputes Dreyfus' claims and will contest them in
a court of law.

I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the islands of the
north; glad to leave behind me the filthiness, foulness, and weariness
of the mainland in the neighbourhood of the Pabellon de Pica. Had it
not been for the true British kindness of one or two of my countrymen
and several Americans in command of guano ships, Her Majesty's Consular
agent, and the agent of the house of Dreyfus, who did all they could to
provide me with wholesome food, German beer, and clean beds, I should
have fled away from that much-talked-of dunghill without estimating its
contents; or like a philosophical Chinaman sought out a quiet nook in
the warm rocks, and with an opium reed in my lips smoked myself away to
everlasting bliss.

On my return from the south we passed close to the Chincha islands.
When I first saw them twenty years ago, they were bold, brown heads,
tall, and erect, standing out of the sea like living things, reflecting
the light of heaven, or forming soft and tender shadows of the tropical
sun on a blue sea. Now these same islands looked like creatures whose
heads had been cut off, or like vast sarcophagi, like anything in short
that reminds one of death and the grave.

In ages which have no record these islands were the home of millions
of happy birds, the resort of a hundred times more millions of fishes,
of sea lions, and other creatures whose names are not so common; the
marine residence, in fact, of innumerable creatures predestined from
the creation of the world to lay up a store of wealth for the British
farmer, and a store of quite another sort for an immaculate Republican
government. One passage of the Hebrew Scriptures, and this the only
passage in the whole range of sacred or profane literature, supplies
an adequate epitaph for the Chincha islands. But it is too indecent,
however amusing it may be, to quote.

On Sunday morning, March 26th, of the last year of grace, I first
caught sight of the beautiful pearl-gray islands of Lobos de Afuera,
undulating in latitude S. 6.57.20, longitude 80.41.50, beneath a blue
sky, and apparently rolling out of an equally blue sea. Here is the
only large deposit that has remained untouched; here you may walk about
among great birds busy hatching eggs, look a great sea-lion in the face
without making him afraid, and dip your hat in the sea and bring up
more little fishes than you can eat for breakfast.

There are eight distinct deposits in an island rather more than a mile
in length and half a mile in width. The amount of guano will be not
less than 650,000 tons.

It is not all of the same good quality, for considerable rain has at
one time fallen on these islands. Wide and deep beds of sand mark in
a well defined manner the courses of several once strong and rapid
streams. But if the poor guano, that namely which does not yield
more than two per cent. of ammonia be reckoned, the deposits on these
islands will reach a million tons.

The wiseacres who believe guano to be a mineral substance, and not the
excreta of birds, will do well to pay a visit to Lobos de Afuera. There
they will see the whole process of guano making and storing carried
on with the greatest activity, regularity, and despatch. The birds
make their nests quite close together: as close and regular, in fact,
as wash-hand basins laid out in a row for sale in a market-place; are
about the same size, and stand as high from the ground. These nests are
made by the joint efforts of the male and female birds; for there is
no moss, or lichen, or grass, or twig, or weed, available, or within a
hundred miles and more: even the sea does not yield a leaf. As a rule,
about one hundred and fifty nests form a farm. It has been computed
by a close observer that the heguiro will contribute from 4 oz. to 6
oz. per day of nesty material, the pelican twice as much. When there
are millions of these active beings living in undisturbed retirement,
with abundance of appropriate food within reach, it does not require a
very vivid imagination to realise in how, comparatively, short a time
a great deposit of guano can be stored.

Will the Government of Peru occupy itself in preserving and cultivating
these busy birds? That Government has lived now on their produce for
more than thirty years; why should it not take a benign and intelligent
interest in the creatures who have continued its existence and
contributed to its fame?

The heguiro is a large bird of the gull and booby species, but twice
the size of these, with blue stockings and also blue shoes. It does
not appear to possess much natural intelligence, and its education
has evidently been left uncared for. It will defend its young with
real courage, but will fly from its nest and its one or two eggs
on the least alarm. This, however, is not always the case. But in a
most insane manner if it spies a white umbrella approaching, it sets
up a painful shriek. Had it kept its mouth shut, the umbrella had
travelled in another direction. As the noise came from a peculiar
cave-like aperture in the high rocks, I sat down in front, watched the
movements of the bird, who kept up a dismal noise, evidently resenting
my intrusion on her private affairs. After a brief space I marched
slowly up to the bird, who, when she saw me determined to come on,
deliberately rose from her nest, and became engaged in some frantic
effort, the meaning of which I could not guess. When I approached
within ten yards of her, she sprang into the sky and began sailing
above my head, trying by every means in her power to scare me away.
When I reached the nest, I found the beautiful pale blue egg covered
with little fishes! The anxious mother had emptied her stomach in order
to protect the fruit of her body from discovery or outrage, or to keep
it warm while she paid a visit to her mansion in the skies.

Birds have ever been a source of joy to me from the time that I first
remember walking in a field of buttercups in Mid Staffordshire, some
fifty years ago, and hearing for the first time the rapturous music of
a lark. Since then I have watched the movements of the great condor on
the Andes, the eagle on the Hurons, the ibis on the Nile, the native
companion in its quiet nooks on the Murray, the laughing jackass in
the Bush of Australia, the curaçoa of Central America, the tapa culo
of the South American desert, the albatross of the South Pacific. I
can see them all still, or their ghosts, whenever I choose to shut my
eyes, a process which the poets assure us is necessary if we would see
bright colours. And now I no longer care for birds. I have seen them in
double millions at a time, swarming in the sky, like insects on a leaf,
or vermin in a Spanish bed. They are as common as man, and can be as
useful, and become as great a commercial speculation as he.

We visited the island of Macabi, lat. 7.49.30 S., long. 79.28.30, for
the purpose of seeing what good thing remained there that was worth
removing in the way of houses, tanks and tools for use on the virgin
deposits of Lobos de Afuera. Although there is not more than one
shipload of guano left, I was glad to see the place for many reasons.
It will be recollected that it was on the guano said to exist on this
and the Guañapi islands that the Peruvian Loan of 1872 was raised, and
it will be the duty of all who invested their money in that transaction
to enquire into the truth of the statements on which the loan was made.

Macabi is an island split in two, spanned by a very well constructed
iron suspension bridge a hundred feet long. The birds which had been
frightened away by the operations of the guano-loading company have
returned. The lobos probably never left the place, the precipitous
rocks and the great caverns which the sea has scooped out affording
them sufficient protection from the 'fun'-pursuing Peruvian, who
delights in killing, where there is no danger, an animal twice his
own size, and whose existence is quite as important as his own. Or if
the lobos did leave, they also have returned. This would go to prove
the statements that the birds have begun to return to the Chinchas.
When this is proved beyond any doubt, we may expect to hear of Messrs.
Schweiser and Gnat applying for another loan on the strength of the
pelicans, ducks and boobies having returned to their ancient labours on
those celebrated islands.

The spectacle presented at Macabi was humiliating. The ground was
everywhere strewn with Government property, which had all gone to
destruction. The shovels and picks were scattered about as if they had
been thrown down with curses which had blasted them. I went to pick
up a shovel, but it fell to pieces like Rip Van Winkle's gun on the
Catskills; the wheelbarrows collapsed with a touch. Suddenly I came
on a little coffin, exquisitely made, not quite eighteen inches long.
There it lay in the midst of the burning glaring rocks, as solitary and
striking as the print of a foot in the sand was to Robinson Crusoe. The
coffin was empty, and the presence of certain filthy-fat gallinazos
high up on the rocks explained the reason. A little further on were
the graves of some fifty full-grown persons, 'Asiatics,' probably,
who had purposely fallen asleep. Walking down the steady slope of
the island till I came to the edge of the sea, which rolled below me
some hundred and twenty feet, I came suddenly in front of a thousand
lobos, all basking in the sun after their morning's bath. It was a
sight certainly new, entertaining, and instructive. The young lobos
are silly little things, and look as if it had not taken much trouble
to make them; a child could carve a baby lobo out of a log, that would
be quite as good to look at as one of these. But the old fathers,
patriarchs, kings, or presidents of the herd, are as impressive as some
of Layard's Assyrian lions. Suddenly one of these caught me in his eye,
and no doubt imagining me to be a Peruvian, signalled to the rest, who,
following his lead, all rushed violently down the steep place into the
sea, and began tumbling about and rolling over in the surf like a mob
of happy children gambolling among a lot of hay-cocks in a green field.
They live on fish, and the number of fishes is as great at Macabi as
elsewhere. As I remained watching these swarthy creatures, a great
sea-lion appeared above the surface of the rolling deep looking about
him, his mouth full of fishes, just as you have seen a high-bred horse
with his mouth full of straggling hay, turn his head to look as you
entered his stable door.

