Papers Relating to Foreign Affairs, Accompanying the Annual Message of the President to the Third Session of the Fortieth Congress
Mr. Plumb to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Since the recent entry of Mr. Romero upon the position of minister of treasury, a report has been made by him to the congress, which may be considered as embodying the financial programme of the Mexican government.
An English translation has been published here under direction of the treasury department, of which I inclose a copy herewith.
It will be observed that in several important particulars this report bears upon the foreign relations of this republic.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.[Page 410]
Department of State for Finance and Public Credit.
Report presented to the Congress of the Union by the Secretary of State for the Department of Finance and Public Credits in virtue of the 89th article of the Federal Constitution, on the 31st of January, 1868.
Citizen Deputies: In accordance with the 89th article of the federal constitution, and by an order of the congress communicated to me on the 17th instant, I have the honor to report that the brief space of time elapsed since I entered upon my department has not permitted me to inform myself thoroughly of the progress and alterations that have occurred in its several branches since the date of the last financial report of the 10th of February, 1867, nor to acquaint myself with the actual state of all those departments of public administration connected with the federal revenue. Neither, for the same reason, have I been able to develop any plan which might permit us to regulate our finances for the future by affording us sufficient resources to meet the public expenses, the material improvements of the country, and the redemption of our consolidated and floating debt.
The events of the war which has happily terminated; the occupation of a great part of our territory by the French army of invasion; the necessity under which our military chiefs and the local authorities made use of the funds of the federation recovered in their respective districts; the irregular manner in which they have had to effect these operations; and the loss and destruction of a great part of the documents showing the distribution of the public money, are motives that cause it to be almost impossible to form a report by which an exact idea could be given of our financial affairs during the war with France. Moreover, the exceptional circumstances of that war (notwithstanding that the formation of the account of its expenses might be a very valuable work, considered in the light of historical interest and the injury caused to the nation) would be a motive why, at the same time, it would not have much importance taken as a basis from which to start for our future financial system.
The preceding considerations are, therefore, the cause that the present report must be necessarily very succinct and incomplete, and that it will not be accompanied by all the indispensable data for ascertaining the amount of the ingress to the national treasury and that of the egress for the last ten years, but that it will be rather a slight sketch for the future than an account of the past.
Existing, moreover, a legal injunction lately renewed by congress, by which the secretaries of the various departments are ordered to report on the use made by the government of the extraordinary faculties conceded to it by the national representation, it appears to be more in order to leave the relation of the past to the report about to be made in accordance with the instructions referred to, as also more natural to intrust this work to the citizen who was at the head of the finance department during the greater part of the period in which the executive was invested with legislative powers, and to whom it has already been recommended by the President.
The principal basis for the formation and adaptation of a system of finance is the conservation of public tranquillity; without this requisite it would be impossible to obtain the necessary income to cover the estimates or to establish the necessary order for collecting the revenues effectually. Government will therefore use every effort to preserve public tranquility at all costs, in the certainty that this is the first requirement of the country, and to which all the others have to submit themselves. If, as is believed, this desirable result be obtained, the principal, difficulties that have hitherto existed towards the organization of the public revenues will have been overcome.
Another indispensable element towards attaining this important object is that the laws establishing the federal revenues shall be punctually obeyed by all the inhabitants of the republic, including, of course, the authorities of the States. The necessities of the war had required up to the present that the local authorities should dispose of the federal income, and the government presumes that there is no exaggeration in the assurance that this practice has been one of the greatest obstacles that has existed so far towards the organization of the federal finances, and that which has maintained the republic in a constant state of bankruptcy for many years. One of the first requirements is, therefore, to put an end to this practice, so prejudicial to the interests of the public revenue, and which, on account of the restoration of peace, has ceased to have the motives that might have justified it formerly. The government, being satisfied of the imperious necessity of the federal exchequer, receiving in future the whole of its revenues, has dictated the competent measures towards obtaining this important result, and is resolved to carry them into effect with all the energy required by the circumstances, and with the conviction that in this way it fulfills one of the most sacred duties which it owes to the nation. For the fulfillment of the revenue laws, government relies upon the efficient co-operation of congress, without which perhaps its patriotic views might possibly not have the desired effect. The government is persuaded that with these two important elements, namely, the preservation of public tranquillity and the strict compliance with the revenue laws throughout the [Page 411]country, it would not only be possible but also certain to organize the national income and to count upon the necessary means to meet all requirements by covering the public estimates and liquidating within a comparatively short period a great portion of our debt.
