Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

No. 138.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, March 9, 1891. (Received April 25.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that on yesterday there was held the national convention of the Liberal party, or party of the Gov. ernment, and that Señor Don Claudio Vicuña, the present minister of interior, was unanimously chosen as candidate for the Presidency. The Conservative party and the radical section of the Liberal party having joined hands in the present revolutionary movement, are, of course, shut out from participation in the elections, and Señor Vicuña will be elected without serious opposition. The Government supporters will also carry, without difficulty, almost the entire representation at the elections for Congress, which will take place on the 29th of the present month.

The Government expects that this will be a severe blow to the prestige of the revolutionists, who claim to act in the na ne and by the authority of the national Congress. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

No. 143.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, March 17, 1891. (Received April 25.) SIR: On Thursday, the 12th instant, information reached here that a very severe battle had been fought on the 7th instant near Iquique be. tween the Government forces and the revolutionists, in which the forces of the Government, numbering about 1,500 men, were completely annihi. lated, and the commander, Col. Robles, killed in the ambulance after the battle, as were also most of the wounded officers. The revolutionists numbered about 2,500 men, of whom they lost close on 1,000 in killed and wounded. This gives the revolutionists the control of the province of Tarapacá as a base of operations and will enable them to enter upon a long and desperate struggle.

The Government of President Balmaceda is well organized, vigilant, and determined, and after all the losses in Tarapacá it has now some 30,000 available troops, well equipped and loyal, which number it is daily increasiug. It has also two new fast cruisers, the Almirante Lynch and Almirante Condel, which are hourly expected from Montevideo; as also the war sloop Pilcomayo, and, in addition to a new ironclad which is just completed for it in France, it has, I believe, purchased in Europe two ironclads, so that some fighting on sea may be expected very soon. The revolutionists have, on the other hand, the fleet consisting of seven war ships, the Blanco Encalada, Cochrane, Esmeralda, Huascar, O'Hig. gins, Magellanes, and Abtao, together with several of the vessels of the Chilean corporation La Compañia Sud Americana de Vapores which they seized and converted into transports. They have also a force of some 2,000 soldiers, which can be auginented by recruits from Tarapacá.

From the peculiar geographical form of the country, stretching as it does some 3,000 miles from south to north, and from the fact that there is no railroad communication with Tarapacá, and that that province, on account of the inhospitable nature of its soil as also of the approaches

from the south, is entirely isolated, the Government can not carry the war into that region; while at present it does not seem possible that the revolutionists can command sufficient force to enable them to make a successful demonstration anywhere south of Coquimbo. For these reasons I look for a long, a bitter, and a sanguinary struggle, with the chances of ultimate victory very largely on the side of the Government.

The west coast telegraph cable being cut between here and Iquique and the Central and South American Company's cable not being permitted to commence operation, you will of course receive no cable news through the press except that sent out from revolutionary sources at Iquique.

I may mention as a feature of much interest the fact that the revolution has the undivided sympathy, and in many cases the active support, of the English residents in Chile. Col. Robles, the ill-fated commander of the Government forces at Iquique, officially reported to the Government that the managers and superintendents of the English oficinas in Tarapacá urged their workmen to join the revolutionists, promising them $2 per day during their term of service and at the same time holding out the threat that unless they did join they would never again get employment in Tarapacá. It is known that many English houses have subscribed liberally to the revolutionary fund. Among others, it is openly stated by the leaders of the revolution, Mr. John Thomas North contributed the sum of £100,000. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine. No. 144.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, March 17, 1891. (Received April 25.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that Señor Don Claudio Vicuña, who on the 8th instant was nominated as the candidate of the Liberal party for the Presidency, has resigned the position of minister of interior, and that Don Domingo Godoy, hitherto minister of foreign relations, has been appointed thereto, his place being filled by the appointment of Don Ricardo Crusat. I beg to remain, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

Mr. Blaine to Mr. Egan. No. 86.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, March 23, 1891. SIR: I desire to apprise you, in connection with previous correspondence, of the receipt of a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, of the 19th instant, saying the United States steamship Pensacola arrived at Valparaiso, in obedience to the orders of that Department, on the 28th of February, and that the United States steamship Baltimore was about to depart from Montevideo for the same destination.

It is also proposed to dispatch the United States steamship San Francisco from San Francisco as soon as instructions can be sent to her. I am, etc.,

JAMES G. BLAINE.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine. No. 147.1

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, March 31, 1891. (Received May 5.) SIR: Since my No. 143, of the 17th instant, there is but little to report in the progress of the revolution. On account of the impossibility of keeping up a supply of fresh water at Antofagasta, of the sterile nature of the surrounding country, and of the exposed position of the port, the Government withdrew its forces from that town and retired them inland to Calama, a distance of 160 miles, first destroying the nitrate works and the railroad and sending all the rolling stock to the interior. All the other positions south of Antofagasta are firmly held by the Government, which is rapidly increasing and organizing its forces. The new ships Almirante Lynch and Almirante Condel, referred to in my dispatch of the 17th, arrived on the 22d, and are now in Valparaiso ready for active service.

On Sunday, the 29th instant, a general election was held in all parts of the country except Tarapacá, resulting in the return of 30 senators and 90 congressmen, nearly all supporters of the Government. The elections passed off without any disturbance, the opposition taking but little part.

