South American Journal
Hans Jacob Fiellerup
by Peter Gerard Few
South American Journal of my Great Great Great Grandfather, Hans Jacob Fiellerup,
gives an interesting insight into the life of this fascinating individual. Hans
was a Factor
with the Anglo-Danish Company
and is described by T. W. Fraser in his unpublished book, Danish Bred, as
a modern day Viking; rightly so! Hans, who was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in
1778, joined the Anglo-Danish Company as a Cotton Factor. He was sent to
in India, where he met and married Catherine Elizabeth von Braun in 1807. In the
days of sail, Hans plied his trade in cotton as far afield as Manila, a round
trip which took him six months; to Batavia, involving a family separation of
over a year and he also had no less than three voyages backwards and forwards to
Hans and his family moved from Tranquebar in India’s South to Serampore,
which is in the north of India near Calcutta. Only months after arriving in
Serampore, Hans and Elizabeth were devastated by the loss of two of their four
children (and only son) to illness (probably measles). They were not to remain
long in Serampore, because only four days after this tragic event, they returned
to Denmark, on a journey that took just over six
months. It had been nineteen years since Hans had seen his native Demark,
although he was only there for four months before he was off again. He was sent
as Factor to London and then back to India (still in the service of the
Anglo-Danish Company) and was yet again separated from his family between 1818
and 1821. Hans had a short reunion with his family in 1821, when they returned
to India, prior to leaving for Peru in the same year. (The same year that Peru
gained its Independence - but I will leave that story for Hans). As Hans had not
returned by 1827 his, by now, desperate wife with their two youngest daughters,
set sail to go and find him.
and his family left Peru in 1828 for London, where they stayed for eight months,
before returning to Denmark. Because Hans suffered significant financial loss in
Peru, this must have been a very uncertain time. They remained in Denmark until
1830, before returning to India via London. (There is an interesting fragment
from a lost diary that covers this period). Hans died in Tranquebar in 1835,
Hans was a meticulous diarist, of which the following account of his time in
South America bears testament. It is also fortunate that he arrived in Peru at
such an important period in history, right in the middle of the Latin American
revolution. Hans arrived in South America when Peru had only just declared its
independence from Spain.
This journal, which is essentially an eyewitness account of this time, is not
only fascinating reading, but also an important historical document.
Unfortunately, a large part of the journal appears to be missing, as it is hard
to believe that someone who was so particular about recording details would have
left his journal open for so many years. There are also no specific answers
provided to the exact circumstances surrounding his financial losses. A letter,
which Hans copied into his diary, (included below) provides some possible clues.
journal has been translated from its original Danish, resulting in a document
that is not grammatically perfect. To make this paper easier to read, I have
taken the liberty to change the punctuation in parts. The text of Hans Jacob
Fiellerup’s South American Journal, however, remains exactly as it appeared in
Danish Bred. To assist the reader, I have also included footnotes for
items of historical or other interest.
South American Journal
- FROM 1821
South America - The passage through Cook’s Straits, between the Islands of
Zealand – Arrival at Callao - Visit or Lord Cochrane - Unsuccessful time.
April 1821. We
left Madras for South America and at this time of year it is generally
considered to be the shortest route to sail to 51° or 52° S latitude, then to
go round the Island of New Zealand between 36° and 38° and to continue
eastward until at 90° or 100° W longitude the vessel can bear up at
Valparaiso, Lima or Guayaquil, if bound for any of these places.
met with a great deal of calm and contrary winds during the first week of
our voyage, and consequently made little progress, until at 3° S latitude we
encountered the Trade Winds, which quickly brought us into the stormy region.
the 26th of June we met with our first gale, which lasted for three days and
carried away the starboard gallery.
the 1st of July we met with another storm, which deprived us of the larboard
the 3rd of July following we sighted the S promontory Van Diemen’s Land about
two leagues off. Our Captain was now determined, if possible, to shorten our
voyage by passing through Cook’s Straits between the two largest islands of
the New Zealand group. This proved afterwards to be very beneficial to
our Indian crew, which would hardly have been able to endure the greater
cold of a higher degree of S latitude, having already suffered a great
deal in the present one of 43°, although the thermometer generally stood
from 56° to 54° and at no time lower than 49°.
the 18th day of July at daybreak we beheld New Zealand looming in the distance
and on the 19th at 8 o’clock in the morning, after having laid to all night,
we entered the Strait with Mount Egmont visible on the northern island about 70
miles distant. This mountain is said to be about 10,000 feet high and therefore
next in height to Mount Pico on the island of Teneriffe. Mount Egmont appears to
be pyramidical in shape and entirely covered with snow. It was a lovely winter's
morning. All around was still and impressive and wherever I turned my eyes I
beheld islands of snow and mountains clothed in ice. The sun shone on the summit
of Mount Egmont and I took a pencil sketch of the mountain and I thought of
‘Old Norway’ in its winter dress, to which these mountains, our islands bear
a great deal of resemblance.
following morning and in the narrowest part of the Strait, we met with the
heaviest gale I have ever experienced, and I, who have spent a good part
of my life on the sea say this. Waves tossed about round the ship and the sea
was simply terrific. The storm, fortunately, lasted only 20 hours, but with a
less experienced Captain and with less able officers, I should have
considered the vessel and ourselves in the greatest danger. By their
efforts and seamanship, however, we got well through this and many other storms
and after having, on the 19th of September in the morning, sighted the highland
of South America, we cast anchor on the 22nd following, at midnight, safely in
the Bay of Callao. It was high time for us to come into harbour, as we had
during this long and stormy voyage, lost several of our men and amongst them,
the second and third mates, the head carpenter, a Scotsman with a frame of iron,
several Portuguese sailors and some Indian lascars.