My next and longer visit was to Lobos de Tierra, lat. S. 6.27.30, the
largest guano island in the world, being some seven miles long, or
more. Here are great deposits of guano, the extent and value of which
are not yet known. It is certain that there are more than eight hundred
thousand tons of good quality in the numerous deposits which have been
hitherto examined.

On January 31st, being in lat. S. 7.50.0, and some 15 miles from the
Peruvian coast, when on my way to the South from Panama, we ran into
a heavy shower of rain. Now it is much more likely to rain in lat. S.
6.27.30 and 120 miles from the shore, and this explains the reason why
the guano deposits of Lobos de Tierra were not worked before. Still
the quantity of rich material found there is great, and it is the only
place where I came on sal ammoniac _in situ_; the crystals were large
and beautifully formed, but somewhat opaque. During the ten days I
remained there, more than 500 tons of good guano were shipped in one
day, and there were some 40 ships waiting to receive more.

Like all the other guano deposits, Lobos de Tierra has to be supplied
at great expense from the mainland with everything for the support of
human life. It is true that the sea supplies very good fish, but man
cannot live on fish alone, at least for any length of time, especially
if he is engaged in loading ships with guano. The Changos, however, a
race of fishermen on the Peruvian coast, do live on uncooked fish, and
a finer race to look at may not be found; the colour of their skin is
simply beautiful, but they are very little children in understanding.
It is only fair to say that with their raw fish they consume a
plentiful amount of chicha, a fermented liquor made from maize, the
ancient beer of Peru: and very good liquor it is, very sustaining,
and, taken in excess, as intoxicating as that of the immortal Bass.
These hardy fishers visit all these islands in their balsas, great
rafts formed of three tiers of large trees of light wood, stripped and
prepared for the purpose in Guayaquil. They are precisely the same as
those first met with by Pizarro's expedition when on his way to conquer
Peru, three centuries and a half ago. The people are probably the same,
except that they now speak Spanish, and are never found with gold;
but now and then they do traffic in fine cottons, spun by hand, now as
then, by natives of the country.

I cannot forget that it was at Lobos de Tierra I had the great pleasure
of forming the acquaintance of one who represents young Peru: the new
generation that, if time and opportunity be given it, may transform
that land of corruption into a new nation. Here on this barren island,
I found a son of one of the oldest Peruvian families, thoroughly
educated, well acquainted with England and its literature, proud of his
country, jealous for its honour, and keenly alive to the disgrace into
which she has been dragged by the wicked men who have gone to their
doom. Should this generation, represented by one whom I am allowed to
call my friend--who, though born in the Guano Age is not of it,--rise
into power, the rising generation in England may see what many have had
too great reason to despair of, namely, a South American Republic, that
shall prefer death to dishonour, and if needs must, will live on bread
and onions in order to be free of debt. There is so much pleasure in
hoping the best of all men, that it surely must be a duty the neglect
of which, when there are substantial evidences to support it, must be
a crime.

I left Lobos de Tierra with profound regret, but it was necessary to
do so in order to see what remained to be seen of the precious dung
in other parts of Peru. The following will be found to be a fair
approximation of the quantities existing along the northern coast.

     |       Islands.        |  Latitude. | Longitude. | Quantities.|
     |                       |            |            |    Tons.   |
     | Malabrigo             |   7.43.20  |  79.26.20  |      400   |
     | Macabi                |   7.49.30  |  79.28.20  |    1,000   |
     | Guañapi               |   7.49.30  |  78.56.0   |    3,500   |
     | Chao                  |   8.46.50  |  78.46.0   |      800   |
     | Coreobado             |   8.57.0   |  78.40.30  |    3,000   |
     | Santa                 |   9.03.0   |  78.39.30  |      100   |
     | Bay of Ferrol         |   9.10.0   |  78.36.0   |   22,000   |
     | El Dorado             |   9.12.0   |  78.34.0   |    6,000   |
     | Small Island Pajaros  |   9.12.0   |  78.30.10  |      250   |
     | Tortuga               |   9.21.30  |  78.27.0   |      700   |
     | Mongon                |   9.39.40  |  78.25.0   |   23,000   |
     | Mongon 2nd            |   9.40.0   |  78.20.0   |   30,000   |
     | Mongoncillo           |   9.45.30  |  78.16.40  |    6,000   |
     | Cornejos              |   9.53.0   |  78.15.0   |      500   |
     | Erizos                |   9.54.40  |  78.14.0   |    5,000   |
     | Huarmey               |  10.00.20  |  78.12.0   |      500   |
     | 2nd ditto             |  10.02.0   |  78.11.0   |    3,000   |
     | Bay of Gramadal       |  10.25.0   |  78.00.30  |   10,000   |
     | Pescadores            |  11.48.0   |  77.15.30  |      200   |

I have not visited all these small deposits, and have been content to
take the report of Captain Black, the chief of the Peruvian expedition
lately appointed to examine them. I have found him so faithful and
trustworthy in those cases--the more important of them all--where I
have had the opportunity of comparing his calculations with my own,
that I have not hesitated to adopt his estimates of the least important
deposits. I have considered them of value if for no other reason
than to guard the public against any fresh discovery being made by
interested parties.

If then we add these northern deposits to those of the south, Peru has
at present in her possession, in round numbers, 7,500,000 tons of guano
of 2240 lbs. to the ton.

It is not my business to suggest the possible existence of guano
remaining to be discovered. I may however be allowed to say that there
are certain unmistakable indications of even large deposits which may
lie buried a hundred feet below the sand on the slopes of the southern
shore. As those indications are the result of my own observation, I may
be allowed to keep them to myself for a more convenient season.


     [3] Since writing the above I have come on the following
     passage from the report of the Peruvian Minister of Finance
     for 1858.


     Tan grande es el valor de este ramo de la riqueza
     nacional, que sin exajeracion puede asegurarse, que en
     su estimacion y buen manejo estriba la subsistencia del
     Estado, el mantenimiento de su credito, el porvenir de su
     engrandecimiento, y la conservacion del órden publico.' Which
     may be done into the vulgar tongue faithfully and well as
     follows--So great is the value of this branch of the national
     riches, that without exaggeration it may be affirmed that
     on its estimation and good handling depend the subsistence
     of the State, the maintenance of its credit, the future of
     its increase, and the preservation of public order.--Signed,
     Manuel Ortiz de Zerallos.

     [4] It is hard to believe that the present dead silent sands,
     which form the coast of Peru from the Province of Chincha in
     the south as far as Trujillo in the north, was in the early
     days so populous that Padre Melendez, quoted by Unanue,
     compared one of the small valleys to an ant hill; and now
     'not more than half a dozen natives can be found among its
     ruins.'--See Documentos Literarios del Peru Colectados por
     Manuel de Odriozola, vol. vi, p. 179.

     The rapid and continued decrease of the Peruvian population
     has been ascribed to civil war. This is not true. Where the
     sword has carried off its thousands, the infernal stuff known
     as brandy, the small pox, and other epidemics, have slain
     their tens of thousands. The liberation of the slaves also
     caused great mortality amongst the negroes.


