Mr. Munro to Mr. Seward.
Sir: In my dispatch No. 467, of March 24, I had the honor of alluding to the trouble caused to the government of this country by the large number of operatives out of work, and much annoyance has been created in the town of Lisbon by demonstrations got up by certain parties here, who, under the guise of sympathy for the distressed workmen, have tried to induce disorder and confusion, causing a good deal of agitation and alarm among the population of this town. On Sunday, the 12th instant, a public political club, whose chiefs and directors have not hesitated in openly discussing the propriety of calling for a change in the ruling charter, in adopting the so-called constitution of 1838, which establishes the national guard, and insuring more extended popular liberties, got up a demonstration by collecting a mob of so-called operatives out of work, who were led to the department of the interior, and being admitted to the respective secretary of state, vociferously and in a menacing manner demanded work and relief. The military and police were called out, and about 20 of the ringleaders were arrested. The remainder broke up into small bands, and on that and the next day began demanding, and in some cases enforcing, alms from shopkeepers, the banks, and principal private banking houses. These proceedings naturally alarmed the population, as in some cases threats were not spared that forcible means would be had recourse to for obtaining relief. For a couple of days all business was stopped, stores and offices were shut up, and were it not for the energetic and efficient measures adopted by the government, serious consequences might have resulted. For the present order appears to have been established, but the government has thought proper to convene the Cortes at once, instead of waiting for the day previously fixed on, the 27th instant, and on the 15th his Majesty the King opened the session in person. I have the honor of inclosing a translation of his Majesty’s speech on the occasion.
The circumstances alluded to therein, of her Majesty the Queen’s departure for Italy, took place on the 12th instant. Besides intending to be present at the marriage ceremony of her brother, it is believed that her Majesty’s health requires her temporary absence abroad.
I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, sir, your most obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.