No. 273.
Mr. Bliss to Mr. Fish.

No. 684.]

Sir: Herewith I inclose copies and translations (A and B) of the message pronounced before Congress by President Lerdo, at his inauguration on the 1st instant, and of the reply made to the same (C and D) by the Hon. Nicolas Lemus, president of the Mexican Congress.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure B.—Translation.]

speech of president lerdo to the mexican congress, at his inauguration, on december 1, 1872.

Citizen Deputies: The protest I have now come to make, to observe and enforce the constitution and laws, is not merely a legal solemnity; it is the very sincere expression of my sentiments, and the sacred pledge I make to the republic to correspond, as far as depends on me, to the immense proof of confidence with which the free votes of my fellow-citizens have honored me.

The fidelity with which I have complied with the promises I made on the 27th of July, when, in consequence of a misfortune so justly lamented, I began to exercise, by virtue of the law, the executive power of the union, may serve as a guarantee of the promises I now make. During the provisional period which terminates to-day, the loyal observance of the constitution, the care for the best order in all the branches of public administration, the enjoyment of individual guarantees, the perfect freedom of election and of the press, and the respect for all rights, all opinions, and for all the liberties of the citizens, have been indisputable facts.

Happily, the government’s desire to realize, under the protection of the law, the union of the Mexicans, has not been fruitless. I feel an inexplicable satisfaction at being able to say that the civil war is ended, and that confidence has returned, by which peace will be consolidated. These priceless benefits are not due only to the frank policy of the government, but chiefly to the patriotism of the citizens, without whose efficient co-operation all my efforts would have been vain.

The republic being now quiet, and counting, as it should, upon the enlightenment and wisdom of the legislative body, upon the impartial rectitude of the judiciary, and the great desire of the executive power to comply with its duties, great hopes may be entertained that, during the new administrative period, the rich elements inclosed in the bosom of our country will be developed, the Mexican people acquiring, after such long years of struggle, social improvement in all its branches, the fruits of liberty, reform, and of the democratic principles on which our institutions are based. With the intimate conviction of my duties, I shall always esteem as preferent objects of the government the good and prompt administration of justice, order, and morality in the administration, the inviolable respect to all the individual guarantees and to property, [Page 637] the constant effort to maintain public security, the greatest development of the education of the people, and all possible protection to commerce, industry, and agriculture, as the sources of social wealth and prosperity.

To comply with these intentions I shall endeavor to deserve the support of public opinion, counting on the patriotism of all good citizens and the discipline and intelligence of the army, which, drawn from the people, has known how to be the guardian of the laws, and has made itself worthy of the esteem of all Mexicans.

To preserve the most perfect harmony between the union and the States will be, in the interior, the principal object of my administration, as it shall also be in foreign affairs to cultivate the good relations which unite us to friendly powers, being disposed to re-establish them with other nations that may desire it by means of new treaties, in which, on just and convenient bases, all the rights and interests of the republic may be preserved.

I beg of you, citizen deputies, to be interpreters to your constituents of the sentiments of my cordial gratitude for the inestimable confidence they have placed in me, raising me to a post of as much honor as responsibility. All my energy and all my efforts shall be so directed that at the end of my period of administration I may contemplate the republic enjoying, in perfect peace, all the benefits procured by liberty, guaranteed by law, developed by intelligence, and preserved by the patriotism of the people.

[Inclosure D.—Translation.]

speech of the president of the mexican congress, mr. nicolas lemus, at the inauguration of president lerdo, on december 1, 1872.

Citizen President: The Congress of the union believes that the protest you have just made, to fill loyally and patriotically the post of first magistrate of the republic, is, in fact, the sincere expression of your sentiments; it duly appreciates the immense confidence placed in you by the people by means of the suffrage of October, and hopes, from your loyalty and enlightenment, that all the acts of the executive power, which you begin to discharge at this date, will be directed to the fulfillment of the law and the prosperity of the nation.

The interim that was caused in the presidency of the republic by the death of Mr. Juarez ends to-day. You have fulfilled, in fact, the promises of your transitory government, and the people for this reason have named you for the definite post of constitutional President. Congress trust in your being able in future to give a complete development to your programme, observing faithfully, as you have done in the provisional government, the precepts of the constitution; for the republic, which has shed much blood in its cause, resolutely desires the absolute establishment of the institutions that govern us. Our fellow-citizens, anxious for the aggrandizement of the country, will know how to correspond worthily to your noble efforts as they have done hitherto.

The responsibility you have contracted, citizen President, is immense; the nation, still agitated by the recent struggle, expects from your prudent measures the consolidation of a profound and lasting peace; it expects from your energy the reformation of a vicious and demoralized administration; from your talent, wise measures to develop our industry, and bring to light the wealth hidden in our soil; it expects, in short, from your love to your country, instruction for the ignorant, work for the poor, and prosperity for all Mexicans. To sum up, the nation that, from continuous misfortune, had doubted its destiny, rises now from its prostration, confides to you its future, and begins to believe in its own welfare.

You succeed a colossus, who agitated the republic, and knew how to raise it to the level of contemporaneous civilization; the incomparable firmness of his principles and the decided abnegation of his patriotism have won him already the best pages of our annals; but you have to destroy nothing; your mission is one of peace, morality, and reconstruction; you should, for this reason, as you have just promised, give your attention to agriculture, commerce, and industry, to the education of the people, the proper management of the public funds, the proper administration of justice, and, above all, to the solid establishment of peace and public security.

Congress acknowledges that through your prestige the public credit has begun to spring up again, that the prudent measures of the provisional administration re-established harmony between the governments of the States and the government of the federation, and that they have served to maintain the good relations which bind us with some foreign powers, manifesting thus to the world that Mexico is disposed to enter on just and equitable grounds into treaties with all nations.

Citizen President, you are now the first of the Mexicans, the father of the country; but Congress is assured that in future you will also be the firmest support of the nation, the effective cause of its prosperity, and the faithful guardian of its institutions.