The government considers that one of the most prejudicial errors for the republic, and one that has brought on the most disastrous and transcendent consequences, has been that the country did not possess sufficient resources of its own to exist by itself, and that it required inevitably assistance from abroad. A painful experience has taught us to know how unfounded is this illusion. After our war with the United States, in 1848, we had a considerable supply of means, which, had they been well administered, would have sufficed to have established our financial prosperity. But, as the other indispensable requisites were wanting to attain this object, they were dissipated like smoke. Later, and in virtue of the Mesilla treaty, we received a subsidy from abroad, which scarcely became perceptible, and hardly left any trace behind it. Lastly, those misled Mexicans who, in a moment of supine hallucination, appealed to a foreign country, not only soliciting pecuniary resources, but also armed forces and positive intervention in the domestic affairs of the republic, were quickly convinced that notwithstanding the fabulous result they obtained by converting into an instrument of their unworthy views a sagacious monarch, all was of no avail—neither the hundreds of millions of dollars expended in the expedition, the thousands of troops sent to the country, the recognition and moral support afforded by European nations to the intervention, nor the unheard-of efforts which were made to establish a state of things that did not count upon its own resources, but had to depend upon foreign aid.
If the republic had not counted upon its own resources for its existence as an independent nation, it would have been more decorous and perhaps more patriotic to have subjected ourselves to the foreign yoke, which on distinct occasions has been tried to be imposed upon us, and which in the last one we had to make gigantic efforts to overthrow. The entire confidence which the government enjoys that the republic possesses within itself all the necessary elements for self-existence, and that with the re-establishment of peace and obedience to the laws she can not only dispose of the requisite means to consolidate her government and satisfy all her wants, but that by the development of her immense material resources she will attain that prodigious degree of welfare and prosperity to which it would appear she is destined by a benign and prodigal nature, was without doubt one of the reasons why the government was inspired with unlimited faith, and was made to assume a dignified and decided attitude in our last struggle with a foreign invader.
The government has had the patriotic satisfaction to observe, (notwithstanding that traces are still unblotted of the foreign enemy, who fled precipitately, abandoning all the interests he had created here in a period of five years,) that, assisted by the good spirit of the Mexican people, it finds itself in a far more preferable position, without doubt, than any that has existed since the period of our emancipation up to the present time. As a proof of this, there has scarcely been time to commence to repair the disasters occasioned by the invasion, when the government, thanks to its efforts to re-establish order and morality, covers its expenses with a punctuality that has never before been witnessed. Notwithstanding that the republic maintains a standing armed force, larger than has existed in times of peace, this force, perhaps for the first time in many years, and with the fact that the government is not yet in possession of all its revenues, receives full pay, which is generally paid a fortnight in advance. The civil list, which comprehends all the employés of the federation, those of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers, and a considerable number of widows, orphans, and other pensioners of the state, are also paid up with all punctuality. The other expenses which the government necessarily has to meet, such as the transportation of war material, construction of warlike stores, military clothing, printing, &c., &c., are either fully paid up, or in the course of payment, with the probability of being covered immediately. The expedition to Yucatan, which under other circumstances would have been impossible, except by taking transport vessels by force, and recurring to other violent measures, has now been effected, as it might have been, by a nation whose credit was cemented upon a more solid basis, namely, by chartering steamers and sailing vessels at fair prices, covering two months’ pay, in advance, to the expeditionary forces, and moreover remitting funds for those already organized, or about to be organized in the States of Yuqatan and Campeachy, with the view of re-establishing public order, and putting down the insurrectionists; and these enormous outlays, which exceed the sum that congress considered sufficient to disburse, have not disarranged our estimates nor prevented our making our payments as if the public tranquillity had not been disturbed in that peninsula.