On the very evening we rounded the island of St. Lorenzo we had to bury two
corpses in the sea. Many of the crew were ill and we scarcely had sufficient
hands left to govern the vessel.
the break of day we saw three ships of the Chilean squadron lying not far from
us, from which we concluded that either the patriots had gained the victory or
else were on the point of doing so. A canoe came alongside and four Mesdises
came on board, apparently from Callao though at first they denied it and were
very reserved, but after being regaled with a bottle of Bengal rum
and some bundles of cigars they became quite talkative and told us that the
Chilean vessels were under the command of Lord Cochrane,
that Lima had been in possession of ‘los buenos patriots’ for four months,
that General San Martin
did arrive the day before at Callao and that at 10 o’clock the National flag
would be waving from the fort. They presented us with a few nice oranges and
sweet potatoes for which we gave them another bottle of rum. Thereupon their joy
knew no bounds and they gave us two water melons and their remaining potatoes to
the crew, for which they would neither receive money, nor anything else. This
led me to draw the conclusion that the ordinary man in Peru is good-natured and
time after, an officer (North American) from the corvette ‘La Independenza’
came on board, together with an English Captain, a Master of an English ship
from Bengal, which together with several other ships are lying in Ancon Bay.
They repeated what we already knew and told us that only a few days ago the Fort
of Callao capitulated, and that about 10 o’clock today the patriot’s flag
would be raised. They congratulated us on just having arrived at the right
moment and then left the vessel. And so it turned out to be the case. At 10
o’clock the roar of cannons was heard from the forts at Callao and also from
the Men-of-War, and the Banner of freedom - a broad white flag with two
horizontal red stripes - was seen waving from three places in the three
batteries, which constitute the fortifications. I was on board ‘La
Independenza’ and I heard for the first time the shout of ‘Viva la
Patria’! ‘Viva la Libertad’! The Captain, an Englishman named Forster, was
not on board but the Lieutenant was very courteous and obliging and showed us
over the corvette which carries guns and has a crew of about 250 men, consisting
of Englishmen, North Americans, Chileans and Negroes. There appeared to be
perfect discipline on board and everyone appeared satisfied.
the corvette the Captain and I went on board the brig ‘Aracana’ on which
Lord Cochrane was staying, in order that we might obtain from him passports for
Lima. These he immediately ordered his secretary to make out and he personally
signed them. His lordship was
surprised when I informed him that the public papers at Madras had already,
before our departure for South America, published the news of the capture by him
of the Spanish frigate ‘Esmeralda’ taken just entering under the guns of the
forts at Callao. Lord Cochrane’s remark was ‘How news can fly’! He
enquired much about Marquis and lady Hastings in Bengal and asked if they were
soon going home. I told him what I knew in this matter and that it was generally
supposed that the Governor General would stay on in India a year or two 1onger.
Lord Cochrane is a tall, fair Scotsman with strongly marked features. He has a
small scar on his left cheek. He is plain but pleasant in manners. He was
dressed in a blue coat with gold epaulettes, blue pantaloons with gold lace down
the seams, three cornered hat with the Chilean white cockade and blue and
red silk ribbons. His Lordship took leave of us in the most kindly manner but
made it understood that the Captain was not to take the ship further into port
without his sanction.
the afternoon we landed at Callao, decided not to go to Lima at once but to see
what was going on. We met groups of natives fantastically dancing and singing,
swinging their banners of liberty and crying ‘Viva la Patria’! Most of them
were more or less intoxicated; in short we were so little pleased with the scene
we witnessed that within an hour of the time of landing we were again on board
our ship. The noise of these folk of liberty, with their rockets and other
fireworks we could see and hear till far into the night. Callao is a very
insignificant place. What gives it some appearance of size are the Forts. The
buildings are mostly of clay and in consequence few are more than one-storey in
height. The Custom House is an insignificant one-storey building with a verandah
running round it and this first view of South America convinced me that the
Spanish descriptions or it are very much exaggerated.
speculation regarding South America was taken with the hope that the metropolis,
Lima, with the whole of Peru, should continue to be under the dominion of Spain
and consequently the trade open only to privileged or yearly licensed
vessels from India, the latter of which would doubtless have given us a
profitable voyage here and an early return to India, but now the opposite
is the case. We are meeting competitors from every quarter of the globe, a
market quite full, declared to be good only so long as it is unknown to foreign
nations, or limited to a certain yearly import. I shall, therefore, for
the present, limit myself to a short account of Lima and its trade, and I hope
later on to be able to give more definite and descriptive information about the
The situation of lima and Callao - Short description of Lima and its sights - The condition of trade with an extract as to the new Customs tariff, coinage, weights and measures - Costs of landing, consignees’ commission etc.
situation of Lima, with its port of Callao, have been so often described
that it would be superfluous to speak of it at length. According to Dr.