'However long the guano deposits may last, Peru always possesses
the nitrate deposits of Tarapaca to replace them. Foreseeing the
possibility of the former becoming exhausted, the Government has
adopted measures by which it may secure a new source of income, in
order that on the termination of the guano the Republic may be able to
continue to meet the obligations it is under to its foreign creditors.'

These words form part of an assuring despatch from Don Juan Ignacio
Elguera, the Peruvian Minister of Finance, to the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, and was made public as early as possible after it was found
that the January coupon could not be paid. The assurance came too late
for any practical purposes, and it merely demonstrated the fact that
the Peruvian Government shared in the panic which had been designedly
brought to pass by its enemies as well as its intimate friends in Lima,
and their emissaries in London and Paris.

The despatch demonstrates two or three other matters of importance.
We are made to infer from its terms, and the eagerness with which it
insists on the undoubted source of wealth the Government possesses
in the deposits of nitrate, that it was unaware of the actual amount
of guano still remaining in the deposits of the north and the south.
We may also safely believe that the Peruvian Government did not
at the time of the publication of the despatch, dream of asking
the bondholders to sacrifice any of their rights; and further, in
its anxiety to save its credit with England, it was hurried into a
confession which it now regrets.

What spirit of evil suggested to President Pardo the idea of appealing
to the charity of his creditors, immediately after allowing his finance
minister to announce to all the world that the Republic was able to
continue meeting its obligations to its foreign creditors even though
the guano should give out, it does not much concern us to enquire. The
effect of such an appeal cannot fail to be prejudicial to the credit of
Peru; and men or dealers in other people's money will not be wanting
who will call in question the good faith of the finance minister
when he declared that the deposits of nitrate could continue what the
deposits of guano had begun but failed to carry on.

Other considerations press themselves upon us. In the midst of the
crisis, the President published a decree, announcing that he would
avail himself of the resolution of Congress which enabled him to
acquire the nitrate works in the province of Tarapaca. A commission
of lawyers was at once despatched to the province to examine titles,
and to fix upon the price to be paid to each manufacturer for his
plant and his nitrate lands. In an incredibly short time no less than
fifty-one nitrate makers had given in their consent to sell their works
to the Government, and the price was fixed upon each, and each was
measured, inventoried, and closed. The total sum to be paid for these
establishments was 18,000,000 dols. But they remained to be conveyed.
The civil power had displayed considerable activity; now that the
law had to be applied things became as dull as lead, and as heavy as
if they had all been made of that well-known metal. Negotiations had
also to be entered into with the Lima Banks, which is an operation as
delicate and as dangerous as negotiating with so many volcanoes, or any
other uncertain and baseless institutions of which either nature or a
civilisation supported by bits of paper can boast.

Still the world was comforted by the promise that next week all would
be well, or the week after, or say the end of the month, in order
to be sure. In the midst of this, General Prado, the possible future
President of Peru, is despatched to Europe on a mission, the nature of
which was kept a profound secret for three weeks.

Simple men, who believed in the despatch of the finance minister, knew
for certain that General Prado had gone to England to raise more money
on nitrate, in order that the Oroya Railway might be finished, and a
station-house built somewhere in the Milky Way, which it is destined
probably this marvellous line shall ultimately reach. And if London
would only lend Peru, say another £10,000,000, then Lima would rejoice,
and the whole earth be glad; the mountains would break out into psalms,
and the valleys would laugh and sing, for would not Don Enrique Meiggs,
the Messiah[5] of the Andes, once more return to reign?

At any rate it is quite certain that General Prado was announced to
sail on the 14th of March, when the last stroke of the pen was to be
put to the conveyance of the nitrate properties. Alas! the law's delay
continued, and General Prado did not sail. It is natural to suppose at
all events that Prado never meant to go to London without the nitrate
contracts in his pocket--which will supply a larger income to Peru
than the guano in all its glory ever did,--for the purpose of asking
the bondholders to be merciful. The General finally left Callao for
Europe on the 21st, amidst the forebodings of his friends, and the
ill-concealed joy of his foes, but without the nitrate documents being
signed. Still, before he could reach London the thing would be done,
and the result could be telegraphed. In the meantime the new minister
to Paris and London, Rivaguero, telegraphed to Lima some favourable
news, the precise terms of which, of course, were not allowed to
transpire, to the effect that an arrangement had been made satisfactory
to all parties.

On this, further delay takes place in the important nitrate
negotiations, and that in the face of a semi-official communication to
the effect that next week merchants might rely upon it that all would
be well and truly finished. In the stead of this, President Pardo
'reminds the Banks of an item which up to that period had never been
dreamed or thought of, except by the President himself, namely, that
they, the Banks, on the security of the nitrate bonds, would have to
supply to the Government so many hundred thousand dollars per month!

All at once the whole fabric of the nitrate business fell down.

Two things may be inferred from this: President Pardo hoped, believed,
perhaps knew, that the bondholders would give way, and he had become
convinced that he had made a mistake in buying the nitrate properties;
it is also likely that he knew for certain at this time that there
was guano enough for all purposes, without meddling with the important
nitrate matters, and thereby destroying a great and important national
industry. He may also have been desirous to bury, in an oblivion of his
own making, the honest compromise contained in the despatch of Don Juan
Ignacio Elguera. A further light may have dawned on the Presidential
mind, namely, that it will be perfectly easy for the Government to
treble the export duty on nitrate, without in the least damaging
the trade or dangerously interfering with the profits of the makers,
by which means the Peruvian Government would reap an annual income
without trouble, or any of the thousand vexations to which it has been
subjected in the export and sale of its guano.

That it was the original intention of the Government to raise a loan
on the 'purchase' of the nitrate properties, is evident from the terms
of the tenth article of President Pardo's decree, which may be thus

'The establishments sold to the State shall be paid for within two
years, or as soon after as possible, that funds for the purpose have
been raised in Europe; payment shall be by bills on London, at not more
than ninety days, and at the rate of exchange of forty-four pence to
the _sol_,' etc.

Whatever value these particulars may possess or have given to them
by future events[6], they will serve to show some of the peculiar
features of the Peruvian Government, and to what shifts it can resort,
or is compelled to make under adverse circumstances, or circumstances
into which it may be brought by its enemies, or its own weakness, its
inherent lack of stout-hearted honesty, and its inaptitude for what is
known as business.

The nitrate deposits are well enough known. It is absolutely certain
that in the year 1863 there were sold 1,508,000 cwts.; and in 1873
5,830,000 cwts. In that year the Government acknowledged to have
received from the export of this article the sum of 2,250,000 dols.
Should the permanent sale of nitrate reach 5,000,000 quintals per
annum, there is no reason why the Government should not realise from
this source at least 10,000,000 dols. a year: should it only double its
present duties the amount would reach 12,000,000 dols.

The annual amount of nitrate which the fifty-one establishments
proposed to be bought by the Government are capable of producing, may
be set down at 14,000,000 cwts.

These establishments do not exhaust the whole of the nitrate deposits.
There are several large 'Oficinas,' as they are called, which have, for
their own reasons, refused to sell their properties to the State.

The region of these deposits is a wild, barren pampa, 3000 feet above
the level of the sea, and contains not less than 150 square miles of
land, which will yield on the safest calculation more than 70,000,000
tons of nitrate.