One of the causes that has contributed to produce this promising position, is the determination of government, carried out so far in an inflexible manner, and in which it is the firm intention to persist, of not consenting to any ruinous contracts respecting the anticipation of duties. Until now, usury has been the cancer of our financial system. Government has adopted the policy of putting an end thereto, and the results of [Page 412]so praiseworthy a determination, carried into effect inexorably, are already manifest to every one.
Another of the fundamental principles on which the financial policy of the government relies, has been and is the fixed resolution to introduce economy in the administrative expenses. This, however, is not the work of a few days. So far, considerable progress has been made in this respect, as the armed force of the republic, which at the termination of the war consisted of eighty thousand men, does not now reach twenty thousand. For some time, payment has had to be made to a considerable number of chiefs and officers, who had been withdrawn on account of their services being no longer required, in order to enable them to retire to their homes.
In the opinion of the government, there would be a great risk that our present financial situation might lose its equilibrium considerably, if we were to attempt to change the existing legislation in this respect, by adopting dangerous innovations. There is no doubt that our actual financial laws require many improvements, but government considers it to be its duty to make known to congress its conviction, that any innovation not duly reflected upon would produce fatal consequences to the revenue. It is the intention of the government to adopt or propose to congress all such reforms as experience may show to be needful; but it is believed that nothing of the existing system should be destroyed until that which is to supplant it shall be established. The government considers, therefore, that it ought to impress upon congress the convenience of not changing our rental system for the moment. In consequence of this idea, the government believes it to be an obligation to recommend to congress, not only that the laws that now form our system should not be abolished or modified for the present, but that the measures adopted by the legislatures of some of the States, in contravention to the federal laws, should be annulled. Upon this important point a representation will shortly be addressed to the chambers by this department.
Our system of taxation is, without doubt, open to much improvement. One sole, general direct tax, imposed upon real estate and actual capital, would be more equitable, and would produce a larger income to the public treasury, than those now exacted. The value of real estate in the City of Mexico is calculated by the general tax office of the district at thirty-nine millions of dollars, and that of the suburbs, in the districts of Tacubaya and Tlalpam, at about eight millions. The reports given in, as to actual capital, barely reach to about three millions of dollars. This insignificant amount can only represent a very trifling part of such capital. In case of adopting this tax, it would be necessary to take steps to oblige capitalists to make their representations rather more scrupulously.
Government trusts to be in a position before long to reduce the armed force of the republic to a peace footing, as it is of opinion that a reduced army, but well organized and disciplined, and provided with arms with all the improvements of modern inventions, would be more efficient in the preservation of public tranquillity, or in re-establishing order in case of disturbances, and even in defense of the country in case of a foreign invasion, than a more numerous army but badly organized, and not well armed. A military school for the creation of punctilious and capable officers would provide us with a number of instructed chiefs, who would be enabled to convert the masses of our population into regular troops in case of a foreign invasion. The sums which would be economized by making this reduction might be employed with great benefit to the country in protecting foreign immigration, in the construction of railroads, and in other public improvements, which would permit us to arrive quickly to that prosperity and welfare we all desire.
The orders for payment which I found pending in the general treasury, on taking office in this department, amounted to $163,296 99. In the few days that have transpired since the 16th instant up to date nearly a sixth part of these orders have been paid, without neglecting, on this account, the other public expenses.
With the view of re-establishing the credit of Mexico, by endeavoring to comply with the orders for payment with that punctuality which is required by decorum and public convenience, I have taken the determination of not sending any order to the general treasury, or of recognizing those emanating from other departments, unless there should be the necessary funds in that office to pay the amount on presentation.