This Congress will meet on the 15th of April to organize and on the 20th for business,

Outside of Tarapacá the revolutionists have no organized force, and as communication with that province is cut off, it is impossible to gauge their actual strength. I do not believe, however, that they can, at the outside, command over 4,000 to 5,000 men, while the Government force amounts to 30,000 well-equipped soldiers. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine. No. 148.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, April 1, 1891. (Received May 15.) SIR: At the request of the minister of foreign relations I telegraphed to-day to solicit a reply to my cable message of 8th ultimo. My telegram, which was in cipher, was in substance as follows: The congressional elections, which took place on Sunday last, were all in favor of the Government. It is reported by the Chilean minister at Washington that my telegram of the'8th was favorably received, but your instructions have not reached me yet. The Chilean Government is awaiting your reply. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

[Telegram.)
LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,.

Santiago, April 6, 1891. Mr. Egan telegraphs that the Chilean Government had declared closed the ports of Chañaral, Taltal, Antofagasta, Tocopilla, Iquique, Caleta-Buena, Junin, and Pisagua, and that vessels were liable to confiscation if they attempted trade with any of these ports.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

No. 151.

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, April 6, 1891. (Received June 3.) SIR: To-day I had the honor to inform you by telegraph of the decreo published by the Chilean Government closing to commerce the ports of Chañaral, Taltal, Antofagasta, Tocopilla, Iquique, Caleta-Buena, Junin, and Pisagua. I now beg to inclose copy of said decree in Spanish, with translation of same. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

(Inclosure in No. 151.-Translation.]

Decree of Government of Chile declaring certain ports closed to commerce.

No. 923.]

MINISTRY OF HACIENDA,

Santaigo, April 1, 1891. Whereas by article 7 of the law of the 24th of December, 1872, the President of the Republic has the power to order the closing, temporarily, to commerce of one or more ports or harbors when extraordinary circumstances so require;

Whereas by article 83 of the said law all ships which anchor, embark, or disembark any merchandise in any port of the Republic where it is not possible to supervise same, except in case of force majeure properly justified, 18 liable to confiscation, together with her fittings and apparatus;

Whereas in like manner, conformably with number 9 of article 84, all merchandise subject to import or export duties which may have been placed on board any ship, whether by her own embarkation or otherwise. which has not complied with the solemn notice in this ordinance, is liable to confiscation;

Whereas a part of the revoltesl squadron, in arms against the constitution and laws of the Republic, is appropriating to itself in the nitrate region the treasury and income of the nation with grave detriment to the interest of the State:

It is resolved and decreed

First. That the ports of Chañaral, Taltal, Antofagasta, Tocopilla, Iquique, CalotaBuena, Junin, Pisagna, and all the intermediate bays remain closed to commerce while said ports and bays are in the power of the rovolutionists.

Second. That the penalties imposed by the ordinance of customs upon those who trade in said ports do not exonerate the manufacturers and exporters of nitrato and iodine from the responsibility imposed by the decree of the 30th of January, 1891. Let it be recorded and made known.

BALMACEDA. J. M. VALDES CARRERA.

Mr. Blaine to Mr. Egan.

No. 90.)

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, April 14, 1891. SIR: I append a copy of your telegram of the 6th instant announcing that the Chilean Government has declared closed the ports of Chañaral, Taltal, Antofagasta, Tocavilla, Iquique, Caleta-Buena, Junin, and Pisagua.

Due publicity of this action of the Government of Chile has been made, but the Government of the United States reserves the right to consider upon the facts and the law aty case that may arise involving the declaration which your telegram communicates. I am, etc.,

JAMES G. BLAINE.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

No. 152.1

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, April 14, 1891. (Received June 3.) Sir: I had the honor to-day to telegraph you in substance that tho right of the Chilean Government to impose duties on shipments from any ports occupied by revolutionists or to close ports was not recog. uized by Germany, and that a fleet was on its way to enforce the views of the German Government.

Both the German and British ministers have made strong protests and taken up a very hostile attitude towards the Government in relation to this question. I have, on the other hand, been careful to avoid any such action, although pressed by some American shipping houses to make similar protest. I have, however, obtained full and friendly assurances that American vessels will not be subjected to any inconveniences. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine.

[Telegram.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, April 21, 1891. Mr. Egan states that entire tranquillity prevails everywhere except in the northern provinces; that the President opened Congress yesterday auspiciously; that England, as well as Germany, refuses to recognize the right of the Chilean Government to close ports; that American vessels are not interfered with; and that the Chilean Governinent urgently requests that the proposition of the Chilean minister for the purchase of a man-of-war be favorably considered.

Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine. No. 153.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Santiago, April 21, 1891. (Received June 3.) SIR: The minister of foreign relations having urgently requested me to convey to you the desire of the Government that you would favora. bly consider the overtures of the Chilean minister at Washington for the purchase of a war ship, either ready for sea or nearly so, I had the honor to address to you to day a telegram on the subject.

The British minister, under instructions from his Government, has refused to recognize the right of the Government of Chile to close ports or to impose duties upon any shipments of nitrate which inay have been cleared by the revolutionists. The Chilean authorities have detained at Coronel one German and one English steainer, loaded with nitrate from Iquique, which put into that port for coal; and the English minister has addressed to the Government a note conveying the menace that he would send a war ship and take out by force the British ship. Steps are in progress for the arrangement of both cases. I have, etc.,

PATRICK EGAN.

« PreviousContinue »