No. 276.
Mr. Bliss to Mr. Fish.

No. 687.]

Sir: I inclose herewith a printed copy (A) and a translation (B) of the speech of President Lerdo at the closing of sessions of the Mexican Congress, on the 15th instant, and of the reply (C and D) made by Mr. Nicolas Lemus, president of Congress.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure B.—Translation.]

Speech of President Lerdo at the closing of sessions of the Congress of the Mexican Republic on December 15, 1872.

Citizen Deputies: The provisions of the constitution suspend to-day your legislative tasks, which have really been beneficial to the republic.

The establishment of legations in Spain, Germany, and Guatemala, being decreed by Congress, they will efficaciously preserve and strengthen the friendly relations which unite us to those powers. This will be to the advantage of commerce, and to the furtherance of immigration, so useful to our country, by the augmentation of productive hands and by the easier development of all the branches of public wealth.

The formation of commissions to examine into the motives of complaint there may be on the northern frontier, especially on that bounded by the Rio Bravo, is of great importance to sustain the interests of the republic, as also to avoid any occasion for international difficulties, which governments should provide against so as to prevent the disturbance of harmony, so necessary for the happiness of nations.

In view of the result of the last elections, you have not only legally constituted the executive of the union, but, by convoking the people to the election of the president of the supreme court of justice, you have provided for the eventuality foreseen and remedied by our fundamental compact.

The law for prudently extending the municipal revenue of the city of Mexico to the towns in the federal district is a new proof of the interest Congress has for this important part of our society, which so justly deserves the esteem and special care of the authorities of the union. Great benefits will also be produced by the resolution to apply the same arrangement to Lower California, where the still unexplored elements inclose fruitful germs of prosperity.

The scarcity of our resources, and the necessity of covering the public expenses, obliged the executive to ask for new means to cover deficiencies. For the confidence with which Congress authorized the executive to provide them I should express my profound gratitude, and assure it that the faculties granted will be scrupulously employed solely to procure the resources necessary to satisfy the most indispensable demands on the public coffers.

Complying with constitutional provisions, the executive yesterday presented the estimate of the appropriations for the next fiscal year, so that Congress may dedicate to it the special attention it deserves at the next period of session.

Public works have justly been a preferent object of the consideration of Congress, because the nation expects from them the most complete development of its great elements of wealth. The dispositions dictated, to continue the works on some roads, and to extend the telegraphic lines, which already cover a great part of our extensive territory, will be very profitable.

The executive, in making use of the authorization relative to new railway projects, will hear all the propositions and examine all the conditions, and, weighing the advantages and difficulties, will submit to Congress the projects it may consider most useful to the national welfare. If, as we ought to hope, we continue enjoying the invaluable benefits of peace, Congress will be able during the next period of sessions to tranquilly dedicate its diligent solicitude to these and other important affairs.

Receive my just congratulation, citizen deputies, because you can retire with the conviction that during the period which now terminates you have complied, with the most noble and patriotic zeal, with the high mission confided to you by the republic.

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[Inclosure D.—Translation.]

Speech of the president of the Mexican Congress, Mr. Nicholas Lemus, at the closing of sessions on December 15, 1872.

Citizen President of the Republic: The opening and closing of the sessions of Congress on the days and in the terms provided by our fundamental code do not lack, in a country generally so agitated as ours, a favorable signification; such regularity is at least a good symptom that no serious disorder disturbs the natural functions of the body-politic, and it strengthens at home and abroad the confidence that public tranquillity and national institutions are being consolidated.

As you have just manifested, Congress during the period that terminates to-day has dedicated itself diligently and loyally to the examination and solution of various questions that demanded it with most urgency.

The establishment of diplomatic missions in Spain, Germany, and Guatemala was a measure demanded not only by the reciprocity of courtesy towards those governments which had accredited representatives near our own, but also by the mutual interest of the respective countries and of the republic. Congress has demonstrated by this act that it is disposed to consent to renew and strengthen, with other powers that may solicit it, the relations unfortunately interrupted, thus conciliating the dignity of the nation with the demands of modern international civilization.

The formation of commissions to examine the motives of complaint there may be on the northern frontier against our neighbors on the other side of the Rio Bravo, and theirs against Mexico, is of such importance, that, understood by Congress, it passed the law of the 30th of September last. Congress trusts, as you do, that these precautionary and pacific measures, inspired by good faith, will prevent grave conflicts between the two nations.

No less important was the declaration of this chamber that elevated you to the first magistracy of the country, and the law that convoked the Mexican people to the election of a president of the supreme court of justice. The first was the indispensable complement of the elections of October, and the second is also of great transcendency. The prerogative being allowed by our code of 1857 to the president of the court to substitute the President of the republic in his temporary or absolute absence, the edict issued has made the danger of the want of a head of the executive power of the union more remote.

Every legislative measure that causes an outlay from the public funds, or imposes a sacrifice upon the citizens, must necessarily cause another sacrifice to Congress, whose greatest desire is to lighten the burdens that weigh on the several social classes. The national representation, compelled by urgent circumstances to issue the law of the 10th instant, which authorized the executive to procure resources upon certain bases, has given you an unmistakable proof of confidence, trusting in your rectitude and your zeal for remedying public evils.

Congress has, with justice, dedicated a preferent part of its attention to material improvements, because they have caused a beneficent and tranquil revolution in the civilized world, and also because they, on account of circumstances special to Mexico, will perhaps be the only practical method of carrying out social reform and the consolidation of the political institutions of our country. It has been able, notwithstanding, to prudently restrain its ardor, and authorized you to arrange the preliminary bases of the construction of railways, which you must submit afterward to its approbation. This prudent measure will not be fruitless. The information of the executive and the new study that may be made in this chamber of the concessions solicited will be a double guarantee that the country will neither enter into compromises it cannot comply with, nor will it at a later day have to submit to painful sacrifices to redeem its promises and save the national honor at stake.

Congress has already passed to the respective commissions the estimates of the next fiscal year, presented to it by the executive in compliance with a constitutional provision. In them this chamber will certainly introduce all those economies that may appear compatible with good public service.

Congress feels great satisfaction at hearing from your mouth almost an assurance that peace will continue, imparting to us its invaluable benefits. It will be a happy day for Mexico, citizen President, when we can say with truth that peace is assured; a happy day that in which the people may be convinced, as it appears they begin to understand, that revolutions only produce good results when they have grand principles to conquer. If they do not lead to that, they may correct present vices of more or less importance, but in exchange they sow in their passage infinite germs of new vices, the bitter harvest of which will continue to be gathered by future generations. In presence of the dangers and fears of a revolution that devastates everything, the great mass of the people rallies around the constituted authorities; it overlooks and excuses its errors and faults, which are thus perpetuated. When, on the contrary, peace reigns, when neither faults nor errors can find justification, either the bad governor [Page 643] returns to the path of legality, or he falls, overwhelmed by public scorn and universal execration.

Congress does not foster the presumption of having satisfied, in the period that ends to-day, all public necessities. The large number, the various kinds and importance of the affairs submitted to its deliberation, and the natural delays of every corporate body are the real cause of the scanty results of its legislative tasks. Congress protests, notwithstanding, before the whole nation, that during its next session it will not be wanting in patriotism, nor will it flag in its zeal for the common welfare.

Congress, for which I speak in these solemn moments, citizen President, cordially and sincerely wishes that, before giving up your post to a person newly elected by the people, all those questions on which depend the private interests of the citizens, the tranquility of the States, and the general prosperity of the republic, may find a just and proper solution.