It would not be possible to form an estimate of the national revenues, because unfortunately up to the present there have been no means of assuring their ingress to the public exchequer. It may be said, however, in a general way, that they consist of the income of the maritime custom-houses, the products of district imposts, and direct contributions, the rents of mints, the “condueta” dues, dues on the exportation of silver, stamp dues, and national property.
It has been a misfortune not to have succeeded up to the present in securing the entrance into the federal exchequer of the whole of the income from the maritime custom-houses of the Pacific.
The government is engaged in dictating the necessary measures to attain the desired object, and will shortly submit to congress its ideas with this view. A part of the [Page 413]income of these custom-houses has been devoted to the payment of the fourth division of the standing army.
In regard to the custom-houses of the Gulf, that of Vera Cruz is in full possession of the government, and with its income not only has the pay of the second division been covered, but remittances have also been made to the general treasury, without which it would not have been possible to pay the civil list, but even to have attended to the pay of the first division and that of the forces of the federal district. The customhouse at Tampico was, unfortunately, for some time in the possession of the insurrectionists of that port, who disacknowleged the authority of the national government, and who not only made use of all its proceeds, but also exacted loans from the merchants of that city, and contracted obligations for which pretended claims are made against the federal government. Government is in the hope that, now that its authority is re-established in Tampico, it can count upon the income of that custom-house. A considerable part of this income has been destined to pay the third division, and the same has happened in regard to the custom-house of Matamoras. This custom-house, as well as the others on the Gulf, has been making remittances to the general treasury, but the diminished mercantile transactions there have caused these remittances to be of but little consideration.
The revenue of the custom-house of the district produces generally, in fair times, from eighty to one hundred and twenty thousand dollars monthly; the direct taxes from the district, from forty to fifty thousand dollars; and the stamp duty, from eighty to a hundred thousand dollars per month. With the assistance of these revenues government has been enabled, thus far, to meet the estimates in the manner already mentioned. It is to be anticipated that, with the consolidation of peace and public order, the establishment of the federal authority and the supreme authority of the republic, the re-establishment of public confidence and the augmentation of mercantile transactions, these revenues, as wellas those of the custom-houses, will increase very considerably.
Respecting mints, the system of renting them out to private individuals, carried on hitherto, has produced more inconveniences than benefits. For a certain amount, comparatively small, the government has had to bind itself not to permit the exportation of silver in bars. Urgent necessities of the moment for obtaining resources, obliged those in command to give permits for the exportation of silver, and these permits were given either by the military chiefs or the local authorities, and in consequence thereof the tenants of the mints presented claims for sums far exceeding the amounts received by the government for rent. Under these circumstances, and under the impression that it will be more favorable to the interests of the revenue that the mints should be under the immediate authority of the government, the executive is engaged in resolving what steps are to be taken in the matter. Propositions will shortly be presented to congress believed to be sufficient to place this important branch of revenue upon a better footing than hitherto. Several of the leases of mints have already expired, and government has deemed fit not to renew them. When the new arrangements, in which the executive is now occupied, are concluded, this important matter, instead of being burdensome to the public exchequer, as has been the case recently, will give excellent results.
A large number of convoys (conductas) having left last year, exceeding that regula-lated by law, it is not to be expected that in the present year so large a number will leave, or that they will carry great amounts. It is not to be looked for, therefore, that any considerable revenue will be obtained from this source. When mining operations receive that impulse that they ought to receive, after some time of peace and the return of public confidence, the proceeds from this branch will be very abundant.