Why these establishments for the manufacture of this important
substance are called 'oficinas' it may not be difficult to say: it
is doubtless for the same reason that a cottage _orné_ at Chorrillos,
the Brighton of Lima, is called a rancho. Twenty years ago Chorrillos
was to Lima what the Clyde and its neighbouring waters were to the
manufacturing capital of Scotland. What Dunoon and its competitors on
the Scotch coast now are, such has Chorrillos become,--the fashionable
resort of rich people who have robbed nature of her simplicity and
beauty by embellishing her, as they call it, with art. All that remains
of the straw-thatched rancho of Chorrillos, with its unglazed windows,
its mud floors, its hammocks, and its freedom, is its name. An oficina
twenty or thirty years ago, was no doubt a mere office made of wood,
hammered together hastily, as an extemporary protection from the sun by
day, and the cold dews and airs of the night: in appearance resembling
nothing else but an Australian outhouse. An oficina of to-day is a very
different thing. Its appearance, and all that pertains to it, is as
difficult to describe as a great ironworks, or chemical works, or any
other works where the ramifications are not only numerous, but novel.
The first oficina whose acquaintance I had the honour and trouble
to make, was that of the Tarapaca Nitrate Company, situated near the
terminus of the Iquique and La Noria Railway, in the midst of a windy
plain 3000 feet above the sea, and beneath a far hotter sun than that
which beats on the pyramids of Egypt.

If you take a seat in the wide balcony of the house, where the manager
and the clerks of the establishment reside, and live not uncomfortably,
you look down almost at your feet on what appears to be an uncountable
number of vast iron tanks containing coloured liquids, a tall chimney,
a chemical laboratory, an iodine extracting house, a steam-pump,
innumerable connecting pipes, stretching and twisting about the vast
premises as if they were the bowels of some scientifically formed
stomach of vast proportions for the purpose of digesting poisons and
producing the elements of gunpowder, a blacksmith's forge, an iron
foundry, a lathe shop, complicated scaffolding, tramways, men making
boilers, men attending on waggons, bending iron plates, stoking fires,
breaking up _caliche_, wheeling out refuse, putting nitrate into
sacks, and other miscellaneous labour, requiring great intelligence
to direct and great endurance to carry on; and all beneath the fierce
heat of a sun, unscreened by trees or clouds, the glare of which on
the white substance which is in process of being turned over, broken,
and carried from one point to another, is as painful as looking
into a blast furnace. Beyond the great and busy area where all these
varied operations are carried on the eye stretches across a desert of
brown earth, which is terminated by soft rolling hills of the same
fast colour. The appearance of this desert is that of a vast number
of ant-hills in shape; and in size of the heaps of refuse which give
character to the Black Country in Mid Staffordshire. Perhaps the first
impression which this repulsive desert makes on the mind of a man
who has seen and observed much is that of a battlefield of barbarian
armies, where the slain still lie in the heaps in which they were
clubbed down by their foes; or it may be likened to an illimitable
number of dust-hills jumbled together by an earthquake. All this is the
result of digging for _caliche_, and blasting it out of the sandy bed
in which it has lain God only knows how long.

As the breeze springs up, and clouds of fine white dust follow the mule
carts and rise under the hoofs of galloping horses, the idea of the
battlefield with the use of gunpowder comes back on the memory, and is
perhaps the nearest simile that can be used. And this is an oficina!
one of the silliest and most inadequate of words ever used to denote
what is one of the newest, and may be the largest, as it is certainly
the most novel, of all modern industrial establishments.

The manufacture of caliche into nitrate of soda is not without its
dangers to human life, though these are fewer than they were when men
frequently fell into vats of boiling liquors, or broke their limbs
in falling from high scaffolding: the latter form of danger still
exists, and is almost impossible to guard against. I am free to say,
however, that if the guard were possible I do not believe it would be
used. There are some trades and processes which not only brutalise the
labourers on whom rests the toil of carrying them on, but which no less
degrade the mind of those who direct them; and the nitrate manufacture
is one of these. 'Joe,' one of the house dogs, fell into one of the
heated tanks of the oficina where I was staying, and his quick but
dreadful death made more impression on some than did the untimely death
of a man who was killed the day before at the same place. Another item
in the agitated landscape which stretches from the balcony where I
sat is a spacious burying-ground, walled in as a protection from dogs
and carts; but these are not its only or its chief desecrators. The
sky furnishes many more. This great oficina contains 1682 estacas;
can produce 900,000 quintals of nitrate a year, and was 'sold' to the
Government for 1,250,000 dols.

An estaca is a certain amount of ground 'staked out,' as we might say,
and contains about one hundred square yards of available land.

There are other oficinas of still greater value than the one mentioned
above; as, for instance, those of Gildemeister and Co., and which the
Government acquired on the same terms for the same sum.

The markets for this new substance are England, Germany, the United
States, California, Chile, and other countries. It is as a cultivator
a formidable competitor of the guano, and is esteemed by scientific
men to be much more valuable. Its price is set down at £19 the
ton, although £12 and £12 10_s._ is its present market value. The
acquisition by the Peruvian Government of this industry was patriotic,
even if it were not wise. It was done with the intention of paying the
foreign creditors of the Republic. Since then Peruvian patriotism has
assumed another form and complexion, and what was done in an honest
enthusiasm of haste is already being repented of in a leisure largely
occupied with the contemplation of a patriotic repudiation of national
duty and debt.

The arguments by which 'prominent' Peruvians are fortifying themselves
for a step which at any moment may be taken, are neither moral nor
convincing, except to themselves. 'Peru must live,' they say, which
does not mean a noble form of poverty, but an altogether ignoble form
of extravagance, and even wasteful magnificence. We must have our army,
our navy, our President, his ministers, our judges, our priests, our
ambassadors, our newspapers, stationery, bunting, gas for the plaza
on feast days, wax candles for our churches by night and by day, a
national police, gunpowder, jails for foreign delinquents, and railways
to the Milky Way, to show to neighbouring republics and all the world
that Peru is a fine nation.

There is not one of all these splendid items which, so far as the
people are concerned, could not be dispensed with.

But to live, they reiterate, is the primary object and purpose of all
nations, and especially republican nations, forgetting, or, what is
much more likely, never having known, that death is preferable to a
shamed life, and that there are times when it is clearly a duty to die.

The next argument now rapidly gaining ground in Lima is that although
the guano has been hypothecated, this was contrary to Peruvian law,
which distinctly lays down that nothing movable _can_ be hypothecated;
and as guano is clearly movable stuff, which can be proved to the
meanest capacity--the capacity, namely, of a holder of Peruvian
bonds--the Government has been breaking its own laws for a generation
past, and it is now time that this illegal conduct should cease. This
is backed up by reminding all men, and especially Peruvians, who
will derive great comfort from it, that England having recognised
the primary fact that it is the first duty of a man to live, has
abolished imprisonment for debt in her own dominions, and therefore
she could not exert her power to make Peru pay what she owes, if Peru
officially declares that she is unable to do so. These and other like
arguments are being openly discussed in the Peruvian capital. Another,
and perhaps the most formidable of all these specious pleas is, that
England has recently let off Turkey, and therefore there is no reason
why she should not let off Peru.

It is only fair to say that there are a few thoughtful men in the
City of Kings who, ambitious for their country's honour, would fain
see some arrangement made that will enable Peru to pursue her present
policy of internal improvement, and help these men, who for the most
part are very wealthy, to remain peaceably in office for say ten years
longer--or say six--but at least, for God's sake as well as your own,
they appealingly persist, let it not be less than four years (in the
which there shall be no hearing or harvest for bondholders and dupes of
that stamp).

There is no doubt that, in the words of 'a Daniel say I,' if the
bondholders would not lose all, 'then must the Jew be merciful,' let
them insist on their pound of flesh, and everything denominated in
their bond, they will share the fate of Shylock. The only part of that
cruel rascal's fate which they need have no apprehension of sharing is,
being made into Christians.

It is unquestionably to be feared that if the present Government,
and the one that succeeded it in August last under the presidency of
General Prado, cannot defend the country from revolt, great disaster
will follow not only to the republic, but most certainly to the

Revolt is not only possible, it is expected. An armed force led by
determined men from without, aided by traitors within, and backed by
unscrupulous persons who would be willing to risk one million pounds
sterling on the chance of making two millions, might easily--or if
not easily, yet with pains--bring back the corrupt days of Balta and
Castilla, and, with shame be it said, such people can find a precedent
for their proposed scheme in houses of high standing, the heads
of which are doubtless looked upon as irreproachable ensamples of
cultivated respectability.