Hippolyte it is situated at 120° 2' 5" South latitude and 70° 51'
51" West longitude after the meridian of Cadiz. Callao with the island at
St. Lorenzo makes a beautiful port for vessels of every size and it was a
splendid sight on the 23rd of September to see a number of about seventy large
and smaller vessels all steering into this now, for more than three months,
empty port. There was one salute after another as the British man-of-war, the
‘Superb’ with seventy-four guns, saluted the English vessels. It seems to
answer to its name and is commanded by Captain McKinsey. It saluted first
the fort of Callao and then Admiral Lord Cochrane, I believe a salute at fifteen
guns, which, it is said, was answered by a smaller number from the
Admiral, which somewhat upset the old post-Captain McKinsey. I and a couple of
others set out in the afternoon for Lima, on a couple of wretched horses we had
hired and arrived there towards evening in time, however, to see the handsome
approach to the town of an avenue about 1 ¾ English miles long. The entrance
gate into Lima is handsome. It consists of one large and two smaller side
entrances, but all sufficiently wide for carriages to pass through. The Royal,
as well as the City Arms, were quite mutilated, probably so that no sign of
‘La Cindad de los Regos’ could any longer be seen. Once entered, one beholds
on both sides quarters of unfinished buildings, which the Spaniards intended, it
is said, for poor houses and possibly for hospitals, but whatever may have been
their intention, it is certain they will not be finished for years.
road from Callao to Lima rises gradually and the town is said to be an elevation
of 154 metres above the sea. On the road from Callao, about two leagues long,
are long stretches of uncultivated ground and flow and then dilapidated
farmhouses are to be seen, doubtless the result of the late troublous times. The
country surrounding the town produces maize, sweet potatoes, yams, a root on
which the natives feed, dyas, a kind of sugar cane and alfalfas a kind of
lodged the first few days in the so-called ‘Philippine House’ and was on the
following evening (Sunday) invited by a friend to go to the play, to see a piece
performed called ‘Roma Libre’ or Rome Free. His Excellency the Protector San
Martin honoured it by his presence and as a prologue the Buenos Ayres Song of
liberty, ‘Vid Mortales’ etc. etc. was sung. As the first verse was being
sung all stood up but during the second or third several ladies sat down. Then
it pleased the Protector to stop the music and in a loud voice proclaim that he
hoped the ladies would show the respect due to the National Song. A very
handsome lady sitting in the same box as ourselves was annoyed at this, called
it an undeserved disgrace, but her rage found consolation at last by smoking a
cigar at the back of the box.
theatre is small, but for the size of the town is sufficiently spacious. It is
neatly arranged, the lighting of the place was passable, it consisted of three
chandeliers; one large one in the middle and two smaller ones closer to the
stage, besides these there were lamps or lights by the boxes. The orchestra was
wretched and the decorations were poor. Of the actors, some are Spaniards, such
as Rodriguez and others, these are not bad, the natives on the contrary are very
mediocre. The singer ‘La Rose’ has the ear of the public, and of the
actresses a ‘La Theresa’ is spoken of most but she has rather a coarse
voice. The other singers and actresses are of but little value. I left the place
before the conclusion of the piece but have since paid several visits to it, and
it is from these that I have formed my opinion of the theatre as well as its
personnel. An enormous lot of smoking is going on between the acts, both in the
pit and the boxes and this together with the fact that after having paid reales
at the entrance, you have again to pay in the pit 10, 8 or 6 reales during the
performance is very trying.
houses at Lima are mostly built of clay. The framework consists of posts and
“canos” a kind of cane, which binds the clay to the posts. Most of the
houses are but one-storey high and the outer part as a rule not of a very
architectural appearance. Inside, however, they are comfortable and many, even
elegantly arranged - fine big glass doors (Manparas) adorn the houses and an
inner yard which can be seen through these, has a platform generally filled with
pots of flowers of different kinds which give pleasure to those who pass by and
a sweet perfume to those who live there.
has a number of churches, beautiful both inside and out, which must have cost
large sums of money. Some of the conventual churches, such as, La Merced; St.
Augustine; St. Francisso; St. Pedro and others have large pieces of ground
attached as have also the nunneries of La concepcion; Sta Ros; Sta Clara; La
Encarnacion and several more and this makes Lima larger than it would otherwise
be, according to the number of its inhabitants which at present may be set down
at from 46,000 to 48,000. The town is surrounded by ramparts partly made of
bricks and very high, which, however, are without guns although there are
bastions for same and everywhere parapets for musketry. As, however, outworks
are wanting, it might well be supposed that costly as these ramparts must have
been for the Spaniards, they are erected for defence against internal rather
than outward foes.
most of the crossroads run canals with running water which all comes from the
River Rimac which has its source in the province of Kuarchiso. In its
course it waters many ‘Chacras’ or farms and is of great use to Lima, which,
without it would be a very dirty and un-healthy town. It is contended that its
water is somewhat rough to the taste and In consequence indigestible, but its
use for drinking purposes is generally restricted to the animals and it is only
made use of for washing and cleaning the houses and for cleaning the streets. As
drink for the inhabitants, there is an abundance of spring water, as the
great number of insolent ‘Aquaderos’ or watermen, who on their ‘Baricos’
daily cross the streets testify by the presence. Of public places there are but
few; the best known are Place de Palacio and Place de la Inquisition. The Place
de Palacio is the largest and it is decorated in the middle with a fountain
where Fame with a trombone blows its good or evil towards the town. Of
marketplaces, the best known are those by the churches of St. Augustine and St.
