As I read Henri's letters home one of the passages that struck me was his description of two Bear and Bull Fights he witnessed in Lima in 1853.
"The Bull and the Bear have one of their legs chained so they cannot freely move within a small enclosed circle. The battle loses some of its interest as a result, but it must be said that it is fairer fight than in the typical corrida."
After the second fight which it seems was far more gruesome than the first, Henri left in disgust.
"I was sickened not only from the display, but also for those who seemed to derive so much pleasure from the spectacle."
I thought this was pretty barbaric and of another age. It made me think of ancient Rome or Bull and Bear baiting in Elizabethan England. When I did a little research however, I found that it was also very prevalent in California at the time.
From an 1868 New York Times article
"Spain or Mexico never pitted a bear against a bull in the public arena, and it has been left for enlightened America to develop the prowess of such animals in combat. Grizzly Joe, the bear who fought yesterday against the calico-colored Texas bull. is almost a pioneer in that line, although several exhibitions of the kind have been given in California."
From Chris Ralph's Article The Bull and Bear Fight
"In the early days of California, the pioneer population of the state was wont to amuse themselves with the gruesome ritual of bull and bear fights. Certainly something that would never be accepted today, these events made the Mexican tradition of bullfighting look tame by comparison. A large portion of the California population in those days was Spanish, and anything pertaining to the fighting of bulls would draw out the full Mexican population. However the bull and bear fight was not limited to just one ethnic group, and was a sport appreciated by all the population in those days, as the Americans would turn out alongside everyone else. Sunday, by custom, was the day set apart for these exhibitions, for on that day, everybody came to town for shopping and other business."