[Since writing the above, General Prado has once more assumed supreme
power in peace, but there have followed two attempts at revolution
within the space of three little months.]


     [5] 'Haber aparecido en el Peru el hombre que sin
     profanacion de la palabra se puede llamar el _Mesias_ de los
     ferrocarriles para la salvacion de la Republica Peruana.'--El
     Ferrocarril de Arequipa, Historia, &c., Lima, 1871, p. lxxxi.

     [6] Written off Alta Villa, April 25, 1876.


Having set forth two principal sources of Peruvian income, let us
now proceed to a third. When los Señores Althaus and Rosas appeared
in Paris last autumn as the representatives of the Government of
Peru, among other national securities which those gentlemen offered
for a further loan of money, were the railways of Peru. They are six
in number, only one of which is finished according to the original
contracts. The amount of mileage however is considerable, so also may
be said to be their cost, for the Government has paid to one contractor
alone no less a sum than one hundred and thirty millions of dollars.
There are other railways whose united lengths amount to about 150
miles; with one exception they cost little, and without an exception
they all bring in much.

These do not belong to the Government. The Government railways cost
enormous sums and bring in nothing; and it may safely be said that
they will never figure, honestly, in the national accounts, except
as items of expenditure. The Government of the day would only be too
glad to become cheap carriers of the national produce, if there were
any produce ready to carry. But the Government built their railways
without considering what are the primary and elementary use of
railways. It is incredible, but none the less true, that the Peruvians
believing the mercantile 'progress' of the United States to spring
from railways, thought that nothing more was needed to raise their
country to the pinnacle of commercial magnificence than to build a
few of these iron ways, and have magic horses fed with fire to caper
along them; especially if they could get an American--a real go-a-head
American--for their builder. And they did so.

The railway fever has had its virulent type in all parts of the
world where railways have appeared. In Peru from 1868 to 1871-2
this fever was perhaps more active and deadly than anywhere; than
in Canada, even, which is saying much, for there it took the form of
a religious delirium. The Peruvians believed that if they offered a
great and wonderful railway to the deities of industry, great and happy
commercial times would follow. Just as they believe that give a priest
a pyx, a spoon, some wine, and wheaten bread, he can make the body and
blood of God; so they believed that give a great American the required
elements, he could by some equally mysterious power make Peru one of
the great nations of the earth.

Mr. Henry Meiggs[7], of Catskill 'city' in New York State, was on
this occasion selected as the great high-priest who was to perform
the required wonders. Give this magician a few thousand miles of iron
rails to form two parallel lines, and a steam engine to run along them,
and the vile body of the Peruvian Republic should be changed into a
glorious body[8] with a mighty palpitating soul inside of it; the body
to be of the true John Bull type for fatness, and the Yankee breed for

This new meaning of the doctrine of transubstantiation was preached
to willing and enchanted ears. Ten thousand labourers of all colours
and kinds were introduced into the country. 'By God, Sir, there was
not a steamboat on the broad waters of the Pacific that did not pour
into Peru as many peones as potatoes from Chile.' These ten thousand
men all went up the Andes bearing shovels in their hands, and singing
the name of Meiggs as they went. Millions of nails, and hammers
innumerable, rails and barrows, sleepers and picks, chains, and double
patent layers, wheels and pistons, with many thousand kegs of blasting
powder 'let in duty free,' with all the other infernal implements and
apparatus for making the most notable railway of this age[9], poured
into Peru marked with the name of Meiggs. You could no more breathe
without Meiggs, than you could eat your dinner without swallowing dust,
sleep without the sting of fleas or the soothing trumpet of musquitoes.
Meiggs everywhere; in sunshine and in storm, on the sea and on the
heights of the world, now called Mount Meiggs; in the earthquake[10],
and in the peaceful atmosphere of the most elegant society in the
world. The wonderful activity on the Mollendo and Arequipa railway,
carried on without ceasing, produced an ecstasy of hope, and also an
eruption of blasphemy. Every valley was to be exalted; every Peruvian
mountain, hitherto sacred to snow and the traditions of the Incas,
should be laid low by the wand of Meiggs; the desert of course should
blossom as the rose: no more iron should be sharpened into swords;
ploughshares and pruning-hooks should be in such demand, that every
blade and dagger or weapon of war in the old world would be required to
make them. And a highway should be there, in which should be no lion,
even a highway for our GOD. All this mixture of trumpery metaphors were
poured into the ears of the enchanted Peruvians for the space of three
years and more. The railway as far as Arequipa was at length finished,
the Oroya railway was begun.

It will probably never be finished.

Robert Stephenson is reported to have said once before a Railway
Committee: 'My Lords and Gentlemen, you can carry a railway to the
Antipodes if you wish; it is only a matter of expense.' The Peruvians,
aided by the archpriest Meiggs, 'the Messiah of railways, who was to
bring salvation to the Peruvian Republic,' and steadfastly believing in
the Meiggs' method of transubstantiation, commenced building a railway,
not to Calcutta, but to the moon[11].

As early as 1859 the Oroya Railway began to be thought of seriously,
and the late President of Peru, with two other gentlemen of character,
were appointed a commission to collect data and make calculations for a
railway between Lima and Jauja. Nothing, however, was done until 1864,
when Congress authorised the Government, Castilla then being President,
to construct a railway to Caxamarca, with an annual guarantee of 7 per
cent. for twenty-five years.

The railway fever now began to increase in force and virulence, and
in 1868 the President of the Republic was authorised to construct
railways from Mollendo to Arequipa, Puno and Cuzco; from Chimbote to
Santa or Huaraz; from Trujillo to Pacasmayo and to Caxamarca; from Lima
to Jauja; and others which the Republic might need--a very respectable
order to be given in one day. The Oroya Railway was to be 145 miles
in length, and to cost 27,600,000 dols. To Puno the length was to be
232 miles from Arequipa, and the cost 35,000,000 dols. From Mollendo
to Arequipa, 12,000,000 dols., the length being 107 miles[12]. Ilo
to Moquiqua, 63 miles, 6,700,000 dols. Pacasmayo to Caxamarca, or
Guadalupe, or Magdalena, 83 miles, 7,700,000 dols. Payto to Piura, 63
miles. Chimbote to Huaraz, 172 miles, 40,000,000 dols.

Immediately after this small order was given, and Meiggs began to
fill the world with the sound of his name, the Lima editors commenced
their fulsome and disgusting eloquence, which day by day held all
people in suspense. 'As puissant as colossal are the labours of the
administration of Col. Don José Balta, who, without offence be it said,
has a monomania for the construction of railways and public works--the
infirmity of a divine inspiration in a head of the State.'

What the infirmity of a divine inspiration may be we will not stay to
enquire. Goldsmith was called an inspired idiot: and perhaps this was
what the learned editor meant to say of Col. Balta.