Nationalized properties would doubtless be a source of public wealth, notwithstanding little is left of them, if the exigencies of times past were not subject to innumerable complications. Government believes, however, that the necessities have now passed over which caused their transfer or sale at low prices in order to disarm an uncompromising enemy, and that with good administration they may hereafter be made to produce abundant resources, or that they will serve, at any rate, to liquidate a very considerable portion of our debt. Government is actively engaged in adopting the necessary measures to secure this object, and will soon submit to congress, if required, the steps that may be deemed convenient, both for the better organization of the department of nationalized property, and the arrangements for the collection and distribution of the proceeds. Neither would it be possible, just now, to form an estimate of the entire expenses required for public administration. Government has already intimated to congress, through myself, that not one single day shall be lost in forming this report. One of my first acts upon entering in the finance department, and even several days previous to congress making any indication to me with this object, was, with the consent of the President, to issue a circular requiring all the necessary data to form the same in a complete and exact manner. I can assure congress that the government has the firm determination to form the estimate, and only desires that the one thus made may deserve that name, and not be a dead letter, or a thing impracticable, as by misfortune has happened [Page 414]on other occasions. For the present, however, I can state to congress crudely, and in a general way, that the expenses of administration of which I have knowledge amount monthly to the following sums:
|Legislative power of the federation and its secretaryship||$35,874 54|
|Executive power, including the President, secretary’s office, and ministers of foreign affairs, home department, justice, finance, and war, (the department of public works having a special fund)||23,327 61|
|President’s staff||1,468 20|
|The extraordinary expenses in the ministerial departments may be calculated at||40,000 00|
|Judicial power of the federation||20,321 49|
|Judicial power of the district||13,522 75|
|Legations and consulates||4,500 00|
|Post office||3,010 83|
|Territory of Lower California||358 33|
|Subscriptions to newspapers||700 00|
|Editorship of the official journal||450 00|
|Government printing office||466 00|
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
|Assignations to colleges||7,898 14|
|General archives||346 32|
|National library||255 32|
|National museum||700 00|
|First division||93,556 85|
|Second division||88,304 00|
|Third division||107,557 00|
|Fourth division||98,366 00|
|Engineer staff||1,148 70|
|Expenses of the expedition to Yucatan||100,000 00|
|Establishment for the construction of artillery||3,518 00|
|National corps of invalids||8,055 96|
|Military gratifications||900 00|
|Repairs of quarters||6,000 00|
|Depot of chiefs and officers||3,314 00|
Pensioners, as follows:
|Retired list||9,636 07|
|Military montepio||15,401 07|
|Military pensions||6,681 04|
|Civil montepio||8,979 44|
|Superannuated list||1,444 22|
|Superannuated list||1,742 00|
|Civil pensions||316 00|
|Wagon trains||385 00|
|Annuities to the wounded and the families of those who have died in defense of constitutional order||987 00|
|Generals at quarters, and unattached chiefs and officers||1,251 50|
|Military commandant’s department||94,298 95|
|Harbor masters||5,000 00|
|Rural corps||14,497 32|
|Guard of Mexico and Ajusco||6,429 00|
|Customs, estimates||41,652 66|
|Agents of finance department||8,775 41|
|General treasury of the nation||5,985 00|
|Custom-house at Mexico||13,000 00|
|Tax office, (general)||2,916 66|
|Stamp office||2,420 00|
|Redemption of floating debt||40,000 00|
|Redemption of consolidated debt||$80,000 00|
|Wardenship of the Terceros hospital||92 27|
|Wardenship of the mint||147 50|
|Weights and measures||391 66|
|Municipal guard of the district||18,109 12|
|Military comandante of the district||2,570 00|
|Quartermaster of the district||644 70|
|Supplies for||480 00|
|Supplies to the government of the district||7,677 74|
|Indemnities to the proprietors of edifices pulled down||2,000 00|
The pensions payable in the States are not included, on account of the estimates not having been received, notwithstanding the frequent demands addressed by the general treasury to the head offices with this object.
On the arrival of the national government at this city, in July of last year, the funds of the municipality were found to be so dilapidated, that it was entirely impossible to pay out of them the expenses of the government of the district and its armed force. It has been necessary, therefore, to concede certain subsidies, more or less considerable, in order to attend to the most urgent requirements. The municipality has also been assisted with a monthly sum for the opening of new streets to embellish the capital, and for indemnities to the owners of property which it has been necessary to demolish. Government has now regulated the revenues of the district, and considers that ere long they will be sufficient to cover all its expenses, and then the supplements which have been made up to the present will be at an end.