Palace which occupies a whole quarter or square of the place has been built upon
by so many Viceroys that it has got a crooked and motley appearance, and the St.
James's Palace in London is even said to have been erected by Pizarro, who was
also murdered in it. Pleasant was it for me to observe a portrait of Christopher
Columbus on my first entrance into the audience hall of the President. Thus,
after a fashion is the memory of this famous man honoured. When alive, he was
rewarded by ungratitude, chiefly on the part of his master and king. For
economical reasons I suppose, the shops or the hardware men, the dealers in
ribbons and the shoemakers, with others, are under the Palace.
square portion of the place is occupied by the Cathedral and the palace of the
Archbishop. The Cathedral is a grand building with two towers in the front and
the inside is most beautifully decorated. Here most of the greatest solemnities
take place and from this church do the largest religious processions start.
other two squares or sides of the place are occupied by two long two-storied
buildings - perhaps they might be taken to be several houses. Under them are the so-called ‘portales’ with arches
towards the place, whereabout eighty shopkeepers have their shops, mostly for
cloth, silk and fancy goods. On Sundays, especially during High Mass between 12
and 1 o’clock, these arches are a resort for young gentlemen for the purpose
of admiring the ladies ‘Saya y Mantos’, perhaps also of arranging for the
afternoon rendezvous. The state mongers here also gather into groups to discuss
the welfare of the Republic. They flock together through compatriotism which is
widely spread, not only according to the province but also every little town is
the same; thus, there are Purians from Pura, Cuscians from Cusco, Piscoans from
Pisco, Trusalos from Trusilo, Paytans from Payta, etc., too many to name. The
Place de la Inquisition is next to the Place de Palacio and about in the middle
of the town. In this is situated what was formerly the Inquisition Chapel and
Inquisition House with the houses of detention. The cells in these latter are
not pleasant spectacles. Dark and wretched as such are generally said to be,
they are not quite so bad at Lima. It is also insisted upon that the Inquisition
was always less strict here than in the more bigoted Spain.
Mint, which is situated in this neighbourhood, is a large and remarkable
building. A great deal or gold and silver is here turned into doubloons,
piastres, 4, 2, 1 and ½ reale pieces. It is not easy to say how much is used
just now, as only a few plato-pina or silver bars arrive from the country on
account of the silver mines being still in the hands of the Royalists. There
have also been but few coins struck since the arrival of the Army of the
Patriots, and these with the Spanish impression, doubtless because the stamp of
the patriots is not yet ready. Everything seems to be ordered well in the Mint,
and the coinage is done with great rapidity. The machinery is not different,
however, to what is seen elsewhere.
streets are pretty straight, but some are not paved and it is a wonder that
the nice ‘Li Manerjudes’ silk-shod feet can stand the sharp stones. The
streets most frequented are those nearest the Place de la Palacio, such as Callo
de Bodagones; de los Judios; Melchior Malo; de Argo Bispo; Calle de Palacio; de
St. Augustine; de las Mantess; de Valadolid, de Mercaderos and de la Merced. In
these, there are shops in nearly every house and also the most traffic and
movements, while in the majority of the roads and streets there is but little
stir, and those in the outskirts of the town as by the Catcharca gate, de Circan
and others are nearly without inhabitants and when for the houses near the Place
de la Palacio from 800 to 3,000 piastres is paid yearly but 20 to 25 piastres a
month or at most $300 a year is paid for a house with garden and, more
comfortably arranged in de Ciran.
the palace is a stone bridge with three arches over the ‘Qi Mae’, which
river flows towards Callao, but it is too shallow and stony even for small
boats. The bridge has a very handsome porch consisting of a large arch with
several ornaments and a clock. The approach from this side is quite open, and on
the other side is a nice little suburb, which leads to another and longer,
called Malambo. This little suburb leads to two ‘Alamedas’ or promenades,
one of which has an amphitheatre for bull fights, with a very large circus and
three rows of boxes and is able to hold a considerable number of people. In one
end of it, opposite the place from which the bulls are let loose is the box for
the Viceroy or now, the Protector, which seems to occupy the better part of the
building and, if I am not mistaken, is built of brick. At present there are no
bull fights but as these and cock fights are the rage here, their desires in
this direction will doubtless sooner or later be satisfied. In the other avenue
are three fountains, and at the end of it by the foot of the mountain, which
gives it quite a romantic appearance, lies a small chapel. ‘Ia Almeda da
Callao’ or the avenue to Callao, is however, considered the nicest and is also
the longest. All the avenues are used for driving as well as riding and walking;
they consist of four rows of trees with seats at the sides, but are said to be
but little frequented to what they were in Spanish times.
has its cemetery (or cemeteries) outside the town, which is called the
‘Pantheon’. It has a neat little octagonal chapel surrounded by cypresses.
