Mr. Munro to Mr. Seward.
Sir: The government of Portugal has entered into a contract with E. Meddlecot and Thomas Rumball, the former a respectable merchant long established in Lisbon, and the latter a civil engineer, for the laying down of a submarine telegraphic cable from Falmouth to Oporto, thence to one of the Azores, and finally to the coast of America, at a point not yet fixed on.
The decree of concession is dated on the 28th January last, and within eight months the plans of the lines and respective stations are to be delivered in; the government is then allowed two months for examination and approval, and two years are then granted to complete the lines to the Portuguese ports, with two years more to bring the American continent into connection.[Page 93]
The period of concession will be fixed by the Cortes, and rates or tariff of prices for telegrams are not to exceed the present rates of telegrams between this country and Great Britain, in proportion.
The government will, at its own expense, connect Lisbon with the station at Oporto, and is to receive a tax or bonus of one per cent. on the net proceeds of the traffic.
Although the point on the American coast where the proposed line is to be established is not yet fixed, still I consider this enterprise of sufficient importance to give the department all the information on the subject which is at present known, and I shall have the honor to transmit any and every other fact connected therewith which may transpire.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.