Government has also thought it its duty to maintain a considerable force of rural police for the custody of the road to Vera Cruz, and that to the interior, as far as Queretaro. The States ought to protect their own road, as it would be impossible for the general government to take them all under their custody. In attention, however, to the importance of those two now mentioned, government has not hesitated to organize forces for their protection until the States can comply with this obligation. This charge is all the more onerous, because the forces, badly discharging this service, receive higher pay than those of the regular army.
One of the most efficacious modes that exist, in the opinion of the government, not only for making the public revenues more productive, but also for facilitating the operations of merchants of good faith, and simplifying the present financial system, which has become exceedingly complicated, is the formation of a new custom tariff, based upon principles in accordance with the express precepts of the constitution. With the spirit of the age, and with the most trivial diatribes of political economy, according to which it is now obvious that the augmentation of revenue does not depend so much upon the increase of duties, which only serves as a pretext for smuggling, but in the development of mercantile transactions, which cannot avoid increasing very considerably under the impulse that will be afforded by the present system, and above all, taking care that the tariff now to be adopted shall be uniformly and invariably carried into effect in all the maritime custom-houses of the republic with the view of preventing merchandise being received in some ports at lower duties than at others, by which trade suffers, to the prejudice of merchants of good faith, and further inducements are offered for smuggling.
With the desire of carrying out this important reform, which is required both by the interests of the executive and those of the commerce of the republic, the government has named a commission composed of citizens of acknowledged ability, acquired by long experience both as employés and as merchants, which is charged with the formation of a project for the new tariff. The cardinal basis on which the same should rest is, in the conception of the government, the establishment of solely importation dues higher than those now existing, in order to reassume therein all the additional duties now collected; the raising of prohibitions, but putting duties on those articles now prohibited, in order to protect national industry; the adoption of the metro-decimal system, which should have ruled in the republic long since; the abolition of administrative litigations, in which the executive now acts as judge and plaintiff; and perhaps the establishment of a port of deposit on the Pacific, which it appears is required both by the special necessities of that coast and the interests of the government.
The public debt has, without dispute, been the principal difficulty with which former administrations have had to struggle hitherto, and it may be said, without exaggeration, that it served as a pretext for the French intervention which we have just overcome. This is not the moment to examine the origin, circumstances, and amount of the debt; it is sufficient to state that certain European nations, availing themselves of our want [Page 416]of experience, and more especially of our debility, of which, we had a false idea, imposed upon us obligations the fulfillment of which was almost incompatible with our existence as an independent nation, in the understanding that they deprived us of the principal and most valuable part of our revenues, without which it was not possible for us to meet the most urgent expenses of administration. At the same time, and forming an essential part of their programme, they imposed upon us, as an international debt, that which by its origin, and in accordance with every principle of equity and justice, universally recognized by all nations, could not have any other character than that of a national debt, in which no foreign power ought to have any kind of interference. This false policy produced the results which were inevitably to follow: the national government found itself deprived of the indispensable resources for the preservation of public order, and without these, with the assignments made to foreign nations, it was impossible to pay even the interest on the debt. The exigencies of these powers arrived at a really intolerable point, and at last produced a misunderstanding fatal to them, but which has had for us the beneficial result of freeing ourselves from the tutelage under which we had been laboring, and of giving us the consciousness of our own strength, and the determination of defending our rights against every kind of influence and aggression, both abroad and at home.
The European nations that made war upon us, or lent their moral support to our invaders, by recognizing the order of things which the French intervention attempted to establish in the republic, broke by this act the treaties that bound them to us. Not on this account do we pretend to disacknowledge the obligation of paying the legitimate creditors of the republic, and we can assure them that their position has never been more favorable than at present, considering that there has never existed so great a probability on such well-founded hopes of consolidating the peace of Mexico as now.