He goes on: 'The administration of Balta has converted the nation into
a workshop. We say it in his honour that he has constructed rather than
governed; but he has constructed well and firmly. He has done more
than this, he has created and conserved the habit of work in all the
nation, demonstrating by the argument of deeds that revolutions spring
principally from idleness.' 'Balta has cast a net of railways over
the country which has taken anarchy captive. Without any difficulty
might it be argued that the time of Balta will be the Octavian Era of

Enough of this. Suffice it to say that among all these oratorical
colonels, generals, lawyers, ministers of state, and accomplished
editors, there was not one who had the honesty or the pluck to stand
up and declare that it was all false which had so eloquently been said
of the Oroya and the Arequipa Railways. They are neither the railways
of the age nor of the day. There is one short railway in South America,
the construction of which called forth more skill, pluck, and endurance
than all the Meiggs railways put together, and this one railway has
already earned in the first quarter of the century of its existence
more money than all the government railways will ever earn during the
next age. Hundreds of these inflated colonels and generals, judges,
ministers of state, and accomplished editors, must have passed over the
railway, which, running through a tropical forest, connects the Pacific
with the Atlantic Ocean. Meiggs himself must have known it well; but
neither he nor any of the inspired idiots who drowned him in butter had
the valour to make mention of it by one poor word. The bridge over the
Chagres river is of more utility, as it will win more enduring fame,
than all the bridges on the Oroya, including those which 'are sixteen
thousand feet above the level of the sea.' The Oroya bridges bear the
same relation to those on the Panama Railway as the feat of the man who
walked across the Falls of Niagara bears to the economy of walking. As
Blondin was the only man who made any profit out of that performance,
so Meiggs, the Messiah of railways, will be the only person who will
for some time to come profit by the building of the Oroya and Lima line
of railway. It is surely impossible that all the reports one has been
compelled to give ear to of great silver mines and mines of copper
existing on this line can be false. Yet mining, especially in Peru,
is not free from danger; it is also not a little mixed up with lying
and cheating, and it has a historical reputation for exaggeration. The
copper mines on the Chimbote line, however, are quite another matter.
If those on the Oroya can be demonstrated to be equally good, and the
silver mines only half as good and as great, Peru may yet lift up her
head. But he will be a bold man that shall apply to English capitalists
for the first loan to Peruvian miners or to be invested in Peruvian
mines, and the days of faith and trust will not have passed away when
the money shall have been subscribed.

Although it was a poet who said that

     'Borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,'

yet it is as true as if it had emanated from the Stock Exchange, the
_Times_ monetary article, or any other recognised fountain of practical
knowledge; and as for the native edge of Peruvian industry, it is about
as dull as that of a razor not made to shave but to sell--as dull, in
fact, as the edge of a hatchet made of lead.


     [7] For the biography of this estimable gentleman see 'El
     Ferrocarril de Arequipa Historia, documentada de su origen
     construcion é inauguracion.'--Lima, p. 96. 'Ese hombre
     era ENRIQUE MEIGGS, cuyo nombre va unido inseparable é
     imperecederamente á los trabajos mas colosales de las
     republicas del mar Pacifico.'

     [8] For these and similar ebullitions of profanity I am
     indebted to the Lima newspapers of the period, and one or two
     anonymous pamphlets.

     [9] Paz-Soldan.

     [10] With a liberality on a scale equal to all his
     achievements, Mr. Meiggs subscribed $50,000 for the sufferers
     in the terrible earthquake which desolated Arequipa and
     destroyed Arica in 1868.

     [11] It is difficult to be original in this age of metaphor.
     Only this morning, April 26, and quite by accident, I came
     on a little print which is published, I believe, in Callao,
     where I found the following:

                       'RAILROADS IN THE CLOUDS.

     'Looking over our exchanges we found the following. It is
     from the New York _Sun_ of January 16, and gives an account
     of Mr. John G. Meiggs being "interviewed" in that city.

     'Mr. John Meiggs, brother of Henry Meiggs, the "King of
     Peru," as the millionaire contractor is called in South
     America, is lodging in the Clarendon Hotel. He is a tall,
     large man, past middle age, and with a clear penetrating
     hazel eye. He has an important share in the management of
     his brother's affairs. "Peru," he said, "is richer in the
     precious metals than any other country in the world. Our
     engineers in building the railroad from the coast to Puno
     have come across a hundred silver mines, any one of which
     might be profitably worked, if in the United States. If
     these mines are worked, the railroads we have built will be
     a blessing to the country."

     'Reporter--"I understand that there are marvels of
     engineering on some of your railroads?"

     'Mr. Meiggs--"Yes. One of our roads crosses the mountains at
     16,000 feet above the level of the sea. Some of the bridges,
     too, are very lofty, and built with a skill that would do
     credit to any part of the world."

     'Reporter--"Your brother is said to be worth several millions
     of dollars?"

     'Mr. Meiggs--"Whatever he obtained in Peru he has fully
     earned, and whatever he owed there or elsewhere he has paid.
     He has not been a seeker of contracts. On the contrary, he
     has rejected contracts that the Government wished him to

     [12] To which may be added $2,000,000 more for the conveyance
     of water along the line nearly from Arequipa to Mollendo.

     [13] Ferrocarril de Arequipa, pp. lxxxi-ii.


Guano, Nitrate, and Railways being recognised as the prime sources
of Peruvian greatness, and these having been noticed with no scant
justice, another matter remains for examination, which may be said
to surpass all the others in importance, albeit it is not so easy to
estimate or understand.

Granted that Peru has all the physical elements of a great
nation,--such as gold and silver, copper and iron, and coal, oil and
wine, a vast line of sea-coast with numerous safe bays and ports,
rivers for internal navigation, as well as railroads,--has she the
moral qualities to develop these riches and make the best use of them?
In plain words, has Peru ceased to be a hotbed of revolution? is there
any hope that the ruling classes of the Peruvian people will become
sober, industrious, thrifty, honest, just and right in all their
dealings, and cease to be a source of anxiety and disgust to their
present and future creditors?

These may be said to be momentous questions, and not to be lightly
answered. Any answer not founded on well-ascertained facts and
indisputable knowledge should be set aside as vexatious and frivolous.
A hasty answer, or one founded on aught else, could only be conceived
in malice or prompted by motives of self-interest. It has, for example,
during the past few months been comparatively easy to a portion of
the London press to defame the character of Peru; to find reasons why
its bonds should be held only as waste paper, and even to prove to the
satisfaction of its fond and eager readers that she is in an utterly
bankrupt state. The same accomplished writers, if it suited their
purpose, could as easily prove, with their eloquent persuasiveness,
that Peru after all is, in commercial phraseology, sound; she had
never yet failed in keeping faith with her English friends, and is too
enlightened to think of doing so now. True, she is in debt; but she
can pay handsomely, and, in the powerful rhetoric of Bassanio, would
encourage money-lenders and her private friends thus:--

     'In my school days, when I had lost one shaft,
     I shot his fellow of the self-same flight
     The self-same way with more advised watch,
     To find the other forth, and by adventuring both
     I oft found both. I urge this childhood proof,
     Because what follows is pure innocence.
     I owe you much, and, like a wilful youth,
     That which I owe is lost; but if you please
     To shoot another arrow that self way
     Which you did shoot the first, I do not doubt
     As I will watch the aim, or to find both
     Or bring your latter hazard back again
     And thankfully rest debtor for the first.'

But not thus will our serious questions meet with satisfactory answers.

The first thing to be noted in the enquiry, perhaps, is that it is
altogether a misnomer to call Peru a Republic. Whatever else it be,
a Republic it certainly is not, and never has been a Republic. Its
political constitution and its laws have nothing whatever to do with
the people, nor have the people aught to do with them; and they care
for them as they care for the theory of gravitation, or any other
portion of demonstrable knowledge, from which they may indeed derive
some animal comfort in its application, but the application of which
will probably never enlighten their souls. The people of Peru know as
much of liberty as they know of the Virgin Mary. The priests once or
twice a year dress the image of the Jewish maiden in tawdry attire,
put a tinsel crown on her head, and call her the Mother of God and the
Queen of Heaven, and the people fall down and worship; which they are
perfectly at liberty to do, as the impostors who lead them to do so may
get their living in that way, as all other impostors obtain theirs who
possess the people's grace. In like fashion, all that the people know
of liberty they know thus. They know as much of it as an aristocrat
cares to teach them--as a quack can tell his patient of medicine,
or the showy proprietress of a showy school can teach an intelligent
girl the use of the globes. All native-born Peruvians of full age have
votes, at least all such as can read and write, or possess a certain
amount of real property. But reading and writing are not by any means
universal accomplishments in the Peruvian Republic, and there are fewer
holders of real estate among the working classes than maybe found in
Barbados among the coloured labourers of that beautiful but misgoverned

Don Juan Espinosa, an old Peruvian soldier, and one of the few South
American writers whose literary works have been translated into
French, if not also into English, wrote some twenty years ago a
republican, democratic, moral, political, and philosophical dictionary
for the people. Strange to say, he has given us no definition of a
Republic in his highly-entertaining and instructive book. Two of his
longest articles, however, are devoted, the first to the subject of
'Independence,' and the second to 'Revolution.' The manner in which the
author concludes the first is suggestive: 'On one day,' he says, 'we
were all brothers and countrymen; brothers by blood, and countrymen of
a land which we had just irrigated with our blood. O day immortal for
humanity! On this day the Saviour of the world beheld the consummation
of his work; he saw the spectacle which years before had led the way
for 1824. He without doubt designed the camp of AYACUCHO as the first
embrace of all the races, and the signal also for the suppression of
all human rivalries. Afterwards'

A long, broad black line stretches across the page as if to put it in

'A revolution in substance,' he says, 'is nothing more than the
organisation of a people's discontent.'