The gravediggers have their abodes by the chapel. Already, for years no one has
been buried in the town or by the churches. In the Pantheon are raised several
walls of the length of a coffin which have a number of small rooms or cells for
the dead who are placed in two rows one above the other. In one of these the
corpse is placed and the place is then walled up. When a certain tax is paid,
the relatives are allowed to place a monumental stone in the wall, but for
costly epitaphs there is not sufficient space. The other graves are opened up at
certain times for further burials.
Pantheon is, no doubt for several reasons, a good institution, especially in a
land where the religion is Roman Catholic and where the desire for all is to be
buried in the churches. Doubtless it has not been instituted without much
trouble from the objections made by the prejudiced, zealous and bigoted clerics.
Yet, I prefer our own cemetery, the Garden of the Dead, outside the northern
gate of Copenhagen, where many a mound, marked only by a simple wooden cross, a
myrtle tree or a rosebush denotes that those who were dear to us in life, are
here resting in the mother’s womb of Earth and, if scripture is to be
believed, in the same mould from which the Creator fashioned them.
a time when so many vessels of foreign nationality had arrived, with merchants
ready to open up new business, super cargoes, captains, etc., it was rather
difficult to get a house or even a lodging. I and my Captain and two other
friends were, however, fortunate enough to obtain rooms with a very pleasant
Spanish family who did everything to make us comfortable during the two months
we stayed there. As a proof how a Revolution can mar the prospects of a family I
will shortly state the fate of my hostess Dona Maria, a Spaniard, handsome, well
educated and gifted with good sound commonsense, all made her a very pleasant
and refined woman. She was the mother of several children; two well educated
grown-up daughters, three sons and a little daughter. With her husband, who was
appointed Judge in Buenos Ayres, she left Spain; but the revolution which broke
out there soon forced him to leave for Chile where he was again appointed Judge,
but there also a revolution broke out and he had to go to Lima, where again he
did not lack appointment and was a special friend of the Viceroy Pezuela. When
the Generals La Serne, Cantera, with others took away the rule from the
Viceroy, and at the same time the expedition from Chile against Lima occurred,
which place shortly after came into the possession of the patriots. The Judge,
who was an earnest Spaniard, thought it incumbent on himself to get away, and
went on board the English frigate ‘Andromeda’ leaving orders to his family
as soon as possible to follow him. Many Spanish families of note as well as rich
have already left Lima and others will soon follow. Some possibly do this by
their own inclination, but many also because it is said to be the pleasure of
the Protector to have everything that is Spanish driven out of Peru. This can
hardly be called good policy as a great deal of capital is in consequence
leaving the country. The Indian ship ‘Lord Lindoch and another English ship
‘St. Patrick’ are already hired by different Spaniards. I have come to know
a few of these and have found them highly respectable, they have been in Lima
many years and their children are Peruvians who are now sent away by no fault of
their own from the land of their birth.
is the theme of the day. Many praise San Martin to the skies, others blame him,
especially are many dissatisfied with his conduct in allowing the Royal troops,
about 3,000 strong, not only a short time since to get near to Callao,
but also to be in communication with the Fort and General La Mar its Commander,
the Royal troops then went away triumphant, without being attacked by the
stronger army of patriots, into the interior of the country and the mountains. A
short time after this La Mar made an honourable capitulation. San
Martin’s Prime Minister, or at least he who performs the duties, is a Dr. Jose
de Murlenqudo. He is of dark complexion, some insist that he has Kaffir blood in
his veins; but be this as it may, he seems to be a man with a head upon his
shoulders, and possessed of great natural powers. He is not, however,
good-natured and his morality is utterly bad. This latter is not infrequently
the case with the leaders of the patriots. Between Lord Cochrane and San Martin,
a state of complete disagreement exists. His Lordship has retained some prize
money shipped by San Martin for another purpose, but with which the former paid
the officers and men of the Chilean fleet their wages, to their complete
satisfaction. Lord Cochrane has returned San Martin’s invitation to come to
Lima, and it is said, will in a short time, sail with his squadron of all the
Chilean ships in order to find the remaining two Spanish frigates in the
the 8th of October San Martin, the ministers and other high authorities took the
oath to the new constitution. A platform decked with velvet and other tapestries
was raised for the occasion in the Place de la Palacio. Not far from the Palace
some artillery and a few other troops were stationed, all in rather motley
uniforms. The bells chimed, the guns boomed and everything was as it should be
on such an occasion. The citizens did not, however, seem much interested in
these solemnities and but few were present on the place itself. No cries of
‘viva’ were heard and it appears that it is chiefly the Buenos Ayres and
Chilean soldiers and the Marines who have cause to rejoice over the change in
Peru. Nearly all the shops under the arches were open and in the neighbouring
streets buying and selling was going on as usual. I thought of what I, as a
young man, read about the festivities of the people in France; or the talking of
taking the constitutional oath in 1790 on the Camp de Mars in Paris, and the
comparison was not flattering to this new Republic. Without defending the
Peruvians, it may be said that they are far behind the Europeans in North
America, both in culture and strength of mind. Granting even that their natural
powers are equal to these, their education and civilization are not. They need
instruction and knowledge both in the higher, lower and different forms of
government and as a consequence the yet more difficult ‘judicum’ to choose
the best and most convenient form for their own country. Nor is their enthusiasm
of the most burning or disinterested kind and it seems as if the Peruvians are a
tool in the hands of a few ambitious persons, who seek to destroy all that is
old, whether it is useful or not, in order to raise themselves and gain thereby.
