Mr. Munro to Mr. Seward.

No. 471.]

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.


Most worthy peers of the realm and messieurs deputies of the Portuguese nation:

It is always with, great pleasure that I comply with, the duty imposed on me by the constitutional charter of the monarchy by coming in person to open the legislative session, and to find myself in the midst of the representatives of the nation.

In virtue of an invitation from my august father-in-law, her Majesty, my esteemed spouse, has departed for Italy, there to be present at a family ceremony which is to be attended by all the princes of the royal house of Savoy.

I feel assured that the Queen’s visit will afford an efficient means of binding in a still closer manner the relations of friendship now existing between the two countries, and that her Majesty’s return to the kingdom will not be long delayed.

The amicable relations between my government and all foreign powers continue to exist in an unaltered form.

The extraordinary circumstances which supervened at the commencement of the year obliged me to consult the national suffrage, which responded to my appeal in complete tranquillity, at the same time that they induced my government to adopt certain measures [Page 95] which were beyond the ordinary limits of executive power, but urgently called for by the exigency of the moment.

I feel convinced that, in taking cognizance of these acts, you will discuss them with that impartial spirit which your enlightened judgment will naturally suggest. I consider it my duty to direct your care and attention to public instruction, especially primary education, to high roads and locomotion, and to the army and public force in general, which by its discipline and obedience has proved itself a sure guarantee of tranquillity; but, among all the subjects of public administration, the question of our finances is doubtless that which ought more particularly to call for your attention.

The secretary of the treasury will lay before you the budget of public receipts and expenditures, accompanied by a faithful account of the state of the treasury, together with the necessary proposals for an efficient administration and recovery of the revenue, for the improvement of the public, credit, and for the organizing of the state finances.

Most worthy peers of the realm and messieurs deputies of the Portuguese nation, the noble mission which you are called upon to develop is worthy of you and of the confidence which the nation and I intrust to your care.

The aspirations of our country, my earnest hope and cordial desires, are that you may fully realize this confidence.

The session is opened.