If that be so, there has never been a revolution in Peru; a statement
which will be doubted by nearly all who hear it for the first time. We
may perhaps make an exception in the revolution which made Col. Prado
dictator of Peru in November, 1865. No doubt the enthusiasm of the
Peruvian people for going to war with Spain was genuine, and Prado,
not at all a man of revolutionary tastes, easily overthrew Canseco,
because of his Spanish tendencies. Prado was subsequently elected
President in 1867, but was overthrown by Balta and Canseco the year
following, and Colonel (now General) Prado fled to Chile for his life.
Still, let us be thankful that we can find one authentic instance of
Peruvian patriotism in the course of fifty years, and that out of the
hundreds of revolutions which have occurred, one was for the good of
the country--and most certainly to its honour.

The anniversary of the 2nd of May, 1866, is kept with pride by every
loyal Peruvian in all parts of the world, wherever one may find
himself. Had there been among the Peruvian soldiers on that day as much
knowledge of gunnery as there was of personal valour, not more than one
or two ships of the Spanish fleet which bombarded Callao had escaped

It has been contended by a few anxious Peruvians that the revolution
made by General Castilla, in 1854, against General Echenique was also
a popular revolution. Perhaps it was. Echenique was notoriously very
fond of money, and it is said that so freely did he help himself to
the proceeds of the public guano that the people rose against him,
flocked to the standard of Castilla, whom they kept in power for twelve
years, and sent Echenique into ignoble exile. If that could be proved
in favour of the Peruvian people, it should be done at once. But no one
from sheer laughter can discuss the question. Castilla was as fond of
money as Echenique; Castilla, however, did one or two liberal things;
he liberated the slaves, and abolished the poll-tax, and in that sense
the revolution of 1854 may be said to have been a popular one.

No Peruvian who supported those two famous acts of General Castilla's
Government looks back upon them with anything but bitter regret. The
negro slaves were well off--they were, moreover, a people with much
affection for their masters, and slavery existed only in name. When
the blacks, however, were 'liberated,' they became like a mob of mules
without burdens, without guide or master, and they wandered about the
earth and died miserably. Those who survived were certainly very little
credit to their friends, for many of them became the terror of the
highways which converge on the capital of the Republic.

The Indians who paid the poll-tax did then do some work, and they were
made to feel some of the responsibilities of being republicans--they
were kept under rule--they could be induced to labour in 'some of the
richest silver mines in the world.' Now they will do nothing of the
kind, and the Government has not only lost an income of 2,000,000
dols. a year, they have lost the services of the entire indigenous
population, which may be called, in classical language, a pretty kettle
of fish, especially for a country whose riches depend upon the industry
of a free and happy people.

One immediate consequence of Castilla's emancipation policy was that it
speedily became a profitable business for a few adventurous persons in
Lima to proceed to China, where they kidnapped some of the superfluous
Chinese population. This traffic prospered for a while, but as it is
the property of murder to make itself known--somehow or anyhow--the
profits fell off, owing to the interference of one or two civilised
Governments. When the Celestial Empire no longer offered a safe field
for the Peruvian men-snatchers, attempts were made on the inoffensive
people of the diocese of modern evangelisation, and in the course of
time the rich people of Lima had the opportunity of buying a few men,
women, and girls, who had been stolen from some of the islands of the
Pacific. But these for some mysterious reasons died off, after having
cost the Peruvian Government a serious sum of money, and some people
their reputation. It was, however, imperatively necessary, owing to
the demands of the British farmer for guano, and the exigences of the
Government of Peru to obtain men from China somehow for the important
work of shovelling Peruvian dung into European ships; and there may
be reckoned to-day among the motley population of the Republic not
less than 60,000 men who cultivate sugar and pig-tails, and indulge in
opium. This, therefore, might be called a popular revolution, and the
friends of General Castilla can claim for him the honour and glory of
having brought it about.

General Castilla deserves to be better known; but this is not the
place to speak of him at any length. He introduced a new era into
Peruvian politics--he was the first native Peruvian with no Spanish
blood in his veins who assumed supreme power. If there had been no
guano to demoralise everybody, himself included, Castilla might have
become a great man, and the Peruvian people been lifted up by him in
the scale of humanity. As it is, Castilla and everybody else fulfilled
the prediction of the Hebrew prophet in a manner that might be stated
in Spanish, but which no gentleman can write in English. It should
be stated that although Castilla had nothing of Spanish blood in his
veins, yet his father was an Italian, and his mother one of the pure
Indian women of Moquegua.

All this, however, does not help us to answer the momentous questions
with which this chapter opens.--If Peru is not a Republic, and there
have not been more than two revolutions in the whole of its wild and
chequered history, what is it?

Peru is a Republic in name, 'governed' or rather farmed by groups or
families of despots, who frequently quarrel among themselves, cut each
other's throats, and alternately embrace and kiss each other, in a
manner that is sickening to any one who is not a moral eunuch[14]. Only
those who are rich enough to escape to Chile are saved from the above
gentle process. General Prado is one of these favoured Peruvians. Had
not Don Manuel Pardo, the late President, fled from Lima during the
revolting days of the Gutierrez terror, he too would have gone the way
of all flesh and Peruvian political farmers.

The people of Peru, those who are to be distinguished from the
families who farm them, are hard-working, industrious, sober, ignorant,
excitable and superstitious. They are fond of serving their masters,
they like to be called 'children' by the great Colonels, the great
sugar-boilers, and all who ride on horses and live, even though it be
at other people's expense, in great houses.

The Peruvian dictionary already quoted from, though it does not contain
the word Republic, does contain the history of Peru. Let us turn to the
article 'Liberty.'

'LA LIBERTAD,' says our brave soldier author, 'does not consist,
civilly or socially speaking, in each one doing what he likes. By thus
understanding liberty some governments have fallen, and some people
have lost what they had gained.

'Liberty consists in each one having the power to do, at all events,
that which the law has not forbidden, in not damaging another in his
rights, or property, or in his moral and material well-being.

'That society is not free while any of its members are unable to
express their thoughts without hinderance.

'That society is not free when one or more of its industries are
prohibited under the pretext of monopoly or privilege.

'It is not free when it cares not, or is unable to arraign a lying

'That society is not free which does not possess political morality.
This consists in--

'I. Keeping the treaties and covenants made with other nations.

'II. In submitting to the law without its ever supposing itself
entitled to falsify it by cunning arts, or paltry subterfuge.

'III. In holding up to scorn whatever crime affects the national

'IV. In not corrupting its institutions for personal considerations.
A people will find it very difficult to maintain its freedom, which is
without sufficient spirit to provide itself with good institutions, and
afterwards ready to put so much faith in them, that it will become a
religious duty rigorously to support them.

'By what right does Spanish-America call itself republican, if it has
not renounced the custom of a despotic monarchical absolutism?

'These unhappy people have given themselves very liberal laws, and
have afterwards abandoned them at the caprice of men without having the
least faith in their own institutions.

'How can they thus hope to be free?