For the present, the state of discontent continues and will, doubtless, sometime
hence be succeeded by others and it will take years before perfect quiet is
I see that I have said more about Lima itself than I originally intended and I
will, therefore, at once, give a short description of its commerce, such as it
was in 1821 after the capture of the town and forts by the patriots.
the seventy vessels, which, together with ours sailed into the port of Callao,
were some from Chile with provisions and these met with a good market and quick
sale as a blockade of several months duration had sent up the prices of all
food. Rice was sold at $7 to $9 per quintal or 100 Spanish lbs.; wheat at $10 to
$11 per farega or 135 Spanish lbs.; North American flour at $20 to $22 per
barrel or 195 Spanish lbs.
European articles also met with a good sale, of which I will only mention
English and French broad-cloth more especially black and navy blue which was
sold wholesale at from $10 to $12 the vara and retail or in the shops at $14 to
$16 the vara.
$10 to $12 the piece
$16 to $20 the piece
$28 to $30 the piece
$26 to $30 the piece
$6 to $7 the vara
$4 to $5 the vara
- North American
Very high prices
$10 to $12 per dozen
$10 to $12 per dozen of 12 bottles.
Indian goods of whatsoever assortment and description there was no sale whatever
and very little prospect of there being any, so long as the Royal troops occupy
the inner part of Peru and the mines, which provide the merchant with
silver wherewith to purchase any foreign shiploads. This has forced two vessels
from Bengal to leave here for other ports on the coast, an example we in future
will doubtless have to follow, and so much the more as I have noticed that one
of the best houses here shipped some time since, its imported and duty paid
cotton cloth from Bengal, with Ceylon cinnamon, to Mexico and Acapulco. The Lima
trade can hardly ever have been much extended and although there are some
wealthy inhabitants most of the commercial men here are nothing but shopkeepers,
who mostly sell their goods retail and restrict their purchases accordingly,
which at the time when the trade was restricted to a few yearly vessels from
India and Cadiz did not require much judgment or knowledge of trade.
coast trade was also done with small vessels, generally brigs and schooners and
this I should think will again, with greater vigour, be revived when the present
state of unrest of the country has somewhat settled down. Insurance companies,
commercial banks and loan offices, Exchange, Chambers of Commerce and other
useful institutions for commerce and shipping have, as far as I can gather, not
been in existence in Lima or any other large towns in the former Spanish portion
of South America. The large sums yearly shipped for Europe and India, as well as
the coasting trade, would surely require the existence of an insurance
company to facilitate and make trade speculations more secure and also assist in
keeping the money spent in insurance premiums in the country which now goes to
foreign under-writers causing loss of both money and time.
to Baron Humboldt, or rather the Viayero Universal par Alvear y ronce, the
population of Peru in 1796 was 1,445,000; the amount of imported goods was
valued at 11,500,000 piastres and the export of silver and gold, as well as the
other products of the country, 12,000,000 piastres. The population, one would
imagine, has since then increased, for though several Spanish families have
lately left the country, we must not forget that during the whole time the other
states have fought for their independence, Peru has enjoyed almost unbroken
tranquility, and only once or twice taken part in the commotion of the
neighbouring republic, Chile, by sending troops there.
regard to the present state of trade, import and export, in Peru nothing certain
can be said. The market is filled with all sorts of goods and many merchants
from Buenos Ayres, Chile and England have established business in Lima, from
which I conclude that much is expected from the future. From a respected
merchant from Buenos Ayres, I received a somewhat extended price list, but as
these so often change I will not give this or any other until, possibly, I close
these fragments of my diary.
our arrival here until the first days in October, no cargo was allowed to be
landed. It was said that the Protector, together with Spanish merchants, amongst
whom was the distinguished Don Pedro Abodia, was working on the new Customs
Tariff, which was published on the 28th September 1821. It is short and only
temporary, but San Martin promises in the preface, to publish in a few months
another tariff which is to be more complete and more up to the present
enlightened times. The one now published contains twenty-seven articles, of
which the following extracts are the most important to foreigners and the
vessels of foreign nations:-
Allows all vessels from Europe, Asia, Africa and America to enter the
ports of Callao and Kuanchaco on the following conditions:-
Three hours after the vessel has cast anchor the Captain or Supercargo
must hand in a manifest of the vessels cargo, which may be written in the
language of his native land; but within 48 hours it must be translated by one of
the translators appointed by the government, and then delivered at the
custom-house; after which, the landing of the cargo can take place.
should the Captain or Supercargo desire mean-while to land the goods at another
port, they shall after 6 days, including the day of arrival, leave this port.