Availing itself of the rights given by this new situation, and animates with a sincere desire to comply with all the legitimate obligations of the republic, the government has also decided upon the mode of paying off gradually, as the circumstances may permit, the national debt, whether consolidated or floating. A fund of not less than fifty thousand dollars per month has been dedicated to the redemption, at public auction, of the bonds of our consolidated debt. The government desires that within a few days the first sale should take place of the bonds of the extinguished Spanish and English conventions, from certain funds found in the possession of the former agents of these bond-holders, and which the government is engaged in recovering to distribute the same, in the way in which it is proposed to redeem its debt. Accounts will also be demanded from these agents, of the sums they received during the so-called empire, and of the coupons paid, so as to liquidate what may be owing. If, as may be expected, this plan should produce good results, within a few years we shall have redeemed much of our debt, and in this way we shall have radically removed the constant motives we have heretofore had for difficulties with European nations. If these powers should desire to renew their relations with us under different bases from those subsisting formerly, we shall have ceased to have cause for differences with Western Europe.
The republic neither can, nor ought, in any shape, recognize the obligations which the Emperor of the French attempted to force upon her by means of his intervention in our domestic affairs. The government cannot find language sufficiently strong to express the force of its determination in this respect; neither can it acknowledge any of the obligations contracted through the order of things which the Emperor of the French endeavored to establish in Mexico. Government has also declared that it will not recognize either, as a legitimate claim against the nation, the damages and losses occasioned to foreigners or natives by the invader or his allies in the war of intervention. But, on the other hand, it is considered to be very just to recognize to the citizens who have contributed with their property towards the continuation of the war against the foreign invader those claims they may have against the federal treasury, as also to the patriots who have been for all this period in the civil or military service of the government, the balances that may be due them for the time they did not receive their pay. It not being possible, however, to pay off all these obligations at once, government has dictated the measures by which they may be recognized, liquidated and paid. The decree of the 10th November regulates the mode in which such recognition and liquidation shall be effected. The offices intrusted with carrying these operations into practice have been already organized, and are now in actual exercise of their functions. When their labors are concluded, a general statement will be presented to congress comprehending those claims recognized and liquidated.
The decree of the 30th November of the same year ordains that from the month of May forward a fund shall be separated of not less than thirty thousand doliars, nor more than fifty thousand dollars, monthly, destined to the redemption of the interior debt, in which is of course included both the consolidated and floating debt. Government proposes to carry out these measures, dictated by itself, with all scrupulousness, and which, in its judgment, constitute the most equitable and efficacious means of redeeming the whole of the debt in the course of a few years.
Government is of opinion that it would be convenient to consolidate the floating [Page 417]debt of the nation upon an equitable basis. Promise has been made to effect this, and with this view attention is now being given to this important matter, which will have so much influence upon the national credit, and when these labors are concluded they will be submitted to congress for their determination. The completion of our financial system and of order in the revenues will be, in the opinion of the government, the suppression of special funds, and of assignations of a similar nature. We cannot have a system founded upon firm and solid bases, until we succeed in establishing an office that shall be the only one for distributions, and which shall keep accounts current with all branches.
There are, moreover, other reforms of a secondary nature, which may be classed as regulation orders, and which government will endeavor to establish in the offices of the federation according as it may be possible to do so, and which will be indicated by the regulations themselves. Among these will be comprehended the prohibition of receiving orders for payment, compensations and much less assignations in the collectors’ offices. Also that the general treasury of the district and the financial agencies in the States shall make no other payments than those decreed by the estimate, and on all occasions by a previous order from the department of finance, whose care will be to limit the same to each separate case. On publishing the estimate, the department of finance will form, in accordance with the branches included therein, the system of accounts to be established in the general treasury, to combine clearness and simplicity with the security of the public interests and all responsibility of the employés, For the offices of financial agents a form of accounts will be adopted, which, besides uniting the preceding requisites, shall produce the result of that uniformity which is now wanting.
This is an abstract of the situation of our financial affairs. Up to the present, every thing possible has been done towards the improvements, and promising results have already been obtained. Government has the expectation of making further improvements hereafter, counting upon the efficacious and wise co-operation of congress, to whom the constitution has given the faculty of approving the estimate and decreeing contributions.