'It costs nothing, nor is it of any value to shout LIBERTY, LIBERTY.
But that which is of great price, and can never be too costly, is to
acquire liberty by means of good manners, by the custom of respecting
the law and making it respected, by respecting the rights of others,
and making them respected by all; to be just with all the world, and
ashamed of every evil act. Behold, how liberty is to be acquired. In
fine, liberty is the health of the soul, and he cannot be free who has
not a healthy conscience.'

'The greater number of our liberals,' he adds in another place, with
one of his happiest flashes of poetic truth, of which the book is full,
'the greater number of our liberals are like musical instruments which
do not retain the sound they give when played upon,' i. e. they are

Let it be added, that this soldier of the sword and of the pen who
fought and bled on the field of battle for Peruvian civil liberty,
and sighed, and cried in peaceful days for a freedom still greater
and better, died poor and neglected. The present Peruvian Government
sought all over Lima for complete copies of his works to send to
Philadelphia, but it allows those whom he has left behind him, and who
bear his name, to languish in obscurity and in want; and Don Manuel
Pardo and his ministers, good in many things though they may be, are in
others nothing better than cracked musical instruments. Peru is only
a Republic in name, liberty does not exist, its people are not free,
and the country remains at the mercy of men who at any moment, and in
the most unexpected manner, can turn it into a hotbed of what is called

A revolution is expected now. The man whose administration designed and
carried through one of the 'railways of the age,' the personal friend
of Meiggs, who had taken anarchy captive in an iron net, was shortly
afterwards in the most cowardly, brutal, and unexpected way first made
prisoner, while he was yet President, and then murdered in his jail.

Great as is the love of the common people for their superiors, they are
not to be relied upon in days of great excitement, and when there is
abundance of loose change flying about. How could it be otherwise?

How often do ministers and public men meet the people in common? Never,
except in a religious procession carrying an enormous wax candle a yard
long, and as thick as a rolling-pin, or at the Theatre on el dos de
Mayo, and not then unless there has been some pleasant news announced
the day before.

How often are the people enlightened by a clear and straightforward
statement of the public accounts? Never. Does not the free press of
Lima support the Government, or now and then criticise its acts in the
interest of the people? The answer is that there is no free press in

No plan of the Government is ever made known until it has been
accomplished. Everything is done in secret and underground. Rumour
is the great agent of the Government and mystery its chief force.
So mysterious are the ways of the Executive that itself is not
unfrequently a mystery to itself. No Peruvian Government has ever had
the courage to take the people into its confidence, and the people
are too busy with their own personal affairs to think of, much less to
resent, the slight.

In other matters the press is busy enough. Some of the most biting
criticisms on priests, on auricular confession, on the infallibility
of the Pope and the Immaculate Conception have appeared in the Lima
press. Their teachers, in brief, have ridiculed the gods of the people
and given them none to adore. No intellectual society in Lima associate
with priests. No priest is ever seen in the houses of the rich, or the
respectable poor.

Freemasonry is the fashionable religion of men, and men who never go
to mass will frequent a lodge twice a week. Only the other day one of
these lodges published an advertisement in the leading journal to the
effect that a gold medal would be conferred on any brother mason who
would adopt the orphan child of any who had died fighting against any
form of tyranny, and the medal is to be worn as a badge of honour on
the person of the owner. Freemasonry in Peru is an open menace of the
Church, which with all deference to the craft, may be called a gross
mistake. But Peruvian Freemasonry is like Peruvian Republicanism,
chiefly a thing of show, and something to talk about by men who can
talk of nothing else.

After all this it should not be difficult to answer the questions with
which this chapter opens.

But lest it should be thought that the greater part of these statements
is pure rhetoric, or mere private opinion, and not stubborn facts, let
us now ask two questions more.

What use has Peru made of the great income it has derived during the
past generation, from the national guano? What is there to show for the
many million pounds sterling it has derived from this source, and from
money lent by English bondholders?

Let us hasten at once to acknowledge that it has spent 150,000,000
dols. in railways. But let us also add that the greatest authority in
Peru has stigmatised these railways as _locuras_, or follies. This is
not an encouraging beginning. But alas it is not only the beginning, it
is also the end of the account.

There is nothing else to be seen. There is not a single lighthouse or
light on any dangerous rock, or at any port difficult to make along the
whole of its coast. All the fructifying rivers of the hills still steal
into the sea. Had half the money which has been spent on the Oroya
railway been expended on works of irrigation, the Government of Peru
would now be in the possession of a respectable revenue.

A morning visit to the market-place in Lima on any day of the week, is
enough to convince even a Peruvian President who knows something else
besides how to play rocambor, of the truth of this statement.

Internal roads, excepting these 'railways of the age,' there are none;
but there are several ironclads and men-of-war in the Bay of Callao,
for what use or of what service the First Lord of the Admiralty himself
could not tell explicitly.

It might be thought by some ordinary people, of business habits and a
little reflection, that a country like Peru, which can boast of as many
seaports as it can of first-class towns and cities, would provide those
ports with convenient landing-places, moles, or piers.

There is one good pier on the whole coast, which in its useless
grandeur stretches out nearly a mile into the sea; as the Oroya
railway, like a mighty python, creeps up the precipitous slopes of the
Andes 'sixteen thousand feet above the level of the sea.'

As every one knows, the Pacific is a peaceful sea, as quiet as a saucer
of milk. But like almost all the things that every one knows, this
piece of knowledge will hardly bear the test of experience. Twenty
miles or less from its shore, the Pacific on the Peruvian coast, may
be said to be as calm and placid as a man's unresisted vices. Put a
restraint upon, or raise a barrier against the most modest of the man's
wishes, and these suddenly show their strength, even the strength, as
some have found to their cost, of resistless passion. It is thus with
this Pacific sea. When it comes against a rocky shore, or the miserable
wooden barriers which the Peruvian Government have put up for the
convenience and comfort of passengers, and the despatch of business,
it becomes more like a wild beast, or a watery volcano, or any other
fierce and angry force which cannot by ordinary means be restrained. It
is not unlikely that a Government fond of providing cheap distraction
for the people has purposely neglected this useful work of building
piers, with the benevolent design of providing a cheap amusement to
those inhabitants of the ports who do not travel by sea.

It is such fun to see a lady dressed in pink satin and blue silk
boots get a sudden ducking in salt water, or to watch in safety from
the shore a boat full of anxious and highly dressed colonels and
sugar-boilers, editors and lawyers, get drenched to the skin, and
almost robbed of their breath, in trying to effect a landing at Islay,
or Mollendo, Iquique, or Chala, or even Callao.

If any of the readers of this brief but eventful history would desire
to see the Peruvian Republic as in a microcosm, let them arrive at
the latter chief port of the nation in a steamer, or a cattle ship,
as a passenger steamer may now be called. They will see an exhibition
of confusion, extortion, bullying, insolence, cruelty, and official
imbecility, which cannot be equalled in any other part of the civilised
or uncivilised world, including New Guinea or Eragomanga. And as it
is now, so it was twenty years ago. A steamer, the European mail for
example, drops its anchor about two miles from the shore. It is then
surrounded by a hundred small boats, each containing two, sometimes
more, coloured men. The screaming, gesticulating, and brutal language
of these creatures defy description. The authorities have no control
over them, the captain of the steamer is powerless against the invasion
of his ship, and all passengers who have no friends, who know nothing
of the country and cannot speak Spanish, are placed at the mercy of
this swarm of harpies.

Here you have an epitome of Peru. Gentlemen and rogues jostling one
another in painful contiguity. Gentlewomen and their opposite, men who
work and scoundrels who prey upon other people's labour, priests and
colonels, knowledge and ignorance, in some form or other brought in
violent collision: the utmost freedom of opinion and nobody to keep the


     [14] _Estratocracia_ I find is the technical term by
     which Espinosa would designate the Government of Peru or
     a government by the military. This would seem to be true,
     seeing that since Peru became a Republic all its Presidents
     with only one exception have been Colonels, Generals, and

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