Within the above named 48 hours the Supercargo or Captain shall name the
consignee, who must be a citizen of Peru.
During the landing of the cargo the Captain and Supercargo are bound to
receive the Resguardo or smaller custom-house officers on board, and also permit
visits or inspection of the cargo before the same is landed. Further to pay for
anchorage at 4Rs. per ton.
Makes the consignee alone answerable for the payment of the duty.
All kinds of goods imported in foreign vessels at Callao or Kuanchaco pay
a duty of 20% and valoram, to be reckoned according to general prices of the
All articles prejudicial to the industries of the country, as ready-made
clothes, tanned hides, boots and shoes, books, chairs, sofas, chests of drawers,
carriages, chaises, riding saddles, sword belts, lamps, wax, sperm and tallow
candles, gunpowder, etc. to pay double the duty mentioned in Art. VI.
Goods free of duty, imported under any flag: quicksilver, all instruments
and machines for work in the mines, all articles for purposes of war, gunpowder
excepted, all scientific books, maps and charts, engravings and useful
Abolishes all custom-houses inland, and permits the inhabitants or Peru,
without further permission from the customs authorities to send their goods, of
whatever kind, throughout the country or to any town in same, from which is only
excepted gold, silver etc. specified in the three following articles.
Silver coins in whatever vessel shipped pay export duty of 5%.
Gold coins pay duty at 2 ½%.
All gold and silver in bars or lumps or unwrought…..to be exported
under penalty or confiscation.
Every other product of Peru shall pay an export duty of 4% when shipped
in vessels of foreign nations.
Everything imported for re-exportation shall pay a transit duty of
1% and in the ART. XXVII it is said that the present customs tariff shall
be in force until a better one can be made and published, in which no alteration
shall take place without giving the public eight months notice.
English merchants in Lima hoped to be able to arrange the affairs more to their
own advantage, by offering to pay the Government the additional 5% duty, which
otherwise was to be paid by the consignee, on the condition that they should be
allowed to land or ship their goods in their own name.
this purpose Captain McKenzie of the British 74 was approached in order that he
might make representation about it, which he immediately did, with the result
that the 5% was accepted by the Government, it being at the same time understood
that this 5% should make up for all further demands. Nevertheless two days after
this a Bando (proclamation) was issued and (by means of an officer’s guard)
read on all public places and street corners, which imposes on all British and
foreign merchants the same taxes and imports as on Peruvian citizens, and
moreover, ordering them, if required, to take up arms for the defence of Lima,
only excepting them from fighting against the Spaniards.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
coinage is as yet the royal Spanish as I have already noted, it is reckoned in
Piastres, Reales and Quartos or Quantillos – 4 qua0 to 1 reale, 8
of these to 1 peso or piastre and 1 peso or piastre to 1 doubloon or ounce of
gold. There are 1, 2 and 4 reale pieces, which is very convenient for exchange
purposes and for payment of small sums, but as they are not available for
shipping purposes, it is generally mentioned in Bills of Exchange that payment
has to be made in pesos ..… or duros, whereby is to be understood that these
are to be paid in pieces of 8, or full piastres of 8 ….. of doubloons or
ounces of gold for ….. from .…. to 8 ..… in reality not worth more than
$18 in Bengal, with ….. in India is seldom higher than 30 ½ to 31 silver
rupees. The weights are quintal, arrobas and libras or lbs. 25 lbs. or libras to
1 arroba, 4 arrobas to 1 quintal, 100 lb is equal to 104 English lbs.
is by varas ….. 3 foot ….. equal to 1 ½ inches English.
charges in Callao are very high. At the landing of a cargo there are certain
labourers (Cargadores) appointed or permitted by the Government, and these
demand in consequence the right to take all goods to the custom-house but as no
set price is authorised for this, the stranger had better arrange the cost
are two custom-houses, one in Callao and one in Lima, and this causes both delay
and trouble to the merchants. To both of these a manifest of the cargo must be
delivered and then compared, and yet after all this, difference will arise
between these two wise Inspectors of Customs, giving more trouble to those who
have any business at the custom-house.
Lima is about 7 miles distant from Callao, all goods must either be carted or
carried on mules. The latter are hired at 18 reales each and a car generally
drawn by oxen costs $10. A mule can only carry one gurrah's bale of 80 pieces on
its back and from …..
rest of Han’s journal has been lost. The remainder of this paper is also from
what Fiellerup got up to during this long sojourn so far away from his usual
haunts can only be conjectured. This is a tantalising fragment, and it is much
to be regretted that the remainder of his journal has been lost. Not only would
it have completed a fascinating picture of the swashbuckling life in this part
of the Spanish Main, but it would also have provided some clue as to how he came
to get unstuck in his trading ventures, which was to ruin him financially. On
the other hand, it could perhaps be inferred from his journal that because there
was no sale whatsoever for Indian goods of any description in Peru, he was
forced to do what other merchants from Bengal had done, namely, to leave
Callao and try his luck at other ports further up the coast, transferring his
stock in trade to one of the smaller vessels engaged in coastal trading.
breaks silence in 1827.
