Whether or not the present government of Peru, if the matter should be submitted to it, would take this view of the case, was a subject of conjecture, of course, but the captain’s counsel strongly advised him to take position upon the ground that he was entitled to half the treasure. Under present circumstances, when Captain Horn was so well prepared to maintain his rights, it was thought that the Peruvian authorities might easily be made to see the advisability of accepting a great advantage freely offered, instead of endeavoring to obtain a greater advantage, in regard to which it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to legally prove anything or to claim anything.
Therefore, it was advised that a commission should be sent to Lima to open negotiations upon the subject, with instructions to make no admissions in regard to the amount of the treasure, its present places of deposit, or other particulars, until the Peruvian government should consent to a satisfactory arrangement.
To this plan Captain Horn consented, determining, however, that, if the negotiations of his commission should succeed, he would stipulate that at least one half the sum paid to Peru should be devoted to the advantage of the native inhabitants of that country, to the establishment of schools, hospitals, libraries, and benefactions of the kind. If the commission should not succeed, he would then attend to the matter in his own way.
Thus, no matter what happened, he would still insist upon his claim to one fifth of the total amount as his pay for the discovery of the treasure, and in this claim his lawyers assured him he could be fully secured.
Other matters were in a fair way of settlement. The captain had made Shirley and Burke his agents through whom he would distribute to the heirs of the crew of the Castor their share of the treasure which had been apportioned to them, and the two sailors had already gone to America upon this mission. How to dispose of the Arato had been a difficult question, upon which the captain had taken legal advice. That she had started out from Valparaiso with a piratical crew, that those pirates had made an attack upon him and his men, and that, in self-defence, he had exterminated them, made no difference in his mind, or that of his counsellors, as to the right of the owners of the vessel to the return of their property. But a return of the vessel itself would be difficult and hazardous. Whoever took it to Valparaiso would be subject to legal inquiry as to the fate of the men who had hired it, and it would be, indeed, cruel and unjust to send out a crew in this vessel, knowing that they would be arrested when they arrived in port. Consequently, he determined to sell the Arato, and to add to the amount obtained what might be considered proper on account of her detention, and to send this sum to Valparaiso, to be paid to the owners of the Arato.
The thoughts of all our party were now turned toward America. As time went on, the captain and Edna might have homes in different parts of the world, but their first home was to be in their native land.