3rd: I was very
happy after several troublous years of separation to be again united to my good
wife and two children in South America, who from affection for me had come
hither. My eldest daughter Maria had remained in Bengal married to Mr. Thomas
Campbell. The youngest named Harriet I had never seen before, as she was born a
fortnight after I had left India …With what fatherly joy did I embrace this
little six year old girl only those can feel who themselves are parents.
other sister accompanying them was, by now, the well-seasoned traveler Louisa.
They were to remain nine months in Peru before all four of them set sail for
Copenhagen. The diary again:-
January 26th: Left
Lima for England with my wife and two daughters. Rounded Cape Horn March 5th and
arrived at Cowes on the Isle of Wight on June 27th. In London I heard that my
other daughter, Maria Campbell in Bengal, was confined of a son on November
10th 1827, whom the parents have named Thomas.
September 18th we left London for Copenhagen, where we arrived at midnight on
October 3rd after having landed at Elsinore.
have therefore traveled round the world and are perhaps the first Danes who
‘en Famille’ have done the same.
truly great achievement by any standard.
his was a home-coming fraught with emotion, because Fiellerup, having lost his
all, must have been in a pretty depressed state, with the dismal prospect of
having to accept the generosity and hospitality of friends and not knowing what
the future held in store for them.
only hint we have of the nature of his troubles is the following letter copied
into his diary:
our parting in Callao I have not been honoured with any letter from you, other
than your friendly one dated Guyaquil the 29th July 1826, until sometime since I
received your esteemed favour of the 22nd December last from Copenhagen, which
illness has for a long time prevented me from answering.
or two days before my departure from Peru I received through Mr. Osterling a
letter from London, which informed me that the insurance on the Brig
‘Sophia’ had expired five days before the capture took place, my frame of
mind over your as well as my own loss thereby, I cannot describe. I determined
not to inform you of this my unlucky intelligence to us both, which could not
now be helped, as you had enough cause for grief through other losses, as well
as anxiety over your noble family being expected in Peru. Mr. Nixon must
therefore have misunderstood me in our conversation about it at Liverpool,
namely, that I might claim through the Government, compensation from the
Spanish Government for the undeserved loss of my property. Two dispatches have
arrived from the present Charge d' Affaires in Madrid, which give some
hope of compensation. The last of these asks for an explanation on the three
points on which the Spanish Authorities ground the confiscation of the
(1) That the ‘Sophia’
was in the Columbian Transport Service;
the ‘Sophia’ in conjunction with the Insurgent Brig ‘Crouela’ meant to
attack the Spanish naval
the ‘Sophia’ had every appearance of belonging to an Insurgent of Chile
named Juan de Dias.
explanation of these accusations, which has perfectly satisfied the Cabinet
here, was in short the following:-
the ‘Sophia’ was actually forced into the Transport Service, which is again
mentioned in a protest in duplicate from the Captain and Supercargo, one in
Guyaquil against the freighter ‘Condicido’, who instead of lawfully
freighting the vessel with merchandise, transferred the charter-party to the
Columbian Government. Besides, the ‘Sophia’ was taken for Transport Service
long after, and if such had happened, I should have been entitled to
compensation from the Columbian Government. Moreover, if the Transport Service
can justify confiscation, why did they not ….. seize other English vessels
lying at Callao .
(2) This point,
foolish as it is, falls entirely to the ground, for no hostility took place
between the ‘Sophia’ and the ‘el Quintella’ as the latter
took away the Brig ‘Crouela’ of Talca ….. without any hindrance from the
‘Sophia’. This is again proved by a letter to me from Lloyds Insurance
Company, stating that I acted under the circumstances, as a prudent mariner
ought to do.
two-thirds of the ‘Sophia belong to me, and one-third to Herr Andrea of
Gothenburg is proved without doubt.
Signed: Captain Elstroup
 A Factor is an agent who buys and sells for others.
 As far as I can tell, the Anglo-Danish Company is the same as the Danish East India Company.
 Tranquebar, a former Danish colony in India, is now called by its original name of Tarangambadi.
 In Danish Bred, Fraser has this year as 1816, a translation from the family Bible, has this date as January 1817.
 Serampore, a former Danish colony in India, is now called Shrirampur.
 Fraser stated the journey took seven months. The dates given in Danish Bred are consistent with those in the family bible. They departed India on the 15th of May and arrived in Denmark on November the 22nd, making the journey closer to six months in duration.
 Peru declared its independence in 1821, although freedom was not achieved until 1824.
 A Lascar is an East Indian sailor.
 Admiral Lord Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald. Known as the ‘The Sea Wolf’, this tall red headed Scotsman was a distinguished naval commander who fought under Nelson in the Napoleonic Wars. In 1818 he took command of the revolutionary Chilean Navy (then in revolt against Spain). With his characteristic skill, Cochrane rid the South American Pacific coastline of Spanish ships and hence helped secure independence for Chile and Peru.
 General San Martin was the liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru. He assumed government in Peru with the title of Protector. Because of rivalries and dissents, he resigned from all his duties, leaving to Bolivar the glory of finishing the freedom of Peru.